Friday, August 28, 2015
We took the 7:30 bus again today! I slept in a little and had a glass of milk before Seline and I hopped onto the bus, then RER, to the Catacombs. We arrived before 9:00, but since the Catacombs open at 10:00, we stopped at a bakery across the street and I picked up this amazing chocolate almond croissant.
This is one of my favourite bakeries in Paris, and for a good reason – their pastries are organic, made with local ingredients, and baked fresh every morning. They taste delicious and so pure. This says “all our bread and our products are bade with naturally-sourced organic ingredients and created in an artisan way.”
The outsides were so crunchy, and were lined with caramelized sugar.
The filling had lots of ground almonds (not as many as yesterday, though, which was a little disappointing), but the crispy outsides made up for that. There wasn’t a lot of chocolate in here, so it didn’t overpower the almonds. We ate in the McDonalds across the street because there were no chairs at the bakery.
By the way, McDonalds in France sells macarons, flans, and several croissants. Only in Paris, right?!
Anyways, we finished breakfast at around 9:15. Since we still had 45 minutes to wait before the Catacombs opened, we browsed a local Monoprix. Then Seline had to go to the washroom. It was 9:30 by the time we got in line, and there was already a loooooooooooooooooong line in front of us. But the wait was bearable because of the sunny weather and cool mom + daughter behind us who spoke with the most interesting British accents. 🙂
We ended up waiting for two hours in total. The entire walk of the underground tunnel system took us (and most people on average) 45 minutes. There were around 60-70 little tiny stairs – on a spiral staircase! – on the way down, and another set to come back up.
We were pretty deep underground by the time we saw these – walls and walls of bones and skulls.
The low ceilings, dripping water, and eerie lamps gave the Catacombs such a macabre feel. Many of these skulls were nearly 200 years old. Some walls had skulls arranged in rows, and others in hearts or crosses. It was an interesting experience, but COLD underground, and I don’t think I would wait two hours to do this. The wait wasn’t worth it, but I’m glad we came anyways.
Lunch was at Jospehine Chez Dumonet! This place is famous for being another classic French bistro. They specialize in duck leg and are known for huge portions.
We were originally asked to sit near the outside door, by the entrance, but I asked if we could sit inside. There were some people smoking on the patio and that would ruin our lunch. So we were led inside, into a special room where we had a lovely view of the bathroom and kitchen. 😦 Apparently tourists are always given the worst spot.
Our server, a guy who looked like Ralph Macchio from the Outsiders (love that classic book/movie) gave us each a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. This was white wine that we posed with and smelled, but didn’t drink. He looked kind of disappointed when he took it away though.
We also had complimentary bread, as all French restaurants offer, and a free amuse-bouche. An amuse-bouche comes before a starter, and is usually just a couple bites. This was cold tomato soup with mini croutons and herbs. It was not my favourite – a little sour, and I like hot soups.
I ordered the famous Confit de Canard, which is duck confit, or a duck thigh and drumstick. Oh my goodness this was some of the best poultry I’ve ever had. The skin was fatty, crispy, and melted in my mouth. It was spiced with herbs and deep fried in duck fat. Not something I’d usually order and eat, but this was a very cool once-in-a-while indulgence.
It was served with crispy potatoes and a delicious fresh mixed green salad. The potatoes were sauteed in duck fat and topped with coarse salt and herbs. I really liked the salad with the duck – the two were opposites in flavour and texture.
Look at this! The duck was so tender it could easily be shredded by a fork. Seline and I agreed that some parts were a little dry once the skin was gone,
Seline chose the Beef Bourgignon. We weren’t allowed to share the duck confit, so she ordered a half-portion of the tagliatelle with French beef stew. Apparently it had an overwhelming wine flavour that she couldn’t tolerate, so she had just one piece of meat and finished her noodles with some sauce.
Yum! I finished most of my plate, minus a couple bites of dry duck. It was a large portion!
For dessert, we ordered the mille-feuille, Seline’s favourite French dessert. This restaurant was interesting because you have to tell your server that you want dessert BEFORE the meal. We ordered this at the same time as we ordered the plats.
Check out this MONSTER of a dessert! It could’ve easily fed 4-5 people.
Crispy, creamy, vanilla-y, and the perfect shatter-y, buttery texture, this dessert was like a dream on a plate. I will definitely remember this mille-feuille. By far the best mille-feuille I’ve had. We had no problem finishing it all – an even 50/50 split for the first time!
I kind of had to hobble to the next Metro because I was so full. Our tummies had food babies, but it was so worth it for the classic French dining experience.
After adding credit (calling and messages) to our phones and playing with Alexandre in the backyard, then buying a baguette from the bakery, we had a light dinner.
Started with a cheese plate – blue cheese, strong brie, and goat cheese. The brie was my favourite!
Alexandre loves cheese too. Camembert is his favourite – and mine too!
Then we had these Mexican taco “bowls”. These were filled with cheddar, a cheese sauce, ground Mexican-spiced meat, lettuce, fresh cherry tomatoes, and a dab of sour cream. Oh – and guacamole! This was so yummy. I think I could’ve eaten the whole plate but I stopped at… one. 😀
Eric’s vegetable soup was another delicious part of the dinner. He boiled leeks, onions, a carrot, and potatoes for two hours before pureeing the stew and adding a bit of cream, butter, milk, salt and pepper. This was delicious! I liked dipping my garlicky baguette inside. I topped my portion with a bit of grated Emmenthal.
We rested after our dinner and chores. 🙂 Did you have a nice Friday?