Sunday, January 31, 2010


To be completely honest, I've been back for two days. But it has taken that long to catch up on two stacks of mail (one at home and the other at the office).

What can I say?

Paris was incredible. There is much to be said for traveling in the company of rich women who don't mind covering for one's poorer relation.

It rained the entire time, but just a steady drizzle. Heck, I'm used to the Pacific NW. If it's not coming down in torrents, and the wind isn't blowing my umbrella inside out, I barely notice.

Not that it really mattered because the three of us--my banker-sister, and her pastry-chef friend, and myself--spent most of our time hanging out in patisseries, chocolate shops and museums.

The Louvre is everything it is cracked up to be--amazing. It is such a strange feeling to be seeing the original of so much artwork that I've only seen it books. Frankly, only the Mona Lisa disappointed--she's somewhat better (and larger) in all those pictures than in "person." I loved I.M. Pei's Pyramid, and, though it is supposed to a controversial addition to the Louvre, so did most of the French people that I asked.

However, the Musee D'Orsay wins, for me, the "best building" award--truly lovely.

The surprise for me was the Pompidou Centre, where I'd never been. It was terrific fun, with an ultra-modern art collection housed in a very modern, very ugly building that perfectly suits the art therein. I wound up spending much more than the allotted two hours going through the collection. (Sorry about the link for those who don't speak French--I couldn't find the site in English.)

Our chef-friend was in search of the ultimate French Macaron, which, it turns out, is NOT the coconut confection I imagined. Instead, it is a French Oreo in all sorts of interesting and weird colors with all sorts of interesting and weird (but TASTY!) flavors. Even the ones she found not to her liking tasted great to me.

That we did a lot of walking was fortunate given the amount of eating we also did.

One night was set aside for the La Tour d'Argent, a one-star Michelin restaurant. I don't know that it was worth the price (frankly NO restaurant is worth the $1400 my sister spent on four diners) but it was terrific food. They specialize in duck, and that's what we had, along with fois gras with truffles, dauphin potatoes and an amazing array of other items. Plus, of course, wine. If this is only worth one star, I can't imagine what the more greatly starred restaurants are like (or what they must charge!)

In all, I had a wonderful time. It was fun hanging out with my sister.

And, on a financial note, the whole thing cost me less than $300, half of which was for gifts for the folks back home.


Florence said...

Welcome back!! Glad you had a wonderful time!!

Anonymous said...

Glad you're back! The trip sounds like a blast, and go you for not overspending!

Morrison said...

Bienvenue. Welcome back.

Q'est que ce? No Eiffel Tower?


Grace. said...

So, Morrison, did you know that on the hour after dark, the yellow-lighted Eiffel Tower sparkles with clear lights? I didn't, and it was thoroughly lovely. I didn't go up the Eiffel Tower--I'd done that the last time I was here eleven years ago, and the weather was too bad this time.

As for pics--I don't have a scanner and have no clue how to post them on the blog. You'll have to use your imagination (and while you're about it, imagine me as thin, blonde and many years younger!

frugal zeitgeist said...

Musee D'Orsay is lovely. It was also my favorite place in Paris. So glad you had such a wonderful time!

Anonymous said...

Where, pray tell, did you find your friend's ultimate macaron?

Anonymous said...

Glad you had a great time. I did a whirlwind tour of Paris years ago. I loved the Musee D'orsay . . . the brightness and colors.

I actually liked the outside of the Pompidou Centre. Very different from the traditional buildings. For some reasons, it's one of the pictures from my trip that I keep going back to.


Morrison said...

Yup. Paris is thee most beautiful city in the world. I was there all over again after reading your blog.

MasterPo said...

Glad you enjoyed yourself.

MasterPo has been to France.

Not in any rush to go back.

Grace. said...

Anon--I found all the pastry shops wonderful, but the chef felt that those sold by Pierre Herme (at his shop, called, logically enough, Pierre Herme!) were the best. They WERE good, and I especially recommend the Vanilla Macaron as well as the Passion Fruit. For chocolate, the winner (after MANY, MANY samples at ever so many shops) was La Maison du Chocolat. Who knew that in Paris one could buy chocolate mousse by the scoop, just like ice cream?

Bucksome said...

Grace, welcome back. I missed your posts, but hopefully you came back refreshed and renewed.

I've been over the pond once but didn't get to France.

Was the smoking bad?

Grace. said...

No real smoking issues. France has banned smoking in restaurants. The outdoor cafes were pretty much not in use due to the weather. So, while there was smoking on the street, it wasn't bad at all--nothing like I remember it being a decade ago.

Revanche said...

Welcome back!

And $1400 for a one-star? That DOES make me wonder how much more-starred restaurants would run. Glad you had a great time!

Sharon said...

The trip sounded absolutely wonderful! What a wonderful memory for you and your sister! I think I would have enjoyed the "eating" part the most!

Glad you are back safe and sound.

Canadian Saver said...

Sounds like a fabulous trip! I went again in 2008, with my sister this time, and it is so great traveling with her. Glad you shared that with your sister too!

I also loved eating macarons... Even the ones sold at McDonald's tasted pretty good to me!!

La Tour d'Argent, WOW!