Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Sunday in Paris and Dinner at Les Cailloux

Before the canopy of blue sky arrived, there was a mist in the air as we started our day. I ran back for my umbrella before heading out. While walking to the metro stop, the cool moisture in the air suddenly smelled like paint. The fine mist of Mother Nature turned into graffiti artists spray paint. It was Sunday in Paris and most stores are closed except in the busy tourist areas. Three artists were painting the metal security gates of this closed book/magazine shop. Stepping off of the metro at the Arc de Triomphe, the skies were lightening as the ever present dancers entertained with their music and moves. The police were on horseback, but the demonstrations of last week were just a memory today. Walking along the Champs Élysées and the surrounding streets, there was fashion. There were faces And there were feet. Halloween had a small, but sweet presence. If you looked closely, you'd see these whimsically scary mosaics were made entirely from candy. As we walked along, the skies turned blue and white puffy clouds floated by. It evolved into a beautiful fall Sunday in Paris. It was perfect for bike riding. Or not. Everywhere there was an art exhibit. There is art in all forms in this beautiful and magical city. And fun of course! Chestnuts roasting on an open fire weren't quite as enticing as our next stop, Laduree. There was a long line going in, but there is plenty of eye candy to look at while waiting. And so many choices! With bags in hand, some of us couldn't wait for the reward of braving the crowded line. Michelle thought the cassis-violette flavor was heavenly, Kim and I liked our caramel à la fleur de sel and chocolat macarons, while Laura's praliné noisettes completed our rhapsody of flavors. Smiling, we continued our walk down the rue de Rivoli which is full of shops. This scrumptious scarf could be yours for a mere €200. Or not. I had the job of guarding one of the bags while my friends tried on the scarves that were just as colorful and yummy as the macaron menu. That was a safe place for me to be, because if I buy one more scarf, I'll need an addition to my closet! Thank goodness the shops were closing and dinner time neared. An apperitif sounded good to all of us. The cafés along rue de Rivoli can be pricey since this area is full of tourists, exclusive hotels, shops and the Louvre is nearby. We scouted out one that seemed more reasonable than the others and sat inside. It felt good to sit down. Our pilot, Laura treated. She is not only beautiful, fun and talented, she is also generous! Evening comes early in the fall and the waning full moon rested magestically over the pyramid of the Louvre. I was meeting my friends Rick and Brenda at Les Cailloux for dinner in the Butte-aux-Caille part of Paris. So back to the hotel I went to freshen up and make my way to the restaurant. There was one lone graffiti artist left to finish this masterpiece, as I stopped to take another peek before walking up to the butte. I arrived at Les Cailloux hungry and thirsty from my full afternoon and anxious to see my friends. Italian food in Paris is a nice break, and this restaurant is fabulous! After hugs and kisses, I sat down and was presented the menu and water served from an Absolut Vodka bottle. An interesting touch. This is one of Rick and Brenda's favorite Italian restaurants and they highly recommended the eggplant layered with mozzarella cheese and a hearty tomato sauce. We decided to share that and mushrooms with squid ink served with polenta. They were perfect choices that went well together. Just watch out for the squid ink moustache! For my main course I chose a plat du jour, Linguine with Cèpes or porcini mushrooms. They are in season now, so how could I resist? Tossed with garlic and olive oil, it brought a tear of happiness to my eye ;-) Rick had a Pesto Rigatoni and Brenda ordered Spinach Ravioli. All were warm, hearty and delicious. Someone at the table next to us ordered calimari that looked like it was just plucked from the ocean....ah, next time! Rick told me all about the restaurant from the years they have been coming here. He always ordered what the round, Italian owner suggested and was never disappointed. How could you be when the food was made with such character and love and served with a side of stories. We were too full for dessert if you can even imagine, but I am told the panna cotta is a must. Before heading out for the walk back, a stop at le toilette was a continuation of this charming restaurant.Outside, the night air was fresh and brisk and welcoming as Rick and Brenda walked me back to the hotel.

It was a full day, a full evening and then a full flight home the next day. I know there must be angels, because one of our passengers opened up his large, light green box and offered us several of these during our long flight back to Boston!
Big Smiles! Trumpets playing!!

Laduree

Les Cailloux,

  • 58, rue des Cinq Diamants, Butte aux Cailles, Paris, France
  • 01 45 80 15 08
Special thanks to Laura for the pics of the bronze door handle and the full moon over the Louvre. You and your iphone are a dynamic duo!