Arriving in Paris met me by utter shock. As I slowly ascended from the subway station, my eyes began to wander to the beautiful Parisian apartment buildings, the charming cafes, and the elegant clothing shops.
I immediately knew that I would leave my heart here.
We wandered toward the Notre Dame sector and were greeted by what appeared to be an open air market for animals.
Like a Sam’s Club for furry friends.
There were Chinchillas.
And overly fluffy faceless bunnies
And an assortment of multicolored birds
And bright yellow chirping birds
The market was also strewn with Christmas trees, plants, and garden supplies.
Our walk led us to the foot of a French Christmas market. It was at this point that I realized that while Germany is most known for Christmas markets, Europe in it’s entirety boasts of many.
The market was small but it’s minor details were worth noting, like these wooden reindeer.
The artisan shops at the Christmas market boasted of French cheese stands, homemade jewelry, and this homemade nougat, a mere 4 feet high, packed full of fruit and nuts.
I was chomping at the bit for a bit of French fare, so after searching out several cafes, Colleen, Susan and I located this precious tea room and restaurant.
The menu,which was translated very poorly into English, was rather entertaining to read (especially this master copy with all of the typo notes spread across the paper). It made my roommates and I realize how much that we had developed a case of “bad English,” finding ourselves speaking as simply as possible help our Italian peers understand us a bit better.
So if you hear me say something like, “the steam exits from the dough,” it’s normal.
But enough about Italy, we were in Paris! And by golly, we would celebrate with copious amounts of bread.
And luckily, we were able to read in the provided menu that this restaurant kneads their own bread with their own mitts.
What does that even mean?
Susan ordered a cup of “Christmas” tea, which had a nice hint of caramel.
The restaurant was decorated with hand-panted graphics, book shelves, and lots of classy French people.
We were not among those people.
We were extremely thrilled with our restaurant choice as we began to smell our entrees from a distance.
The chicken and vegetable quiche was probably one of my better decisions…in life.
It was perfectly moist and tender with a delicious egg flavor that was far from overwhelming It paired perfectly with a small green salad served with their house dressing (which, my friends, was NOT olive oil).
This beef was braised in a succulent broth and served with gnocchi and vegetables. The beef fell apart when pierced and paired ironically well with the gnocchi.
This lovely little find was just the start to a beautiful journey through the streets of this glorious city.
Are you planning a trip to Paris and want to enjoy local fair and tea among well-dressed Parisians?
La Fourmi Ailee, Salon de the Address: 8 , rue du Fouarre 5th Paris
After we had nourished ourselves, we made our way to the absolutely stunning Notre Dame Cathedral.
The Gothic architecture fascinated me.
And then I found myself looking around,
I looked up, behind my shoulder, in front of my friends, under the seats.
I was determined.
Where in the Wyoming does the Hunchback of Notre Dame live?
I mean, is not that why this place is popular?
Unfortunately, I was unable to enjoy an encounter with the humped fellow, but I was blessed to view beautiful stained glass and soft glowing candles.
An extremely large handmade (by an Italian) Nativity set was displayed on one side of the church.
The decorative detail presented in Notre Dame was absolutely beautiful.
Even the poles were elaborately decorated.
And then there was a saint without a head.
I guess it’s a thing here…maybe.
And then we joined a riot, because we thought it would be entertaining.
We could gather that it had something to do with homosexuality.
But, for the life of us, we weren’t really sure which side they were fighting for.
We maneuvered our way over to Shakespeare and Company, an English bookstore which opened in the early 1900s. The store has 13 beds and has supposedly slept over 40,000 people over the years. Customers have included the likes of the “Lost Generation writers,” such as Ernest Hemingway.
The uniqueness and welcoming feel of the bookstore draws people to visit.
Upstairs, along with a piano, is a section of antique books that customers are welcome to sit down and enjoy.
And since Susan and I finally realized that we were in Paris, we thought that it would be only appropriate to read Madeline aloud, like we were 5.
And it was magical.
But something that may have been more heart twisting was viewing three children head first into their books.
I gazed at this sweet little girl as she enjoyed the colors and words inside of the book she had chosen to read.
And outside the upstairs window, we found an airplane and a plastic horse.
I like these people already.
And upstairs we didn’t just find a piano, a childrens corner, and books. We found comfort and peace, like we were exactly where we needed to be in the world. And Susan and I sat their in a daze of blessings, enjoying the piano music as it slowly faded away.
And then I saw a sign for cupcakes.
And I was like, woah.
Well, and then, we thought that it was necessary to ride a carousel.
So, well, we did.
And the whole time, Colleen may or may not have been consuming a baguette.
She got really into it.
And Susan was enjoying the brisk air as she let her hair blow in the wind.
well, she was still working on that loaf.
And then we realized, oh crap, 1/3 of a half-eaten baguette will NOT be enough for our dinner.
So we bought 2 more.
And Susan was proud.
This is her, “look at me, I have two baguettes” face.
And of course, Colleen made sure to test the baguette waters for us.
She’s such a giver.
But rather than test, she just decided to snack.
Until I snatched it from her and gave her a firm slap in the face.
But of course, I didn’t use my hand.
I used the baguette.
Which then immediately became a toy.
And a sword.
And then Colleen devised a brilliant way to conserve her 1/2 eaten French bread loaf.
And we enjoyed a fabulously simple dinner with fresh breads, crisp greens, Creamy cheese, luscious butter, French wine, and great friends.
But what we didn’t enjoy much of that evening was baguettes.
As we were trucking our luggage into the timeshare that evening, our baguettes side off the carrier and onto a part of unknown road material, never to be found again.
Let me just tell you, someone was not very happy
In fact, it because a meltdown.
We all wailed.
The next day, we wore black.
But before we had lost our bread in the abyss of night time, we had a death match.
Everyone wins when you are playing with bread.
Ciao for now!