Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Paris - Day two, birthdays, and Ladureé vs. Pierre Hermés

Hello! The past couple days have been a blur and a crash course of Paris.  I've now seen the Eiffel Tower, the Luxembourg Gardens, Sacre Coeur, and the Musée d'Orsay in addition to Pont Neuf, Tuileries Garden, Champs Elysees, and Notre Dame.  

I've loved taking it all in, but I'm excited for my days to come in Barcelona!

Monday was my birthday, and I spent a magical day shopping, eating macarons from Ladureé, Pierre Hermés, and watching the sunset from the Eiffel Tower.  My day became even better when I saw the lights on the Eiffel Tower start flashing at 10pm, which I had no idea about before, but it was the perfect end to my birthday.

Here are some more pictures of my birthday in Paris!

Champs Elysees

It's not a birthday without some Ladureé  
 Flavors left to right: Lily of the Valley, Rose Petal, Orange Blossom, Cafe, Pistachio, and Chocolate

...and Pierre Hermés
 Flavors clockwise from top left: Green Tea Sesame seed, Japanese Garden, Jasmine Tea, and Chocolate

Read on after the jump to see my opinions on Ladureé and Pierre Hermés, as well as the Eiffel Tower!

Of course I had to try out the two different macarons...when in Paris, what else is there to do?  I had heard so much about Ladureé, but I started reading about how some people thought Pierre Hermés was better.  The only way to settle this was to try out both so I found an area that had two stores relatively near each other and set out to taste the best macaron.

The first one I tried from Ladureé was the pistachio one, of course.  It was delicious.  The perfect chewy texture with a delicate slightly creamy filling.  It was rich, but not too rich, and the flavor was strong, but not overwhelming.  I can't call myself and expert on macarons, but I've tried a few in the past and none of them had this good of a texture of flavor.  

My next stop was at Pierre Hermés.  The store itself is not as obvious as Ladureé as it is not nearly as girly and frilly.  It had a classy black exterior and the decor of the store was also very discrete and modern.  The macarons themselves were also exquisite, but almost a little too exquisite.  I was most impressed by their flavors, as they definitely had more unique flavors such as Green tea and sesame or Jasmine Tea while Ladureé had pretty classic flavors.  However, Pierre Hermés macarons had a richer and less chewy texture.  They were certainly a pleasure to eat and I would go back for their unique flavors (of which I liked Jasmine Tea the best), but I don't think I could eat more than one at a time.

Verdict?  It really depends.  If you want more heavy flavor and uniqueness, I would direct you to Pierre Hermés.  However, if you want that chewy and delicate texture with more traditional flavors, Ladureé would be your best bet.  For me, I liked the texture of Ladureé better, along with the fact that they didn't taste as rich so Ladureé won out in the end.  Looks like I'll be waiting in the lines!

In the evening, we went to the Eiffel Tower, which ended up being one of the prettiest sights of my life, solely because of the sunset.  I had never seen such a mix of purple, pink, and yellow in the sky before, but it was the best birthday surprise I could have asked for.

This was possibly the most beautiful sunset of my life

I had no idea about the lights that start flashing at 10pm!

 All in all, I had one of the best birthdays of my life.  A day complete with shopping, food, and a sunset at the Eiffel Tower completed the package for me.  I don't really buy into the romanticism of Paris, as my idea of romantic does not involve being surrounded by thousands of tourists, but I would not have changed one thing about that day.

If you made it to the bottom of this post, thank you for reading!  More updates on Paris and my upcoming trip to Barcelona will be coming shortly!

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