Thursday, July 24, 2014

Jour 9 Paris: Ladurée & Au Revoir!

I have to mention this little story as a word of caution to those visiting Paris. There are several people who hang out near touristy areas clutching clipboards. They claim to be working for charitable organizations but in reality, they're scammers. They'll ask you if you want to help sick children or aid the blind and the deaf and present you with a petition to sign. They purposely approach people that aren't speaking French because at the top of their petition, it will say "People who sign this sheet must pay €500," or something similar in French and they're hoping you won't be able to understand it.

My sister and I were approached by two teenaged girls who said, "Hey, do you like animals? Sign this if you want to help animals." I said, "Merci, non," and we started to walk away. The two girls followed us down the block and one of the girls while saying, "Sign this!" simultaneously grabbed my arm so I yelled back, "Non! Don't touch me!" and jerked my arm away. That scared her and her little accomplice enough that they finally backed off. She was the most aggressive clipboard girl I'd ever come in contact with. I'd just like fellow travelers to be aware so that nothing happens to you that will ruin your trip. Just ignore these freaks and say no. They want to be lazy jerks who steal other people's hard earned money and it's not right. Get a job, losers.

That being said, today's post is all about our last day in Paris. What a segue, huh? Ha.
The weather was looking pretty cloudy and uggo for our last day, but it didn't really matter. We had two things on our mind: macarons and steak-frites. Our plan for the day was to go to Ladurée first thing in the morning, go back to our hotel for breakfast, pack our suitcases and relax until it was time to check out, grab lunch at Le Relais, do a bit of shopping, and then head to the airport.


If you don't know what Ladurée is, then you must be living under a rock. It's a famous Parisian patisserie, which also serves food, and if you're going to go to Paris, you have to go here and get a macaron or a palmier or tart or one of the many beautiful desserts they have to offer. It's like a rite of passage. It's like going to New York and getting a slice of pizza (but not at Sbarro's, please).

You'll be greeted by gorgeous colors and smells. Going there early in the morning is awesome because you can walk back and forth to look at the display and take photos left and right. When it's busy here, you have to queue up and then there's all this pressure to know exactly what you're getting before the staff asks you what you want.
They make giant sized macarons in their most popular flavors so if you're unsure of what flavor to get, pick one of these (lemon, pistachio, raspberry, chocolate, caramel, or vanilla). We ended up getting a giant salted caramel and a giant pistachio and then regular sized lemon, vanilla, choco-coconut, and raspberry macarons. We also got a palmier because Ladurée palmiers are super crunchy, crisp, sugary, buttery, and delicious.
By the way, don't be one of those dumb tourists that tries to get to the Arc de Triomphe by crossing the street. There's an underground passageway specifically to prevent you from getting run over by a bus, you silly cuckoo bird. Just thought I'd throw that out there.
Okay, so like I said, after we picked up our treats, we headed back to the hotel to eat out breakfast and chill out a little. I took a nap while baby sister watched Adventure Time. At around noon, we checked out of the hotel, left our luggage with them, and then walked a few blocks over to the Champs-Elysées location of Le Relais de L'Entrecote.
If you need an extensive overview of these restaurants, you can check out my food blog to read all about Le Relais. I'll just quickly summarize here: basically, this restaurant serves one dish, steak-frites. You get to choose your drink, the doneness of your steak, and your dessert, that's it. If you don't like steak-frites, don't come here. If you do, please go. They serve a delicious mustard vinaigrette-dressed salad to start and then bring you half of your portion of steak-frites. The rest are kept at a warming station. Once you've finished your first round, the cutely dressed waitresses will bring you your second helping. It's awesome.

I have to mention that we always go with medium, or "a point." The couple next to us had "B.C." scribbled on their table, which means "bien cuit," which translates to well done. I like to be preachy about not judging people on their food choices but cooking a steak well done is just rude. A cute cow died for your meal and you're ruining the meat! Please, I beg of you, if you're a well done person, just eat chicken.
After lunch, we did a little shopping. I didn't take photos because we just went to L'Occitane and LUSH, H&M, Zara, basically places you can find in most places so it's not really worth sharing; I'm sure you've all seen it before. I did end up buying some almond lotion and a delicious scented candle from L'Occitane because it's much more affordable in France than in the US, even with the messed up exchange rate.

After that, we picked up our bags and headed to the airport. Our experience with XL Airways on our way home was decent. The only complaint I have is that the evening before, I got an email saying that our flight was delayed two hours. A couple hours later, I got a second email saying the flight was on time. I checked online to make sure so we assumed the flight wasn't delayed. We showed up to the airport with our fingers crossed and yes! It was on time. However, there was one kid who thought it was still late so we ended up parked at the gate for an extra 20 minutes to wait for him, which was stupid. Other than that, it was actually kind of nice because we ended up in the 'extra legroom' cabin. There was a mix up and the type of plane we boarded was different from what they originally thought so they had to move a bunch of people around. We just got lucky.

So that's it for my Parisian adventures and now I'm all done with France-related blogging. Funnily enough, I was only there for a little over a week but it's taken a month to pump out all of these posts. I guess words and photos take up a lot of space. Or at least my words and photos take up a lot of space.

So, where am I heading next? Well, I've got a bachelorette party in Miami next month and then I'm heading to Turks & Caicos in October. I'm also ready to think about next year's big trip. Baby sister has already thrown Italy into the ring so that's a big possibility. In the meantime, I'll be sharing DIYs and planning posts and other fun things - or things that I personally find fun. Thanks for reading!
xoxo.

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