All over Paris

9 Apr

As I write this, I’m massaging my thighs, as I walked all around Paris in not so great flats and my thighs are cramping up. It was so worth it though. I took a ton of pictures, which you can see in the slideshow at the bottom. This post will contain a few highlights only. It IS a little picture heavy though.

When I woke up, I rushed to Huré to get my first (!!) croissant of my stay in Paris. Unfortunately, although I tried to get there early, it wasn’t warm anymore. It was still quite good though..apparently they’ve won some sort of award or something for their croissant au beurre. Interesting to note also, is that they have croissant au beurre and a normal croissant. Maybe I have to do a taste test between the two one of these days..no picture because I devoured it on the way home.

I then headed out to a beautiful day in Paris. I walked to the Notre Dame first. There were a ton of people, but the line to get in was pretty quick. I spent around 30 minutes in there. Everything is so huge, it’s hard to imagine how they built it back in the 14th century without any modern technology.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

After Notre Dame, I walked through the Ile de la Cité and Ile Ste Louis. Both are quaint little islands which remind me of Granville Island – swarmed with tourists and filled with little trendy boutiques. Also, on Ile Ste Louis, one can find the best ice cream in Paris – Berthillon.

Caramel beurre salé + vanilla cone from Berthillon, best ice-cream in Paris!

Caramel beurre salé + vanilla cone from Berthillon, best ice-cream in Paris!

It was very smooth indeed, and I enjoyed it. Around the same price, but much better than the local “gelato” shops we can find in Hong Kong. It didn’t leave you thirsty either! After having my ice cream, I walked to the Place des Vosges, which is the oldest planned square in Paris. Built by King Henri IV in the 17th century, it’s now filled with locals sunbathing or having picnics, as well as children playing. I love this little park and wish HK had parks like these.

Maison de Victor Hugo next to the Place des Vosges

Maison de Victor Hugo next to the Place des Vosges

Victor Hugo also lived at the Place des Vosges at one time, and I went into his apartment on the second floor for a tour a few days later. It’s amazing to imagine how people lived back then…his apartment is so grand! I then headed to a patisserie next as I felt a little hypoglycemic (excuses!)…

Gerard Mulot Passion Fruit Basil Macaron YUM

Gerard Mulot Passion Fruit Basil Macaron YUM

Nearby the Place des Vosges is one branch of Gerard Mulot, a well-known patisserie in Paris. I was craving macarons, and ended up getting one citron flavoured one and one Pasison Fruit Basil flavoured one. The citron one wasn’t that good…too sweet. The passion fruit basil was awesome though. I love the texture of this one – it was like a gelée inside and was very refreshing, also being a little tart.

I then strolled along the Rue Saint Antoine, where I saw a million patisseries and boulangeries and had to stop myself from rushing in as I had something else planned for tonight. There, I also saw a church (Église St-Paul-St-Louis?) with at least 10 police cars parked in front. I think someone important was getting married or something as I saw people dressed in pretty clothes standing at the door. I also witnessed something funny – a man tried to turn right into a sidestreet in between police cars, and for some reason the police stopped him. As he got out of the car, a bottle of whisky fell out with him, and he threw it back into the car and shrugged…don’t know what happened after as I kept on walking.

I headed over to the Opéra Bastille, Paris’ modern opera house built by a CANADIAN (woho!) architect, unknown at that time. The modern building is a stark contrast against all the historical buildings in Paris.

Opera Bastille...so modern and grand

Opera Bastille...so modern and grand

After snapping some pictures, I walked along Boulevard Henri IV to go to across to the Left Bank. My first visit! I ended up in the Latin Quarter first, which is a very touristy area filled with gyro stalls, Greek restaurants, and other Mediterranean restaurants. Tons of people would be standing outside the restaurants trying to lure you in…kind of like Tsimshatsui in Hong Kong. There was also a Haagen Dazs there which I found amusing, as the customers were mainly Asian. Haagen Dazs isn’t even from France…

I then headed towards Boulevard Saint Germain, where Les Deux Magots and Cafe Flore is located. Unfortunately, I was trying to see as many sights as possible today and didn’t have time to sit down for a tea. Perhaps later this week. I also saw a restaurant called Petit Hong Kong. 2 Caucasians were sitting in front having some sort of shrimp dish on top of rice which looked…frankly…really bad.

Petit Hong Kong...wtf? the food looked really crappy too hahaha

Petit Hong Kong...wtf? the food looked really crappy too hahaha

This area was also near the Sorbonne University (I think), so there are a lot of students around. I stumbled upon the Rue de L’Ecole de Medecine, which is the street of the School of Medicine.

Rue de L'Ecole de Medecine: Medical School Street

Rue de LEcole de Medecine: Medical School Street

On the corner of this street, there was also a medical book store:

Medical Bookstore: all the books were at least 3-4 times more expensive than HK :S

Medical Bookstore: all the books were at least 3-4 times more expensive than HK :S

After all that walking, I was needing something sweet YET AGAIN. Fortunately, I stumbled upon a Boulangerie Paul (mentioned in my last post), and I got a cannelé. This was actually reaaaaaaaaally good, with a slightly crunchy caramelized exterior, and a SUPER custardy interior, flavoured with a little rum.

