Today I planned to wake up early to head down to the Louvre before going to Versailles (yes again) to watch an equestrian performance at the Grand Ecurie. Unfortunately, I’m just not one for waking up early and I woke up at 8:45, which would mean huge line-ups at the Louvre, especially since it’s Easter. I was planning to go to Sunday mass at Notre Dame at 10, and I didn’t think I would make it if I went to the Louvre. So I headed out for some early morning wandering instead…
Le Pain Quotidien is a chain store selling organic breads in “naturally” decorated cafés with lots of wood panelling, communal wooden tables, and lots of bread. But that’s not what made me happy. I ordered a croissant au beurre for here, and what was ON the table made me happiest. ALL YOU CAN SPREAD spreads!!! They had Brunette (hazelnut butter), Noisella (nutella dupe but organic), Blondie (white chocolate spread), Noir (dark chocolate spread), and various jams, but who cares about jams when you have unlimited chocolate spreads? Ok, just kidding, their cherry jam was excellent paired with the dark chocolate spread. So, for 2.20 euros, I had a croissant as a side dish to my million different kinds of spreads. And also went through my guidebook (which I only started reading today. Yes, my last week. lol) trying to decide where to go.
I decided I would head over to the Île de la Cité a bit earlier in case there were lines at Notre Dame, and thank god I did, as the lines were SNAKING. Ah spring break. Fortunately, I got into the cathedral just as the Gregorian mass was about to start, and attended my first mass in…many years (not since I switched high schools from a Catholic one to a secular one I believe). It was calming, and I must admit I sort of missed it. 🙂 Not to mention the venue was gorgeous and it’s breathtaking to imagine mass a few hundred years ago here. The picture above is of the English mass, after the Gregorian mass, which I snapped as I was leaving.
My next stop was the Bastille market across the street from the Opéra Bastille, a starkingly modern structure in contrast to everything else in Paris. I actually read about the market in the guidebook this morning, and I’m glad I did. Or else, I would’ve missed the chance to experience an outdoor market!
It was bustling and lively. There were stalls selling all kinds of things: raw meats, rotisserie, fresh oysters, Breton specialties, North African goodies, Greek deli items, Italian stalls, cheap clothing, shoes, fruits, vegetables, Chinese food, Bob the Paella guy (I think it’s a franchise), breads, LOTS of cheese, Portuguese food, and street musicians. Oh, and underwear. Yea. Kinda reminded me of 女人街, except the food they sell is a lot classier.
I wish I remembered about Parisian outdoor markets earlier in my trip, as these markets are so, so interesting! I bought 2 beautiful pieces of African jewelry at 5 euros (I totally regret not buying more now…they’re in styles you can’t find in HK at all). Of course, I also had some food. From a Portuguese stall, I had a pasteis de nata. Unfortunately, it was cold and tasted like KFC Portuguese tarts, maybe even worse. So I walked around more to find something else interesting.
Saw an Italian stall selling all sorts of Italian goodies by the gram! What’s more, a REALLLLY cute Italian guy was working at that stall. What’s with all the cute guys working at food places in Paris?? Anyways, I got a piece of vanilla cannoli, a piece of biscotti, and a biscuit with dried fruit and nuts. Cute Italian guy also threw in a free chocolate cannoli for me ❤ Swoon. LOL just kidding, I’m just there for the food 😀 Unfortunately, only the cannoli were good as the other 2 were kinda soft….
Next up I headed over to the stall selling Breton goods for a freshly made Breton galette! On 2nd thought, maybe I should’ve tried something else, as we can get this in Hong Kong too….oh well. It was an eggs and chives galette, and VERY VERY hot, and not bad at all. I think I prefer Breton galettes sitting down instead of eating it on the go though. It just doesn’t feel right all folded up.
I also got a cake from Brittany called a Far Breton. It’s a baked pudding-like batter with prunes in the bottom, and tasting heavily of rum. Not very eggy though, and kind of heavy and dry and very alcoholic. I didn’t like this and couldn’t finish it. Finally, I bought a piece of Brie aux Meaux (can’t go to France without having this eh?) which was at its prime ripeness for tonight. Then had to rush to Versailles to watch an equestrian show, which was amazing! It was like horse ballet, and all the performers (who looked my age or even younger) could sing, do archery, and fencing as well. I wish I could ride that well…really must step up my riding once I get back to Hong Kong.
After Versailles, I was tired. So I headed over to Rue Montorgueil again (oh man I’m gonna miss this street!!!) for some bread to go with my Brie. I heard Boulangerie de Monge has a baguette au levain which is supposed to be like sourdough and very good, so I got a demi-baguette. Unfortunately, once I stepped out and tore a piece off like I always do, I knew there was a problem. The crust was horrible tough, not crunchy, and the innards were dry and floury tasting as well (not in a good way). I took a few more bites just to make sure, and then sadly had to go look somewhere else for some real bread. Kayser is closed on Sundays, so I couldn’t go there for my favourite baguette.
So I headed back towards home, and tried Boulangerie LeGay. Got a mini pain au noix, which, surpisingly, ACTUALLY TASTED LIKE SOURDOUGH, unlike the baguette I just had. Thank god.
On the other hand, their flan was really bad. Dry, not custardy at all, and with a soggy crust. It was the texture of….cheddar cheese. Seriously. The flan from my hospital’s cafeteria is miles better than this one, and it’s a CAFETERIA. I’m sad I had no good substantial sweets today. 😦
Oh nearly forgot about my cheese. Sorry about the…PG rated picture. I had to carry it around with me to Versailles, then back home again, as I didn’t have time to go from the market back home. As it was pretty ripe, it got pretty oozy…in fact, by the time I got home, it was kinda half liquid. Fortunately a short refrigeration got it back to a normal texture. Mmmmmm it was some good Brie, but I just don’t think I like Brie very much. The taste was mushroomy, and it was super creamy. However, it was much too mild for me. After the Munster and Roquefort of previous days, this just wasn’t enough.
Seems like my foodie luck is running out…..oh well. Paris isn’t ALL about the food after all. 🙂