Easter Break in Paris {part three}

(This post is a continuation of Day two in Paris)

Following our ultra satisfying experience at Le Marche’ des Enfants Rouges, we decided we would walk off our food and headed towards the Centre Pompidou, the Les Halles neighborhood, Rue Beaubourg, and Rue Montorgueil. (recommended by a friend.) This area was probably one of my favorite in Paris. These small streets were full of cute bistros, brasseries, coffee shops, boutiques, vintages stores, and well-known dessert shops. Some of them includedΒ L’Atelier du Chocolat,Β which had delicious-looking truffles, “chocolate sheets,” and real chocolate eggs! Another one was Stohrer, the oldest pastry shop in Paris, especially known for the best Eclair du ChocolatΒ (… but their pastries, savory delights, and chocolate eggs with Pope Francis designed on them, looked just as amazing to us.) Further down we also found Foucher, another known chocolatier (chocolate shop), and street vendors selling gingerbread cookies and loafs, Nutella Crepes and even Nutella paninis!

Our walk ended in one of the most famous tearooms in Paris, Angelina. I had been told by a number of friends that this was a must-stop in Paris. I was told their hot chocolate is the absolute best in town, (a classic at Angelina!) and their most talked about dessert is their Mont-Blanc, a pastry with it’s own history (which you can read all about here.) I had been talking about this place for ages before even setting foot in Paris, now the moment to try it our myself finally arrived; I was beyond excited. Of course, not to my surprise, there was a line of tourists waiting outside. After about 40 minutes of waiting, plus 5 minutes of deciding what we would get, we chose the two Angelina classics (just because we were there, because those were their most famous options, and because, lets face it, we probably would never go back… sadly)

The Verdict: The Hot chocolate was exactly what I was expecting. It was thick, creamy, and oh-so delicious. This is the kind of hot-chocolate we usually have back in Italy, so to me this is what I’m used to, this is what I like to call “Real Hot Chocolate,” not the gross “Add 150 ml of water” types of hot chocolate one typically finds throughout North America. Although i found this to be a pretty damn good hot chocolate, my friend didn’t think the same. Being used to drinking the more liquid type of hot chocolate, she found this to be “just too much chocolate.” (But still worth the experience!) The Mont-Blanc on the other hand was very interesting to say the least. To be honest, it’s not something I would usually order for myself. I had no idea what to expect before trying it, I decided to simply go for it because it was their most popular dessert. The taste was very intriguing. My friend and I couldn’t put our finger as to what it tasted like, until we decided it was something like chestnuts and milk chocolate creme… (you can get a better description on their website linked above^)

After our sweetΒ Angelina experience we finally headed back to our hotel. After a moment of feeling quite sick, my friend decided it wasn’t worth staying in while we were in Paris. We faced the cold and ended up indulging in a very French dinner: Moulles et Frites, near the Moulin Rouge!

Could I have asked for a better way to spend my day in Paris? I will have to say, probably not πŸ˜‰




Easter Break in Paris {part two}

Our second day in Paris was very successful in terms of delicious cuisine.

We decided to start the day off by having breakfast in one of the typical (and may I add super cute) French coffee shops around the city. After much walking to find the “perfect coffee shop” (because we are very indecisive and picky when it comes to where we eat…) we found a small little place near the amazing building of the “Opera” and the well-known French department store of Galleries Lafayette. The place offered two types of breakfasts: the English/American/Continental Breakfast (with eggs and bacon included) and the more typical French Breakfast (with coffee, orange juice, and a simple croissant.) Of course, since we were in Paris after all, and because we were trying not to eat too big of a breakfast to have enough space for lunch we decided to two French Breakfasts! Croissants included!

Our next big touristic spots were the Jardins du Luxembourg and the Pantheon. The Jardins were absolutely stunning, and bigger than I ever thought they would be. As we walked through the gardens what seemed to be a stampede of fit French men and women jogged from every direction, and apparently they didn’t seem to mind the freezing weather.. but I guess it was quite a beautiful garden to run through! Near the middle of the Jardins du Luxembourg there was a huge pond with families and their young ones gathered around it to control and watch their wooden boats ride along. It was such a cute moment Β πŸ™‚

