Category: travel tip

April 18th, 2013 by ptinfrance

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.
Read more of this article »

Posted in chocolate, food and drinks, paris, pastries, tips, travel tip

April 17th, 2013 by ptinfrance

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.

Posted in advice, cars/bikes/etc, daily life, news, tips, travel tip

January 30th, 2013 by ptinfrance

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.

Kei Restaurant (
5 Rue Coq Héron, 75001 Paris, France
Tel +33 1 42 33 14 74
Closed January 27, 2013 to March 5, 2013

Posted in food and drinks, paris, restaurants, travel tip

December 30th, 2012 by ptinfrance

I took a hot air balloon ride in Sedona, Arizona several years ago. It was a mind-blowing experience because of the beauty of the region, the unique vantage point from the air and the feeling of taking part in a fresh, new adventure. I’ve been wanting to do the same again but in the Loire Valley above all the most impressive châteaux de la Loire. I found a company that offers this!
Tél. : 02 47 52 28 35
Port : 06 65 77 52 81

I will hopefully write a blog post about it…

Posted in Loire Valley, travel and places, travel tip

October 14th, 2012 by ptinfrance

Paris is home to so many talented musicians. Here’s one of my favorites: a didgeridoo and percussion player in front of the Beaubourg. Remember: always contribute to street musicians!

Posted in a day in the life, music, paris, travel tip, video

July 28th, 2011 by ptinfrance

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.

Posted in Bourgogne/Burgundy, Cote d'Or, food and drinks, pastries, people, restaurants, tips, travel and places, travel tip, wine Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

June 29th, 2011 by ptinfrance

Remember the Roast Chicken Flavored Potato Chips? That was five years ago, already! Anyway, we’ve been traveling recently and road trips mean coke bottle gummies, ice cream bars and even more unhealthy food alternatives like crazy-flavored potato chips. We couldn’t help but notice the usual suspects like BBQ, plain, Roasted Chicken Chips (Lays are good!) but there seemed to be a new kid in town: Cheeseburger Potato Chips! We couldn’t resist.
cheeseburger potato chips france french
These are…perplexingly excellent. They taste EXACTLY like a McDonald’s cheeseburger, and while I haven’t eaten one of those in so many years I don’t even know how many, I liked these (I almost hate to admit it) and was happy they didn’t give me a stomach ache like the real cheeseburgers did. So, there you have it. It does make me wonder, though, why there aren’t typical French meal flavored chips. Wouldn’t it be fun to have Croque-Monsieur chips, Cassoulet chips, Steak-Frites (in pepper sauce) chips and Tete de Veau chips? Confit de canard chips, boudin noir chips, moule frites chips, rabbit terrine chips…

Posted in food and drinks, products, reviews, shopping, travel tip, weird Tagged with: , , , , , ,

June 23rd, 2011 by ptinfrance

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!

Posted in a day in the life, music, Provence, tips, travel and places, travel tip, video Tagged with: , , ,

March 6th, 2011 by ptinfrance

It’s places like Château de Castelnaud (and the village Castelnaud-la-Chapelle) that make the Perigord one of my favorite regions to travel to in France. Alhough privately owned, it’s open to the public, and I highly recommend visiting the château and nearby countryside especially for the spectacular views from the castle/fortress of the surrounding area and the Dordogne River. From atop the fortress, you can see the châteaux of Beynac and Marqueyssac and the medieval village of La Roque-Gageac. NOTE: Like most smaller French villages I feature on this blog, you’ll need a car to get here and explore the vast Black Perigord.

Château de Castelnaud is a treasure trove filled with fascinating history and trivia as well as beautiful medieval architecture.
chateau de castelnaud black perigord dordogne southwest france
Château de Castelnaud (website)
Musée de la guerre au Moyen Âge
24250 Castelnaud-la-Chapelle France
Telephone: +33 (0)5 53 31 30 00
GPS :44°48’57.59’’ N

Here’s a slideshow of photos I took of Château de Castelnaud:

Posted in Dordogne, photos, tips, travel and places, travel tip Tagged with: , , , , , ,

January 10th, 2011 by ptinfrance

galette bernigaud burgundyWhile we’re on the subject of feves, I thought I’d share a recent one I found in a tasty galette du roi from one of our favorite pastry chefs in our area, Jean-Marc Bernigaud, who was previously the pastry chef at Trois Gros, a three star Michelin restaurant in Roanne. Typically, the galettes are filled with frangipane but Jean-Marc told us he was bored and added a different flavor: a delicious apple and noisette filling, unusual but expectedly unique and refreshing, in any case. It had a non-traditional design on top, too.

