After the frustrating Internet debacle, I desperately needed fresh air, and more importantly - chocolate. I decided to kill 2 birds with one stone and explore "Le Marais" neighborhood across the Seine, while on a mission to find the perfect chocolate dessert.
Le Marais is the Jewish neighborhood of Paris and there are so many shops and markets with Israeli spices and beautiful Mediterranean kosher foods. It is very bohemian and full of thrift stores, street musicians, antiques, art galleries and other treasures.
I made a point to pass by Victor Hugo's home at Place des Vosges, as well as steal a quiet moment at the beautiful Church of St. Paul. Later, I was on a street corner staring dumbfounded at my guidebook when a wildly eccentric old woman approached me and asked what I was looking for. Her hair was wrapped in a purple turban with a rhinestone-encrusted brooch hanging off of it, and it looked like she was wearing every article of clothing she owned. I promptly responded in French that I was seeking the best chocolate in Le Marais. She gave me a challenging look and asked if I was "serious" about chocolate, and if so, she knew a place that was very expensive but no doubt the best chocolatier. She was like an angel in the form of a crazy aunt.
After following her vague directions and asking several passers-by for help, I finally arrived to find employees wiping down the counters - It had just closed. I was a rabid wolf at this point.
I found another place in my guidebook a mile away rumored to have legendary deserts and live gypsy music. After hiking there and sightseeing on the way, I arrived to find the place packed without one single table or barstool available. Foiled again. I roamed the neighborhood and let my intuition guide me to this adorable cafe where I sat outside and ordered the most delicious chocolate cake I've ever had.
Next to me sat a table of 3 friendly guys from the South of France who struck up a conversation with me. They were celebrating their friend's birthday in Paris and were heading to the Eiffel tower to finish the night. They said it would be a great "birthday surprise" if I would join. Of course - it was the icing on the cake. Pun intended.
Tomorrow, the Musee d'Orsay awaits. Can't sleep - it is like the night before Christmas.
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