After returning North after our time exploring Mexico’s Costa Alegre, we had another decision to make. Where to spend the summer and hurricane season. After all, one summer in Mexico and one hurricane experience is more than enough, we think. We decided that we would not be crossing back over to Baja but instead be making the crossing over to Europe.
How do you cross from Puerto Vallarta to Europe you ask? First you take care of your boat. You buy new dock lines, get the boat waxed, stow the solar panels, buy a new shade, strip all the sails, run all your halyards inside your mast, and find a boatie-sitter. Next, you check the exchange rate and get some insider industry tips from the professionals, on how to travel cheaply. Lastly, you pick a destination and you go.
We crossed the Atlantic in record time 10 hours at a speed of 600 miles per hour. This was puzzling to us as Maluhia has never hit this speed before. Not even 10 hours after we left, we emerged from a subway station in front of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, all the way on the other side of the globe in Paris, France.
Paris was a bit of a culture shock coming from the slow pace of life in Sunny Mexico. It seemed busy. Busy streets with cars, busy cross walks with people, busy subways, trains, taxis, and automobiles. It was also a bit chilly, and rainy. What do you do when its raining in Paris? You buy an umbrella!
The city of Paris is divided into 20 different arrondissements. Our comfy abode was located in the fifth right in the heart of the Latin quarter. Seventy-six (ish? I lost count) tiny stairs lead us up to our place on the top floor with a spectacular view of the magnificent Notre Dame cathedral from one window, and a wee spec of the top of the Eiffel Tower from another.
We had plenty of good intentions to see all of the most popular Paris sights, Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Orsay, and the Palace of Versailles to name a few. But, if there is one thing we don’t like, its standing in line and rushing about a place just to tick off items on a to do list. We don’t like to rush. We’d rather experience things slow so we can take it all in, with a reason to come back for more.
That’s just how we spent our time. We walked everywhere, from the fifth to the fourth, to the sixth and the first, exploring every nook and cranny. The only official tourist sight we took time to see was the cathedral of Notre Dame (Our Lady). Its style of French Gothic architecture is a grand sight to behold.
Flying buttresses surround the walls acting as opposing forces to support the wall from the downward forces applied to it from the vaulted ceilings. Gargoyles decorate the roof to serve a practical purpose of directing rain water to drain away from the masonry to prevent erosion. Various symbolism accompanies the bestiaries used in Christian art. Some grotesque figures were meant to symbolize evil was kept outside the church walls.
Walking around the city our feet and noses lead us into a cafe for a morning cappuccino complete with pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant). They also led us to a public market with the most beautiful looking vegetables, fresh fruits, cheeses and olives I had ever seen. We were in sensory overload.
By afternoon we were taste testing macaroons. Apparently if you are good at making macaroons they actually melt right in your mouth. I did not know this and thought they were meant to be chewy and stick to your teeth. But this lovely raspberry macaroon made in Paris was a dream! I was floating on a cloud. That is until we were walking near Ru Mouffetard and found Chocolat Mococha.
Are you familiar with the term Meilleur Ouvrier de France or MOF? It stands for the Best Craftsman of France. It is the highest prestigious award that a professional can aspire to, and let’s just say the competition is fierce. So fierce, that an award was not awarded to any of the 9 finalists in the 2015 chocolatier event. The next event may not occur for another 4 years.
We couldn’t wait that long. Chocolat Mococha is a shop that sells a chocolate from a select three different MOF winners of previous years. We sampled chocolates with many different flavors including ganache madagascar, ganache chocolate caramel, and ganache ginger, strawberry and milk chocolate.
I don’t think you could actually appreciate what it means to be a MOF unless you watch the King’s of Pastry movie. Grab some popcorn, or chocolate, and rent it from Netflix. You won’t be disappointed.