A Picnic under La Tour Eiffel and Beavie’s Day Out in Paree!
After travelling so far, then being cooped up in the hotel room, Beavie was fit to be tied and so excited to be out for the day! I wanted to go to an outdoor market in Paris. I read about them all and in many more places than one. There is no one major outdoor market in Paris as there is in London at Borough Market. Each little neighbourhood has their own open air market and it was very difficult to know which one to choose as each one reflects the personality of the neighbourhood and I know nothing about neighbourhoods here.. Anyone I wrote to and asked (who answered) did not give a definitive answer. I learned that it was like asking what chocolate is best from a chocolatier. “What do you like?” It all depends upon what you are looking for – and I had no idea. I did know I was looking to find items that were new to me. I want to see specialty foods and what most of the French would find at their market. I think it is not easy to get a grasp of the later unless you visit a few markets in Paris. This one was a good place to start as it is very close to the touristy spots. Mind you, they all are. However, it was a bit disappointing.
The day was sunny and hot and lovely for going to the market and on tp a picnic. Beavie observed a lot on his day out. For one thing, the boxwoods are alive (not plastic) and have new growth on them! For another, the metro seats and windows are dirty: not super dirty, but enough to encourage one to not sit on furniture at home after sitting on the seats.
And Beavie found the buskers that entered the trains constantly blasting their little speakers and playing and singing along for spare change to be incredibly annoying. It happened very often. Even on the RER. Never make eye contact with them. If you do, you are done. And the metro was jerky, but incredibly fast. The speed made it a great mode of transportation despite the inconveniences. (Beavie fell over at the first take off!)
We were at Rue Cler in no time and looking for the market. Where was it? We were early, of course: 8 am. They should be setting it all up, now. I love to be at the market when it is getting set up. It is early, and fresh and there is so much activity.
But not too much was happening. There were a few delivery trucks here and there, and the permanent grocers were getting their wares out and on display. Empty boxes were strewn in the street in front of the fruit and vegetable stand, but where were the farmers?
The store fronts were as charming and as Parisian as one might expect, but I am a little confused.
Juesslin Charcuterie is setting up and the doors were open. They nodded to my request for photos, so I started to investigate here while waiting to see what was to unfold; Vanja took Beavie for a coffee. Beavie wasn’t bored, but there wasn’t too much going on at this point.
The meat was gorgeous and different than at home. It was not as glaringly different as in London as all of the cuts and kinds of meat were labelled there in English. I couldn’t understand everything on these labels. I did understand the kind of meat, but definitely not the cuts and many were definitely new to me.
Above were some little wrapped fillets (middle) very similar to what I saw everywhere in London (and nowhere at home). Look at that gorgeous osso bocco, above! Below are some house made sausages.
The veal and rabbit look lovely. It is so hard to find veal that is raised ethically in Edmonton. Here, it is everywhere. And, I have eaten rabbit and truly enjoyed it. It is not easy to find in Edmonton and I do like cooking it. Change is good. They used to carry in at Superstore as regular stock when it first opened. No more. However, we haven’t any local source for it, to my knowledge, anyway.
I am always intrigued by local charcuterie and house made sausage: especially the dry and smoked ones.
Above, left, the patÃ©s and loaves look very similar to what they did in London. You can buy roast chicken at the market, here, too, mom. but not on the spit.
After reading Rick Steeves review of Rue de Cler Market, Vanja had a difficult time deciding where to drink his coffee: where the locals do, or where the cool people do. He chose the one with the most people. Not this one. It was the one where the “cool people” go. Beavie would have it no other way.
This pÃ¢tisserie was also filled with a variety of delectable looking items. The staff wasn’t too friendly, but what can I expect? I am taking photos (with their permission) and salivating all over their food. It probably wasn’t as tasty as it looked.
Clearly, (well, not so clearly…) the photos here are all taken through glass.
I wanted to taste every single quiche (2.50 Euro each) and the crusts looked so perfect. I should have bought those rings at E. Dehillerin!!
