I LOVE PARIS IN APRIL
Article by Frank Cierpial
Montclair State University is on Spring Break this week, so at the time when I would normally be in Advanced Spoken Language, I was on a train into New York Penn Station to find one of Paris’s newest most prized treasures, La maison Ladurée.
Post by Jenny Bailey
Paris is heaven for those with a sweet tooth. After all, this is the city that brought us Ladurée macaroons, chocolate éclairs, opera cake and tartelette. With many of the best desserts in the world coming from France, it’s hardly surprising that even back in the 18th Century, Marie Antoinette is said to have uttered the famous words ‘let them eat cake’ when hearing that the peasants had no bread. Fast forward a few hundred centuries later and eating cake is exactly what holidaymakers,should do when they visit Paris, except that they may find that some of the desserts are simply too stylish to eat. Here are five of the most stunning desserts in the city: Continue reading
So, my dear friend was in town recently, which gave e the opportunity to run around the city at a speed I normally save for exercise, and to see and do a number of things that sort of slip into oblivion when life gets going on it’s daily grind spin.
Her visit was a welcome breath of fun air, that helped shake of the winter blues.
I am sharing with you one of our evening escapades, because it was just about the best girl friend date ever!
Having a moderate budget doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy little luxuries in Paris, ladies. After a little Lebanese dinner, in the 9th district, we headed over to the Champs Elysées for dessert. Yes, the Champs. Honestly, I hardly ever go there unless I have to…snubbing it like a left bank “bobo”. But, I just may go on more occasions than before now that I know what fun it can be if you hit the right spots at the right times…
Dessert was at the Ladurée boutique, 75, avenue des Champs Elysées – 75008 Paris, open until 11:30pm on weeknights, and 12:30am on Saturdays. We arrived at about 10:30pm, and stayed until midnight, sipping tea and nibbling the sweet creations from this popular French pastry house.
As some of my readers may have deciphered, I am highly lactose/casein intolerant, and can’t have anything containing milk, butter, cheese or cream. Therefor I only indulge in macarons made with jam, raspberry, black currant, strawberry etc.). I had asked the server to bring me a few of those to go with my tea. We had the Mille et Une Nuits tea, by the way which is a slightly oriental spiced green tea with orange blossom, rose and ginger flavors that are capable of melting your brain into one languishing paradise… Mmmm. In the upstairs tea room we indulged in the delights set before us sitting like dames in the Rococo décorum and marble topped tables.
I was saving my raspberry macaron for last, as it is my favorite. I picked it up smiling with anticipation of the tasty pleasure I was going to get out of it. I bit into the delicate almond shell and felt my teeth sink through the soft and rich center of the cookie… there was a slight explosion on my tastebuds that went straight to the tips of my toes. It was close to the best thing I had ever tasted in my life. It was NOT a raspberry macaron. And I knew that this was not a lactose free cookie. But the bite had already been taken… I didn’t want to back down now. I slowly savored the bite with my eyes closed so that I could get as much as I could out of the flavor. There was rose, and berry, and coconut, and pure deliciousness… I almost didn’t let my friend take a small bite just to confirm that it was indeed not a raspberry macaron. I didn’t want to share! Shame on me, but it is so rare that I get the chance to eat something so divinely and intoxicatingly delicious… I did not care that it would give me a stomach ache later, I ate it all. And I ordered more to take away with us (I shared them with others the next day). I learned that this incredible macaron was their new flavor “Rouge Madame”… Flowery and fruity… You. Must. Try. It. For a small sum, you can have the pleasant luxury of enjoying tea and pastries in this opulent décor with good service and plenty of flavor.
When we left the Ladurée restaurant at around 12:30am, we headed down to the avenue Montaigne, it was a crisp and velvet-skyed Paris winter night and we needed a digestive stroll, so where better to do so than on this luxury fashion house street where you can (window)shop all the best designers… it’s better than looking at any magazine!
The new season’s wear has just been put in the windows since the bi-annual sales have ended, and Spring 2011 is promising a lot of mink, ballerina style (thanks Natalie Portman) garments and plenty of retro glam (thanks Mad Men). I couldn’t be more pleased with the current styles than if I had dreamed them up myself!
Alice is having a party and all of Paris is invited! Alice in Wonderland that is. Or as we say en français Alice au Pays des Merveilles. While we wait for Tim Burton’s highly anticipated film to hit cinema screens across the country on March 24th, we have the opportunity to delve into the magic before-hand at the Printemps department store on boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement. I was able to speak with Martin Butruille, the promotion manager for Disney France who negociated the campaign and contracts with Printemps. The well connected department store then dug into it’s deep teapot of artists and poured out a steaming cup of fashion that everyone seems to love! Mr. Butruille also worked on the approval of the window designs, backgrounds and concepts, but the couturiers were given artistic freedom on their garment creations. Not to be left out, Laduree has jumped in the mix, because what is a tea party without delicious things to eat?!? There are macarons EVERYWHERE. (If you don’t know what a macaron is, you are missing out on the most heavenly cookie on earth). And Laduree has created a Salon de thé éphémère inside the store, where you can delight in a macaron or two, a cup of tea, and all the amazing decoration that has gone into this promotional marriage of Printemps and Disney. I was also both delighted and sad to see a beautiful design by Alexander McQueen featured at the center of the window displays. It may very well have been his last piece. His creative genius will be greatly missed.
Okay, enough mad hatter jabber! More fashion!
If you would like to check out the Printemps pre-show online go to http://www.printemps.com/ the front page features the fun at the blvd Haussmann store. They are also doing promotional games on twitter and facebook : https://www.printemps.com/instantgagnant/jeux.aspx?idjeu=22
Don’t be late for tea with Alice!