IT’S CHILLY. IT’S EASTER WEEK. IT’S PARIS

FlàneurAn observer who wanders the streets of a great city on a mission to notice with childlike enjoyment the smallest events and the obscurest sights he encounters.

Tuesday was Macaron Day 2018, a celebration of this beloved morsel and to raise money for cystic fibrosis. Begun by Pierre Hermé in 2013, many Paris pattiseries now participate. I went to the source (Sylvia, pictured, works for Cystic Fibrosis) to donate and eat macarons.

It’s a rainy, bone-chilling cold Paris evening, providing me the perfect opportunity to rewind this past week for you. Before these seven days blur into “If it’s Tuesday it must be Belgium,” moments, here are mine. Deciding this week’s most unforgettable sighting was a toughie. I’m calling it a toss-up between
noted architect Frank Gehry and a young french mother.

On Thursday I took the metro to the Bois de Boulogne, a large public park in the 16th arrondissement. My destination was Foundation Louis Vuitton, the city’s newest art/cultural center located on the park’s western edge. Designed by architect Frank Gehry, he wanted “to design, in Paris, a magnificent vessel symbolizing the cultural calling of France.”

Mission accomplished.

I ate lunch at Foundation Louis Vuitton at its signature restaurant Le Frank, named for architect Gehry. The food was meh but sitting under his fish light sculpture worth the pricey meal. Gehry is obsessed with fish. In 1983 he was commissioned by Formica to design a fish lamp, his first, using their then-innovative plastic laminate.

Also on Thursday I was walking down the Rue de Rivoli when I approached a bus stop. Passengers were getting off while others waited to board. There was a snafu at the back door as a young mother chattering on a mobile (left hand) tried backing out of the bus while tugging a stroller (right hand). Bags were hanging from the stroller and, oh, the baby of course. After maneuvering it down the steps, her stroller landed with a loud thud. Mama’s talking never lost a beat. The gathering crowd watched in amazement as she gathered herself, making her way who-knows-where.

Mission accomplished.

It’s nice to pick a neighborhood bistro, always a friendly stop. Mine is La Fontaine Sully.

The July Column is a monument standing in the center of the Place de la Bastille to commemorate the Revolution of 1830. (Think actor Hugh Jackson.) It anchors my neighborhood and is the beacon to make my way home everyday.

LIFE HAPPENS, CHOCOLATE HELPS

Despite the weather, Parisians seemed intent on celebrating Easter week. While we North Americans are partial to jelly beans and Peeps, flavored marshmallow candy shaped into chicks and bunnies, the French prefer chocolate. For the myriad of artisanal chocolate shops in Paris, Easter is profitable.

Johana helps me choose my chocolate at Edwart’s. David Lebovitz recently featured this shop in his blog.

She insisted I sample a number of chocolates before choosing my own. By the time I finished sampling I didn’t need a box of chocolates!

OH CREPE!

Patty Price, an extraordinary baker and blogging colleague who lives in San Francisco, is in Paris taking classes at La Cuisine Paris. We met at the popular Breizh Cafe and talked (what else?) food while treating ourselves to Chef Larcher’s galettes de blé noir, buckwheat crêpes.

BAKE the WORLD a BETTER PLACE*

Tuesday I joined La Cuisine Paris for its three-hour Marais Soirée Gastronomy Food Tour to offer my taste buds an intensive workout. It was the ultimate CrossFit training session – wine, charcuterie, fromage, bread, Foie Gras, and chocolat but the pastries…full stop.

During the food tour our guide, Amber, suggested a #food hack. “If a patissierie, boulangerie or chocolat shop has chandeliers, go in.” We stopped by Aux Merveilleus de Fred (has a huge chandelier) where the bakers work in the windows. That’s very enticing for those who pass by. This shop’s main product is the merveilleus, a fantastically rich cake with a layer of meringue, a layer of whipped cream, a layer of meringue, a layer of whipped cream followed by a coating of one of 7 different toppings. Oh la la

The product. (I chose pink – cherry.) Aux Merveilleux de Fred photo

NO, JUST NO

Centre Georges Pompidou

CROWN of THORNS

The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, Gothic architecture at its finest, was the destination of choice for hundreds of tourists.. I happily joined the crowd to look, see and marvel. It’s also a Friday, the day the Crown of Thorns, the wreath reputed to have been worn by Jesus, is displayed. This relic traveled from Jerusalem to Constantinople circa 1063 and by 1238, during the reign of King Louis IX, landed at Sainte-Chapelle for safekeeping. Thorns were often given to European royals to commemorate great events. At the British Museum I recently saw a thorn gifted to Mary, Queen of Scots when she married King Francis II. The thornless remains are kept in the treasury at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.

