Saturday, October 16, 2010

Paris is Sweet

Yesterday we took the lift to the top of the Eiffel Tower. When we got there, I was delighted to see this.

Well, it'd be rude not to, wouldn't it?

And so we shared a lifetime memory 'moment' with about a thousand other people.

After a reverent stroll through the Notre Dame Cathedral, another moment shared with about a thousand other people - the kids were bored out of their skulls.

Behind the cathedral is a small island called Ile Saint Louis, you cross a little footbridge where buskers play sad songs on the accordion, and one even on a piano on the back of a trailer, and suddenly you feel like you've been transported into a fifties movie set in Paris.

The narrow cobblestone streets are lined with tiny but perfectly decorated specialty shops selling quintessentially French ingredients - the boucherie has fowl complete with heads and feathers, there's a shop selling only fois gras, a chocolate shop the likes of which would melt the hardest of hearts, fromagerie complete with the intense ammonia hum, fishmongers with an astounding range of fish and shellfish on an iced trolley under an awning in the street, and all manner of galleries, expensive clothing and antiquities shops.

As if put there by the Paris Tourist Authority, the cutest of schoolboys wearing blazers and riding bicycles went into the boulangerie and came out with a baguette, ripping it in two and munching away while they continued on their journey home from school.

And between every few shops is an alleyway, leading into a courtyard, with white shuttered windows and windowboxes full of flowers - they're bed and breakfasts, boutique hotels, vacation apartments and presumably normal Parisian residences. The butcher was packed, as was the fromagerie, so although it is touristy, there are definitely local people doing everyday things there too.

There is a particular claim to fame that the Ile Saint Louis has that I wanted to test. They say that the best ice cream in the world is sold there.

It's called Berthillon, and being a huge ice cream fan I can solemnly say that if it isn't the best ice cream in the world, it certainly tasted like it to me yesterday. (I had caramel au buerre salle - it had the grown up bitter flavour of a creme brulee crust - a very small scoop was an elegant sufficiency. But I wanted to go back and have another one all afternoon.)

The rest of my family agreed that it was seriously fine ice cream.

And now it appears that I've filled another post about yesterday, when what I really wanted to tell you about TODAY, where we visited the Louvre, then La Drougerie, got kind of lost in the seediest part of town (where there are alleyways between every few shops too, but the activities in there are of an entirely different nature), and stumbled into the Galleries Lafayette during a storewide 30-50% off sale (and stumbled out again pretty quick - the crowds were horrible).

I'll wait till tomorrow - because La Drougerie does deserve it's own post. If I had to wait half an hour for them to wind my yarn (which they did tell me was about to happen, so it wasn't a shock), you'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out about what's in the bag..

Bonsoir mes amis. (stop rolling your eyes)


jp said...


That icecream sounds mighty fine!

Janette said...

Isn't Paris fantastic! Loving your posts and looking forward to tomorrow's review.

M-H said...

When we visited, my son's partner walked us through the Ilse - **where he lived until he was five**! Squeee! He showed us the spartment where they lived, and the icecream shop, and the garage where he once got lost under a car pit (still looking like the 1930s) etc. It is beautiful, and made it so person. BTW, only extremely rich people can afford to live there now.

MadMad said...

I am so, so envious - this is bringing back such great memories from last year. That ice cream really is the best. (Though I think Americans have a greater sense of proportion, if you know what I mean...) Anyway, glad you're having such a great time, and can't wait to see your purchases!

Rose Red said...

Oh I hope you had a chanpagne for me too! And some ice cream...yum!

Can't wait to see what's in the bags!

Bells said...

this is all sounding gorgeous. I love the stemless champagne flute and just the notion of having a memory making moment like that. So envious.


Donna said...

Jealous.Jealous.Jealous. Did I make my point? It sounds fab!

RosalĂ­a said...

Congratulations for your travel!

Anonymous said...

"Bored out of their skulls" - aren't children wonderful. Travelling with kids is much more about the ice-creams and watching how everyday people live (and sometimes that is a great thing).

Please post again soon!

Yoga Knitdra said...

What a wonderful photo and love the champagne flute. I never get tired of reading friends' travelling blogs, virtual travel is great too. I want to see what's in the bag now please!

Anonymous said...

whats in the bag, whats in the bag!! imagine me jumping up and down and squealing like a kid! icecream and champagne and that view and yarn shopping. seriously, does life get any better than that?

Corrie said...

I am loving your blog posts, I'm working backwards but should be going the other way!

and yes I'll share a pic of my gingerbread house but I'm pretty sure yours was really good last year! I do love making and eating!!!!!!!