Sunday, May 24, 2015

Parisian Plates ~ a foodie post.

The first two nights that I was in Paris I had a picnic supper in my room.
Monoprix was a 3 minute walk from my hotel and they stocked fizzy water, wine, a fresh food floor and on the main, a deli offering all kinds of sandwiches and salads.
(They sold cosmetics, clothes and housewares...rather like a French version of a Target store.)

"Dining in" felt right,
as a combination of jet lag and physical fatigue had set in by 5pm those first few days.

I kept a journal of my trip...
the wee red book has many pages filled with my thoughts and details of the places that I visited.

I'd shower and freshen up in the evening
 slip into my nightie and relax while sipping a glass of wine and make notes in my journal.

Cooking class with author and Ooh La La Tour leader Jamie Cat Callan here we are lowering our umbrellas (parapluies) for a quick photo op.

 La Cuisine Market Shopping was a lot of fun.
The weather was rainy but did not dampen our spirits!

Here we are at Hotel de Ville at the kitchen prepping food for our lunch.

White asparagus with mouselline sauce.

Duck with demi glaze and relish, roasted vegetables, and asparagus.

Pistachio and raspberry cake
chocolate cake with whipped cream.

On another occasion, Jamie and I enjoyed Lunch at Danton's sitting in the window...
looking out across at Boulevard Saint Germain.
Simply delicious ~ a perfect omelet and tossed salad.

Croque monsieur 
(very rich and laden in calories but I wanted to try one)

Chocolates at Chez Richart

Macarons at Chez Richart

Salad with poached egg and melted goat cheese on toast.

John Dory fish with herbs and vegetables.

Here's a picture of the cafeteria at The Musee D'Orsay before the lunch crowds descended...

Large salad lunch at The Muse D'Orsay with my Lapsang Souchon Tea!
(I couldn't eat it all!)

Duck with a cherry infused demi-glaze served with mashed potatoes.

Market Day in Vallence D'Agen near Auvillar France.
This market takes over several streets on Tuesdays.

I bought a buttery brioche and a Lion's Heart Tomato for our lunch.

Served with a chilled rose...
tomatoes on bread with a sprinkling of sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
Simple fresh country food but oh so tasty!

Can you just imagine how delicious this lunch tastes?

My friends John and Cheryl introduced me to the quaint Village of Saint Cirq-Lapopie.
It's an enchanting place.

Looks like time has stopped still in this pretty little Village.

Omelet with salad and gratin potatoes...

Looking back at the Village as we drove away...
we climbed up to that look out and the views were amazing.

Dinner out at Auberge close to Auvillar in the neighbouring Village of Bardique.

Foie Gras with toast points and relish garnished with apple pom poms.

Lamb which has been slow roasted for 11 hours
served with root vegetables.

Bon Appetit!

Dinner out at Le Petit Palais in Auvillar

Duck served with a side of orange sauce, pommes frites and a wee salad...
this was so incredible.
(BTW The only frites I ate in France.)

Cheers...from Auvillar.
My first Cassis Cocktail
Violet Cassis from Toulouse mixed with white wine.

Hope you enjoyed this food related post...
I'm off for a walk now as I have more than a few pounds to shed!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Paris Ooh La La Tour details ~ Paris OOTD.

The Ooh La La Tour was filled to the brim with fun and excitement and did not disappoint.
We were in good hands with author Jamie Cat Callan and Art historian Elyse Rivin guiding us along the way...they had arranged everything in advance and all our metro, bus and museum passes were ready when we checked into our hotel.
We walked, explored, shopped, and dined and covered a lot of territory from the Luxembourg Gardens to Versailles.

The Luxembourg Gardens on a rainy day walk...

We enjoyed the museums and found the food in the cafeterias particularly tasty.
The Musee D'Orsay, with their wonderful collection of Impressionist art was my favourite and there was a Bonnard exhibit on display which was an unexpected bonus.

One evening before sunset we took a bateau cruise on the Seine River and took photos of the Eiffel Tower as it lit up.

Some special features of the tour included a wine tasting, a visit to The Fragonard museum, The Cluny museum, chocolate tasting at Chez Richart, Opera Garnier Tour, a visit to Madame Cadolle Lingerie (Madame's grandmother invented the bra!), Palais Royale, Kate Kemp-Griffin told us all about the sensual art of lingerie at the Bon Marche and told us what to look for when buying a well fitting bra, we brunched with the chic and savvy (adorable) Alois Guinut in The Marais
who shared her secrets for Dressing like a Parisian...

