J’Going To Paris!

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So when the book thing happened a few weeks ago, I made a quick pact with myself to use a tiny portion of the proceeds to do something fun and exciting. Chatting online with my friend John, I told him that I really wanted to go to Paris.

“So let’s go,” he wrote.

Easy for John to say. John’s the most well travelled person I’ve ever met. You’ve read some of his accounts here–his trip to Iceland and his trip to Peru, to name two–so John doesn’t kid around when he says “let’s go.”

“But how will we get there? Where will we stay?”

John had that covered: Virgin Vacations. The deal is you have to prove your virginity by submitting blood and sperm samples, and they fly your way around the world…

Haha, ok just kidding. But Virgin Vacations offers wildly reasonable vacations for what seems like very little money. For example: you can get a round trip ticket to Paris and 6 nights in a hotel for $479. And that’s precisely what John suggested.

“A trip to Paris for $479? How can I say no?”

“Well there’s tax, too, and obviously meals and…” John continued.

“Stop trying to talk me out of it! I’m going!”

And so last night we worked out the details on the phone with Virgin, faxed over our credit card info, and today we got the confirmation. We’re going to Paris from December 14th through the 23rd! (Well I’m staying through the 23rd, John’s coming back earlier for work.) A whole week in Paris!

Parisian food bloggers Clotilde and David have already been notified (David’s getting back from his book tour on the 21st, so I’m staying two extra nights to finally meet him and experience what promises to be a superior Parisian chocolate tour) and I can’t wait to see them both in their natural habitat.

John and I are staying near the Arc de Triomphe, so if anyone knows any good places to eat around there let me know!

Actually: this is a great time to ask those of you who’ve been to Paris, who live in Paris or who have a superior knowledge of Paris, where should John and I eat when we’re there? John’s basically bankrupted himself with the ticket-purchasing, so cheap (or reasonably priced) places would be much appreciated. Also: we’re happy to take suggestions on fun things to do besides the obvious touristy stuff.

The Virgin people tell me our hotel will have internet access, so I’ll try to blog while I’m there. That way you can enjoy our vacation vicariously and comment as we go.

Going to Paris as an adult (I was there in high school) has been one of my highest ranked dreams since the time I graduated college; and now that I’m so into food (and also smarter than I was in high school!) I can’t wait to soak in everything Paris has to offer. J’can’t wait!!

23 comments

  1. How about Fish – wine bar w food 69 Rue de Seine 33 1 43 54 34 69 — great place for first night when you’re still jet lagged!

  2. My favorite, after check in, I head here…Le Petit Machon 158 Rue Saint Honore…..very affordable, very cozy…..try the duck in chocolate sauce!

  3. My favorite restaurant in Paris is Chez Michel, in the 10th. It’s reasonably priced and the food and atmosphere are fabulous. Also, in the 17th, just behind the Arc is another favorite, Taira, which specializes in fish. The chef is Japanese, but he cooks with mostly a French technique. My family and I ate there once a week when we were in Paris last summer. If you go, you should tell him that I sent you. You’ll be sure to receive fabulous treatment and probably a few extra bites. I can provide additional details if you like. Also, you must go to the bakery that was once Poujouran on rue Jean Nicot for their great bread and the best lemon tarts ever. Finally, for a list of great exhibits, galleries, and events, buy the weekly Zuberon (sp?) at a newstand. Have a great trip to the greatest city in the world.

  4. I lifted restaurant reviews from Clotilde’s blog and ate VERY well the entire time we were in Paris last year. Just trawl the archives and do exactly what she would do ;)

  5. Not exactly close to the Arc De Triomphe, but, for your “blow out” dinner you should try L’Atelier Joel Robuchon at the Hotel Pont Royal. Set up like a sushi bar surrounding the kitchen. Absolutely fantastic tasting menu w- wine pairing. I’d say, fine dining (not like death) but much more fun.