After a quick stop at the Pantheon we headed towards the “Les Marais” area. This is one of the French Arrondissements (number 3) that was most recommended to me by a couple of friends. I was super excited to see and walk through its picture perfect streets filled with boutiques and restaurants on either side… however, either we got lost or everything was simply closed, but I don’t think I got the chance to see the Les Marais everyone talked to me about 😦 Nonetheless, I was far from dissapointed after finally finding one of Paris’ best markets, loved by the French and some tourists alike : Les Marche des Enfants Rouges. This market was recommended to me by one of my best friends Kristine who was luckyy enough to have had the opportunity to spend her study abroad experience right here in Paris! After six months there she knew all the details and some of the best places to go and things to see that she was kind of enough to send me 3 whole documents on everything we needed to know about Paris’s must-see places! (a shout out to my Krisyyy, thank you so so much!)
Les Marche des Enfants Rouge was everything I love about markets all in one place. Unfortunately the “farmers market” itself looked like it was closing down by the time we got there. However, the best part of this market (which is definitely my favorite part), is that all around the market they have small tents, tables, and different “shacks” that serve all types of food! The menus available ranged from Italian, to Burgers, to typical French bistro, to Lebanese and to our chosen place: Morroccan! Never had I (or my friend) tried Morrocan food, neither did we really know what their typical dishes were but we decided to go for it! The dishes displayed at the front and the longest waiting-line convinced us! (after all, long lines mean the food must be good!) After ‘pointing out’ what we wanted to eat, we settled at a table near by and had one of the most fantastic meals in Paris that wasn’t typically French πŸ™‚ (.. But I guess somewhat related since Morrocco was under French influence at one point?..) The food was so delicious that we kept eating until we were so full we could barely walk… oh the joys of Paris!

(Day Two will be continued on the next Post! Hope you’re enjoying it πŸ™‚ )


Easter Break in Paris {part one}

March 22, 2013

Le Premier Jour

Very cute little details at Hotel Joyce

Very cute little details at Hotel Joyce

With classes behind us, my friend and travel partner Annie and I, left rainy Cardiff for an much awaited adventure to the fairytale city of Paris. (yes, we’re the kind of girls who go crazy for anything Paris related and we were beyond excited to set foot on the magical French land.)

Do to our lowered student budgets, we had decided to take a bus to Paris instead of a plane. The ride was around 13 hours long in total, with a stop of a couple hours in London and another right before we entered the Euro Tunnel. This was actually my second time taking a bus through the Euro Tunnel, (I took the same route years ago with my family), however, I could barely remember much from the actual Tunnel experience. After waiting for there to be space for our bus to get on the next train that would go through the Euro Tunnel, which connects the UK to France, we were finally off! By 3 am or so, we were on French land and our next stop was Paris!

We managed to make it to the capital at around 7 am just as planned. We were exhausted and had barely slept anything at all the night before, but the day was just beginning! Soon enough we arrived to our hotel, which was incredibly cuute! (I guess the hours of searching for the perfect one really paid off.) The decor and boutique-styled hotel was everything I would have wanted for our stay in Paris! Our first few hours in Paris only got better when the hotel offered us a free buffet-style breakfast. Croissants, boiled eggs, brie cheese, pain-au-chocolat, yoghurt, fruits, orange juice… it was the absolute perfect way to start the day and our short vacation! (This breakfast was probably my favorite) {check out our wonderful hotel here: Joyce Hotel}

A delicious French breakfast at Hotel Joyce

A delicious French breakfast at Hotel Joyce

As we finished stuffing our faces with deliciousness, we headed to the St. Michel fountain to begin our sight-seeing tour. We decided to take this free-walking tour around Paris instead of paying for the typical red double-decker buses tours. I think it was definitely a good idea because we were given short French history courses that related to the places we were walking past. Nonetheless, I do think that by the red bus we might have seen a wider range of touristic sights… Notre-Dame, buildings with WWII bullet holes in them, walks by the River Seine, a view of the famous crystal pyramids of the Louvres,trolls through Les Jardins des Tuileries, and Place de la Concorde, were just a few of the sights we did manage to see. And also, lets not forget about getting a sight of the “Tour Eiffel” for the first time, it was stunning!

Our day was followed with lunch and a walk up the Champs-Elysees. This area is definitely one of my favorite in Paris. Yes, there are a lot of shops and high-end stores there, but that’s not the only reason why I like it so much (I actually wasn’t even interested in doing any shopping.) It’s the wide avenue filled with not only stores, Brasseries, and coffee shops, but with energy and a laid-back happiness… not sure how to explain it, but doesn’t it just sound magical to be walking down the Parisian Champs-Elysees? it sure was for me! Oh how I wish I could fly back!

The long day ended with a mandatory stop at the first ever Laduree. Now a day, many Laduree stores have opened up in big cities all over the world but this was surely the first. Their famous macarons and St.Honore attract long lines of tourists every day (including us!)