While my feve isn’t as sexy as the Kamasutra feves, I thought it was cute, a teeny tiny Renault 4L, a super popular car in France from 1961 and beyond. feve renault 4lIt was Renault’s response to their competitor, the Citroen 2CV (what the French call the deux chevaux (two horses)), which is cuter and iconic of old France. (Read more about the 4L here.)

Back to the feve.

A couple of days after feasting on the galette, I saw the Renault 4L again but this time it was a real Renault 4L and the exact same color as the mini Renault 4L feve! renault 4L

Posted in cars/bikes/etc, events, food and drinks, pastries, travel and places, travel tip Tagged with: , , , , ,

November 4th, 2010 by ptinfrance

au chateau a mont dol france bretagne brittany bed and breakfast
We recently stayed for a few days at au Chateau de Mont Dol, a charming bed and breakfast in a small village not far from Mont Saint Michel and Cancale in Brittany. Though not really a chateau (it’s a renovated farmhouse), the place is enormous with five rooms (two doubles, one triple, one suite, one family suite for 4) and attached to the main house are three gites (self catering apartments).
au chateau a mont dol france bretagne brittany bed and breakfast
Au Chateau de Mont Dol is a comfortable, convenient and affordable base to use while you’re exploring Bretagne and it’ll be even more worth it to you when you return to your home sweet home after a tiring day’s worth of sightseeing.
au chateau a mont dol france bretagne brittany bed and breakfast
We stayed in the family suite, which sleeps a total of four. Two downstairs and 2 up in a loft. This is perfect for a couple and two kids. Very comfy and inside the rooms you’ll discover mini meringues for guests to much on!

Another reason for choosing this charming B&B is that one of the owners, Yannick Goulvestre, is a chef, having worked at Alain Senderens (Lucas Carton previously), a three star Michelin restaurant. That means the meals are excellent.
clams repas au chateau a mont dol france bretagne brittany bed and breakfast
Clams definitely win against snails.
entree repas au chateau a mont dol france bretagne brittany bed and breakfast

entree repas au chateau a mont dol france bretagne brittany bed and breakfast
and we were particularly impressed with his orange dessert souffle!
souffle au chateau a mont dol france bretagne brittany bed and breakfast
Served with chocolate gelato and buttery biscuit, it was one of the best desserts I’ve had in France. I wished we had started the meal with dessert. If we’d only had that for the entire meal, I would’ve been very happy!
au chateau a mont dol france bretagne brittany bed and breakfast
Another gorgeous dessert served on a different night:
au chateau a mont dol france bretagne brittany bed and breakfast
Herb tea and chocolates after dinner:
au chateau a mont dol france bretagne brittany bed and breakfast
In the morning, wake up to steaming French coffee and a yummy breakfast of home baked goods, crepes, fruit, cereals, yogurts.
au chateau a mont dol france bretagne brittany bed and breakfast
You know, a typical European offering. Make sure to try the amazing salty Breton butter!

au chateau a mont dol france bretagne brittany bed and breakfast

Au Chateau de Mont Dol
1, rue de la Mairie
35120 Mont Dol, France
Telephone: +33 (0)2 99 80 74 24

Posted in Bretagne/Brittany, chambres d'hotes/bed and breakfast, food and drinks, tips, travel and places, travel tip Tagged with: , , , , ,

October 22nd, 2010 by ptinfrance

breizh cafe in cancale france
We were in Paris a little while ago and headed over to Breizh Cafe, a creperie that focuses on quality and organic ingredients, crepes, galettes, other goodies from Brittany and some twists on these traditional dishes. They turned us away because we didn’t have reservations. Pffff! So, we went to the first Breizh Cafe in France, located in Cancale (Brittany), which is, I think, is better. So there!
breizh cafe in cancale france
Like its Parisian sister, Bertrand Larcher’s Breizh Café offers tradional and original dishes. but unlike in Paris, the Breizh Café in Cancale is right on the beach.
breizh cafe in cancale france
And because the seafood is caught just a few yards away and is delivered the same day, it couldn’t be fresher.
breizh cafe in cancale france
Definitely order oysters! They were the best I’ve ever had.
breizh cafe in cancale france
Have local cidre with your galettes and crepes. A must.
breizh cafe in cancale france
If you’re looking for the freshest, tastiest sashimi ever, go upstairs to La Table de Breizh Café, which just opened last February. It specializes in Japanese-Breton cuisine created by Chef Rafael-Fumio Kudaka.
breizh cafe in cancale france
For dessert, crepes of course! I can never resist a crepe with salted caramel.
breizh cafe in cancale france
This one wasn’t too bad, either.