    Ayez une bonne vacances

  6. Good job on working blood and semen into the post.

    The last time I was in Paris I was stone broke, being hunted by a religious zealot, and dragging around a girl who was engaged to a body builder who wanted to (and still does want to) kill me.

    I hope your trip is equally exciting.

  7. Having been to Paris for like, two days, I can’t really reccommend any restaurants, but as for something non-touristy: Go to an outdoor market, if there’s one open. They were on the Sunday I was there in early March, so there might be some in December? I’m not sure. But. You can buy a wheel of brie bigger than your head, and all sorts of cool, non-touristy stuff (read: Christmas presents) for yourself and your friends.

    And please, for the love of all things fried, buy a crepe from a street vendor. There’s something about a crepe prepared “en pleine aire” (as it were) that’s just really good.

  8. I lived in the 16th until just recently.

    Recommendations of places I’ve eaten at dozens of times in 16(reasonably priced):

    – Brasserie Stella; rue Victor Hugo #133; the best steak tartar in Paris.

    http://www.bestrestaurantsparis.com/resto.php?id_resto=385

    – Le Kiosk; Place de Mexico; only fixe price menu (very reasonable), modern style food/plating; and a great chocolate dessert. A top top value.

    – Les Dessous de la Robe, 4 rue Bertin-Poirée, (Metro Chatelet – not in the 16th but in the 1st). Quaint old/ancient building;loads of atmosphere; top class modernized french cuisine. From one or two tables you can peer into the kitchen (which I entirely enjoy).

  9. The best crepes can be had at Au P’tit Grec on Rue des Mouffetards. None of that touristy-premade-crepes-here. I had a weeks worth of crepes, but this was the best by far. The only time I had a better crepe was at the La Petit Creperie food truck in Philly. :)

    [photos]

    http://gs92.sp.cs.cmu.edu/pictures/2004_01_07__paris/html/img_2828_med.html

    http://gs92.sp.cs.cmu.edu/pictures/2004_01_07__paris/html/img_2830_med.html

    And if vegetarian-eating is something one should ever try in Paris, it should be done at Le Potager, on Rue Rambeautou next to the Centre Pompidu.

    [photo]

    http://gs92.sp.cs.cmu.edu/pictures/2004_01_07__paris/html/img_3052_med.html

    Bon chance!

    -david

  10. I lived in Paris for a month two years ago and this place called Brownies and Bagels (guess what they serve?) was right down the street from Alliance Francais (the language institute I was studying at).

    It wasn’t expensive and absolutely delicious. They had all these bagelwiches with location names like “New York” “Rome” etc. The Luxembourg Gardens are not too far away, so if it isn’t TOO cold, you could buy your lunch here and walk over to the Gardens and enjoy the scenery.

    Here’s the 411:

    Brownies and Bagels

    12 rue Notre Dame des Champs

    Tel. 01 42 22 44 15

    Metro: St-Placide or Notre Dame des Champs

    You’re very lucky Adam. I loved my time there and always dream about going back. Enjoy!

  11. I don’t know of any great restaurants near the Arc de Triomphe – up and down the Champs it’s pretty overpriced and lacking in quality – but Paris is so easy to get around in you should be able to find loads of fabulous places. If you don’t mind my blowing my own horn, I posted a couple of lists of good restaurants on http://www.toomanychefs.com:

    http://www.toomanychefs.net/archives/001329.php

    and

    http://www.toomanychefs.com/archives/001374.php

    If you like oysters, definitely try to get to the Baron Rouge on a Sunday (arrive relatively early). Definitely hit one of the markets – the organic one in the 17th that Clotilde and I go to is fantastic. And if you are doing anything non-food related, make it the Sainte-Chapelle on a sunny day. It’s one of the most amazing experiences in Paris and hardly mentioned in the guide books!

  12. Second the mention for Joel Roubchon. He is one of the three star chefs who is breaking away into bistro dining.

    Ambassdor sud-ouest is a foie gras restaurant by the Eiffel Tower. Facing the Tower angle left and once you leave the green space it is about half a block. They have a website.

