Squishies and Pricklies

Thursday, August 14, 2015

My morning started with creamy vanilla La Fermiere yogurt (in another cute blue terra cotta pot that I’m gonna use for pencils when I get back to Vancouver and Waterloo!).

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I also had two glasses of French milk. I can’t stop drinking milk because it is incredibly creamy and nothing like Canadian milk! Also enjoyed a fresh peach. Maggie peels her peaches with a knife, which I found pretty inefficient. I prefer using a fruit peeler.

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Alexandre, Seline, Maggie, and her husband Eric had mini croissants and pains au chocolat from Auchan, a supermarket. These were pre-made and reheated in our toaster oven. Alexandre loved the pain au chocolat (this awesome kid loves anything chocolate and cheese… he’s my MAN!) and Seline preferred the plain croissants. Of course.

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After breakfast, we took the bus to the RER station and headed straight to Luxembourg Station for lunch at a well-known French restaurant called Les Papilles. I was so, so excited – but with my luck, it was closed. 😦 I was so sad after reading all of the excellent reviews. I even called the restaurant and checked three websites – not a single one said they would be closed during ALL OF AUGUST. Shoot!

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We walked around a little bit and found this place, called La Bistrot 77. There weren’t too many restaurants in the area so we didn’t have much of a choice. This was definitely a disappointing lunch – my PRICKLY of the day.

Squishies = things I liked and enjoyed doing // Pricklies = things I hated and wish didn’t happen

We did Squishies and Pricklies with the children after every day of camp at the aquarium last week so we could hear their feedback on favourite parts of the day as well as things they disliked.

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Seline decided on the Plat du Jour (the daily plate), which was a filet mignon with fries and a salad. Surprisingly, her filet mignon was PORK, not beef, and was covered in a mustard sauce. Seline hates Dijon mustard and ordered this thinking it was YELLOW mustard. She could only eat two pieces of meat, but finished all the fries while claiming they tasted like McDonalds. Okay…

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I ordered The Chloe salad, which came with chevre toasts, crudites, and a poached egg. Imagine how disappointed I was when I saw these TINY pieces of goat cheese, tons of canned vegetables, and a grey egg. 😦 I picked out the grey egg yolks and ate all the chevre, which was on a piece of overcooked and hard piece of toast. The tomatoes, lettuce, and dressing weren’t too bad, but for the price I was expecting freshly chopped crudites.

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What is up with these eggs?! This was a horrible Paris dining experience, but hey, not ALL French restaurants can be 10/10. Still disappointed about this, though. 😦 If only I knew Les Papilles would be closed… shooty shoot shoot. <– Immature Cindy :mrgreen:

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We left quite a bit on our plates… bye bye Bistrot 77! We won’t be back.

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The Pantheon was our next destination! We had perfect weather today. It wasn’t too hot and humid like the days before, but cooler with a refreshing wind. We did get a tiny drizzle at one point, but overall we had the best walking weather imaginable.

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This church was built to honour St-Genevieve and was completed in the year 1790 – it is over 225 years old. This structure was massive and took over 32 years to build. Some notable people were buried here, including Victor Hugo, Voltaire, and Rosseau.

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“If you could describe this scene in one word, what would it be?” I asked Seline that question as we stood in the middle of the square, admiring the view from all angles.

She told me she’d use the word “cool”, but I’d say “magnificent” or “majestic”. These old buildings have so much history, art, and culture within. What an amazing place!

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I didn’t want to leave this lovely square. Fortunately we took lots, LOTS of photos.

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A short while later, we did some souvenir window shopping and Seline had some fries from McDonalds. The fries in Europe are apparently really good and less greasy. Seline is an expert on fries. 😛

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This was our second time enjoying gelato at Amorino and our third time having gelato in Paris! They have a big selection of creative flavours, and many are “bio”, which means organic. Yay 🙂

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The best part is that you can order a “petit pot”, or a small cup, and get AS MANY FLAVOURS as you want in it! I asked for four: pistachio, chocolate-hazelnut, Speculoos, and hazelnut. Seline had half chocolate and half vanilla… of course.