And the tarts! Oh, the tarts! Our pies do not come close to the perfection of these fruit pastries. Just look at them. Oh, my! The time taken with the presentation of each tasty morsel is motivating. I want to go home and recreate these! Now!
It is also a little disconcerting. Gorgeous pastries, everywhere. I realize that some taste better than others. That is why some pastry shops are famous. But, so many have perfected the art of making them look lovely.
The brioche I baked at my Breaad Baking class at Le Cordon Bleu (post yet to come) on the Saturday after we were were here was actually baked to look exactly like this. I thought it was too dark, but it is baked to a very dark crust.
I cannot recall ever laying my eyes on this kind of baguette (the viennoise, below): stunning. And, clearly, formal.
This is the kind of meringue I have seen all over Italy and much bigger, but rarely here. Then again, I am certainly not a local! But, I don’t like meringues like this. I find them too sweet. But make them into a Pavlova or break them into a creamy dessert and you have my undivided attention!
Time to see if Beavie and Vanja are finished their coffee. It is after 9, almost 9:30 am actually, and not too much has been “set up” at all on this street. It is apparent, after walking it, that the vendors are all permanent stores. That I didn’t expect and found disappointing. Some never did open, like O&Co. I was disappointed about this as I had just finished the oil I had purchased there from another trip and was hanging out to get more, but the door never opened. Most stores didn’t open until 10 am. I was told these were “summer hours” when I asked, and some not until 10:30 am (again, summer hours, even though the information on the internet indicated opening time to be any time after 8 am.)
Let’s go and buy some Espelette pepper I have found it. (I had completely forgotten about it the day prior when I did the Kitchen Ingredient shopping). I discovered it prior to coming and it was on my shopping list. Then, Chef Justin used it on the shrimp skewer recipe at La Cuisine when Vanja and I cooked dinner together there in a class on Bastille Day. It was a must buy.
Yes, I am enamoured with the pigeons. We don’t have them at home, either.
Beavie was r-r-r-r-ready! Vanja was not. But, he came anyway. See how Parisian Beavie is? He is sitting, facing the street, watching all of the people go by while having his morning coffee. Ah! This is the life!
I had to stop a few places that were now open to peek in, along the way. Look at the gorgeous meat here! It was open before, but there is much more out, now. As we were planning on picking up some meat, cheese, bread, and other items from the market for a picnic, I didn’t want Vanja to miss out on any choices.
I went ga-ga over the meat wrapped in the caul fat, below, left. I would love to get my hands on some of that regularly, and easily, in Edmonton, like one can in most parts of the European world. Why is it impossible to find. Restaurants do use it. Where do they get it from?
There was a lot of puff pastry pots stuffed with savoury items. The long, thin shredded cheese (a different shred that is usual) decorated many food items making them look like delectable pom-poms. It was new and appealing. (I wished I wasn’t too big to ride on the piggy!!) Wheee!
This shop was full of delicacies that were beautifully prepared. The carpaccio looked deadly delicious! I am constantly charmed by terrines. They are gorgeous and only one’s imagination can limit the possible combinations. Of course, there are traditional recipes.
I have said that dried sausage appeals to me. It does. In every country there is a specialty. And, sometimes, in a city. For example, when I was in Firenze (Florence) last, the guide told me about the one there. I forget the name. People travel and take it with them. She was taking some for her mother in Venezia(Venice). Does anyone know what this is called? I bought some and brought it home for Vanja that year. It was so delicious. My mouth waters thinking of it. And, I need to recall its name! In Bosna, there is Kulen. It is incredibly delicious and full of paprika. I love it. I will be writing about it with my Bosna post, soon. I didn’t know what the Parisan specialty was as I didn’t know anyone to ask. But, I am curious. I certainly am!
Smoked salmon was revered, everywhere we went. At JÃ¶el Robichon’s Atelier Restaurant in Paris (another post, coming soon) it was served as an appetizer with dill crÃ¨me fraiche and a potato galette (made in a waffle pan). Pure heaven. It was in terrines, and rolls and covering such gorgeous little savoury cold pots as this one. I must! I must! I must use it more. I love it. It glistens with goodness.
