The French tradition of serving the Galette des Rois (Cake of the Kings) on the Twelfth Day of Christmas or Epiphany Day has biblical origins and is a reference to the biblical three kings.
A fève (bean) is traditionally baked in the galette, which is sliced with a piece for every person present plus an extra slice called part du Bon Dieu (God’s piece) or part de la Vierge (the Virgin Mary’s piece).
Over time the fève was replaced with a tiny figurine. The person who receives the piece containing the fève is “crowned” king or queen for the day. The remaining piece, then called part du pauvre (poor man’s piece), was traditionally shared with a needy person.
If you’re now in Paris, be sure to look in the windows of bakeries and patisserie shops displaying these cakes everywhere. Bakeries sell them complete with paper crown and fève.
I bought my fèves from Angelina. One is a miniature Mont Blanc which is their signature dessert and a miniature cup of hot chocolate.
Bake a galette to see who will become king or queen for the day at your house and don’t forget to make a foil crown to place atop the cake before presenting it. And a Happy Epiphany to all.
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Another Paris icon. The Paris métro signs. The first sign was designed by Henri Guimard in 1900. Built in cast iron with floral symbolism. The iron posts surrounding the sign itself encase an orange lamp looking like a long lilly-like stem. Guimard designed two types of entrances with and without glass roofs. Today only two Métro entrances retain the original glass roof over the sign at Porte Dauphine and Abbesses. The Abbesses entrance was transferred from its original location from Hôtel de Ville. 141 entrances were constructed between 1900 and 1912, of which 86 still exist. These signposts are classic examples of French Art Nouveau architecture.
The second most commonly seen Métro signpost is a 1920’s innovation consisting of a globe shaped lamp above a “Métro” sign encased in cast iron design work.
The first photo I took is of the Guimard Art Nouveau entrance to Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre. The second is the interwar period signpost at the entrance to Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
I have posted about this before but I never tire of the French joie de vivre, the little breaks between anything you are doing outside whether it be on the way to work, while doing the shopping, or on the way back from work. This break involves an espresso, a glass of wine, a beer, a cocktail, whatever you fancy. It’s a way of life.
I stopped by Les Etages which is a tiny little bar/cafe with a Cuban rustic decor in the Marais. In fact it’s next door to Le Yono a bar I posted about a day ago. The photos I took of Les Etages showcases a yellow French bike which had been parked outside, the colours of the exterior and the bike screamed for a photo shoot. Enjoy.
I’ve include a couple of photos also of other bars in the area. Every cafe and bar is busy. After all, it’s what the French do, so there is no shortage of full bars and cafes.
35 Rue Vieille du Temple,
75004 Paris, France
Tel +33 1 42 78 72 00
Want to buy a book to read while travelling and don’t want to pay much for it, or just want to browse through a pile, then head over to Boulinier at any time of the day. Boulinier has been around for a long time, it sells second hand books, Dvds, Vinyls. It is open till midnight on Mondays, Fridays, saturdays and Sundays and 11pm every other day. I walked out with ten books late last night for 1 euro, yes, you heard correctly, only 1 euro for a total of ten books. Stocks are always arriving on their shelves so be sure to visit regularly to see if they have that particular book you are looking for.
20 Boulevard Saint Michel
Tel: 01 43 26 90 57
The window display at Zara Home for Christmas:
I love eating here. The sharp decor is stunning, the service staff are very kind and the good and value for it is great. I’m telling about Paradis du Fruit.
The concept is easy, choose from three types of plates:
1. Choice of two mains and a side
2. Choice of three mains and a side
3. Choice of four mains and a side
By mains I mean decent size, altogether you have created a substantial plate, it also comes with a salad. The price for the three mains and side cost me 14.50 Euros which is unbelievably cheap. I chose, toasted pita bread filled with goats cream, apricots and chives; mozzarella Di Bufala; spicy chicken on sticks with a side of farmhouse fries. I washed it down with a La Vie en Rose cocktail consisting of vodka, lemon juice, squeezed raspberry, basil and mint leaves.
Paradis du Fruit
Avenue George V, 47
Last night going out for a few drinks with friends, we stopped by Le Yono bar. Le Yono is a petit lounge mosaic bar in the style of the Spanish architect, Antonio Gaudì located in the bustle of the Marais.
They host many exhibitions of young artists, local musicians are patronised. Each month young ‘Graphistes’ gather for social mingling, with lots of drawing happening on the side. The gathering is bringing in more people of great pencil drawing talent together. One can purchase a badge while there and you share in the discounted drinks after the general Happy Hour is over.
This is one of the great traits of Paris, dropping into a place such as Le Yono and before you know it, you become an honorary drawing for the evening and meet reacquaintances.
37, rue Vieille du Temple
75004 Paris (Metro: Hôtel du Ville, St Paul)
Tel: 01 42 74 31 65
Yes, it’s that time of the year again. When I began this blog a year ago, the Christmas markets at the Champs Elysèes were in operation and they have started again. This year between 15 November and 5 January, stalls of regional french foods, hot beer and mulled wine and much more litter the bottom end of the Champs Elysèes towards Place de la Concorde. Here are just a couple of photos I took yesterday will upload more in the days to come.
I’m back after a long hiatus from the blog. A decision had to be made as I was getting too busy with work to give blog writing a break. However I am now coming towards the end of my time here in Paris and I could not let the opportunity escape of not sharing a few more posts of the greatness which is Paris. So for the next while, visit the blog for a few enchanting posts. Hope you enjoy them as well as I experience them.
Dinner tonight in the Marais at Le Coude Fou which translates as The Crazy Elbow.Le Coude Fou http://www.lecoudefou.com 12 Rue Bourg du Tibourg 75004, Paris
All of us need to treat ourselves to a drink, a meal at a plush venue every now and again. Yesterday morning I dropped by Le Bar at the George V Hotel, on the aptly named Avenue George V, off the Champs Elysees. Originally, I was planning to have their well known hot chocolate which I have posted about before, but ended up having a jailbreak cocktail: Bombay Sapphire Gin, Chambord, fresh lime juice, fresh mint and ginger ale. As always, the service is impeccable and their attention to detail did not go unnoticed.
After two jailbreaks it was time for lunch, their main meal sized Nicoise salad was yearning to be loved.
Now, who was George V anyway?
Aqueducts destroyed during the siege of Paris while the Franco Prussian war was raging, causing the price of water to rise considerably and the fear of the poor turning to alcohol instead, motivated Sir Richard Wallace to finance and design the Wallace fountains to appear all over Paris.
Wallace called on Charles-Auguste Lebourg, a well known sculptor from Nantes to create the designed models. For the large model, Lebourg created four caryatids representing kindness, simplicity, charity and sobriety.The iconic dark green colour was decided upon in order to blend in with the green parks and surrounding area.
Today, not only the poor but all passers by may quench their thirst and admire the artistry.