Paris: Day 3

Brian was excited about yet another early morning activity that I planned…our trip to the Parisian markets & cooking class with a real, live French chef.  We hopped on the train around 8:45 a.m. and headed off to the Jules Verne subway stop.

Can’t you just feel the excitement from this picture??

So we arrive about 20 minutes early, and when we emerge from the underground subway tunnel, lo and behold:  it’s raining.  Like a monsoon.  We ducked under a bus stop canopy and watched the world go by for a few minutes.  It was nice to see “real” French people going about their daily routine, and we welcomed the cooler air that the rain brought with it. 

While we were standing under the bus stop shelter, a dad & little boy ducked in to wait for the bus.  The little boy was probably about 3 years old, sporting a thick mop of red hair and a cute yellow rain slicker.  He was chatting away to his dad in French with so much enthusiasm…and though I didn’t have a clue what he was saying, I couldn’t help but smile.  It was a special moment— just ‘being’—taking  in the sights, sounds, and smells of Paris on a rainy morning…(We didn’t mean to give the other 2 senses, taste & touch, the short end of the stick, but we were in public & this is a family show). 

Our chef arrived at the designated meeting point, along with three other people that were taking the class.  We headed to the market area a few streets over.  Our first stop was by the horsemeat butcher.  Yes, that’s right.  The special butcher that handles only horsemeat.  Look out, Mr. Ed!  We did not venture in to the horsemeat butcher as our chef said that they aren’t very “tourist friendly”…as in, get out of here, Dorothy & take your little dog too.  Clearly, we weren’t in Kansas anymore.

Next stop was the cheese shop.  Brian was surprised by how expensive the cheeses were–in fact, we spent more money in the cheese shop than any other place in the market.

I was most surprised by the use of visual aids in the cheese shop.  Let me explain:  the cheese was divided into sections, depending on its animal of origin.  Just to keep it simple, they also included a picture of the animal above each cheese shelf.  This one was my favorite…she sure looks sassy:

Our next stop in the market was the butcher, followed by the fish market.  It was a good thing we had our chef with us, or we would have pretty much been clueless…At least with his ‘translation’ we had his version of what was happening.  I still felt a little bit like I do when I am getting my nails done.  (You know, when the nail ladies all start looking at you and talking in Vietnamese, then one says, “we say you so pretty!”…Of course that’s what you’re saying…)

After ducking into Harris Teeter a little produce market for veggies,

We made a quick stop by the bakery, then off to our classroom to get this par-tay started…which was probably a good thing, since all we had for breakfast was a baguette that I stashed in my purse from the day before and a piece of cheese that BBP snagged from the “free” breakfast buffet at our hotel (more on this later).

Our classroom was modern & utilitarian.  I checked around to see if Jamie Oliver may appear, but sadly no celebrity chef cameos were in the cards. 

Ready,

Set,

Go!

After a whole lotta work, BAM!  This is what we ended up with:

LANGOUTINES EN POELÉ D’ARTICHAUTS ET DE TOMATES CŒUR DE BŒUF

COQUELET FARCI AUX OIGNONS DOUX, ENDIVE CARAMÉLISÉE

MOUSSE AU CHOCOLAT NOIR, COULIS DE FRAISES

Thanks Chef Brian…and Chef Brian…for all of your hard work (and for emailing the recipes to me)!

After leaving the cooking school, we made our way back to the subway station.  The weather had cleared up & it turned out to be a pretty nice afternoon.  Back to the hotel for a quick wardrobe change, and we were off again.  This time we headed towards Place Vendome, Chanel, the Ritz Carlton, the Opera District, and to meet our soon to be favorite bartender:  Robert at American Dreams Cafe.  Since I have so much to post regarding these places, and this post is already rivaling a Victor Hugo novel in length, I am going to wrap up Day 3 in a new post.  Day 3:  Part Deux!!

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