Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Honeymoon Day 9: Geneva to Paris

1/7/2017
Honeymoon Day 9: Geneva to Paris

And off we go! A small brekkie to start the day of fruit and Nespresso on our awesome balcony and enjoying the cool morning view over Lake Geneva. We decided to forego the huge buffet (even though it is the best as we had really enjoyed it on previous days and just wanted a light brekkie before heading out to the train).


We packed up the remaining stuff and said goodbye to our good friends at the Concierge Desk, Matthieu and Jose, who had been so helpful during our trip and also before the trip. We also brought them both little gifts, shot glasses from San Francisco and also one of the two bags of Cailler truffles we had made. We said farewell and thank you and went to pay our bill... and on the way back out to the front door, Matthieu and Jose gave us a gift!!!!!!! That sure was a surprise. They gave us a fancy bottle of wine "for the journey"!!!!! Wow!! And also a super nice note on a Fairmont Montreux Palace postcard. Just incredible. I literally could not believe it. We took the short walk to the Montreux Train station and boarded the train to Genève. The train ride was pretty quick, just enough time to finish the Gruyere Vieux from a couple days before and chill, and think about how awesome our time in Montreux was. We looked at the wine and card again from the concierges with disbelief and amazement. Truly awesome.





We arrived shortly after in Geneva. We had limited time, so we walked swiftly with  ALL of our stuff from the train station through the "old town" towards a restaurant that Michal's friend Amsie had recommended. Amsie is a knowledgeable foodie and also spent a lot of time in France and Switzerland with her family so she knows wassuupp. So we were on a mission to a restaurant she said we HAD to go to, called Restaurant Les Armures. We walked past some cool canals and bus terminal areas etc and eventually up a REALLY steep hill with all our luggage and then bounced everything around as we walked on the cobbled streets of the old town. We had tried to take a bit of a shortcut (at least as per Google Maps), so instead of walking on a paved hill we were on cobblestones with roller luggage. Haha. Kindof a fail, but also earning our lunch, so all good. We arrived at the hotel/restaurant just as they were opening for the day.





We sat and swiftly ordered the must-haves, fondue and raclette. We ordered a "Fondue for One" since we wanted to also try the raclette nicely, and when they brought it out the pot was nearly full of fondue, it was insane!!!!!! We figured they ignored our request for "just for one" since they knew we were going to share, and had brought us the 2-person portion... nope! Later we found out on the bill they only charged us for one fondue. Totally insane. It was a HUGE portion and delicious. Also: wow, Amsie was totally right, this was surely the best in all of Switzerland.

The insane amount of fondue "for one".
Next-up was my personal favourite, the Raclette. This was also amazing and truly earth-shatteringly awesome and deliciously magnificent. I don't think I've ever tasted cheese so damn good. They way they organized it as well was also very good to ensure it was hot and ready to eat. They asked you when you would like a portion of Raclette just to let them know and they would bring you another, it was priced per portion so you just ordered another if you liked as you finished the previous one. It was a HUGE amount as well. It tasted very, very good. Crispy, gooey, chewy goodness. It had a less harsh taste, and was much more substantial than our previous raclette experiences in Switzerland. The potato and bread that came with it was also great, as well as the usual pickles and onions.

Literally the best-ever Raclette. It is pretty hard to describe how perfect this was.
So, that was insanely fantastic. It's hard to describe it, but the gooey-ness and the crispy-ness were in a truly otherworldly balance -- this was the best cheese I could have ever imagined.

The Fondue was also amazing, it was a moitié-moitié fondue, which the waiter described as "lighter", and it had white wine and cognac (?!) in it. It had a lighter texture than other fondues I'd ever tried and was less overwhelming. It also had a more subtle taste. This place was so friggin' amazing and also was the same (or even less) pricey than the other similar types of spots we went to in Montreux and earlier in the trip.

After all this cheese, the question of dessert came up. I had eaten 3 or so of those Raclettes so I figured "Nah", but Michal instantly said "YUP!" She said with the quality of everything else here, we would be insane not to try the dessert. Smart woman, man I am glad I married her!! It was, of course, an excellent call to have the dessert. We got the meringue and double cream with strawberries and currants. This was also WAY better than the version of this that we had in Gruyere a few days before. The cream here was a thick liquid, rather than the solid (clotted-style) cream we had in Gruyere. They also told us to eat it a different way than we did in Gruyere (which was more of a dip the meringue into the solid cream and bite it). Here, instead, we poured the cream over the meringues and smashed it... I finally realized what was happening... OH.... it's the dessert called Eton Mess!!!!!!! NICE. OMG this place rocked and the dessert was SO GOOD. Wow. We polished that off in no time.



OH MAN that was good.

After the best lunch in the history of humankind, we headed back to the Geneva train station, this time via a more normal paved road rather than over the cobblestones this time. Of course, still time for a quick Laderach stop at the train station before getting on our next train! We then continued onto the TGV Lyria and were onwards across the countryside to Paris.



Michal napped during the train ride and I caught up on my journal (the notes for this blog) and had just a few chocolates!
Inspirational snacks to inspire my words


Super excited to stay in our first-ever Raffles Hotel in Paris. We arrived after only a few hours on the train and after lots of countryside. Train rides FTW.