Lastly, you can purchase organic buckwheat fllour and buttermilk, among other products at Breizh Cafe.

Breizh Café/La Table de Breizh Café – Cancale
7 quai Thomas
35260 Cancale, France
Telephone: +33 (0) 2 99 89 56 46 / +33 (0) 2 99 89 61 76

Breizh Café – Paris
109, rue Vieille du Temple (Le Marais)
75003 Paris, France
Telephone: +33 (0)1 42 72 13 77

Breizh Cafe Creperie – Tokyo
Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan
Telephone: +81 3-3289-3531
There are also locations in Yokohama, Kawasaki, Akasaka and HIbiya.

Posted in Bretagne/Brittany, restaurants, tips, travel and places, travel tip Tagged with: , , , , , ,

October 20th, 2010 by ptinfrance

On our way to Vezelay, we decided to take a slight detour to peek at this tiny village just to check it out.
pierre perthuis
It turns out it’s beautiful
pierre perthuis
with picnic areas
pierre perthuis
and three bridges
pierre perthuis
and hiking trails.
pierre perthuis
Looks Roman.
pierre perthuis
Moral of the story: Always wander off the beaten path!

Posted in Bourgogne/Burgundy, tips, travel and places, travel tip Tagged with: , , , , ,

October 4th, 2010 by ptinfrance

la mirande afternoon tea time avignon france
After you finish your walking tour of the Palais des papes (Popes Palace) in Avignon, and take the exit just outside the gift shop, you will be facing La Mirande, a luxury hotel with a Michelin star restaurant, cooking school and salon de thé. If you time it right, which is what we always try to do, arrive during tea time for absolutely delicious pastries and tea, coffee or unrivaled hot chocolate.
la mirande afternoon tea time avignon france
La Mirande is an elegant, beautiful, 700+ year old converted mansion, previously inhabited by generations of aristocracy. Now, it’s a little more casual. Afternoon tea is served in an bright, comfortable and protected atrium, a perfect place to rest your feet from hours of walking around Avignon.
la mirande afternoon tea time avignon france
The afternoon tea at La Mirande is offered for a flat fee of 11 euros, a steal. Just go help yourself to whatever you want. Drinks are ordered and served at the table. When we were there last, we actually didn’t eat much (not like us, normally!) so the waiter charged us less. Sweet!
la mirande afternoon tea time avignon france
Mikael Aupert is the dedicated pastry chef at La Mirande.

La Mirande
4, place de la Mirande
84000 Avignon France
Telephone: +33 4 90 14 20 20

Posted in food and drinks, pastries, Provence, tips, travel and places, travel tip Tagged with: , , ,

September 15th, 2010 by ptinfrance

airbus 380 air france a380 gigantic plane
Just a quick note about the Airbus 380. We flew it to New York during the summer and I have to say, it’s awesome. The photo doesn’t really convey how absolutely ENORMOUS this plane is (It’s the biggest plane in the world). The double-decker plane from Paris to New York accommodated 538 people but other airbuses like this to other destinations can hold up to 900 people! The ride is more spacious and extremely quiet, too, which helps to feel less tired upon arrival. I was surprised to feel good when we arrived. Normally, I feel pretty crappy. Other notables: you have your own screen and hard drive so you can watch films and other media at any given moment in time, and even put a movie on pause if you need to get up, then resume when you get back. No more waiting for the round of movies to end! The downside of this experience is when you have to retrieve your luggage, although they did a great job at JFK pulling the bags onto the baggage claim carousels. It can take a while, but it’s totally worth it. NOTE: Sadly, it doesn’t fly to the west coast. WHY??!

Posted in cars/bikes/etc, tips, travel and places, travel tip Tagged with: , , , , ,

September 11th, 2010 by ptinfrance

le gay choc boulangerie in parisLegay Choc has named itself France’s first gay boulangerie (bakery). The business is best known for its baguettes, brioches, meringues and chocolates in phallic forms.

