Posts Tagged ‘baguettes’

My Best Day in Paris – Jack

Friday, April 20th, 2012

La Rotisserie d’en Face

My best day in Paris starts with breakfast on the patio of the apartment.  I eat a slab of pate and a crusty baguette with a few shots of espresso.  I set out for a museum.  My wife and I have a deal.  We start with 30 minutes of art and then she can shop for the rest of the day.  I really enjoy the musee de Cluny (6 place Paul Painlevé, 75005) and it is small enough that I feel like I see most of what I want to see.  She likes it, too.  I can usually sway her to stay at least an hour!   Once we start shopping, I inevitably find a shop or two that I must visit.  I enjoy antique books and Guillaumot (16 Rue de Valois, near the Palais Royal) has a wonderful selection.   I prefer to eat a simple lunch at the boulangerie my wife chooses.  I can find a jambon sandwich just about anywhere and of course, another espresso.  Before heading back to the apartment to rest, we stop at Mariage Feres for a late afternoon tea.  We use this time to peruse guide books and decide where we will visit the next day.  One of my most favorite restaurants is La Rotisserie d’en Face (2 Rue Christine, 75006).  It is pretty small and we always make friends with a couple sitting next to us.  After dinner, we usually stroll around Saint-Germain-des-Pres and then make our way back to the apartment to sleep and start over again the next day.

Book Review: Paris My Sweet by Amy Thomas

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Image from: Sourcebooks

I first found “Paris My Sweet, A Year in the City of Light” by Amy Thomas on Twitter (I get great tips there).  I follow Ms. Thomas’ account and she was talking about the launch of the book.  When I read what it was going to be about, it moved to the top of my reading list!

Paris My Sweet” is one part autobiography and one part guide book.   Ms. Thomas moves from New York City to Paris to work in advertising for Louis Vuitton.  Okay, let’s stop right there.  Hello???  Dream job/dream city???  And, she is a dessert lover.   Raise your hand if you aren’t.  I thought the story was going to be all discounted Speedy bags and calorie free macarons, but like so many books written by Americans that move to Paris, it was about how Ms. Thomas never really felt like she fit in and never felt truly accepted by the locals.  She touches on just about everything that makes living in Paris hard: the language barriers, missing family and friends at home and the unfamiliarity of a new city.  So many people write about this.  But, when you think about it, these are things that would happen whether you moved to Paris or Australia or Russia.  Moving away from what you know is always going to be scary and difficult.

Now let’s talk sweets!  This is where the book shines.  Not only does Ms. Thomas describe is mouth-watering detail the fabulous desserts that she finds in Paris; she gives you a lot of history about them, too.  Throughout the book, she weaves tales of wonderful sweets not only in Paris but in New York City, as well.  What I find to be priceless are the last 16 pages of the book; her “address book” to all of the bakeries, restaurants and patisseries that she writes about in the book.  I actually tore these out and I’m taking them with me on my next trip (so many of them are near our Paris vacation rentals).

“Paris My Sweet” carried me away to Paris and gave me a tiny taste of Louis Vuitton.  I won’t divulge how many bags she bought or how large her discount was.  And, since I read the book at night, in bed, I dreamt of all things Parisian sweet (which happen to be calorie free).

Using Apps on Your Trip to Paris

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

I am an old fashioned girl.  I like nothing more than a well used travel guide and a map from AAA to help me navigate while traveling.  Yet, over the last few years, I have become quite the gadget lover, too!  I’ve been planning and plotting for my next trip to Paris and have discovered a whole load of apps that are going to help me travel smarter and more efficiently.  The apps are going to take me places that are so new they haven’t even been printed in the travel guides.  I’ll (hopefully) never end up in an average brasserie on a Sunday night because that was the only one that I thought was open.  And, I will probably look even more like a local because I won’t be standing on the corner trying to refold a map!

Here is a list of a few apps that I already have installed on my phone:

Meet Me at Pere Lachaise

Learn about the cemetery, how to get there, must see statues and a map to customize your tour.

