Love and Food in the Big D

Friday, September 30, 2011

Paris, France Day 1 - Here, There and & The Eiffel Tower :)

After a little more than two blissfully relaxing days in Avignon, Chad and I prepared for our next, and sadly, final, leg of our European tour....PARIS! 

Train tickets purchased, and bags RE-PACKED (where the HELL did ALL this stuff COME FROM?!?! ;), we headed back to the Avignon Centre train station to catch our ride. 

Paris, here we come!

Fancy Schmancy in first class :)

Beautiful Scenery...

A few hours later.. Chaos

But we finally made it to our cute little hotel, The New Orient in the heart of the 8th district

With an amazing view!

Even the STAIRS had charm.. :)

After settling in for a few minutes.. we decided to take a little walk to see what our surroundings had in store for us.  :)

Cute little street.. with food vendors everywhere..

We decided to walk towards the Seine River..

The architecture all around was stunning :)

La Madeleine Catholic Church

So I have to admit that I was beyond EXCITED to coincidentally run into Laduree.  Like, school girl giddy , kind of excited.  :)  In our research of Paris, Laduree was undoubtably a MUST VISIT (for me) while in Paris. Chad, being the family foodie, surprisingly, had no idea about Laduree...but was QUICKLY sold after just one bite.  :)  THE BEST macaroons you could ever imagine having.  Everything about these tiny little things made you feel special.  From the packaging to the interior was all lovely.  :) 

Soooooo sooooo PRETTY!! 

It took everything we had not to get one of EVERYTHING!! 

But we were good and just walked away with a sampling of macaroons :) 

Then lo and behold.. look what we saw NEXT!!  :) 

The Eiffel Tower at sunset.. HURRY CHAD!! Lets GO!!!

The Seine.. looking off towards Notre Dame (in the distance)..
Making our way towards the Eiffel Tower..

Getting closer ..

So much more GRAND than I ever expected it to be..

We caught it at just the right time..

Every hour (for about ten minutes) the Eiffel Tower lights up like a christmas tree with millions of sparkling lights!! Truly AWESOME!!   

What a wonderful first day in Paris! 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Avignon, France Day 2 - Part 2: Pope's Palace & Dinner at L'Essentiel

One of the only items on our "Must-Do-While-In-Avignon" list was to tour the gargantuan Papal Palace. 

History (according to Wikipedia)
Avignon became the residence of the Popes in 1309, when the Gascon Bertrand de Goth, as Pope Clement V, unwilling to face the violent chaos of Rome after his election (1305), moved the Papal Curia to Avignon, a period known as the Avignon Papacy. Clement lived as a guest in the Dominican monastery at Avignon, and his successor Pope John XXII set up a magnificent establishment there, but the reconstruction of the old bishops' palace was begun in earnest by Pope Benedict XII (1334–42) and continued by his successors to 1364. The site, on a natural rocky outcrop at the northern edge of Avignon, overlooking the river Rhône, was that of the old episcopal palace of the bishops of Avignon. The Palais was built in two principal phases with two distinct segments, known as the Palais Vieux (Old Palace) and Palais Neuf (New Palace). By the time of its completion, it occupied an area of 11,000 m² (2.6 acres). The building was enormously expensive, consuming much of the papacy's income during its construction. 

If you'd like to know more.. You can get your read on here... :)

Overlooking Avignon from one of the Palace Towers..

Another picturesque map pointing the way

After spending the majority of the afternoon exploring the Palace we headed back to our B&B (passing the Pont D'Avignon) to get ready for dinner. 

Water levels at the Pont D'Avignon dating back to 1755

A TRUE walled city...

Back to the Banasterie to get cleaned up and rest a bit :)

After taking a much needed rest from our long day, we set our sights on ANOTHER amazing restaurant, L'Essentiel, recommended by the La Banasterie owner Jean-Michel 

I love finding (and photographing) wines I love.. It helps me remember them later on ;) 
This one is definitely one of my favorites.  :)

Prelude Gourmand - Tomato preserves with duck rillettes
Rabbit and Olive Terrine with Herb Salad

Soft Boiled Egg on Mashed Potatoes with Truffle Toast

Chicken on Herb Potatoes with Mushroom Cream

Duck Breast with Twice Fried Onions

Polenta and Burnt Orange Demi

Coffee Chocolate Cake with Chestnut Ice Cream

Pineapple Sponge Cake in a Lemon Pineapple Sauce

So long L'Essentiel, you've been good to us..time to walk off all that food! 

Ending a perfect evening in the most perfect way... Overlooking the Palace with my husband. 
Life. Is. Good. 

Next Up:  PARIS!!