Today was our last full day in Paris (although we still had two more days left in our trip, we had day trips planned for them), so we had a lot of ground to cover. As usual, we set out on foot to explore.
Starting out at Place de la Bastille (the former site of the fortress-turned-prison that played a famous part in the French Revolution), we took a walk around the Marais District.
We entered Place des Vosges, a lovely square/community park.
The Marais District is known for a lively shopping area. This was a neat area to explore.
And, as always, there were neat little parks like this one to be found along the way.
This part of town also houses the Jewish Quarter, so we walked through that area as well. We eventually reached the Pompidou Center, which is a crazy building of uber-contemporary design, which is fitting since it houses a contemporary art collection. We only stopped there to use the restrooms.
We found ourselves walking past the Louvre and into the Tuilleries Garden again, on our way to our next destination, Musee de l’Orangerie.
Any disappointment we had over the Orsay’s Impressionist wing being closed the day before was quickly abated at the Orangerie, as we enjoyed a lovely collection of Impressionist work. This museum was also just the right size for us. We like to see art, but we don’t fool ourselves and think we actually know anything about art, and honestly, we can only handle so much at a time. So this small museum was a real treat for us.
Monet’s Water Lillies are the main attractions here, in oval-shaped rooms Monet himself designed for them. They are quite impressive:
After the main event (the Water Lillies), we spent an hour or so wandering through the rest of the small collection by artists such as Renoir, Matisse, and Picasso. Again, it was quite enjoyable. I would definitely recommend this museum for anyone interested in Impressionist art.
Back in the Tuilleries Garden, we found an outdoor cafe and enjoyed an afternoon snack of crepes and a cheese plate.
At this point, I convinced Craig that we needed to take our first subway ride of the trip. He prefers to walk everywhere, but we had to be at our next destination at a certain time, and we just weren’t going to make it. So, we took the subway to the Montmartre neighborhood, on the north side of the city. I had hoped to have time to tour the neighborhood, but we only had time for a little bit. (Thankfully we were able to come back on Friday to see the rest.)
While planning our trip, Craig had learned about a cooking school that was very highly rated, and since he is an amateur chef, we decided to try it out. It was an enjoyable time, and while I didn’t feel like I actually cooked my meal, we did help with all of the steps and we definitely learned a few things along the way (especially me, since I’m a real novice in the kitchen – this is what happens when your husband likes to cook). It was a fun time and we had a wonderful meal, so it was definitely a great part of our trip.
The first step of the class was to obtain all of the ingredients we needed. We went to the various markets and shops and got a taste of how the locals shop. It’s definitely a different experience than just going to your local mega-supermarket, and certainly a much more enjoyable one.
My favorite stop was the first stop:
Once we had picked up all of our ingredients, we headed to the cooking school. Our class was nice and small, and just consisted of a couple from Toronto, a woman from Brooklyn, and the two of us. This was our work space and, later, our dining area:
Here comes the food p0rn! (You knew there had to be some on this trip, right?)
Our first course was seared scallops with creamed spinach, served on the shell with a bit of beurre blanc sauce. We actually got the scallops still in the shell, which I’d never seen before. I now know how to properly remove a scallop from its shell (and I’ll probably never again have the opportunity to do so, since I have a feeling it’s rare to find them in-shell anywhere around here).
Next, we enjoyed our main course: duck breast served over a cabbage-carrot-lardon (bacon) mix, served with a nice sauce.
The third course was, of course, the cheese course. (In case anyone is wondering, I think all meals should include a cheese course!) Here’s our chef (Chef Constance) preparing the cheese plate and explaining to us about the various cheeses:
And, last but certainly not least, we enjoyed a lovely creme brulee. (The photographer apparently could not wait to get her spoon into this dish – several times – before taking a photo.)
Each course was paired with wine, and we were ridiculously full, so when we were done we quite literally staggered to the subway and made our way back to the hotel after another long, full, satisfying day in Paris.