Category Archives: Uncategorized

Marché D’Intérêt National De Rungis

Bonjour!

Have you ever been surrounded by pure freshness? Today the TAIWSP group visited the National Rungis market which is the principal market of Paris, mainly for food and horticultural products, located in the commune of Rungis, in the southern suburbs. It is the largest wholesale food market in the world.

The market is the property of the French State and administered by the Semmaris. Wholesalers are plentiful and the competition is strong. The market starts at 1am and ends around 11am. Clients are professionals, distributors and restaurants. Veterinary, phytosanitary controls and property checkouts are omnipresent.

The journey to the market began by heading out at 3:45am sharp. Despite the desire of wanting to rest for just a bit longer, we knew that what we were going to experience was going to be worth the time. At arrival, we were given white hair nets and white jackets for sanitation purposes. We then headed to the fish market, which in my opinion was the biggest section. There is a wide variety of fishes coming from the Middle East, Pacific Ocean, and local farms. Some of these varieties included Monk Fish, Sea Bass, etc.

Fish from the Middle East

Following, we visited the “Meat” section of the market; which consisted of whole cows, lams, pigs, etc. In this section we had the opportunity to see products that have been organically fed and the difference it has on the quality of the product. For example, there is lamb that was only fed milk in comparison to lamb that was fed grass. These components overall not only impact the quality of the product but also the price.

Milk Fed Veal

Cows are cut into smaller pieces for better weight management

After the meat market, we visited the fromage (cheese) section. When entering, the smell of mold was very overpowering. It was one consistent smell throughout the entire market. There were mild to very strong selection of cheeses.

Rim of Cheese

This was one of my favorite section of the market. The floral scent was quite strong, but as soon as we entered the market we were surrounded by many different varieties of roses and flowers which were very calming and refreshing.

Red Roses

Orchids

Lastly we visited the fruits and vegetables section. There were many different selection of fruits from the same specie allowing the buyers to explore what seller suits the need best.

Pineapples

Overall this was a very unique experience considering that in New York we do not have the opportunity to go to such a big market.

 

Fauchon tour and beautiful weather

 

Group photo in front of Fauchon L'Hotel

Bonjour! Today was a beautiful day in the city of Paris. The TAIWSP group began our day with a hotel tour at the Fauchon L’Hotel. We were greeted by Laura Gonnella, manager of the rooms division. She showed us the hotel library where guests can sit in before they check in and have a complimentary drink while waiting for their room. There were also little macaroons for guests to enjoy. In the room, you can see the four main colors of the hotel which Laura explained was pink, gold, white and black. The style was delicate and sleek, overall a very inviting feel. Next, we were shown the hotel’s restaurant which was created by the founder of the company Auguste Fauchon. The restaurant kept the theme of the hotel with lots of pinks, golds, etc. On display where mouth-watering pastries and bread. Lastly, we were shown the spa which smelt of roses and florals notes, very calming and welcoming for guests.

 

Restaurant

After the tour was over we began walking to the walking tour site which was the Place Vendome. The tour was given by Matt, Shantel, and Christine who did an excellent job at explaining the history, culture, tourism and food aspects about the monument. We learned that the monument was taken down several times during different riots and revolutions. The area around the hotel is popular for tourist who wants to shop at a designer places like coco chanel.

Picture of library

 

 

The Place Vendome

 

 

 

June 16

Today a few of us decided to go to Catacombs. The line was long but it moved quickly. For our tour we used the audio guide, we learned the history of catacombs. In this open section there over 1,000,000 skeletons. There are still many undiscovered areas in ParisThis image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative. This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative. This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative.

On the street of Paris June 15

Today, for the first time since I have been in this country, I venture out on my own to explore this beautiful place.  I decided to visit The Palais du Louvre to have a closer look at its artwork and the history of one of the places of interest in Paris.  Unfortunately, I could not enter the museum, however,  the architecture on this museum was truly amazing.  Before this grand place became the museum we know today it was once a palace where kings like King Phillipe Auguste, Francis I, Henry IV and Louis XIV once lived.

