ガイドブックでお馴染みのあんなところ、 そして今まで聞いたことのなかったこんなところ〜 パート2
See part 1 here. Recap: If you couldn’t tell from the title and that photo above of me in front of a little thing called The Uhffel Tower, I was in Paris. And now I am foisting the spoils onto you. On y vas!
First order of the day: The market! It was actually a bit overwhelming to me…SO MUCH FOOD. And I can’t take free samples because then I feel compelled to buy it. It’s like those shop keepers can pull me from my SOUL. I did enjoy seeing a lot of the regional foods like a strange “macaron” from the countryside that was more like a brown sugar cookie, and all the Willy Wonka Factory-like candied fruits. But my goal here was to get some cheese. And not just any cheese, but some REAL mutha-effin CHEESE. “Give me some stinky cheese! The stinkier the better! Goats milk! There, that one in the corner with no label! That looks positively stinky!”. And it was DIVINE.
Next, I ventured up to Montamartre in the afternoon all by my lonesome. Below is the “Wall of I Love Yous” written in a plethora of the globe’s languages.
I was here to check out a bunch of quirky shops, but you know what? THEY WERE ALL CLOSED. What’s up with that, huh, Monty? Can I call you Monty? So if I come back at precisely 3:37pm you’ll be open, you say? OK then. So I guess Montmartre doesn’t even wake up until after 4pm or so, a word of warning. Or maybe it just stays closed on the weekdays. So I just snapped pics of weird stuff being peddled in the windows:
A break. Salvation.
One of the special activities I got to do was hang out in the Maison Kitsune flagship shop and then sit down for an interview with the founders Masaaya and Gildas. I’d run into them oodles of times throughout the years in Tokyo but this was the first time actual sentences were exchanged. They were seriously cool-as-cucumbers and made sure to mention that they weren’t trying to be edgy or super high-design, just super high-quality (all their stuff is made in Italy). They also mentioned that they are opening their first shop in Tokyo this Spring. There was a customer there with us who couldn’t find anything his size but was SO determined to buy SOMETHING. That’s how fanatic fans are of the “fox”.
Positively French sexxxy shop decor, non? J’adore.
Next: my biggest challenge. My nemesis. COOKING. Our group was tasked to attend the freaking Alain Ducasse cooking school “L’ecole de Cuisine” and create a beautifully French course-style lunch. *hyper-ventilate* Alain Ducasse is a superstar global celebrity, and in Tokyo many will know him as the chef who presides over Chanel’s “Beige” restaurant in Ginza. So you KNOW we weren’t going to be slapping some neopolitan sauce on french bread, y know?!
Is there going to be a pop-quiz??!
A flamethrower, man?!
Our chef sensei had a wicked sense of humor and even spoke a bit of Japanese. Alas, he was NOT joking around when it came to our recipe and making sure everything was perfectment.
Finally, I mulled up some courage, and relented to help prepare the meal with my own hands. Victory!!! It was great fun. I was awesome and ROCKED that salmon and those romaine lettuce hearts!
I was frazzled after that. Here’s an idea: you cook, I`ll drink champagne.
Voila! Look at my plate! Doesn’t it look absolutely delicious?! I got an A+. Or I would have. But according to this diploma I graduated at least! And don’t tell anyone I wore an apron.
Next, it was time to relax. We traveled over to the seine river where a beautiful yacht was at the docks waiting for us. I was checking out some reviews of Paris touristy stuff online and everyone says “Don’t ride a boat on the river! it sucks!”. Well, yes, that’s because other than these yachts, you only have the choice of riding a dinghy. These boats run by “Yachts de Paris” were INCREDIBLE. We had comfy velvet chairs, a fireplace, champagne, macarons, espresso….I loved this ride.
My trip was winding down. But there was one shop I needed to steal away to. “The Lab Store“. It is the shop run by “Le Laboratoire”, an experimental installation and art gallery. It is highly futuristic, both robotic and unique to itself in the universe…*head goes BOOM*. Many of the products are highly frivolous…like “Le Whaf”, which is a vaporizer/aroma-fier for alcoholic drinks. Put in your favorite Gin and then stick your face in the vapors: you can get buzzed from the alcohol without having to drink a sip! My target here was to get me some “Aero Shots” designed by Phillip Starck and run in the same idea. You can inhale flavors or “foods” without actually eating them. There’s energy drink and chocolate….I got regular and mint “flavored”. So futuristic! Oh and yes, they are yummy…yummy um, air. They’re not available in Japan so naturally I got a bunch.
And now time to bid adieu. But not before getting a rad private tour of the Charles de Gaulle airport and the new supa-fancy Air France terminal that just opened. The business lounge was incredible. it’s called “The Park”, ostensibly because you can pee in the bushes. Kidding! Because it’s interior and furniture looks like trees. It’s beautiful, non?
Above: at the Air France head office before we literally RAN to catch our Airbus 383 home back to Tokyo. The fancy one with two stories and the best business class with yummy food and lots of good wine to ease us back into the droll of real life.
Oh Paris, you DO have a sense of humor! Love ya for life.
So there were a lot of places I didn’t write about here, but are being posted on AirFrance’s online Paris guide [coming soon] along with everyone else in my group’s travels and adventures. Warning, you WILL want to jump on a plane to Paris. Not such a bad thing, of course ;)