May 2, 2009

Wedding in Reims day 5: a wish fulfilled

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It's the day after the wedding, and everyone feels a little exhausted. We bid our farewells after breakfast and begin to go our separate ways. I've got a little time left in Reims and decide to revisit the Notre Dame and do some final bit of Champagne shopping.

I've always loved the Notre Dame in Reims. It's not as grand as the one in Paris, and because of its location it receives far less tourists. But it is the site for the coronation of every King of France for many centuries, so it does have its own special place in history. Last but not least, it has the set of stained-glass windows by Marc Chagall depicting the life of Jesus. This alone makes it very, very special in my book.

I have a bit more time left and continue my quest for Champagne. I did eventually find a shop next to Notre Dame that carried Jacques Selosse wines, but they would only sell one bottle to each customer, and you had to buy something else of equivalent value. Painful, but I was out of options. I deliberated a bit and settled on a bottle of Jacques Selosse Exquise, a wine supposedly made for chefs like Pierre Gagnaire to accompany their desserts. Given that only 1,000 bottles of this are made each year, I was content to walk away with my single bottle...

The TGV journey back to Paris was mostly uneventful, except for a nearby neighbor who really needed a good bath. Soon I found myself checking into the Hotel Caron de Beaumarchais. This is a charming boutique hotel near the Hôtel de Ville in the Marais, named after the author of the Marriage of Figaro. The hotel itself is tiny, and so were the rooms as it turns out. We barely had enough room to open up our large suitcase. I'm used to small Parisien hotel rooms but this one took the cake...

Right as I was settling into my cozy room, I received a call from my helpful friend telling me that a pair of Birkins were available at the Hermès flagship store on Faubourg St-Honoré, but I only had half an hour before the store closed. We rushed over and managed to sneak through the door just past the official closing time.

Unfortunately, we were told that there were no more Birkins for the day, and once again the saleslady suggested that we return on Monday at an earlier time. We did however manage to pick up a Kelly for another friend, and befriended a new contact for our upcoming return on Monday. Hopefully I would be able to accomplish my mission then...

We weren't really hungry for a while, so we ended up having dinner late. I finally got the chance to go to Le Train Bleu, the classic brasserie in the Gare de Lyon. I've been wanting to come here ever since I saw "Nikita" during my college days. The desire heightened when my friend Cathy gave me "Les Plus Beaux Restaurants de Paris" a couple of years later, and the restaurant featured prominently on the book's cover. The dining room just looked so beautiful and grand, and it did not disappoint in real life!

I started with saucisson pistaché à la Lyonnaise en brioche, sauce Périgueux. I was intrigued by the idea of stuffing the big sausage inside the brioche, and I just couldn't resist another meal with sausage. The black truffle sauce was very, very nice...

Soufflé de sandre, sauce Nantua aux queues d'ecrevisses, tombée d'épinards primeur et pois gourmands - this is a savory soufflé made from zander with crayfish sauce, on a bed of spinach, mushrooms and crayfish tails. This was pretty tasty, but not surprisingly a bit heavy...

We shared a refreshing dessert of rose gelée, yuzu sorbet with red fruits. The different sweet and sour red fruits worked in harmony with the sorbet and the jelly, and I really, really liked this one.

It was almost midnight by the time we were done, making it another long day... Final note: the hotel bed in room 22 was actually 2 single beds put together. For some reason, the center of the bed smelled like old gym socks... I guess this was just a day for us to experience the smelly side of France...

1 comment:

Lin said...

2 trips to France within a month. I envy you.

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