I find the photographs I take very motivating and they often serve as the catalyst for an idea that I create at home (or attempt to)!
This cheese shop was still setting up. We would be back!
And we bought our charcuterie at Davoli, later. I never did see Ulysse have any business, though the chairs went out about 10 am.
We were headed for the above grocery store to buy the espelette pepper. I took photos of all four corners on the street. Another coffee shop.
And from where we just came, above, with a little closer view, below.
It was early in the morning, but it is never too early for a good ice cream. I see Berthillon is now sold in other locals than the original spot across from Notre Dame.
And the street continues…
We went into Top Halles. Beavie spotted it first. I had said I would get two. Vanja saw the price first. I had thought the code was the price. Each 40 gram bottle was 10 Euros. This is not a cheap item. Whew! Beavie was very careful not to break the jars!
Look! Red glistening currants! I grow them, but they rarely all ripen at once, like these – though my grandmother’s used to. Help, gardeners out there! What am I doing wrong? And they are very prone to worms and bugs, but I love them so much, I keep at it. I spray the wood in the spring and the fall when there is no growth with the duel mix that kills bug eggs.
I grow and love the black currants, too. The looked huge and gorgeous this year, just before we left for our trip, but I hear they have become worm infested. I was spraying them with soap, daily, before I left. I am really sad about this. I welcome suggestions!
Beavie is celebrating this find with me. I am crazy over these tiny tart treasures. I love them in everything. I remember that grandma Maude grew red ones and white ones. I don’t recall her having black ones. Maybe she did. We would help pick them, and they were always ripen all at once. I thought of them as bobble earrings. All of the bobbles had to be pulled off of the earring without bursting any of the juicy fruit. It was such fun! But, I did not like eating them at all. They were exceedingly sour to my tender palate, then!
Isn’t Beavie sweet? We had so much crazy and silly fun this day. So many people were laughing with us. The gal in the store thought we were nuts and totally enjoyed Beavie’s modelling for his shots. (I was prepared for disapproval and thankful for her spirit!)
There are fresh sour cherries for sale here, too, above, right. That is so rare. I do grow them in my back yard, but have yet to have a really good crop. This would have been the year, but the unheard of snowstorm on May 29th shrivelled most of the blossoms.
Have you ever seen flat peaches? I have not. Nor, has Beavie. These were advertised as flat white peaches and they were everywhere around Paris. Even the little grocery stores had them out front on display with the other fruit in season.
See how flat they are, below, right?
The figs are in season here, too, Lequan (below, left)!
The almonds, below, can be found like this (in their original pod) at the Italian Centre Shops in Edmonton, usually around this time of year, too.
I have never seen zucchini this shape (round, below), either! There is such an interesting variety of produce here.
Remember to double click if you want to compare prices at home to here.
There were two or three specialty wine stores here. I didn’t see any of them busy, but we were gone by 11:30 am. They actually didn’t even appear to be open. However, we are not wine drinkers, so didn’t try to enter any.
Ah, we bought some red currants and are now stopping for some cheese.
I know. Where does one start? Beavie was just quivering with delight and for the most part, sniffing satisfied him just like taking photos satisfies me. One cannot possibly eat as much as one would like!
And looking and sniffing and listening is such a pleasure. Truly.
There was a foreign Stilton, but it wasn’t the one from Neil’s Yard Dairy, in London. Most of the cheeses were local artisan cheeses and all begged to be tasted: rigorously. We bought too much, but it seemed like so little at the time.
Vanja’s treat to himself cheesewise is always the big holey Swiss. He is adventurous only through tasting whatever I buy.
Above left, is a cheese cake. I believe it was a savoury cheese cake. There were no tastes in the Rue de Cler Market. Anywhere. That was not surprising once I realized what kind of market it was. But, also, disappointing. At a market, I want to taste to learn and to decide what to buy. No tastes here.
There was a house made butter at the back. Not from this cheese house, though. However, it was not the artisan butter David Lebovitz is crazy over.
As I have seen in Dubrovnik, in Neal’s Yard Dairy, and in most European cheese markets, quince paste (below, left) is sold as the ultimate compliment to cheese. It keeps a very long time, and I still have some from Neal’s that I bought in March.