Although I was unable to visit the artwork on the inside I found that the outside sculptures, the many arches and the detail on this museum are very unique and done to perfection.  After 800 years you would think that they would be some form of aging but these monuments are here to last.

After visiting the museum I proceed to go into the  Tuileries Garden which is linked to the Louvre, this was ordered by Henry Iv.  This garden is also a work of art with eighteen sections, and in each section, there are sculptures. Each one has its own story to tell.  With the trees all cut in a uniform fashion, they are tranquility about this location that make you want to stay.  many chairs are placed around what they called a Basin with large fountains.  There are four restaurants in the garden in a certain area and found it interesting that the waiters although in a casual setting still was dress as if they were serving in a fine dining restaurant and with flair.  Benches placed under the trees so you can rest from the heat of the day.  Most individuals decided to rest near the ponds and just watch the ducks swam.

I enjoy this venture and  I continue to walk and found myself right in front of the Concorde Monument. I was fascinated with the sculpture and once again the detail on it.  After taking some pictures of this work of art, i made my way to Petite Palace where I view some of its artwork as well.  I think was impress me the most was the ceiling . for a building so tall how did the artist able to paint a work of beauty. so perfect. These artists did not have the technology that we have today yet there was able to create these items and paint that last more than a lifetime.

Paris is not only about its cuisine, for what I have seen so far it about history, art, and passion. Although it has some shortcoming it is very rich in its culture and beauty.

Pullmans Hotel Tour

side view of the Pullman hotel

Cour St. Emillion Station

Today, the TAIWSP students went on a hotel tour with Professor Pericles. The students met in the hotel lobby at 1:15 as we all gathered to head to the train station. Traveling from the 13-line to Siant Lazare then transferred at the 14 train to Cour St. Emillion and met up with Professor Zinder.  Heading to the hotel was approximately 6 minutes of walking distance passing by a Bercy village that attracted many tourists. The streets were surrounded by colorful balloons and plenty of outdoor seating that attracted locals and tourists. There is various type of Cuisines such as Japanese, Italian, French and American.

Bercy Village

During our arrival, Sonia the event manager and Agnieszka the coordinator was representing the Accor hotel resorts. Sonia explained the recently renovated lobby. There was a private cinema, gym, open bar, and the convention area. Unfortunately, the pool was closed down due to a fire incident, it is still renovating. There are 131 hotels worldwide in 100 countries. The architectural designer Tom Dickson created a concept like a wine cellar. The curtains were green, the chairs were shaped like a barrel, the walls were the cork.

Agnieszka and Sonia

waiting area

bar and restaurant

It was a good exercise to walk the stairs to tour the classic, deluxe, and superior rooms. The family rooms were quite interesting since there are connecting doors to access two rooms. The design of each room had a similar style with an earthy vibe. The staffs had bright and positive energy given most Parisian don’t smile much. I would love to stay at the Pullman Hotel when I come back to visit Paris!

restaurant

Gym

Meeting Space

mini Shopping area

 

 

 

 

 

June 13, 2019

Today, we the students along with Professor Pericles of the TAIWSP set out to partake on a restaurant site visit to Mamie Burger.  Departing from our hotel at 9:40 am sharp we took the 13-line to Invalides to the 8-line to Bonne Nouvelle: where we met Professor Zinder.  Approaching the restaurant, we took in all furnishings and characteristics of Mamie Burger.  Heading to the second floor (better known as the 1st floor for Paris), we were seated and introduced to Estelle.  Estelle, our host alongside the owner, met with us to introduce their concept, approach, and success of 5 Mamie Burger’s- a grandma burger Bistro.  Indicating the new brand of Yaai Thai of Thai street food was a surprise to us as well because of 2 Yaai Thai’s opening in August of 2018.  We learned a lot of specifics to a good restaurant concept that is growing while reinvesting the profits/revenue into more restaurant start-ups.  Thank you Mamie Burger and Yaai Thai for having us!

