Thursday, May 27, 2010

Last Full Day in Paris

We couldn't leave Paris without giving Dave a chance to see the Eiffel tower up close. I knew he'd appreciate the engineering.

We decided not to take the elevators to the top. Shaun and I took them last time at night which was pretty but really crowded. We decided the real treat is to see the structure and be awed by it's immensity.

And almost as exciting were the free toilettes nearby.

Dave had to pay a euro to use the toilette in a restaurant on our walk from the metro to the tower.

We decided to go to the Musee D'Orsey, but when we got to the metro stop my 3-day pass had stopped working... again. You can't try it again right away because it will interpret that as trying to get two people through on one pass. You have to wait for 20 minutes before using it again at the same station.

We decided to walk along the Seine in the direction of the Musee D'Orsey. It's really difficult to judge distance when you use the metro. Some stops are closer than you think. Since it had turned out to be a beautiful warm day, we decided to skip the museum and take a boat ride on the Seine.

We wished we'd done this earlier. You get a much better sense of how the city is laid out, and you find out more about the buildings and the history of the city.

These are just a hint of what we saw on the 1-hour boat ride.

I found the rooftop gardens to be intriguing. Those are trees up there!

Like London, Paris is a mix of old, older, and new. Here is a bit of Notre Dame rising above some very high-end apartments. Paris didn't experience the bombing that most of the cities of Germany did, so there are a lot more very old buildings here but there are lots of newer buildings as well.

After the boat tour, we discovered that my metro pass still wouldn't work, so we found an information booth at the station to get it replaced. This happened to me several times. I finally realized that the magnet latches on my travel purse were de-magnitizing the strip that communicates with the metro entry machines.

In the evening we went to the David Lebovitz book signing at the W.H. Smith bookstore across from the tuilleries (yes, we found it).

He was speaking mostly to Americans in Paris. He blogs and writes about being a pastry chef/cookbook writer in Paris. His style is light and humorous. There was a large crowd so we couldn't get close enough to see him, but we were near the book signing table so we got our books signed quickly. I gave him a couple of copies of Edible Santa Barbara. One of his ice cream recipes is in the one with the tomatoes on the cover and I gave him the chocolate issue as well since he leads chocolate tours in Paris. He told me he loves the Edible magazines.

I couldn't buy his new book Ready for Dessert because it's too heavy for my already heavy suitcase, so I got his smaller book on chocolate... a really good choice.

We leave on Monday and I'm already panicking about how to get everything into our suitcases and get them onto the plane. I'll probably leave my slacks here to make more room for the copper pan we bought in Paris.

Our final experience for the day was to go to Laduree on Champs Elysee for dinner. It was far too elegant to take photos of our food. We ate upstairs, choosing the classical menu over the cafe style menu. It was quite delicious. Dave's choice was the best, a shrimp salad with a light vinaigrette dressing. The small sweet shrimp were just a little warm on crisp butter lettuce, spinach, and large leaf mint. We bought our macaroons (Laduree is well-known for macaroons) to go because they are less expensive in a box than on a plate.

I have to agree with Pascale, the Gerard Mulot macaroons I tasted were better. I think the focus for Gerard Mulot is the filling with just a hint of macaroon exterior. The Laduree macaroons focus more on the macaroon exterior with a filling accent. I like this kind of research.

We were home by midnight. It's amazing how many people are still on the streets and in the cafes at midnight.

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