Paris: A Day of Exploration
Paris: A Day of Exploration
On our first full day in Paris, we had a light breakfast of croissants with jam before heading out to the Louvre museum. After many overwhelming hours indoors, we decided to embark upon a journey searching for the famed patisserie, Laduree. I had never tried a macaroon before and was eagerly anticipating the much-hyped experience of eating a fresh Parisian macaroon. We found the shop and impatiently waited in line for a half hour before seeing the list of options and then spending another ten minutes agonizing of which flavors to purchase. I opted for one each of vanilla, coffee, coconut, rose, salted caramel, pistachio, and- Marie Antoinette. Marie Antoinette was described as a black tea macaroon with citrus and rose petal. This blue colored macaroon was to be my first sample and it was a good one at that. Who would have thought that the dry, hard looking little cookie could be so light and creamy inside!
When I reached the cashier, I was shocked to find that my mere seven macaroons came to a price of seventeen Euros. The cashier explained that the ornately decorated gift box costs five Euros in itself. As I was on a budget, I annoyingly asked to switch out the box for a bag. Frustrated, the cashier handed my box to the woman who had helped me and began my refund transaction. All of the sudden, someone urgently grabbed my arm with much more strength than needed. I turned and was surprised to see the woman who had helped me standing right there to hand me the Laduree bag. She smiled and walked away quickly. As I walked out of the store I peered into the bag to see that the elaborate gift box was still sitting inside the bag, packaged beautifully for me to rip apart and devour its contents later. I turned at the last moment and we exchanged one more glance. Kindness in France.
That afternoon, we stopped for a snack and coffee at a small café. This is where I got to try Foie Gras for the first time. The dish came with a side of crisp country bread and a bowl of fig jam. I was surprised to find the Foie Gras hard like butter and lacking in flavor. My friends informed me that it is usually much better and that they have most often eaten it served warm. I was pretty disappointed, but the jam was delicious. Next, I went for a classic and one of my favorite comfort foods, French onion soup. The soup was salty and warm with globs of melted gruyere dripping from every spoonful. It was the perfect compliment to the cold, windy day outside and it warmed my friends and I more than the thin leather coats that we packed after misjudging the weather.
That evening was a splurge. We had a late dinner at ten thirty in a trendy bar/restaurant and dined mostly on seafood and cheese platters. I myself ordered a half dozen oysters for twenty Euros. The steep price was worth it to me since I have spent inordinate amounts of time researching the subtle variances of flavor, shape and size of the different species of oysters around the world. I would have paid ten Euros for one oyster. I was not disappointed, though the flavor was not as different from those of the east coast as I had expected. We washed the meal down with a bottle of brut champagne and I later ended the night by having my first ever “jager bomb”, in which the bartender dropped shots of jagermeister into a beer pints, lit the bar on fire, and informed us to chug the drink before the flames died down.