So much was packed into our week and it was an amazing experience...
With a group of like minded passionate and energetic women who all came together to thoroughly savour their time in Paris it was a recipe for success.
(we laughed, we cried and we bonded)

The Cluny Museum 
(formerly a Roman Bath)
inside hang the famous tapestries of the Lady and the Unicorn.
(no photos of the delicate tapestries were permitted)

I fell in love with the architecture and the ornamentation.
just look at the door details...

Can you imagine how many hours or years it would take to create these buildings?
(and they are still standing today!)

A scene from Woody Allen's movie, Midnight in Paris was filmed here at The Polidor.

I wore the same few clothes over and over during my 3 weeks away 
I relied heavily on accessories to make them look different.
I hand washed my tops and lingerie in shampoo and hung them to dry in my bathroom.
Most of them dried overnight.

The black cowl necked sweater by Wooden Ships transitioned easily from casual to dressy when I paired it with my black pants or my black skirt.

We dined at Les Editeurs one evening for dinner and this book somehow managed to pop off the shelf behind where we were seated and fell into my hands...
(Jamie Cat Callan snapped this photo)

The view from the restaurant...
love the mauve blossoms on the Jacaranda tree.

A wonderful shot of our group as we depart...
au revoir.

I've got a few more Paris posts in the works and there's more ahead from the beautiful and enchanting Village of Auvillar
and my adventures in the South of France.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Finding my way in Paris...

International travel, solo at 60...sounds rather daunting doesn't it?
I was as prepared as I could be having done my research ahead of time and I had maps, a French phrase book and a list of places that I wanted to see before my tour started.
(A few things that were not on the Ooh La La Tour.)

The direct flight from Vancouver was 9 + hours long but time passed quickly...(I was very excited!)
There were in flight movies and I cannot praise Air France enough...from their warm greetings, smartly dressed stewardesses, champagne reception and their tasty meals and snacks...their in flight safety announcement is just an example of the quality of service they offer!

When I arrived at CDG airport arrivals gate there was a sign with my name on it and I was whisked away to my hotel in a comfortable car...thank you to the Ooh La La Tour leaders Stephen Solosky and Jamie Cat Callan for arranging such a lovely warm welcome!

After I got settled into my room of Hotel Belloy in the 6th I went out and explored the streets and shops in the area near the Sorbonne...lots of people were out and about and the cafes were full of smartly dressed men and women. (The men looked particularly well turned out in their scarves and stylish jackets!)

Rue Racine near the Sorbonne where my Hotel was located.

Many cobblestone streets beckoned...

The Metro stations were conveniently located...
I preferred taking the bus or walking as I wanted to see all the sights.

I walked for several hours popping into shops along the way before stopping at a cafe for a coffee and a snack...
my Parisian instructor would have been proud of me as I spoke French when I ordered.

Everyone it seems wears scarves in Paris even the children!

Some friends were staying in the next arrondissement...they had arrived 4 or 5 days ahead of me and they kindly took me under their wing and walked me through the neighbourhood and far beyond the first two days after I landed! I was glad that I had brought comfy walking shoes as we walked 6 1/2 hours the first day and 6 the following...our stops were for coffee and a wee pastry and in the mid afternoon for lunch.

We ventured along the rues of the art district, then along the Seine where kiosk sellers have books and posters for sale...this is a very "touristy area"...with lots of shops selling souvenirs and Tee Shirts...
I was cautioned to be on the look out for pick pockets!

After crossing over the Seine we wandered through The Marais...which is full of small boutiques and cafes.
Loved this area for shopping as you get a real taste of the fashions worn here and there are so many chic Parisian femmes street sightings!

We cruised through the large BHV department store where we discovered the "pop up vintage shop" where I bought a vintage silk Jeanne Lanvin scarf.
We lunched in their cafeteria which served a wonderful array of foods and wines...and a wonderful view.

I opted for a healthy salad and a bottle of Badoit water...
after several more hours of exploring we made our way back to the 6th.
I decided that I needed a rest and went into the well stocked Monoprix to see what I could find for dinner.

Fresh strawberries, a cheese plate and a demi baguette with wine.
I nibbled this in my room and had leftovers for another day.
It was lights out by 10:00, physically tired but blissfully happy.
Pinch me I must be dreaming!
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