Understanding that I was in the land of pastry and love, Colleen and I figured that rather than exploring the tourist-dense sights (which she had already seen), we would go on a journey, a two day journey through the streets of Paris.
This journey would lead us to a land of paradise. A land of sweet, sweet, sugar-coma induced paradise.
But first, we were attacked by a small herd of swans.
They are NOT friendly. Despite was gracefully blessed animals they appear to be, they are armed with angry stares and barks.
Like, I’m not even lying, that swan barked and hissed at me. In fact, I thought it was a dragon. And then, when I started to notice the fire that was developing from it’s hissing undertone, I ran.
I ran fast.
I can hardly look at that picture anymore. The memories are so dark.
I tried to think of happy thoughts as I moved briskly away from the treacherous animals.
Once we arrived to the train station, we purchased Navi-go cards which I highly recommend to anyone who is staying in Paris for 3 days to a week. The card, which you can read about here, costs 33.40 Euros and gives you access to Zones 1-5 of Paris, covering service to the airports as well. The card itself costs an extra 5 Euros and the pictures (booths are available next to the ticket office) also costs 5 Euro. But, for a total of 43.40 Euro, its an excellent deal, there is no worry of misplacing a small 3 day ticket, and it provides access to Paris in it’s entirety.
Plus, you can look like a diva in your Navigo picture.
And that, my friends, was worth the 43.40E
When we arrived on the train, Colleen took charge, mapping out each stop for the day, what we would purchase there, and what was recommended to us by top websites.
Our first stop was Pain De Sucre. And we didn’t stop here because it was on our list. We stopped because we are addicted to carbs, and they offered quite a few tasty looking ones.
They also offered escargot pastries, which did not make the cut into my stomach.
We selected the Pain roule lardons, filled with ham, greens, and shredded cheese.
It had a nice chewy texture which housed the delightful innards.
Pralus was our next stop.
As we swiftly moved by the shop, we were stopped dead in our tracks. “What was the plump pink loaf in the window?” we asked ourselves. So, we did the only natural thing, and bought it.
We came to find out that this delightful “loaf” was a sweet bread filled with rose water pink pralines, a popular snack in Paris.
And friends, this was inexplicably delectable. The crunchy pralines and the the subtle rosewater flavor came through in this airy yet dense cake like bread.
It was fan freaking tastic, like nothing I’ve ever tasted.
I wrapped it up tightly, placed it carefully in my bag, and prayed that Colleen would forget that I had it.
Our next mission was Stohrer, the famous Parisian patisserie known for its luscious eclairs.
I’m really not that big of an eclair fan, but because of my equal opportunity stance on desserts, I decided to go along with it and give it a chance.
And so i did.
And now I’m changed forever.
The eclair dough boasted of an uncharacteristically flavorful crust which was plumped full of a rich chocolate pastry cream. And the coffee one? Well, that was blow your mind good.
Like eclairs or want to like them?
Go to Stohrer.
Or order one of these, a giant brioche casually stuffed with a hotdog.
Oh these French people.
I partook in an excellent arugula salad with roasted red peppers and Parmesan cheese. It was light, refreshing, and a lovely way to prepare myself for several hours of consistent sugar meltdown.
But hey, at least I wasn’t in denial.
That’s the first step to healing.
We maneuvered on until we were stopped by Eric Kayser.
This multi-outlet business is known for it’s delicious bread.
But we wanted a cookie.
So we bought a cookie and ate it.
And it was a super awesome cookie.
After our cookie, we took a stroll into the Galleries Lafeyette Gourmet store. The Galleries are a Parisian landmark that boasts of a huge variety of department store essentials. A gourmet market was added to please the foodies!
The moment you step off the escalator, you are hit with a rush of adrenaline. There is no proper way to describe this beautiful concentration of French food in one place. Pastry shops have set up shop, cheese producers are sampling their goods, and walls are lined with freshly baked bread.
Yes. I will take an apartment in aisle 5.
Right next to the bread please.
The products are artisan and unique. Christmas themed cheese, vintage labeled chocolate, oh my!
