Tag Archives: rose wine

Paris made for the movies

14 July, Sunday. Bastille Day.

Woke up at a little past 7 in the morning to prepare my things. I was to check out of the hostel to meet Joyce at the Hyatt Regency at 8:30. I was thrilled to be spending the next nights in a hotel courtesy of my flight attendant friend. 😉 In all my travels in Europe, this was the first time I stayed in one. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and I was looking forward to the breakfast buffet. I just love stuffing myself in the morning with eggs, sausages, some bread with jam along with fresh orange juice.

Joyce, who arrived from an early morning flight from Jeddah, was planning to sleep first in the morning and start our sightseeing by lunchtime. I told her there’s an airshow and military parade at 9 am by the Champs-Élysées as part of the celebrations for Bastille Day. I told her she must already be feeling awake at the elation of seeing me, convinced her we should go and that later in the afternoon we’ll break for a siesta.
My argument won. 😉

Off we marched to the parade. I’ve last seen Joyce in 2008 when she was still pregnant with her daughter. We were, of course, making up for lost time and chattering away while waiting for the military planes make their appearance. And that was how we missed the opening ceremony.  Three planes zoomed by spraying blue, white and red mist representing the flag of France. We quickly ran and joined the crowd but we were too late in capturing a photo. Drat! Haha

I had high expectations of the air show. I was thinking the French Air Force would showcase some fancy routine of planes doing somersaults or dips or whatever trick they could do up in the air. I’ve seen a good one from the Singapore Air Force while they were rehearsing for their National Day Parade. Well the French version was nothing like that. The air show was confined to planes flying overhead, mostly by three’s. Disappointing. Much of it stemming from the fact I had something to compare it too. Life works that way, isn’t it?

We then dropped by at the LV main store in Champs-Élysées. Joyce wanted to buy a wallet she’s been eyeing for some time. It was cool to be able to check the place and at least be with someone who actually bought something. There was free engraving of initials (maximum of three characters) at the 4th floor. Security is tight in such high-end stores, customer movement is closely monitored. The sales lady swiped her card for us in the elevator going to the 4th floor. There’s a staff stationed by the elevator doors. Once done with the engraving we were asked which floor we wanted to go next. We said we’d like to go out already and he swiped his card on the elevator that took us right into a side exit.

 

Next stop: the Louvre! Free entrance that day hurray!

I was happy to have gotten in free. The museum is huge. There’s no way I’ll be wasting my whole day in browsing their entire art collection. I was only interested in seeing Ate Mona (the Mona Lisa painting) and Venus de Milo. A quick look at the museum plan and we got to see them. We were there just for half an hour. Maybe even less.

 
Paris is an expensive city. It became all the more glaring when we dined for lunch. We didn’t really have any restaurant in mind and just decided on one along Rue Saint-Honoré. Our menu, a meal with appetizer, main course and dessert cost 25€! A menu like this in Spain, this would only cost 10€.

My main course was some sort of creamy mushroom chicken with rice. It was okay but overpriced. At least the escargot was good.

After lunch we headed back to the hotel for siesta. We needed the energy because we were going to the Eiffel Tower at night to witness the fireworks.

***

We headed for the Eiffel Tower at past 10. The metro station of Trocadero, where the famed tower is located, was jam-packed with peopleAll exits were blocked except for one. Joyce was getting scared there might be a stampede because there was some jostling inside the station while people were getting out. Once we got out, the fireworks had already started. It was hot, crowded with people shoving and shouting. We couldn’t stand to be in the midst of all these so as soon as we arrived, we left walking towards the opposite direction to a different metro.
If only we could have gone instead to the building the tour guide told us the day before which offers a good view of the Eiffel, I could have gotten that nice Eiffel Tower shot with fireworks that will be everyone’s envy! But I didn’t want to pay 13€ to climb up the building for the view. #regrets

 

15 January, Monday.

First order of the day: breakfast!
The previous day my breakfast was only a croissant, cereal and juice at the hostel. But that morning at the Hyatt Regency I ate like a King errr Queen! 😀

I was exclaiming to Joyce since the day before that she has to take a photo of me at the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. I got my wish that morning.

Photos were prohibited on the first floor. There was a girl who kept on taking photos of every crook and cranny upstairs so I had Joyce sneak in photos of me that is, until we saw a sign that it was okay to take photos on the second floor.

Shakespeare and Company only sells English books. If I’d had more time to browse I’d probably buy a book. The selection is good. Even saw a book by Kurt Vonnegut, a writer I was introduced to only last month when my flatmate lent me a book of his entitled Cat’s Cradle. Loved the book by the way.

The Notre Dame was just on the other side of the street. We passed by it to have a photo op and have a look inside. ♥ Gothic architecture.
While I might have wanted to go up and check the gargoyles out, 422 of spiralling steps was  just too much.

We then paid 8.50€ to enter Saint Chapelle, a chapel that was ordered to be built by the only king of France that became a saint, King Louis IX or Saint Louis. He had it built to house his collection of Christ’s Passion. 75% of the chapel is made from stained glass.

We then went to the Conciergerie. This was where Queen Marie Antoinette was imprisoned before her eventual beheading. We didn’t want to go in anymore cos that was another entrance fee and more importantly, we were thirsty and hungry. Time to break for lunch.

Lunch was at Le Nemours. It was my idea to go eat there. I’ve learned of it because this was the cafe in the opening scene of Angelina Jolie’s movie The Tourist where she had coffee by an outside table with her movements being monitored by undercover agents. We both ordered quiche au chèvre which, to my understanding and based on what I’ve eaten, is quiche with salad. The quiche was delectable. It awakened in me the want to learn how to make it. #gourmetfrancaisemodeon

 

That dip in energy after having lunch, we decided to go souvenir shopping at Rue de Rivoli. It’s the street right next to the Tuileries Garden.

