Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Second Time Around

Eiffel Tower, View from our Hotel (Duquenesque Eiffel)

Flower Market on Rue Cler

Scallops on Rue Cler

A Walk Along the Seine on a Perfect Sunny Day

Beautiful Sculptures Outside the Musee d'Orsay

O Chateau Wine Tasting

Les Invalides, Entrance to Napolean's Tomb

Musee Rodin

Musee Rodin

The Thinker, Rodin

Balzac, Rodin

Rodin Sculpture Garden, Musee Rodin

My deuxieme sojourn to the city of lights was nothing short of fabulous. I flew up to Paris at the beginning of October to meet my mom who was flying in from Canada to start her three week holiday in France. We spent three nights at the Duquesne Eiffel Hotel, definitely recommended, located in the heart of Paris just steps away from Les Invalides (5 minutes on foot) and a stone's throw from the Eiffel Tower.

We had the perfect itinerary complete with art, dining, shopping, churches, perfect walks and lots of wonderful mother-daughter bonding. We walked all over Paris and hit all the main sites (The Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, etc) and even managed to squeeze in a few extra things that I didn't get to see the last time I was there with my brother. The highlights included :

Rue Cler – A picturesque cobblestone street lined with all the essential colourful shops – butcher, seafood, wine, cheese, chocolate, bread and flowers. If you wish to learn the fine art of living Parisian style, Rue Cler is an excellent classroom. And if you want to assemble the ultimate French picnic, there's no better place. My mom and I started our first morning in Paris on this street with savoury ham, cheese and egg crepes and a couple of cafe cremes. Make sure you start this street hungry!

The Musee d'Orsay – A former railway station and impressive Beaux-Arts edifice built between 1898 and 1900. It holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1915, and is probably best known for its extensive and highly impressive collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces by such painters as Manet, Monet, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Renoir, Degars, Seurat, and Gaugin.

Musee Rodin – (The Rodin Museum and Gardens) is located in an 18th century mansion where the artist once lived and worked, tucked behind a walled garden away from the hubbub of the city. The Museum is located next to les Invalides, the location of the tomb of Napolean Bonaparte. In all, the Museum owns over 6000 Rodin sculptures, including some of his most renowned works such as The Thinker, The Kiss and Balzac.

Wine Tasting at O Chateau – O Chateau's tastings take place in a beautiful 17th century cellar located near the Louvre. King Louis XV turned them into royal cellars and made it a storage place for the wines of the court of the King of France. Not a bad setting for a wine tasting. Wines Tasted:
1. Champagne
Alain Mercier et Fils
Brut Tradition
21 euros
Loving bubbles and mildly addictive!

2. Loire
Domaine de la Garenne
18 euro
Fresh, lively acidity, herbaceous and fruity! My favourite white out of the bunch.

3. Burgundy
Cote Chalonnaise
Domaine Venot
17 euro
A subtle and elegant interpretation of the Chardonnay grape. Aromas and flavours of stone fruit, peach, apricot, vanilla, mango and butter.

4. South West
Chateau Coutinel
19 euro
Delightful texture with charming berries, vanilla, cassis, spice, pepper, tobacco and black cherry.

5. Bordeaux
Haut Medoc
Chateau Lanessan
25 euro
Similar dark fruit aromas and flavours as wine #4 but with much more complexity, concentration and softness. This was my favourite red!

6. Rhone
Cotes du Rhone Village
Domaine du Grand Veneur
19 euro
Very volumtuous and full-bodied with gamey, meaty notes and aromas and flavours of blackberry, spice, vanilla and cigar box.