There was one stall that was offering loose leave tea by the scoop. The aroma was unforgettable.
To go with the tea, brightly colored and deliciously paired sugars were offered for sale.
We made our first stop at Dalloyau, a pastry shop known for inventing the opera cake.
So what did we buy, you might ask?
It’s like eating your daily cup of coffee.
Which personally, I would WAY rather do.
The moist coffee soaked layers were topped with buttercream and chocolate ganache. The combination of the textures and flavors made this opera cake just about perfect.
We moved on (Still in Galleries Lafeyette Gourmet) to AOKI, the Japanese inspired French bakery that our head chef in Italy mentioned to us before we left.
They are known for their creative fusion of Asian and French flavors, which creates a taste-bud wonderland.
We selected the Bamboo cake slice.
Each layer was perfectly formed and distinctive in the whole bite. The bamboo flavor was fresh mixed with forest, yet strangely complimented the chocolate sensation. It was an ironic hit.
Like, I would eat it again. Plus, it was absolutely beautiful.
We left the Galleries and were on a mission to find the store that I had been dreaming of visiting, E. Dehillerin. This kitchen supply store has been around since 1820 and offers an assortment of beautiful cooking supplies and shiny copper pots for professional and hobby chefs alike.
I lost my mind.
Whisks, tart molds, baking pans, pots, knifes, AHHHHHH!!
I pushed through the giant mob of people as I sprinted through the store singing songs of victory and alerting every single soul of my delight.
And because I had been convinced that I was purchasing a copper pot, I knew that I would have to do some serious preparation. One part of this preparation, involved weighting the pot (on a scale that was also for sale). The scale lied. My pot was heavy and their was no way that I was fitting it in my suitcase.
But, I bought it anyway. Because I wanted it.
Along with the pot, I bought several French pastry tools that I had been longing for.
And 29 hours later, Coleen and I left the store and made way to La Grande Epicerie.
This gourmet food store is best described as a European Wegman’s on crack, injected with heroine, and dosed up with speed. And after that specific combination of dangerous drugged is combined, then you have La Grande Epicerie.
Again, I danced for joy, skipping around the displays in utter amazement.
They made even the fruit cake look beautiful.
And they baked a 50 lb. Panettone.
I don’t care who you are, that is cool.
There was a beautiful (almost market-like) assortment of fruits and vegetables.
And an unfathomable amount of delicious looking “take-out” foods.
Colleen forcibly pulled me out of the store on route to our next stop, the supposed “best baguette in Paris” award winner, Des gateaux & du Pain.
We bought just shy of 6 loaves of bread here in preparation for our carb inspired dinner.
And on the way home, Colleen performed her usual cup-bearing routine.
Thank you Colleen, think of the disease you may have prevented me from.
And it just so happens, that every time I sit in the subway with a baguette hanging out of the bag, it doesn’t hang out of the bag for long.
If you know what I mean.
Once we arrived back home to the timeshare that my parents so kindly provided to use, we enjoyed a degustation of carbohydrates. You never know when we may need to run a marathon on the spot.
We wanted to be ready.
And Colleen fixed her plate.
I don’t see a problem with this, should I be concerned of my ignorance?
And Susan, our dear friend who had been visiting museums while we were commuting gluttony rummaged through our excess to find one thing in particular.
We told her not to worry and just eat a bit of that magic baguette.
And after that, everything would be a little better in the world.
A complete list of Stops for Pastry Day:
- Attack of the Swans, Marriott Village Timeshare (They had planned on consuming us)
- Pan De Sucre (Pain Roule Lardons)
- Pralus (Rose water Praline Loaf)
- Stohrer (Best eclairs in Paris, Salad)
- Eric Kayser (Cookie)
- Galleries de Lafeyette Gourmet
- Dalloyau (Opera Cake)
- AOKI (Bamboo Layered Pastry)
- E Dehillerin (Copper Pot, Kitchen Supplies)
- La Grande Epicerie (Gourmet grocery store, prepared foods)
- Des Gateaux de Pain (Baguettes, Bread)