Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Sunday in Paris and Dinner at Les Cailloux

Before the canopy of blue sky arrived, there was a mist in the air as we started our day. I ran back for my umbrella before heading out. While walking to the metro stop, the cool moisture in the air suddenly smelled like paint. The fine mist of Mother Nature turned into graffiti artists spray paint. It was Sunday in Paris and most stores are closed except in the busy tourist areas. Three artists were painting the metal security gates of this closed book/magazine shop. Stepping off of the metro at the Arc de Triomphe, the skies were lightening as the ever present dancers entertained with their music and moves. The police were on horseback, but the demonstrations of last week were just a memory today. Walking along the Champs Élysées and the surrounding streets, there was fashion. There were faces And there were feet. Halloween had a small, but sweet presence. If you looked closely, you'd see these whimsically scary mosaics were made entirely from candy. As we walked along, the skies turned blue and white puffy clouds floated by. It evolved into a beautiful fall Sunday in Paris. It was perfect for bike riding. Or not. Everywhere there was an art exhibit. There is art in all forms in this beautiful and magical city. And fun of course! Chestnuts roasting on an open fire weren't quite as enticing as our next stop, Laduree. There was a long line going in, but there is plenty of eye candy to look at while waiting. And so many choices! With bags in hand, some of us couldn't wait for the reward of braving the crowded line. Michelle thought the cassis-violette flavor was heavenly, Kim and I liked our caramel à la fleur de sel and chocolat macarons, while Laura's praliné noisettes completed our rhapsody of flavors. Smiling, we continued our walk down the rue de Rivoli which is full of shops. This scrumptious scarf could be yours for a mere €200. Or not. I had the job of guarding one of the bags while my friends tried on the scarves that were just as colorful and yummy as the macaron menu. That was a safe place for me to be, because if I buy one more scarf, I'll need an addition to my closet! Thank goodness the shops were closing and dinner time neared. An apperitif sounded good to all of us. The cafés along rue de Rivoli can be pricey since this area is full of tourists, exclusive hotels, shops and the Louvre is nearby. We scouted out one that seemed more reasonable than the others and sat inside. It felt good to sit down. Our pilot, Laura treated. She is not only beautiful, fun and talented, she is also generous! Evening comes early in the fall and the waning full moon rested magestically over the pyramid of the Louvre. I was meeting my friends Rick and Brenda at Les Cailloux for dinner in the Butte-aux-Caille part of Paris. So back to the hotel I went to freshen up and make my way to the restaurant. There was one lone graffiti artist left to finish this masterpiece, as I stopped to take another peek before walking up to the butte. I arrived at Les Cailloux hungry and thirsty from my full afternoon and anxious to see my friends. Italian food in Paris is a nice break, and this restaurant is fabulous! After hugs and kisses, I sat down and was presented the menu and water served from an Absolut Vodka bottle. An interesting touch. This is one of Rick and Brenda's favorite Italian restaurants and they highly recommended the eggplant layered with mozzarella cheese and a hearty tomato sauce. We decided to share that and mushrooms with squid ink served with polenta. They were perfect choices that went well together. Just watch out for the squid ink moustache! For my main course I chose a plat du jour, Linguine with Cèpes or porcini mushrooms. They are in season now, so how could I resist? Tossed with garlic and olive oil, it brought a tear of happiness to my eye ;-) Rick had a Pesto Rigatoni and Brenda ordered Spinach Ravioli. All were warm, hearty and delicious. Someone at the table next to us ordered calimari that looked like it was just plucked from the ocean....ah, next time! Rick told me all about the restaurant from the years they have been coming here. He always ordered what the round, Italian owner suggested and was never disappointed. How could you be when the food was made with such character and love and served with a side of stories. We were too full for dessert if you can even imagine, but I am told the panna cotta is a must. Before heading out for the walk back, a stop at le toilette was a continuation of this charming restaurant.Outside, the night air was fresh and brisk and welcoming as Rick and Brenda walked me back to the hotel.

