Monday, March 31, 2008

Paris - Perfume, Pink Champagne And Perfect Hot Chocolate

Forgive my absence, but it’s hard work trolling the streets of Paris in search of food, culture and ways NOT to spend the increasingly expensive Euros.

Too much to tell, not enough time.

I had a low key itinerary planned. I HAVE been in Paris when I’ve scheduled every single second, including a fourth museum of the day, in case 1, 2 or 3 didn’t work out. (That DOES take planning, especially on Mondays and Tuesday when most museums are closed.)

A, my great friend and best excuse for visiting Paris, is moving and so this trip was our last hurrah. We decided to do what we do best – wandering the streets, making a few planned stops and dilly-dallying, usually with rewarding results.

We had a quick coffee and went off to visit the The Fragonard Perfume Museum.

It was in a beautiful 150 year old building. I had hoped to learn the history of perfume making, but, unfortunately, we got there seconds after a HUGE tour from Eastern Europe(?) arrived and we had to hasten to get through the few rooms. Their website, though, is very instructive… 

Somehow the crowds didn’t stop me from purchasing a few items

Next we were off to Fauchon, where we had intended to just check out the teas and confitures. I saw an amazing bottle of Framboise Vinegar Syrup, that I was quite excited about.
The shop assistant heard us speaking English and, in the snottiest way possible, told us it was for decorating plates. The worst part about her highfalutin’ attitude was that SHE WAS AN AMERICAN. I actually remembered her from previous visits.

Unfortunately for Fauchon’s bottom line, I refused to buy anything from her, so THERE! (I headed over to Hediard
later to buy fabulous Passionfruit and Guava Vinegars from a really cute and NICE guy.)

The Fauchon tea room had been closed for some time, so A was happy to see it newly renovated and reopened, so, pourquoi non?, we decided it was lunchtime. Happily, it was empty at 12:30 (and curiously remained so).

We chose a table overlooking the Madeleine and perused the menu while sipping our pink champagne. The setting in glossy silver and pink with black accents was perfect. The fine-boned, pink and black attired waiters attended to us beautifully. 

We split a croque monsieur, which was actually in the style of a panini - very different from others I've had, delicious though, and an artichoke and spinach salad. Very delightful. We had one chocolate meringue tart between us, which was as good as it looked.

After dejeuner, we ambled for a while and stopped in at a favorite shop of A's, La Vaisselerie, a dish and kitchen trinket shop on the rue Saint-Honoré, where I had previously bought a wonderful tomato knife that had the word Tomate cut out on the blade. This time I bought a few hors d'oeuvres knives and 2 adorable paring knives - one lime green and one purple. Really cute.

After more strolling, the weather turned on us and we decided another stop was necessary, so we ran
to Angelina (226, rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris) - with the help of the metro - for a cup of their famous hot chocolate, L’Africain. It’s reminiscent of Spanish chocolate that’s served with churros, although not quite as pudding-thick, but perhaps even sweeter. It comes in a pot and is served with a bowl with fabulous unsweetened (thank goodness) whipped cream. The cafe itself is also charming with many Belle Époque features.

As beautiful as the cream was, I actually picked it off my chocolate and drank it au nature. After many glasses of water to cut the sweetness, out we went into the Paris late afternoon - A to do more packing and I to get ready for my next meal.


Emiline said...

I truly feel like I'm in Paris. Thank you for that.
You need to live it up while you're there.

I would like to visit a perfume museum. I think I went to the factory in Provence. I still have my bottle of perfume that I bought. It's called Emilie.

Those knives are cute.

Hot chocolate looks wonderful. I would chug it-whipped cream and all.

Dhanggit said...

oh thanks for bringing us with you on this trip to paris..i feel so cold today and the last photo of that hot chocolate gave me warmth :-)

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Thanks so much for sharing these great photos. I love that perfume map! Call me Elphaba because if you were here with me, you would see me turning about as green as the Wicked Witch of the West right now.

You go girl on walking out on that store with the snotty American clerk!

I want some hot chocolate! I'd have downed the whipped cream myself.

Catherine Wilkinson said...

A zillion thanks for sharing all's wonderful. I was lost in the city for a brief while, reading this marvelous post. Very generous of you to give us this!

Sue said...

I have the NICEST readers in the world! THANK YOU ALL for reading my meanderings!!!

I think I smelled "Emilie" in the perfume shop. Too bad it didn't smell like chocolate.

I was surprised at myself for not being able to stomach the cream. It was a first.

Hi Dhanggit,
It WAS good.

Hi Rachel,
Wouldn't that map be great framed ornately and hanging in one's boudoir?

I have listened to WICKED 7 hundred MILLION times (I never read the book) and I LOVE Idina Menzel. I can definitely see you flying through the air, so why not fly right to Paris?

No, Catherine,
How very lovely of YOU to take time out and write such a nice comment.