down and out (and all around) in paris

i almost didn’t make it on the train (again!) to france, but here i am, and lucky dog me, i’m staying with a friend near the saint germain metro, which is just across the river (which i suppose would be the seine, wouldn’t it?) from the louvre and about three blocks from le bon marche and the aforementioned pierre herme and laduree, as well as maybe five other spectacular patisseries (we stopped in dalloyau today) and la maison du chocolat. a quick recap of today’s jam-packed (at some point, literally so) schedule:

lunch (well, breakfast actually) at l’atelier de joel robuchon: ris et rognon d’agneau (lamb sweetbreads and kidneys) with girolles mushrooms and the ever popular robuchon potatoes (also known as butter with a bit of potatoes whipped in) and les cuisses des grenouilles (frog legs coated with crumbs and deep fried with a mayonnaise and parsley oil). excellent, excellent bread. not a bad way to start my stay in paris, that’s for damn sure.

le bon marche: department store with a glorious food hall. i picked up some of france’s national favorite food, yogurt, and finally got some christine ferber jam: confitures des cerises blancs d’alsace, des quetsches d’alsace (a type of plum, apparently), and de gewurtztraminer. i’m especially psyched to try this last one. i also finally got my hands on some of alain milliat’s artisanal fruit nectar — peach, or sunshine in a bottle.

and since we weren’t quite sated with staring at food, we tried to go to the maison du fromage a block over, but it’s closed on mondays. so instead we took the pont neuf over the seine and walked through les halles to dehillerin, which may perhaps be my favorite cookware store ever. it’s even more cluttered and old world than bridge, and they have everything. ladles the size of my head! stockpots the size of, well, me! mignardise molds the size of my fingernail! and holy crap, you would not believe how cheap (cheap!) le creuset cookware is in paris. my friend picked up the big roaster for 70 euros! i picked up a little treat for myself as well that happens to weigh ten kilos, but let’s just keep this between us, okay? plus, the guys in the shop are funny and remarkably kind. in fact, all the shopkeepers we dealt with today were not at all the stereotypical assholey parisian shopkeeper snots one is so often warned about.

paris is crawling with americans.

tickets for the ballet (nureyev production of sleeping beauty) were sold out before we could get any last-minute ones, but no matter, we went to see “the polar express” at the cinema instead. while it’s got some cringe-worthy cheesy bits, the animation is pretty damn amazing. and it’s great to be going to the movies again. “donnie darko” in italian gets two thumbs up.

late-night big bowls of pho dac biet in chinatown. perfect.

the weather is beautiful right now. and so is paris.
it is so, so good to be in a city again.


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