It was a full day, a full evening and then a full flight home the next day. I know there must be angels, because one of our passengers opened up his large, light green box and offered us several of these during our long flight back to Boston!
Big Smiles! Trumpets playing!!

Laduree

Les Cailloux,

  • 58, rue des Cinq Diamants, Butte aux Cailles, Paris, France
  • 01 45 80 15 08
Special thanks to Laura for the pics of the bronze door handle and the full moon over the Louvre. You and your iphone are a dynamic duo!

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13 comments:

La Table De Nana said...

Fist I am putting river rocks in my sink:) Then coveting the Ladurée bags.. Ohmygosh Diane.. you have a GREAT eye! That 200 Euro scarf is so pretty.. too rich for me..let's make some:)

The food..the big balloon..

I am off for a bit..I will come back to admire of coures..

Great post as always..

You're good..

linda said...

i second the river rocks! what a ingenious idea & how clever of you to photograph!!
you always capture all the "goodness" of paris & the "life" of this beautiful city…

i have recently taken 2 workshops in french macaron baking with another coming up…they are such fussy treats!
i really enjoyed laudree when i visited last & truly can appreciate all their talented bakers!

your photograph of the pyramid of the Louvre took my breath away as i envisioned myself standing in the moonlight.
kudos on this grand post!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Your photos are incredible. I felt as if I was walking along with you taking in all of the sites. The fur coat on the woman surprised me. Makes me wonder if Do Europeans still wear real furs.

I would love to have that scarf, but 200 euros - wow. Makes me feel a little less guilty about what I paid at Banana Republic for my latest scarves.
Sam

ButterYum said...

Oh my goodness, how fabulous! For a foodie like me, this would have been a dream vacation!

:)
ButterYum

2 Stews said...

Monique...thanks for your kind comments. Great minds think alike...as soon as I heard the price for the scarf, I started examining how it was made! We could do it, I know, but that slippery fabric may make us a little nuts!!

Stay well, my friend :-)

Linda...yes, those river rocks are genius, especially by candlelight!

Macaron classes? Wow...I made some in February and I think dry weather helps them come out well. I don't know how they get the texture to stay so uniform in different weather conditions. Maybe you'll have to do a guest blog!!

Sam...I am almost 100% certain that the fur was real. I was by the Hotel Le Meurice, which has guests from around the world. It is a reminder of how different our mentality and culture can be.

Enjoy your Banana Republic scarves knowing what a bargain they were!!

ButterYum...so glad you came along :-) Your experience will be different yet, when you take your Dream Trip!

Thanks for visiting...enjoy your week....Diane

Cheryl said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous pictures. I know I have told you how I live vicariously through your post, but it is so true.

Anonymous said...

Diane,

Love this blog....I only wish I had been there. Your descriptions, photos....I miss Paris....Brenda, Rick and you.

Thibeault's Table said...

I love how you take us around Paris with you.

Ann

Rick said...

We had a great evening with you!

"All things French" said...

What a wonderful walk around Paris -I feel I need to sit a while in a pretty cafe overlooking La Seine and savour the delights of that prettiest of cities.
I have loved my visit to your beautiful site.
~Dianne~

Kate said...

I enjoy walking around Paris with you. It is always a delight.

Noelle said...

Dear Diane,

I loved to discover your website. Beautiful photography and writing, you do take us with you on your travelling. Wish I was still flying, I'd be inspired to do just like you. Can't wait to read your next post (L'Amuse Bouche) ;-) Let me know when you are in Paris again, will you ? I'd love to try your next restaurant with you ! All the best, noelleleveque@gmail.com

Noelle said...

PS: when at La Durée, you must try the "croissants fourrés" they are incredible, filled with crushed almonds and haselnuts, perfectly puffed, heaven ! I actually like them better than the Macarons, which are too sweet to my taste...