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I’m Back

1 May
Pistache-Amande from Beatrix

Pistache-Amande from Beatrix

The above viennoiserie was a wonderful flaky pocket filled with pistachio and almond paste. So buttery, so sinful, and so wish I had Beatrix here in Hong Kong. Yes, I’m back. Sigh…just came back from a huge family gathering at Shatin with CHINESE FOOD. I have to admit I kinda missed it…but right now I’m totally missing French food and my pastry destinations more.

I didn’t end up going to the Louvre yesterday morning as I still hadn’t finished packing. So instead, I woke up at 8 (slept at 3) and finished packing, but still managed to go out TWICE in between lol. Once to get the aforementioned breakfast. Then I realized I needed sturdy boxes to hold my macarons in and went out again, and of course had to get something from Pain de Sucre too. My first sweets from Paris was a Pain de Sucre macaron and marshmallow, and I have to end with Pain de Sucre too….it makes my trip complete. Sigh.

My last Pain de Sucre haul before returning to HK

My last Pain de Sucre haul before returning to HK

The two macarons were caramel and the green one was Angélique du Marais Poitevin et fromage de chèvre!! I’m not sure what the first part is, but I assume it’s some kind of herb? The filling is goat cheese flavoured. PdS’s macarons are really uniquely textured…very dense and chewy, unlike anything other macaron in Paris. You either hate it or love it. I find them interesting. The goat cheese one was distinctly cheesy, but you definitely had to concentrate to taste it. Not like Pierre Hermé or Ladurée’s VERY strongly flavoured macarons! Review of those will come in separate blogs after I’ve finished everything I’ve brought home.

La Renauderie: Pâte à choux croustillante, crème mousseline à l’épine noire

La Renauderie: Pâte à choux croustillante, crème mousseline à l’épine noire

This is the pretty-looking éclair-like pastry. I actually found the pâte a little soggy. The crème had a beautiful, light texture though. I believe l’épine noire means prunes…correct me if I’m wrong. It was quite alcoholic. The other green thing wrapped in saran wrap was a Tea-time, which is a little pistachio flavoured sponge cake studded with cherries which I ate on the plane.

Oh, I was just BARELY in time for boarding because checking out of my apartment took a little longer than expected. I wanted to go for a last Ladurée haul at the airport before boarding, but didn’t have time too. Sighhhhhhh…

My fridge after my trip

My fridge after my trip

Oh well, guess I should be satisfied with everything I got in my fridge for now. Lol…wait for reviews!

I’m Not Contemporary Enough

25 Apr

Last day of my Easter long weekend, and a busy day like the rest of my weekend! Woke up bright and early and headed to the first stop of today’s itinerary……..Eglise Saint-Eustache. Unfortunately, it was closed. Since it’s right next to Rue Montorgueil, I headed over there for some breakfast.

Stohrer's pastry case...well, half of it

Stohrer's pastry case...well, half of it

Stohrer again! This time my target was one of their éclairs…they’ve been voted as one of the best in Paris. I got a vanilla éclair as those aren’t very common. Let’s just say I’ve had better….the choux pastry was tasteless, dry, and the creme was kind of tasteless and too sweet too. I think my neighbourhood bakery makes better éclairs.

Pasteis, which wasn't very good...even KFC's is better

Pasteis, which wasn't very good...even KFC's is better

I also had a pasteis (de nata), which wasn’t very good either, much like the one I had at the Bastille market. I guess I shouldn’t complain as it’s my own fault for having a Portuguese pastry in a French shop?

So my next plan was to head over to the University area to check out the sights there. On the way, I passed by Saint-Chapelle, and noticed that the lineup was REALLY SHORT! Like 10 people short. It’s usually at least 3 times the length. I then decided not to miss this opportunity and lined up. I’m glad I did so, as the church was so beautiful.

