A Francophiles Dream Come True
Bonjour! Mesdames et Messieurs, I must admit as a Francophile I never tire of hearing the romantic sounds of the French language being spoken. To me it is as sweet as the refined desserts the county is well known for. It is those very same desserts I have grown to love and admire.
For the longest time this Georgia girl could only dream of traveling across the pond to taste first hand the sweet Parisian delicacies produced in Paris, France. I wanted to experience not only the food but the culture that gave way to such flavor and elegance. When the day came that I finally had the opportunity to jet across the dividing waters to visit the passionate love of my life for seven days there was no stopping me! Accompanied by my mom and sister the adventure began...
Once we landed at the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport the excitement mounted. I kept asking myself, Can this be really happening? I was about to step into my dreams — I was in Paris!!
After meeting our driver, who by the way spoke little English, we were off to our hotel. Now if you are wondering why the driver is holding a little red puppy, it is because my grand-daughter would not let me travel alone. She is an avid dog lover and since she could not go on this adventure with me she wanted to make sure I took a reminder of her along. You will be seeing "lil Red" along the way.
So much to see and so much to do, where to start...
Our adventure may have started with the plane ride but our first view of Paris was clear once we checked into the Crowne Plaza Paris - Republique. With it's friendly staff and gorgeous design, it was just as impressive as the buildings around it. The scenery reminded me of New York with a Marie Antoinette feel. The gorgeous ornate architecture of every building was a site to behold so we spent our first day simply meandering around the streets nearby.
Our second day was by far the highlight of my entire visit. I had enrolled in a pastry class at Le Foodist. While my traveling partners ventured in and out of shops I was discovering the art of croissant making. Along side five other students we began rolling and folding exactly as Florence (our chef) instructed. We all paid very close attention to the smallest of details that created those big flaky puffs of buttery goodness. Nothing compares to a fresh, made from scratch, French croissant!
After my class I caught a taxi back to the hotel to catch up with my mom and sister. We then ventured further into our surroundings stopping at quaint little bistro named Chez Gaston. What a treasure! The staff was amazing and the handcrafted Blue Cheese and Parmesan Ravioli was second to none.
The third day had already rolled around and unfortunately my mom was not feeling well. My sister and I headed out to see if we could navigate the Métro de Paris to check out the Paris Pass Hop-on-Hop-off Buss Tour. When we got off the metro and emerged street side we had a pleasant surprise. The Palais Garnier also known as the Paris Opera was right in front of us. After taking in the sight we continued on our journey. While walking on the streets in Paris there are pâtisseries on almost every street. I had my mind set on just three but I could not resist stopping in the Casse-Noisette (after all, we were walking right by!)
We finally made it to our destination and after checking on the bus tour we ventured on over to (or should I say finally stumbled on!) the Choco-Story Le Musee Gourmand Du Chocolat, also known as the Chocolate Museum. This was not a big museum but well worth the euros to enter. It had a lot of information and history of one of French desserts main characters - Chocolate! We even got to watch a short demonstration on how to mold and fill chocolates.
Now, as mentioned earlier, I had three famous pâtisseries on my list to visit...
The first, was Pierre Hermé Paris. Known for his macarons, Pierre Hermé is a French pastry chef and chocolatier. He began his career at the age of 14 as an apprentice to Gaston Lenôtre. He was awarded the title of World's Best Pastry Chef in 2016 by the World's 50 Best Restaurants and as the fourth most influential French person in the World by Vanity Fair in 2016.
Second, Dalloyau. In 1682, Charles Dalloyau worked for Louis XIV. He and his brothers worked for the Court as "Officiers de bouche", the highest French gastronomy distinction at the time. In 1802, Jean-Baptiste Dalloyau founded the "Dalloyau, house of gastronomy". He settled in Paris at rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, the current address of Dalloyau's main Paris shop.
Last but definitely not the least, Ladurée. The history of Parisian tea rooms is intimately tied to the history of the Ladurée family. It all began in 1862, when Louis Ernest Ladurée, a man from France’s southwest, created a bakery in Paris at 16 rue Royale. I sure am glad he did!
Of course we could not visit every bake shop, there's just too many! Here are a couple more worth mentioning...
Like any other vacations, all good things must come to an end. If I had to sum up the week I would say it was a trip of a lifetime and having my sister and mom with me made this one even extra special.
For now I say Au Revoir Paris, until we meet again. I do hope someday you too can visit and take in this amazing place and all it has to offer. Until then, I leave you here with a few more photos that are sure to impress.