I just found out about them but they’ve been around for years. They also have a sandwicherie but I’m not sure what shape those come in.

Legay Choc
45 rue Ste Croix de la Bretonnerie
75004 Paris France
Telephone: +33 (0)1 48 87 24 61
Email :
Metro: Hôtel de Ville
Open: Mon-Sat 9am-6pm

Posted in bread, chocolate, daily life, food and drinks, paris, pastries, tips, travel tip Tagged with: , , , ,

September 11th, 2010 by ptinfrance

pink flamingo pizza le marais vw bus
Grab a yummy pizza at the Pink Flamingo in Le Marais and if there’s no more seating inside, have a seat in the V Dub bus outside. You should see it near the restaurant!

Posted in cars/bikes/etc, paris, restaurants, tips, travel and places, travel tip Tagged with: , , ,

September 10th, 2010 by ptinfrance

murakami art in versailles, france
Several funky, modern, manga-inspired sculptures by notable Japanese artist Takashi Murakami (also responsible for these Louis Vuitton designs) are now rubbing elbows with the relics of Versailles. The show stopper, supposedly, is “Miss ko2,” a racy piece gracing the entrance to the Hall of Mirrors. The exhibition runs until December 12, 2010.

Exhibition by Takashi Murakami in the Chateau de Versailles
14 September to 12 December 2010
Château de Versailles
Grand Apartment and Hall of mirrors, included in the tour of the Grand Apartment
Place d’Armes – 78000 Versailles

Posted in art/culture/design, tips, travel and places, travel tip Tagged with: , , , , ,

September 7th, 2010 by ptinfrance

Chef Bernard Loiseau, known for his world class fine cuisine, is no longer with us but his Three Michelin starred restaurant, La Côte d’Or and hotel, Le Relais Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu continue his legacy largely due to his family’s dedication and current chef Patrick Bertron. His attention to detail, focus on exceptional dining and overall perfectionism is felt everywhere here, and if anything, Bernard Loiseau should be remembered for what he was able to achieve during his lifetime and the hallmark he leaves behind. Nothing else.

We loved staying at Le Relais and eating La Côte d’Or. If you come to France and don’t make it to one of Bernard Loiseau’s establishments, you’ll be missing out on what would be one of the most memorable trips and meals you’ve ever had.

Some photos from our trip!

Le Relais Bernard Loiseau
21210 Saulieu – Bourgogne, (Côte d’Or, Burgundy) France
Tel. : + 33 (0)3 80 90 53 53
E-mail :
CLOSED Tuesday-Wednesday from November 2 to December 22, 2010

Other Bernard Loiseau locations:

Restaurant Loiseau des vignes
31, rue Maufoux – 21200 Beaune, Bourgogne, France
Tel. : + 33 (0)3 80 24 12 06
E-mail :
CLOSED every Sunday and Monday

Restaurant Tante Louise
41, rue Boissy d’Anglas – 75008 Paris, France
Tel. : + 33 (0)1 42 65 06 85
E-mail :
CLOSED every Saturday and Sunday

Restaurant Tante Marguerite
5, rue de Bourgogne – 75007 Paris, France
Tel. : + 33 (0)1 45 51 79 42
E-mail :
CLOSED every Saturday and Sunday

Posted in Bourgogne/Burgundy, Cote d'Or, food and drinks, people, photos, Recommended Accommodations, restaurants, tips, travel and places, travel tip Tagged with: , , , , , ,

July 31st, 2010 by ptinfrance

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,
appartments 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

Posted in apartments in paris, paris, travel tip

June 6th, 2010 by ptinfrance

seafood restaurant in vitre france, l'iroise
Discovering adorable inhabitants didn’t stop in the old town of Vitré. We ate lunch at L’Iroise, a bistro specializing in seafood, which is just at the entrance of the old town in Vitré. The restaurant is run by a sweet Breton couple (photo below) that focuses on uncomplicated, flavorful and beautiful dishes. Between the three of us, here’s what we had. Everything was excellent, including the home-made pâte de fruit served with coffee!

1, place Saint-Yves
35500 Vitre France

See all of the photos by click “more.” Read more of this article »

Posted in food and drinks, restaurants, tips, travel tip Tagged with: , , , , ,

May 27th, 2010 by ptinfrance

la rotonde brasserie in paris france
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.
mille feuille at la rotonde paris france
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.

