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There are times I miss the balmy temperate weather of Los Angeles, but sometimes I also miss my favorite restaurants. Yes, it’s true, there is world class wonderful food and wine here, but my palate misses the spiciness that is ubiquitous in nearly every neighborhood in California, from Thai to Mexican. When I am warned that something here is “spicy” that usually means it has garlic, or maybe some pepper. When I saw a Thai restaurant literally next door to Du Pain et Des Idées,  I was drawn to the aromas and the idea that I might enjoy a Thai restaurant here as much as my beloved Chan Dara in Los Angeles. It was a good idea, but as with many anticipated experiences, it wasn’t perfect. Service at lunch is friendly and efficiently bilingual in French and English, but dinner service is rudimentary at best with older Thai ladies who do not speak French (or English) very well, so be prepared to point to menu items to get what you want, and do not expect a smile.

The set menus had very good prices,

and the drinks were very nice glasses of wine

or classically prepared hot tea.

The side dish was either rice noodles

or a sauté of fresh vegetables, both good choices.

One one occasion, I ordered the spicy shrimp with basil (which was very slightly spiced, but flavorful).

One rainy day I ordered the soup with slices of tender beef and vermicelli noodles in a slightly sweet broth with vegetables and a fried “nem” which is like a mini eggroll. I’m not a fan of sweet broth, so the fact that I enjoyed this was a testament to their skills.

Thankfully, the third time was the charm, with a delicious spicy beef sauté that was still pink in the middle, and had enough spice and flavor to rank as the best Thai dish I’ve had in Paris so far.

This restaurant has several restaurants and cafés around the area, and each has slightly different service but similar menus. I would definitely recommend this as a place to introduce people to Thai food, but I’m sure there are better places in Paris; suggestions anyone?

Today is Pablo Picasso’s birthday and Paris celebrated by reopening the Picasso Museum after 5 years of renovations. Located in the Hôtel Salé, a historical former residence, the museum displays 5,000 pieces of his work (the biggest collection in the world) as well as 150 pieces of other artists such as Cézanne, Matisse, and Gauguin.

I only saw the news that the opening day was today with the regular hours of 9:30am-6:00pm, not knowing that because it was the grand opening the doors actually opened at noon. I got there at 11:15am and there was already a huge line, so I waited, knowing it would only be a much longer wait if I came back later.

The crowd control was very well organized; I heard the Museum director say she was very pleased that over 4000 people were already queued up for over five blocks at opening time. Those at the end of the line were in for at least a three hour wait to get to the entrance!

The restoration of the building was spectacular.

Three floors of various periods and mediums gave fans plenty to peruse.

This was my favorite Picasso,

but this was my favorite piece, a Gauguin 🙂

A purely photographic post of Parc André Citroën 🙂

France preserves their history and their traditions, so La Petite Ceinture, literally “The the little belt”, old railroad line  built in the 1800’s is now a beautiful greenbelt for walkers, runners, and anyone who enjoys gardens. There are several entrances, and I chose the one most recently restored, complete with an elevator for easier access if you have a bicycle or wheelchair.

Helpful markers on the trail tell you exactly where you are and how far you’ve gone.

You can also use the modern buildings

or classic old buildings as your markers for where you are or how far you’ve traveled.

Nature has taken over some of the area

artists have taken over other parts.

Some stretches have bits of both

humans and nature vying for space.

Preservation efforts have struck a nice balance

creating groomed spaces.

The modern replacement rail may not have the charm of the old,

but it has an unparalleled view 🙂

My name is Elaine and I am a bread addict. In fact my addiction is so all encompassing that I may have moved to France for the bread:) My favorite bread in Paris (so far) is the Pain des Amis that I’ve written and photographed constantly in other posts, but my daily bread is the baguette tradition bien cuit (cooked well done, because unlike my meat, which I like raw, I like my bread crispy). The Fournil Daguerre won the award for best bio baguette last year, so although I love my local Gontran Cherrier, I wanted to compare this winner to what I normally buy.

At the further end of the market street Daguerre in the 14th, the boulangerie has a pleasant corner location with a few seats and tables so you can enjoy a sandwich or pastry sur place (at the shop instead of to take away).

The baguette tradition exterior had a nice chewy crust with the perfect amount of crunch vs. springiness.

The center was absolutely delightful with the soft air pocketed texture and yeasty flavor that gives baguettes their worldwide reputation. Once you’ve tasted a baguette like this, you will never be able to eat supermarket bread again:)

A few blocks down Daguerre near the busy metro station where the Orly Bus stops is Moisan, on Ave. Général Leclerc, which specializes in organic breads and pastries.

Their baguette tradition was far too dense for my taste and didn’t have the finesse or flavor of the one from Fournil Daguerre. I did like their pain complet which was meant to be dense and still managed to be flavorful.

It’s said that no one does everything well, and while I didn’t like their baguettes, Moisan does the best almond chocolate viennoiseries I’ve tasted in Paris. In my opinion, they are better than La Durée or Eric Kayser. Because they use organic ingredients, the flavors are more subtle, rich, and nuanced than other boulangeries. Sorry about the slightly unsymmetrical form, but I broke off a piece before taking the picture.

Normally, I don’t finish my viennoiseries or desserts, but once I bit into this delicate pastry with a perfectly proportioned almond filling, I couldn’t stop

until I got to the back with chocolate, and yes it was enough chocolate, and yes, I ate the entire thing!

If one viennoiserie was great, two would better better, right? Yes! Their pain aux raisins was exquisite! A buttery, circular roll of plump raisins in a delicate pastry that somehow managed to be light yet satisfying without the annoying excess of sweetness that some places use as a substitute for quality ingredients. This was the best pain aux raisins I’ve ever tasted.

Having the two places within blocks of each other means I can get a great baguette tradition and wonderful viennoiseries without having to take a metro from one to the other, and in Paris, that is considered “easy shopping”:)

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