I don’t do selfies well but wanted to show that I was there. Notre Dame Cathedrale. (I’m in the red stocking cap on the right.)

The Crown of Thorns, from afar. I got closer which was very exciting for me but was in a cameras forbidden area.

Happy Easter to you readers celebrating Easter this coming week. I also gratefully appreciate so many of you for commenting or sending me e-mails, texts and articles since I’ve been in Paris. It keeps the solitariness at bay.

Comments

  1. Amy Gordon says

    Enjoyed reading your latest post and living vicariously through your experiences. See you in Aspen this summer. A la prochaine! Amy Gordon

  2. says

    Looks like you are continuing to make the most of things! So much chocolate! It’s wonderful you got to spend time with Patty, too. Is there still a whimsical fountain outside the Pompidou Centre? On our last trip, I visited it everyday because it made me laugh. Of course, it was summer, so was spraying water. Continue to enjoy your adventure! xo

    • Mary says

      Yes, the Stravinsky Fountain is near the Pompidou. I visited it and took photos but it’s winter, no water is shooting out, of course, and there is trash scattered in the fountain. I would love to see it in the Summer.

  3. Dottie McArthur says

    Love your blog, and feel like, while I’m reading it, that I am right by your side enjoying Paris with you! Thank you for sharing….

  4. Kay Eldredge says

    I was just writing yesterday about Jim’s and my son’s birth in Paris in 1985. March 10, and shops windows filled with chocolate. The chestnuts were in blossom and the weather was balmy and we got ten francs to the dollar and felt rich. Such fun to see all your photos and hear what you’re doing. Much of it is new to me — though not Notre Dame or the Centre Pompidou. I’m not sure I’ll ever go back without Jim, but who knows —

  5. Donna Grauer says

    Okay I must have a merveilleux (sp) … am looking for a patisserie in Austin … will try to google it.
    Meanwhile I am channeling you going to the LBJ library on my own… have not been to a Chico’s which is normally my go to diversion in urban areas.
    Je t’aime

  6. says

    Mary, I’m thankful that you had a cold day, only so that you can share your adventures with us!! It looks and sounds like you are having a lovely holiday!!! It’s such a great idea to have such a landmark for your northstar to guide you home!!

    Looking forward to hearing of your adventures. Wonderful that you were able to see Patty!! Small world indeed!!

  7. Rita Bernardi says

    Ooo La La…those wonderful photos of Paris and delicious treats have me hankering for Easter sweets. I will have to settle for a Panetone from Rully’s Pastacheria in Fairfax and a See’s Bordeaux Egg. I sure admire your joie de vivre. Thanks for the inspiration! And keep em coming, please. Hugs, Rita

    • Mary says

      I happen to be a big fan of panetone and, as an Iowa girl, I am partial to See’s Candy which is made in Omaha. Thanks for keep in touch, Rita.

  8. Sara Garton says

    I loved reading about your stay and food in San Miguel, and now your chilly spring fling in Paris! Your photos of Foundation Louis Vuitton are fabulous.

    Amuse-toi bien!

  9. says

    You are a trooper! What fun destinations this week. And you got to see Patty???!! Such fun! Looking forward to your next update. xoxo

  10. Chez Nana says

    Mary, I am so happy to see you enjoying yourself and not missing a thing. Great photo of you and Patty, happy that you got to meet again. Enjoy the rest of your trip, keep us up to date, and Happy Easter to you. Ro.

  11. Jessica Salet says

    Cannot wait for Friday updates on your adventures around Paris. You are soooo adventurous. Mouthwatering photos of pastry shops are calling to me.
    I think the outside elevator at the Beverly Center was designed after the Pompidou!

    Love and Hugs,

    Jessica

  12. says

    Paris is ALWAYS a good idea Mary, what a fantastic trip! I agree with you, traveling alone is a wonderful experience and a complete different trip, since the fact that you’re not talking to others while visiting places, you notice other stuff, little details or people’s behaviour in a way you hadn’t before. I have a plan to do it more often too. Enjoy that wonderful city!

  13. Gutla says

    Mary, I was in Paris in February several years ago and I had the same experience! I’m freezing but Parisians seemed to pay no attention to the weather:). Your entire trip sounds fabulous! To be in Paris on Macaron day, though, what a memory.

  14. says

    So nice that you and Patty were able to meet up and to go on that marvelous (pun intended) tour together! You are making the most of your time in Paris and I’m so enjoying reading about it.

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