We made the trip to Versailles and stood in line with throngs of other tourists. I was far more impressed with the furniture, art work, and rooms here at Versailles than I was with Château Chenonceau (Amboise) and the hall of mirrors was even more […]
Month: April 2011
There were many destinations that I was overeager to see in a day. This is vacation after all, so let’s do some planned stuff and then.. let’s just get lost.
First on the day’s agenda was a trip to the almighty Louvre. You can’t go to Paris and not see this place. An added bonus- the Tuileries was right there too. Taking a leisurely stroll and decompressing from all the art overload was nice.
We kept walking, crossed a bridge, and found Notre Dame Cathedral. Just like that. How great is it to just pick a direction and see what you see?
I’m sure you know what the cathedral looks like and there are tons of books that have beautiful photos. So, there won’t be any shots here. Instead, I’ve chosen to focus on the devil in the details.
After being big tourists and seeing some sights, it was time for a snack. We searched out Pierre Hermé and I was determined to get my hands on his famous Ispahan and 2000 Feuille.
Ta-da! Thanks to one of us who has the great map skills and sense of direction (not me), we arrived. Just look at this beauty. I have to say, PH is the greatest! The flavors of lychee, rose, and raspberry come together so effortlessly. This combination is genius. Loved the texture of chewy, slight crunch, ripe fruit and silky cream.
I had to wait until we got back to the hotel to tear into this one. Balancing my treasured bag of PH treats was difficult enough on a park bench in the wind and rain. Again, I was not disappointed. I love both mille feuille and praline so I was certain I would be pleased with the 2000 Feuille. Pleased was an understatement. The. Best. Ever. Had I known, I would have bought two or three.
Do I even need to tell you about the macarons? Insane.
Now that we had a major sugar rush going and infinite smiles, it was time to go for another walk and see what we see…
Bonjour! So we made it to Paris after an all day train ride. After checking into our hotel, we decided to find someplace to grab a quick bite to eat. No problem, we’ll just find a cozy neighborhood bistro to have lunch, right? It wasn’t nearly that easy. The few places close by to the hotel were not anything to get excited about. So we continued on. We did find a FNAC and cha-ching! Maison du Chocolat! Oh wow. This place was on my list of patisseries to hunt down the next day, but here it was right before me.
I was astounded to see the selection all laid out before me, perfect and calling my name loudly. What to try? I wanted to get one of everything. We ended up leaving with a chocolate tart which I can never pass up and a chocolate eclair. I need to tell you about the packaging. Each item is individually packaged in its own protective box and bagged up in a sturdy bag. Impressive. It happened to be raining that day. We got lost on the way back to the hotel, jostled our way through the FNAC to pick up a Michelin Guide, and dodged the crowds on the street.
When we finally got up to the room, I couldn’t wait to break out the dessert. Remember what I told you about the packaging? That was important because everything was intact and just as flawless as it was sitting in the shop case. If you’re wondering how these tasted, you should know they were both very good. The chocolate tart had the creamiest texture with perfectly smooth ganache and the chocolate filling in the eclair was melt in your mouth delicious. But, to be honest, we both agreed that Bigot from this previous post was the hands down winner as far as best all around chocolate tart and eclair. I still dream of Bigot.
We spent a nice day driving to Bilbao and browsing the Guggenheim. It is indeed a spectacular modern architectural spectacle. The exhibits were as modern as the building itself, but Richard Serra’s interactive maze of metal spirals, ellipses, circles, and curves are something to be experienced. Just don’t eat right before taking a walk inside this installation.
After returning to our hotel, we were ready for more txacoli and some relaxation. So, we headed down to the restaurant and had a drink and indulged in more tapas.
The hotel’s restaurant was always lively and buzzing with people. It was time we checked it out. It’s a good thing we did because I would have missed out more tasty tidbits. This tapa had soft, shredded beef inside the phyllo purse and sat atop mashed potatoes with cheese.
A satisfying ending to a fun-filled day.