Ah, Paris. Where to begin? There was a lot of running around to the usual sites: The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Giverny, Versailles, Notre Dame, Saint Chapelle, Montmartre, etc. There was a lot of eating, walking, and there was a lot of shopping as well. Let's start with the food and restaurants this week:
Our first meal in Paris was breakfast at Ladurée on the Champs Elysees, the famed tea salon noted for their famed macaroons. From the Laduree website:
"The story of the Ladurée macaroon starts with Pierre Desfontaines, distant cousin of Louis Ernest Ladurée, who at the beginning of the 20th century first thought of taking two macaroon shells and joining them with a delicious ganache filling. The way of making them has never changed since that time.
These small, round cakes, crisp on the outside, smooth and soft in the middle, are made every morning in Ladurée’s "laboratory". The pastry chefs measure out very precisely the required amounts of almonds, eggs and sugar, before adding one final ingredient, a pinch of unique "know-how", essential to the making of such a delicacy.
Once cooked and filled, the macaroons are put to one side for 2 days before going on sale, the time it takes to achieve a perfect balance between texture and flavour.
Macaroons come in two sizes: the mini-macaroon or "gerbet" and full-size macaroons.
With each new season, Ladurée pays tribute to this its most famous creation by creating a new flavour."
As you can see, these are not the macaroons of the coconut variety we are used to in the States. While I adore the mini-macaroons (pictured), I wouldn't advise heading over to Ladurée for breakfast.
We ordered the petit breakfast for two which came with an assortment of breads (not impressive), coffee, juice or chocolat chaud, and eggs; all in all, it was a mediocre meal for about 60 Euros. I would probably not go to Ladurée on the Champs again. My second experience was much better as it was strictly to buy a small assortment of macaroons at the 21 rue Bonaparte location. Somehow, the macaroons tasted better there. As it was May and in honor of May Day, they even had a Muguet de Bois (Lily of the Valley) flavored macaroon. Vanilla and Caramel were favorites of mine; my only regret is that we didn't have enough time before we left to make another pit stop to bring some home.
ETA: Just received a response from Laduree letting me know that their first U.S. location will be opening in New York by the end of the year!
Next: La Tour d'Argent and Pierre Gagnaire