Museums of Paris

Everything you need to know about the Paris museums.  Hours, maps, exhibits, information on the artists…EVERYTHING!

RATP Premium

This app explains the whole metro system.  Trains, buses and subways. Super helpful and free.


I have never been steered wrong by the reviews of restaurants on Yelp.  I can’t wait to use it in Paris.

Paris Pastry

300 of the best pastry and chocolate shops Paris has to offer?  The list was curated by David Lebovitz and is a must have.

Paris Toilets

When you gotta go, you gotta go!

There a hundreds of other apps available.  Have you used one that you think enhanced your stay in Paris?  Please share!  I know that I can’t wait to leave my apartment and see where they take me.

Our visual thought for the weekend…baguettes

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Paris – The 1st Arrondissement

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Tulieries Gardens

One of Paris’ twenty unique arrondissements (districts), the 1st arrondissement is one of the smallest and least populated in the city, but remains one of the best places to rent a Paris apartment vacation rental.  Housing both the Louvre and the Tulieries Gardens, the majority of the district is situated on the right bank of the Seine River with a small portion lying on the west end of the Ile de la Cite.  Other than these famous landmarks, the rest of the district is mostly a center for commerce which also attracts a large number of travelers to the area.

The most obvious advantage of having a Paris short term rental in the first arrondissement is probably the most famous museum in the world, the Louvre.  For those people who have already been to see the colossal museum, seeing it all in one day, or even two days, is next to impossible.  The museum holds over 35,000 historical objects that cover over 650,000 square feet, so if the Louvre is the focus of your trip to Paris, having a Paris Apartment Rental within walking distance is a wise choice.

Originally the site of the historical Tulieries Palace, the Tulieries Gardens may not always attract the majority of the tourist population, but the area is quiet, central, monumental, and beautifully landscaped making it a great place to rent a Paris vacation apartment.   The gardens connect the Louvre Museum Palace to the Arc de Triomphe with a 5 km walk featuring beautifully landscaped plant life & lawns, and historical fountains, basins and statues.  There are also a number of cafes and kiosks where visitors can rest and enjoy a baguette sandwich.  On a sunny day in Paris, there may not be a better place to relax and enjoy the city.

For visitors to Paris that don’t have the luxury of being on vacation, the first arrondissement is also a perfectly centralized location to stay for business.  Short term Paris apartments located in this district give business travelers easy access to almost any location within the city and the area is probably the most peaceful location to come home to after a long day’s work.   Whether your trip to Paris is for business or pleasure, the first arrondissement is an ideal location that will not disappoint.

Brave Cuisine

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Since I seem to be on a food kick, there are a few French delicacies that most people stay far far away from. When in France, be brave and try something local, something fresh and something out of your comfort zone. A few recommendations if I may.

You could start with an order of les cuisses de grenouilles. Frog legs. Yes, frog legs. Have you ever heard the saying it tastes like chicken? It actually tastes like chicken. You can typically find it prepared like any other meat; grilled, fried, baked etc. Still skeptical? Once it has been covered with a blend of herbs and butter, maybe some white wine, you will be singing a different tune. Next up, order some foie gras. You can order it many ways, but to start, pâté spread on a fresh baguette. In case you need some additional details about this delicacy, this sums it up.

Foie gras is a popular and well-known delicacy in French cuisine. Its flavor is described as rich, buttery, and delicate, unlike that of an ordinary duck or goose liver. Foie gras is sold whole, or is prepared into mousse, parfait, or pâté, and may also be served as an accompaniment to another food item, such as steak.

Escargot is a personal favorite. If you can over look the fact that there are snails under all that butter and parsley you will be in heaven. The tricky part is getting it out of it’s shell. Tiny forks are the best and most efficient way to do this but I would watch out. I have seen one too many snails go flying out of the shell. If you’d rather stick to something more familiar, try the boeuf tartare. It is raw hamburger but it is the finest grade of beef, fresh and fridge-cold, and it is mixed, either in the kitchen or table side, with too many delicious things to count. It is rather intense and rich so eat it slow and savor it with the french fries that almost always accompany it.