I love all kinds of cheese, but the French are particularly famous for their artisan soft cheeses, so bought the round below (left) and the gal at the counter then recommended the heart shaped cheese, above, right. She said she liked it better and that it was (as I understood her) a famous French cheese. It was fantastic. The St. Felicien cheese was a bit too tangy and stronger, though it was not a strong cheese at all. Nice, but not nearly the nutty and buttery depth of flavour the Neufchatel with the AOP approval had. I was so happy I tried them both, and so sad that half of each ended up in the hotel fridge upon our departure from Paris two days later.
I had to drag Beavie out by his tail. Who knew? I do understand. I have such an interest and love for all kinds of artisan cheeses.
And now the fish. We were not buying any for the picnic, but with a shop like this, we had to stop and ogle. I know I say this in every post that I write about fish: I have never seen such gorgeous fish! It is true every time!
If you are interested in reading what each item is, remember to right click or double click to enlarge each image.
I asked what this was, but the man did not have the English word. He said “squid”, but we found squid. Maybe they are cuttlefish? Does anyone know? I will look it up when I get home. They were so fresh, they almost jumped in my bag and begged me to take them home!
We were investigating everything, when out of the corner of my eye, something on the ice bed moved! I jumped. Then we saw it again! The crab imbedded in the ice was alive. Look at the three photo of it, below. You will see it is moving as each photo is a bit different. It was clearly camera shy because it stopped performing as soon as I started shooting it!
The photo above, right, is identified and priced, below, right. It was in a tank with other alien looking creatures.
The shop and the side opposite the ice bed was laden with “fishy” items made to take home. Such delectable gourmet dishes that I was completely speechless. (That is why Vanja loves shopping with me at places like this!)
Another savoury salmon cup in gelÃ©e: stunning. Unmolded fish terrines in gelÃ©e, below.
And there was Davoli right beside the fish store. It was completely set up now, with the outside table selling hot prepared items like the meatball stuffed tomatoes, below, right.
Here,we purchased the charcuterie for the picnic. The Andouille below, left looked lovely. Thank goodness we only got one slice. The taste was so terrible it is not possible to politely or honestly describe it here! Suffice it to say that seeing this photo turns my stomach (and Vanja’s). My grandmother used to make a gelÃ©e she called head cheese, as did many prairie farmers. This terrine, below, right, reminded me of it though the ingredients are completely different!
Vanja loves fine patÃ©s. We bought a slice of the one, above, left. It was really delicious. He was crazy over it and devoured almost all of it later during lunch.
A slice of each of the salami’s to the right, above. Both were very tasty. The smaller one was better.
Above, right, also looked like a savoury cheese cake. Very rustic. I loved the look and will have to investigate recipes, though it is hard to beat a variety of hard cheeses on a plate.
I have the pans for the baba’s below. Never made them. Yet. And the gnocchi! Isn’t it gorgeous? There is that finely shredded long cheese again, garnishing it.
This is what the famous Croque Monsieur should look like. These were the best I have seen.
Foie Gras is definitely one of the top 10 items on the foods I love list: and, back onto the street. Phew! That was intense!
Just around the corner from where Vanja had coffee is an Epicerie where I want to snoop into, but the delivery guy has been standing outside of the store for about an hour so far with his boxes all unloaded beside him. It is not open, so I snoop at the macarons in Christophe Roussel. It was just opened and the gal was flustered. “Come back when I have organized the window!” The flavours were exotic and everything looked incredible.
There was a red strawberry chocolate bar, and look: The candied oranges I made earlier this year for mom’s 80th are dipped in chocolate and selling for 90 Euro per kilogram. It is a good thing to know how to cook!
I did succumb and left with a small bag of macarons for the picnic.
Finely, it opened and we bought some mixed spices. “No photos, please.” I will post all of my purchases when I get home. It was an interesting store, but nothing like G. Detou or anything like I had expected.
We stopped quickly at the bakery to buy our baguettes and I purchased a piece of an egg flan as I had seen them everywhere and wanted to taste one. This one had sour cherries lining the bottom.
