Category: Paris - AM Musings
 
Picture
Tuileries Garden Paris
The trees in the Tuileries Garden near the Louvre in Paris are trimmed yearly to a maximum height of 2.2 meters and the overall shape is gently trimmed to emphasize the axis of the gardens leading to the I. M. Pei pyramid. Here the lower branches are all trimmed to a uniform height to form a ceiling canopy of tree branches. The effect is being in a huge outdoor room looking out between columns of tree trunks to the space beyond.
Picture
Palais du Royal, Paris
The French, however, don't stop thee and aren't afraid to really make those trees stand at attention as shown here at the Palais du Royal, also near the Louvre.

In this smaller and more formal space an alley of trees stand rigidly at attention with identical buzz cuts.


Picture
Marie Antoinette's Garden at Versailles
Yet the ultimate expression of this idea can be seen at Marie (let-them-eat-cake) Antoinette's playground at Versailles just outside Paris. 

Here the trees are buzz cut just as at the Palais du Royal, but they are also given a little flip at the top for added flair.  Fun, but mon amie, you must have grounds to do this.

 
Picture
Berthillon Ice Cream - Paris
Picture
At one time supermarket ice cream was the only common source for ice cream.  Now specialty ice cream boutiques abound and San Francisco has many good ones - Mitchells and Bi-Rite being two of my local favorites. Click here for the article.

The best,  sadly (for us) is made by Berthillon in Paris.  Their main store on an island in the center of Paris at 31 rue St. Louis-en-l'Ile near Notre Dame Cathedral, seems to always have a line.  Once on the island, just follow the crowd and you will find it.  This is definitely worth the wait.

If you don't want to stand in line, many cafes also serve Berthillon ice cream.   The photo above was taken at Le Petit Cler on Rue Cler, another great street of markets and cafes.  If you're enticed to go to Paris to try it, check out David Lebovitz's blog, My Paris.  Great guide of places to eat and go. 

Picture
Chris found a place in Berkeley that rivals Berthillon. Horray! It's called ICI and I had the panforte ice cream.  It was one of the best ice creams I've ever tasted.   The June 24, 2011 San Francisco Chronicle had an article on the best ice cream to be found in the Bay Area.  Mitchells came out on top.  Bi-Rite and ICI are also listed.   See the article here.

 
Picture
It's spring and I love Paris in the springtime, but I'm here in San Francisco.  I can walk down Pine Street to my neighborhood La Boulangerie  and pretend I'm walking down rue Montorgueil or rue Bucci in Paris.  The designer who designed the pale blue and gold exterior and the timeless interior really did a great job.  Usually recreations of another time and place fall flat and you feel you are in a theme park like Disneyland.  La Boulangerie, however, seems to effortlessly evoke France.  

Here I find my beloved chausson aux pommes, the best in the City.  The Pine Street bakery is the "mother ship" of all the La Boulangerie branches.  I'm told that pastries from other branches come from a central bakery outside of San Francisco.  The pastries at the "mother ship" on the other hand  are baked on-site.  Walk inside the store when they are baking and you can see the workers in the back shaping and preparing the dough for the ovens.   I've tried several branches and I think the best pastries are here at the Pine Street "mother ship".  

One item they have that I've never seen anywhere else is croissant bread pudding where they use left-over croissants.  As I'm not a big fan of bread pudding, I would never have ordered it, but I tried a small sample piece once and was hooked.  Rich from the buttery croissant, this is special.  Order an end piece if they have it.  The end pieces have a slight crust with a bit more flavorful caramelization.  Worth the calories and carbs.  

 
 
Picture



I was at the San Francisco Main Library in the Civic Center recently to pick up a book and saw a photo of the library under construction (left photo).  The photo on the right shows the same space today with a glass domed oculus lighting the space.  The library was completed in 1996 by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, an architectural firm founded by I. M. Pei -- the renowned Chinese-American modernist architect and 1983 Pritzker Prize  winner. 
Picture
Unfortunately I. M. Pei had already left this firm when the library was designed.  So San Francisco missed out on an opportunity for a major I. M Pei building.  I like to think about what he might have done in San Francisco - something as memorable as the glass pyramid at the Louvre in Paris?  At age 94, it will probably never happen.  Sometimes time and place miss each other.  Unfortunate.

 
 
Picture

















I must have jiggled when I took this i-phone photo on the left on a rainy day in Manhattan.  I liked it blurry as it reminded me of impressionist paintings of Paris like the one on the right.  

 
Perhaps the standard for Tart Tartin
Picture
August 13, 2008 - We've come to appreciate how many good bakeries there are in Paris.  One of the best  (according to Chris) is Poilane Bakery at 49 Boulevard Grenelle 75015 Paris.  On this trip we stayed at the Paris Hilton (not recommended) almost next to the iconic  Eiffel Tower (recommended).  Nearby in walking distance is one of the Poilane Bakeries.

Beautiful sight isn't it.
 Did I tell you Chris makes the best apple pie? 

 
August 2008 on vacation in Paris and we were walking the side streets near the Paris Opera House and happened on the Cafe Dalayrac at 2, Rue Dalayrac 75002 Paris.  Walking into the cafe to get a seat, I saw a beautiful tart tartin smiling at me.  I found lunch!  
Picture
Cafe Le Dalayrac, Paris









 







I had a memorable meal, a beautiful composed salad, coffee and the tart tartin.  Last fall 2010 Chris and I tried to find it again, but I couldn't remember the street.  We finally gave up.  Now that I've figured out where it is, I hope I will be able to go again.

 
Picture
Tuileries Garden - Paris
August 15, 2008 - I told my daughter, I wanted to be the first man to take her to Paris.  Well I did it and not a moment too soon as she was 16 years old.  Strolling the Tuileries Gardens on a warm August day, we came upon this ice cream stand.  Walking around to the shade to sit and enjoy the ice cream, I saw this shot.  I don't remember how good the ice cream was, but I remember the moment.  I liked the framed views and the repeating rectangles.