Today, I spent a lot of cash money to explore one of the foulest-smelling sights in all of Paris: The Sewer Tour, or Musée des Égouts. That’s right, Kat and I spent the morning learning about the history and mechanics of the water system and sewage treatment in Paris, and I actually liked it.
I’m not sure what that says about me…especially since we could actually see the mysteriously murky sewer water beneath our feet, separated only by flimsy-looking floor grating. Huh. Best not to dwell on that aspect of my personality.
In any case, I was thanking the heavens that I don’t get nauseous easily, because I started off this morning with a delectable pain au chocolat straight from…the grocery bag! Indeed, pain au chocolat (better known as the chocolate croissant in America) actually comes 8 to a bag at the French market, for only 2 euros total! After a quick hop in the toaster, it was melty and quite the tasty grocery store breakfast.
Later in the day, (somehow) still hungry and undaunted by the smelly Sewer Tour, I continued my pastry journey by seeking out the Gosselin bakery at 125 Rue St. Honore.
Gosselin won the Grand Prix prize for the Best Baguette in Paris, so, of course, we had to buy a baguette for our picnic lunch outside the Louvre.
(Confession: Gosselin’s winning baguette is actually his “baguette ancienne,” BUT the textured seeds in the multigrain just looked so tempting! It was a winner in my book.)
In addition, I picked out the largest (seriously) pastry of the case – the Mille feuilles pistache framboises – as my dessert. In more understandable terms, it was the famous French Napoleon pastry with pistachio pastry cream and fresh raspberries.
I’ve never actually tried pistachio pastry cream before, but I do like pistachios, and enjoyed that distinct flavor combined with one of my favorite fruits. The only slight downside was the difficulty of eating such a large pastry – I ended up forgoing utensils and going cavewoman style with my hands!
After that delightful eating experience, Kat and I journeyed into the Louvre for a cultured and exhausting afternoon. You know how, when you picture the Louvre, you first get the image of the Louvre pyramid in your head? Ok, at least, I do. Well, that’s a lie. Add a huge building (with many, many staircases) surrounding 3 sides of the pyramid, and that’s the Louvre. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly learned a lot.
No, in all seriousness, though, I actually quite enjoyed the Louvre. I used to be a bit of a museum hater, so this is a big step for me, but I think that, with age, I’ve grown to appreciate them. The Louvre, especially, is a haven of amazing and influential works of art.
After leaving the Louvre (ok, fine, about half an hour before leaving), Kat and I decided that we needed a pick-me-up treat to keep us going for the day, so we dropped into a little pâtisserie on our way home, and I got a chocolate eclair!
After devouring it, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are no bad pastries in Paris. From the grocery store pain au chocolat to the eclair from the tiny, drop-in-on-a-whim pâtisserie next door, everything has been absolutely delicious. 3 pastries a day? No problem.
Tomorrow, get ready for my first baking class – Learning to make a Café Gourmand at La Cuisine Paris!