Saturday, August 15, 2015
Bonjour tout le monde! This morning I woke up at 8:00 but couldn’t go downstairs until about 9:30 because of the alarm system we have in the house. By the time Maggie and Alexandre were up, I was so ready for breakfast!
I walked with Alexandre to the local bakery and were SO lucky to buy these pastries fresh out of the oven. The lady who helped me said “attention, c’est vraiment chaud”, which means “careful, it’s very hot!”. YES! I bought a pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) and a regular croissant for Seline – plus a green apple bonbon (candy) for Alexandre. He was great this morning and we had a great time running in the rain. My pain au chocolate was so flaky, warm, and buttery – with just enough chocolate. A totally different breakfast from my usual fruity bowl of oatmeal, but a refreshing and delicious change.
We arrived in Paris a little after noon. Seline and I decided to visit Montmartre, a city in northern Paris where the Sacre-Coeur (sacred heart church) is located. First, we headed to Soul Kitchen for lunch. AGAIN, my #1 restaurant choice in the area was closed. 😦
Luckily, this time I had a backup choice prepared – Babalou Pizzeria, a mere block from the famous church. Babalou was very small and cozy, recommended by locals on Yelp, Time Out Paris, and several other foodie guides online. The pizzeria itself was teeny tiny and quite dim.
Our food was fantastic and one of the highlights of our trip so far. The portions look massive and enough to feed a family but I swear that’s because these tables are TINY.
Seline decided on pasta, and her choice out of tomato sauce, pesto, and four cheese was tomato sauce. She choice spaghetti over penne and enjoyed this bowl of pasta topped with basil, parmesan shavings, and cherry tomatoes. Except I got to eat her basil and tomatoes, so basically she had noodles in tomato sauce. 😉
I ordered the four cheese pizza, which was topped with taleggio, gorgonzola, ricotta and pine nuts, and another cheese that I just can’t remember at the moment. Rather than a full pizza, I chose to have just half with a small parmesan and tomato rocket salad on the side. I love arugula! It was so peppery and fresh with the rich and cheesy pizza.
Seline ate some of my pizza and thought it was so good that she wanted to order her own. She told me after finishing her spaghetti that she was still hungry and wanted a pizza with mushrooms on it. She decided on this one, which was topped with mozzarella, ham, and mushrooms. I guess a full one was too much for her because she finished only 75%.
While Seline enjoyed her ham and mushroom pizza, I ordered a tiramisu. Sadly this wasn’t made in-house but was good nonetheless. I’m not a huge tiramisu fan but felt like having something “lighter” and Italian. Unfortunately this didn’t revolutionize my life and convert me into a tiramisu lover, but it was pretty much what I needed after the savoury lunch. 🙂
Next stop – the Sacre-Coeur!
We felt like we won the lottery again with this incredible weather – sunny and warm with a breeze, and not stuffy or too hot at all.
We even got to walk around inside the church for free, with many other tourists, but weren’t allowed to take photos because it is a place of worship. Too bad! I wanted to show you guys what the church looked like inside – SO majestic and I couldn’t stop admiring the details in the stained glass windows and arched ceilings.
The area was studded with perfect lawns and flocking with tourists and people selling souvenirs.
We took advantage of the beautiful scenery and excellent weather to take lots of photos! Excuse my awful outfit by the way – it was super chilly and rainy this morning so I wore sweatpants and brought an umbrella 😛 Not a very Parisian outfit, that’s for sure!
One funny part was seeing this lovely couple standing on top of a statue. Everyone was taking photos of them because it was so movie-like. Right?!
I asked that baguette chef mascot person if I could take a picture with her and she asked for “une petite piece” (AKA money/coins) so I apologized and walked away really quickly. I guess we kind of got a photo with her?
There were a LOT of stairs, but luckily we came up another way and only had to take the stairs down into the heart of Montmartre. Surprisingly, Seline didn’t get too tired today. I think the weather is to thank!
There was another lovely fountain at the very base, after about 309450983 stairs.
I really felt like we had the perfect Parisian afternoon and felt very inspired and happy all day. 🙂 Whoa, that was cheesy (cheesier than my four-cheese pizza at lunch). By the way, there are a ton of pigeons here in Paris. Seline once pointed out a baby and said, “that’s such a skinny pigeon. Let’s beat it.” I was surprised and confused until realizing that I had misheard – she wanted to feed it, not beat it! 😀
I’d love to sit on the grass and enjoy a sandwich and a cold drink while watching the tourists and staring at the church. Maybe another day!
We saw a carousel and I nearly jumped on it for fun – luckily Seline pointed out that you had to pay.
