Yesterday was my first full day in lovely Paris.  I’m very lucky to be here with the fun (and French-speaking) Karen.  She studied abroad here when she was in college and has visited many times since.  So she knows her way around very well. She also knows about Paris’ greatest traditions and secret spots.

One thing I’ve learned from her is that the Parisians love to picnic.  So we went to a market and picked up some brie and strawberries, then went to Poilane ( for walnut bread and tartes aux pommes.  On our way to the Jardin du Luxembourg we happened to pass by patisserie Sadaharu AOKI (  The chocolates and pastries are little works of art.  So perfect- but not too perfect that you wouldn’t eat them.  It was a difficult decision but we chose a lemon tart, then we walked to the park and found a quiet bench in the sun to picnic.

After lounging, eating, and chatting we picked up and began walking again.  It was more like wandering at this point, with no particular place in mind.  Until Karen had an epiphany that took us to a Paris treasure: Deyrolle.

From  the outside it looks like a gardening shop.  And the only thing to give away what lives upstairs is a giant bear in the window.

Yes, that’s a rooster having dinner with a parrot, a deer, and many other animal friends.  We saw a zebra, a giraffe, a lion…  and they’re all for sale!  (You could purchase a somewhat bedraggled looking bird for 295 euros.)

I think this is just one of the reasons I’m going to love living here.  There’s so much to explore, so many secrets and hidden treasures to uncover…

And pastries to eat!