After reading a passage from Fodor's Paris Guide 2010 on how to spend the perfect day in the St. Germain, I was set on following their itinerary. They suggested hot chocolate at Les Deux Magots, a very famous (and charming) cafe on the Blvd. Saint Germain. This was to be followed by a walking tour of the neighborhood with culinary destinations whose products would combine to create a delightful picnic to be shared at Luxembourg Gardens. I couldn't resist this! It seemed both a little less structured and rushed than our three previous days had been, but it was also satisfying knowing that the shops we would stop in had come so highly recommended.
Enjoying a cup of chocolat chaud: the hot cocoa there is outstanding!! It tastes like a melted hershey's bar.
Our first stop was Le Grand Epicerie. I'd be absolutely broke if we lived in Paris for many reasons, but this place would bankrupt us for sure. It was the Bergdorf Goodman's of grocery stores where the items look so beautiful on display you can't imagine they could get any more appealing anywhere else.
The charcuterie selection was first class! Mark got a few slices of prosciutto, some sausage, and a thin slice of duck liver pate that was to die for.
If only our spice collection at home could be this diverse and neatly presented...
The expression "like a kid in a candy store" had never had a truer meaning...
Our next stop was Quarterhomme where we selected a small wedge of a soft blue cheese, a small wedge of Camembert, and a small version of the St. Felicien I tried yesterday with Paule.
We were so taken with Poilane and couldn't have been more excited that it was on our picnic planning itinerary. I couldn't wait to go back again just to smell the intoxicating aroma of their freshly baked breads.
We bought a brioche, a few slices of their famous sourdough, and a slice of flan (which if you were a McKenzie's Bakery fan tasted just like their custard pie - my favorite item from there!).
The last stop on our sightseeing picnic planning route was Pierre Herme. Wow!!! What a beautiful shop. It would be my dream to be able to create pastries as stunning and tasty as these. With my new found love of salted caramel, I selected a large salted caramel macaron. Mark went with a beautiful chocolate and hazelnut dessert that came in the most precious little box!
From my journal: I had so much fun walking around the St. Germain today with Mark. While we had a destination in mind, it felt like we just kind of let the neighborhood lead us on our way. And I think the drizzle and the gray skies added a little romance to the excursion since it kept the streets from being overcrowded. For the first time since we had arrived, we would find ourselves walking together with no one else around. That was the Paris I had imagined - private, and quiet, and peaceful. We had finally found it.
Because it was raining, we opted for a picnic on our balcony versus one in the Jardin du Luxembourg. I'd say it turned out quite nicely!
That's my kind of spread!
I'd give anything to be back on that balcony about to dig in to the little picnic we had created!
From my journal: Just as the rain forced our picnic inside, a parade started rolling down the street across from the hotel! They aren't throwing beads, but there are bands, and people in costumes, and floats. For the first time since we left the states, I feel at home here.