Oh! There’s the other cheese shop! I knew there were two! This one was supposed to be a very special one that drew Parisians from all over the city. I stepped in. I stepped out.
The smell was horrid. It was like sour and bad rotting milk. I couldn’t possibly spend a minute there.
I didn’t realize that we were so close the the Eiffel Tower at Rue Cler, but Vanja had his plan. So, with the LenÃ´tre bag filled with our goodies we trecked down a couple or streets and over to the Champs de Mars for our picnic under the Eiffel Tower!
Past a couple of charming neighbourhood shops.
Past the charming and repetitive Parisian architecture.
And, voilÃ ! There it is! There it is! Now, I have been up the tower about 5 times, and Vanja, twice. But, this was Beavie’s first time, and the first time is absolutely thrilling. You don’t imagine you will ever lose that thrill, but you do.
Past the Rue Belgrade. (The even spell Beograd like the Americans do, in Paris.)
And here we are! In the park under the Tour d’Eiffel!
Can you see Beavie on Vanja’s shoulder, above? Me, either. So, look below!
I wanted to get our picture together, each with a French baguette. We should have been wearing a tam and riding a bike with it under our arm, but I am happy with this. However, how silly of us! We were right there. Right under the Eiffel Tower with our baguettes and did not get it in the background. What was I thinking? I would have never done that on earlier trips! We will just have to do this again!
I know Vanja had visions of us on a blanket in the park having a traditional picnic. But, we hadn’t any blankets, and I wasn’t about to sit on the grass as I have a cleanliness fetish, so we unpacked everything on a lovely bench overlooking the park and the tower.
The kind young gentleman we bothered, took our photo again. And by the food this time. I still forgot to have the tower behind us!
Beavie is famished and dove onto the food table!
We over did it, didn’t we? But it was such a wonderful moment in time. Ripping gorgeous crusty bread from the baguette and topping it with a dollop of creamy artisan French cheese.
Then a cherry tomato or a handful of tart glistening currants. The water was mine and the wine, Vanja’s. What is a picnic in Paris without wine? (Even though we don’t drink it?) Somehow, like magic, he really enjoyed it here.
The meats above were all perfect. The one below, never ever buy it! And the cheeses…
Just look at them. Oh, they were so tasty and creamy and tangy and buttery and nutty and lush. Such a dream.
My favourite photo of the food is below: postcard perfect!
The park is a busy place. The play school children were going somewhere. A gypsey accosted us with the “Is this your ring?” scam right while we were sitting on the bench having our picnic. This was the second time for me (the first was in the line at the Louvre) and the second time for Vanja this trip. Then he said he was hungry and would be share. “Non!” “Non!” and double “Non!” We give our money to organizations that help the poor, instead!
And look at this sour cherry flan! It was incredibly heavy and very filling. I could not eat much of it at this point. It was not sweet at all, by Western standards. I enjoyed it a great deal.
Beavie was distracted by the pigeons, too! We had fun feeding them. That was probably as bad as giving the gypsies money would be.
Now, for the French macarons with the exotic flavours….
Even Beavie was happy to have only one bite of each. They were almost flavourless. Truly! They were “OK”. If I had made them, I would have been happy with them, but not thrilled. They were really not very good at all. And the exotic flavour labels felt like a scam! I am certain that was not the intent. But, there was barely an almond flavour detectable in these cookies. The caramel chocolate one was tasty, but more like a chocolate bar. Definitely a novel way to preserve the shelf live of a macaron!
Now, it looked like there were some performers setting up something in the park. Not a moment of boredom, here!
But, we were fed, edified, tired, and wanted to go back to the room for a rest before going out for the evening. Vanja had packed up and was coming to meet me at the flowers where we walked back through the beautiful park to the metro for our hotel.
I never imagined that one day I would have a lovely market fresh picnic in the park under the Eiffel Tower with my wonderful husband. Never. It was a dream I never dreamt, yet it happened. And, now I will never forget it.
(And Beavie? Well, Beavie is still speaking with a French accent. He had the time of his life!)