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Paris Wrap-Up

3 Oct

First of all, if you’re just joining me, WELCOME!!! And go call your friends, I bet they’ll enjoy it here too!!

Wrapping up my Paris marathon trip – but first, if you want to catch up (or refresh your memory!!)  here are the links to all my Paris posts!!

The Official Start of my Trip

Some Filler…. 🙂

Flying to Paris! 

Marathon Expo!

Saturday in Paris

Le Marathon de Paris

Time to Shop!! 

It’s Always a good day for Champagne

Another day of shopping 🙂 

Cooking School!!!

So, our trip ended with the usual trip to the airport, lines through Passport control, security and of course some Duty Free shopping. And the lounge. And I had on some fancy footwear!

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That’s right…this really happened!

My trip ended like it started 🙂 In the Star Alliance lounge. There were yummy snacks and beverages but mostly there was some sad…..

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A few random thoughts:

I had a really nice time, and sometimes it pays to splurge and stay in an awesome hotel that you might have otherwise overlooked.

This was the first time that Eydie and I had ever been on a trip together (not counting Girl Scout camp!) and we should do it more often!

E is not a runner but did the 5K with me and did AWESOME! And one thing we talked about, that is really so true: When the bombing at the Boston Marathon happened, Eydie said she was kind of surprised by the response, mainly from the running community. How everyone seemed to be affected, like they’d been there or had friends/family there. After hanging at the expo and doing the 5K she simply said “Now I get it”. Runners are family. A tribe. No matter where we are.

I can’t wait to go back to Paris, to France. And take more cooking classes and learn more about wines. And, yeah, to eat more of those…..

And, yeah, I definitely need to head back and do that marathon thing the right way — there is definitely a PR waiting for me in France!!

And now, some shots that I maybe didn’t share with you earlier…

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One of many views of the tower

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The Cathedral at Reims

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One of many failed “jump shot” attempts!

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We climbed up these stairs in one of the champagne houses, up from the cellar

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Didn’t actually make it to the Louvre but…

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French onion soup…in France.. 🙂

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Tasty short ribs

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Marathon spectators…and entertainment!

This was a really great trip, and I can’t believe it took me six months to finally finish the story!!! But there you have it – thanks for coming along with me!

 

Cooking Like the French Do!

3 Oct

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When we were planning this trip, one of the very second things we decided to do, after running a marathon and drinking the champagne of course!, was to take a cooking class. I mean…really…how could I not?!

One thing that we knew we absolutely HAD to do in Paris was take a cooking class! Now, I love to bake but I’m pretty plain Jane when it comes to actual cooking grown up food. I enjoy reading recipes and thinking I’ll make some more fancy stuff, but I never do. This would be a chance to learn some new stuff that I’d hopefully be able to use.

Eydie thought I might want to do something related to baking but real food seemed to be the way to go (though, trust me, there were a lot of baking offerings as well!!)

We registered in advance and on our final day in Paris got up early for breakfast and headed out to meet the rest of our group at an outdoor market. The plan is that you shop for your ingredients then head back to the school to do the actual prep and cooking. And EATING!!

As a side note, to continue a recurring theme of this trip, our chef/teacher was from…yes, you guessed it….Texas 🙂

After deliberation, we selected to make scallops (the other options were lamb and veal, which BLECH!). We shopped for our scallops – in the shells still mind you! – as well as some veggies to roast, some cheese and berries for dessert.

It was really interesting to learn about some different and new (to me) veggies as well as hearing about how cheeses are made and aged and what makes them different.

Once back at the school we unpacked our goodies and started the prep work. With 8 of us things went pretty quick and it wasn’t long before we sat down to enjoy our scallops and roasted veg. We were also able to enjoy some nice wine.

The scallops were cooked very simply – salt and pepper and seared in a hot pan. The veggies were tossed with olive oil, some herbs and salt and pepper and stuck in a hot oven while we did the work on the scallops All of this was served with a really delicious, and surprisingly easy, hollandaise sauce – all plated in  a very lovely manner…

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A stack of veggies in the middle with my three scallops…notice the artful “smear” of sauce…

Remember the scallops were in their shells? Well…you know we had to clean those suckers ourselves!! I seemed to be the only one having trouble even getting the darn thing open! I got some help with that and was soon cleaning away with everyone else.

