Vin Chaud, Markets and Arty Farty Wanderings

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December 11th 2011
Published: December 16th 2011
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the Girls & Vin Chaudthe Girls & Vin Chaudthe Girls & Vin Chaud

Blue, Dan & I
On my trip home in April I read an article about a travelling art exhibition of works collected by writer Gertrude Stein and her brothers when they were living in Paris in the early 20th Centrury. This family were collectors of early works by artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Renoir and Cezanne and as such the exhibition became the excuse for last weekend's wonderfully indulgent flit across the channel to Paris with the girls.

Saturday morning we caught the Eurostar across then dropped our bags at the cheap and cheerful Hotel Ajiel on Rue de la Convention in Montparnasse. Not the most central location, but not far from the Metro and a wonderful local neighbourhood. The hotel is surrounded by cafes, restaurants, patisseries and bloungeries and on Sunday mornings there is a local market to make every foodie quiver with excitement. The stalls of fresh meat, seafood, fruit and veg along with fromage and charcuterie spread out along both sides of the road give Borough Markets a run for variety without the price tag. I love this neighbourhood.

For 2 days we certainly packed a lot in, while really just wandering. Highlights were the fabulous company of Dan and Blue and arty goodness in the Stein Collection at the Grand Palais plus my first visit to the Musee d'Orsay a beautiful building with a cracking art collection. It always gives me a bit of a thrill to come face to face with paintings I only saw in books growing up.

Food wise, France is always a pleasure and I can highly recommend wandering the Champs-Elysees Christmas Markets or even the markets at Palais de Chaillot with a cup of vin chaud/baguette/crepe in hand. Or if you are after that slightly ill feeling do what we did and indulge in the great double of the chocolat chaud l’Africain and a Monte Blanc "... this absolute must cake is a wonder combining meringue, light whipped cream and chestnut cream vermicelli for the delight of your taste buds" from Angelina near the Lourve. My recommendation is best eaten in the park watching the lights of the merry-go-round before a wander down for a birds eye view of the Champs-Elysees from the top of the Paris Christmas wheel! Don't feel bad if you don't finish both the hot chocolate and Mont Blanc, I don't think any of us were able to finish the Mont Blanc as it was so rich, but Blue did manage to make 1.5 hot chocolates disappear as I couldn't finish mine.

Won't be my last visit to Paris as there is still so much to see of this wonderful city (not to mention so much to eat!).

Jane x

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