Another year. For us, this year has started off fairly busy. I know. By definition, we’re not busy, but we really sorta have been these last few weeks, which has left this blog pretty lonely – as a couple of you have mentioned to me. Partly we’ve been working on some small pet projects, but we’ve also been planning the next few weeks and months. So what follows is a little bit of a random update on the past, present, future…
New Year’s Eve
Many restaurants fancy up their menus for New Year’s Eve dinner and then charge crazy amounts. We found a place that didn’t do that and started our evening with dinner at Diep for Thai and Chinese food. It was pretty good, despite not being able to find anything spicy. After dinner, we headed home momentarily to put on extra layers and pick up our bottle of Champagne.
On New Year’s Eve, the metro runs all night and is free to encourage people not to drink and drive. There were tons of people everywhere – they really came out in droves. But, the French don’t really do much for New Year’s Eve in terms of a light or fireworks show. The two main spots to hang out are near the Eiffel Tower or on Champs-Élysées near the Arc de Triomphe. We opted to hang out on a bridge near the Eiffel Tower rather than the Champs-Élysées because security was high and we couldn’t smuggle in our bottle of Champagne.
Drinking in public here is a little confusing to me – I can’t tell when or where it’s allowed, but no one seemed to be the least bit concerned with what we are doing. So we settled onto a spot on a bridge, popped open our bottle of Champagne, poured ourselves some glasses and watched what appeared to be the same Eiffel tower light “show” that seems to happen every night.
King Cakes, French Style
The French have a king cake too – a Galette des Rois – to commemorate Epiphany, the day the Magi visit baby Jesus. These cakes are nothing like the King Cakes we are used to. They are layers of puff pastry filled with a center of frangipane, or almond paste. So naturally, we headed to the best bakery in Paris – Du Pain et Des Idées in the 10th – to pick one up.
Although the cakes look and taste nothing like New Orleans king cakes, they do have at least one similarity. There is a small favor in the cake. In our cake, it was a porcelain bead and it was actually in the cake – not in a plastic bag where you need to insert it yourself. You would not want to accidentally bite into that. Whoever finds this favor in their piece gets to be “king for the day”. How lovely is that? And so that there isn’t any confusion, the cakes come with a cardboard crown that the king can wear. We see little kids wearing those on the streets from time to time. Totally cute, but reminds me a little of Burger King.
In other news, we visited Musée du quai Branly, which features indigenous art – and lots of it. Between this and our recent visit to Musée Zadkine, which features work from the sculptor Ossip Zadkine, we’re convinced we need to have a sculpture garden. We’ve been designing it in our heads and it is breathtaking.
We went ice skating (I’m using that term pretty loosely) at the Grand Palais. It is a gorgeous and dreamy place for a rink.
And we found a place with real beer. I had a proper IPA for the first time in months. Months. And we found two other solid coffee shops. So the beverage scene has been very good for us recently.
Somewhere over the last few weeks, I got reacquainted with some of the podcasts I love. I used to listen to several but in the few weeks before we moved here I never had the time and never picked it back up since. So, to the dismay of my husband (“what are we, 80?”, he says), I started listening to Reply All again, which I thoroughly enjoy. And I also just listened to nearly all of Heavyweight. #2-Gregor is amazing. I highly recommend that one.
Last but not least. We are moving. We are leaving Paris and heading to Bordeaux next month. I’m not even sure when or exactly why we decided this and we’re both pretty bummed to be leaving Paris. We love this place and it feels like we just got here and are just settling in. But we did have a great time in Bordeaux and I’m sure it will be another adventure. And speaking of adventures, before we settle in Bordeaux we are going to do a little road-tripping through France for a couple weeks. We are just planning out what that will look like right now – but it’s going to be awesome.