Cannelé from Paul

Cannelé from Paul

All I could think was…damn, so THIS is how cannelés are supposed to taste like. More random strolling around the area later on, passing by the Marché Saint-Germain which didn’t seem too special, Au Bon Marché which is HUGE (need to plan a revisit later on), a Carrefour which reminded me of Great in Pacific Place, random seafood stands on the street with fresh raw oysters (damn I love Paris), and finally ending up at the Saint Sulpice, near my destination.

I like Saint-Sulpice more than Notre Dame...and not only because many gourmet patisseries are around it!

I like Saint-Sulpice more than Notre Dame...and not only because many gourmet patisseries are around it!

This church is the 2nd largest church in the city after Notre Dame. I found it even more beautiful than Notre Dame (perhaps because it’s a little newer, built in the 17th century, so not as worn-out). I imagined getting married there…omg it’d be a dream.

Saint-Sulpice: the paintings on the ceilings of old churches are really awe-inspiring

Saint-Sulpice: the paintings on the ceilings of old churches are really awe-inspiring

Look at that ceiling! Really amazing. I think Victor Hugo got married here with his wife Adèle. I’m gonna revisit it a few more times…it’s too pretty in there. Finally, I ended up at where I was supposed to…

Pierre Hermé queue...honestly not really THAT worth the wait

Pierre Hermé queue...honestly not really THAT worth the wait

Pierre Hermé. Look at that queue! They even had a sign in English and Japanese pointing the direction which you should stand on the street, meaning the queue is this long probably all the time. With all the great, innovative patissiers in the city, I don’t understand why Pierre Hermé is so popular. Just knows how to market his name I guess…not to say that his creations aren’t good, but they’re not THAT good.

Pierre Hermé display case

Pierre Hermé display case

Wanna guess which one I got? Haha…will be revealed later, don’t worry😉 After this, I headed home by the metro as I was afraid my treasure would melt. On the way home, I also headed into the deli near my place (as I was craving something salty) and ended up only picking up a piece of butter. It was REALLY good butter though, recommended by David Lebovitz. I had to force myself to split it into 2 days, as eating a huge chunk of butter can’t be healthy (nor is so many cakes in one day I guess…heh).

The highlight is the butter though: best butter in France according to David Lebovitz

The highlight is the butter though: best butter in France according to David LebovitzPascal Beillevaire butter flecked with seaweed: SO FLAVOURFUL. Bread from Beatrix downstairs, just OK.

Finally, what you’ve been waiting for:

Pierre Hermé: excited to open it! What is in the box?

Pierre Hermé: excited to open it! What is in the box?

It’s…a…

Pierre Hermé Tarte Infiniment Vanille

Pierre Hermé Tarte Infiniment Vanille

Purest of all the tarts and cakes displayed in his case, I thought the Tarte Infiniment Vanille would be something good to try. It’s also hard to find a pure vanilla flavoured anything, so it’d be interesting to see what Hermé could do with this flavour.

Pâte sablée, ganache au chocolat blanc à la vanille, crème de mascarpone à la vanille

Pâte sablée, ganache au chocolat blanc à la vanille, crème de mascarpone à la vanille

I have to admit this was pretty good. The pâte sablée was crunchy and buttery, but not TOO buttery so that it overpowered the clean taste of the vanilla – just the right thickness too. The ganache was smooth and not to sweet, with good quality chocolat blanc obviously. It slid down my throat without that annoying feeling of tickling your throat like many chocolat blanc’s do. The mascarpone cream though, was the highlight. It was studded with many, many vanilla seeds, tasted super vanilly, and was sooooooooooooo smooth it was like eating double-skin milk. Except it was super vanilla-y. I wish I could have a bowl of just this mascarpone cream.

So, if you ever go to Pierre Hermé and manage to get through the lines, remember to get one of these tarts. It’s not something you can find anywhere else, which makes waiting in line worth it.

Wow, long post! Thanks for staying with me🙂

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3 Responses to “All over Paris”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A Royal Visit « Rachelle's Ramblings - April 20, 2011

    […] also headed to the deli nearby my home to get more of that awesome butter I had last time. This time I bought a doux (sweet) one instead of the seaweed flecked one, just to try something […]

  2. The Best Day Yet « Rachelle's Ramblings - April 21, 2011

    […]❤ I got 2 pastries and a cannelé, which I ate on the metro home. Nothing special. In fact, Paul’s cannelé is better. The Ladurée one was kinda dry on the outside, and flavourless on the inside. Haven’t found […]

  3. Pilgrimage to Tony Wong’s Kingdom « Rachelle's Ramblings - May 28, 2011

    […] were smooth and tasted like a milky Earl Grey, slightly floral in nature. Not as smooth as the Pierre Hermé Tarte Infinitement Vanille though. Damn I miss that. The bottom layer had tea leaves in what was supposed to be a crispy layer […]

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