Paris!
We took the subway from the main station to Charles de Gaulle Etoile which was just down the road from Le Royal Monceau, the Raffles Paris, designed by Philippe Starck. We arrived and checked in, and the welcome inside of our room was INSANE. The dude dropping us off at our room said, "Pierre Herme has specially made this just for you" as he pointed out the special famous Rose-Litchi Macaron (which is usually in normal Macaron size), that had been made into a giant heart-shaped version instead. Like a Macaron-cake. It was INSANE. Also really fancy clementines and awesome mini (eglise?) cakes. Holy sweet damn, this was a truly crazy epic welcome and we felt very spoiled. This place is nuuuts!






Dang! So that was amazing. The guy who showed us our room continued to tour us around the space. He joked, "You really have to love yourself in this room" as he showed us the very unusual bathroom design, I guess Philippe Starck uses a lot of mirrors in his art, so the bathroom was almost entirely mirrors. This room was VERY artsy!! Crazy art-piece lamps, mirrors, mirrors, mirrors, a poem by the bedside, weird art.... and even a Japanese toilet -- to which our dude said, "Good luck with that" hahaha. Crazy and awesome place.

Mirrors, mirrors, everywhere!
Japanese toilet
Living room area
Weird art


Fancy bed

Tons of mirrors in the bathroom too
Fancy Clairns soap



A great shelf to unpack a bit and showoff my new "Gordon" toque!
We had a bath first after a decently long travel day on the train, to refresh and get ready for an evening on the town. We also had a taste of the small cakes/muffins and a taste of the INCREDIBLE Pierre Herme Rose-Litchi friggin' Macaron CAKE. That was so crazy and amazingly tasty -- the rose flavour was very apparent and there was actual litchi pieces inside of the cake, sandwiched between the two sides of the heart-shaped macaron pieces. So, so crazy.

After a bit of a relax, we went down to check out the shop. Michal really loved the mugs there, it had a stretched image design on the saucer, which was then reflected on the side of the cup and looked correct on the side of the cup (which was, of course, made out of a mirror).



After a short wander through the lobby, we headed out to the Champs-Élysées for an evening walk and to find some dinner. It was about 8:30 already so most shops were closed, but it was still a super lovely walk and we did find a few things still open and interesting to investigate.



We walked by the Champs-Élysées McDonalds and you KNOW how I feel about checking out the menu to find weird stuff at McDonalds in foreign countries. As always, the menu delivered plenty of weird stuff! Heineken! Croque McDuo! Some crazy Strasbourg Hot Dog!? Hours of fun.






So that is always fun. From there we found the Puegot store, where they had some cool cars... but more importantly, OUR SALT & PEPPER GRINDERS were in there!!!!!!!!!! Literally every fancy place we'd been to on the honeymoon thusfar had the same exact salt and pepper grinders... from Puegot in France. And now we were in fact in Puegot, in France. So here they were! I hum'd and hah'd and decided to wait until the next day to decide which ones to get.


Best Salt and Pepper grinders ever!!!!!!!!

More fancy cars on the street
Quite possibly the classiest Abercrombie & Fitch ever
We decided we were ready for a real dinner, so we googled to see where the nearest Le Relais de l'Entrecote restaurant was, keen for some kick-ass Steak Frites and Red wine. We were fully expecting to take the subway across town to where we went previously when in Paris, somewhere near St. Germain. As it turned out... there was one on the SAME STREET we were already on! We couldn't believe it. Let's go! There was quite a long line, but we chatted to some other folks in the line and knew it would be well-worth the wait. We got the exact same wine as last time and it was still just as awesome! A very tasty and very solid meal.



Man this place is awesome.
So that dinner was super amazing, and with a warm buzz of wine and tasty food, we walked back in the romantic misty evening to our fancy hotel... to find the room laid out with rose petals everywhere upon arrival!! What!!!!!!!




We were still keen for some late-night dessert, so we headed down to the bar at the hotel called Le Bar Long. Michal got a fanced Pierre Herme hot chocolate which came with a couple of the amazing macarons. Pierre Herme has a connection to the hotel and does all their desserts, that's why it keeps coming up. We even saw someone else order the famed "Rose-Litchi Macaron" and it was a medium-sized round macaron-shaped dessert the size of a round mousse pastry and was 30 Euros!! Man!! So we truly scored with our insanely huge and heart-shaped version of it that was a gift. What an amazing experience this all was!

I did not buy a glass of this insane 1938 Macallan, but they let me take a look!


I bought a Mortlach whisky and it was super tasty. At first I had checked out the bar and was staring in amazement at the really crazy selection they had there. There was a Macallan from... wait for it... 1938. NINETEEN-THIRTY-EIGHT. Seriously. I (obv) did NOT order that insane thing, but I couldn't believe they had something like that. Absurd. The staff kindly (albeit a tad nervously), humoured my extreme whisky interest and let me see the bottle and check it out closely which was really crazy.

And with that we were off to bed in our amazing and crazy fancy room. What a great first night in Paris and we were super glad to have the opportunity to stay at this very artsy, unique, and over-the-top hotel.