When in doubt, just try a new cheese. There are so many great cheese shops right around the corner from many of our luxury vacation rentals in Paris.  You can never ever go wrong with a baguette, a fabulous cheese and a bottle of French wine.

The best way to eat your way through Paris

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Food just might be the most overwhelming thing about Paris. There are restaurants, bakeries, cheese shops, food stands and everything else in between. Deciding where to have your meals can make your head spin. Ahhh, what a good problem to have.  If you really want your Parisian food experience to stand out, then remember a few simple tips.

Eat what’s in season. Most of the time the chefs will only serve what they can get fresh and ripe.  If you see a restaurant serving vegetables that aren’t in season I would stay away. Chefs in France take a lot of pride in their cooking and prefer to serve you the best of the best. Don’t eat on an American schedule. Dinner at 7 PM in Paris is considered the early bird round. You will really get to know the locals and enhance your dining experience if you stick to a french schedule. Normally, take your lunch between 12 and 1 PM. Next, hit the restaurants between 8 and 9 PM. If you’re unsure of what the dinner protocol is for a restaurant you’re interested in, do a walk by at lunch and get a feel for the vibe.

When you do find a restaurant you like, order from the “menu”. This is one of the price fix options that is typically 3 or 4 courses. It is the best way to eat dinner in Paris. You typically will save some money, as even the pricier restaurants provide a deal this way, and you will get to experience the food as the chef intended you to. Things are paired to give you a complete dining experience. Have an apéro before dinner. It’s a very French thing to do, and makes your meal more of an experience. You can visit a bar of cafe, or have one at the restaurant. Either way, it starts the evening off right.

Finally, be brave! Try something you wouldn’t think you’d like. Have the Foie gras or Boeuf tartare. You just might be surprised what you fall in love with. The best part about a vacation rental in Paris is the fabulous kitchens. This allows you to dine out and try your hand at French cooking in your own “home”. Bon Appetite!

Something different in Paris

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Paris is known for their meats, cheeses, pastries etc. There is no shortage of good food or great restaurants. This weekend, a different food style takes the stage. October 1st and 2nd this year, in Paris, is Vegan Day.

Paris Vegan Day Festival will offer you an amazing vegan experience. This weekend consists of stalls, workshops, conferences and debates on topics that constitute the reasons for this lifestyle 100% responsible. The discovery of this show made ??a large success and welcomed over 4500 people last year.

Wondering what a Vegan diet consists of? Officially, vegans choose to avoid using or consuming all animal products. They also avoid dairy, eggs, fur, leather, wool, down or any chemicals/cosmetics tested on animals. It is a lifestyle that has taken off over the last few years and the participants of Vegan Day are hoping to spread the word.

This year, the main contributors to the show are young companies and associations. They are hosting dynamic workshops and conferences to provide information and education. In addition to the stalls, talks and exhibitions, there will be tons and tons of food. On Saturday night, at the Forum, they will be hosting a tapas dinner and the firs eco vegan fashions show in Europe. On Sunday morning, a delicious vegan brunch will be taking place at La Halle aux Oliviers for everyone to enjoy. If you’d actually like to be hands on with the food, there are countless cooking demonstrations and lessons taking place at the forum as well. From 10 AM until 7 PM on both days, events will be running like clock work. If you are a parent, wanting more information on raising your child Vegan, they even have a Organic and Vegan Village on Sunday October 2nd. Session include, ” Dietary advice for the growing vegan” and ” organic snacks and games”.

So, if you are in France this weekend, relaxing in your Paris vacation rental, head over to the forum for a unique culinary experience. There will be lots of experts on hand to answer any questions, cook you some enticing food and provide you with lots of entertainment.

Learn from the professionals

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Paule Caillat

Not only can you find fantastic restaurants in Paris, you can always find a fantastic chef. If you are dying to channel your inner culinary skills then a fun excursion might be waiting for you in the kitchen. There are so many day classes, half-day classes and weekend adventures to choose from. We’ve found two unique experiences that are sure to delight your stomach and your taste buds.

