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Friday, April 30, 2010

A Paris Welcome … our home for the next 7 days

As the taxi circled around Place de la Madeleine on route to our hotel, I took note of the flower stalls – the array of colours and textures called to me and my love of flowers. I turned to Mr. G and shared my thoughts about needing to come back after settling in to purchase fresh flowers for our room.

The best way to describe our hotel is boutique style –79 guest rooms. We selected this hotel for its exceptional location- Place de la Madeleine, between the big department stores Galeries Lafayette - Printemps (2 minutes), the Opera House (4 minutes), Concorde Place (5 minutes), Louvre Museum and Champs Elysées (8 minutes). With my unpredictable walking tolerance easy access was top priority.

After checking in, we were on our way to the room – when I noticed a French woman in the lobby, holding the most beautiful Iris flowers I have ever seen! I managed an “que beautiful fleurs” as we were passing – the next thing I knew – she was telling me (with translation via the concierge) that they had a beautiful fragrance and she really shouldn’t take them on the plane and would love for me to have them. I was speechless, the concierge turned to me, as the woman handed me the flowers, and said “welcome to Paris!”

I was ecstatic at the flowers and quickly began to search for something in the room that we could place the flowers in water with. Mr. G. suggested that perhaps I should take a picture to share with my new Blogger Friends.

Now that flowers were taken care of, it was time to head out an explore! Our first stop:
 Arc de Triomphe surmounts the hill of Chaillot at the center of a pentagon-shaped configuration of radiating avenues. It was commissioned in 1806 after the victory at Austerlitz by Emperor Napoleon at the peak of his fortunes. In 1810 when Napoleon entered Paris from the west with his bride Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria, he had a wooden mock-up of the completed arch constructed. Construction would not be completed until the reign of King Louis-Philippe, in 1833–36. Napoleon's body passed under it on 15 December 1840 on its way to its second and final resting place at the Invalides

 The view from the top is amazing and well worth the walk up the spiral stairs - it is an easier walk down.

Next on the list....

Laduree, is the Motherland for pastry lovers of all things Parisan. Stepping inside is like taking a step back in time. One can imagine what it must have been like to sit and take tea in the afternoon - when people actually stopped to smell the roses.

It all started in 1862, when Louis Ernest Ladurée opened a modest bakery. When Paris was getting a structural facelift in 1871 by Baron Haussman, Ladurée switched focus from straight-forward bakery to higher-end pastry shop. Resulting today, in one of the most elegant and luxurious tea salons anywhere.

In early 1900’s, Monsieur Ladurée’s wife, Jeanne Souchard had an idea- to combine the café concept with a pastry shop where women could also gather freely, with or without gentlemen companions. Today the tea salon is owned by David Holder .

I was enticed by the Macaroons, which my taste buds were happy to be in working order and thus able to fully experience the explosion of sensation in my mouth from the outer crispiness to the cream filled centre. But, what really seduced me was the light as air pastry with a tremendous crème studded with raspberries in the centre - Rose "Religieuse" - it actually tastes like fresh rose petals!

Oh yes, they also serve tea - Thé Marie Antoinette, has become my must have item for entertaining friends. Unfortunately there is "currently" no Laduree this side of the world ... oh I guess I'm have to go back to Paris - when the tea supply is depleted!

Tomorrow's post will take you to an amazing bookstore bursting with history and a walk for all things "chocolate".

images: Falling Off a High Heeled Life


  1. Such beautiful flowers, the trip sounds as if it is turning out to be everything you hoped.

  2. Sounds you're having such a lovely time. I'm so glad for you!!!!
    Enjoy it the most, my bravest girl!!!!
    Thank you for your words in my blog, sorry my delay... :-(
    You know I admire you very much.
    Have a wonderful weekend, I'm sending you lots of love....


  3. I am enjoying the recaps of your trip!
    I was drooling when reading about the pastries!

  4. I am so Glad you are in Paris :)
    How fun!
    Happy may 1rst! I have a give away on my blog and wanted to make sure you don't miss it :) I also have a French Obsession linking party and you could link this post! So cool!

  5. Wonderful flowers.. you were lucky

  6. I've been to Paris 4 times, and I've never crawled to the top of the Arc, and never had tea at Laduree!!!! Making my list for my next visit.

    Love the flower story!!!! So chic!

  7. OH this is so nice!!! Your hotel is so beautiful!
    Thank you for linking this to French Obsession. Link more links on the first next month! Your trip is wonderful and your post really interesting and charming :)
    Gros bisous


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