The beautiful stained glass windows of Eglise Saint-Chapelle

The beautiful stained glass windows of Eglise Saint-Chapelle

I literally stood in the middle of the hall for a few minutes just to take in the beauty of it all. This was one of the smaller churches I’ve been to, as it’s mainly just for pilgrimage, holding the relics of the Passion, including the purported Crown of Thorns of Christ. Apparently, King Louis IX paid more for the relics than building the church! After being awestruck by the church, I headed next door to the Conciergerie, which was the Medieval royal palace of France. Later, it became a prison during the Revolution. I got to see the cell where Marie Antoinette was kept.

Then, finally, headed to my prior planned destination.

Took a look at the universities and the areas around it. Then I went to the Musée Cluny, which is actually the Museum of the Middle Age. The lady at the ticket counter was very nice and let me go in for free, even though supposedly only under-26s from the EU could do that! =D The entire building is very cool….built in the 14th century!! :O It used to be the town house of the abbots of Cluny. The entire structure was also built on the ruins of Gallo-Roman baths dating from the 3rd century!!!!!! Mind-boggling.

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Bastille Market

24 Apr Breton galette for meeeeee

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…

All-You-Can-Spread at Le Pain Quotidien

All-You-Can-Spread at Le Pain Quotidien

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.

Easter Sunday Mass at Notre Dame

Easter Sunday Mass at Notre Dame

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!

Bastille Market

Bastille 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.

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T minus One Week

23 Apr Refreshing Melon macarons

Super sad that one more week and I’m gone. I tried waking up early this morning to do more exploring,  but ended up waking up at 10 am again…I wanted to do a little shopping, and ended up at Lafayette. Naturally, breakfast is in order, and I had a Kugelhopf from Dalloyau. No photo taken but it was quite good! I’d prefer a croissant aux amandes though….I’m getting addicted to those things.

Next stop was going across the street to the Opera. Last time I went, they were having rehearsals so I couldn’t get into the auditorium, so this time that was my goal!

The Opera Garnier Auditorium...wish I could've had a chance to watch a performance here!

The Opera Garnier Auditorium...wish I could've had a chance to watch a performance here!

Gorgeous and breathtaking to imagine all the important people who mingled in high society in that opera house.

I then headed to Concorde to visit the Museum d’Orangerie, where Monet’s waterlilies are kept. But I forgot to take photos! 😦 The 2 rooms where the paintings are kept have a wonderful ambience. They’re both circular, with filtered skylights, and soothing music playing. I’m sure Monet would have been proud.

Next stop was Angelina across the road from the Jardin des Tuileries (where the Musee d’Orangerie is located). Can’t believe I didn’t get a picture of the Tuileries either, as the garden is amazingly beautiful. I am soooo bringing my DSLR next time I come to Paris! As I was on a tight schedule, I just got their 2 famous items to go: a hot chocolate (for now), and a Mont Blanc (for tonight).

Mont Blanc Army

Mont Blanc Army

My hot chocolate to go!

My hot chocolate to go!

The hot chocolate disappointed me though. Yes, it was super thick, but I thought it could’ve been more chocolatey or even milkier. The only impression I got was – thick. Then again, I’m not a HUGEEEE goopy hot chocolate fan…I prefer my chocolate in edible form. After dropping off the Mont Blanc at my apartment, I rushed out again to the Cité de la Musique to explore their museum…I wish I had more time to do this, as I didn’t get through all the rooms before they closed! 😦 Next time…

After 6 pm, all the touristy sites are closed…so off to do some OTHER exploring. I.e. SHOPPING! I took the metro to the 6th arrondissement and did a little shopping. I wish we had something like eram in Hong Kong…I really love that store – they cover a variety of styles. However, now that A&F and Hollister are coming, I guess I won’t complain. 😉 Along the way, I of course had some snacks too.

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Tour Eiffel…again…at night

18 Apr

Uber tired today. Went up to the Tour Eiffel after school and with the long lines, it took a while before I got home. It’s sooo beautiful at night though.

