Friday, July 10, 2009


This past Friday, two days after we got back home from Barcelona, my in-laws Pete, Jill and Keith landed here in Germany. On Saturday, Greg, Jonah and I took Jill and Keith to Paris for the weekend, while Pete stayed behind to watch the children. (I asked Greg: "Is your dad really going to be OK with staying back and watching them all weekend?" The answer: "GLADLY." Pete's not a huge fan of travel, so he was happy not to have to make that trip.)

We drove all around the city looking for open pastry shops on Sunday, even though we were pretty sure none would be open (after the morning, they weren't). However, this worked out well, as we were able to show Keith all of the sights of Paris while following our GPS from one address to another.

Here's a colorful, kind of strange fountain area we found.

While Greg was taking that picture, Jill took this:
Jill took a picture of Greg taking a picture
I know, Oh Man, How Amazing. :)

Notre Dame de Paris:

Last time I was in France, I didn't get much Foie Gras for some reason (price? availability? Not sure.) This time, I wasn't going to let opportunity pass me by.
So much Foie Gras...
It's possible that I'm actually Foie Gras-ed out for a bit. Didn't think it was possible, but I'm not even sure I want to look at another plate of that right now.

I was nursing Jonah while on the go (sometimes he's just gotta eat, and there's no time to stop and sit somewhere). Jill and I noticed this nursing sculpture through an art gallery window as we walked by. The sculpture is kind of disturbing (a breast turning into a child...), but the situation overall was funny.
Nursing in stereo

Consulting map and GPS

Paris is busy and full of narrow streets, but with our human navigator (Greg) and GPS put together, we managed to find everything we were looking for.

We'd made reservations ahead of time at different restaurants we'd picked out for our dinners and one lunch, and when Greg called, he made sure to specify that one in our party is in a wheelchair. The staff at each place assured him that it wouldn't be a problem. This is the restaurant we went to on the first night:
Every restaurant graciously fit us in, no matter how cramped the seating, although sometimes we had to fold and store the stroller

The stroller ended up being put in a side/back ally, and a few chairs were moved around so that Keith fit, but it was quite a squeeze. Thankfully, the staff here as well as every other place we went to were terribly accommodating and gracious, and found a way to seat us -- even to the extent of re-seating some guests who were already there, at one place!

I tried two pastries I'd only read of before, a Canelé and a Financier:
Canelé and Financier
The Canelé is slightly crisp on the outside, and tender and almost custardy on the inside, flavored lightly with almond paste. The Financier is like an overgrown butter cookie.

Of course I had to have a few of these:
Hands down, the best mille-feuille I've ever had
Mille-feuille (in the US it's a Napoleon). My friend Heather commanded me to go and eat some for her too. What was I supposed to do? Such sacrifice I make for friends.

Hey Marilyn!
Jill (my mother-in-law) over a metro vent

Did someone not like their bike?
Don't you want this bike?  (How did this happen?!)

Café Crème. Mmmmm..........
Café Crème -- delicious

Jill and I both shot out the window to capture all of the beautiful sights as we passed by (en route from one closed pastry shop to another). Here we must have both been trying to get the same shot:
Jill took this picture through the window of the van of me shooting out the window

But, while I carefully poked my head out just a bit, that was nothing compared to the great lengths Jill was willing to go to for the perfect (?) shot:
My mother-in-law went to extreeme measures to photograph Paris as we drove around
(Notice that Jonah's got her by the hair.)

On Monday we finally managed to hit two of the biggest pastry shops on our list.

La Maison du Chocolate:
La Maison du Chocolate
La Maison du Chocolate
So far, these are the best chocolates I've ever had. In my life.

Also, I've had Macarons before, but none compared to the ones I got here.
La Maison du Chocolate
The shell gives the barest resistance before cracking between the teeth, revealing a creamy but firm ganach of fine chocolate that is barely discernible from the inside of the meringue cookie. Oh dear goodnesss gracious. Now I need to learn to make them and refine my own technique. I must make some to rival these. (Because seriously, I can't just be going to Paris all the time just to buy these. That would be kind of silly. Kind of.)

The other Big Pastry Shop was Fauchon:
Mille-feuille from Fauchon

One afternoon before dinner, we visited this beautiful park:
A beautiful park in Paris
A beautiful park in Paris
A beautiful park in Paris
A beautiful park in Paris
(And yes Grace, before you ask, I did find the skirt. Sorry 'bout that.) (Not sorry at all.)

We didn't manage to make it to Paris' current central marketplace, but we did eat our last lunch just around the corner from the former Les Halles (functioned up until 1971 when it was moved to the new location):
The former Les Halles, Paris' central marketplace up until 1971
The former Les Halles, Paris' central marketplace up until 1971
The former Les Halles, Paris' central marketplace up until 1971
Beautiful, and strange in it's emptiness.

Of course, we paid a visit to Paris' famed Eiffle tower:
Eiffle Tower

I was surprised before and surprised again at just how huge the structure is. It's difficult to convey the grand scale of it, and how it feels to stand directly underneath and look up.
Eiffle Tower

Can you find Greg, Keith and Jill in this picture?

Eiffle Tower

Greg and I in this one?

Eiffle Tower: where's Waldo -- I mean Faith and Greg?

Eiffle Tower

This view is from the Statue of Liberty replica:
Eiffle Tower (view from the bridge next to the Statue of Liberty replica

Here's the replica itself:
Statue of Liberty replica
A teeny bit...surprising, I suppose, to see it in it's Parisian setting.

View of the tower at night from the Sacré-Coeur:
Eiffle Tower at night, view from the Sacré-Coeur

Basilique Sacré-Coeur - my favorite spot in Paris:
Basilique Sacré-Coeur - my favorite spot in Paris

Moulin Rouge:
Moulin Rouge

A happy fellow who cut his first tooth on Sunday:
Happy little dude

One of my favorite dinners was this lamb brain I got at Chez Denise:
Chez Denise - lamb brains
Creamy, savory, and good. I've been wanting to try brains for a while now, but wanted to get them somewhere that makes them regularly, and well. I'm glad I picked this one to start.

Funny road sign on the way home:

Strange side-of-the-road art (???):

If anyone knows what or why, please enlighten me.



Paris was just as beautiful as I'd remembered, and the food even better this time, when we'd planned more carefully. Paris is not at all wheel-chair friendly, and repeatedly there were challenges to maneuvering through the city and it's narrow buildings, etc., but in the end, it didn't stop us from doing anything we'd planned on doing. I'm so glad we got the chance to visit again. I'm sure it won't be the last time.

More pictures in the Flickr set here!

Thank you Pete for letting us have such a great weekend away!!


a.susie said...

I LOVE your pictures of kissing your babies. It's like you just press your lips full into their delicious little cheeks. So sweet.
The sweet shop stuff looks divine! I wanted to taste them.
Being quite vegetarian inclined I couldn't appreciate the "brains" meal on any level, but I'm glad you got a chance to try them...and liked them!

Sarcy said...

Wow, what a fabulous adventure!

But come on, now, with the pastry and chocolate photos. Is it possible to die from envy and longing?

Christian said...

Yeah - the brains look nasty but the rest looked awesome!

The Kansas City Hoovers said...

It's just plain mean to post the pictures of those chocolates for us stuck here in the US. Glad you all had a good time. Paul would totally try something like brains. He loves weird things, but not me!