After our restaurant site visit, we headed to Sacre Coeur in the 18th Arrondissements.  Natalie, Mei, and Marcio introduced us to this lovely Cathedral of Sacre Coeur.  Parched on the second highest hilltop in Paris, Sacre Coeur is known to be called the Sacred Heart.  Built in the 1800s, Sacre Coeur was constructed to honor those who sacrificed their lives in the Franco-Prussian War.  It is also known as one of the location housing thousands of locks on the gates surrounding the cathedral.  Professor Zinder calls it vandalism.  There were men selling the locks and we all refused to buy any.

After the tour, we head on down the stairs away from Sacre Coeur to the souvenir shops to find some very reasonably priced gifts for our loved ones back home.  Popping in and out of shops, we wandered down to see the store Tati that Professor Pericles told us about before jumping back on the train to find something to eat.  During one of the talks, Professor Zinder points out Bouillon Chartier is one of the oldest restaurants in Paris and that we should visit it during our stay here.  Thirteen of us ended up eating there today.

Back to the train again, Aquille and I split from the group and headed to Chateau Rogue.  By the looks of the people getting off the train there, we were a little suspicious of the looks and stares we were given.  Dressed in our professional attire we were out of place.  Upon exiting the train station on the escalator, I had a flashback of being home on 125th Street in Harlem NY.  Ladies talking in French and all I could think they were saying/asking if you wanted your hair braided.  When we got to the top of the escalator and looked around I said: “Oh shucks Aquille, we are in Harlem and Church Avenue of Brooklyn.”  We stayed close together as we maneuvered through the street to find our first vegetable stand, looking to see what the seller had, we hit jackpot.  We found okra, sweet potatoes, and such.  Purchasing what we needed, we continued to walk down further finding pigtails (the ladies ordering their supply of pork seemed as if they were buying the whole case, I wanted pigtail.  Looking over my shoulder annoyed, across the street I saw another meat market.  I scurried over to it and found oxtail, Jackpot again!  I asked for 4 small pieces, my soup for dinner was coming together.  With Aquille on my heels, we ventured into the beauty supply store where all of the courser hair folks shop.  I bought a ponytail piece for my hair.  Aquille and I were laughing at this point because here I was buying hair in a beauty supply store as if I were at home.  I bought it just to say I bought it.  We decided it was time to head home with our goodies in bags and again we scanned the area for people watching us and moved accordingly amongst them.  A lady ran up behind me to go through the turnstile with me and I was shaking my head in disgust, eyeing them both as they carried there heavy bags of goods to get on the train.  Getting on the train to head back to home base we were happy with our experience and chit chatted all the way back.

Upon getting back to our base, the pots came out and the soup making began.  I made an oxtail vegetable soup that fed 7 people and a few second portions.  Belly full, mouths chit-chatting, writing postcards and listening to music is how we spent the rest of the evening.

Paris was an adventure today.

June 12th, 2019

we went to visit a park Le Square Trousseau and som and outdoor markets. Leery-Rollin was the stop we got off and the street was filled with really nice and beautiful buildings. There was this huge store called Monoprix which they do sell everything and I was in love.

The market was in the 12th arr and I could not just believe my eyes. I was so excited to see a market in Paris and I could not believe it. Here, kilo is the unit price which was a little confusing at first but then I understood it. When we got the chance to walk around to see all different type of fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses. Professo zinder gave us the opportunity to go to every different type of vendor and to see and compare the different prices which there was a lot with different prices. I also saw two chefs with the uniform walking around and with vegetables on the hands. The indoor markets is more upscale with meats and cheeses. When we went back to the market to buy more fruits and vegetables for our dorm and it was around 1pm something and it was already closing. Now they open again at 4pm-7pm for other people who works late and needs to get some shopping done.

