12:00pm: Before our hunt for hotpot, we stop by Mariage Frères for some fine French tea. The country is not known for its production nor consumption of flavoured hot water, but after a British friend named it as one of her favourites, I wanted to check the brand out. Mariage Frères mainly has blends with black tea and green tea, and barely any herbal infusions. They do have a caffeine-free rouge (it smells funny to me though). Marco Polo is supposedly their most famous, but the Provence blend absolutely blows my mind - and Vert Provence is the one I decide to mail to my British friend.
1:00pm: Turns out, our journey to hotpot is much more difficult than expected. After a few wrong turns and closed restaurants, we end up at Au Ciel in the 11th. It's an all-you-can-eat menu, costing only a little over 20 euros for lunch, and OMG it's one of the best hotpots I've ever had. They give you cute individual pots for which you can select the spiciness for (none for me, s'il vous plaît), and the selection is expansive and the food really fresh. We order two dozens of shrimps to start, and beef, and lamb, and tofu, and veggies...
2:45pm: After nearly two hours of non-stop eating we are informed that the restaurant is about to close. It's ok, since our stomaches are close to exploding anyways.
3:20pm: To combat major food coma, we walk to Le Marais, which only takes around 30 minutes, for some shopping. Several French friends have said that this region has less tourists and is more "French". Indeed the winding streets are free of the big names that dominate Champs-Elysées, and filled with local brands and boutiques that seem much more authentic. The streets along are worth wandering around. We stumble upon a fragrance shop, which, if you know me even just a tiny bit, I have no self-control in. Who else feels compelled to smell every single candle and try on every single hand cream?
4:15pm: There's also street full of adorable bakeries (talk about competition!) and the smell is just too tempting. Hedwig gets a crêpe with Nutella and bananas.
5:02pm: We wind up at Shakespeare for some books. I love how everything is so walkable! I go for another Hemingway classic, The Sun Also Rises. I fell in love with his writing after reading A Moveable Feast, and now, it's actually little bit hard to read the book through Jack Barnes' perspective because I keep thinking that this is yet another chapter of Hemingway's memoir.
Le Mot du Jour