    In the Marais Petit Richard has a great fixed lunch including wine. Au Bascou (first busy street when you walk to 147 Rue du Temple) also enjoyed.

    Can forward some posts I wrote at the time.

  13. Have the Tarte Tatin at Le Moulin de la Vierge near La Motte Piquet-Grenelle Metro station – I Eurostar-ed it to London the last time I had it – it was that good! The breads at the store look excellent too.

    Laduree for macaroons.

    Berthillon for ice cream.

    And of course you must pit stop at La Grand Epicerie at Le Bon Marche – cheap and good foie gras, wine and everything else available.

  14. Go shopping at the food hall at le bon marche (in the 6th, metro sevres-babylone). Heaven. (after the organic markets, of course). Love it. And if you’re too hungry to cope, they do a good sandwich.

  15. Les Jumeaux is near Bastille, which is not, in fact, near the Arc de Triomphe, but is really really good. When my mom visited for Toussaint (I live in Lyon), we went to Paris and ate there and were blown away. Also, if you want a day trip (it really can be a day trip) come on down to Lyon and visit. It is the gastronomical capitol of France, and I would love to show you around!

  16. How great! You’re going to love Paris. When I lived there, a place I loved was Chez Omar, on rue de Bretagne (3rd arrondissement). It’s a couscous restaurant that serves up a fantastic and well-priced meal. The waiters are always the same friendly guys and the place is always full. So, be prepared to wait for a bit. The restaurant itself is beautiful, too.

    I also loved Chez Paul near the Bastille (rue de Charonne, perhaps?), but I’ve heard it’s gotten very touristy as of late. But it was a great, good value place for classic French food.

    Astier is also very good, with a lovely cheese course.

    I’d recommend you look at Patricia Wells’ recommendations for cheap restaurants. She’s pretty reliable. Can’t wait to hear about your adventures!

  17. I second the “L’As du Falafel” recommendation — the best falafel I’ve ever eaten by leaps and bounds, my mouth is watering just thinking of it, and cheap. Lenny Kravitz ate there too.

  18. I was just in Paris a few months ago and had a very good, not too expensive meal at Cordonniere Chez Claude et Yvette – 20 rue Saint-Roch in the 1er. It’s small – you should get a reservation – and isn’t open on Saturday or Sunday nights, but it is so good and so quaint. The chef is the son of the couple who started the restaurant (Claude and Yvette) – it’s been there forever.

    And if you (somehow) get tired of French food, I had a good Thai meal down the block from C&Y’s (also on rue Saint-Roch), at a place called (oddly enough) Thai. Very cool decor, very bad desserts. But my soup and dinner were fantastic.

    Have a GREAT time!

  19. If you can get your hands on the April issue of Food & Wine, there are tons of budget recommendations in Paris, like Les Papilles, Café Moderne, and l’Ourcine. My favorite place to nibble is the Rue des Rosiers (the old Jewish street in the Marais). Plenty of good (and cheap!) Jewish and middle eastern food in that neighborhood.

    As for tourist destinations, I love le Musée d’Orsay and the Arche de la défense. Have fun!

  20. I live in Paris. One of my friends is Inaki Aizpitarte, the original chef from La Famille. It’s a well-kept secret that he cooks for a small hidden restaurant called Le Baratin. You should go. An added perk is the fact that it’s wine selection is linked with the caviste (wine merchant) right around the corner, The Chapeau Melon, one of the few places in Paris where you can get non-sulfurised wines. They have tastings on Sunday afternoons. Emmanuel Giraud, food critic for France Culture, swears by this place.

    Probably one of the few places to get a “etoiled” meal without the fuss. (Le Baratin has removed themselves from Michelin’s imperial gaze).

    I’d love to accompany you, if you want a little insider chatter, and I accept laughs as a proper exchange for food. You really should take me up on this!

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