Thursday, July 9, 2009

Paris, the city of foodies

  "please leave box five open for my use." -Phantom of the Opera

We had quite a wonderful day yesterday.  Not quite according to plan, though.  I really like to plan our days out, but the enjoyment is not really dependent on whether we actually follow the plan.  We started out visiting the Enfant Rouges market near our hotel in the morning, but it was a little early and all the places were still pretty sleepy and closed (at 9:15!).  Wandered down to Place des Voges.  It was built by Henry IV as a square for the high-class and home for royalty, but fell into disrepair in the 19th century, when it was a working class area.  Victor Hugo lived here.  At 10, we went to the Carnavalet museum of Paris history.  They followed the entire span of history in art and artifacts.  The french revolution part was the coolest, though I have a hard time keeping track of all the republiques and reinstated monarchies.  We were one of the only groups visiting so early, so there were a lot of curators, which made us feel very hovered over.  We stopped afterwards for a huge meringue in a pastry shop.  It was amazingly fluffy and light and delicious.

After the museum, we took the metro down to the catacombs, but on arrival, the line was super long (everyone else seemed to give us the impression that the catacombs were little visited).  We opted to postpone to another day and walked through the Montparnasse cemetary instead.  We were close to the Montparnasse station, so we stopped in at Creperie Breton for a creppy lunch.  This station is where trains from Brittany come in, so the people from there just stayed in the area and opened up an absurd amount of crepe places.  Not that crepes are ever really absurd.

We strolled around luxembourg gardens for a bit watching the cute kids playing on the playgrounds.  Poliane, one of Paris's bread celebrities had a place nearby, so we stopped in and picked up a quarter of a miche (large loaf of bread) for a later picnic.  We then went to Christian Constant's tea room (recommended by Clothilde) for a mille-feuille (Napolean) and a pot of oozing rich hot chocolate.  I really think this stuff at room temperature could not be classified as a liquid.  It was so rich and thick and delicious. Like drinking ganache.  We were very full afterwards, but lumbered to the puppet theater in the gardens for the 4:00 show.  There were a lot of little kids that enjoyed chanting and reacted to all the stage happenings in very cute ways.  

We caught a metro up to the opera and met up with my friends at 6.  The Opera Garnier (as in phantom of the opera) was built by Napoleon III and is a huge building with endless hidden corners.  The lobby is a 5-story atrium with arching marble stairways, golden gilding, carved candelabra, and mirrors.  The theater itself is also about 6 stories and has numerous boxes (for the classy types) and a ceiling that is now painted by Marc Chagall.  And a chandelier of course.  We got rush tickets for the opera, La Fille Mal Gardee, which is a classic French pastoral opera.  It was pretty amazing seeing something there, and wandering the building during breaks.  The opera itself was really good, apparently the best company in France.  

Afterwards, we strolled along the seine a little before heading back to the hotel around 11PM.  It was a lovely day in all.  

Today we have big plans, but again, we'll take it as it comes. 


Louis said...

Was the opera in Italian or French? It sounds like a 20,000 calorie trip...but worth it.

Louis said...

Welcome home from a most excellent foodie adventure