Monday, June 10, 2013

Paris, Part 7

Saturday was my last day in Paris, but I had Dawn with me the whole day, which was nice.  We started our day with coffee and AMAZING pastries from the bakery at the base of Dawn's apartment building.  Armed with our delicious pastries, we revisited the Eiffel Tower in the daylight.  Unfortunately, the elevator to the top was closed for repairs, so we just saw the view from the ground. That view wasn't too shabby, either:

I can't remember for sure, but I think we did some more wandering, just enjoying a beautiful fall day in Paris. We visited the lovely Tuileries Gardens (which I still associate most strongly with Pictures at an Exhibition).  Here are a few photos from our wanderings.

Riverboat on the Seine, with graffiti. 

Love locks on a bridge.

Tree sculpture in the Tuileries. 

 Flowers in the Tuileries.

Finally came another highlight of my trip: learning to make eclairs from Dawn's friend Yann.  This process was highly enjoyable and delicious.  I left it to Dawn to actually remember the details of how to make them, I'll have to bug her about it next time I see her.  But here is the general process:

1.   Have awesome kitchen utensils from IKEA. 

(well we didn't actually use these, but still).  

2. Have your French host show you how to perfectly squeeze out the eclair dough he has graciously already prepared for you.  Fail miserably in your own attempts.

3. Also make chouquettes and cover them with this awesome sugar. Bake the eclair shells.

4.  Help add flavor (lime and caramel) to the eclair fillings your host has also graciously made for you.  

5. Clumsily follow your French host's example in filling the eclairs with the flavored center, then top with glaze. 

6.  Enjoy the fruits of your labor. 


After that, we had grand plans to have dinner and then do a boat tour on the Seine.  But in typical Parisian fashion, by the time we finished dinner (no trip to Paris would be complete without a rude waiter), it was too late to do a boat tour.  So we wandered around Paris in the evening.  It was lovely.

And so my time in Paris came to an end.  I left early to the next morning to return home to Los Angeles, inspired and energized to begin the busy season ahead.   Many thanks to Dawn, Michelle, and Yann, who were such wonderful hosts.  You are always welcome in sunny Los Angeles! 

Paris, Part 6

On Friday morning, I headed over to the Loree oboe office!  I was slightly disappointed that the main office is in a different place than the factory, and the factory is outside of Paris, so I couldn't watch the oboes being made.  But the De Gordon family still runs the place, and they make the finishing touches at the main office, so I was able to meet them and play a few instruments.  I wasn't really in the market, so I felt a little bad, but it was still fun to meet the people who made my beloved instruments.

After visiting Loree, I headed over to the Montmartre area and Sacre Coeur.  I have to admit, I was also excited to visit this neighborhood because I saw on the map that there was a Rue Gabrielle, and hey, there aren't too many streets with my name on it, so I was anxious to see it!  It was a very nice little street; I was not disappointed.

I even had my own bus stop:

The Montmartre area was really pretty.  It was fun to imagine famous artists struggling to make a name for themselves here over the past couple hundred years. It might be a little touristy, but it was so pretty I didn't care.  The Sacre Coeur church is also really gorgeous, inside and out.  When I went into the church, there was a mass going on, and nuns were singing beautiful music.  I wish churches in America still sang old masses.

View from the steps of Sacre Coeur

Front of Sacre Coeur

Belltower of Sacre Coeur

Beautiful little park nearby

Church doors in Montmartre

Parisian street with a view of the roof of Sacre Coeur

Dawn met up with me at the steps of Sacre Coeur once she finished work, and we wandered around Montmartre a bit more, into some cute little shops and around the streets.  Even the water fountains in Paris are pretty:

After a little while we headed back over to toward the center of Paris, to L'Art Brut, a nice little bar where we were meeting up with my Asto Wamah friend Michelle and some of her friends.  We had a great time--we got tipsy a bit faster than anticipated because there was some confusion about the kind of food that we ordered and we ended up not having enough to eat in comparison to drink.  It was a fun night!