Ernest Hemingway once said -
"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man (a young woman in my case), then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a movable feast."
I was lucky enough to have briefly lived in Paris, in Trocadero, arrondissement #16, it was a great neighborhood. I specifically loved the architecture, picnics on the Jardins du Trocadero, then the Musee des Arts from Asia and for fashionistas, Musee de la Mode et du Costume... And if you are a runner like me, Trocadero is centrally located - enough to cover most of the popular sights - I could run for miles and hardly notice the distance - something about Paris is just all consuming.
One of my favorite places is Laduree (founded in 1862 and has AMAZING pastries and a great vibe/atmosphere) - the crazy long lines really test your patience but the light, melt-in-your-mouth texture of each macaron is heavenly. And the shop on the Champs Elysees has a BAR - where the drinks are conceptualized in a way that even Willy Wonka would appreciate! So back to macarons - You can't go wrong with any flavor, even Rose - I know!! but chocolate and pistachio are my staple must haves... and whether you go to Laduree or Pierre Herme you will love these little goodies. Even better, try both stores!
So what do I do back home in South Florida? I look for French bakeries although few stores will attempt these labor intensive delights. I don't really cook but this little treat drove me to try and make them myself. After total disaster and many unsuccessful recipes I gave up - in this case I think it's not about the ingredients, its about the technique. very tricky for a non-cook! But while shopping at Anthropologie (love that store!) I came across a great little book - I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita. My preference is still to pay whatever the price for professionally made ones but in the meantime, every blue moon I will try to make them and imagine myself back in Paris.