Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Paris day 2

I woke up again at 7:30 and somehow convinced Manda to get up early too.  The hotel was kind of sneaky and although they had no breakfast included when we booked it, now apparently it is.  Hopefully we don't get billed for it at the end.  Anyway, we had some really good croissant and some hot beverages from the machine in the lobby.  I actually enjoy machine coffee better than the real stuff, so I'm happy enough with it.  They also give you a little snack pack bag with a sammy and an apple.  

We left the building and took the metro to Madeline, which has a large church that looks like unnerringly like the parthenon.  It also is home to two of the famous gourmet epicerie food shops in Paris, Fauchon and Heidard.  Alas, both didn't open until 9, so we had to wait a bit, but eventually wandered them both.  We felt a little odd, as we were the only customers in both and they were very fancy.  Fauchon especially.  And pink.  

We walked by the Tuleries to the Musee d'Orsay, where we met my friend Henni.  We had 2.5 hours for the museum which was about perfect.  Impressionism is as amazing as always.  We especially liked some of the pastel works that you don't usually see.  And Renoir seascapes have a special place in my heart.  I hadn't seen much work of Auguste Rodin the sculptor (think the Thinker), but he is pretty fantastic too.  We plan to see his museum tomorrow.  I've always loved sculpture.  It seems so much more organic and expressive.  

After the museum, we met some other friends at Place St. Michel and picked up some lunch for a pique-nique on the Seine.  It was great to see everyone again, and they are as silly as always.  Benjamin, Maelle and Claire, the 3 Parisiens, were amused by my extensive lists of things to see and foods to eat.  

Afterwards we pondered the Luxembourg gardens, but the rain started coming down in earnest, so we went and got ice cream (how does that work?) from Berthillion on Ile St. Louis.  (Not the original store, which is closed in July, but from one down the street).  The hit flavor was cocktail exotique (passion fruit, mango, and papaya).  Another note:  a magic wand in French is baguette magique.  As in magic baguette.  

We walked North a bit to the Pompidou center.  It's the newish modern art museum, and all of the usual innards of a building are placed on the outside:  stairways, elevators, structural steel supports, heating/cooling ventilation, plumbing.  It looks pretty crazy.  We wandered that area near Les Halles, which has a lot of cute shops and ended up at St. Eustice church (apparently in the Da Vinci code (Dan Brown is a n00b)) and sat resting our feet in the square out front.  Afterwards, we passed by the legendary cooking good store, E. Dehillerin.  In an 1860's style, they have all sorts of copper pots, utensils, and cooking ware crammed into little dark aisles.  It was amazing.  It closed right as we got there, so we may have to try to go back.

As early-birds, we said goodbye to my friends and headed back to Au Pieds du Cochon, a classic french bistro with (supposedly) the best french onion soup in town.  We sat our tired little feeties down and supped on the soup, beef tartare, confit au canard with a red wine reduction (aka heaven on a plate), and a dessert called La Coupe Vie en Rose, which had rose and strawberry ice cream and rose jam.  The bread here also came with "confiture du cochon," which literally means "pig jam."  It was actually quite good, though it tasted vaguely like something Asians would put into bao.  We were very satiated and satisfied, but definitely had to sit and digest for a while.  

We made it back to the hotel, and I made our daily list of plans for the next few days (they change every day, so I can make a new list/plan every evening.  Yes I like lists way to much).  Amanda is conched out already at 9:45.  We are trying to get tickets to the Opera Garnier (as in Phantom of the Opera's opera) for later this week.  We also have most of our meals planned out until we leave.  

It's been another great day in the city of food (or is it love?).  We miss you all back at home and think of you a lot.  

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