We spent the rest of our post-Starbucks Tuesday morning window shopping in the square that surrounds La Madeleine, a large church that looks to me more like a courthouse, with its neoclassical styling and Corinthian columns. It is certainly an impressive and interesting building – just not at all like the other cathedrals and churches around. It was actually begun by Napoleon as a “temple to the glory of the great army” (according to the wikipedia article, above) but the construction was taken over by the Catholic church after his fall, and dedicated to Mary Magdalene.
We saw lots more chocolates, including some that were definitely easter-oriented…
and some that were ambiguous, like these large circus animals.
The scale doesn’t come across well in this photo; I’d say that white chocolate hippo was at least 8 inches tall, and a foot front to back. I’d say these critters are not meant for casual snacking or a light dessert.
We saw a cell phone store selling a Prada-branded phone …
… alongside Angry Birds speakers.
Who knew the French were into Angry Birds, too? The Prada phone is more along the lines of what I expected to see.
Another window displayed fancier birds – silver plated chickens and chicks – and other beautiful table decor.
Other good animal sightings included this fox in a posh clothing store’s display:
… and someone walking along the sidewalk with their dog off-leash. (Shocking!) It seemed well-behaved, though.
The most interesting shop we passed was full of mustards – but we didn’t step in.
John and I had our wires crossed a bit, with him expecting me to say which stores I wanted to visit, and me expecting him to lead the way for the whole morning, so we ended up not going into any stores except for one that was spread out over two buildings: Fauchon, a gourmet food and pastry shop. This was a necessary visit, because the day’s lunch plan was choosing food and taking it to the gardens for a picnic!
We browsed inside the stores, marveling at the super expensive bottles of wine:
and trying to guess who the intended buyer might be for the giant swimming egg Easter candies:
… especially at their asking price.
Despite the scary prices on wine and Easter eggs, we forged ahead, choosing some items for lunch and heading south to the Tuileries. The bright day belied the still-chilly air, so we tried to choose a spot in the sun, by a fountain:
… but a swarm of small insects drove us further into the park, away from the water. This pigeon was disappointed to see us go.
We picked a bench in a not-too-shady spot, and unpacked our delicacies: marinated artichokes, smoked salmon, a variety of cheese, some tiny bread, and a small lemon cake.
Everything was quite tasty; lunch might have been called perfect, except for the cold. The artichokes in particular were excellent; I wish I knew what the marinade had been, because they were definitely among my top favorite items that we ate in Paris. (Top 10 at least, if not top 5. I’ll have to make a list when I’m done describing the days…)
We didn’t unpack the cake, intending to save it for a snack later, but I think this photo of it and its bag turned out kind of cool.
(It was very tasty when we ate it later – a lot like a madeleine, but a little bigger. I’m not quite sure why it was called a “cake” and not a large madeleine, although we did find out the difference between a cake and a galette when we were buying it. Galettes are fancy and frosted and decorated and made in patisseries, while cakes are more plain and bread-like.)
We did not linger long after lunch; we were eager to move along to our afternoon’s activity, the Musee d’Orsay, partially from excitement over the actual museum and partially from excitement to get inside/out of the cold air. John stood in the sun to warm up for a few moments while I took pictures.
… then as we began to head south, we saw the Eiffel Tower from a completely different perspective than we had the previous day. From here it looked like just another light post.
We crossed the Seine at the Pont de la Concorde, and were off for our afternoon museum adventure!