Taking Delight in Paris' Sweet Highlights
16 August 2014
I have a confession to make. Strolling down the wide Parisian boulevards on an ultimate extended weekend escape during last year’s Easter holidays, I did not eat any meal at one of the many wonderful bistros the French capital is famous for. As it behooves a true sweet tooth I could not resist the many sweet temptations within reach and indulged in a ‘scandalicious’ sugar feast instead with visits to Paris’ countless pâtisseries and chocolateries.
The genteel cordiality of the Parisians is unparalleled. Accompanied by a gracious smile, “Bonjour, Madame!” was the very first sound I heard while I was warmly welcomed each time I entered an establishment. After admiring many delicacies and making a careful choice at several boutiques, my delicious purchases were wrapped up meticulously, and soon I was walking down Paris’ street labyrinth with bags full of sweet goodness’s. With great expectations I eagerly unpacked the bags in my spacious room-with-a-view at the magnificent hotel Concorde Opera Paris. I was not disappointed. I had found the best fresh mint chocolates at exclusive little chocolate factory Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse, homemade vanilla-bergamot marshmallows at Pain de Sucre, scrumptious pistachio specialties at La Pistacherie, perfect chocolate éclairs at Un Dimanche à Paris, crispy vanilla croissants at Cafe Pouchkine, an exquisite mango-passion fruit tart at Des Gateaux et du Pain, a fragrant rose-raspberry tart at Ladurée, heavenly macarons at Pierre Hermé, exclusively designed violet pastry at Carl Marletti, candied chili peppers and sugar-coated rose petals at sweetshop Le Bonbon au Palais … in short, too much deliciousness to mention.
During my second evening I decided to walk up north to the Montmartre district in a – probably vain – attempt to burn up the many calories of the sweet treats I had digested the day before. I climbed the stairs to the Sacré-Coeur, a famous cathedral located on a hill in the middle of the upper district. A magnificent view of Paris unfolded itself right in front of me. The City of Light did justice to its name; in the distance I saw the Eiffel Tower illuminate the beautiful night with numerous sparkling lights. A little further on the horizon to the west I noticed a tall skyscraper and I became intrigued. The next afternoon I stood on the highest point of this tower: the Tour Montparnasse. In less than a minute I reached the 56th floor of the building at a height of 200 m. with Europe’s fastest elevator. There I took up the last few stairs that led to an open-air roof terrace for an incredible 360º panoramic view over Paris.
In between the stops at Paris’ sweet spots and high rise, I paid a visit to various museums. Unexpectedly, I bumped into another independent lady three times along the way: the Statue of Liberty. In miniature, she held her torch up high in both the Musée d’ Orsay and the Musée des Arts et Métiers and at night I saw her watch over the city amidst the Seine at her own little private island Île aux Cygnes. Before hurrying off to catch my plane back to Amsterdam after three wonderful days, I made my way to one more must-visit place: the romantic Musée Rodin. Enjoying a final moment of Parisian ‘joie de vivre’, I joined the legendary The Thinker statue in the museum garden and dreamed away under the sun… taking delight in my memories of Paris’ sweet highlights.