Monday, July 28, 2014

Le Tour de France: Paris Day 6

Tuesday, July 8
Started the day with coffee (for me), yogurt, and fruit at the apartment before packing a picnic and biking to Blé Sucré for pastries. I had a pain au chocolat, and Dan had a chausson aux pomme. Both were very flaky, and my croissant was still warm. (Also got a religieuse caramel pastry for later.) We ate the pastries outside, where there was a group of English speakers on a pastry (or food) tour. We overheard the guide explaining how to identify butter croissants. Then three ladies sat down next to us. They had six pastries on a tray and were taking many photos. One of them seemed like she wanted to start eating, but the other two were snapping away. We asked if they would like a photo together, but they just wanted food photos. Hahaha. Also, I wondered if they would eat all six items? After second breakfast, we browsed in a few shops, including Monoprix, which I think of as the French version of Target. Dan observed a gentleman spraying lots of cologne. Then we walked along the Promenade plantée, an elevated garden pathway. It was very pleasant, and there is a nice view of the pretty buildings in Paris.

Promenade plantée

View from Promenade plantée

I found it to be a serene and peaceful setting. We saw a few joggers, people strolling, and a French-speaking walking tour, but then...several people riding bicycles! How did they get up there? And how would they get down? The path is quite narrow, didn't seem seem right for bikes. The Promenade plantée goes all the way to Bois de Vincennes, I think we descended somewhere between Gare de Lyon and Gare de Bercy, and walked back along the Viaduc des Arts, peeking into shops where artisans were making things. We saw a gentleman working with copper, jewelers, woodworking, embroidery, painting, art restoration...there was even a fancy parasol shop. Then I saw a PBGV! His name was Happy, and I got to pet him. The people walking him were very nice and told us he is a French dog (Petit Bassett Griffon Vendéen).

Then we picked up bikes and rode to the Marais. We walked by the Musée Carnavalet and popped in for a look. The (free) museum of Paris history is in two old mansions, and has a huge collection of paintings showing Paris throughout the years, also furniture and other artifacts. The signs are all in French, but it was still quite interesting.

Musée Carnavalet

Painting of Dan

I was getting hungry so we left the museum and got a falafel to supplement our picnic. We began our picnic at Places des Vosges. The sky looked ominous, so we packed up and went under the covered walkways surrounding the square, found some steps and sat down to finish our lunch (and religieuse caramel pastry for dessert) and watch the rain. It was a huge deluge of rain, and then it hailed! 

Picnic at Place des Vogses

Rain and hail

Place des Vosges

The rain stopped after maybe half an hour, and we went back out to explore. Looked in a few shops and galleries, then walked up Rue Turenne for hot chocolate at Jacques Genin. There are only a few tables, so we had to wait a bit. [It seems in France one can have the table for the whole day, plus there were comfy couches. One lady was reading a novel, and two young ladies were on their smartphones.] The hot chocolate is served in a giant teapot, and the sugar bowl was topped with four chocolates. So yummy. Sadly, the mille-feuille was sold out, so we got a walnut caramel tart, which was very good. It came with four pâtes de fruits, also delicious. 
Hot chocolate at Jacques Genin

While we were there, we saw another English-speaking tour group, perhaps on a chocolate tour. And we saw Jacques Genin, who waved as he went upstairs to the kitchen. We stayed for quite awhile, enjoying the hot chocolate. Then we got some caramels to take home. [When we left, the lady was still reading, and a third young lady had joined the other two.]

We picked up bikes and rode toward Place de la République, what a huge square! There was a big sound stage, perhaps there are concerts in the summer? We biked back to the apartment for a rest, then walked to dinner at Les Papilles, stopping for a quick photo at Jardin du Luxembourg.  
Jardin du Luxembourg

Les Papilles has a set prix-fixe menu of four courses. We started with cauliflower soup, served in a giant lion's head bowl that we scooped over individual bowls of garnish. Delicious. I went downstairs to use the restroom, there was a big communal table of gentleman eating dinner and watching the World Cup match on a big-screen television. I reported the score to Dan, and later he went down to watch the game for a few minutes between courses. The main was duck, which was very good, but I had been spoiled by the magret de canard at Le Timbre. The cheese course was amazing. Blue cheese with a prune stewed in red wine reduction, the combination of flavors was divine. Dessert was panna cotta topped with red berry sauce, a perfect end to the meal. 

Cauliflower soup  

Crazy delicious cheese course

After dinner we walked back to the apartment, stopping on Rue Soufflot to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle. It was another great day in Paris! Dan and I were both sad that the next day would be our last.

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