Monday, December 22, 2014

A Parisian Lunch - Angelina

With the ice cold wind blowing across our faces while we were on our vespa tour, Terry (our tour guide) recommended that we have hot chocolate from Angelina to warm ourselves up. He told us that the best hot chocolate in Paris would be from Angelina. He thoughtfully ended our tour near this restaurant, which was located in the area of the Louvre.

Angelina is popular. They're famous for their smooth and rich hot chocolate, their desserts (mainly the mont blanc as I witnessed most tables order at least one) and apparently for lunch as well. As such, both locals and tourists were waiting in line for a table in the restaurant.

Since it was around lunchtime, we decided to have lunch at here. The wait wasn't too terrible, we were seated in about 30 minutes. My Husband purchased a cup of hot chocolate for us to enjoy while we were waiting - and it was the most delicious hot chocolate I've ever tasted - so smooth, so rich, so chocolatey and thick. It was as if every sip I had was a piece of dark chocolate melting in my mouth. I wish I had a cup right now!

As soon as we were seated, we ordered two more cups of hot chocolate - we both like chocolate, not huge fans, but we certainly enjoy a piece or two - anyhow, there was no way that I'd pass up the opportunity to have more of this chocolatey wonder in a cup.

For lunch, My Husband ordered their set brunch menu and I ordered the beef tartare - the French are certainly generous with their beef tartare portions! I love beef tartare - I don't always see it on the menu in Los Angeles, and when I do, I usually try and order it. Restaurants in LA completely skimp on their beef tartar portions perhaps because it's a delicacy? Or it's hard to prepare? I probably only get a quarter of what I was given here. It's also usually an appetizer, which I generally share, so it leads to only a few bites of it. It appears that beef tartare in France is generally an entree, so it's a good-sized portion. My Husband's brunch menu was also delicious; unfortunately, we neglected to photograph his seemingly endless plates of pastries. His brunch menu started off with a croissant, some more pastries, an egg and sausage patty, and more pastries. His meal ended with french toast (very different than what I've had previously), which I helped him finish. His meal was a total carb overload!

Lunch lasted over two hours. Actually, all our meals lasted over two hours in Paris. The French are strict with dining etiquette and are extremely respectful of the time you may need to order or enjoy your meal. Food presentation appears to be key - we haven't been to a restaurant where the food wasn't strategically placed on the plate for us. And we haven't once been presented our bill without asking. I've read that once you're sat at a table, the French assumes that the table would be taken for the entire afternoon/night. It took us some time to get used to taking it slow because My Husband and I are like monsters with our food, especially if it's delicious. It's almost like a race to finish first. And if it's extremely scrumptious, there's no time for conversation because we are so busy stuffing our faces. We've learned to eat slower, but if it's delicious, I can't help but quickly stick another bite in my mouth! Ah! Definitely room for me to be more lady-like with my food - I'll improve on that as I'm on my honeymoon.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Pont de l'Archevêché - Love Lock Bridge Near the Notre Dame

My Husband and I are at the Lisbon airport waiting for our flight to Barcelona, Spain. Unfortunately, our flight is delayed - the plane is experiencing technical errors.

We just spent four relaxing days in the city of Lisbon, Portugal, which I plan to blog about once I finish all my thoughts on Paris - working on one city at a time, hopefully in chronological order.

Anyhow, on the second day of Paris, we did a vespa tour with Left Bank Scooters. It was the first time I rode behind My Husband on a vespa. We had our own personal tour guide, Terry, on his own vespa that we followed. For three hours, Terry took us around all the major attractions of Paris and helped take pictures for us - he was wonderful.

Upon my request, one of the places we visited was the love lock bridge of Pont de l'Archevêché. In my opinion, it's one of the prettiest bridges in Paris because it has Notre Dame as its backdrop. This bridge is one of my favorite places in Paris. Lots of love in the atmosphere as you're surrounded by thousands upon thousands of love locks locked onto the bridge. Lovers abound, smiles and laughter - you can taste the romance. You'll witness couples locking their love lock and taking selfies together. I'm such a sucker for these things - I jumped with joy and hoped My Husband was just as excited about this as I was - he smiled and offered to run down the street to purchase a lock. 

