Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Les Halles and Musee d'Orsay

Today was our last day in the Saint James-Albany Hotel, so we decided to do a few more activities close to the center of town before we moved a little further out.  Here I am on our walk through the gardens in front of the Louvre before we cross the Seine.

We went to the Musee d'Orsay and got to see lots of great Van Gogh and Manet paintings, but there were no pictures allowed inside, so I had to satisfy myself with a few outside the museum.

The museum is in the midst of a lot of renovations, so many of its Renoir and Monet paintings were not viewable.  I was pretty bummed about this, but we both still loved this fun and easily manageable (compared to say, the Louvre) museum.  It will always be one of my favorites.

After the museum we found ourselves pretty famished and in need of some sustenance.  Given that it is halfway through our trip, we figured it was high time we ate at one of the cutsey cafes found on every corner.  Since this one is right next to the d'Orsay, I had the "Renoir."  (Also available were the Degas, Monet, and Van Gogh.)    I forgot to snap a picture of the French onion soup before I devoured it, but needless to say - it was delicious.

Before leaving our hotel, we had one last stop to make (i.e. one more place for me to drag John):  the Les Halles cooking shopping district.

First stop was the completely non-touristy G. Detou, which is a small two-part store selling lots of chocolate, cocoa powder, cake decorations, dried fruits, salt, etc.  Since this place actually serves locals, the prices were good and I picked up a few things.  It was fun to mingle with the avid Parisian cooks.

Down the street we went to Mora, a store mostly serving a pastry chef clientel.  I was amazed by all the frosting tips, cake pans, and silicon molds the store had.  I picked up a dozen molds I plan on using to bake doughnuts.

Lastly we visited the famous E. Dehillerin store - frequented by Julia Child.

Because it is now so famous, I was expecting Williams-Sonoma.  What we got, was more a warehouse of cooking supplies.  You could get lost in all the corners that seem to lead to nowhere.  The shelves are covered with pans of every shape and size wrapped in plastic and waiting for a chef to come pick them up.  In retrospect, I'm glad the store was this way, since I have plenty of fancy cooking stores back in the U.S.  This store is old fashioned in every aspect- down to the fact that the salesmen were fighting over who got my commission and then waiting for our bill to be rung up on a calculator.

The Les Halles adventures took longer than we planned, so we decided to check into our new hotel and just have a dinner in the room.  We made sure to stop by the best bakery we had found near the last hotel and stock up on a baguette, quiche Lorraine, and a chocolate-covered cookie.  At the local grocer we found more Gaufrettes (here called "Gaufres" - because they are not small?) and sea salt butter.  We called down to the front desk for forks and knives and then dug into our feast.  The quiche was the best I've ever had and the bread was the best of the trip.  We both couldn't get enough of the extra salty and creamy butter.  I wouldn't have traded this meal for anything.

1 comment:

  1. It does come to mind that I hope you brought an extra suitcase for all your goodies! You may not have known that I always brought a small, fold-down suitcase with us when we traveled? Sometimes there isn't a charge for bags when going international....


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