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The Speculoos gelato was my favourite – it tasted like a cinnamon cookie, which is exactly what it is. I cherished every bite of that one! Chocolate hazelnut was great as well, but the cookie chunks in the Speculoos were to die for. We enjoyed our gelato in the Luxembourg Gardens.

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There was a large pool, plenty of palm trees, and perfectly-maintained lawns adorned with neat rows of colourful flowers.

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Again, the weather was PERFECT! So was the view, the gelato, and everything else this afternoon. This famous Parisian park was decorated with many different statues, too.

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Seline and I took turns taking photos of each other in front of the ancient building, the pond, and the statues.

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She got a little tired halfway and we took a rest on a bench with a lovely view of the entire garden.

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We had a great afternoon together 🙂

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Paris has no shortage of water fountains, which Seline loves! After the Jardin du Luxembourg, we headed to our next destination – my personal favourite…

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PIERRE HERME! Known to be even better than Laduree when it comes to macarons, I was so excited to go to the best chocolaterie in Paris for their mille-feuille, vanilla tart, and famous macarons.

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We passed about 293850 more classic French buildings and narrow roads before another church with a water fountain. We stopped to take some photos here, and Seline took another rest. 🙂

This afternoon (gelato + park + church) was a huge SQUISHY for me – I really enjoyed it!

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I was freaking out when I saw this sign! And the line. 😦 Pierre Herme, according to Maggie, is a fourth-generation chocolatier. He and his family have truly mastered the art of dessert! Unfortunately, they are a bit TOO popular now and prices have soared.

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I was planning on ordering the vanilla tart, but the guy in front of me took the LAST ONE. I was so mad but ended up purchasing a mille-feuille, a plaisir sucre instead of the vanilla tart, and three macarons.

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Then we were back on the metro and RER! It was funny because we accidentally took the wrong train – one that made a fork and went in the opposite direction we wanted. Luckily Seline noticed before it was too late and we made a quick switch.

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Got home just in time to take a shower and help Maggie before dinner. I cleaned up, chopped and washed, while Seline took a half hour nap. We prepared

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Our starter was beautiful: fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes from the garden, and fresh garden basil in adorable cups, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, topped with black pepper. I ate two of these – they were fantastic. Fresh mozzarella chunks make a huge difference. Caprese is a flavour I didn’t think I would enjoy, but I did like this appetizer.

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The main dish was Chinese-inspired, but served “western-style”, according to Maggie. We had white rice with a beef + vegetable stir-fry and a fried egg. I noted that Maggie uses much, MUCH more oil and cornstarch than Mom does.

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Then I took out my Pierre Herme desserts to share! The three macarons are chocolate, passionfruit-milk chocolate, and salted butter caramel. We split the five desserts four ways.

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This was the Plaisir Sucre, which was essentially a chocolate layered cake with dark and milk chocolate, chocolate ganache, and a cookie bottom. I liked it but did not think it was something very special. You can definitely taste the quality and freshness, though.

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The mille-feuille was truly 2000 layers of goodness! Creamy and slightly nutty, with an almond cream, this was very enjoyable. I loved today’s desserts but did not find them worth the 20.90 Euros. I was really looking forward to Pierre Herme and had high expectations to begin with – the $30.10 CAD price (for just these sweets) sent my standards into the stratosphere.

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Another SQUISHY was enjoying the desserts with my family. We thought they were excellent but maybe not worth the price. $3 CAD for one macaron? Whoa.

After dinner, Seline and I helped Maggie do a quick cleanup – dishes rinsed and placed in the dishwasher, floor vacuumed, tables washed and dried, counters cleaned.

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Alexandre and I played a little after dinner. He likes to give kisses and high fives. What a sweet kid! We spent an hour reading, playing with trucks, and learning simple English words and letters from flashcards.

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It’s actually Friday morning now but Maggie, Eric, and Alexandre are still asleep – it’s 9:04 AM now and I kind of want a glass of milk but there is an alarm system here so I can’t go downstairs yet. 😦

Not quite sure what we’ll be doing today – there is POURING rain outside. We were planning to go to Montmarte and see the Sacre-Coeur, but with the rain our plans may change. Luckily the weather in France is quite unpredictable; we might have a sunny afternoon after all. We’ll see!

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