Thursday, February 19, 2015

Dreaming of Paris // Part I

I was going through some old photos on my computer this week and I came across an album that brought back fond memories. An album that I felt compelled to share. I realized that this week 3 years ago I took my first trip to Paris. Ever since then, I have been dying to go back. I hope that my husband Whit and I can make the trip together sometime in the near future. But until then, I will relive the memories I captured through the photos I took.

So in light of all the (Throw Back Thursday) TBT photos everyone posts on Instagram, I thought I would do a little throw back Thursday on the blog. I apologize in advance for the picture overload. It was hard to narrow down the photos because I had so many to choose from. With that being said, I've decided to break this into 2 posts. I will share the second half of my adventure with you all next week.
 
Bonjour Paris!


So let me start from the beginning. I went on this trip as part of a "thank you" for the hard work I put into planning a conference at work. A few colleges and I headed out for a 5 day and four night trip to the "City of Love"... without our loved ones.

We arrived mid afternoon on the first day and set out to do some site seeing. Just a short walk from our hotel was the Arc de Triomphe. This was such a beautiful monument. I watched in amazement at how all of the vehicles maneuvered around this structure without lines on the road. It basically looked like a free for all, taking turns and hoping for the best.


We did so much walking on this trip and I'm thankful for that after seeing how the cars drove through this "unorganized traffic circle."


One of our first stops was at the famous Laduree Paris to take a peak at the tea room and check out the macaroons of course. The place was packed inside, so needleless to say I browsed around for a minute and was in and out. I just adore the pretty little details and packaging with everything they do.

After a little more sightseeing, we made our way back to the hotel. That evening we had a casual dinner at a little Italian spot on the street. Unfortunately I have no photos from dinner, but I do remember that it was delicious. I think the jet lag was sinking in at this point.

The next day we set out to explore more of the city....but first, breakfast.


I loved the fact that there were Patisserie's on almost every corner. We stopped at Lacombe Café to warm up over a cup of coffee and a pastry.

 


The inside of this patisserie was eclectic and funky with black trimmed mirrors covering the Barbie pink ceilings and palm leaf light fixtures. Not a bad spot to warm up for a few minutes.
 
After breakfast we headed to Marche aux Puces at Clignancourt (St.-Ouen), otherwise known as the Paris Flea Market.  This is one of the largest markets in Paris.  It was like a treasure hunt; strolling the alley ways and browsing the perfectly curated collections dealers had on display.  I learned quickly to use the bargaining tactic. There were so many vendors leaving room for competition.  There was everything from rustic antique pieces to fine chandeliers and art. 

 
 
 
Shopping the market was like going in booth after booth at an antique store the size of a small city.
I would have snatched up all of these oyster plates and taken them home with me if I could have fit them in my suitcase.
 
 
Oh the stories this silver could tell. Piece after piece just begging to be placed in a fancy dining room of someone's home.
 
 
 
I seriously could have spent days there going through all of the booths. I just wanted to ship a container home full of treasures.

 
 
Understanding the layout of the market is key to not getting lost and especially important if you are on a search for something in particular. There were submarkets within the market, with upstairs, downstairs, indoor and outdoor booths, shops and warehouses. It’s much like a maze. I however was just taking it all in, hoping to stumble upon a unique find. I did manage to leave with a gorgeous silver bangle for my mom and I also purchased an old print ad from a French magazine (that has yet to be framed.)

 After browsing the market for a few hours, we walked across the street to grab lunch. I of course ordered the Parisian café cliché, a croquet monsieur. That my friends was more than just your average ham and cheese sandwich. It was so savory, layered with ham and smothered in béchamel sauce.
 

Lunch gave us just the energy we needed to continue on with the day and do some more exploring.

The lines were too long for the Louvre Museum, so we decided to admire it from afar. Judging by how beautiful it is on the outside, I can only imagine what the inside looks like.
 

Notice all the locks attached to the bridge we are standing on?! This bridge holds the locks of thousands of people who have visited, placed a signed lock on the fence and tossed the key in the river. Very fascinating and sweet.
 
 
 
Our next stop was Notre Dame de Paris. Unfortunately for us, it was closed that day so again we admired it from the outside.
 
 
The details of this structure were incredible. I tried to zoom in enough to get a close up of the gargoyles. The photos don't do it justice.
 

Making our way back to the hotel, we passed by the Roue de Paris. I can only imagine how amazing the views are from the top of this Ferris Wheel.

 
After a long day of exploring, we finally made it back to the hotel to freshen up for a nice dinner.
 
We had reservations at Au Pied de Cochon, a famous restaurant that has been around since 1947 and has seen the likes of various celebrities. This restaurant serves a variety of popular specialties as well as traditional dishes.
 

 We started with escargot. You know what they say, "when in Rome," or in this case Paris. They were actually pretty good, but then again what isn't good soaked in butter.
 
 

 I also had a bowl of their French onion soup, and yes the top of that bowl was covered in a blanket of cheese.
 

For the main course I had the filet with a side of bone marrow, and something along the lines of a cheesy scalloped potato.  Everything was delicious!  And while I can say that I'm glad I tried bone marrow, I don't believe it's for me.


For dessert.... Crêpes flambées au Grand Marnier!
 
 

Last but not least, these cute little cochon meringues and a round of coffee to end a wonderful (3 hours +) dinner. I also learned that dinners are typically lengthy in Paris. No need to rush, just enjoy the food and each others company.


If you enjoyed reading about my Paris experience, be sure to check back next week for Part II of the trip!

-xoxo

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