After our park and market tour we had a picnic! Thank you professor zinder, we got the the It was so much fun to try different type of pattes, meats, cheeses, bread and wine especially here in Paris. We all got together and started to have a great time and enjoy this moment with everyone.

After our tour, we had the rest of the day to us and we all went our separate ways to do different things with everyone else. We came back to the hotel because my friends decided to do some more grocery shopping to cook dinner tonight and go to the pool. We ended up making salon, with a salad, mix vegetables with potatoes and a bottle of Chardonnay which it was a delicious meal. We melted some milk chocolate and we still had some strawberries from the market early and we had chocolate covered strawberries for dessert.

Tuesday: June 11, 2019

Bonjour!

Today we had our first walking tour assignment presentation by Corinna, Bannesa, and Janice. They presented the Palais Garner, Opéra House, located in the 9th arrondissement.

photo 1

Right to left: Janice, Bannesa, Corinna

They spoke about the history of the Opéra house built from 1861-1875 and seated 1,979 people at that time. They told us that the 1979 Opéra house had the largest seating capacity in the world. We were told that this site was the inspiration for Phantom of the Opera. There are many restaurants in this area, as well as Jazz clubs. The restaurants in this area are known for the best seafood and meat.

Photo 2

Front of the Opéra house

After this tour presentation, we walked to the Hotel Ambassador, which is a Marriott owned hotel. This hotel opened in 1927 and at that time it had 1,000 rooms and took up a whole entire block. Today, the hotel now has 297 guest rooms, 34 executive rooms, and 8 suits. The hotel is 8 floors, as are most hotels that are located in Paris.

 

Photo 3

Outside of Hotel Ambassador

This being one of the oldest hotels in Paris, was taken over by Marriott about 5 years ago. The restaurant located near the lobby is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but not open to the public for breakfast. We were told by the staff that since they now have a larger Asian market, they have now added a Asian breakfast corner. This hotel also has 11 meeting rooms, the main and largest one being on the lobby level.

photo 4

View from the 8th floor executive meeting room

After the hotel tour, a group of us walked around the area and found a cute souvenir shop and grabbed a bite to eat. Some of us also got fresh crepes, which was absolutely delicious. Today was a fun day and I look forward to the next days in beautiful Paris.

photo 5

Crepe with peach jam

 

Let Them Drink Champagne

Salut!

Today our day started as normal as any day in Paris can be, which is not normal at all, it’s magical. We took our 2 hour bus headed to Reims where we had not only our first introduction to champagne, but also our introduction to rural France. It was interesting to see how quickly the landscape goes from concrete and trains to grass and cows in a matter of minutes.

Quick shot of the scenery on the bus

The first place we got off was the Taittinger cellar. Here Professor Zinder introduced us to the diverse wine regions of France and what they specialize in. She also placed an emphasis on the wine cultural differences between the old world and the new world. I found it fascinating that in the new world, they focus more on the variety of grape and in the old world, they focus more on where the grape came from.

This is the stairway to the Taittinger cellar. It was really dark and my camera wasn’t in night mode so it captured the picture with an eerie effect, doing the place some justice.

The tour guide telling us how the cellar got started

Sign within the cellar

Going deeper into the cellar

Diverse bottle sizes

In the tour of the first cellar, Taittinger, the guide focused a lot on the history and architecture of the cellar. He spoke about how this was first started by monks in the cellar and how there was a church on top of the cellar that was destroyed by bombs during the World War. He also mentioned that during the war, a lot of people went underground to live in order to survive, which included the cellar. He showed us different carvings made by those residents. The guide also mentioned how because of the shape the cellar has, it is very hard to destroy in case of bombs or earthquakes. Something interesting we learned was how huge their wine reserves are. He mentioned that there were over 2 million bottles in this location and that they have another cellar with even more millions of bottles. We also learned that it is common for bottles to explode in the middle of the second fermentation. We ended the tour by going upstairs to have a champagne tasting. Most of the students seemed to like it and a lot of them even bought bottles of champagne. I personally wasn’t a huge fan of the champagne, I felt it was bland and wildly acidic, like there wasn’t a hint of anything.