La Rotonde
105, Boulevard Montparnasse (at the corner of Boulevard du Montparnasse and Boulevard Raspail)
75006 Paris France
Telephone: +33 1 43 26 48 26
Metro: Vavin

Posted in food and drinks, paris, restaurants, tips, travel and places, travel tip Tagged with: , , , , ,

May 25th, 2010 by ptinfrance

village de Vitré the village in Vitré
Vitré (Brittany, Ille-et-Vilaine) is the most well-preserved medieval village I’ve seen in France with its narrow streets of cobblestone,
magasin de Vitré shop in Vitré
surrounding ramparts and half-timbered houses.
Château de Vitré the castle in Vitré
The 11th century Château de Vitré showcases fairy tale towers and has historically proven to be one of the most powerful castles in history having not been occupied during the Hundred Years War. The English attempted to take it over many times, without success, even though they’d occupied the village.
maison de Vitré house in Vitré
The best part of our short trip, however, happened while we were meandering around the old village, taking photos, chatting, then suddenly, a local villager speeds by and grumpily yells, “You’re right to take photos. It’s beautiful here!” then he smiled ear to ear. My sweetie then says, “Oh, but we actually want to take a picture of you.” And this adorable man enthusiastically agreed.
homme de Vitré man in Vitré
Then we asked, “Will you stand like THIS?”* And he did! People of Vitre, you rock.

* My nephew has been posing for photos like this and we thought we’d find some competition for him. Actually, many travelers in France who we didn’t know agreed to do this.

Posted in Bretagne/Brittany, people, tips, travel and places, travel tip Tagged with: , , , ,

May 19th, 2010 by ptinfrance

chocolate paint palette with macarons georges larnicol
If for one reason you come into Maison Larnicol, the brainchild of Master Chocolatier and MOF, Georges Larnicol, it’s to marvel at his playful, colorful chocolate creations.
macarons larnicol
Oh but you should taste as much as possible, too. We dropped by his shop in Saint Malo (Brittany) but he has a whole slew of shops in these cities Auray, Bordeaux, Concarneau, Guerande, La Baule, Locronan, Nantes, Pont Aven, Quimper, Rennes and Saint Brieuc.
kouign amann
The kouign amann (an oh-so-amazing buttery, baked Breton pastry), macarons and chocolate were heavenly. There are no additives, preservatives or artificial ingredients in the baked goods.
kouign amann kouignettes
The mini kouign-amanns called kougnettes are so cute and come in 14 different flavors.

The only regret we have now is that we didn’t try every single item in the shop. There’s so much more to grab here: cookies, lollipops, galettes…

Maison Larnicol
6, rue Saint-Vincent
35400  Saint Malo France
Telephone Number: +33 (0)2 99 40 57 62

Continue reading the post to see more photos.
Read more of this article »

Posted in Bretagne/Brittany, chocolate, MOF Meilleur Ouvrier de France, shopping, tips, travel and places, travel tip Tagged with: , , , , , ,

May 18th, 2010 by ptinfrance

paris bus tour le car rouge
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.
where does the paris bus tour stop?
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.

Paris Bus Tour (Les cars rouges)

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May 10th, 2010 by ptinfrance

plaza athenee's barbie rooms, paris france
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.

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May 7th, 2010 by ptinfrance

The success of Restaurant Week in cities like New York, Dublin, Lisbonne, Madrid, London, Miami and Los Angeles has inspired cities in France to give a go to a week dedicated to affordable gastronomy. Hundreds of participating restaurants will offer a unique menu priced at 20,10€ for lunch and 35€ for dinner.
restaurant week in france june 2010
I was looking forward to checking out several restaurants in our region, including Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu, but it’s not on the list!

For more information, visit Tous au restaurant.

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April 20th, 2010 by ptinfrance

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.
diner croisiere
While Blue Seine specializes in group cruises on the Seine, they do offer individual packages as well. Inquire on their website and bon vent!

Blue Seine
Telephone Number: 01 56 89 88 98

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April 5th, 2010 by ptinfrance

foie gras and baguette le grenier a pain charcuterie christian durant
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

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March 26th, 2010 by ptinfrance

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.
parmentier from des gars dans la cuisine

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.

[Photo courtesy of Travis Moon Photography]

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