Friday, May 17, 2013

Europe: Paris III

In Paris every morning starts with a Pain au Chocolat, and the walk to the metro looks like this:

And I love it. Such simple things make Paris, Paris. And Paris makes me happy.

 One morning we took the metro to the outskirts of the city to Les Puces, the Paris flee market. Its a big winding indoor/outdoor market, that has seemingly been there forever. Lilacs hang over narrow alleys. Old works of art and dusty french books are stacked on shelves as locals sit on lawn chairs playing cards with one another, eating packed lunches out of Tupperware containers.

Rusty keys and old, used post cards were some of my favorite finds from Les Puces.
I guess my banana nutella crepe was a pretty great find as well. 
 After the flee market we metro-ed back to the hotel and wandered around our neighborhood looking for a place to grab dinner. Then we came upon this street. It was not only picture perfect it was also just around the corner from our hotel. I loved where we stayed in the city it seemed pretty central to lots of different things. And being so close to the Eiffel tower was awesome because it was constant reminder of where I was.

For dinner we found a sweet little restaurant on the second level of a row house. This was the dish Maya got - steak and potatoes with a pan sauce with a fresh shallot parsley garnish. So simple but so yummy. It was great.

And then dessert happened. We looked at the menu and couldn't decipher much of anything except the word chocolate. We both love chocolate so we thought it would be a safe bet. It was. I took a BIG spoonful being sure to get plenty of the sweet creme anglais sauce and a couple of the almond slivers and put this giant bite into my mouth. I immediately realized that it would likely take me at least 2 minutes to recover. The richness was completely overwhelming, but was fantastic. The bowl was basically filled with rich creamy vanilla sauce and two huge chocolate truffles. Tiny bite after tiny bite, I was in love. But by the time we struggled through finishing the dish our stomachs were so full we could barely make it home. 
The next morning we woke up to rain it poured and poured for about 2 hours - we were soaked.

We made our way to the Cathedral of Notre Dame. And quickly took cover until the rain stopped.

If you ask me it was a pretty stunning place to wait out the rain.

The cathedral was just as beautiful as you'd imagine. Stained glass, fantastic architecture and candlelight. There was just so much to look at. Being in such a historic place was humbling. I still can't believe that it's been there since the 1300's. 

Finally the rain stopped and we walked around the grounds, admiring every angle of the big church.

We walked around the Île de la Cité, the small island that Notre Dame is on and found Berthillion. It was another one of those places, that we had to try. With glowing reviews claiming to have the best ice cream. And after trying the frozen treats I'd say that it was worth the hype. The ice cream was rich and creamy and just plain goooood.

We crossed the river on the love lock bridge. When couples come to Paris some choose to lock a small (or big) lock on the bridge and throw their key into the river, to symbolize their love. It's a sweet tradition that's been going on for a long time. Someday I'll be back and maybe Adam and I can lock our own love lock on the bridge.
We made our way to the Luxembourge gardens in the fun Latin district.
And then it was time for more treats. 
This time at Pierre Herme, another wonderfully famous patisserie in Paris. I got a pistachio strawberry tart and Maya got some green thing (haha) with tiny strawberries on top. Both were delicious, and incredibly difficult to eat. But delicious. So delicious.

Our last night in Paris was flawless. I wore black because I was in mourning, and because it's what Parisians do. I want to be Parisian.

We went to the famed Cafe de Flore for dinner. I had the quiche with a little green salad. We sat on the patio. It was buzzing with people talking quickly in French. Sipping on after work drinks, or waiting to meet friends. I loved the atmosphere.

I did my best to take it all in, and really savor my last night in this city that I had fallen in love with.

Paris proved to be exactly what I hoped it would be. Magical.

After dinner we walked to another restaurant that happened to be on top of a hotel, a block away from the Eiffel tower for dessert.
We stayed there for two hours. Chatting about our trip, savoring our cheesecake, and dreaming of days in the future when we'll be back. After the sun goes down the tower sparkles at the top of every hour for five minutes. We couldn't have had a better view. Thousands of tiny lights flicker on and off, covering the tower from top to bottom, it couldn't be more beautiful.  

Since I was a little girl, movies, and books, and songs that had anything to do with France were my favorite. I remember having a conversation with my mom when I was eight while eating french toast at the breakfast table that went something like, "Mom I like all French stuff, french bread, french braids, french toast, french fries..." And that couldn't be anymore true now that I've been there. I do like all French stuff. The buildings, the food, the history, the people. Nothing was a let down, nothing was disappointing. Everything was perfect. And I feel lucky that I was able to visit this place that I have dreamed about for most of my life. Being there with my best friend was wonderful. I can't think of a better person to experience Paris with for my first time than her.
And now I've been home for a week and I already can't wait to go back!!

1 comment:

  1. Screw the snake river, let's hit up Paris! Your trip looks AMAZING! Your outfits, the treats, the sights, it's all so perfect! So happy you got to go!