What started as a cultural morning at the Musée de l'Orangerie turned out to be a fast-track Paris gourmet tour for my dear Spanish friend who just moved to the city of art, fashion and gastronomy.
Having booked the tickets a month in advance, we were on the fast-track to beat the tourists into Frida Kahlo's exhibit at the Orangerie. The five-minute wait in the sunshine was actually quite invigorating. I have learnt to appreciate every minute of sunshine in this city, however brief it might be!
Needless to say the works of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo turned out all I expected them to be: emotional, fervent, passionate and inspiring.
The plan thereafter was to head towards Mora, Paris' reference when it comes to kitchen apparel. However, we did get slightly sidetracked on the way there. This is what happens when you decide to cross Paris by foot rather than go underground!
We picked up a few books at WH Smith (the largest English bookshop in France since 1903), then had a second breakfast at Angelina's, Paris it-place for hot chocolate and Mont Blanc patisserie. Full of strength, we hit the posh concept store Colette. I was told about the "water bar" serving more than 100 brands of bottled water. Very inspiring but also very expensive, we swiftly carried on past Claus, another hip place for brunch. We passed Eric Kayser - contemplating whether to buy his world-best croissants - but carried on along Rue Saint-Honoré. We discovered the neoclassical passage Gallerie Vérot-Dodat home to not one but TWO Christian Louboutin stores!
We whizzed by the Cathedral Saint Eustache, checked out the market stalls in it's shadow and heading down Rue Montmartre could not resist entering Relief Deco, universe of professional bakery, pastery and chocolate material. We finally reached our destination Mora, which offers the best selection of chocolate molds in Paris.
But oh my, in their selection of over 5000 products they did NOT stock what I was searching for: a gingerbread-man cookie cutter! Now how would you say Gingerbread Man in French???
Not to worry, another quick trot across the road to La Bovida. The first floor is like Ali Baba's cavern and boasts over 10'000 references, everything from food wrappers to delicatessen pepper and salts... as well as Gingerbread Man cookie cutters. Hurray!!
At this point, I could not resist to point out Paris' specialty food stores G.Detou to my well-natured following friend. Perfect for stocking up on holiday goods. Chocolate, mustard, honey, olive oil, fois gras, pistachio paste, you name it.
Time to head home to bake...run, run, run, he's the Gingerbread Man, we have found him with our brilliant master plan!