Tuesday, September 2, 2014

La Baguette de Notre Dame


I moved to Paris, France two weeks ago and the first bite I took of that crusty, crunchy yet soft, so-fresh-it’s-still-warm baguette, I exclaimed:

“Yes, I think I can live here.”

I don’t even think I’d swallowed that first bite yet when I said that. I was jet-legged and fighting a cold I’d had since mid-July, but hell if I was going to let that hold me back from appreciating the wonder that is the French Baguette.

In Paris, you are rarely ever more than a block away from a boulangerie and the one French stereotype that actually has some truth to it is the French carry their baguettes everywhere. Seriously - by hand, poking out of the shopping bag or purse, stuffed into a bicycle basket – baguettes are everywhere! They are made so fresh and taste so good that they don’t last longer than a day, which is why the French carry them everywhere because they buy one every day.

Then, there are the French sandwiches! 

Beautiful French sandwiches at Sur le Pouce.
The most common sandwiches are a demi-baguette (half the length of a regular baguette) stuffed with the simplest of ingredients: some meat, some cheese, one or two vegetables and some butter. That’s it. I was surprised at the lack of condiments from the place that invented Dijon mustard but with such fresh bread as the heart of the sandwich, you really don’t need much else – just a place to relax and eat your sandwich.

Somewhere like the great Cathédrale de Notre Dame.

La Cathédrale de Notre Dame.
Following my exploration of Papier+, a pristine stationary shop on rue de Pont de Louis Philippe in Le Marais, I was getting hungry. I remembered a small snack/sandwich café near Notre Dame from another day of exploring and I realized I knew how to retrace my steps back to that place, so off I went! I hopped back on the metro at Saint-Paul, got off one stop later at L’Hotel de Ville and crossed the Pont d’Arcole towards Notre Dame. I found Sur le Pouce, the restaurant I noticed from the other day and admired the beautiful sandwiches at the street-side counter and I chose Jambon et Fromage. Then, with my sandwich tucked under my arm, I set off to find a place to sit near the cathedral.

Across the main square, I found my spot and perched myself on a cement corner near some bushes and munched away. Surrounded by tourists taking photos of themselves and the one of the most famous churches in the world, I was nearly flat on my stomach, trying to get the perfect shot of my sandwich nestled on the bushes with Notre Dame in the background.  I had to laugh out loud but I got some good photos for my efforts.

Money shot!
 Notre Dame is impressive from any angle but I love to admire it from the front. It’s so grand and majestic, it makes the swarms of people around it look small. My sandwich done, I headed back to the metro station but not before I bought some lemon sorbet from Sur le Pouce and ate it in front of L’Hotel de Ville. Yum!

Not a bad view of L'Hotel de Ville. 
Turns out eating lunch and desert in front of some amazing historic buildings makes for a pretty great day. 

Soon to be repeated, no doubt!

1 comment:

  1. Looks lovely. Certainly an inspiration on the first day of school here in Edmonton. I'm glad you are enjoying your adventures so far - exploring Paris in the fall seems like an awesome challenge. Looking forward to the next sandwich post!