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If I Had One Day in Paris …

November 5, 2011 by Chelsea Slone

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I would wake up around eight in the morning, get dressed, put on some comfortable ballet flats, tie a scarf around my neck, walk down the worn down stairs of our old apartment building and out on the streets to begin my picture perfect day in Paris (Pariee’)… Of course with my fiancé by my side the whole way!

I would start the day off walking down the vibrant market street of Rue Montorgueil as we know so famously from Claude Monet’s artistic depiction, is filled with boulangeries, formageries, boucheries, poissonneries, charcuteries, and beaucoup des cafés. I would make my way to the delicious Eric Kayser boulangerie to indulge in a pain au chocolat and an expresso at one of the little side walk cafes as I watch the Parisians fill the streets and join the morning rush hour line at their favorite neighborhood boulangerie.

After witnessing the beautiful city of Paris come alive, I would cross the Seine river on the romantic Pont Neuf to visit the Maubert Market and soak up the French market atmosphere. With only one day I wouldn’t have much time for a dinner party, but I would walk through the market as if I were having one that night. I would begin with des légumes and des fruits en saison, by telling the merchant if I plan to eat them today, tomorrow, or later in the week so he can choose which will be best for me. I would then go to the Boucherie to select the most adorned part of a French meal… the meat. Most likely I would choose the Marget de Canard, a duck breast forced fed for its foie gras or maybe a veal filet. Though I sometimes prefer fish, if it’s going to be a French dinner party, I best stick with meat if I hope for them to come back. I would then make my way to the formagerie to pick the perfect cheese for the evening, and the florist for des fleurs, and maybe the Patisserie for un chocolat desert. On the way home if I had enough hands for one more bag I would stop for some vin, and ask for help selecting the best bottle of vin rouge to complement the meat I’ve chosen. As for the bread, I would wait until later in the afternoon to visit my neighborhood boulangerie, Eric Kayser, to pick up a freshly baked warm baguette to complete the meal.

Now since this is all theoretical, and I don’t have time for a dinner party tonight, I would just have fun walking around imagining all of this for maybe a half hour and then really pick up a loaf of thinly sliced raisin bead from my all time favorite boulangerie in Paris, Poilâne, and get a slice of my favorite Délice de Bourgogne cheese to enjoy together later on.

After the market fun, since I’m close by I think I’ll stop by my favorite museum, Musee d’Orsay, to see some of incredible impressionistic works of art. It’s a fairly small museum in a beautiful old train station, so it won’t take me long to soak up its magnificence before heading out to take a walk through the art gallery streets of Saint Germain. On the way there I will of course have to do a little window shopping at fabulous left bank antique shops.

After exploring the galleries of all the talented french artists and flipping through amazing vintage posters I’ll make my way to the Marais passing by Notre Dame Cathedral for some architectural amazement along the way. When I’ve made it over to the 4th arrondissement I’ll spend a couple of hours shopping through the charming old streets of the trendy Marais district visiting all of my favorite shops; Sandro, Maje, Zadig & Voltaire, Manoush, and Ba&sh. And before leaving the Marais to continue on the day, I would stop by my favorite tea shop, Mariage Frères, where I would sit down for a cup of their famous Marco Polo blend.

After the little pick me up at Mariage Frères I would make my way down to the 1st arro where I would sit down at the chic Café Marley in the courtyard of the Louvre to people watch and enjoy a little bite to eat. After a light lunch while admiring the incredible architecture of the Louvre museum and I.M. Pei pyramids I would stroll through the Jardin de Tuleries to catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Trimphe down Champs-Elysées and up to Place Vendôme to visit the famous Ritz Hotel. Which just so happens to be the original home of Coco Chanel and her first boutique location. I’ll window shop around the Grand Boulevards for a little while before making my way to the precious Ladurée Macaroon and Tea room on Rue Royal to indulge in a delicious salted carmel or pistachio macaroon. However, by this time I might be too full to indulge now but I can’t leave without getting a couple to take home for later. And now since I’m only a block away from Hermès and the funky Christian Loubuittion store I would probably at least stop by for a little day dreaming, right?

So after making an enormous wish list around Place Vendôme I will make my way to one of the many amazing French pharmacies to stock up on their incredible face creams and body oils. This might actually be the only good deals in Paris… But for a fraction of the price some of the face creams they carry are even better than the incredibly expensive ones back home. I’ll include my list of these goodies later on the site! Once I’ve stocked up, I will make my way to the beautiful Palais Royal to browse through the ritzy vintage shops along the square before finding a bench to soak up the Parisian atmosphere watching couples kiss by the fountain and friends meeting up for after work drinks, while others fill the benches in the gardens and under the canopy of trees.

And since this is a perfect day, I have an unlimited amount of time and energy. So I would make my way up to the top of Montmare to visit the beautiful Basilica of Sacré-Cœur while soaking in the panoramic views of this breathtaking City of Lights. Whenever I can peel myself away from this magical spot I’ll go behind the cathedral to the funky little artists square and have a comical or serious portrait drawn, maybe even both! On the walk back down the hill I’ll probably stop by some of the funky little vintage shops before catching the metro to the 7th arrondissement to visit the Effiel tower up close and personal.

Before I get to the Effiel Tower I’ll stop by for a bottle of champagne or vin rouge to go with my Poilâne bread, Délice de Bourgogne formage, and Ladurée macroons to make for a perfect mini picnic. Just a bite of each will have to do though, because I must save up for the famous French dining experience. Once I get to the long grass lawns in front of the Eiffel Tower I’ll find a great little spot far enough back I can see the entire tower without having to look up too much, then I’ll lay out my blanket, pop the Champagne, and stretch my legs out and I watch the sun go down and the tower sparkle like fire works on the fourth of July.

When I eventually bring myself to leave the Eiffel Tower I will then be on my way to the final step of a true Parisian experience, Le dîner. Since food is such a huge part of the culture here, a true French dining experience is something you won’t forget, but the most difficult part is choosing where to go. I could maybe go to Chez George for the ultimate classic French bistro experience, l’Atlier de Joël Robuchon for a gastronomic masterpiece, Frenchie or Le Moderne for a modern twist on the French entrecôte, or maybe have some delicious escargot at l’Escargot, or a casual local fare at Les Fines Gueules for some of their incredible beef tartare, maybe even the old and infamous L’ami Louis for the best pâté and roasted chicken in the world, or dine at Chez L’ami Jean famous for their innovative twist on the classic French fare, or possibly an Alain Ducasse experience at his well loved bistro, Bonuit… Speaking of the French culinary legend Alain Ducasse why not go all out for his ultimate dining experience at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée, that’s a place still on my ultimate dining dream list. But I think in my perfect day in Paris I wouldn’t have to chose, because as you can tell there’s too many amazing places I have found over time, several I’ve yet to find, and many I sadly haven’t had the time to try, to just pick one. Bein Sur… no matter where the meal ends up it must be complemented with some delicious French wines and end with fresh French cheeses for it to be a true French dining experience pour moi!

After our long relaxing dinner I would come to find this day has now reached it’s end. We will slowly leave the restaurant and stroll hand in hand down the Seine, cross over Pont Alexander, take one last glimpse back at the Eiffel Tower, and pass by the Louvre as we make our way back to our little apartment where the old worn uneven stairs show the many people who have walked to and from here each and everyday for hundreds of years and it just makes me wonder, how do you think they would have lived their picture perfect day in Paris?

Bon Voyage,

T+C

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