Sunday, 6 July
The 6th was a lovely day.
I went to the market, of course. They have such an incredible range of produce and foods for sale! I think this is the most expensive thing I saw while I was there - langoustine vivante :
That's just over US$100 / 4.5 lbs for "living" (maybe just uncooked? they don't look very alive to me) very oversized shrimp. I mean, does anyone actually buy that??? I suppose they must, or they wouldn't sell it.
And here is a staple in all of my cuisine :
mm, pig snout.
I don't remember if the last time I wrote about the market I mentioned all the herbs and spices they have for sale as well :
And the vegetables are all just beautiful.
Now here is something unusual, that I had never seen before :
What is it? It looks a little like an orange tomato, but that isn't it at all.
According to a little booklet they had with it at the market, it is a "sharon fruit" - evidently, the sweetest of the persimmons. The booklet was in german, so while I took one, it doesn't actually do me much good as far as instructing me about the fruit. I am not familiar with persimmon, to be able to judge whether this was sweeter than a regular persimmon, but I can tell you that it is very, very sweet - almost too sweet. And with an odd, firm, pulpy texture. Not my favorite fruit, but pas mal.
In addition to food, there are also clothing vendors, kitchen supply vendors, even dvds, books, and magazines, that evidently appeal to all ages :
That was pretty much the cutest little girl I have ever seen, calmly reading her newspaper while her dad next to her picked out what he wanted.
I got my usual fruit at the market (no date offers from my vendor, this time, luckily!) as well as salami and ham (which you can, and should, buy by the slice - which is good because the ham was apparently some special kind and cost about 40E / kilo! Good thing I only got 4 slices...) and red pepper and tomato and mozzarella for a picnic later that evening. I visited chez moi to drop off all my food, and then it was off to buy more from this scenic area :
The Madeleine, a beautiful church in the 8th, just North of the Place de la Concorde. This is a very upscale, wealthy area (the shops on the street are the likes of Gucci, Prada, etc...) as well as fabulous food district - Fauchon, LaDurée... The latter of which I decided to visit :
They claim to have invented the macaron, but Isabelle told me that Pierre does it better and I will take her word on it so I got a réligieuse instead, which I will discuss in more depth later. The shop is beautiful, 19th century with painted ceilings almost as pretty as the pastries behind the counter. Unfortunately, they don't allow pictures either of the shop or the counter, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
Leaving LaDurée, I went south to the Place de la Concorde, and then turned East walking alongside the Tuileries on the rue de Rivoli until I got to another favorite spot :
Angelina! Today, however, the hot chocolate wasn't for me... Instead, I got a kilo of their hot chocolate mix for my dad's souvenir.
After leaving Angelina, I made a short pitstop in the states to visit a carnival... Paris just isn't fun or classy enough for me :
There were games, and rides, and food stands, just like any carnival or amusement park in the states :
But wait... Aren't those enormous tubs of nutella on the counter? And I do mean enormous. Even bigger than the 1 kg ones I showed you from Chartres! So maybe we aren't in the states after all...
Nope, I should say not, with the enormous Barye next to the crepe and gaufre (waffle) stand (gaufres, by the way, are delicious)... We must still be in Paris.
Despite the landscape.
Note the ride in the back left, the poles connected to the ball in the air. Here is a close up of the ride :
The ball was actually a round frame with seating for two, and the cords attached to the ball would stretch out, and then the ball would release and the cords worked like bungee cords. So the people would soar up into the air, and then fall down only to be caught by the cords and bounce upwards again.
So where was this unusual Paris fair? Did I go up to Montmartre, or far from the city center?
Nope. I don't know if you recognize it, but the building you can see far in the distance is... the Louvre. This fair is in the tuileries.
After walking through the carnival, I went back to my apartment, where I wouldn't resist getting straight to business :
Everything about LaDurée is elegant and lovely.
Especially the food!
Voila, my réligieuse à la rose. The interior was filled with a cream and raspberries. The pastry dough itself was light and delicious, and the icing and cream filling were both a light and delicious rose flavor, not as intense as Pierre's rose but still refreshing and wonderful.
I definitely miss the pastries!
Around 6, I met Killian and another friend from the program, Eddie, for a picnic in the Parc des Buttes chaumont. It is a gorgeous park in the 19e, on the North side of town. I discovered it when I went there for a run a few weeks earlier. Unlike the usual French style of gardening, where everything is laid out in neat, orderly rows - man conquers natures - this park was based a little off of Central Park in NYC, and is on the slope of a very steep hill, which it must accomodate in its planning. We had our picnic on this slope, at the top, from which you can see the northern skyline of the city :
From this view, you look down the hill to a pond that is partly hidden by the trees, and you can see the tall buildings of the Northern banlieux (suburbs) just over the trees. It was a beautiful evening and we had a lovely picnic. I roasted one of my red peppers, and brought the end of a jar of pesto to make sandwiches along with the tomatoes, salami, and ham I had gotten from the market. I picked up a baguette on the way from the metro to the park in a small bakery recommended in my book as being one of the few in Paris to use a wood burning stove. This is supposed to render the breads wonderful and the pastries a bit bizzare. The bread was very, very crusty... I'll stick with whatever kind of oven is usually used today for bread baking. Killian had asked me to pick up the mozzarella to make a mozzarella and tomato salad... A relatively difficult choice for a picnic, but then I suppose we are talking gourmet picnic here. For dessert I had made crepes, and ate them with Sharon fruit and nectarines from the market. We couldn't have asked for a nicer evening, and the food was all wonderful.
As we left the park, we passed this view, and had to stop for a moment to soak it in :
The bridge on the left leads to the rotunda you can see at the very right. I am sorry to say I never made it out to that rotunda, because I bet the view was just incredible. However, we were in a bit of a rush to get to the metro to get here :
The Comedie Française, a theater built in the 17th century, just next to the Palais Royale and the Louvre. (I am sorry this is not a better picture, I actually took it a few days later and it was raining fairly hard so I didn't want to take a lot of time to position myself perfectly to get a good shot). We went to see Cyrano de Bergerac, which is a play I knew beforehand well enough to follow most of what was happening even when I didn't quite understand all of the dialogue. I liked it better than the Cantatrice Chauve, but it was long - a 3+ hour play, with a 15-20 minute intermission - a real play this time! I must say, it was tiresome to try to understand three hours of literary French. And, of course, it would have been better if it had been a musical. The theater itself was beautiful, with multiple balconies and many individual boxes... Unfortunately, as usual with beautiful theaters, they did not allow photography.
At the end of the show I hurried home again, to not miss the metro before my month long pass expired. I made it home just past midnight, thus ending a long but very fulfilling day.
Today I started working again at the ICPSR summer program, so I have many hours to fill... Hopefully I will get through the entries for my last week in Paris very soon!