Today was Kathy's birthday, so she got to choose our activity for the day. She wanted to go over to La Madeline and Rue Honore to look in the shops. After breakfast we rode the bus almost to the end of the line at Gare de St. Lazare and walked down to La Madeline. Our first stop was Fouchon, a beautiful shop of wonderful food stuffs: jams, confits, chocolate, cookies, foie gras, coffees and teas. I bought some more foie gras and some chocolate. One of the shops I like, Hediard, is closed for renovation, so that was a disappointment.
I told Kathy I would buy her lunch today - anything she wanted. Well, she wanted a sandwich, so that's what she had for her birthday lunch. She's a cheap date! After lunch we walked along Rue Honore and across Place Vendome. The shops along here are high end, to say the least, and well over my budget -- hers, too. The only shop we went into was Longchamps, I might have bought a shopping tote there for 60 some euros, but after looking at it, I decided I could make one.
The Ritz Hotel at Place Vendome has been undergoing renovation for some years - it seems like everything here takes years to renovate, and unlike at home where they simply put up signs saying "Open while remodeling - pardon our dust," here they just close down. The Ritz and the city are also joining forces to renovate the column in the center of Place Vendome and it has a big box with a picture of the column around it.
We did see some women who were more fashionably dressed in this neighborhood.
From there we walked up to the Opera to catch the bus back to the apartment, stopping off at Brioche Doree for a little dessert and "les toilettes." It was about 2:30 when we got home, then I went off to the post office to get stamps and to mail a letter.
To celebrate both of our birthdays (mine was 2 weeks ago) I made reservations at Le Ciel de Paris, the restaurant on the 56th floor of the Montparnasse Tower. We took the bus and we needed most of the one and one-half hours we allowed to get there. We were hoping to have time to go up to the observation level, but it was 7:15 when we got there for our 7:30 reservation. We got a window table with a view of the Eiffel Tower, which was great, but the sun was right there, too, which made it somewhat uncomfortable, especially for Kathy because she was facing the window. There were no shades, but the windows are tinted -- and dirty, I might add.
We had a very nice, but expensive dinner -- it was our splurge. I had foie gras for my starter, buttery and good; roasted guinea fowl for my main course, tender and juicy with a medley of peas, fava beans, and pea pods with pasta and a sauce; and a chocolate "cake" with raspberry sorbet for dessert. The chocolate cake was actually mousse with a tiny layer of cake on the bottom, covered with ganache, and decorated with a curl of chocolate and a little floret of edible gold. It was really good - decadent, in fact. Kathy had a salad, veal loin, and creme brulee for dessert.
We were hoping to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle, but it was too light yet; however, we did get a nice sunset. I doubt that I would go there again -- it is a little like the Space Needle, a great place to go for the view, but you can get better and less expensive food elsewhere. One thing, though, the people who were eating at the even more expensive Jules Verne on the Eiffel Tower had a view of the Montparnasse Tower (considered by some to be the ugliest building in Paris) while we, on the other hand, had a view of the Eiffel Tower!
We took a taxi back to the apartment.