My sister and I were both particularly excited about seeing the Musée d’Orsay. We had heard from so many sources what a fantastic museum it is and I was particularly looking forward to seeing all the works by various impressionist artists. Once again, it was a struggle for me to physically get there with fighting the stairs at public transportation and trying to not get knocked down by the storms of tourists trying to be the first in line.
We were already feeling slightly pressed for time, since we had scheduled a food class for later that afternoon, so I was trying my best the hustle along. We took note that there was a long line of taxis waiting out front if the Musée d’Orsay, so that would be a good option for us if time became a more pressing problem.
As I was getting mowed down by tourists, the museum staff came running to my rescue and took my sister and me to the front of the handicapped line and escorted me inside. I breathed a sigh of relief and wanted to turn around flipping all the mongers behind me while stammering, “I may be slow but I’m ahead of you!” However, I did not. I caught my breath and held my composure.
We turned on the Rick Steves Audio Tour and began to follow along. However, we quickly realized that they had closed the entire second floor and re-arranged the exhibits, effectively making it impossible to maneuver around using the Audio Guide. We turned that off and then was shuffled into a special exhibit of only works by Picasso. Once, again the staff sought me out and brought me to the front of that line as well.
Between all the construction and lines for elevators, we were quickly running out of time. The museum was impossibly crowded and felt chaotic and disorganized. We had to get out of there and knew we were going to hail the first taxi we could find. When we finally exited the museum, we realized that not only had the line of taxis disappeared but there was now a long line of people waiting for taxis. Panic!!!
Out of the blue, a bicycle taxi found us and insisted that he could get us to our next destination in “ten minutes.” We were hesitant to believe him but we also still had 30 minutes at that time, so we decided it was worth the gamble. He spun around in circles a couple of times and we decided we better get off. He insisted that, “No” we needed to stay on and he would get us there. It was mayhem trying to watch him navigate through Paris traffic and I decided it was better to just not look. I was oscillating between laughing and crying.
We finally made it to the Food Tour while the guide and our fellow “students” were waiting for us. The cyclist charged us $100 Euro and we did not have time to argue. Moral of this story? Don’t take a bicycle taxi in Paris. He may have a cute smile, but that includes a hand in your pocket.
The gastronomic food tour was comprised of mostly Americans and one Canadian. The guide was a very charming Frenchman. The tour was in the Latin Quarter of Paris which is an area that should never be missed when visiting Paris. https://parisbymouth.com/ This was likely the highlight of our stay in Paris. Granted, one woman from Boston kept one upping everyone and over talking the guide, but once I was able to pull my eyes back from the back of my head, I was able to enjoy the rest of the tour.
One fascinating tidbit that we learned from a world renowned pastry chef is that it is considered to be in vogue to bake with very little sugar. Sugars should be used as a “seasoning” only to accent the pastries. The focus should be on the very basic ingredients of eggs, flours and whatever flavors the pastry chef is trying to introduce. The pastries were absolutely amazing!!!
We also enjoyed several cheeses, meats, foie gras, French breads and, of course, WINE!!! You can never have too much wine in France! We enjoyed our time with our guide and the fellow tourists. After talking about our adventures for a bid adieu and went on our way.