Champagne tasting

.

After finishing our tour, we walked to the center of the town. We got to see the town’s cathedral which made some of us wonder why it wasn’t completely destroyed during the war like the church above the cellar. When we reached the center, the group divided into different sections and I ended up in the group that went to eat French regional food. The food was delicious and we even got a juggling performer in front of the restaurant. It was interesting to see what their version of showtime is.

Our lunchtime

Juggler in front the restaurant

After we had lunch, we took the bus to our last tour, Champagne Geoffroy. The guide was a friend of the owner and he took us to the main groundlevel cellar where he introduced the Austrian barrels that had to be custom-made to fit through the door. This cellar was completely different from the first one because it was a local producer rather than a big brand. Everything in this cellar was done to a smaller scale and and the cellar itself was much smaller, the guide only took us down one floor. He mentioned the two kinds of fermentation required to create champagne. He talked about how after the first fermentation the bottles have be twisted over and over in order to get the sediment off the bottle. He even showed us the differences and turning the bottles by hand and how it is done by machine now since it’s much more efficient. Lastly he ended the tour by taking us upstairs and giving us a tasting of four different champagnes. He spoke about the differences based on the variety of grapes used to make the wine. He also placed a lot of emphasis on having your own opinion on how the wine tastes, rather than following what everybody else thinks. He even taught us how to open a bottle. After tasting the four wines, we headed back to the bus in order to beat Paris traffic and went back to the city.

 

Austrian barrels

Wine turning machine

The wines we tasted

The view from the bus

Sunday June 09 2019 (day 2)

Bonjour à tous!

Today officially began our exploration of Paris and all that comes with it. Everyone woke up bright and early to begin our day with a 2-3 hour walking tour led by Professor Zinder.

Taking the 13 line to Champs Elysee, we met with Professor Zinder to begin our tour towards the Eiffel Tower. Professor Zinder gave us her background to explain how she ultimately became to live in the Paris, with details of her culinary career in pastry along the way. Living in Paris, she is able to beautifully speak the language and understand their culture, exhibited in the way she warns us what to expect and in the telling of the history behind many monuments.

Station by our hotel on the 13 line

Petit Palais, built for the 1900 World Fair

Group photo (minus the author)

Professor Zinder and her insanely large map

On the tour, we stopped in front of the Grand Palais to go over some brief details of the city. The Grand Palais is directly across the Petit Palais, both immaculate and beautiful. On the way to the Eiffel Tower, we crossed the Seine River on Pont Alexandre III, one of the most beautiful bridges in Paris due to the details glass lamp posts and gold statues.

View of the Eiffel Tower from Pont Alexandre III

Ultimately, we reached one of the most famous towers in the world. We took in the beauty along with the history of the monument, learning how it was also built for another World’s Fair, and how she is in dire need of a new paint job (which happens every 7 years).

A more upscale neighborhood in Paris

Fontaine de Mars, a restaurant for locals and tourists named after the god of war

Tower of Eiffel, named after the business man who bought the plan from the original architects (and Professor Zinder’s crazy map)

After the tour of the Eiffel Tower, everyone split into their own groups for the walking tour project. Banessa, Corrina, and I were assigned of Palais Garnier opera house, so we took the 9 to the opera house to do some recon for the upcoming days. After a long morning of walking, we grabbed lunch at a nearby restaurant with some traditional French crepes, coffee, pasta, and pizza. We returned to the hotel ultimately, mainly to wind down a bit, and prepare for the adventures to come later on tonight (maybe). All in all, today’s tour was a great way to start our “first” day in Paris, and what a better way than to visit what it is most associated with.

Palais Garnier Opera House

Pasta Carbonara, Crepe Fromage, Pizza Margherita

Something about clean Parisian train stations makes us silly