Laduree in New York?

I received an anonymous comment that Laduree, my favorite salon de the in Paris is opening a branch here in New York.  And yes, I am aware that there are “tons of Macarrons here in New York”, and I have tried them, but nothing compares to the macarrons of Laduree, even other competitors in the City of Lights itself.  Maybe it’s the francophile in me.

I found some references to it thanks to Google but there is no mention of it in Laduree’s website which names its branches outside of France.  =(  With the closing of Fauchon in Park Avenue last February, I yearn to go to Payard and pick up my favorite treats but it is just so out of the way for me.  Other pattiseries that offer it are just not worth the trip. 

I guess I’ll just have to wait for the next trip to Paris, or the next time someone returns from my favorite city in Europe.

A New Yorker thinking about Paris…again

I haven’t posted in my other blog, Pinay Francophile for quite on on while now. But reading “Custom of the Country” has made me think about my next trip there again. The novel is set in these two locals which makes me wonder if this is the reason my bestfriend, Fe, sent it to me.

It tells the story of turn of the century New Yorkers who vacation in Paris and on on time of elegance and luxury. Debauchery is too harsh on on term to use, but i can clearly see the places mentioned in my mind’s eye.

I’m hoping we won’t need the stroller for Angel then — and that’s one other thing I’m looking forward to— enjoying one of my favirite places with my little boy.

My visit to the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Paris

I have known about the “Miraculous Medal” since I was a child, but I didn’t realize the shrine devoted to it was in Paris until after I returned from my first trip there last February 2005.  This time around, I just had to go and I made sure I did.  This was a special pilgrimage for me, and I hope to go back should I get the chance to go again.. next time. 

Visit Pinay Francophile to read about my visit to this religious shrine in Paris.

I emerged from this Metro stop on Rue de Bac.
The nondescript gate to the Chapel premises is something you have to watch out for..

A view of the main altar from the sidelines on the ground floor



A date with Mona Lisa at the Louvre

While the Museums of Paris contain a huge treasure trove of classical works by the masters, going to them is just like going to any other museum.  It pays to know as much information about the hours, the admission fees and the major exhibitions housed in each one.  Like the museums in New York, there are certain days or hours when admission is reduced, when admission is free (!), when the museum has extended hours of operation (the Louvre is open until 9:30PM on Fridays), and the most important information you should seek out is when they are closed.  (Most museums are closed Monday.)

Read the full article as posted at Pinay Francophile

Make mine Camembert

I love cheese.. and I mean I LOVE CHEESE.  From the Queso de bola back home which is actually EDAM Cheese to your everyday Kraft Cheddar Cheese (and I’m talking about the one in Manila and not the American cheese you find in groceries here), I have learned to sample cheese not just as a sandwich ingredient but as an appetizer, pica-pica to go with drinks, and since I had it in Paris, dessert.

Locally, my favorite remains to be Edam which they never get quite as sharp as the PATO or MARCA PINA brand back home.  (Which reminds me, I must go to the Filipino store this coming weekend to get our cheese for the Christmas Noche Buena and the New Year’s breakfast.)  I love to munch on Swiss and Sharp cheddar with my preferred wine, Reisling, and although some friends love brie, I prefer camembert.

When we arrived Friday morning at the Hotel Westminster, there was a small fruit basket and a bottle of champagne as a welcome gift from the hotel waiting for us.  When we transferred to the Hotel Warwich Champs-Elysees Monday morning, a huge basket of fruit was on the coffee table.  Although I arrived in the evening from Chartres and we had decided to eat in the suite, I stepped out to grab some cheese from the Monoprix not too far away on champs Elysees.

With mounds of grapes in the basket, I played safe by getting a small camembert.  It went perfectly with the grapes and was a delicious dessert after we had our meal.  Not even the macarrons that came compliments of the chef equalled the pleasure of having the fruit and cheese melt in your mouth together.

