Paris, The Eiffel Tower

August 13th, 2013

 

Okay, you all amused me with your guesses as to what I was looking at in the previous post picture.  No one got it right.  I was staring at the Eiffel Tower.  It always grabs my mind and heart with its beauty.  We spent the last four days of our June France trip in Paris.  Four days were not enough to take in all that we wished to do there.  So we tried to concentrate on small pieces of Paris.  There is nothing more romantic than walking along the Seine at night with the glowing silhouette of the Eiffel tower to light the way.

One of the things that we had never done before was actually take the elevator to the top of the tower.  Somehow on our last trip I wanted to spend more time in the cafes, bistros, market streets and small haunts in the Latin Quarter.  This time we played the tourists more.  We got up early the morning after our night on the town and took the Metro to the Eiffel Tower stop.  Even though it was hard to stand in line for an hour and a half, we persevered.  It was well worth it.

 

 The view from the first platform was amazing.  Looking East one can see the Seine winding its way toward the Ile de la Cite.  In the far distance the white beauty of the Sacre-Coeur is visible on its hilltop.

Looking North one can see the Arc de Triomphe and the grand boulevard, Champs-Elysees.


The bridges of the Seine are unique characteristics of Paris.  Each bridge has its own personality.  Viewing them from the top of the Eiffel Tower is a stunning sight.

Gustave Eiffel was an architect and a structural engineer.  He took over the design of the Statue of Liberty, which France gave to the United States, after the original architect died.  Because of this fame he was chosen to build a structure for the World Exposition held in France in 1889.  The fair also commemorated the 100th Anniversary of the French Revolution.  The iron structure that he designed took over two years to complete and employed over 200 men.  There were misgivings about the design from the very beginning and Eiffel ended up financing 80 percent of the cost.  As it turned out he recouped his money in 5 months from the sale of tickets and he continued to profit for the next 20 years as per the agreement with Paris officials.  It was meant to be a temporary structure which suited many Parisians, as they thought it to be a vulgar sight.  But in 1909 when it was to be torn down, it was discovered to be a perfect tower for radio transmissions.  The tower would go on to serve an important part in communications during the First World War.


Gustav Eiffel had an office on the top platform of the tower where he entertained guests such as Thomas Edison.  The above picture shows wax figures of Eiffel and Edison in conversation.

David took the above picture from the top platform with his zoom lens.  Sacre Coeur is eerily beautiful.

On the elevator coming down we marveled at the iron struts and rivets that held the whole structure together.  We were glad that we had taken the time to get a close up view of one of my favorite landmarks.

I have just finished reading Paris by Edward Rutherfurd.  I highly recommend this historical fiction work that gives the history of Paris from the Middle Ages through the Second World War.  It was a fascinating read and the section on the building of the Eiffel Tower was especially interesting.

Snapshots From Paris

June 17th, 2012
Lunch at Cafe Flores like Ina and Jeffery

The week in Paris flew by.  I got to do most of the things that were on my list.  But not completing everything just makes it necessary to come back again.  We are in Provence as of last night and I am over the moon with our apartment and our village of L’Isle Sur la Sorgue.  But more of that later.  Here is a brief overview of our time in Paris.

Creative view of the Eiffel Tower

 

The Louvre was overwhelming.
The view of Paris from Sacre Coure was breathtaking 

Every serious cook should visit Dehillerin.  I bought a financier pan.
Versailles Hall of Mirrors
Steak Frites at Cafe Rousillion

David eating snails at our favorite corner bistro near our apartment
Isabelle, the owner, and her son making fun of me because I would not try them

David pondering the menu at Au bon Accueil near the Eiffel Tower.  Great dinner!
Our apartment kitchen was small but well equipped.  We ate most breakfasts here and one dinner of rotesserie chicken after a long day.

Another view of kitchen

Living area.  A good place to work on the computer
On the Seine near the Pont Neuf.  Notice the jackets.

Our week in Paris was one of the coldest for June in 10 years.  It got up to the low 60’s most days but the mornings were very cool and it rained or drizzled almost every day for a period of time.

Needless to say, the warm Provencal sun was a welcome change.  I am loving it.

Cooking Class At Reed in Paris

June 13th, 2012

When it is raining in Paris there is no better way to spend the day than taking a cooking class from a trained professional chef and restaurant owner.   Catherine Reed, owner of Reed (a small bistro near Rue Cler), has been delighting patrons for over a year now with her classically inspired menu.  She recently began offering cooking classes two mornings a week.

