Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Rainy Sunday in Paris


It was a chilly, rainy Sunday in Paris and life would be slow.  The ride from Charles de Gaulle Airport though, was a quick 30 minutes sans rush hour traffic which can be upwards of 2 hours during the week. Upon arriving at the hotel, I was told they were complet and there would be a wait. Thirty minutes turned to 1 hour, which turned to 2. So much for getting to sleep early. I had plans to meet friends Rick and Brenda for coffee and after 4 hours sleep, I rallied. Friend and colleague, Bettyann, joined us while we sipped the strong coffee and exchanged recent stories.  As a flight attendant I always have a story, and many times the adage, "You just can't make this stuff up", applies. All in a days work! After a few hours we kissed goodbye and Bettyann and I made our way to the metro toward Notre Dame (no, that is not me climbing the steps!)
At 6:30 there was an evening service we wanted to catch. It was an umbrella day and the dampness made it a little chillier. On CNN weather they said it is "Junuary" in France. The jet stream has consistently been lower and more similar to January instead of June. I believed them, but it was Paris where weather is secondary. There is always beauty and romance and being inside Notre Dame where the choir echoed from the ancient stone walls was inspiring. The cathedral was packed.
Outside the light rain didn't seem to alter too many plans.

Then it was dinner time and we walked toward Ile St. Louis.
The colors of the flowers along the street seemed even more brilliant in the mist and added life to the streets with the outdoor cafes.
I love the way my umbrella reflected in the window display.
The further we walked away from Notre Dame, the less activity there was. The café chairs leaned against the tables patiently awaiting the sun.
We looked inside restaurants to see what others were eating and at posted menus, trying to decide on a place to rest our soles.
We finally decided on a restaurant I'd been to before, Auberge de la Reine Blanche.
The prices are very reasonable at 19.50 euro for 2 courses of traditional French comfort food. They luckily had a table for 2 and shortly after started turning away people at the door. The tables were very close to each other as we were lead to a small table against the wall. Elbow to elbow we sat down to study the menu.
As cozy as it was, we didn't really feel cramped.  We both started with a warm goat cheese salad.
It is one of my favorites and I usually can't resist. Bettyann ordered the Bouef Bourguignon, which wasn't prepared in the traditional way. It arrived in a steaming pot and was rich and tasty.
Something about the Poulet a la Grand Mere avec Sauce Champignons sounded like a rainy day dish. And it was.
There was plenty of crusty bread to soak up the sauce. We finished our meal happy and satisfied with absolutely no room for dessert. I think the portions in Paris have gotten larger over the years. I never had a problem with 3-4 course meals, but lately am left too full for one of my favorite courses, dessert. We paid our bill and left, finding the rain had subsided outside and the clouds were clearing. Walking by a creperie we were tempted to stop, as we took a peek in, but didn't.
This time of the year the day is long as the summer solstice approaches. In the early darkness, the lights were just beginning to come on. 
We kept walking, while once again passing by the back of Notre Dame in the quietness of the night. It seemed somber in the approaching darkness. As we walked the evening clouds broke away to the last light of the evening.
Crossing the bridge, the Love Locks added to the vista. And looking back, Notre dame was left in all of it's glory. At the end of this enchanting day, I think that was dessert.



Saturday, May 19, 2012

Les Fondues au Chocolat

I always thought I had chocolate radar. But somehow I missed seeing Les Fondues au Chocolat on Boulevard St. Germain until a friend told me about it. I am glad I found it. Not far from the Maubert-Mutualité metro stop, you'll first see the yellow and white striped awning on a cart full of fondue pots.
Fortunately, with so many choices of fondue, proprietors Oliver and Isabelle offer samples that have been warming in the ceramic pots that they come in.

The reusable pots are desirable on their own and the chocolate fondue inside just made them a must have for me. I chose the Noir & Piment, Noir & Moka and the Noir & Amoretto. They sell other spices and condiments, which means I'll have to make another stop back to pick up some of those.

Les Fondues au Chocolat
45 Boulevard Saint Germain
75005 Paris
Tel: 01 43 25 06 81

Metro: line 10
Bus: 24, 47, 63, 86, 87
Stop: Maubert Mutualité

Monday from 14h to 19h30
Tuesday to Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Sunday from 11am to 7:30 p.m.