Day 2 in Paris dawned clear and sunny, despite many dire forecasts. <!-more->
Our day began with a Secret Food Tour of the Montmartre area. Our guide, PJ, was a character. Clad in a leather biker vest, he was funny, a touch bawdy, and very knowledgeable about French food, wine, and culture. We began at a local boulangerie, watching the bread being put into the oven. The tour structure was quite clever—mimic the Parisian buying habits (grab bread here, meat there, cheese here and then bring them back and sit down for a meal together). The meal took place at a restaurant right near where Edith Piaf used to sing.
After our walk, we settled down to a hefty tasting meal. PJ purchased three kinds of baguettes—regular, whole wheat, and corn—and they served as handy vessels for the parade of meat and cheese to come. The corn was the real revelation—a little sweet, a little savory, and a whole lot delicious.
We began with a trippel creme cheese with truffles. Soft cheeses aren’t usually our jam, but the earthiness from the truffles really helped it go down a treat. It was followed by a goat cheese in ash and a hard goat cheese. The soft one was too funky for us, but the hard one was a favorite of Paul’s.
Finally, we rose and walked off some of the goodies we’d just consumed. We went to this amazing macaron and chocolate shop run by two Korean bakers/chocolatiers. We had honey, fig (only French bakery to have real fruit filling put in the macaron), chocolate, and coffee.
Next, we had some choupetts. Delicious light pastries with a tiny crunch stuffed with whipped cream. We both agreed we would have enjoyed it even more without the cream.
The tour ended with crepes from a little hole-in-the-wall crepe shop. We chose the lemon, butter, and sugar which was good, but definitely not the best thing on the menu. That comes later…..
Stuffed full of decadent Parisian treats, we made our way to the Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysee, and the Eiffel Tower. We had tried to see them the day prior, but I experienced one of my mini freak-outs at the subway map and spent so long staring at it, like it was in Greek, that we missed our window and had to hustle to the wine tasting. I saw many beautiful things on this trip, but Arc de Triomphe monument really blew me away. Not sure why, but it made me a little teary.
Paul then suggested heading to the Place de Voge area for a glass of wine. We wandered around the area a bit, seeing Victor Hugo’s house and the Place de Bastille. The Place de Bastille was slightly spoiled by the Nokia advertisement wrapped around it (nothing says liberte, egalite, and fraternite like rampant commercialism)!
We wandered around the St. Paul/Marais district before making our way back to Montmartre and the Sacre Couer. We took the funicular up to the Sacre Couer and when we tried to get back down, some people had messed up the machines so they could sell illegal tickets. Not cool, folks, not cool.
We had a kind of lackluster dinner of escargot (pretty solid), rump steak, croque madame, and a Cote du Provence rose. We remained hungry and went in search of the hole-in-the-wall crepe stand again. And, boy, are we so glad we did. Not only were the ham and cheese crepe and the nutella crepe the best bites we had in Paris, they were right up there with some of the best food of the entire trip.
Look at those looks of pure joy, folks. Pure, crazy joy.