Trying to keep up….
We got the early start as planned and were off the boat by 8:30. We walked along the river, across the Ile Saint Louis, and up to the kitchenware district of La Marais. After a confused search for a specific store, we met CP at a crosswalk. It turned out that either their listed address was wrong, or google maps messed up. It all worked out though. We toured kitchen ware shops for a couple hours, then parted ways.
I bought a macaron making kit, Jill bought Eiffel tower cookie cutters, and the girls got a varity of sprinkles and a spoon.
Lunch was at a “Japanese” restaurant. Jill always resists going in to this kind of establishment, being a Japanese food purist. Basically, if it is not owned, run, and completely staffed by actual Japanese people, then it is crap. Generally she is right, but I like to test the theory every now and then. The food was okay, but missed the mark on a few things. Especially the soup. It was like a cross beteween an extremely weak miso soup and a sunomono salad.
Afterwards, we wandered through the Tuileries headed towards L’avenue des Champs-Élysées. We paused at a playground, a carousel and a trampoline play area, dropping 15 euro in the process. The thought had been that we might look at the Arc de Triomph, but the girls wanted a snack before we got there, so we headed off of the Champs, through the fashion district, and wound up at a little cafe where we had a snack. Jill and I also had a glass of wine each. The plastic glasses were in the beverage cooler and were sealed with tinfoil. I’ve had far worse wine.
Once off the Metro, we stopped for food and wine, then enjoyed our repast on the deck in the evening sun.
Our anniversary day dawned bright and clear, and we ventured out to get our laundry done. We wandered through the Jardin des Plantes, and tried out the playground. It began to rain, so we carried on with our mission. Unfortunately, Google led us astray once again, but we found a laundromat close to where there was supposed to be one. While the clothes were washing, we headed over to the Marché Monge. Jill and I agree that this was the best market to date. Lots of good food, including our favorites cheese, wine and sausage. We bought a little bit of each.
After a quick switch to the dryer, and a brief stop to get a snack, we stumbled upon a lovely little playground with free Wi-Fi. Jill and I found poop free sections of bench and relaxed for a bit while the girls ran around.
On our way back to the peniche, we grabbed some baguette sandwiches for lunch. That’s the way to eat for cheap in Paris. Also, eating them on the roof of a houseboat makes them taste even better.
We met up with CP at 2 and brought her back to the peniche for a tour. It was then that Miwa blew the surprise about our plans for the evening, which I had explicitly asker not to do. I probably should have told her to tell CP if I had wanted her to keep the secret.
Our afternoon was spent on a more devoted tour of the Jardin des Plantes, though we did have to make our daily carousel stop. The Jardin is quite lovely and well maintained, also well used.
Once we reached the far end of the Jardin, it was only a half block walk to the Grande Mosquee for mint tea and pastries.
We took CP to our favourite goat cheese and wine store where we got a few more bottles of wine and CP bought some artisan soda for the girls.
We got back to the peniche around 5pm, and opened a bottle of the white wine we had picked up at the market. The girls had some of the artisan soda, and pretty soon we were into the rose we had bought at the market.
The chef Jill had hired arrived around 6:45 with her assistant and they and began preparing dinner. This was the surprise that Miwa gave away. The food was magnificent, and I now really want to try cooking duck breast at home!
Sablé au parmesan garnis de légumes croquants marinés et gambas
(Parmesan shortbread topped with crunchy vegetables and marinated prawns)
Magret de canard, poêlée de figues purée de cèleri et réduction balsamique au thym
(Duck breast , sautéed celery purée of figs and balsamic reduction with thyme)
Pastillas au chocolat blanc et framboises
(white chocolate and raspberries pastila)
The wine went well with everything, et voila! One more 4 bottle night.
Today we walked (Quelle surprise) to Maison Berthillion, a famous sorbet and ice cream house on the Ile St. Louis. There we met CP and had our petit dejuner in a very decadent manner. The ice cream was excellent and the sorbet was superb. However, I think all this sugar is starting to affect the girls a bit, so after today, there will be a bit of a sugar ban.
We then walked to a play ground, but it was so busy that it didn’t provide much of a rest. We were startled to see what the time was and had to postpone our visit to the chocolatiers and scuttle back to the peniche for a bit before heading out again to pick up a rotisserie chicken for dinner at CP’s as it was her last night in Paris before she heads off into the wilds of Normandy. Only 6€ for the chicken, compared to the heritage variety Cou-Nu (Naked Neck) we’d had a few days earlier for 86€ at Coq Rico.
We ran into CP on our way and stopped to pick up a bottle of white wine from the wine store almost directly below her apartment. Ru-chan was asleep by then, so we headed straight up to her apartment and got into the goodies. The wine and the chicken were pretty damn good.
We watched the kids play in the playground near CP’s for a bit before heading home. We were a bit late, so we didn’t get the kids to bed until 10ish.
An early start as we wanted to get to Versailles early to beat the crowds. Not a good follow up to a late night. Ru was fine, but Miwa needs her sleep. We were very unsympathetic, seeing as it was Miwa wanting to see the Hall of Mirrors that was a large part of the driver for going.
Jill spent a great deal of time stressing about tickets. We were not able to print them out, so she only had the .pdf files on her phone. The website said this was a fine way to do things. Jill continued to stress. Jill took Miwa to the ticket booth to verify that the mobile version of the ticket would be good. They assured her it was fine. Jill continued to stress. A woman came along the line, asking to ensure that everyone had their tickets. We enquired about the images on the phone, and she said they would be fine. Jill continued to stress. We got through the security check point with our phone tickets, and were in. Jill began to worry if the internet tickets would be accepted at the garden entrance as well. And they were…
Versailles was great, here are some pictures.
Marie-Antoinette’s hamlet was a big hit all around.