Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Paris: Part TWO

Just a refresher: my most recent blog entry was part one of the photos from my trip to Paris with my little sister, Lexie.  This took place just last week, from July 25-July 29!

Without further ado, here is part two of the photos...

On my first evening in Paris, I wandered over to Notre Dame as the sun was setting.  I sat here, ate dinner and just enjoyed the fabulous view.

LOVE these streets of Le Marais, my favorite part of Paris.

Breakfast my second day.  This was a delicious rice, sweet potato and quinoa bowl of sorts.  Super yummy.

Breakfast was followed by a chai latte made with almond milk <3

Day two in Paris began with my heading over to Canal Saint Martin area.  I had never been to this part of Paris before.  I gasped upon seeing the serene canal moving along languidly through this happening district of Paris.  It was so pretty.  Really lovely.  I snapped photos as I wandered along before stumbling upon a super charming and sweet little Portuguese bakery.  The display was so inviting, the cakes looking so tasty, that I had to go inside and sample.  It did NOT disappoint. 

Small archways connected one side of the canal to the other.  These were fun to walk over, arching high above the water below them.

My lunch this afternoon.  A DELICIOUS plate of hummus and falafel, so yummy.

I happened into this cute little gourmet food and specialty item store to browse a bit.  All of the food items looked excellent, they sold fun and charming little knick knacks, and one of the people working in the shop was an adorable, sparkly eyed French guy who I enjoyed talking with for a while ;-) well worth the stop in.

In the evening on Tuesday, Lexie and I met up for the bike tour we had signed up for prior to our trip to Paris.  Lexie threw her arms around me excitedly, hugging me tight.  She ate a quick dinner while we updated one another on what each of us had done during the day (she had climbed Notre Dame and wandered the city, totally loving it).  They we headed over to the bike tour group waiting on the other side of the road where we were taken by an instructor to their main headquarters.  We mounted our bikes and were off.  This was a BLAST.  Lexie and I absolutely loved it.  We talked about it afterwards as being one of the highlights of our trip.

As the sun set, the city seemed to take on a smouldering glow, like that of a fire that is dying out slowly.  We cycled past Notre Dame, we cycled along death-defying Paris traffic, we cycled down Boulevard Saint Germain, we cycled down narrow, cozy back alleyways.  Our tour guide was loads of fun.  Totally hilarious, warm and witty.  Lexie and I found ourselves laughing loads whenever he spoke to the group of us.  The group stopped along the way for some of the best ice cream in the city.  Lexie was totally wowed, commenting that it was the best chocolate ice cream she had ever tried in her life.  Then she and I posed for some silly photos in our reflective vests that all of us were supposed to wear for safety reasons... ;-p

At the end of the cycling part of our tour, we hopped on a boat and rode down the Seine river.  Lexie and I were able to talk our tour guide into snapping some photos of us during the boat ride.  Many of them turned out terribly.  A few turned out pretty good (which I have posted below ha-ha).  We loved this, gazing in wonder at the sights of Paris as we glided past them.  Musee de Orsay, Notre Dame bathed in an orange glow from the setting sun, the Eiffel Tower, regal and stately looking buildings lining us on either side. 

The next morning (Wednesday), we headed to Cafe Marlette which I had read online as having supposedly one of the best breakfasts in all of Paris.  I was in.  Breakfast has rapidly and randomly become my favorite meal of the day.  I used to covet and look forward eagerly to dinner, loving a huge, warm meal to end the day with.  Now, its all about the breakfast.  I love all breakfast foods, from pancakes to eggs, bacon to hash-browns, cinnamon rolls to green tea.  I could eat breakfast more than once a day easily.  In fact, sometimes I eat it for dinner ;-)  One of the recipes of which I am most proud is my pancake recipe, which originally comes from my Mom, though I have adapted and tweaked it in more than one way over the years.  That aside, we headed to Marlette with high expectations abound in my heart.

This place did not disappoint.

Lexie and I got a bunch of food and basically shared the spread.  We were served soft-boiled eggs, French baguette with sides of butter and homemade raspberry jam, sliced ham, hot chocolate, green tea, banana bread, a sesame seed chocolate chip cookie, oh man.  As Lexie put it, this was the best breakfast she has ever had in the sense that all her taste buds were satisfied.  Salty, sweet, having been served both savory food and desserts.

