Thursday, 14 July 2011

Paris, Partie II

Blog posts for 11-13 July 2011


MONDAY, 11/7

While the students went in small groups to explore Paris and find lunch, following our group visit to Notre Dame, I hung around the Latin Quarter and eventually got the best crêpe I have ever eaten in Paris, and quite arguably throughout the country. As you should be able to tell from the photo above, the most notable difference on this crêpe was the fact that the cook smothered the crêpe in shredded cheese and allowed the perimeter to crisp. This textural component, much like that enjoyed from a cheese bowl, added a crunch and overall contrast, while also giving a focus to the natural saltiness from the cheese (emmental, from what I could tell) itself.

Following lunch, we split off into two groups, the larger of which went to a yoga class in French; I took the smaller group to the Stade de France for a French tour of the national football and rugby stadium located in the suburb of St-Denis. After our afternoon of separation, we redivided ourselves among three cuisines--Thai, Italian, and French. With the French group at Le Pétula, I enjoyed the North African flavours of chicken tajine and couscous, before we all met up for yet another round of ice cream at Ben & Jerry's and a circular conclusion in front of Notre Dame with fire and dance spectacles


Today, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres (i.e., Chartres Cathedral) was the destination of our excursion day. Guided by leading English-speaking expert Malcolm Miller, we were treated to an intimate history and reading of the windows of the cathedral which has quite amazingly survived centuries of warfare. One particular window which caught my attention (perhaps unsurprisingly) is this one above, the middle frame of which depicts a food market.

After our tour, we went to an Italian restaurant for lunch where I ordered penne all'arrabbiata, before we all spent some time checking out Chartres. 

One store in particular which caught my attention, primarily because of the display of macarons, also happened to have one of my favourite desserts, chocolate-coated candied orange peels.

Following a visit to Versailles, we had a quick dinner at a restaurant directly across from the Théâtre des Mathurins, site of the quick-wit, audience-participatory production of Dernier Coup de Ciseaux. For dinner, I ordered one of two dishes throughout the entire trip I could not finish: andouillette (the description provided at this link was quite akin to my own experience with this unquestionably French dish). This said, if you've fully read the aforementioned and you're curious as to what's inside, I forewarn you I hope you enjoyed biology class. By contrast, the scalloped potato dish served on the right was one of the best I have ever had.


And alas, our visit to this undeniably gastronomical mecca of sorts has come to an end with this last day in Paris. After visiting the Catacombes, we had a group lunch at a Franco-Italian restaurant which began with an amuse-bouche in the form of bruschetta.

For my plat, I had a delicious roulade of turkey which encased a very flavourful stuffing (highly reminiscent of Thanksgiving), and served alongside penne pasta with vodka sauce.

And of course, our meal would not be complete without ice cream, of which I got lemon and chocolate. For the rest of the day, we spent some time relaxing in the 4th arrondissement, before one of the most anticipated events to date: watching the final installment of the Harry Potter movie series. A quick dinner at the mall housing our theatre beforehand, and a final late-night dessert afterward, and it was time to look forward to our trip eastward to Colmar in the morning.

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