Saturday, 25 January 2014

Paris Ramen Week Zuzutto (20 Jan - 25 Jan)

So those who know me know that I'm a bit of a last minute late kind of girl. I was born 10 days late and I know somewhere out there there's a scientific study correlating being born late with running late as an adult. 

If not, here's a really good article I love that is absolutely spot on about what goes on in the heads of late people. 

Those who know me, also know that I'm a yeah-we-can-totally-cram-in-10-things-in-2-hours kind of girl. Why not? I say! I was once in Milan for two hours between connecting trains and managed to catch up with a friend, seek out some delicious gelati, take the metro and visit 8 sites - all with 1 piece of cabin luggage and 4 other bags in hand. When we travel, John is continually surprised at how many things I can pack in at the last minute. He would normally prefer to arrive somewhere early. Me? I'm too greedy. I feel it's a waste of time to arrive early. Why not arrive just on time but be able to do something else in that extra time you've gained..!  

Anyway, today I tried to catch the second to last day of Paris Ramen Week Zuzutto (don't ask me why I didn't drop by on the previous 4 days). Paris Ramen Week is a week whereby famous Japanese chefs fly over to Paris and showcase their versions of the iconic Japanese ramen dish according to their region and interpretation. 

Friday was Kazuyuki Takei's day, a chef who has been perfecting his ramen for almost 40 years. 

Wednesday, 22 January 2014


A Parisian institution, Angelina, whether you like it or not is a must try when in Paris. If not for their decadent signature hot chocolate, then for their divine signature Mont Blanc dessert. If not for their dessert, then just for the experience of sitting in the beautifully decorated Belle Époque tea salon. 

Sure, it will be full of tourists, the staff with probably be less than friendly, slow and they may even ask for payment when they finish their shift (regardless of whether or not you have finished), BUT - try not to let that ruffle your feathers. Paris has never been known for its award winning customer service anyway! 

Take a deep breath and embrace the sights and smells and tastes. Relish in the fact that since 1903, for over 100 years, Angelina has opened its doors to guests like Coco Chanel and Marcel Proust, and now, you. 

La Maison Angelina 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Rainy Days

The other day I decided to wake up super early and catch a Parisian Winter sunrise. I should have really checked the weather forecast because it ended up being cold, wet, windy, rainy and foggy. I stood there shaking with my umbrella and shuffled about in my boots with holes in them trying to catch a glimmer of sunlight. 

Disappointed, I went for a wander and surprisingly found that one of my favourite bridges, the Pont Alexandre III was pretty much deserted. 

At that time in the morning, I had the pont all to myself. 

I loved it. 

All to myself

Except for him..

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

(Free) Dior exhibition at the Grand Palais

One thing I've become used to doing in the last 18 months that I rarely did before is going to museums and exhibitions on my own. 

Maybe it comes with age and being 31. Maybe it comes with the Parisian culture of choosing to do things on your own. Or maybe it's because of the whole "well if you don't go now when you're available even though you're on your own, then by the time someone is available to go with you it'll be finished!" conversation going on in my head. 

Just before Christmas, I braved the cold and waited in line for almost 2 hours to get into the Dior Exhibition at the Grand Palais. The Grand Palais doesn't appear on my Free Museum Sundays in Paris list so there was an additional reason for me to line up for this exhibition in the middle of Winter. By the time I got to the front of the line, my fingers were frozen and I literally could not feel my toes. I'm not kidding here.

But it was worth it. 

Entrance of the Dior Exhibition

Karen Kilimnik's installation of Miss Dior

French Château of the Month - Vaux le Vicomte (Part II)

Following on from my last post, here's a mini tour of the interior of Château Vaux le Vicomte. Think high ceilings, roaring fireplaces in stately ornate baroque-era rooms and glittery overwhelming Christmas displays that will leave you feeling just slightly dizzy. 

Where's the actual tree?

Sunday, 12 January 2014

French Château of the Month - Vaux le Vicomte (Part I)

So, I have a thing for castles. 

Or should I say over here, châteaux

This mild obsession with castles and châteaux probably stems from the same part of my brain that enjoys indulging in the notion of fairy tales, old school romance and of course, chance meetings - preferably involving some rain, or ideally someone falling over in the rain.

Luckily for me, there is no shortage of castles in France. I love visiting castles, even if it's the second or third time around. One of my favourites is Château Vaux le Vicomte, a stunning baroque-era 17th century castle located about 1 hour out of Paris. Especially beautiful to visit in the Winter with roaring fires and Christmas displays and decorations like you've never seen before. 

When you enter the grounds, this is the breathtaking sight that greets you: 

Does this feel like a fairy tale or what?!

I could probably just end my blog post here with: "and then, I entered the gates of Vaux le Vicomte riding my unicorn..". 

But I can't because there are too many photos. In fact, I think I will need to span Vaux le Vicomte over 2 blog posts.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Arc de Triomphe

The views from the top of the Arc de Triomphe are you know, just a little..  amazing. 

View from the top

From the top you can see the geometric spoke-like system of Parisian avenues, and as a result, Camembert wedges of beautiful Haussmann era buildings. 

Monday, 6 January 2014

Galette des Rois (King's Cake) time!

It's Galette des Rois time of the year again..!

Galette des Rois

Normally falling on first Sunday of January, it's a French tradition that involves the finding of a little hidden trinket in your slice of galette des rois, bestowing you the chance to be King or Queen for the day (and, potentially a free pass to boss everyone else around). Back in the day, it was a little broad bean 'la fève' that was hidden in the cake but now it's really whatever little figurine/trinket you can find.

This time last year, my Mum had flown over from Australia to Paris to stay with me for a month after I broke my collarbone. John made a galette des rois when he came to visit us and Mum ended up biting into the little porcelain trinket making her to be Queen for the day! Although, my Mum being my Mum, felt uncomfortable not slaving away and looking after everyone else. She also thought it was a conspiracy that she ended up with the paper crown.

What I like about this annual tradition is that for one, it only comes once a year, like the Full Moon Festival. You can, but you don't eat moon cakes or galettes des rois any other time of the year. Secondly, there's a tradition to ensure the double blind randomised control distribution of the slices. The youngest child has the responsibility of choosing which slice goes to whom and gets to make these critical decisions underneath.. the table!

Okay, so here's the recipe we used this Sunday afternoon:

Galette des Rois (King's Cake)

2 sheets of ready rolled round puff pastry 
(if you need to cut it, the dimension is about 23cm diameter, make sure you choose a good brand that uses butter in the ingredients otherwise it won't puff out the same way)
1 yolk (for the glaze)

150g almond meal
50 g softened butter
100g sugar
2 eggs
10g corn starch
10mL milk
1 tablespoon of rum
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Thursday, 2 January 2014

What I love about Paris - Stumbling across..

Romantic picturesque scenes like this, hidden from the crowds, tucked away from the rest of the world. 

Which in my head, actually looks like this:

Because it seems too beautiful to exist in the present.