day 3 ::: paris

Time to get back on track with our France vacation recaps.  We've already discussed our first and second days in Paris.  Now for a recap of our third day - another great day because Al's parents arrived!

We woke up on our third day in Paris just in time to greet Al's parents in our hotel lobby.  They had flown overnight from New York where they were watching Lily for the previous few days.  They were tired, but we were all hungry.  It didn't take much to convince them to take a short walk with us to Gerard Mulot for pastries.

In addition to the croissant and pain au chocolate we got for breakfast, they also had a stunning array of macaroons, pastries, and chocolates.  They also offered a variety of sandwiches and quiches - you could easily make a full picnic out of just items from this shop.  Beautiful aren't they?  They almost look fake!

After our breakfast we were on to our next stop - lunch!  Ha.  We sauntered throughout our neighborhood while making our way over to the Marche Biologique (translation: organic market).  Thanks to my research ahead of time, I knew this market was only open on Sundays until 2 pm.  We had a great time walking through the stalls, watching the locals getting their food provisions, and buying our own picnic lunch.
^^Narrow little market, isn't it?

^^ Is it me or do the vegetables look prettier in Paris?

^^Al was really pulling for us to buy one of the rotisserie chickens.  We didn't, but man they do look good.

Al and Retta picking out some fruit.  Did you know it's considered rude to touch the produce and pick it out yourself?  It is customary to tell the purveyor what you're looking for and he or she will pick it out for you.  The thought is that the farmer/owner/shop keeper knows their product better than you.

Meanwhile, I was occupied with all the pretty flowers...

We walked from the market to the Luxembourg Gardens for our picnic lunch of baguette, cheeses, fruit, and rose.

We had pretty stellar views during our picnic.  The Luxembourg garden reminds me of a combination of Gramercy, Madison, and Central Parks, depending on the area of the park.  It was just the sort of place we wanted to see with Al's parents since they had been to Paris before and seen all the main stuff.  Relaxation with a touch of tourism, just how we like it.  Take a look...

^^Oh, they had a palace too.  Obviously.  It's actually a former palace, built for Marie de Medicis (mother of King Louis XIII) and is now home to the French Senate.

^^ A boat pond just like in Central Park.  Except with...palm trees?

^^ At the end of the park they have tons of old fig trees growing, each labeled with the type and date of the vine.  We saw some pretty old ones.  I thought it neat how they preserve and catalog each one.  (Dad, this photo is for you! :) )

After the park, Deacon and Retta went back to the hotel to rest and unpack - they had been up for almost 20 hours at this point!  Al and I took the metro up to the Arc de Triomphe for a few photos and then sauntered down the Champs-Elysees for some window shopping.

^^If you look closely you can see people way up on the top.  We opted to not go up in favor of visiting the Louis Vuitton store.  You know, priorities.

Before I get into our dinner photos, a quick note on footwear.  I wore my Saltwater Sandals every day and most nights.  I never got a single blister or foot ache.  These are perfect for travel.  They're cute, waterproof, and only $40 (although they do give you some funky feet tan lines).

Sorry.  Back to the recap.  We met back at the hotel after showers and naps for Al's parents and then it was time for dinner.  We walked not too far to Allard for a great classic french meal.  On the way there, Al was asked to help some girls with directions.  I just love this photo.  The girls look so young and French and Al looks so confident in his advice.  (I should mention that at this point in the trip he had taken the reigns as our navigator extraordinaire.  He knew our little neighborhood so well by the time we left.  Now if only he could exit the subway in the correct direction here at home...)

Our meal at Allard was very good.  We had a 7:30pm reservation and it was a little empty when we first arrived.  I think next time I'd go for an 8pm reservation, but maybe that's just me being weird about prefering to dine in a full house.  The best way to describe the food is perfectly classic.  The atmosphere was super old school - dark woods and old wallpaper, but in this case the old, musty vibe worked.  You can see what we ordered in our What We Ate collage below.  The highlight of the meal though was my first time trying escargot.  I had a feeling I was going to like them just because I like other strong-flavored foods, but there is still that weird moment before my first bite where I thought of the little snail.  They were delicious!  Similar to how I use oysters as a vehicle for cocktail sauce and horseradish, the escargot are basically just a way to get a good salty, garlicy bite.  Yum yum!

What We Ate Day 3 :::  Breakfast: pain au chocolate from Gerard Mulot.  Lunch: picnic from the market.  Dinner at Allard: radishes with sea salt, escargot, boeuf bourguignon, salmon, duck confit, tarte tatin.  Snack:  ice cream.
After dinner we met our friends who had been backpacking around Europe for three months.  We never did get a picture, but Kirk and Amanda, we LOVED seeing you guys.  It was also after this that we had our Macaulay Culkin sighting I told you about.  Just imagine it's midnight in Paris and Al shouting down this tiny cobble-stone street "Macaulaaayyy!!".  Classy way to end Day 3. :) 

Only one day left in Paris to recap before we move on to Provence.
Can you tell yet that we were loving every minute (and meal)?


Follow along on our journey!  

{photos by me}
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