Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Changing of the Guards

I only worked in the morning today, so at about eleven I wandered out of the office in the general direction of the British Museum to meet Chris. Along the way I came across a mass of non-British folk hanging out here:


This is Buckingham Palace and I was just in time for the Changing of the Guard, a peculiar ceremony which I have never seen.


So I stopped and watched for a bit.
video

There were lots of people, so I couldn't see past the gate.


So I decided to keep walking. But the police wouldn't let people cross the street, because apparently it wasn't finished yet.

Finally, across the street, I continued my walk on a gorgeous sunny (if a bit chilly) London day cross town to meet Chris and go to the British Museum to see The First Emperor exhibit.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008

Stairwell

Our stairwell in Paris had two benefits: gorgeous light in the mornings, and only being four flights (as opposed to some less fortunate).

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Jardin des Tuileries

A cold, crisp day in Paris had Leah and I walking through le Jardin des Tuileries in the afternoon. The light possessed a surreal quality, casting the plants in blue tones, and muting all the normal colours. Despite the normal stream of Parisians and tourists, the gardens actually seemed quiet and the barren trees only served to reinforce this impression.

It quite felt like a moment out of an Edward Gorey book.

Friday, January 18, 2008

On the Streets of Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Even though we're in London now, expect to see the occasional photo from Paris as I get around to processing the other 700 images.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Perfect Wandering Saturday in London

Days like these make everything seem possible.

Everyone got up at a decent time (for a Saturday) and we all just hung around, hanging out and slowly getting ready. Around 3:00 Chris, Craig, Sarah & I left the house in search of food at Borough Market. Craig let us to Cafe Brood (Best BBQ in London!) where we ate paella with the best chorizo sausage I've ever eaten. We wandered, I bought some spices (wild sumac- can't wait to cook with it) and we got the World's Best Filter Coffee at Monmouth's (and a delicious truffle- anyone who comes to visit we'll definitely take you there!).

We were going to go for a pint at the George but because I drink my coffee so slowly, we started wandering, Craig and Sarah discovered I had never walked the South Bank so we wandered that way- past the Globe theater, past the Clink, past a random movie set that I'm convinced was for the new Bond, to the Tate.

It being Saturday night, the Tate was open. It being London, the Tate was free. So we wandered in, and looked at modern art for an hour or so, got lost in their fantastic book store and then continued wandering along the Thames. We stopped for a drink at the British Film Institute where we watched a bunch of poorly dressed girls who had lost their pants and then Chris and I left Sarah and Craig and wandered across the bridge to go meet Rhea for dinner.

We wandered in the wrong direction, got lost, called her, wandered in the right direction, had a lovely, chatty dinner and then went home.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Last Night in Paris

Dinner.
8 o'clock reservation at Chez Michel in the 10th arrondissement.

Kirs
Tiny little escargots that we had to pick out with a pin, dipped in a mustardy sauce
Dark bread

Gorgeous bottle of red Bordeaux

Scallop tartare with chicory and apples
Rabbit rilletes

Venison stew with chestnuts
Capon with a creamy langoustine sauce

Paris-Brest - a circle of choux pastry filled with praline buttercream
Kouign Aman -caramelized butter and sugar cake

Coffee

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Pierre Herme - the Picasso of Pastry


Pierre Herme is the god of the pastry world. France gave him the Legion of Honour last year for his pastry brilliance. We made the pilgrimage to his tiny little shop in Saint Germain today and I am in love.

Plaisirs Sucrés


A crunchy hazelnut cookie base, sheets of praline, chocolate whipped cream, thin chocolate sheets and ganache. We didn't say a word while we bit into its loveliness.


Ispahan

Rose flavoured macarons, rose cream, litchis and whole, luscious rasberries. Perfumed deliciousness.


Plénitude

Chocolate macaron, dark chocolate pieces with fleur de sel, mousse, bittersweet chocolate ganach and crunchy caramel.

Photos by CG

Friday, January 4, 2008

Passage Brady

After Wednesday's overloading museum day we spent Thursday in true Parisian fashion - wandering in search of food and delight. C had read about Passage Brady, a covered alley way with a multitude of cheap Indian and Pakistani eateries. So we went there.
C was a little disappointed it wasn't more like a Thieves Market. (C's Edit: I'd sort of envisioned an alley, packed with shouting vendors and carts of steaming deliciousness (like something straight out of India) – a place where 5 EUR would get you a bowl full of delicious curry cooked up in front of you and served with reckless disregard for health standards)

The restaurant we choose was called Shalimar and they've been open since 1978. The decor, aside from the purple ceiling, was huge oil paintings of Bollywood starlets from days gone by. Surreal.


After lunch we wandered to the Abbesse and Montmartre for a coffee and another 'third best baguette in Paris' which we later ate with a delicious bottle of wine.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

'Primitive Art'

We went to the Musee du Quai Branly yesterday. It opened in the last year or so and holds the Louvre's collection of African, Asian, Oceanic and American art. When it opened there was a ton of controversy over the building, the purpose and the intent.

You aren't supposed to take photos. Even sneaky ones.

So C got in trouble from the security guard.

Oops.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Years in Paris

C & I spent the last day of 2007 quietly - he was working, I was off braving the crowds for groceries.

We got dressed up for dinner and ate escargots, an earthy French version of an Italian New Year's Eve traditional dinner of lentils and sausages and a gorgeous bottle of wine. We finished at 11:30, donned our coats and hustled up the 120 steps to the top of Montmartre where we stood with a thousand others as we watched the Eiffel Tower mark midnight with its sparkly lights.

Random people set off fire crackers, sang and drank - it was a little mad.

And we stood there, arms around each other, laughing at the thought that we were there, together, in PARIS, for New Year's Eve.

Pretty perfect.