This morning I gave Beatrix’s “aux amandes” viennoisseries another try. I had the pain aux chocolat et amandes.

Pain aux Chocolat et Amandes from Beatrix

Pain aux Chocolat et Amandes from Beatrix

This was much better than the croissant aux amandes I had yesterday morning. The pastry wasn’t tough, and the chocolate made it very rich, with a yummy almondy topping. It was very sweet, the way I like it. Could have used more frangipine though. Off to school it was…then after school, I visited Hugo & Victor which I’ve tried before.

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A Royal Visit

17 Apr

I woke up early this morning to go to Versailles. Took the bus to Saint Michel-Notre Dame RER station, and boarded the RER C to Versailles Rive Gauche. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice that the line splits after Champ de Mars, and I stayed till the last stop on the other line. The driver of the train, when he found out I wanted to go to Versailles, was like “oh….c’est très loin, très très loin….” and shaking his head. I had to go back all the way from Pontoise to Champ de Mars, then back to Versailles. Haha…instead of taking half an hour to get to Versailles, it took me 3 hours. Whoops. Fortunately, on the way back, I had a really cute kid (he looked around 5?) who got on the train at Pontoise sitting next to me. He kept on chatting to me in French, and I answered him in very bad pronunciation which he obviously didn’t understand, but he kept on talking to me anyways. Then, he refused to sit with his dad and wanted to sit next to me, and on the way he kept on pointing things out the window. And we played with his toy cars. There was one point where he kept on saying “qu’est-ce que c’est?” while handing me one of his cars, and I’d answer “C’est une voiture!” everytime. Then I did the same back to him. His dad was laughing…oh I love kids. He also had a little brother (looked around 3 years old) who repeated practically EVERYTHING his older brother was saying…word for word.

LeGay Choc

LeGay Choc

Well, back to what food I had that day. Breakfast was a croissant aux amandes from LeGay Choc (gotta love that name…pronounced as: Le Gay Shock). Apparently they also sell dick shaped baguettes on Saturday afternoons. Gotta check it out next week.

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Cupcakes Galore

10 Apr Lemon meringue

After a breakfast of Kouign Amann from my neighbourhood bakery, which had a flaky exterior and a chewy, sweet, very buttery interior (kinda like Bo-lo’gne on crack) and Yop, I headed out to explore more. By the way, Yop Chocolate is AMAZING. It’s so thick, like Angelina hot chocolate thick, and when it’s microwaved, it STAYS thick. The only thing is that it’s really sweet, so you can’t have too much at once (which is good, because it’s probably super calorific). The BEST thing about it is that it was only 1.x euros!

Today I visited the Louvre, which is an AMAZING place…I’m gonna go back a few times just because it’s so big I didn’t get to finish everything. I bought a yearly pass (only 15 euros for under 26s!), so it’ll be cost-effective anyways. Photos can be seen in the following slideshow:

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Afterwards, I went back to Le Marais area, hung around for a bit, window-shopped, then headed back home. On the way back, dropped into Berko to get half a dozen of mini cupcakes. Actually, it was my 2nd time dropping in that day as I dropped in on the way out for a post-breakfast snack. The guy working there looked at me weirdly haha…probably thinking “god, this girl is cupcake obsessed.” Not untrue. Also passed by Beatrix again and got a demi-baguette to finish off the butter I had left.

I forgot to take a picture of the baguette, but it was REALLY BAD. It tasted like Delifrance frozen baguette, except even worse. The crust was tough, the innards were tough, and the whole thing tasted floury and underbaked. This was their cheaper baguette instead of the baguette de tradition…but should the difference really be that big? Good thing the butter was good and helped me finish the baguette off.

Now for the cupcakes…I only managed to finish 3 today after the very tough baguette (which was hard on digestion).

Very bright and American!

Very bright and American!

Loving the bright feel...the Parisian boxes are always so well made

Loving the bright feel...the Parisian boxes are always so well made

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