VIVE LES CHOCOLATIERS!
There are many fine chocolatiers in Paris, but my absolute favourite for sheer innovation and artistry is Patrick Roger. Venturing into one of his uber-stylish stores is like visiting an aromatic Alladin’s cave – sensory overload! Each store is uniquely decorated – slick and very contemporary – an extravagance of colour, texture and pattern. Despite all this decorative sophistication, the atmosphere is always charming and welcoming – redolent with the totally seductive smell of very, very fine chocolate. And seduction is indeed the word! I can’t imagine anyone setting foot inside one of these temples to indulgence without surrendering to temptation!
The variety and quality of product are testament to the genius of Monsieur Roger. His chocolates and confectionery are beautifully crafted and presented, but beyond all this perfection is a distinct sense of adventure and fun – evident in the quirky and sometimes outrageous chocolate sculptures adorning his shop windows. A true artiste, he is renowned for his life-size human and animal creations.
There are gorgeous treats to tempt the youngest customer (sugary fruit jellies and brightly coloured “marbles”) and more exotic creations to titillate the taste buds of the most discerning chocolate connoisseur – very grown-up combinations like thyme and lemon, tonka bean and caramel vanilla, caramelised almond with orange and grape, lemon and basil and the exotic flavours of jasmine, ginger, sesame, Creole rum and Arabica coffee. Also available is a delectable range of Patrick Roger preserves and honey.
The process of selection is an experience in itself and one not to be rushed – invariably I come away with rather more than I intended to purchase – but it’s impossible not to get a little carried away and besides, chocolates and confectionery of this quality make lovely gifts!
In 2000 Patrick Roger was awarded the coveted Meilleur Ouvrier de France (best craftsman in profession). In his quest for excellence his premium ingredients are sourced from around the world. After training first as a patissier (pastry chef) and then a chocolatier, he established his own company in 1997 in the southern Parisian suburb of Seaux. His business and reputation have steadily expanded with the opening of a further six stores at prime locations throughout the city.
Patrick Roger products can be purchased online and shipped internationally – beautifully presented in his signature aqua-blue packaging.
I do recommend you take a journey through Monsieur Roger’s very clever website – one of the best-designed I’ve come across – it’s a stimulating visual and aural adventure – very quirky and entertaining with lots of luscious images to salivate over! Go to – www.patrickroger.com
Patrick Roger Boutiques
Faubourg 199 rue du Faubourg Saint Honore
Saint Germain 108 boulevarde Saint Germain
Saint-Germain-en-Laye 2 rue de Paris
Rennes 91 rue de Rennes
Victor Hugo 45 avenue Victor Hugo
Seaux 47 rue Houdain
Forget the Eiffel Tower, with its endless queues – for a unique view of Paris, climb the 234 steps to the top of L’Arc de Triomphe – another of Napoleon’s inspired undertakings. It is quite a climb, but the splendour of Paris, with its twelve magnificent avenues radiating out to a panorama par excellence is justification enough!
One can really appreciate the beautiful architecture of old Paris from this vantage point ( adore the oh-so elegant apartment buildings!) and the 360 degree views encompass new Paris – the business hub (with its bold modern “arch”, the Tower, Montmartre with Sacre-Couer and of course immediately below, the temptations of the beautiful Champs Elysees! It is imperative that you bring your camera!
L’Histoire de L’Arc de Triomphe
In 1806 Napoleon commissioned this majestic edifice as a monument to his victories, but in the wake of his renversement, it wasn’t completed until 1836 under Louis-Phillipe. The arch is engraved with the names of generals who served Napoleon’s regime. Here too lies the tomb of France’s Unknown Soldier with its eternal flame.
COLETTE “ You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm!”
Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette – French writer and dancer (1873 – 1954). Thrice-married and bi-sexual, Colette was a true libertine, as famous for her scandalous dalliances as her hugely popular novels and poetry.
Baudelaire, Charles (French Poet 1821-1867)
“The poet enjoys the incomparable privilege of being able to be himself and others as he wishes.”
COCO CHANEL – “A woman without perfume has no future”.
French couturier (1883 – 1971). Her signature Chanel No. 5 fragrance, a sophisticated and timeless perfume, is adored universally, with one bottle sold every 55 seconds.