No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to Jacques Genin Fondeur en chocolat. Try to come here during tea time and grab a praline millefeuille or whatever pastries they happen to have on hand. If they ever have the Paris Brest, get that! (However, I’m not sure if these are available during tea time.)
I’ve tried only four kinds of pastries here but by far my favorite is the Paris Brest. We ordered a large one a day in advance to take with us.
It can get crowded and you may have to wait in line. From my experience the best time to arrive is around 4pm. I’ve showed up several times about an hour later than that and it was impossible to get seating.
Mr. Genin’s hot chocolate is the best I’ve had so far in Paris. After an experience with his version, all others pale in comparison. I’m not sure if this is a curse or a blessing.
Kei, a gastronomic restaurant named after chef Kei Kobayashi, made a big splash onto the restaurant scene since its opening in 2011. Already awarded a coveted Michelin star, it’s getting more and more difficult to grab a reservation. We called a week or so in advance to make dinner plans there but they had no more tables available. Luckily, we grabbed a lunch opening and it was such a remarkable visual and culinary experience, I had to share it. If I were asked to describe the hours spent in Kei in a few words, I’d have to decline because anything I’d say would not sufficiently convey and detail the perfection/harmony in aesthetics, subtle and sublime flavors, creativity, pace and service we received. That being said, here are some of the seven dishes we each had. I was happy to discover new and unexpected flavor combinations.
Chef Kei Kobayashi is originally from Japan and worked for several years at Restaurant Alain Ducasse housed in the Plaza Athénée before venturing on his own in the first arrondissement not far from Les Halles. Understanding his background you will even further appreciate how he can flawlessly merge the impeccable sense of artful grace with the epicurean and sensual consciousness of French cuisine. Although Kei is in a formal setting, you never get a feeling of stuffiness or inflexibility. The restaurant asks your party in advance if there are any food allergies or ingredient intolerances and creates custom dishes. The service is outstanding and we found every staff member we encounted friendly, efficient and even playful. Highly recommended.
Going back to Rue Mouffetard after a long while, reminded me of one of the very first times I was there. I was visiting a film student friend who lived on the street. We were hanging out the 3rd story window of his apartment watching people, and he suddenly jumps and screams, “THAT’S Wim Wenders!” I’m like, “Are you sure? You can only see the top of his head. How can you tell?” He says, “I just know the top of Wim Wender’s head! It’s him sitting outside at that cafe, I swear.” He started running down the stairs. “Let’s go meet him!” I ran down with him. And, it turned out to actually be him; it was the man who made one of my all time favorite movies right before my very eyes. We chatted for a minute or two about nothing in particular. My buddy got his autograph. I wished I had my camera with me but that was when I rarely took any photos. I totally regret that. Anyway, I didn’t see Wim Wenders this time but here are some photos I took on Rue Mouffetard a couple of weeks ago.
Although the government is about to reduce the subvention amount for environmentally smart home energy, it began offering a different incentive for electric bikes. Receive 25% off (up to 400 euros) if you purchase an electric bike in Paris. For the moment this offer is restricted to Paris and Paris residents only, which means you’re supposed to have a Parisian address to qualify. We were lucky to receive this offer when we purchased our first vélo électrique, which is awesome. We bought this bike here.
I’m not sure if this offer will apply to other French cities.
As long as the dollar remains relatively weak against the euro, it’s more difficult to keep the option of staying in a hotel but why even do that when it’s much more fun to stay in an apartment in Paris? Book your Appartement Paris vacances,
then live like a local while saving a significant amount of euros. Use that extra cash while out exploring the most visited cities in the world. 2 Be Apart offers a variety of reasonably priced accommodations in Paris (and Lyon) and one good thing thing about it is if you’re staying only a few days, an apartment rental will still be an option. (Normally, apartment rentals require a week minimum but that’s not the case here.)