Next we headed to Sacré-Cœur. It is located in Montmartre on the hilly part of Paris.

I remember in the movie Amelie that they had this hide-and-seek scene by the steps.

When I do go back to Paris, Montmarte is one area I’d like to explore more.

How many movies shot in Paris have I named? Three. I did a Paris movie walk. 🙂 What’s especially nice was that the portrayal of the locations used in these movies are faithful to their true ambiance.
On some related news, I recently read that a new senator in the Philippines by the name of Grace Poe-Lamanzares is drafting a bill to push for film tourism. I support this 100%!

Our energies where somewhat drained with the climb going to the Sacré-Cœur but we needed to get going. It was past 7 in the afternoon and we still had to cover the main Paris sights.

The Arc de Triomphe for example.

Joyce took several photos of me here until she has managed to take photos of me with no cars passing by. The arch serves as a rotunda so timing is crucial if you want your photo free of passing cars.

 

We then went to Champs-Élysées for the famous patisserie Ladurée.

We ordered a box of 8: 2 pistachios, 1 citron, 1 raspberry, 1 rose petal, 1 caramel, 1 Venezuelan chocolate, and 1 chocolate with coco.

I loved it! Right now I’m craving for it. Pistachio is my favorite and I could only dream about being able to taste its other flavors. Our box of 8 cost 14.80€.

 

One final stop. I couldn’t leave Paris without a photo of this famous landmark. The previous night I could have gotten a wonderful picture of it with fireworks. That morning, even before we went to Shakespeare and Company, we dropped by the tower but the area for picture-taking wasn’t good for photos because it was against the morning sun. Pictures are best taken in the late afternoon, or evening if you prefer it all lit up.

We were able to cover lots of sights so it was a day well spent. For dinner, Joyce suggested we dine at Léon de Bruxelles in Champs-Élysées. We ordered mussels, the specialty in Brussels and that restaurant in particular. I also had rose wine. It was really nice! 🙂
Joyce opted for coke. We could have shared a bottle of rose wine but she was flying tomorrow morning and didn’t want to drink anything alcoholic.

 

The days running up to my Paris trip I wasn’t particularly excited. It might be due to the hot Madrid summer (always blame the weather) or I had too much travel to do in a short span of time it’s wearing me out.

There was a reason why even in the very beginning of my stay in Europe I’ve decided to make Paris my last stop. It was, as cliche as it sounds, saving the best for last. 🙂

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Cata de vino

Monday I had to meet with my Spanish tutor in the afternoon. She asked me if I don’t have plans for that afternoon til evening maybe we could start our tutoring much later and afterwards join her for a cata de vino. I replied that that is a good idea without knowing exactly what a cata de vino is. I was just up for something.

 

I thought we would go wine-hopping sort of like ir de tapas or here in Pamplona ir de pintxos where you hop from one bar to the next for tapas/pintxos (fyi: for the rest of Spain it is called tapas but in País Vasco and Navarra it is called pintxos).

This is what pintxos are.

 

Before I deviate farther from the topic, a cata de vino is wine tasting. This now becomes my second with the first one having been in the wine region of Porto in Portugal. Wine is also produced here in Navarra and that’s what the cata is for – marketing the local wines. I’m beginning to wonder how many cata de vinos I would be attending in all of my stay in Europe. *grins*

 

The tables are laid out with four glasses for each person which would be filled later on with wine.

 

I leafed through the marketing materials provided. There are seven wines for the tasting. Wow. In Porto we only had one of each – white and red wine. For that seven glasses it’s good preparation that we had a quick pintxo of tortilla de patata  before going to this event.

 

Every wine poured to our glass, we shake it round the cup to release the aroma and then encouraged to smell it. True enough it smells different from when it was first poured.

 

 

Here having collected the two whites and two rosados (rose wine). The first one being served is always lighter in color and then moving on towards a darker shade with a bolder flavor.

 

 
This was the first time I’ve encountered vino rosado.

 

In tasting wine, we have to use three senses: sight, smell and taste. It was l♥ve at first sight for me for the vino rosado.

 
This wine is obtained by the method called sangrado de mostos and translated into English means bleeding of the mosto or the freshly pressed fruit juice of grapes. It is the pink juice removed from the mosto and is separated from the rest (of what is is to become red wine) to ferment and produce vino rosado.

 

 

I threw the remaining contents of the first glass which has the first white wine to make way for the first red wine. Here is the color blocking.

 

When the second red wine was served, next came the cheeses with denominación de origen Idiazabal and Roncal here in Navarra.

 

The first red wine compared to the second one is dry. I prefer the second red wine. Consulting the wine list that would be the Gran Feudo Edición Especial from Bodegas Chivite.

 
The last wine was dessert wine. I first came to know of dessert wine in 2010 at my big boss’ house. He has a collection of wine and had us try dessert wine from Canada. It was really good!!!

The dessert wine served to us smells really sweet. Something in the same notes of an overripe mango. The smell is a cue for what I’m about to taste and it’s sweetness must have been heightened all the more from having tasted red wine. With just one sip I couldn’t drink more.

 

Walking out of the Sala de Exposiciones, my tutor and I engaged in talk about rose wine. She said it’s what Navarra is known for but that it’s quite at a young stage. Outside Spain, only white and red wine is known. True. I told her this kind of wine is hard to make it in the Philippine market because first, the country doesn’t have a culture of drinking wine. Second, drinking wine is associated with affluence, something most Filipinos do not have.

Because of what I said the flow of conversation steered naturally towards marketing rose wine. Oh dear, if we were given a marketing project for this next semester that would be a tough challenge. I’ll opt for a cata de vino. Anytime! 😉