 
 

Seven of us joined her in her kitchen to cook a menu of White Asparagus with Mousseline Sauce, Roasted Chicken with Morel Mushrooms and Potatoes, and Profiteroles.  

Catherine demonstrated her techniques for making cream puff pastry.  She did this for all of the dishes that we prepared.  But it was a “hands on” kind of class.  Everyone participated.

Everyone took a turn with the pastry bag.

She kept us busy chopping and dicing.  One of the best things I learned was how to bone a chicken leg and thigh for stuffing.  To roast a whole chicken Catherine removes the thigh and leg sections of a chicken, bones and stuffs them, and then roasts them with the whole breast portion.  This ensures that the white and dark meat cook properly at the same time.  It also makes a nice presentation when plated.

The beautiful free range chickens ready for roasting. 

She had a unique way of making hollandaise sauce.  I ruined one batch by letting the eggs scramble; not one of my better moments.  But we ended up with two big beautiful bowls of lemony sauce.  Whipped cream was added to make it a mousseline sauce.

The meal was completed a few hours after we arrived and everyone had fun in the process.  Here are the results.

White Asparagus with Mousseline Sauce

 

Roast chicken 2 ways with potatoes and Morel Sauce
Profiteroles with ice cream and chocolate sauce

It was a wonderful meal and a worthwhile experience.  I would rank it up at the top of things that should not be missed in Paris.  Catherine Reed is indeed a hidden gem.

Dining at Reed

June 11th, 2012

After getting settled in the apartment, buying supplies from the local grocery store, and resting, we were ready for our night out on the town.  Our reservation at Reed was a good idea.  It was an easy walk, just a block away.

With an open kitchen and just 20 seats,  it was an inviting space.  Catherine Reed’s Laconche stove with its copper pots of simmering sauces made us feel like we had been invited into her personal kitchen.

Because of a staffing issue, this particular Saturday night, found Catherine the only person available to greet guests, serve and cook.  She jokingly said that it would be a “slow” food night; not necessarily in the timing, but in the dishes that were on the menu.  They were slow comfort foods that were simmering away on their own.  The smells of heady wine braised meats and poultry greeted us at the door.

The menu was short, offering a first course, entree and dessert.  The strawberry compote and carrot cake were displayed under glass on the buffet table near our table.
We started our meal with a Sicillian tomato tart with a crust that was thin and crisp.  The tomatoes were dressed with olive oil and shavings of Parmesan.
Choosing an entree was a difficult decision.  I had the Osso Buco which was tender veal shanks with a tomato sauce and a gremolata of orange, garlic and parsley.  It was served with tender egg noodles.
David had the Cornish game hen with spring vegetables and gratineed potatoes.
Catherine Reed was gracious and her restaurant is a special oasis of calm in this vibrant city.  I look forward to my cooking class with her on Tuesday.
We ended our first evening in Paris with a walk to the Eiffel Tower.  We have left all of the chaos of our initial journey behind us.

Paris, The Reality So Far

June 9th, 2012

You are looking at one tired and bedraggled gal right now.  Our trip did not get off to a good start.  After boarding our direct flight to Paris in Charlotte we sat on the plane for awhile after our planned departure time.  The captain came on the PA system and said there was a problem with a smoke sensor in the cargo hold and we could not take off until it was fixed or replaced.  We sat on the ground with updates for three hours.  The problem was never resolved and the entire group of passengers had to disembark and walk to another terminal on the other side of the airport and wait 30 minutes to board a substitute plane.  We spent over 4 hours on the ground and another 8 hours in flight.

But we are here and I am in love with the city of light.  Because of the delay in arriving, the person who was supposed to meet us and let us into the apartment could not do so for two hours.  That is why I am sitting at a sidewalk cafe sipping wine with all of our luggage.  The cafe owner was kind enough to store our luggage for us so that we could do a little exploring on rue Cler.  Who says the French are unfriendly?

Before we browsed the shops on the street we fortified ourselves with omelets and salad.  The omelets were absolutely delicious.

The market street has everything from flowers to cheese.  We bought two individual quiches, croissants and fresh strawberries.

In spite of the rocky start, everything is beautiful.  We are resting before our dinner tonight at Reed.  Will continue with my postcard from Paris soon.

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.