Great day – we did the walking food tour in Montmartre today. We met up at 11am and finished eating and drinking at 3pm. There were 10 of us, all the others were from the US and much younger than us. One couple had their 13 year old daughter with them, they were from Atlanta and the other two couples were from California, one from LA, the other couple was from San Fran.
Our guide Theo was terrific, we guess he’s in his mid 20s. Born in Paris to an English mother and French father. His English was perfect, with an “english” accent but he was very good speaking ‘American’. He went to university in Cambridge doing film studies but said he hadn’t found it easy to break into the field, so far, so he’s been doing these tours since last October.
Theo provided a lot of excellent historical back ground about the area and the merchants we visited. He pointed out how to separate the not so authentic macaron shops, for example, from the authentic ones. Our first stop was a marvellous chocolate shop where we all picked out two favourites and then we moved on to the macaron shop. Again, we picked out two macaron to eat right then or save for later.
Next was an amazing cheese shop where we got to sample a cheese but Theo bought several for us to eat later. He provided a lot of interesting information about French cheeses and their history. Next was the Jackie Gaudin Boucherie. All his meat is sourced from grass fed animals. One really interesting bit was that on Sundays he roasts all the chicken/ducks/geese that have come to their best before dates and they sell out quickly. In looking at the prices, they were not at all out of line with what we would pay for this quality of meat. We did get to sample some sausage, it was delish of course. And Theo picked up stuff for later.
Next stop, the bakery, where Theo bought many baguettes, put in one large bag, the baguettes were still warm. It was now raining on and off , started when we went to the butcher. Next stop was a hole in the wall creperie, we all got to choose one to eat on the street – yum! They were cooked to order.
Theo led us to the office of the tour company where they have a great little room with a long table for us to enjoy all the goodies Theo picked up. We proceeded to eat bread, many amazing cheeses, a goose meat rillettes (it was my favourite) a pork tourrine, a salami and ham. This was all served with wine, whites to start with and then we switched to reds. Amazingly, Bob was able to drink the reds without any ill after effects. The final course was dessert from the bakery, eclairs, with either chocolate or pistachio filling. Theo told us that French eclairs have the same topping and filling, no mixing of chocolate on top with a cream filling.
The whole experience was great, we were not rushed at all, could ask questions and share stories. One of the women in the office was Finnish, Laura, so I got to chat with her in Finnish for a while. She has been in France for a long time. And of course we brought home the chocolates we’d picked out the shop.
We were stuffed and just headed for the metro and our flat. Interestingly the tour company’s little office was near where we had dinner last night we so the Metro station was familiar to us.
The excitement of the evening is getting a few things fixed at the flat. David, the guy who is supposed to look after things locally has been pretty much incognito. Bob ended up phoning the US company that owns Vacation in Paris Holiday Rentals and they’ve been terrific trying to sort things out. The owner of the flat even phoned us tonight. We’ve had both email and phone contact with the US company and they’ve made no bones about the fact that they are very unhappy with David and pretty much said he was a goner.
A young Spanish man who speaks only Spanish arrived a while ago and tightened up the loose kitchen faucet. Then, while FaceTiming with some other guy, they were trying to figure out why the dishwasher would not start. The fellow on the phone does speak English so he told Bob that the dishwasher needs some kind of “stuff” – not soap, to work. We think it might be some kind of water softener/salt thing. So the poor guy has now gone off to the supermarket to get what ever this stuff is. I’ll leave the end of this exciting saga to tomorrow.