DAY 2 of a week in Paris - Monday
La Louvre et Champs-Elysées
- BREAKFAST: la patisserie below the apartment
- La Louvre
- LUNCH: Angelina tea salon. 226 Rue de Rivoli (between Rues d'Alger and de Castiglione)
- Madeleine Church & Place de la Concorde
- Place Vendome
- Arc de Triomphe - view
(daily 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) Paris
- DINNER: La Boutique à Sandwiches. 12 Rue du Colisée (between Rue de Ponethieu and Ave des Champs-Elysées)
- Buddha Bar (8 rue Boissy d'Anglais, near Place de la Concorde)
As I mentioned in the last post, there are always certain things you expect that don't happen on a trip like this, and things you don't expect that do. When those unexpected things turn out to be life-long loves, they are good indeed.
One of the unexpected things that wasn't so lovely was that this apartment in the Marais was a 4th floor walk-up. We had spared nothing packing our suitcases for two weeks in Paris. We must have been pretending we were Ms. & Ms. Gotrocks, taking dresses and as many shoes as we wanted. So we had BIG suitcases. But since we weren't Ms. and Ms. Gotrocks, we had to carry those suitcases up four flights by ourselves. But once we were up there, it was great, complete with floor length balcony windows (ours is the top floor in the photo above, just hidden under the hotel card, my sister in her own room and me on a futon in the living room with those tall windows.
So I'm getting to my life-long love discovery. Our first morning waking up in the apartment we decided to try out the patisserie in the ground floor of the apartment building. I went for a café crème and a Danish-looking pastry. We sat outside under an umbrella in the spring sun, watching local residents hurry by on their way to work. This is not a tourist district.
We met pretty Ellen, another American from Boston, who was staying in the hotel. We invited her up for some wine and cheese later in the week, another nice reason to stay in an apartment if you can - they cost no more than a hotel per night, and you have a kitchen, washing machine and lots of room. In the photo above I'm not talking to myself, I'm talking to Ellen. In the photo below, Ellen and Nancy are there looking pretty at our table.
All right, I won't keep you in suspense any longer. My life-long discovery. That Danish-looking pastry was called pain aux raisins (bread with raisins). Although I tried to find its equal at many patisseries in Paris, I never found one as phenomenally delicious as at this little patisserie in the Marais. The secret is that within the spiral of dough and raisins is custard. Yes custard. The delicate brioche dough, combined with custard, is the most delicious thing I've ever tasted. The little woman who bakes them is not terribly friendly and doesn't seem to know a word of English, but the woman knows how to bake.
The afternoon before we left Paris after our two week stay, I ordered 18 of these to pick up in the morning, on our way to the airport. I had brought Ziploc bags for who knows what reason. I packaged up my treasures, snuggled them into the suitcase, and took them - a little flatter - to the office two days after arriving home. I shared them with my colleagues, and they declared that even two-three days old, these were the best tasting things they'd ever eaten.
Now, when I return to Paris, I always try to find an apartment in the Marais - not only for the desirable neighborhood, but for this little patisserie and its pain aux raisins.
I found this photo online at a Flickr page. Hope they don't mind.