Tuesday, March 8, 2011


So, as some of you know, I recently returned from a trip to Paris! Here is what I did:

I left Seattle Sunday afternoon and arrived in Paris early Monday morning! The airplanes now have TVs on the back of the seat in front of you, and an array of movies and shows to choose from. Very fancy. We were also fed a lot, so that was nice, and you can have as much wine as you want. Yay air france! Zoe picked me up from the airport and we took the metro back to her apartment, which she shares with a german couple. We walked around the city and latin district most of this day, took a little boat across the canal to get an aperitif, and then headed back to the apt for dinner. Zoe made ratatouille, but I was very sleepy from jet lag and the day is kind of a blur. The next morning we waited for Merli and Louise to arrive. They flew in from Boston together, but didn't know I was also coming! Zoe and I really surprised them! They were exhausted from travel, but we saw Notre Dame and the Eiffel tower.
La Tour Eiffel
Ham and cheese crepe
We ate crepes in the street--these were delicious and they make them in front of you! There is a big circular grill surface, and they smooth the batter out with this special knife in a circular motion. Then Zoe made Quiche for dinner, which was delicious! Unfortunately, Merli's exhaustion started being more than just jet lag and she became sick and could not tour with us for a couple of days.
Notre Dame--so 'dame' beautiful
Zoe, Dame, Seine
So on Wednesday, Zoe, Louise, and I did some shopping around, went to a little market, and walked the Champs-Elysees, which is a big street with lots of stores that ends at the Arc de triomphe. We then went back and had some soup with Merli.
French Macarons--why didn't I eat more of these?
Window shoppers gase at the delicious treats!
Fromage at the Market
Olives at the market
Louise and Zoe and umbrellas
I think this bridge is famous?
On Thursday we went to the Musee d'Orsay to see all the beautiful impressionist works. I had a childhood fondness for Monet, and still find it hard to take my eyes off his work. We walked along the Seine and saw the boats and the book dealers who have their stands along the river. There is a bridge to which lovers affix padlocks symbolizing their love.

In the Louvre gardens
The Seine
La Cure Gourmande
We then walked down to the Paris Opera house and went to this lovely confectionary shop that just glowed warmth and was stacked with goodies and tins floor to ceiling! By that time it was getting late, so we headed home and got ready for a bit of a night out. Merli still wasn't well enough unfortunately, but we met up with Vasna, a Swiss friend of Louise's and went to dinner at a little kind of French-Hipster place called Sesame. Our waitress was Robin Scherbatsky's doppleganger for anyone who watches "How I met your mother" and we all had delicious salads. They were playing American oldies and some french girls were dancing and singing in the restaurant, so we got up and joined them of course. Unfortunately I have no pictures of this because my camera batteries were dead. So sad!

Sacre Coeur
Friday Merli was feeling better, so we all went to Montmartre, which is a little mountain in the city that used to be the pastoral picnic location for Parisians and a popular Impressionist hang out. It is still the artist district to this day! On the summit is the Sacre Coeur, a huge and beautiful church, but fairly new for Paris. Building started in 1875, but wasn't completed until 1914. Leading up to the church is a huge set of steps and a popular place for tourists to sit and look out over the city while musicians serenade them for donations. There was a service going on when we visited, so I was not able to take pictures of the inside, but it was really lovely to walk around in while the nuns sang and (as one of my friends reported) texted. 

Scenes from Montmartre--note Eiffel tower

Louise and Mer take pictures
Carousels are everywhere
We then headed through the precious little streets of Montmartre, which are unfortunately mostly full of tourist shops at this point, to a square where local painters sell their work and street artist offer to draw your picture. We bought some art, then we walked down the mountain (saw Van Gogh's house where he cut off his ear) and ended up in the base where the sex shops are. This is where the famous Moulin Rouge is, which means Red Windmill.
Me and the Moulin Rouge
There are lots of windmills in this area, or things named for them, which I am guessing is due to the area's pastoral history. Another windmill site was Cafe de Deux Moulins, the workplace of the main character in my favorite movie, Amelie. It was adorable, although somewhat re-arranged from the movie. We had coffees and lemonade there, and creme brulee, in Amelie's honor we cracked it with our spoons! SO good. 
Amelie's Cafe!
Ready to eat...
Then for dinner we ate ate Cafe Carpe Diem, which was totally beautiful--candle-lit and stars painted on the ceiling. I had a sort of gingery-asian salad with beef--yum. But the highlight was this incredibly devine sauce on the dish Merli and Louise got. Zoe also very much enjoyed the honey-baked goat cheese that came with her dish.

