Posts Tagged ‘Guest Post’

5-Star food on a 2-Star Budget

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

Our Guest Blogger Lisa and her brother in front of Bistrot D’Acote Flaubert

 

Paris may be the city of light, but it is also arguably the cuisine capital of the world. Of course, with the incredible edibles also comes the unbelievable price tag. While restaurants like Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower, Guy Savoy near the Champs Élysées, or Restaurant Lasserre may serve up some of the best food, the prices put them far out of reach of mere mortals.

Years ago, my mother came across a gem of Parisian cuisine that at first sounds too good to be true, but after a taste of their lobster mac n’ cheese a few years ago I can tell you that it does indeed exist. Bistrot D’Acote Flaubert is one of Paris’ best-kept culinary secrets.

Right around the corner from Michele Rostang, one of Paris’ priciest spots, the Bistrot sits in quiet obscurity. Those who choose to forgo the golden doors of Michele Rostang and instead venture into Bistrot D’Acote, owned by the same family, are in for an experience like no other. The charmingly small bistro, with its collection of beer steins and Michelin Tire Co. artifacts (a nod to the coveted restaurant grading system), is the last place you would expect to have a mind-blowing dinner.  Yet, the fact that the Bistrot shares its kitchen with Michele Rostang is a good indicator of what is to come.

Between their Gratin de Penne et Crème de Homard (my favorite) and their rotisserie veal for two, you’ll be lucky if you have room for their out-of-this-world Petits Pots De Crème. Perhaps the most satisfying part of the meal, however, is the after-dinner stroll down the block to see the posted menu of Michele Rostang, and noticing your 30 Eur. Entrée et Plat would barely get you a glass of wine there.

The Bistrot was recently featured as a set in the movie “Sarah’s Key”, but on our last visit still seemed blissfully undiscovered. Even so, reservations here are a must on the weekends, and the Bistrot is only open certain days during the week for lunch or dinner, so be sure to check before you go! Reservations can be made through opentable.com or by visiting the restaurant’s website: http://www.bistrotflaubert.com/

Bistrot D’Acote Flaubert

10 Rue Gustave Flaubert

75017 Paris, France

Lisa Gabrielson is a current undergraduate student at American University in Washington, DC. Before attending college, she spent a gap year abroad as an Au Pair and fell in love with Paris. When she’s not in the classroom or daydreaming about the city of light, she can be found sailing for the university sailing team or working as President of her sorority, Sigma Delta Tau. You can find Lisa on Twitter @Lisa790

 

Paris After Dark

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

 Guest Post by Daniella Carrese      

 La Ville-Lumière. The City of Light, Paris got its nickname from all the lights that illuminate the night sky. During the evening in Paris, the streets light up with the lamp posts and lights from around. All the lights make the city seem as if it is always awake.  Along the Seine, there are beautiful lights that seem as though they have been there forever. Due to the lights, you can take a nice stroll along the river at night. Looking down from the Eiffel Tower in the evening is magical.  The streets are light up beautifully.  Along the Champs Elyseès the trees are strung with lights that make the night seem as if it day.  Although you cannot see the stars in Paris, due to all the light pollution, the sky is normally covered with a navy blue blanket. The city dies down a bit, but there are still a number of things to do during the evening.

You can take a tour of the Seine and explore all of its canals at night. You can visit the Moulin Rouge. The Moulin Rouge is a cabaret and music hall, built in 1889 by Joseph Oller this building has seen many stars including Edith Piaf and Frank Sinatra. Today it is still used, there is a nighttime cabaret show. You can see shows at this historic concert hall at most times of the day. Le Procope is Paris’ oldest cafe that was established in 1686. Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Hemingway and Picasso were some of the few who regularly ate at this establishment. Closing at 11:30, this cafe is a great place to hangout for the night. Walking around the streets near your Paris vacation rental is a great way to get a feel of the city and what it is actually like all the time.

To read more from Daniella, click “here

For even more tips  and tricks to make Paris travel easier, ask for our “Insider’s Guide to Paris”! 

 

A Free Woman in Paris by Karen A. Chase

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Wandering the streets of Paris, especially at sunset, always makes me feel like I’ve traveled back through time. Even the cars in shadow feel like they are from another era.

A guest post by Karen A. Chase,  author of Bonjour 40: A Paris Travel Log (40 years. 40 days. 40 seconds.)

