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.
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.
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.
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!