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Haddon Hall - A Glorious Country Manor House

Visiting historic houses is one of my favorite things to do in England and Derbyshire is a county that  offers an  extraordinary triumvirate of sites; Hardwick's Elizabethan glamour, the palatial splendors of Chatsworth and Haddon Hall, described by Simon Jenkins as "the most perfect English house to survive from the Middle Ages."  The joy of a visit to Derbyshire is that in visiting all three you can see the English country house through a variety of lenses and periods. 
In his definitive tome, England's1000 Best Houses Jenkins goes on to say of Haddon, "It has none of Hardwick's promiscuity or Chatsworth's bombast. It has not changed because it never needed to change". 
Indeed the house has remains in the hands of the Manners family since 1563 and is currently occupied by the Duke of Rutland's brother and his family. As they say on the website it has avoided, " fire; warfare;  family misfortune and changing fashions" and as such provid…

The Eclair is King!

 In Lisbon our flat was above a cupcake bakery and the cupcakes marked the area as urbane and sophisticated. But here in Paris the humble cupcake is trounced by the glamorous and colorful macaron. However now there's a new King in town that trumps them both, l'éclair.
Yes, the old fashioned eclair is the "new sweet" treat to contend with. Re-imagined and revisited it brims with exotic possibilities and new flavors. Iranian pistachios, rose, yuzu - in the hands of pastry chef Christophe Adams the possibilities are endless. The salted butter caramel eclair (below) transported me to somewhere where it seemed completely reasonable to pay 5.50 euro for what was  three bites of perfection. Was it heaven or was it madness?

Open just over one month, Adam's L'Éclair de Génie is not a bakery it's "concept store", where the rows of extraordinary pastries beckon the throngs of Parisians who often line up outside. The concept appears to be art installation meets pastry, with elegant young women packaging up your treats to go in beautifully designed boxes. Everything is beautifully designed here. The pastries the lighting, the packaging, it's a world of perfection rolled up in dessert. It has to be seen and tasted to be believed. Indeed the only obstacle standing between myself and a strong acquaintance with the ladies at  L'Éclair de Génie are lingering concerns about my waistline and my bank account!

Highly recommended if you find yourself in the Marais. L'Éclair de Génie is at 14 Rue Pavée, just off the famous and rapidly transforming Rue Rosier only minutes from our apartment.