So, let's get on with this, shall we? Friday, October 4, our 7th day in Paris ~ we had lunch reservations at Spring, one of our favourite restaurants in Paris. We have been lucky enough to enjoy Daniel Rose's hospitality 5 times (6 if you count our private cooking class with Daniel and Marie Aude in 2009, but that would be bragging, wouldn't it?) since 2008. Spring is on a tiny street in the 1st arrondissement, not far from the Louvre but miles away from the grandiose and reverential atmosphere of the world's largest, most opulent museum. Dining at Spring is to put yourself in the chef's hands, as Daniel serves a no choice menu, chosen from what's freshest that day. Your only choice is wine and we usually let the staff pair our wine to our courses since we don't know what we will be served.
Here's some pictures of our fabulous lunch:
|foie gras w/sel de guerand ~ yum|
|trout filet cooked with a blowtorch on a reduction of olive oil and honey|
|veal tenderloin with a puree of cepes|
|the rest of the veal and mushrooms ~ all for us!|
|roasted figs w/honey|
|chef at work|
We spent the rest of the day of the afternoon walking off our delicious feast, strolling through back and forth between the bridges connecting the 1st with Ile la Cite and Ile St Louis, making our way back slowly to our apartment for a little rest before going back out around 6pm. We had tickets to a show at a wonderful little theatre called Essaion, very close to Beaubourg and just a few blocks from our apartment. We were going to see Caroline Nim as Edith Piaf. The theatre is in an ancient building off a little lane. The stone vaulted ceiling added to the cabaret atmosphere. Caroline is a wonderful jazz singer who has played in London and Sydney Australia, among other players. She become Edith Piaf on the little stage, accompanied only by a pianist and bass player. She tells the story of La Mome, her start in the working class arrondissement of Belleville, her rise to stardom, the loss of the love of her life and her sad death at an early age. She engaged the small audience (the room holds maybe 30 people, so it was a very intimate show) with her sultry voice, her perfect intonation of Piaf and her warm personality.
We really enjoyed the show, which was a little over an hour long. We decided on an easy dinner after our gourmet lunch and ended up at Pizza Momo again.
|drinks before the show|
|the tiny stage where Edith Piaf came to live again|
|Den's lasagna at Pizza Momo|
|my veggie pizza|
But since Nuit Blanche takes place at night (duh), we have another day of walking and exploring ahead of us. We decided to visit revisit the 9th arrondissement, starting with the magnificent Opera Garnier. Although we had enjoyed a ballet here a few years ago, we've never been inside this sumptuous building in the daylight. Our tickets allowed us to tour at our leisure and we spent over an hour just walking around gawking at the majestic marble staircase, the over the top gilt ceilings, the outdoor balcony overlooking Paris and the opera hall itself, decked out with red velvet seats, private boxes and the famous Chagall ceiling. Although we saw the ceiling during our ballet evening, this was the first time I noticed that the scenes depicted are from various ballets. We also enjoyed the tapestries in one of the side halls that were woven at the famous Gobelins tapestry house in the 14th arrondissement.
|who needs Versailles, lol|
|sing it, Den!|
After walking around Garnier drinking in the over the top surroundings, we walked over to Le Galleries Lafayette with the intention of doing a little underwear shopping (for Den, lol), but the crowds and the noise made us leave a few minutes after taking the obligatory pictures of the stained glass ceiling and the surrounding inside balconies. We had thought of having lunch on the top floor of the store so we could take in the great views of Paris, but the mass of people everywhere made us change our mind. After a quick stop at the C&A across the street (where Den did finally get some underwear, the first of many bought this trip), we walked down one of the little side streets behind les Grands Magasins looking for lunch. We found it at a little cafe where I had perfectly acceptable moules frites and Den had andouillette.
After lunch, we decided to explore a little more of the 9th arrondissement. We slowly ambled along more side streets to Boul de Clichy, stopped in at Denise Acabo's l'Etoile d'Or for some of the best chocolate available in Paris (she is the only one who can import the Bernachon bars made in Lyon) and then made our way down rue des Martyrs, a wonderful street full of cafes, cheese shops, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, some destockage places (where Den got more underwear) ~ all the wonderful places that make Paris what it is. I told Den that I much preferred walking along this lively street full of affordable marvels than the Faubourg St Honore, which houses all the world famous designers one could hope to find, but where we are both truly out of our element. We continued our walk along rue du Faubourg de Montmartre, passing the old fashioned A la Mere de Famille chocolate and candy shop and stopping for a well deserved café creme before hopping on the metro to take us back to our hood.
|one of the beautiful churches of Paris, somewhere in the 9th|
|I just liked the name, lol|
|A l'Etoile d'Or, a chocolate lover's paradise|
|it's mushroom season|
|Den admiring the goodies at La Mère de Famille|
Tonight we had reservations at one of our favourite bistros in Paris, Au Vieux Comptoir in the 1st arrondissement. We left the apartment and slowly made our way over to the restaurant, enjoying the throng of people out in anticipation of Nuit Blanche. There were already a few exhibits up around Hotel de Ville and we got a schedule of where and when the events were taking place.
We started with foie gras for Den and beautiful mushrooms grilled in a skillet with serrano ham for me. Den's foie gras was silky smooth and unctuous and served with a warm loaf of walnut raisin bread that was baked in house and was decadently perfect with the foie. I then had scallops in an orange sauce that was unfortunately too salty and Den had a steak with creamy mashed potatoes, but the steak was more medium than rare as requested. Service was also a little off that night, which sadly surprised us as we've been coming back here in part because of the warm efficient service and the always spot on bistro classics. I guess everyone can have an off night once in a while, but it was a disappointing start to our evening.
|huge meaty mushrooms topped with serrano ham|
|Den's perfect foie gras and warm loaf of house made bread|
|a rare picture of the two of us!|
|my scallops ~ they look great but were too salty :(|
|Den's cafe gourmand|
|my salted caramel rice pudding ~ it almost redeemed the scallops, lol|
|from the top of the Pompidou|
|I guess it's art?|
We woke up pretty late on Sunday and got ready to entertain some Paris friends in our little apartment. Roniece, Michael and Eric showed up right on time at 1pm and we proceeded to go through 4 bottles of wine, some cheese, saucisson, bread and chocolate over the next 6 hours. We had originally planned to chat, eat and drink for an hour or 2 and make our way to Le Baron Rouge for a late lunch, but we had so much fun and the conversation (and wine) were flowing so well, that we just decided to stay and enjoy the afternoon. It's funny that even though we had only met Roniece and Michael earlier that week and were meeting Eric for the first time, we all felt so comfortable with each other. We talk and laughed so much that before we knew it, the day was gone (and so was the wine, lol). I have to say that this was probably one of my favourite days in Paris, not just of this trip, but ever. It was so much fun and so relaxing to just kick back with such truly nice people and the modest cheese, bread and chocolates were made as delicious as any gourmet meal we've had by the company we enjoyed that day.
Before we knew it, it was 7pm and time for our friends to make their way home. Eric took a picture of our courtyard on the way out which made its way onto his wonderful website, Paris Daily Photo.
We truly had the best time just hanging with these 3 and felt like we had known each other forever. We had no ambition to go out for dinner, so a few hours later, I walked over to rue des Rosiers and got us some monster falafel sandwiches which we scarfed down like little piggies.