Jacques Genin Fondeur en Chocolat
Thursday April 18th 2013, 5:01 pm
Filed under: chocolate,food and drinks,paris,pastries,tips,travel tip

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.

Try everything! You won’t regret it.
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New Radars
Wednesday April 17th 2013, 9:24 am
Filed under: advice,cars/bikes/etc,daily life,news,tips,travel tip


Just when you’re beginning to spot all the radars on the road, these show up. The new radars they’re installing all over France are higher up than the old box ones and they can do much more than their predecessors. For example, not only will they flash you if you’re speeding by it, they can also measure the distance between you and another car (so the tailgater, whether a local or not, will get ticketed). They come in two sets so they also can measure your speed based on the distance between the two radars. The ones we noticed were about 5 kilometers apart. In other words, if you’re not speeding when you pass the first radar but begin to speed afterward, if your average speed is above the limit you will get ticketed because the second radar is also watching you and clocks you. This means you can get ticketed even though you’re not speeding by the radars (but were in-between). I’m not explaining this very well but simply watch your speed and keep an eye out for these new radars. Of course, if you never speed while driving, you have nothing to worry about.

radar and flash
I’m not advocating that you join the ranks of formula one drivers (please drive safely!), and I realize that it’s best to stay within the legal speed limits. However, sometimes we’re not sure of the speed limit. It’s merely a heads-up because frankly, we just need to know.

For what it’s worth, there are surely apps to let you know where radars are and/or where you can inform them of new radar locations.

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How to Score Big Flour Tortillas in France
Sunday March 03rd 2013, 5:28 pm
Filed under: daily life,food and drinks,products,tips


At some point in time (I don’t know when because I wasn’t paying attention), the kebab places in France branched out and offered kebabs wrapped in flour tortillas (they call galettes) or inside the usual pita pocket bread. It made me realize that big tortillas were available in France somewhere! I had to find some for me to use at home. These are the large, flour tortillas that you’d find wrapped around a yummy burrito somewhere in the Mission district in San Francisco. You know, the gordos! They seemed impossible to find in France. The small, dried out tortillas in the supermarkets here just don’t do the trick.

So how can you get these tortillas since they still do not offer them in the markets? The most logical answer: your kebab place!


I got these (in the photo) from our kebab guy. They’re labeled as Dürüm ekmeği, which I think means (durum) wheat flour (wrapping) bread in Turkish. There are 18 halal tortillas and there are no trans-fats and they are easily freezable according to the packaging. Just make sure you place parchment paper in between each tortilla when freezing. I measured them (yes I have a ruler!) and they are 12 inches in diameter. Exactly one foot! Hmmm.

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Hidden Gems: Nolay France (Burgundy) and Le Thé dans la Vigne

We’ve passed by a little village called Nolay dozens of times without stopping on our way from our house to Beaune. The place seemed unremarkable on the surface but we finally decided to visit it one day to check out the antiques stores on the main road.
nolay france antiques store bourgogne burgundy
As usual and luckily, we wandered around while we were there.
nolay france cats bourgogne burgundy
It turns out that Nolay is awesome.
nolay france bourgogne burgundy
Most people who’ve been here would cite the beautiful, arcaded central market place, which dates back to the 14th century.
nolay france arcaded central marketplace bourgogne burgundy
The roof is made of limestone (weighing 800 kg/1800 lbs per square meter) and the frame holds everything together with chestnut wood beams.
nolay france arcaded central marketplace bourgogne burgundy
But to me, the salon de thé right next to the central market place, La Thé dans la Vigne, is Nolay’s real gem.
nolay france le the dans la vigne salon de the bourgogne burgundy
With delicious home made desserts, light fare meals, fine wines,
nolay france le the dans la vigne salon de the bourgogne burgundy
an adorable, sweet and hospitable owner (Sylvie Blanchard),
nolay france sylvie blanchard le the dans la vigne salon de the bourgogne burgundy
eclectic quirky French decor,
nolay france le the dans la vigne salon de the bourgogne burgundy
antique books and newspapers in French and English. antique dishware and silverware and housed in a a building that dates back to 1810, you will only feel comfortable and happy in such a warm, cozy place.
nolay france le the dans la vigne salon de the desserts bourgogne burgundy
Everything we ordered was tasty and since we couldn’t decide which dessert to have, our kind hostess prepared a plate with everything on it, including a bowl of her whisky infused fruit – the latter being delicious but crazy potent!

Le Thé dans la Vigne
8, place des Halles 21340 Nolay France
Télephone :+33 (0)3 80 26 87 31
Open 10:30am to 9:30pm during warm months Tuesday to Sunday. Closed November 30 to April 1. Reservations recommended.

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A Day in the Life in Saint Remy de Provence (video)
Thursday June 23rd 2011, 10:16 am
Filed under: a day in the life,music,Provence,tips,travel and places,travel tip,video

Be sure to visit Saint Remy de Provence on Wednesdays. That’s when they have a huge outdoor market until about 1pm. The streets are lined with vendors selling food, arts and crafts, linens, jewelry, leather goods, candy, junk, etc., and there are lots of street musicians. I loved this excellent duo, although I couldn’t understand what the guy was singing.

Please support street musicians!

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