I LOVED the breakfast here.  It was fabulous.  Totally delicious.  A tad on the pricey side but well worth it.  HIGHLY recommend this place.

Le Cafe Marlette, Paris

Our mouthwatering spread.  The BEST.

See how excited I was about this breakfast?? ;-)

She was pretty into it as well ;-)

After our outstanding brunch, we set off for Montmartre, my other favorite part of Paris besides Le Marais.  Montmartre is the part of Paris set high up on a hill, overlooking the city.  The streets are cobbled, most of the buildings are a chalky white, the architecture is old, some of it worn, antiquated street lamps and awnings line the streets and shopfronts.  Artists congregate in the center of an area close to Sacre Coeur, selling their work.  Lexie bought one of the small, beautiful acrylic paintings.  I was wildly jealous.  I know she will think of Paris every time she looks at it hanging on her wall.  What a cool souvenir.  We wandered this area, snapping photos, for a while.  Lexie ducked into Sacre Coeur while I wandered the area a bit on my own, taking photos of eye-catching streets and shopfronts.

Can you see us on the stairs? ;-)

After Montmartre, we headed down the hill towards the Champ Elysees.  Lexie wanted to walk this world famous street.  I was dying to try one of the supposed best Croque Monsieurs in the city.  So, we headed in that general direction.

I had done some in-depth research the night before and had settled on Le Duc d├ílbret as the locale for our sampling.  They have supposedly one of the best Croque Monsieurs in the city, and for a pretty fair price, so off we went.  It took us a bit of losing our step to find it, but eventually we made it there.  We both agreed while the meal wasn't spectacular, it was pretty dang good.

Afterwards, we took a nice walk through Place de la Concorde and into the Tuileries Garden where a colorful little carnival was taking place.  We snapped some photos and considered a ride on the towering Ferris Wheel, though the price was a tad too steep for us.  Then we began making our way down the Champ Elysees.  We shared great conversation as we walked.  The avenue was packed to the gills with tourists, a tad on the overwhelming side.

Upon arriving at Laduree, we ducked inside.  We decided to sit in the swanky tea room for some macaroons and a hot drink.  We paid an arm and a leg for 4 macaroons and a teapot of tea.  However we enjoyed the break and respite from our day of long walking.  Afterwards, I urged Lexie to use the bathroom, as its like something out of a museum.  The walk there takes one across plush carpeting, gilded mirrors, dining rooms with velvet curtains and sparkling chandeliers.  I waited for Lexie for around 20 minutes to come back downstairs, growing slightly irritable as well as worried.  I was about to go up and check on her when she rushed down the stairs towards me, grabbing my arm and whispering "we have go get out of here," her face pale.

Once outside on the sidewalk, I assumed something terrible had happened.  I was a bit afraid.  I asked her anxiously, "Lexie, what is it??  Are you ok??"

She proceeded to tell me how she had been in the bathroom, looking in the mirror before about to head back downstairs when, she had looked to her right and seen something move.  Glancing over to the source of movement, she had been horrified upon seeing a bug that she assured me was absolutely the size of my forearm in length and width.  I stared at her, gaping, shell shocked.  "Seriously??  No way.  Are you sure?"

"I am sure, Brookie," she said.  Stone cold serious.  "I am not kidding.  It was fucking huge.  A mutant.  I have literally never seen a bug this big in my life.  I still have chills."

I stared at her, wide eyed.

Afterwards, we ended up laughing about it.  She regaled my friends with the story at my birthday dinner and brunch, me probing her to retell the tale, my friends gaping in horror and laughing uproariously at Lexie's comical retelling.    

After our relaxing break at Laduree, Lexie wanted to climb the Arc de Triomphe.  I opted out of this, having done it once before.  I told her I was going to head back to my favorite area of Paris, and why doesn't she meet me over there afterwards?  She agreed enthusiastically.  We met one hour later and walked around Le Marais during dusk.  This lent the area a more mysterious, old, slightly haunting air.  I loved it.  So beautiful.

Stay tuned for part THREE of our Paris photos, coming up in 48 hours!!!!

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