 When I realized I had to turn forty, I decided I could that gracefully in Paris. I had been to Paris fifteen years earlier but only for five days and it hadn’t been long enough. Although many writers have changed their lives and moved there, I didn’t need to do that. (Okay, I wanted to, but I couldn’t.) So, I settled on going for nearly forty days.

I rented an apartment, planned for a year, put work on hold, and said, “Bonjour 40!” It was delightful. Days were filled with all sorts of food, museums, writing, experiences, people, and did I mention the food? I kept a blog while I was there, and this entry is one that lingers with me as the most perfect day for a woman alone in Paris.

Day 15 ~ May 5

I got lost. Hopelessly, wonderfully, nowhere in particular-ly lost. I did start out my day with a planned visit to a museum (Musée Jacquemart-André), but once I left it I just got wanderlust for the next eight hours. It sounds frightening, but no, wandering in Paris is delightful. Every corner I went around had another little strip of charming stores, grand statues, festive cafés, gardens, architecture, flowers, or monuments to behold.

With no phone, and limited email access, being unplugged is giving me the freedom to go out for these aimless excursions whenever writing hits a wall or my curiosity gets the best of me. My favorite spots are the really small, short streets that wind together in a jumbled, crooked mess. There, the traffic noise is reduced significantly, the shopkeepers are a bit friendlier, the wares are more unique, and cafés are quainter. It’s there that Paris feels more like Paris.

In my meandering, I tried to visit the overcrowded Arch de Triomphe and ended up on the Champs Elysées yesterday. Within about five minutes, I grabbed a free bicycle and escaped the area entirely. I didn’t come to Paris to see tourists eating fast food and buying overpriced American designer clothing. It isn’t the romantic boulevard it was when Joni Mitchell sang about it.

Bandit

My footsteps finally led me to the crab shack and bar, L’Amuse Geuele, at the end of my block in the 4th arrondissement. It is fast becoming a favorite. It is managed by Bandit-the-dog who barks at everything he’s never seen before and sits next to me begging for food. Dorothée, his owner, speaks wonderful English, so here I can learn and share equally. We chat until she closes for the night. As my day of wandering ended, words from that same Joni Mitchell song come to me: “I was a free man in Paris, I felt unfettered and alive. There was nobody calling me up for favors, and no one’s future to decide. . . .”

We were thrilled to have Karen submit a post to share with our guests!  You find her on Twitter @KarenAChase, on Facebook or on her website here: http://www.karenachase.com/

Les Coins, a guest post by Brandon Smith

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Photo Credit:  Brandon A. Smith

Les Coins

I’ve been to Paris a number of times.  There are so many destinations that I could choose from, that I’d love to climb aboard a plane and be whisked to, yet each time I find myself ready for some time to bask, a vacation of sorts, my heart is tugged in the direction of that ever changing City of Lights.  “Certainly”, others begin, “you’d be better off expanding your horizons”.  I’d be better off, in the words of my friends, trying new places, experiencing yet another culture, playing resident in a new city. Yet even with that sage advice, I open my passport and collect another stamp from an ever-familiar country.

You see, for me, Paris has never been a stagnate city. A city that after spending time under its moon and in the arms of its streets, you feel you’ve seen it all.  A locale that continues along the same never changing path of modernization and politicalization. Is that a word? In some cities it must be.  For me, Paris is an onion begging to be peeled.  Every corner, a city anew.   To walk an arrondissement is to dive head first into the deep end of an ever growing puzzle.

I don’t carry a map with me when I’m in Paris.  Maps are too stifling. Too directive. Too distracting.  Certainly it is against second nature to leave the plat of the city behind in one’s hotel but to do so ensures a simple stroll will unfold to become an adventure.  I’ve seen the Louvre.  I’ve been to the Eiffel Tower. Montmartre is a promise of a beautiful view. But to experience these monuments to Parisian culture is to peel away only the first of its layers.

To leave the map behind. To promenade the rues de la ville.  To turn corners at will with no final objective.  That is to experience the city that is Paris. I’ve found odd shops where a single word of English is not uttered.  Stumbled upon a bistro with a delicious, authentic steak frites.  Discovered the oldest magasin de chocolat.  Decadent discoveries are bound to be made by simply turning the corner.  Experiencing les coins. Paris makes no promises but never fails to excite. Though a warning, once found, there is the possibility of never finding these places again.

But that, however, is what makes Paris so intriguing. The excitement that is the corner.

Brandon Smith is the founder/principal/therapist of d.coop, a boutique spatial design and development firm in  San Diego, California.  You can read more from him on his blog, d.coop and Tweet with him @dcoopsd.