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Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier - Fine Chocolates Made by Hand

608-249-3500 | Mon-Fri 10-6, Sat 11-3, Sun CLOSED

Bonjour, Paris!

April 26, 2010

The Medici Fountain in the Jardin du Luxembourg.

Throughout the spring, the thought of returning to Paris has motivated and excited me. It’s a city that holds special meaning for me. It was there, as a teenager, that my lifelong passion for chocolate truly began. Now, after weeks of reading various guidebooks and daydreaming, it’s time to start packing. Luckily, the ash cloud from the Icelandic volcano has shifted, allowing air travel to resume. For a while there I was a bit concerned my flight might be canceled. That would have been tragic!

I am thrilled to be returning to Paris! I have rented an apartment in my favorite neighborhood, Saint Germain or the sixth arrondissement, which is on the left bank of the River Seine and home to the spectacular Jardin du Luxembourg, many cafés and galleries . My flat is on the fifth floor (which is really means the sixth floor in France), so I will have a view of the rooftops of Paris.

Le Tour Eiffel is always a spectacular sight.

Paris is a great place to find inspiration and to get your creative juices flowing. There are so many adventures awaiting me, including pastry and baking classes in Montmartre. My biggest joy, however, will be visiting as many of the chocolateries and patisseries as possible. I have already targeted more than 50 on the map I am creating of Chocolat de Paris. Fortunately, a visit to Paris means a lot of walking, which will burn off all those delicious extra calories. I plan to take lots of pictures to post on Facebook of my excursions. If I can squeeze it in, I hope to take a train to Bruges, Belgium, for a day to check out its chocolate scene.

The Louvre Pyramid, designed by I.M. Pei.

Of course, the dining will be splendid. The offerings are dizzying. One of the books I have been devouring is Hungry for Paris: The Ultimate Guide to the City’s 102 Best Restaurants by Alec Lobrano. It’s given me lots of ideas.

Fortunately, some friends of mine in the chocolate world just happen to be in Paris at the same time. So reservations have been made to share a great meal with them, catching up and comparing notes. It was hard to choose a restaurant. The dining opportunities are mind boggling. With guidance from two renowned Paris-based food bloggers and authors, Clotilde Dusoulier and David Lebovitz, I have done my homework and am well prepared to find some of the most delicious food in the world.

So time to get back to my packing and gathering my guidebooks and maps together. Au revoir et a bientôt!