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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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Starry Afternoon

11 Apr FILLET OF RABBIT FROM GATINAIS ROYAL STYLE, Soft potato purée
Le Meurice Dining Room

Le Meurice Dining Room

After another morning of OPD with last week’s hot doctor, I headed to Le Meurice for lunch. Le Meurice is a Michelin 3 star restaurant headed by Chef Yannick Alléno. The dining room has been redecorated by  Philippe Starck in 2007. The dining room is super impressive…there are paintings on the ceiling and on the walls. The servers are dressed impeccably, and one cute guy was even in a tuxedo. I didn’t want to act too weird by taking a picture of him…but I really wanted to. 😦 The decor, combined with the servers’ expertise, make you feel like you’re royalty here. I arrived at 1:15 pm, 15 mins later than my reservation, but was still welcomed graciously. I was seated in a corner seat, giving me a great view of the entire room. The tables were spaced quite far apart…the restaurant had 2 or 3 empty tables during my meal. The rest looked like businessmen or tourists.

Pre-amuse bouche: salmon cheese roll, asparagus mousse

Pre-amuse bouche: salmon cheese roll, asparagus mousse

Immediately after I was settled in, I was asked what drink I would like, and I ordered a large bottle of Evian. I was then served 3 tiny delights. One was a mousse-y ball tasting of fish on a stick, which I forgot to photograph. The other 2 are pictured above. The salmon cheese roll was nothing special; tasted like buffet stuff. The asparagus mousse was delightfully smooth and flavourful though.

The menu

The menu

I was given the menu…but I’ve already gone through it a few times online 😉 I settled on the set lunch menu at 90 euros. WARNING: PICTURE HEAVY post coming up.  Continue reading

It’s Friday! Friday!

8 Apr Random patisserie on Rue Parmentier...so pretty!

Unfortunately, gotta keep this entry short as I didn’t get to go goodie hunting much today. Today I watched a few surgeries, and was really really tired. Lunch was a brioche bought from one of the many many bakeries around the area I live…this bakery appears to suck though. I think they source their breads/vienoisseries/pastries somewhere else, as there is never a great smell of bread wafting from their store, and this brioche tasted like Maxim’s bread. I’m not even kidding. It was very uniform in shape, the crust was tasteless, and the innards were tough. It was also a scary yellow…I know brioche uses lots of eggs, but still…it didn’t taste eggy either.

Brioche

Brioche...kinda commercial in taste & texture & COLOUR

So on the way back to school for more surgeries, I passed by this bakery near the metro station of my hospital.

Random patisserie on Rue Parmentier...so pretty!

Random patisserie on Rue Parmentier...so pretty!

And got a financier. Which I devoured immediately and didn’t take a picture of. After my long, long day, I took the metro to the Rue Montorgueil area as I was craving bread today. I decided to do a taste test between Boulangerie Kayser and Boulangerie Paul, both big names in the bakery scene. Unfortunately, both were out of petit pains au naturel and I can’t finish 2 demi-baguettes…so I had to get a petit pain au complet (whole wheat bun) from Kayser and a bacon bun from Paul.

Taste test: Kayser Petit Pain Complet vs Paul Petit Pain Aux Lardons

Taste test: Kayser Petit Pain Complet vs Paul Petit Pain Aux Lardons

I was so enamored by my bread that I forgot to take a picture of the innards. Don’t worry…I’ll be back though. 😉 The Kayser bun was really really good….the crust was chewy and toasted to a crisp crust. The innards were moist, chewy, and actually did taste whole-wheaty, unlike many so-called “wheat” breads in HK. Paul’s bun, on the other hand, didn’t fare so well. The skin was tough and tasted floury. The innards had that same floury taste..but the bacon saved it. Can’t go wrong with bacon. I’ll be back to try their baguettes someday….this isn’t really fair basing their quality on a petit pain.

Huré again!

Huré again!

Of course I needed something sweet to end my day. I ended up at Huré again, the neighbourhood bakery I featured 2 days ago. I got one of their most expensive creations (I think it was around 4 euros)…a chocolate dome topped by a macaron called Le Marais, perhaps a tribute to the area they are located in.

Le Marais

Le Marais

Le Marais Innards

Le Marais Innards

From top to bottom, Le Marais consists of a biscuit base, a layer of cream, a caramel tasting ganache-y layer, milk chocolate ganache, and wrapped in a dark chocolate glacé layer. This wasn’t very good…the biscuit base was soggy. The milk chocolate ganache was reaaaaaaally gooey and I already let it come to room temperature a bit. The glacé was very thick and chewy and sugary. If it was a bit thinner, it’d work better. I have a very high sweet tolerance, but this was still way too sweet and stuck in my throat. I had to wash it down with water. =S Should have gone to Stohrer instead while on my bakery march.

Well, really tired now….off to bed, hopefully for a great exploring weekend tomorrow. The weather looks promising!

Day off!

7 Apr Cassiflore

Welcome to another beautiful day in Paris! Almost a week has passed, and finally today I had some time to explore around the neighbourhood as I had a free afternoon due to one of the doctors being on vacation. Let’s see what I had for lunch.

Gaufres Bruxelles

Gaufres de Liège

Gaufre Bruxelle avec la crème de marron

Gaufre de Liège avec la crème de marron / Sweet Belgian waffle with chestnut cream

The waffle was just from the boulangerie/traiteur (shop selling prepared foods) on my street. They have a street cart selling these waffles and also Gaufres Bruxelles (normal fluffy Belgian waffles). Unfortunately, the staff/owner wasn’t very friendly and didn’t seem very into his job…he didn’t even talk to me once. Just gave it to me and put out his hand for the payment after making this. Also, he didn’t warm it up very well. In fact, if you look at the picture of the cart, you can see that the gaufre is wrongly labelled too…the Liege waffles were labeled as Bruxelles and vice versa. =S I was really craving waffles at that moment though, and that street cart tempted me.

As it wasn’t very warm when I got it, I got home and toasted it a bit more. It was better when really toasted and the sugar got more caramelized. The chestnut cream was nothing special, just something out of a can…should have stuck to nutella. After finishing it while Skyping with my parents, I headed out for a walk to take advantage of my afternoon off + the gorgeous weather.

Centre Georges Pompidou

Centre Georges Pompidou

The Centre Georges Pompidou (CGP) is a modern art museum located near the Rambuteau Metro station. It was built in the 1970s, and was a revolutionary architectural design at that time. It is characterized by the visible pipes on the exterior of the building, which are all functional. They are also supposed to be colour coded according to their functions, which include water pipes, electricity, etc.

Street musicians in front of the CGP

One of the many street musicians in front of the CGP

There’s a huge courtyard in front of the CGP, and many street musicians perform there. Take a look at this guy dressed in white playing the guitar! What a pose. Afterwards I was wandering around and ended up here… Continue reading