You are getting the Parisian posts in chronological order, albeit 5 months after the fact… Stuffed with the mid-afternoon snack at Buvette in the Pigalle, we made our way to Place Madeleine, and decided to do some leisurely window shopping in all the snazzy stores surrounding the church. First up, the Maille mustard shop. It’s amazing how the french can take an everyday condiment and make such a stunning shop to house their products… And if you could see inside, it was packed with shoppers, as if there was a mad run on mustard that evening.
Their special offering for the season was some mustard with marrons glaces (candied chestnuts) blended in. In principle, it sounds like a delicious concoction, but we didn’t get any.
I was more intrigued with the freshly made batches of mustard, which you could buy and package in these little ceramic crocks. They would have made beautiful holiday presents, but we still had several days touring and a train trip back to London, so I resisted the urge to get some. Mrs. MM tasted several of the mustards on offer, and ended up with one with green peppercorns to put in our luggage.
Nearby was the rather large store of chocolatier Patrick Roger. To be honest, I had never heard of him, nor have I ever tried his chocolate.
What caught my eye in the windows were these massive chocolate sculptures of penguins…
…and I presume these are snails. We didn’t enter the store, thank goodness we had just recently eaten. :)
Up next was Odiot, a stunning silversmith with 325 years of history under its belt. It’s not the stuff you find in most folks aparadors, rather think closets or silver vaults of Kings, moguls and perhaps despots instead.
This is the piece that made me stop in my tracks. I wasn’t sure if it was a gravy boat, kopeck holder or doodad for candy. But one look at the price posted in the window made we roll my eyes and shudder… it cost more than a sub-compact car in Manila. Yipes. Maybe Manny Pacquiao needs one for his new home in Beverly Hills…
The fancy bowl in the background of this photo had a list price of nearly PHP2 million, what?! Definitely fish pan material on this blog. But again, it doesn’t cost you anything to appreciate even the costliest doodads on the planet.
And I’m not even going to try and remember what the prices were like on the gilded stuff in the “gold” window. Now if I were a King with free flowing crude oil in the back yard I might consider acquiring a set of this stuff for the more formal dinners with guests, but seriously, I would worry the help would pocket a spoon and fork and they could sell them for a new bathroom with running water and a bathtub back in their home country.
So maybe just settle for a little deer or two for the holiday table you might think… but no, we couldn’t get ourselves to enter the shop to browse, it was that intimidating… and I don’t get easily intimidated. This is why we call this activity “window shopping”. :)
We ambled over to the large Baccarat shop across one of the streets and our spirits definitely put in holiday mode with the display of red and green crystal.
Their iconic red boxes (with fantastic foam molded to each piece you purchase) made for a nice, albeit commercial Christmas tree.
Tabletop displays with crystal in holiday garb…
…as well as vases, pitchers and other items on offer for the holidays.
The little Christmas trees in red, green or clear lead crystal led us into the shop, but sticker shock meant we really just had to stick to viewing…
…and while we have a tradition in our home for crystal ornaments, and have purchased several from Baccarat in years past, we passed on these ones as they were a tad pricey. Or maybe we are simply getting cheaper in our middle age…
The black and white and gold windows at Caviar Kaspia didn’t look too Christmassy, but they still sparkled with promise of pearls of salted fish eggs and other delicacies like alaskan king crab legs and beautiful smoked salmon.
I still recall our little tin of joy on a trip to Istanbul years ago, here.
We had a rather long stop at the Marriage Freres tea shop nearby, and lined up to buy several bags of tea for presents and our own consumption. Locals always buy in little waxed sachets and never in the tins, that are afar more expensive. Remember that if you ever make it to this shop, their tea is quite reasonable when you buy it in little bags, and transfer it to tins or bottles you might have at home.
The shop itself is beautiful (though only a fraction of their must larger original or flagship store elsewhere in Paris) and the aromas are enticing.
I am not a coffee drinker, but I like the smell of coffee… and I definitely like the smell of tea. I always wanted to own a tea shop, if only to have these wonderful looking tins on the wall… but drinking their tea is the next best thing.
The whole manner of serving customers in places like this is so incredibly civilized, it is a real pleasure to transact business here. You could definitely argue that the tea here is not 8x better than a lipton tea bag, given the cost, and I might agree with you, but that really isn’t the point I guess.
The final stop before we headed back to the subway and our little airbnb apartment was of course Fauchon, which fronts much of one corner of the square.
A box filled with pates de fruits, marzipan, chocolates and bonbons. What a beautiful gift box of goodies.
And another basket of goodies. Don’t ask me about the paper towels in the background. :)