May 9, 2008

Photo tour of Sarah’s last days

Posted in Exploring, Food, Visitors tagged , , , , , , , , at 9:25 pm by Lauren

As usual, I’m behind with some goings-on. I’d like to share some pictures from the last days of Sarah’s visit, April 22 and 23. Fortunately I had hardly any work to do, so I got to bum around with her the entire time.

We began with the Jardin des Plantes, or Paris’ botanical gardens, which I hadn’t visited since 2001 when our tour bus dropped us off for a 15 minute look. My favorite part was the Jardin Alpin, a sunken garden with narrow paths and plantings everywhere. It was an intimate change from the well-planned and perfectly-laid gardens elsewhere in Paris. Entering the garden by passing through a tunnel added to the feeling that you’d discovered this gorgeous place.

 

It even had a little pond with goldfish.

 

Exiting the back of the Jardin des Plantes we skirted the Mosquee de Paris.

 

Then we wandered Rue Mouffetard, which feels medieval for its narrowness (and pedestrian-only designation in places).

 

We walked together to my tutoring (passing Allee du Seminaire, shown below).

 

Afterwards I ran into Sarah on the metro at Duroc! What a strange coincidence. We rounded out the night by having a drink with Antoine and Typhaine and strolling past Hotel de Ville and Notre Dame after dark.

The next day Sarah and I walked all over Haussmann’s creation. We tried to lunch at a Cameroonian restaurant (Sarah spent two years in the Peace Corps in Cameroon), but it was closed. We walked back from the far 11th to the Promenade Plantee, which was flowering beautifully (but the sky wasn’t playing along for photos). Then we searched for lunch elsewhere – at Rue de Rosiers, where everything was closed for Passover, at Marriage Freres where we got skittish about the price of a cup of tea, and finally at an Asian traiteur where we munched on roulades de printemps. In between we took a quick look at the ensignes (old signs that would hang over shops) and the Art Nouveau jewelry shop at Musee Carnavalet.

Next, we hopped on the metro and headed to the Champs-Elysees, home of another Laduree – and oh, the Arc de Triomphe and stuff. Whatever, back to the macarons. We admired the gorgeous lily-of-the-valley boxes for May.

 

And we gorged on macarons.

 

We also purchased what we liked to call “chocolate spaghetti” but which is actually a Mont Blanc. We held onto it for later. Then we walked to the Eiffel Tower, and the weather was suddenly clear and beautiful for perfect Parisian pictures.

 

After our little photo shoot (I think I said to Sarah, “After you’ve satisfied yourself with the Eiffel Tower” and then we were both like, “Ummmm…” Okay, who am I kidding – we laughed like American tourists.), we took the RER home and picked up Allen for dinner. We were concerned, however, that we hadn’t had enough desserts in one day. Oh no, that wasn’t it. We were concerned that we wouldn’t be able to get Berthillon after dinner, and it was Sarah’s last day. So we stopped for ice cream first. Sadly, Berthillon itself was closed (school holidays), so our choices were slightly more limited. I got pineapple and caramel.

Then we climbed the hill towards the Pantheon, and more importantly L’Ecurie. We ate our ridiculously cheap (17 euros for entree, plat, dessert, plus a free glass of sangria with the menu and free glass of cognac with the bill) three course dinner in the dank (and intimate!) cellars of L’Ecurie, including another dessert of course. (Sadly, the chocolate mousse was not as good as the creme caramel, which they hadn’t made enough of that day.) The cognac burned us up inside, but we were pretty glad for that trou. (A digestif is sometimes called a trou, which means hole, because it burns right through what’s already in your stomach, and you can eat more! Or not feel fit to burst.) Why were we so glad? We still had the chocolate spaghetti from Laduree at home! 

Sadly, the chocolate spaghetti was a horrible disappointment. As Allen and Sarah will attest, I was really hoping it would be chewy. Instead it was…I can’t quite put my finger on it. I’m terrible at identifying tastes. But it was a little soggy and mushy. The only redeeming portion was the meringue underneath. We threw away a good part of the most expensive pastry I’ve ever paid for half of. Boo. And boo too that we said goodbye to Sarah in the morning. We’ll always have Paris…

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