Friday, April 28, 2017

Paris Chocolate and Street Markets

We can't get away from the great food everywhere in Paris, from the fancy dinners to the shaved lamb gyros on the street.  We love it all.

Let's end this journey with a few more food-related pictures from the streets.  First, chocolate in the shops.  It's just before Easter and they are going all out.

 Chocolate boots (not made for walking)

 Chocolate chefs

 And, one more window

And, of course, we have to mention the street markets.  One market, near our hotel, has always appealed to us and someday we plan to rent an apartment here so we can shop at the market and cook.

 Street market near hotel

And, finally, for my birthday, the hotel sent up a treat, champagne, macaroons, and a cake.

Happy birthday to me!

Thus winds up another great trip to Paris.  We never tire of it and can come back over and over.  And will!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Few Dinners in Paris

Ah, dinner in Paris, another reason to keep coming back.  We've already mentioned two:  our first night (Serano ham, smoked mozarella, chicken with rigatoni, octopus, lemon tart) and our walk over to Place Saint Michele for foudue (cheese fondue with charcuterie, beef and duck fondue with boiling oil for self-service cooking).

We also make it to a few favorites:  La Poincare and Le Gaigne.

We found La Poincare a few years ago when we were looking at some touristic restaurants at Place du Trocadero (across the river from the Eiffel Tower).  Nothing appealed to us and we started walking back up Avenue Raymond Poincaré, heading back toward the Arc de Triumph.  A few blocks up the street, we passed La Poincare, stopped to read the menu, went in, and have been going back every trip since then.  This time, we go twice, but only have records of the starters, as both times, we become involved in our main courses and forget to take pictures.

The first night, we start with foi gras and creamy french onion soup.

 Fois gras with toast

La soupe à l'oignon

For our [missing pictures] main courses, we had moule marinier (mussels) and marget de canard (duck).  Wow!

Our second time, we share smoked burrata cheese and the fois gras, then share [missing pictures again, distracted and enjoying] sea bream and a risotto.  Wow, again!

Smoked burrata, fois gras

For our special birthday meal, we go back to Le Gaigne, a restaurant that we've been visiting for years, ever since they were in a small spot in the Marais.  Now, in a much grander location, a few block off Boulevard Hausman and near the Gare Saint Lazare train station, the food is still memorable.  The staff remember us from last year and treat us to another incredible dining experience.  They are a great part of the experience:  smiling, warm, friendly, engaging -- they are real people and complement the meal incredibly.

Let the meal speak for itself.

 Starting, of course, with a glass of rosé champagne, while perusing


 Quail stuffed with fois gras and confit thigh

Green asparagus tips, octopus, egg yolk, cuttlefish ink crumble 

Line-caught wihiting stuffed with spinach, parmesan, and sunflower seeds 

 Guinea hen ballotine roll with walnuts and savory endives 
(almost didn't get a picture) 

Brillat savarin cheese, truffled in-house

 Pineapple sorbet and marmalade on rum-soaked peppery Jaconde 
sponge cake, coconut mouse, shavings, and meringues

Double/triple wow!  Ok, we can come back again next year (it'll be my birthday again!)!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Jardins (Gardens) Exhibition at the Grand Palais and Spring Flowers

We walk over to the Jardins (Gardens) exhibition at the Grand Palais (that we would have waited two hours to enter over the weekend) on Monday and breeze right in.  Everyone is back at work and there is no line.  We're not quite sure what to expect, but know it will be interesting.  The exhibition focuses on the French passion for gardens and is organized as a multidisciplinary assembly of paintings, sculptures, photographs, films, drawings, and more, a journey through the garden as a botanical collection and an artistic creation.

The exhibition is spread out over several levels and halls and starts slowly with garden plants.  We remind ourselves that we're in the Grand Palais in Paris and the hall itself is incredible, not to mention the memorable events it hosts, starting with the Universal Exhibition of 1900.  We start our journey through the Grand Palais and through the Gardens.


Following the real plants are depictions of plants, including sculpture and Tiffany and Van Cleef jewelry (yes, multi-carat jewelry in the shape of garden plants).

 Depictions of plants

Followed by garden art and garden designs.

 Garden art

Garden designs

Monet, Picasso

Monet, Renoir

The combination of mediums and messages to depict the love of gardens finally comes together for us and makes great sense once we get past the initial dried plants and start to understand the adventure that is being shared with us.

One of the closing remarks of the exhibition is, "...the gardens of a period speak volumes of the spirit that drives it, which could be its sculpture, its paintings, or the works of its writers.  The garden was always the confidant of dreams and ambitions, the companion of moments of sincerity and abandon."


Meanwhile, outside, spring is coming in strong and the trees and flower (planted in beds and in the markets) are beautiful.

 Spring is here!

 Flowers in the street markets

And, as we wander back to Galeries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann, the paper coverings have come off the store windows and spring is on display.

 Spring windows at Galeries Lafayette

Green plants cover the storefront
(more gardens in spring)

We've come to Paris in the spring and we are getting the full dose!   We will keep returning to enjoy and support this beautiful, exciting, enticing city.  Recent and past terrorism events have led to increased security in the city and a heightened awareness of our surroundings, but have not affected the spirit and the charm of Paris and its people.