We set off onto our next destination – the Montmartre Cemetery. I didn’t tell Seline that we’d be passing a famous Montmartre bakery on the way. 😉 She got a little tired (we took a lot of stairs!) and we had a short rest after looking at souvenirs in a long row of gift shops.
The bakery was actually BETTER than I’d expected! I saw people outside eating massive plates of salad with cheese and bread. Yum… I wanted some. We will definitely make an effort to come back for lunch at Coquelicot. I thought it would be a good idea to buy some breakfast pastries for tomorrow since most bakeries and shops are closed Sunday. I chose a pain au chocolat with almond and pistachios, and Seline wanted a Mediterranean pizza with anchovies and cheese. We also bought a cheesecake and I wanted a financier so badly, but resisted. 😉 For once.
The cemetery was truly unlike anything I’ve ever seen – totally different from the ones I’ve passed in Vancouver. The graves are like statues or monuments, each one different from it’s neighbour. This was almost like a walk through a statue museum/garden.
Seline thought it was a creepy place to be, but I sort of like weird and mysterious things/places so this was totally my thing. I did admit that I would NOT want to be here at night, though!
We saw a black cat at one point, and several other cats on our way out. I wonder if they’re here to “decorate” the cemetery. The centre of the cimitiere Montmartre was a beautiful garden surrounded by trees.
Since we had to be home before 7:00 to take care of Alexandre while Maggie and Eric went to Paris for dinner, Seline and I did not have much time to browse the cemetery. We hopped onto the Metro and RER’ed home. I was excited for dinner, as usual 🙂
Dinner was a deluxe salad – mine was topped with everything yummy I could find in the kitchen, including green grapes, melon and proscuitto, gouda cheese, and a hard-boiled egg. I drizzled this in balsamic-olive oil dressing instead of ranch, which I was supposed to do. I’m not a big fan of bottled ranch.
This salad was very filling with all the protein (proscuitto, cheese, egg) and fruit. Have you ever had melon + proscuitto before? The salty Italian ham pairs well with fragrant and juicy canteloupe. Another favourite combo was gouda with grapes. I finished this salad so quickly.
Seline and Alexandre also had a bit of salad, but their main course was spaghetti in bacon “sauce” (cooked bacon and bacon grease). This was a simple dinner, because Maggie and Eric left the house at around 7:00 for their dinner date in Paris.
For the most part, Alexandre, Seline, and I had a very peaceful and reasonably clean dinner! There weren’t noodles strewn around the living room like I had imagined would happen, which is a good thing 🙂 Alexandre mashed his melons into the bacon spaghetti and finished his entire bowl – his portion was only a little smaller than Seline’s!
At Coquelicot, I bought a cheesecake for the three of us to share, and since we’d also passed a fruiterie (fruit market), I picked up a box of fresh strawberries that were too beautiful to pass up.
The three of us each got a handful of strawberries and 1/3 of the cheesecake. I also had half a glass of milk.
Seline decided that the berries were too sour, apparently more sour than a sour key, and deemed herself “berry picky”. She loved the cheesecake crust, though. I liked the creamy middle – it was very fresh and mousse-like. Alexandre loved the strawberries and ate Seline’s portion after she tried one and gagged from the sourness. They weren’t sour at all actually. 😛
After dinner, Seline and I cleaned the kitchen (mopped, rinsed and placed dishes in dishwasher, washed the table and counters, put leftover melon + proscuitto away, and dried the serving dishes) while Alexandre sang and played in his high chair. Usually he makes a fuss and has a tantrum because he absolutely hates the chair, but today he was all smiles! We cleaned until Alexandre declared that he had “fait peepee partout” – did peepee everywhere.
Luckily I was ready for something like that, so I scooped him out of his high chair and helped him take a shower. Alexandre behaved so well all evening, and we even had time to read and play for about 20 minutes before I put him to bed.
Once I told him that it was time for his “dodo” (nap), he wanted Mama and started to cry. This happened at around 10:15. Crying before bed is normal for babies and toddlers, so I simply lay on the bed and pretended I was asleep. By 11:00, Alexandre was sound asleep and I headed downstairs to take my shower and finish uploading the pictures.
It’s actually 7:10 (Sunday morning) now as I finish writing this post – I did NOT sleep well last night! I didn’t lie down in bed until 1:30, and even then, I just couldn’t fall asleep. After tossing and turning, putting on a jacket and socks, then taking them off, I realized nothing worked. I checked my watch frequently and didn’t end up dozing off until 4:00 AM! The 2.5 hours that I was awake were agonizing – the waiting was worse than an airplane ride.
I wonder why I had a hard time falling asleep; it may have been because I lay on my stomach not long after eating dinner while pretending to sleep with Alexandre, or maybe because our room was chilly since I left the window ajar during dinner + cleaning.