January 16, 2011

New Year's Day – A Day of Just Food

New Year's Day in Paris was cloudy with drizzle. After breakfast at our hotel, we took Metro to the Arc de Triomphe. After visiting the famed monument we started walking down Paris' grand boulevard - Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Being a holiday the majority of the shops were closed, save a few. Sephora was open, and so were the car showrooms and many restaurants and cafes. Yes, you can buy a car on New Year's Day in Paris. But, instead of shopping for cars, we opted to stop at a brasserie for lunch.

For lunch I ordered a baguette with camembert and Jonathan got a omelette. My sandwich was very good and, unlike similar sandwiches in the United States, had Camembert and butter! (Definitely not a diet food.)

After eating, we continued our walk down Avenue des Champs-Élysées. At the bottom of the street we discover a holiday market lining both sidewalks and perused the stalls as we continued to walk along the boulevard. At Place de la Concorde we turned left along Rue Royale and stopped for tea at Ladurée. Time for a snack. This adorable - and very popular - tea salon and patisserie is one of my favorite places to go in Paris for tea and sweets. They make bright colored macaroons and other beautiful treats. Jonathan order a macaroon pomme caramel - like a large macaroon with caramel cream, apples, and sea salt caramel. I got a chocolate sweet that had many different layers of macaroon biscuit, chocolate pastry, and chocolate cream. Both were lovely and tasted excellent, but again I preferred the apple pastry over the chocolate one.

After tea, we went to the Madeleine, a large and imposing looking church in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. I will write more about this at another time, now I must move the story forward to our next snack.

We walked back to Place de la Concorde and enter Jardin des Tuileries. It was dusk at this point and many people were out strolling along the paths and relaxing in the park.

We walked through the Tuileries arrived at the Musée du Louvre. The museum was closed, however the square was filled with people looking at the glass pyramids and admiring the magnificent former palace.

Here we stopped at Cafe Marly for our next snack. This is a unique and fashionable cafe with windows overlooking the Louvre's sculpture gallery. And it was at this cafe that we discovered vegetable terrine by serendipity. We sat down and got some wine. Jonathan ordered a terrine, assuming it was of the meat variety. The waiter brought a plate containing a terrine of leaks with truffle shavings and a vinaigrette sauce.

After Jonathan's initial bewilderment that he had ordered a vegetarian dish, we both thoroughly enjoyed the terrine. It was one of those dishes were the quality of ingredients and the simplicity of preparation created the perfect flavor. Yes, these were just simple leaks - and, yet, as a dish they were so much more. With the terrine they served bread and my favorite things in France, butter.

After our snack and early evening drink, we went back out onto the street and began walking towards Île Saint-Louis in search of more food – dinner.

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