Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Oui Paris!

The Eiffel Tower from rue Saint-Dominique.

After a brush with certain bankruptcy, I've made my way to Paris and none too soon, I might add.

For my Parisian Fantasy, I've secured myself a flat (read: hotel room) on the rue Amelie (read: Best Western Eiffel Park) in the Invalides. I really didn't know what to expect from Paris since I've never been here before but my midnight walk around the neighborhood left me plenty excited. The Eiffel Tower is, literally, just a couple blocks away. You can see it on the street (I'm on the 2nd floor so all I can see is the couple across the street making love, but that's another story), you can see it just about wherever you walk in this area.

I don't know how the rest of Paris is but part of me can't envision myself leaving my neighborhood. Within a two block walk we've got everything from several boulangeries to a couple patisseries, an assortment of restaurants ranging from cheap Chinese to Japanese to Irish to bistro and even a Korean joint across the street. A supermarket is just across from the bakery and next door to the bakery is a place selling Iberico Ham from Spain. Not to mention a couple confectioners, a few laundromats, bars, shopping and even a Starbucks and Pizza Hut (with delivery).

One gets the feeling that he could camp out in this four block by four block area and have a great time.

Cutting Jamon Iberico at Bellota-Bellota.

It's tempting, but I do have a list of places to visit while here:

- Arpege
- Pierre Gagniere
- L'ouillad
- Pierre Herme
- Angelina
- Le Pichet

I spent my morning doing nothing in particular. Walked over to the laverie to wash my clothes (six euros) but couldn't figure out how to use the detergent dispenser. Hopefully I didn't sweat too much in Moscow. Walked to the boulangerie to pick up a baguette, went across the street to the supermarket for some butter, across the street again to Bellota-Bellota for a little Iberico Ham (10.24 euros - or 265 euros per kilo), back to the laundromat to dry the clothes, wait and then back to the room to lounge and eat a little something something.

Can you see the air space in that baguette? Tasty.

Not too long ago, I was asking some friends where I could get some really good baguettes in Baltimore. No one could recommend an authentic baguette. I thought I'd had good baguettes in America, but now I know better. The baguette here is tantalizing, amazing, light, airy and crisp. It's filled with air and what's not air is delightfully chewy goodness encased in a crusty, crispy crust. Slathered with butter and a slice of Iberico and "ah, magnifique!" I've never had a baguette until today.

Maybe I'll just stay put and lounge with my baguette and jamon.

1 comment:

SoNSo1 said...

That baguette and jamon sounds really good. Must be nice.

I really like reading your travel essays. They're so well written and give me a sense of the place you've been to as you've seen it.