I first learned of these love lock bridges via a very popular Hong Kong soap opera, Triumph in the Skies II. Lots of scenes in the soap opera were set in Paris during the winter, especially on this very same bridge, so this gave me an extra feeling of giddiness because I felt like I was a part of this soap opera (fortunately, without all the drama). As I looked into love lock bridges, I read that it only started occurring as recent as 2008 and that it's not just popular in Paris, but in many places all over the world. Lovers declare their love for one another via a love lock and either throw the key away or keep it for themselves.

Anyhow, I followed My Husband so that we could purchase the lock together. I wish I came more prepared and brought a lock from home instead (a friend of mine did that when she visited Paris with her beau last year). Our lock cost 8 euros - it wasn't big, but it sufficed. I wrote our names, the date and all that lovey-dovey stuff onto the lock. We finally returned to the bridge and decided to put our love lock onto a giant lock that says, "Love has no locks" - oh, the irony. We were lucky enough that Terry helped photograph us putting our lock on and throwing our keys in the seine river.

Our lock came with three keys - we each threw one into the river and decided to keep one to throw somewhere else during our honeymoon excursion. As Terry was waiting for us, we felt it impolite to have him wait any further, so after a few selfies, we left. I fell in love with the bridge, so My Husband said that we could return again tomorrow after we took a tour of Notre Dame (and we did!). 

A failed attempt at making a heart with our two hands.

When in Paris, this is a definitely the place to visit if you're with your significant other or if you're a sucker for romance like I am. I sigh dreamily when I think back of the short and sweet moments My Husband and I shared on this bridge. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Paris, France - Honeymoon

Paris - city of lights, city of love, city of romance - people have such wonderful things to say about this city, and I have to admit, it's all true. I've been yearning to pay Paris a visit for a while now, and although My Husband (as of last month!) has offered to take me there for vacation, I've rejected his kind offer because I wanted to save my first visit to this place for something special - our honeymoon :)

Paris has lived up to all my expectations - the food, the romance, the beautiful architecture on every corner I turned - this city is so enchanting. And in December! I am terribly fearful of the cold, but I survived my five days of December in this city. The temperature each day was no more than 40ish degrees (Fahrenheit)! I consider ourselves to be quite lucky because it didn't really rain all that much - and even when it did and I was freezing, it was still all worth it.

Anyhow, I realize I have been lazy about posting on this blog. I am going to turn over a new leaf because I am truly looking forward to documenting our entire honeymoon trip. I will write and My Husband will take the photographs. Without further ado, some pictures from our first day in the city of lights:

We took the RER B and switched to the metro to our hotel in the 7th arrondissement. Our hotel was about a 15 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower. 

Loved the balcony that came with our room. Seems like balconies are a huge thing in Paris. 

After we settled down, we strolled around our neighborhood and stumbled upon the musee l'armee (army museum), which wasn't too far from our hotel - about a 10 minute walk. We decided to pay a visit. 

Inside of the dome church is the tomb of Napoleon. 

Outside of the dome church - a courtyard that extends to all other exhibitions of the museum.

Night fell by the time we finished touring the exhibitions.

It rained and it was cold, but it felt so wonderful. I was prepared because I remembered to pack us an umbrella :)

With no game plan, we continued walking and discovered Rue Cler - a street full of shops and restaurants. After a fourteen hour flight (our plane got delayed), we were feeling very tired, so we walked into the first restaurant we saw and ordered away - 

Onion soup, oysters (I read that it's a big hit for the French during Christmas), moules-frites (mussels and fries) and confit de canard (duck confit). Again, the French lived up to expectations - very flavorful and delicious. The oysters were from three French places that our waiter recommended (and I can't remember and pronounce), but so-very-fresh! Overall, this French meal (actually, all of our meals in Paris) beat any French restaurant or bistro we've had in the states. 

The view from outside of our hotel. Cold and tired, we went back to our hotel for a good night rest. 

Not in Paris anymore, but will continue to update. Please stay tuned!