Things don't always turn out as you expect when on holidays. I hadn't noticed that the Balabus tourist bus between La Defense and Gare de Lyon only operates on Sunday afternoons and public holidays. Having already walked to La Defense from my apartment I decided to take bus 73 to Musée d'Orsay. I wasn't planning on visting the museum but the bus takes much the same route as the Balabus past some of Paris's well known locations.
It was pretty cool being chauffeur driven down the full length of Avenue de la Grande Armée to the Arc de Triomphe, down the Champs-Elysées through Place de la Concorde, and across the Seine to the Left Bank. In the true French tradition I then flânered (strolled) my way around the Saint Germain des Prés quartier. Not a bad way really to spend an afternoon.
|Window at Deyrolle's|
First stop was Deyrolle's. You may remember it from Woody Allen's 'Midnight in Paris' movie. Owen Wilson and Marion Cotillard attend a party there. I am not at all keen on taxidermy but still I was drawn to visit having read many blog posts and reviews about the shop. I was definitely not disappointed and would highly recommend it. It is spread over 2 floors. The stuffed animals in the window dressed in gardening outfits help paint the picture of what you will find inside. The shop is very traditional with lots of wooden fittings. Some rooms are filled with wooden specimen drawers much as you would expect to find in a museum. Downstairs you will find the gardening books, secateurs, seeds etc. Quaint and interesting. The surprise occurs when you mount the steps and are greeted by a giraffe (26 500€) and the recently arrived peacocks (photos available on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Deyrolle). The zebra lying on the floor looked most relaxed. People must buy these items or the shop wouldn't survive. The polar bear was a steal at 45 000 €. If you can't afford these prices then you can just rent a stuffed animal. Alternatively they did have butterflies starting at 30 € and scorpions from 20 €. In case you are motivated to take up taxidermy as a hobby you will be pleased to know you can buy your tools here. The instruments that I saw being sold looked more like what I would expect a dentist to use. I don't know why, but I expected the animals' fur to be dusty and faded - instead it really looked just as it would on the live animal - only cleaner.
|Hotel Paris Deyrolle by Hotels Paris Rive Gauche on Flicker|
Deyrolle's also has special exhibitions. I was 'fortunate' that they had extended the exhibition of wax botanical specimens of fruit and vegetables by Louis de Tourhout. They were extremely well done and only 1200 € each! They were mounted so you couldn't really put them in your fruitbowl. Quel dommage !
According to my 'Customised Pâtisserie Google Map for Paris' It wasn't far from Deyrolle's to one of Paris's well-known pâtisseries. Not one to waste an opportunity, I headed straight there stopping to take a few photos on the way.
|Café de Flore|
Un Dimanche à Paris
This pâtisserie shop seems to make most people's wish list for Paris. If you don't have a good map you may have trouble finding it tucked away in a little alleyway. The premises were very modern and sleek. The salon de thé (tea-room) unfortunately was unexplicitly closed for the afternoon so I had to have coffee in a paper cup and and the pâtisseries on a polystyrofoam type tray sitting outside. Not quite what I had envisaged.
The highlight was definitely the lemon meringue tart. Great combination and balance of textures and tastes with the lemon curd having just the right amount of tartness. Sublime. The other two were nice but not extra special. In fact the choux pastry which I think had hazelnut cream in it was a little bland. This could have been because I made the mistake of eating it after the lemon tart. Un Dimanche à Paris also makes some very nice looking chocolates and has cooking classes. Brunches on Sunday I understand are a bit of an institution. I am not sure that I would cross Paris to try them but am prepared to hear arguments for them.
Deyrolle: 46, rue de Bac, 75007 PARIS
Un Dimanche à Paris: 4-6-8 Cour du Commerce Saint André, 75006 PARIS