The Promenades Gourmandes class with Paule Caillat. This is truly a start to finish class. Paule Calliat has been conducting cooking lessons, in English, for the last 13 years. All in her own kitchen. The day starts when you head with her to the market to shop for the ingredients. Talk about fresh! You will get to experience the local boulangerie, boucherie and poissonnerie. You will be skillfully educated on the differences in types of cheeses, cuts of meats and what to look for when selecting ingredients. Once you’ve filled your baskets, it’s back to her kitchen where the magic happens. You will prepare, completely hands on, a four course meal to pair with wine and great conversation. Nothing seems more authentic then sipping a glass of wine, while learning how to sautee and whisk a meal together from a true Parisian chef.

38 rue Notre Dame de Nazareth, 3rd, From €270 per person (less for parties of 2 or more).

You could also try a teaching class at La Cuisine Corsaire Ecole with Chef Emmanuel Tessier. The classes are all themed: spices, vegetables, fish, lobster, desert. Whatever the theme, expect to be transported with the ingredients. French is the primary language but ,if you give advance notice, you can have an English translation provided. For three hours you can expect to use all your senses and learn from a great chef instructor. It is very hands on and the themes are always related back to your own personal preferences. Suggestions of substitutions and ways you can use the techniques at home are discussed. Once your masterpiece is finished, you will sit down to taste the fruits of your labor. Each class has a max occupancy of 8 so an intimate lunch is a relaxing way to end the class. You also get a smaller box of your dish to take with you. The icing on the cake? As another parting gift, you are provided with ingredients to whip up something similiar at home. Tres Magnifique!

Place Saint-Méen, Cancale, €104–€160

Whether you choose to venture from your apartment rentals in Paris or not, is up to you. If you’re in the market for a unique culinary experience, a cooking class is the perfect way to spend an afternoon in the city of lights.

You don’t have to break the bank in Paris

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

We’ve talked about some of the ways to save money when you’re headed over to Paris, but what about when you get there? Things are expensive and if you aren’t careful you could end up blowing your budget. Fast. A few smart things to think about could save you some much needed money.

Think outside the box when it comes to activities. Not everything has to cost a fortune. There are quite a few museums that are free on the first Sunday of the month. If you happen to be in the city, this is something to take advantage of. If you are under 26, every Friday night the Louvre is free from 6- 9:45 PM. It’s always free to visit Notre Dame. They will charge for you to climb the tower, but a look around won’t cost you anything. In addition to strolling the Champs Elysees, the Paris flea markets are worth a gander. Walking the banks of the Seine or lounging in Luxembourg gardens are a great free way to spend a day in Paris.

When you get a hankering for a meal, keep a few things in mind. Try to eat your largest meal of the day at lunch. A lot of restaurants have more affordable menus and it’s always nice to sit outside in the afternoon lingering over a baguette. When ordering a drink, remember that soda and beer is very expensive in Paris. Try a coffee, espresso or a bottle of the house wine. The wine if often cheaper than water. Speaking of water, its very safe to drink. No need for bottled, order a carafe of tap water and save a few euros. When you want to fuel up before a long day of sightseeing, think twice about breakfast at the hotel. Stop into a local Monoprix and purchase a few breakfast staples, bread, cheese, jam etc. If your Paris vacation apartment rental has a small kitchen, take advantage of this money saving opportunity.

Finally, use the public transportation. Taxi’s can be very expensive depending on route and traffic. Get to know the bus lines and the metro. The buses will have routes all over the city and will serve a few purposes. They will get you from A to B and you’ll get to enjoy the city sights on the way. It’s so easy to hop on and off. You can purchase weekly transportation passes in Paris that allow you to ride the RER, Metro and buses an unlimited amount of times. If you are staying for a longer period of time, getting one of these passes will make transportation seamless and more cost effective.

When you vacation in Paris, remembering a few little tricks might add up to more savings than you think.