Book online or call:
+33 (0)1 55 30 04 31
The brasserie, La Rotonde, is one of our regular stops when we’re in Paris. It’s been around since 1910 and is known to have been frequented by famous painters like Pablo Picasso, Diego Rivera, Federico Cantú, Henri Matisse and Tsuguharu Fujita (most of them depicted La Rotonde in their paintings) and writers/artists from the “Lost Generation” (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Matisse, T.S. Eliot, Sartre, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas and others). That has all faded into history but it’s still one of our favorite places. There’s nothing fancy, really, but it basically offers your consistently yummy traditional French brasserie fare at reasonable prices: all kinds of steaks (with frites, of course), seafood and more. Get a steak here with pepper sauce, though! It’s your best bet. The atmosphere is notable with its red-velvet and brass, famous paintings and energetic crowd. The service is friendly and excellent.
Lastly, save room for dessert! It’s hard to do here because the meals servings are big. Get their Mille Feuille! It’s sooo gooooood.
105, Boulevard Montparnasse (at the corner of Boulevard du Montparnasse and Boulevard Raspail)
75006 Paris France
Telephone: +33 1 43 26 48 26
You’ve seen the bright, double-decker, in-your-face Paris tour bus navigating the windy streets and massive roundabouts of Paris scooting around wide-eyed tourists desperate to take in every single one of the most famous Paris landmarks, all in the shortest amount of time. They’re hard to miss. While some tourists would rather set their hair on fire than get on one of these, there are others who swear by their virtues. It’s not really something I’d ever thought I’d be taking a ride on, but when we had a visitor from Japan, she could only stay in Paris for 2 days. What to do? If she didn’t HAVE to see all of the landmarks, we surely wouldn’t have done it but she did, and so we thought this was the most likely way to pull it off.
I have to admit that it’s kind of excellent for those specific situations and we had the best time riding it (ride on the upper deck!) and being able to get out at any number of stops (then get back on) There are many buses so you’ll only need to wait about 10 minutes at each stop during the summer to catch another bus, 20 minutes during the winter. The entire tour, if you stay on the bus the whole time, takes approximately two hours and 15 minutes. That’s quick, particularly if you think that during that time you could’ve been waiting in line just to get on the Eiffel Tower. I exaggerate but you get what I mean.
You have the possibility of stopping at nine different places: 1. Trocadéro, 2. Champ de Mars, 3. Louvre, 4. Notre-Dame, 5. Orsay, 6. Opéra, 7. Champs Elysées-Etoile, 8. Grand Palais and 9. Eiffel Tower. The earliest buses start between 9:30am and 10:30am with the last buses stopping between 6:25pm and 10:16pm. See the hours and stops here. Note: Weekend and week day hours differ slightly, so do check the hours carefully.
Audio guides are available in several languages and you can download the tour’s mp3 from the website here in advance if you want to hear the guide from your own mp3 player.
You can spread your trip over two days (it’s an unlimited 2 day pass), so for the price of 24 € (Adult fare) and 12 € (kids 4 to 12 fare), you might just be able to see a lot of stuff in a little amount of time. Buy your tickets online to receive an additional 10% off.
I wonder if growups will want to stay in these Barbie rooms. I don’t want to think about that.
From August 6th until September 2nd 2010, two rooms at the hotel will be entirely re-decorated exclusively with Barbie furniture, accessories and other items. The Plaza Athénée brings to life the secret dreams of little girls.
Family Package includes one Barbie room and one Deluxe room for the parents (adjoining rooms) from 1,600 € or one Barbie room and one Deluxe suite from 2,500 €. Daily continental breakfast included for both children and parents. The Barbie room is not suitable for children under the age of 36 months and for teenagers over 16.
For more information +33 1 53 67 66 67
or go visit the website.
For those of you stuck in Paris because of Eyjafjallajokull’s wrath on Mother Nature (the Icelandic ash cloud grounding airlines in Europe), as well as other travelers, why not chill and take a dinner cruise on the Seine? Your diner croisiere will take your mind off of being stranded and instead send you on a floating gourmet tour to see all the iconic landmarks the City of Light shows millions of visitors each year.
While Blue Seine specializes in group cruises on the Seine, they do offer individual packages as well. Inquire on their website and bon vent!
