Chocolate Revolution

Just in time for Easter

On Saturday Jerome checked out the “No Sarkosy Day” protest. I went on a chocolate factory tour. Not that I wasn’t interested in experiencing both, but sometimes you have to set your priorities.

In the morning as we were discussing plans, I told Jerome I’d call him after my tour. Maybe I’d meet him later – provided I could still move after ingesting a mountain of sweets.

“Sure,” he said. “But if I don’t pick up the phone, don’t worry. I’ll just be in prison.”

Oh, ok, not worried at all. Have a good day, honey!

Jerome can be dramatic – obviously he did not end up in jail. By most accounts there were more people at the chocolate lab than at the demonstration.

Everyday has so many different possibilities, doesn’t it? We could choose one of a million things to do. In a city like Paris, the possibilities are almost paralyzing. Sometimes I need to force myself out the door (from whence do you come, inertia?) to go exploring.

But then I do, and free-flowing rivers of chocolate beckon. What more could one ask?

To be honest, the chocolate place wasn’t as exciting as it sounds, actually (Though what was I expecting? Willy Wonka? Well, maybe. Don’t judge).

For five euros (their site says 4 euros – don’t be fooled!) you get to sample some hot chocolate and (if you’re sneaky) as much chocolate as you want (just keep passing by for more).

The place did smell heavenly, but the chocolates seemed a bit too sweet (Too sweet? What, am I crazy?)

They were going all out for Easter, so perhaps it was just the cocoa bells and bunnies that were a bit much for me.

Packaged and ready to go!

But the smell – oh the smell! Melted chocolate’s wonderful aroma wafting through your workplace – can you imagine? Our guide confirmed that they *do* need to sample the goods as part of the job. (I should rethink careers.)

For you, dear readers, I did something I dislike: I called them up afterward for a few questions that I didn’t think to ask at the time (French on the phone – the horror!)

Turns out, they run tours by season (and they are very nice on the phone). October-January are the biggest times to tour (Les Fetes!). And some in March/April (Easter!)

After that, they start turning their lab over to making ice cream, so a visit “wouldn’t be very interesting,” claimed the chocolate man (hang on, ice cream factory? Oh I’m interested!)

If you like window-shopping, their petite boutique is on Rue des Archives.

If you want to go behind the scenes, head to 5 rue de la Tacherie, not too far from there.

Chocolate man said that while they don’t usually do tours off-season, if I had, for example, 50 Americans who wanted to visit, they could make an exception and even offer the tour in English. (My tour Saturday was a group of 16 in French).

So if you and your 49 friends want a sneak peek, you can go anytime! Otherwise, reserve tours during their high season for a (sinfully) sweet treat.

Chocolats Girard
4 Rue des Archives (boutique)
5 Rue de la Tacherie (lab)
75004 Paris
01 42 72 39 62
Metro Hotel de Ville

Quick facts:
Chocolats Girard produces:
9 tons of chocolate October-December
2.5 tons for Easter
3 tons the whole rest of the year
(Anyone else notice that for one weekend almost the same amount is produced as for the entire off-season? Gourmandise!)

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10 Responses to “Chocolate Revolution”


  1. 1 Delana March 30, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Sion, I know what you mean about too sweet. My palette is becoming less and less able to enjoy really sweet things. However,I don’t think that would prevent me from taking a bath in some of that warm chocolate! And congratulations on the telephone interview. I haven’t got the gots yet!

    • 2 parisimperfect March 30, 2010 at 4:40 pm

      Hi Delana,

      Yeah, it was a very weird experience. I usually love sweet things, but it was actually…(gasp!) too sweet in a way. What’s happening to me?

      There are “soins au chocolat” if you’re interested. Personally I don’t think chocolate is for swimming in, but I suppose it’s worth a try.

      And thanks for the encouragement. Yeah, a mini-interview in French! I’m making progress :)

  2. 3 Lisa Lubin March 30, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Mmm…when I was in high school, I literally worked in a chocolate factory/retail store in my home town. You could eat whatever you wanted while there. So chocolate was my dinner. Surprisingly, I lost weight working there!! I was never hungry for dinner when I got home and I felt guilty and exercised instead. Very worth it! And yes, I can smell it now. I always smelled of chocolate.

    Love your ‘don’t be fooled!’ line! Your sarcasm makes me grin!
    xx

    • 4 parisimperfect March 30, 2010 at 4:41 pm

      Lisa! You worked in a chocolate factory? And you lost weight? Ok, people, now this *really* calls for a career re-evaluation. That sounds awesome. You always continue to surprise me with all of your hidden talents. :)

  3. 5 Tory March 30, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Sion. First la bise, now this. I think we’re leading parallel lives! And yes, I agree that chocolate trumps politics as far as priorities go. http://hipparis.com/2009/06/04/following-the-chocolate-in-paris/

    • 6 parisimperfect March 30, 2010 at 7:45 pm

      Hi Tory. I think it just goes to show we both know what’s worth talking about Paris-wise. Your chocolate story is amazing! Thanks for stopping by again. Come back (to the blog and to Paris) :)

  4. 7 pariskarin March 31, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    “On Saturday Jerome checked out the “No Sarkosy Day” protest. I went on a chocolate factory tour. Not that I wasn’t interested in experiencing both, but sometimes you have to set your priorities.” LOL. No kidding. I’m pretty sure if I had a choice, I know which one *I* would have picked, too! Haha!

    What a wonderful experience this was, Sion. I’m proud of you, too, for getting out and about, and also doing the follow-up phone interview in French.

    Maybe they should have handed out some free chocolate at the No Sarkozy Day protest, eh? :D

    • 8 parisimperfect March 31, 2010 at 2:55 pm

      Hi Karin. Thanks! Yeah, maybe the demonstration would have gone over better with chocolate (I think *anything* tends to go over better with chocolate). Thanks for checking in. And yeah, I’m doing fine with French on the phone now – big progress! :)

  5. 9 Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels March 31, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    This sounds heavenly!

    can you believe that despite living in Zurich I have never toured the Lindt factory? Mostly for fear that I’d end up chaining myself to a machine ’cause I didn’t want to leave and start raving like a lunatic about how I was just meant to live there. Chocolate will do that to ya.

    • 10 parisimperfect March 31, 2010 at 3:37 pm

      Hey Elisa. Hilarious. Yeah, well it took me 3.5 years to go on a chocolate tour in Paris! You should get yourself over to Lindt. I actually have a Swiss chocolate connection. I was named after a town in Switzerland. My mom was in Sion, Switzerland when she was pregnant with me – and guess what? She ate a lot of chocolate. Yeah, I think it seeped into my bloodstream while still in the womb. :)


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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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