<insert no picture taken of the struggle!>

Our main course was followed with the cheese plate that we had put together in the market and also our berries with whipped cream. One thing that made the whipped cream really tasty was that we added lime zest when whipping. By hand.

Once lunch ended and we said goodbye to our new friends, and took the mandatory medal selfie,

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And medal shot….

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Eydie and I headed back to E. Dehillerin so I could pick up a Staub coquette – I had gone in looking for Le Crueset but really liked the simple black Staub. And, bonus, we had a coupon from the cooking school so once again, my procrastination and indecisiveness paid off! And I also decided to get a set of grown-up tongs!

 

After wandering around a bit (okay, I got us a little lost!) and found this park….

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we headed back to the room. I still needed to get some Eiffel Tower medal shots. E was tired so stayed in and I headed out once again making a stop at M. Georges for some macaroons for Phred’s babysitter (and, who am I kidding, me!) and of course the kouignettes which totally lived up to the reviews!!

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This is a pastry that is Right up my alley — slightly crispy puffy pasty with chewy gooey caramely goodness

Once I’d stocked up I wandered to Le Tour…where I hung around long enough to see them lighting it up for the night!

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The medal visits the Eiffel Tower

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I am not smiling because I have to leave tomorrow…

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There’s a great light show that ends with this!!

I didn’t hang out too long, since I still needed to finish packing and get some sleep – the shuttle was coming pretty early in the morning and after our trip FROM the airport, we were prepared for a very long ride out!

Up next, my final (sob) Paris post – really a wrap-up and recap along with some extra pictures that will hopefully make you smile!!!

I would HIGHLY recommend finding a way to take some sort of class on YOUR next trip to Paris! I know that I plan on it!!

 

What? MORE shopping?!

9 Aug

We had a definite shopping plan for Wednesday — I had discovered a couple of thrift store ideas in my Guidebook and Eydie had her heart set on a Louis Vuitton bag.

First up though, of course, breakfast. Which I thought I should share with you here!!

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Delicious brioche and those wonderful flaky croissant…

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A nice selection of meats and cheeses..and pickles! For breakfast!!!

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The breakfast room – we generally sat in that corner by the window!

After gathering our maps and bags and water and….we headed out to find goodies! Eventually we made it to Reciproque – a series of second hand shops along the Rue de la Pompe.  After my window-shop at Hermes on Monday I was itching to see what I could find at a more “bargain” price. I also thought I might be able to score my own LV bag at less than retail prices!

There wasn’t much to be had in the first couple of doors but then I hit the motherlode (though the shop owner wouldn’t let me take pictures!) Racks and racks of scarves from all designers. Sorted by color. So I dove right in!!

And managed to get a couple of decent bargains – relatively speaking!

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This Celine scarf has some amazing vivid colors!

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We left the 16th and decided to visit the Sacre Coeur and Montmartre. It was our first real foray into a really touristy area and it was packed!! We wandered up the narrow streets and stopped in on La Cure Gourmande – a shop filled with loads of different biscuits and sweets (we made a stop on our return to purchase said goodies!)

And we made a couple of stops in some of the tourist shops

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Since I didn’t make it to the Louvre…my medal still needed a shot with Mona…

We made the climb up to the Basilica and went inside…

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It was a fairly hazy day but the view is still awesome

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And..of course the medal had to come out!

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We walked down the backside of the hill…through a tiny market and a couple of small streets with cafes, bakeries and a couple of macaron shops… My favorite was the Maison Georges – chocolate sculptures and chocolates and macaroons and an awesome new treat..kouignettes. I got a few macaroons and some chocolates. But I had plans to go back!!

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Chocolate Eiffel Tower!

