Sunday, May 8 – Mother’s Day (U.S.) and Victory in Europe Day
Today was Mother’s Day back home, so this was Mom’s special day and very well spent in the vast Jardin des Plantes (garden of plants) – the main botanical garden in France. We had purchased tickets in advance to see Claude Monet’s gardens in Giverny, but opted to go here instead: no need for a train trip out of Paris, and no holiday crowds. Mother’s Day is celebrated in late May in France; however, May 8 was both the final day of a 4-day Ascension holiday weekend and Victory in Europe Day – so we expected tourist attractions to be busy. I was torn, until a friend advised that Monet’s Gardens is equal to Versailles in level of popularity. Jardin des Plantes it is!
Plant species are grown in a number in botanical and alpine gardens, and restored 19th-century hothouses. In addition to serving as the site for the city’s huge Museum of Natural History, the park is also home to a small zoo. It was a perfect spring day for garden strolling and picnic lunch, and there were plenty of colorful tulips and lilacs in bloom.
For dinner, we aimed to try a place where President Obama had dined: La Fountaine de Mars on Rue Saint-Dominique. When we arrived, there was the bustle of a film crew setting up outside, and a fancy Italian car parked out front. When I requested a table, the host said they weren’t open yet. I had read that this is a place Parisians go to see and be seen … perhaps we weren’t the target clientele? ? Lucky for us, Rue Saint-Dominique is home to no less than three restaurants by chef Christian Constant. We had a wonderful meal at Les Cocottes, concluded with a truly fabulous dessert, just as the name promises.
Mother’s Day Dinner
Les Cocottes, 135 Rue Saint-Dominique – 75007 Paris
Poached egg with crispy bacon and rocket salad
Les cocottes: fillet of cod with buttered savoy cabbage
Les cocottes: beef stew
The fabulous Christian Constant chocolate tart get the recipe
Wine: Petit Chablis