Telephone Number: 01 56 89 88 98
Well, it’s ALMOST an office. Think of domiciliation as a sort of Mailbox Etc. kind of place but with more amenities. There’s a secretary to answer your calls and help with administrative duties, a snazzy address near La Bourse, furnished offices to use for meetings (but they must be schedule ahead of time), mail forwarding, you know, having mail sent to your REAL office address, which might be in your parents’ basement. Of course you’ll have to share your little bureau with many, many other businesses but with a little planning well ahead of time, you can probably get “your office” in Paris and convince people it’s a fancy schmancy enterprise!
Cap Elysées International
25 Rue Ponthieu
Telephone : 01.53.89.11.89 – Fax : 01.53.75.15.66
My sweetie HAPPENED to be in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris’ Best Baguette of 2010 and grabbed a couple of warm baguettes to see how spectacular they are. A few shops down, he found an award winning charcuterie for their fromage de tête, Christian Durant Charcuterie, and picked us up some artisanal foie gras (I wouldn’t have minded some of that award winning fromage de tête but oh well!) Both baguette and foie gras were pretty fantastic. A slight bémol regarding the baguette. It could’ve been perhaps more airy inside but that’s how I personally like them. They were, in any case, deliciously thin and crispy on the outside and soft in the inside – and paired with the foie gras, a perfect and typical French indulgence for any time of the day!
Le Grenier à Pain
The Best Baguette in Paris 2010
38 rue des Abbesses
75018 Paris France
Charcuterie Christian Durant
30 Rue des Abbesses
75018 Paris France
Years ago in Paris, you could walk into practically any brasserie or restaurant and not worry that you would be served terrible food. For the most part you wouldn’t be disappointed. Move forward in time and things have changed quite a bit and well, you aren’t as confident walking cold into an unknown restaurant in Paris. Despite those turn of events in recent years, we often find ourselves walking into an unknown restaurant in Paris not having the slightest idea if it’s going to be good! Oh well, we’re still optimistic about things and always hope we’ll be happy with our random choice.
When we were turned away at Breizh Café for not having reservations, we then wandered into Des gars dans la cuisine, a small restaurant in Le Marais, and were very pleased with our accidental selection. Yay. To note was the Parmentier, a dish originally known as a poor man’s meal including mashed potatoes and left over meats, typically ground beef. However, the Parmentier at Des gars dans la cuisine, (a restaurant name, which is a play on words: guys in the kitchen or damage in the kitchen), is a step up from the original dish. Their version features Canard confit au foie gras, jus au miel et poivre vert (duck confit with foie gras, juice from honey and green peppercorns) – the yummiest Parmentier I’ve ever had. I think it should be listed in this book we refer to from time to time.
Today marked the 17th “Grand Prix de la Baguette de Tradition Française de la Ville de Paris” which translates to the “Best Baguette in Paris” contest. By luck of the draw, I managed to be selected as one of the jury members and spent an incredible 4 hours sitting next to Ghislaine Arabian tasting close to 150 baguettes.
It may seem hard to believe, but a lot of mediocre bread can be found in France. Walk into your average corner bakery and if you don’t know what to look for, or to ask for, you risk walking away with a very average, and at times inedible, baguette.
Some 33 years after the last head rolled in France, the guillotine is back—as a cutting-edge display item in a Paris museum exhibit about crime and punishment. The former instrument of death was displayed at the request of Robert Badinter, the politician who ended the death penalty in France, who was thrilled to see his “old enemy” reduced to a museum object.
But with France currently facing overcrowded prisons and high rates of recidivism, not everyone shares Badinter’s view. “I think it’s a shame this stops at 1981,” one museum visitor told the Guardian. The 14-foot device had a long tradition in France, from the rolling heads of 18th-century revolutionaries to the final guillotine execution, in 1977, of convicted murderer-rapist Hamida Djandoubi in Marseille.
“March 20 is the Jour du Macaron in Paris. This annual celebration, dreamed up five years ago by the famed pâtissier Pierre Hermé, finds pastry shops giving their meringue-y little delights away for free.
Customers are encouraged to make a charitable donation on their way out the door. It’s a sweet idea in celebration of spring and in support of research to treat rare diseases.