Then we headed back towards the Champes Elysee and Eydie’s big purchase of the day 🙂

We had the most amazing salesgirl — and when she asked if we wanted a drink…water or champagne..of course we had an answer

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And Eydie got her bag – and I have to admit to feeling a little envious!!

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We headed back to the room after our time at Louis V and found a place to go have an actual French-type dinner — it was a small spot out by the Louvre that didn’t really seem too touristy…and the food was REALLY very good!! And I’m pretty sure I had creme brulee for dessert!

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Yummy French Onion soup…. mmmmm

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Braised short ribs…I need to learn how to cook these!

On Thursday, our last full day in Paris, we were going to go to an actual Parisian cooking school for shopping and lunch!! A great way to spend our final hours in France

 

Bubbly Time!

3 Aug

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When we were planning our trip, one thing we both definitely wanted to fit in was a trip to the Champagne region – which I learned was about a 40 minute train ride so it would be easy to do in a day. We looked at day trips and tours but in the end decided to just wing it! Though we did make one reservation at Veuve Clicquot and the hope was that we could fit in at least one more!

After another wonderful breakfast at the hotel we headed to the Gare de L’Est for our train ride down. Once we figured out how and where to buy our tickets it was a breeze. We hopped right on the train and Eydie settled in to read up on Reims

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After the obligatory selfie of course!

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It’s adventure time!!!!

It was a smooth ride once out of Paris and before we knew it we were there!! Our scheduled tour wasn’t until 2 so we knew we’d have time for one tour and lunch!

For the tour we (or rather, I) chose the house of Tattinger – and really, I liked the idea because of this ad I saw ages ago…

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We arrived just as the tour was beginning and headed into the caves…

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What I love is that everything is still done manually

Once we were out of the caves it was time for a taste

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We walked from Tattinger towards the Veuve Clicquot house with a stop at Le Jardin des Crayeres for lunch and then it was off again!

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We arrived a little late but were able to join the tour in the front garden

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Then down to the caves we went!!!

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The medal in the caves….

 

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170 year old bottle of champagne found in a shipreck

And, of course, ending in the tasting room

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After our sips, we walked back into Reims to visit the Cathedral – at which time my camera died of course.  But I did manage one shot…

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We grabbed an early dinner/tea at a little Belgian spot before a bit of window shopping and then a train ride back into the city of lights.

After resting up for a short while, we decided that instead of dinner we would go for  ice cream which we ate while wandering in our neighborhood. Eydie found this great view of the Eiffel Tower

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And then it was time to call it a night. More shopping tomorrow and possibly some major purchases!!

 

 

 

Paris Marathon – And Then, We Went Shopping

3 Aug

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I’m not normally a big shopper, but hey, I was in the shoppingest city in the world so…when in Rome. Or, Paris….

My interests were in cooking supplies and Hermes scarves. And, possibly something sweet. Plus my medal needed to see the city!

On Monday after breakfast we made a plan! There were a few shops we for sure wanted to see and then we planned to roam a bit.

Our first stop was the Dyptique candle shop at St. Germain — such lusciously fragrant candles.

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After looking in here we wandered along.

and eventually made our way to Le Bon Marche but not before we found ourselves at the Mothership — Hermes. This was certainly going to be a window-shopping only situation!! But such gorgeousness, right?

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I could just roll around in these…

We headed over to Le Bon and roamed the several floors and made a stop for lunch

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Lunch, Paris style…

 

We made a couple of stops in smaller shops (chocolate maybe?!) as well as a walk over the Pont des Arts – also known as the “Love Lock” bridge

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A week after we were here they started taking down all of the locks….

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Then on to the Cathedral of Notre Dame where my medal had a chance for a picture with Pope Saint John Paul II as well as the rose window..

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With Saint Il Papa

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We had been wandering most of the day and knew that we’d be getting up early to take the train to Reims for champagne tasting so dinner was a baguette and some cheese we picked up in the local market – along with some wine we’d gotten on our first day in town!

Tomorrow, it’s off to Reims and some champagne tasting/tours – along with a lunch stop in a beautiful garden setting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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