Bonjour from Paris! On a full eight hours of sleep, we started our day refreshed and with a full French breakfast, complete with flaky croissants and fromage – what else could you ask for?! First on the sightseeing agenda: a walk along the left bank to the Musee d’ Orsay. To see the works of Monet, Pissarro, Van Gogh, and Cezanne up close was truly remarkable. The smell of the oils makes you feel as though they were just freshly painted. Upon seeing one of my favorites – Monet’s “Le Bassin aux nympheas harmonie verte,” I nearly wept. So beautiful.
Our afternoon was filled with all things Eiffel. Jess, our Australian tour guide, did a marvelous job giving us a history lesson on Gustave Eiffel and his tower masterpiece. Did you know the tower was only meant to be a temporary structure and entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair? Mr. Eiffel agreed to fund the monument (the largest in the world at the time it was built, surpassing the Washington Monument by almost 50%) on the condition that they keep it up for 20 years, in order for him to recoup his investment. He covered his cost in six short months! The views from the top are nothing short of breathtaking. We couldn’t have asked for a prettier day to see Paris and all of its glory.
Next stop – two famous L’s on the Champs-Elysees: Louis Vuitton and Laduree! I went home with a bag from one of them!
And now for the star. Our dinner this beautiful evening was at Le Restaurant du Palais Royal. A Michelin-star restaurant in the former palace and grounds of Cardinal Richelieu, featuring the very young, up-and-coming chef Philip Chronopoulos. This six-course meal easily makes the top 5 best meals we’ve ever eaten. It. Was. That. Good. Every ingredient served a purpose, and the layers of flavor had depth and character. We won’t soon forget this one. It started with an amuse-bouche, “egg of my childhood.” An egg yolk perfectly encased in a crispy, edible parmesan shell and floating on a bed of tomato purée. The star of the meal was the grilled rack of lamb with golden chanterelle, sage, and apricot. And the perfect ending? Wild strawberries with hibiscus syrup and almond ice cream encased in meringue. I will dream of that meringue-encased ice cream!
Now off to sleep, for tomorrow we adventure out to Versailles. Bonsoir!