The crowds will be large this Saturday at Pierre Hermé, with fans lining up to choose any three of his famous macarons. Tempting flavors for spring 2010 include white truffle with grilled hazelnut and foie gras with chocolate, along with traditional favorites like coffee, caramel, and three kinds of vanilla. But Hermé isn’t the only one sharing his cookies. Heavyweights Jean-Paul Hévin and Sadaharu Aoki are also taking part. Bon macaron!
Free macarons on March 20 at these participating pastry shops
Pierre Hermé: six locations, including 4 rue Cambon in the 1st arrondissement, 72 rue Bonaparte in the 6th arrondissement, 133 avenue des Champs Elys ées in the 8th arrondissement (inside the Publicis drugstore), 40 boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement (inside the Galeries Lafayette), 185 rue de Vaugirard in the 15th arrondissement, and 58 avenue Paul Doumer in the 16th arrondissement.
Sadaharu Aoki: three locations, including 56 boulevard de Port Royal in the 5th arrondissement, 35 rue de Vaugirard in the 6th arrondissement, and 40 boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement (inside the Galeries Lafayette).
Jean-Paul Hévin: four locations, including 3 rue Vavin in the 6th arrondissement, 231 rue Saint-Honoré in the 1st arrondissement, 23 bis avenue de la Motte Picquet in the 7th arrondissement, and 40 boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement (inside the Galeries Lafayette).
Laurent Duchêne: 2 rue Wurtz in the 13th arrondissement.
Arnaud Larher: two locations, including 53 rue Caulaincourt and 57 rue Damrémont, both in the 1″
Now the stereotype has been confirmed – by a French poll that completed the character assassination by labelling the capital’s inhabitants “snobbish” and “self-regarding”.
“We find them to be hard working and cultivated,” the political magazine Marianne said of Parisians in an editorial published alongside the survey.
“But we consider them to be above all way too arrogant, aggressive, flirtatious, stressed, chauvinistic, snobbish, and self-regarding than other French people.
More than 70 per cent of those questioned thought Parisians were more snobbish than other French people, while more than 65 per cent thought them more aggressive and arrogant. However, many of the French questioned did not think any of these characteristics were particularly negative, with 68…
My family teases and laughs at me incessantly whenever I mention that I go out for pizza in France. I fail to see the humor in it especially when it has been really hard to find a decent pizza here. Do they expect me to eat French food ALL THE TIME? Anyway. We make pizza at home a lot but whenever an opportunity comes up to check out a pizza place, we’re there… uh, with the exception of that worm pizza place.
Although Pink Flamingo Pizza offers many unusual and playful kinds of pizzas, La Ghandi, for example, is topped with sag paneer and baba ganoush, tahini, lemon and garlic, and La Che has marinated Cuban pork and fried plantains – we were more in the mood for a basic pizza, one that might remind us of my original home country so we ordered La Dante with tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil, and La Marcello, which features roquette seasoned with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and shaved parmesan. With crispy, thin crust made with organic flour and toppings from local merchants, the pizzas were pure yum. Exactly what we needed and wanted.
During the warmer months, you can order your pizza and plan to eat it outside either on the banks of the Canal Saint Martin or at a park in the Marais, depending on which location you’re eating, and they will bring the pizza to you!
Pink Flamingo will be our “go to” pizza place whenever we’re in Paris. It’s a perfect place for American expats to grab a taste of home. It really tastes more American than European, if that makes sense. (Possibly because one of the owners is from Boston?) Thankfully, there are NO pizzas that feature olives WITH seeds or an oozing, raw egg smack dab in the middle. Yay!
Pink Flamingo (2 Paris Locations)
67 rue Bichat
75010 Paris France (10th arrondissement)
Telephone: 01 42 02 31 70
Métro Jacques Bonsergent
Open Tues, Wed., Thurs. Fri., Sat. Noon to 3pm & 7pm to 11:30pm.
Sunday continuous service: 1pm to 11pm
105 Rue Vieille du Temple
75003 Paris, France
Telephone: 01 42 71 28 20
Open Mon-Fri 12pm-3pm, 7pm-11:30pm; Sat. & Sun Noon to 4pm; 7pm to 11:30pm