Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Paris! (Day 3)


Croissant
Chocolatine
On our last day in Paris, we woke up with a mission. "We must visit Montmartre and Sacre Coeur!" We checked out of our hotel, but requested to leave our bags for the day while we went sight-seeing. But first, we decided that we needed to get some croissants to get us energized for the day so we headed to a bakery just around the corner from our hotel. As soon as we walked in, we were slapped in the face by the smell of yummy-ness and butter. The croissants had a super crisp and flaky exterior but were really soft and light on the inside. Baby Boy decided he would also like a pain au chocolat (a.k.a. chocolatine). He let me have a few bites! It was also yummy. It wasn't too sweet or rich, it was perfect.


Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart)
After the bakery visit, we hopped on the metro and headed north. It was a dreary day, really drizzly and windy and cold! It was so blustery that my umbrella kept on getting flipped inside out, which I found v. embarrassing.

Once we climbed to the top, we ventured inside what I think is one of the most beautiful churches. There's no photography allowed inside so alas, no photos to reveal from that part of the visit. Oh! But be warned! If you come here on a fair weathered day, be careful because there are loads of swindlers walking around, trying to squeeze money out of tourists. One popular method: guy approaches you with some friendship bracelet string and immediately ties it to your wrist and starts making a bracelet around you while telling a story. In the end, you have a bracelet attached to your wrist that you can't get off without scissors and a guy holding out his hand asking for some euro.
Raclette!
Once we'd climbed back down from top of the church, we decided it was time to treat ourselves to some lunch. Baby Boy had spotted a place that had raclette on our way to the church so we decided to go. The place was called La Pierrade. La pierrade is also the method of cooking food on a stone grill, so this place was basically a do-cool-cooking-stuff-at-your-table kind of place. We were seated and asked for the raclette and the waiter set up the heating mechanism at our table. He then stuck a huge wedge of cheese in the prongs and we waited for it to heat up and get melty. He also brought us a dish of different meats (mostly pork stuff like ham, prosciutto, and salami), salad, bread, potatoes, and pickled mini gherkins and pickled pearl onions.
Congealed cheese
The way you eat raclette: wait for the cheese to get sufficiently melty on the surface and use the provided spatula to scrape off some melty cheese and add it as a topping to the provided accompaniments.

It was so so yummy. We ate about half of the cheese chunk that was stuck in the prongs before we decided we were too full. Once the thingy was unplugged, the cheese started to congeal pretty quickly and it looked SO gross so of course I had to snap a photo of it.

Les Passages Couverts
Because the weather was so crummy, we decided that we should find something indoors to do that didn't require much money. Many of the museums in Paris cost money (thought there are also quite a few free ones) but we weren't in the mood for that. I found a little blurb on our free map from the airport that talked about something called Les Passages Couverts (The Covered Passages) which are just a bunch of little shops and boutiques that are all "outdoors," but they're in sort of glorified, covered alleyways. There's a nice cluster of winding streets that make up this shopping area that could potentially take up a nice chunk of time to explore. So after lunch, we set off to do some window shopping. We wandered around for a few hours until we realized it was getting late and we needed to grab dinner and our bags and head to the airport!
We made our way back towards our hotel and decided to get food from one of the local cafes. We ended up going to Oh! Poivriet! (site is in French). It was a cute little cafe with relatively casual food. I ordered the steak tartare (which you can get raw or cooked, but I wanted raw) and CPBB ordered a fancy burger. Both dishes came with fries and both were very yummy.

Our waiter was also really cute! He told us that it was his dream to go to the U.S. (don't know why, when Europe is awesome! I guess the grass is always greener on the other side) but that he was worried because his English wasn't great.
After dinner, we picked up our bags and headed to the airport. We had flown into Paris Beauvais but we were flying out of Roissy Charles de Gaulle (CDG, one of my favorite airports). We were supposed to purchase new metro tickets for this ride since the airport is outside of zones 1 and 2 but we had one metro ticket left for each of us and we decided to risk it. When we arrived at the airport we got into a little bit of trouble. Because our tickets were invalid, we weren't able to leave the metro area. When we inserted our tickets into the turnstile, it would beep loudly and the doors wouldn't open! OOPS! I included a photo (that I found online) that shows the type of exit there is to get out of the metro at CDG. You need to insert a valid ticket in order for the doors to slide open, otherwise, you cannot get through. It's not like a normal turnstile that you can climb over. However, we ended up piggybacking people who were honest and bought the proper tickets in order to get through the doors. As long as you stick pretty close to the ass of the person in front of you, the doors stay open (because the sensor probably assumes it's a fat person, or the person is dragging luggage behind them or something). Phew! We got pretty lucky. There were a few individuals that ended up trapped. Anyway, moral of the story is to buy proper tickets... or maybe the moral is to make sure there will be people you can piggyback!

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