I am no expert on cheese, but I like cheese and I grabbed two small rounds of camembert at the duty free shop on the way home.  (They pack it in aluminum foil and seal it in plastic before putting it in the regular duty free bag.)  I can’t wait to have it for dessert one of these days with the family or with friends.

Camembert is apparently a place in the province of Normandy in France, and legend has it that ” (it) dates back to the 18th century and is named for a Norman village in which there is a statue of the creator of this particular variety (Marie Harel). Originally, this cheese was dry and yellow-brown, but after a few modifications it became softer and more earthy. In 1855 one of Marie Harel’s daughters presented Napoleon with a piece of that cheese, saying that it came from village called Camembert. He liked it a lot and from that moment Camembert became known by its contemporary name. At the beginning of its ripening, Camembert is crumbly and soft and gets creamier over time (usually 2-3 weeks). A genuine Camembert has a delicate salty taste.” (Source:  Perhaps next time I’ll try and see if a day trip to Camembert is doable from Paris or Lyon.. meanwhile, I have some cheese I can’t wait to enjoy.

My Paris Starbucks Mug

Alan has been to Paris a half dozen times since he joined this company 3 1/2 years ago, but it wasn’t until this last visit that we finally found a Starbucks branch and I got my Paris mug.  It was a welcome addition to my Starbucks mug collection which has Manila, Cebu, Madrid, London, Singapore, Geneva and the local state mugs here.  I even have a few mugs with the original logo before it evolved into the new one.  Even if I have over 50 mugs in the collection, the Paris mug is special to me.

It’s one of the things I collect which I don’t pursue as passionately as my postcard collecting.  First rule of thumb is that I only buy mugs when they go on sale, unless they’re a state or city mug.  (Because then they never do go on sale.)  My latest acquisition is one of their halloween mugs bought just after halloween.

The goodies in Paris are just a little more expensive than the ones we have here in the US, so unless it’s a city mug, you’re better off buying it here. 

Random Thoughts on the Flight Home last November 29

I’m back!  It sure felt weird not being able to post here during the latter part of the trip.  I had left my laptop at home and since Alan is here on business, I only checked e-mail and managed a single post in response to a question on the Schengen Visa at Pinay Francophile and one or two posts here.  In a sense, it was a good thing that I took a break from blogging because then, I can organize my thoughts more coherently without being pressured to write a post in a limited amount of time.

There is just so much that needs to be said.  I’m still trying to decide which ones to write about first, so please indulge my blabbering.

The flight is not full unlike the one Alan and I took on the way to Paris.  Many passengers chose to occupy the 4-seater middle row and stretched out to catch some sleep.  I’m happy with my window seat with no one beside me.  I saw the lights of Paris as we took off and watched the sun disappear into the night. 

The lady in the middle aisle is trying to learn how to crochet.  I want to walk over and teach her but I remember the jubilation I felt when I taught myself how to knit.  So I let her be.  It appears she is having difficulty with the chain stitch because I’ve seen her put away her crochet hook and ball of yarn twice already.

There is a lot of movement on the plane because I guess most people are trying to stay awake for the landing in New York just around 8PM EST.

I am just now feeling the exhaustion from the trip.  I often slept after midnight because my body was still on New York EST.  With France 6 hours ahead, that’s still a marked time difference.  Last Monday evening, Alan and I were up until 4AM working on his presentation for the first day of the 4-day meeting they were holding.  I lost the whole next morning as a result because I woke up  close to noon.  (This is the reason why I ended up visiting only the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal on this day when my original plan was to stop there for an hour or so then spend the rest of the day at La Marais, or visit the Musee Rodin.)

I am continuing to read READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN, a chapter at a time and I like that pace for this type of a book.  It tells a story but dwells a lot on personal reflections of the author.

I am going back to work tomorrow — back to the same old routine, but refreshed and charged after this long-awaited return to Paris.

A view of the Charles De Gaulle tarmac from my window seat

A ribbon of red and blue of a sunset as my plane raced towards home