Happy Birthday, Mom!
When we were in Paris about 10 years ago, my mom dragged me to this famous French cooking supply store. It was fascinating, and now it is even better. There are more shops in the area, selling everything for cooking, especially great chocolate, exotic spices, and ingredients that are difficult to find in the states - Tonka is illegal in the US, but the French use it like vanilla. I know we will have a fun day just browsing through the stores with a French-English dictionary trying to decipher labels. I just hope the TSA doesn't rifle through her stuff to 'identify' the spices she brings back to the US.
I went this weekend to get some necessities to practice my dough skills. It is amazing - I think they have some stock left from when they opened in 1820. I bought a great rolling pin of acacia wood, they wrapped it in paper and I don't want to undo it, it looks cool. I also bought some round pastry cutters to fill small tart molds, they are some cool plastic and sharpened to the ends, so they cut the dough instead of tearing it like metal cutters.
The store is a wreck, but definitely worth checking out the selection of copper pots and bowls, as well as the tiny utensils like escargot forks and huge pots that for cooking an entire side of beef. The pot to the left is about 4 feet high, sorry for the lack of comparison. I ran into 4 different classmates while shopping, everyone was buying the tart rings to practice. The store gives us a 10% student discount, which is nice because sales tax is 20% in France.