We went for lovely walks along the Seine, around Montemarte, the Marais and around the left bank. I had been to Paris when I was 18, but had forgotten just how stunning the architecture is.
Seriously...why don't we live here? Specifically, why don't we live in the building below left? I'll take the top two floors please. These buildings overlooked Hôtel de Ville (City Hall).
We also went on an incredible three-hour tour (cue Gilligan's Island theme song). It was a food tour called Taste of the Marais and it was organized by Paris by Mouth. Our friends, Calvin and Amy, took one of PbM's wine-tasting tours when they were in Paris for their honeymoon last year, and had recommended we check it out. By the time we went online to book it, the wine tour was sold out, but, as luck would have it, we love food just as much as we love wine...and this tour included a bit of imbibing too.
Our friendly, knowledgeable guide Jennifer (an American expat) told us all about the best baguettes and croissants in the city and the best part was...we got to sample everything. The bread and pastries were followed up with cheeses, charcuterie, wine and chocolates. So yeah, it was pretty much one of the best days of my life.
Here's a little taste of our tour...starting with flaky, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth croissants...
We learned that Comté is the #1 selling cheese in France and I discovered that I don't hate all blue cheeses. We had a Roquefort AOC that was...dare I say...life changing. OK, that might be a bit extreme, but it was subtle and delicious and made me reconsider my long-standing dislike of all cheeses with blue veining.
In fromage heaven.
We visited a gourmet spice shop frequented by the likes of Alain Ducasse. I picked up a fancy sea salt mixture called Blue Paradise by Thiercelin (below right). It's supposed to be great on fish, but so far I've only tried it on toasted tomato sandwiches, and it's delicious. My sandwiches are surely now Dorchester quality.
Josh actually looks like Parisian here. I think it's the blue pants.
We sampled our cheeses together with some local French wines at this great little wine store called Bibovino. Just like here in North America, boxed wine has a bit of stigma in France, and this organic wine store is trying to educate Parisians that boxed n'est pas mal.
Jennifer telling us about the amazing cheese we're about to try.
And I can confirm that boxed wine isn't all bad. The Bergerac Sec white wine we tried was really nice.
I can't believe I didn't snap a photo of this shop's gorgeous chocolates, but I did snag one of their stunning orchid displays and their pâtes de fruits. Named after the owner, Jacques Genin, this shop has no signage out front, and doesn't really advertise. They don't even have much of a website, so for more information, check out this post on the shop, on the Paris by Mouth blog.
The pâtes de fruits are made with real fruit. The flavours ranged from raspberry to lychee, mango to cassis (blackcurrant).
Our tour guide, Jennifer, has a lovely blog on life in France called Chez LouLou and you can find it here. I didn't list every shop we visited, as I don't want to give away their whole tour. If you're planning a trip to Paris I can't recommend this tour highly enough, and our friends have vouched for PbM's wine tour - so what have you got to lose? With it's English language reviews, articles and tips, the Paris by Mouth website is a great resource if you're heading to the City of Light.
Alright, that's it for today. I'll have a few more trip updates and another peek at our new house soon.