So I forgot to mention the significance of the dog poo in my post about Friday. Funny story actually -- after our aforementioned nap and coffee, we met Harry and Camille in the lobby but instead of leaving for the boat tour right away, as we had expected, Camille told us that because of the dog poop incident and because they had been so late in getting our room ready for us, the hotel was treating us to a glass of champagne in the garden, go figure :-) So we were treated, by the hotel, to our first glass of champagne in France; I should step in dog poo more often!
What a lovely sleep we had Friday night on a bed without a crack that expanded through the night! We were on our own Saturday morning, and when in Paris, the first thing we had to do was go out and get coffee and pastries for breakfast. On our trek for breakfast, we spotted the lovely Jaguar (knew you'd like that Dad) above with a view of la Tour Eiffel in the background. After a delicious chocolate croissant (Michael's) and chaussons aux pommes (apple turnover - mine), we trekked our way up to l'Arc de Triomphe which is so much larger in person than I had ever emagined. We continued our tourist walk down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées (very famous commercial street leading from the Arc toward the) Louvre. I won't attempt to describe everything we saw along the way; there is just way to much and I couldn't begin to relate the incredible history to you. We made our way back across the river and towards our hotel to meet Harry and Camille for lunch at le Jules Verne, Alain Ducasse's restaurant on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower. This was also our first time up close to the tower, which seemed, at first glance, much smaller than it does in the movies; that feeling quickly changed, however, as we were riding the glass sided elevator up to the restaurant. Just being on the 2nd floor of the tower (2nd floor = 43 regular building floors) seemed incredibly high and that was only half way up the tower!
Lunch was pretty amazing. I've had some nice muli-course meals before, but the food coupled with the incredible view made it that much more enjoyable. We did a 5 course degustation menu including both entrées, one of the two meats, and both desserts. We first had champagne cocktails with passion fruit and something else...I can't remember anymore, but it was delicious! Then the meal started off with an aperatif, a tiny serving of a gazpacho-like cold soup with smoked goose (I think...it may have been smoked duck though). I have copied the menu below (in French and English) for you to look over, and of course, Harry's wine pairings were wonderful with the meal.
HOMARD de nos côtes Bellevue, sabayon au fumet de crustacés
Bellevue lobster, zabayon with shellfish broth
CHOU braisé et foie gras de canard, sucs de cuisson
Braised cabbage and duck liver, cooking juice
POISSON & VIANDE / FISH & MEAT
Blanc de TURBOTà la plancha, poireaux à peine crémés,
sauce à la figue noire
Pan-seared turbot, lightly creamed leeks, black fig sauce
Michael chose this main course (which was awesome), while the rest of us opted for:
Grenadin de VEAU cuit au sautoir, pommes Anna
Pan-seared veal, potatoes Anna
The veal was the only thing that wasn't excellent...it could have been a little more rare. But, the potatoes were absolutely amazing!
Palet FRAMBOISE/CITRON, sorbet fromage blanc
Raspberry and lemon shortbread, cottage cheese sorbet
My favorite dessert out of the two, very light and refreshing...
L’ÉCROU AU CHOCOLATet praliné croustillant, glace noisette
Tower bolt, dark chocolate praliné, hazelnut ice cream
This was delicious, but too heavy and rich to end with (after being stuffed)
And of course we got the little treats at the end of the meal. This was a very loose egg white (I think...) custard with chocolate at the bottom and caramel on the top. To the left were french macaroons and to the right was a citrus cookie. There was also a bowl of coffee flavored marshmallows and dark chocolate truffles. Mmmm...I could have eaten them all if I hadn't been so incredibly full!
Here we are, enjoying our lovely lunch
And our wonderful hosts, Harry and Camille, we miss you already!After lunch we took the metro up to the north of the city to Clingancourt which is the open-market (non-food) area. It was a shock when we first came out of the metro station to see the masses of people and bumper-to-bumper traffic; it was the first time we realized that we were in a city comparable to New York. The first part of the market was very up-to-date with lots of vendors selling purses, jewelry, shoes, and for some odd reason, Franklin and Marshall sweatshirts. F&M must have vastly over-produced sweatshirts last year because every other vendor was selling them. Past that open area was the antique area that Camille was looking for. Back when they had lived in Switzerland, this area had apparently been just like shopping at a thrift store, but at that time, the dollar had been very strong in comparison to the franc which is not the case with the dollar vs. the euro. So unfortunately, everything we saw, although incredibly beautiful, just wasn't feasibly to actually buy. It was slightly disappointing but was still very enjoyable to see so many beautiful antiques in one place...maybe someday.
Then we were back on the metro on our way to Montmartre and Sacré-Cœur. Montmartre, for those not familiar with the history, is the highest point in the city, a little hill where, in the 1800's, the artists congregated. Sacré-Cœur is a beautiful basilica located at the summit of the hill (pictured above). There was an impromptu rap-ish concert taking place on the stairs, so the stairs were filled with people sitting, enjoying and drinking Heineken that they bought from a random guy selling cans out of a cooler. We walked through the little village area and stopped for our own Heinekens, when made our way down the many flights of stairs and almost vertical streets (huge exaggeration) to the bottom.
We kept it very light that night for dinner, since we were all still stuffed from lunch. We sat down at Le Source, the restaurant next door for wine, a couple baskets of fries, a cheese plate, charcuterie plate, and nice, crusty french bread, the perfect french meal. After dinner, we sadly said goodbye to Harry and Camille who would be leaving the hotel at 6:30 the next morning for their long-anticipated flight back to Pittsburgh and the pugs; they had been in Europe for almost as long as we had by this time. We were so grateful to them for the incredible trip and for showing us the in's and out's of Parisian travel. We will always have Paris...right? :-)