Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day 3 OR Those Might be the Best Crepes I've Ever Had

We were up and moving again!  We slept in a little but I think we needed it.  The time difference and walking were beginning to get to us.  We began our day with shopping at the Bon Marche.  This is one of the most beautiful department stores I have ever been in and with it being just 2 blocks south of our apartment, we HAD to go in for a peek.

Once again we were over our heads and our wallets’ capacity!  Big name brands and some we’d never even heard of- five floors of beautiful French style.  We browsed for several hours and the only thing that was tried on was a coat by Russell.  I will have to say, I am a lucky girl to have a husband who will browse a store with me, engage in conversation about the merchandise and never utter a complaint.  We looked at everything imaginable in beautifully cased and styled displays *sigh. 
This is some awesome chocolate/macaroon store we found
(NOT at Bon Marche).  Can't remember when during the day we went to it!

From there we trotted over to the Bon Marche grocery store.  It’s at least 2 stories!  We didn’t browse for long because we quickly remembered that it was 1pm and we hadn’t had a bite to eat yet!  The market was crowded with people picking up their lunches so we did a quick walk through to check out all of the counters.  For a mental picture (we didn’t take pictures here for fear of looking too much like tourists) it’s like Whole Foods meets the farmer’s market multiplied by 1000.  There are pastry counters, cheese counters, prepared food counters, meet counters and the list goes on.  Rows and rows of crackers, jams, cereals, dry beans and a big tasting station for Veuve Clicquot in case you weren’t sure if you’d actually like it and to make it accessible if you just need to grab a bottle (for those not familiar, it’s a very expensive Champaign…not Dom Pergnion expensive, but still pricey).  We left with some French savory pastries and headed home to have a quiet lunch and do a little recuperating and day planning.

Sadly, we didn’t love the pastries but I had plenty of leftover pizza for us to enjoy from the day before.  We took a few minutes to re-group, we now had internet connection thanks to a friendly neighbor who gave us his access information.  We planned the rest of our day and laid our heads down for a little nap.  Oops!  We overslept- I told you jet lag was catching up with us!

We were revived and headed out to see more sights!  First stop- Paris Museum Passes.

It was now time to buy museum passes.  We'd heard of this great Paris Museum Pass but we weren't really sure where to find it and since we didn't have ready access to the internet.  The Paris Museum Pass we later would find was possibly the best thing that happened to us on the entire trip.  You pay one price and have access to almost every museum/history attraction in the Paris area.  Not only does this mean you're saving money, you get to skip ahead in lines (kind of like those jerks at Disney who don't have to wait for Thunder Mountain...or whatever its called).  Our first stop was Sainte Chapelle but the guard at the front apparently decided to close the church early that day.  In Paris, you open when you're ready and you close when you're ready.  It does not matter what your sign says.

Sainte Chapelle would have to wait but we found a place called the Concierge, which was an old military building (?), with a short line for tickets and we thought we'd give it a try. Score!  We found the Paris Museum passes!  Russell used his charm and French skills to keep the woman behind the counter patient and helpful (the guy before us got yelled at for not knowing how to use the credit card swiper) and we were off to prepare for our evening.

On our way to Notre Dame we thought it would be fun to stop at this very highly ranked creperie called Little Breizh off of Saint Germaine.  We actually found it pretty easily down a narrow street with seemingly cute restaurants only to be turned away because their lunchtime service was over and they would be closed until dinner…figures.  We would definitely be going back for dessert later!  We walked around the corner for a little espresso pick me up.  For those of you who know me, I’m not much of a coffee or caffeine consumer but when in Paris, you must do like a Parisian! 

Off to Notre Dame…

Notre Dame is breathtaking!  I can’t even fathom the effort it took to create such a place.  I think it was completed over 100s of years?  My father in law gave us a great architectural lesson before we left but I can’t remember all of the facts!

We waited in a very short line where these very rude girls cut in front of us.  They were loudly chatty and tried to wear their hats into the church.  While Notre Dame is filled with tourists, Russell and I were at times appalled by how casual some people were in the chapel.  Even still, we did not let this ruin our experience (although I shushed the rude girls a couple of times…oops; fortunately they were shushed at by the Notre Dame "staff" as well).  We sat quietly and took in our surroundings.  It was moving to think about how many people had been there before us, and how many prayers had been said in that chapel.

For dinner we decided to go out to the small island to a bistro we'd read about that had live jazz during dinner so off we went to find it!  We had a much easier time finding this one and guess what....they were closed til February!  Of course, why wouldn't they be?!

Russell’s sister, Elizabeth, had recommended a restaurant called L’Escure.  I think her exact words were “Go eat at Lescure…and order the duck confit.  Do it!” So, we did…or at least we thought we would.  We walked on over (this was a long walk) wandered around a little looking for the right street, found it in the back corner tucked away…and it was closed.  Surprised?  The good news is that it was only closed until the next day!  The even better news is that we moved our trip to the Louvre to that day and the restaurant is so close!

We were beginning to get into a routine- spend an hour researching restaurants, make a choice, walk for awhile, get a little lost, restaurant closed, flail around until we settle on another choice….wash, rinse, repeat.

Instead of walking, because the hungry monster was out in full force, we decided to catch a cab back to the cute little street with the creperie.  Earlier in the day, the restaurants looked cute and their menus looked reasonable.  We used our trip advisor app to find the most highly ranked only to find that most had very mixed reviews.  After lots of discussion, pacing through the streets and both of us getting slightly annoyed with the other for not being able to make a decision we settled on a place called LePetit Chalet.  

The second we walked in we knew we had made a bad decision.  It smelled, it was a little too dark and we were led down the back stairs to a little room with tables crammed in.  It was dirtier and the smell more amplified.  Feeling defeated before the dinner even began, we were too afraid to offend anyone to leave so we stayed.  We settled on a half bottle of wine and cheese fondue thinking it would be a fun experience and something not likely to be poorly prepared.   I’m thinking that our waiter wasn’t keen on us splitting a single serving plate so he took the liberty of ordering us fondue for two which he didn’t tell us until the bill came…tourist trap?  Yes. Oh well, at least there would be crepes afterward.

Just two doors down, heaven in the form of a creperie was found.  The waitress/hostess/possibly the owner greeted us sweetly with a warm smile and happily seated us for dessert.  We had a nice little people watching window view and started our dessert off with a bottle of Brittany Cider.  Brittany is the region where crepes began (at least I think) and it is customary to drink cider with your crepes.  We ordered something yummy with ice cream and caramel and maybe chocolate or maybe apples (I can’t remember) and had a leisurely dessert. We weren’t rushed in and out and the waitress was patient with our attempts to speak French while considerately inviting us to speak English if we’d like.  What a gem of a restaurant.  We loved it here!

1 comment:

  1. love this! mouth is literally watering thinking about crepes now :)

    ps. you are officially "tagged" on my latest blog post -- check it out here... http://thesadlows.blogspot.com/2012/01/facts-of-life.html