Carpe Diem Cafe
Delicious Sauce
Louise and Mer peak through the window, while
Zoe converses by candle light
Saturday Louise was off to see some friends in London, so Zoe took Merli and I to a park not far from her house with this rocky butte right in the middle of a lake with a temple on top. Really and unexpected thing to see in the middle of a city! The park was lovely and had a carousel and puppet theater, and we took a big bridge across the water to the temple.
Parc de Buttes Chaumont

Cafe in the park
Also in the park was a really fun Cafe with cool glass lights. We got some coffee there and Zoe joked that she was getting married here and we all agreed it would be the perfect venue for a summer wedding. The disco ball was already installed and you couldn't beat the view over the park. We then walked around and saw some churches and I made stuffed peppers for dinner back at the apartment. They turned out pretty amazing if I do say so myself.
Zoe and Mer exit a church

Shopping for Stuffed pepper ingredients in the street!
Sunday Zoe had some preparation to do for her return to work, so Merli and I headed out on our own and returned to the Musee d'Orsay so that Merli could see it and I could see the rest of it. We were going to go to the Louvre as well, but by that time we were kind of art-ed out!

The 'Pant' and the Pendulum
We walked down to the Pantheon, which is a big domed building with huge columns and lots of murals on the inside. The basement is a crypt where lots of notables, including Voltaire and Louis Braille are buried.  From the center of the dome hangs the Foucault Pendulum, which was the first simple demonstration of the Earth's rotation. As the pendulum swings it shifts slowly (or rather the earth shifts slowly) so that the pendulum appears to swing on different degrees.
Saint Etienne du Mont
After the Pantheon we met Zoe and went to the church right next door, the Saint Etienne du mont, which was one of our favorite churches we saw. It was so airy and beautiful, it felt very heavenly in comparison with say, Notre Dame, which felt very ancient and dogmatic. I enjoyed both feelings of course, and while I did like Notre Dame best, this church was not busy at all and it was sunny for once (!) which was lovely to see through the stained glass windows. Saint Etienne du Mont contains a shrine to Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris, where her original tomb is encased in glass and gold, even though her remains were publicly burned at her original resting place in the 1700's.

Shrine and tomb of Saint Genevieve
More Shrine.
Then for dinner we headed to the Latin District for Fondu and Raclette, which is french food from the mountainous Alps region. We ate SO MUCH CHEESE. It was pretty disgusting/amazing. Zoe and I entered a cheese euphoria and were pretty silly for the rest of the night.
Walking through the latin quarter to get some fondu!
Monday Zoe had to return to work and Merli and I waited for Louise to return from London, and then we headed back to Montmartre again because we enjoyed it so much and Mer and Louise bought some more art.
Another Cure Gourmande!
The artist market

Louise and Merli buy ART
We then met Zoe for dinner at Chez Denise, which had been a recommendation from Louise's French boss, and was probably the most "French" place we went. I have no idea what the menu said, but I think there were pigs feet and brain and kidney and all kinds of stuff. We went on the safe side and got steak frit (with fries!) and two fish dishes. I actually enjoyed the fish (I'm not usually a seafood girl), especially Louise's, which was mixed up with potatoes and some other things. Then chocolate mousse for dessert. It was a lovely last hurrah before Mer and Louise headed home the next day.
Chez Denise
Chez Denise interior
I wasn't due to go home until wednesday, so on tuesday I went to work with Zoe and observed her teach English to elementary students. I was extremely impressed with her abilities, and it was really fun to watch her teach and see her adorable students. I found some beautiful brussel sprouts at the market and so we had a dinner of brussels, cheese, and bread, which was simple and devine, and then we went out to see the movie "No strings attached" which in Frances was renamed "Sex Friends," which we thought was hilarious!! It was a dumb romantic comedy, but it was in English and we laughed a lot and I may have gotten a little raucous when I realized part of it was set in Ann Arbor. We got yelled at by some snobs for putting our feet up on the seats in front of us, and then we laughed at them--as if we were ruining the cinematic majesty of Sex Friends...
Well, that was my trip. The next day I got up and went to the airport. I grabbed some pastries on the way of course and went straight from the airport to rehearsal, and then to work. Back to reality!

No comments:

Post a Comment