photo of the day (paris day two)

The kids were up earlier than we were and that, unless it is Christmas or Easter, is a very rare ocurrance. So we got dressed and went out for some coffee and croissants. We walked from the hotel and across the Ile de la Cité to the Louve where we wandered around the courtyard for a bit, people watched and marveled at the architecture. Yes, I’m admitting it openly: I’ve been to Paris twice and haven’t gone into the Louvre. First of all, my hubby isn’t much of a museum person, and second of all, I’m completely intimidated by the size of the Louvre. And there are so many smaller and just as wonderful museums to go to in Paris. So I stick to the less intimidating ones.

Another reason that we didn’t go inside the museum was that it was a glorious day to be outdoors in Paris. Remember that it’s been a dissapointing spring in New England so a warm, sunny day was a real treat after all the cold and rain. The Tuilleries were just around the corner and the gardens beckoned.

The Jardin des Tulleries is a lovely park filled with statues, gardens, reflecting pools and fun activities for children. While Zki and Nick lagged behind us, Clare and I went off in search of the carousel (not this grand statue at the park entrance but the real one that goes round and round.)

On our way to find the carousel horses, we found the real ponies. I didn’t think Clare would really want a ride on a tame little park pony but they were sweet and cute so we petted them for awhile and watched some little ones take a ride through the park.

Clare and I petted the ponies and watched the little ones on the Carousel. Then Clare, (Nick is plus grand which means he is too big,) had a jump around on the trampolines while the boys chilled in the shade.

All that jumping around and watching that jumping around was making us hungry so we walked out of the park in search of lunch and a pharmacy for me as Mother Nature had given me a gift as her way of saying “Bienvenue a Paris.” Gee, thanks.

We found a nice little cafe for lunch and afterwards, in our search for a pharmacy (not difficult, as they are everywhere) we came across a real find: Pierre Herme.

During the time I was packing and preparing for our trip to Paris, I’ve been keeping up with a lovely little blog written by a New York artist who spends much time in Paris, Paris Breakfasts. Since I’ve been reading her blog, I’ve learned a bit about Paris culture and most importantly, about a small and colorful bit of French pastry (cookie, to be precise) called a “macaron.” Not the chewy, coconutty little blob that appears in New York groceries and bakeries every Passover. French macarons look like this:

Aren’t they pretty? You really have to go over to Paris Breakfasts and read what Carol has to say about them to understand why finding and tasting a French macaron became my personal quest. Then you will understand why stumbling upon Pierre Herme’s Patisierrie was such a monumental occasion. The place is a veritable mecca for macaron lovers. I bought a box of 7 of the lovely little jewels (trés cher at 11.90 euros!) and shared them with the family. I didn’t want to share, believe me, and only Clare seemed to appreciate the enormity of my find and relish the tastes and textures of our newly discovered treasures. Were they worth it? Well, all I can say is that a new addiction is born and with that, the need to find a source of macarons here in the States and better yet, in the tri-state area.

We stopped in the Jeu de Paume (I’ve just read that the building used to be an indoor tennis court, hence the name, which if I’m correct, translates into “tennis racquet” ) in hopes of some photography to inspire us but were disappointed to find that there was only a video exhibition. We walked over to the other side of the park and L’Orangerie so I could share my love of Monet’s Water Lilies and the other impressionist art housed in the museum.

I cannot imagine anything better (another box of macarons, perhaps) than sitting quietly in a room surrounded by Monet’s Water Lilies.

On an impulse, I convinced Zki it would be a good idea when paying our admission to L’Orangerie, to buy a ticket that included admission to the Musee D’Orsay, another treasure trove of Impressionist art. After we were well saturated with Water Lilies, we left the Tuilleries and walked across the Seine to the Musee D’Orsay. The line for tickets at the Orsay was longer than I had expected and I was happy that we had purchased our tickets in advance so we could avoid the line entirely.

We were tired and thirsty by the time we reached our second museum of the day so we stopped in the museum cafe for a cold drink. The Orsay had once been a train station and we sat underneath one of the large clocks that used to announce the comings and goings of trains. Clare ordered what she thought was a lemonade and found, to her surprise, that she got a glass of fresh squeezed lemon juice with a couple of packets of sugar! A bit too sour and strong for any of our American tastes.

When Zki and I were in Paris for my first trip, it was earlier in the spring and the outdoor patio at the museum was still closed for the season. This time is was open and we went outside to take pictures of the statues sitting atop the museum roof.

We headed inside and browsed through the sculpture and the paintings to our heart’s content and when we were sufficiently museumed out, we headed back to the hotel for a rest before dinner. I had requested a taxi as I was tired and my feet hurt and so did Clare’s but we ended up walking the entire 2.6 k back to the hotel (which, as far as I can tell, is almost the entire length of the Boulevard Saint Germain! Such sore little piggies did Clare and I have after that!

That called for a good soak in a hot bath scented with a bath bomb that I picked up along the way at Clare and my fave store, Lush, on the Rue de Buci. After a short nap we went out to dinner, close to the hotel, quick and easy, short and sweet. Tomorrow is another day and I can’t wait to wake up and see just what Paris has to offer me then.

~ by photobella on 21 May, 2009.

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