Posts Tagged ‘Wine’

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 or by visiting the restaurant’s website:

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


Day Trips from Paris – Épernay

Monday, April 30th, 2012

What a street name! Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Getting out of the city for the day is a great idea!  You can leave your Paris apartment rental early in the morning, travel for an hour or so and be back by dinner.  Many of our guests like to visit Épernay, the center of the Champagne region.

Getting There:

Épernay is 100 north-east of Paris.  Renting a car is not ideal since you will probably be doing a lot of tasting!  You can take a private car and driver but this proves to be very expensive.  Insiders know that taking the short train ride from Gare de L’est to Reims or Épernay is the best way to travel.  The ride is about 1-1 1/2 hours long.  You can book your tickets with and pick them up at any station.

What To Do:

Taste and buy champagne, of course! Two popular houses to visit are Pol Roger and Moet & Chandon but you can see an extensive list here.  You can also opt for a more structured day and book a Champagne Tour with Viator.  The minivan tour includes transportation from Paris to the region and an English speaking tour guide.

Where To Eat:

There are some great restaurants in Épernay and the Pol Roger website has a wonderful listing.  There is one restaurant that seems to be on everyone’s list and that is La Cave a Champagne (16 rue Gambetta, 51200 Épernay, 08 73 20 05 31).

What to Buy:

Champagne!  Buying bottles of champagne at the major houses can be pricey but they may also offer easy shipping and handling (peace of mind).  Many blogs and books on the region recommend that you listen carefully to the tour guides and then go into one of the wine shops in the town and purchase your bottles there, perhaps from a lesser known company.  Using all of the information that you learned on your tours will help you purchase good bottles.

What to Know:

Check with the champagne houses that you want to visit before you go.  Some have no entrance fees and some charge a nominal fee.  Also, depending on the time of year, they may be closed to tours because they are harvesting (September and October).  Some houses require appointments.  You can also visit our Épernay board on Pinterest to see some lovely pictures.

After spending the day in Épernay, it will be nice to be able to return to your Paris vacation rental, put your feet up and celebrate a fun day with a bottle of really good champagne.  Cheers!


Wine Tasting in France

Monday, May 30th, 2011

French wine is known all over the world for its great quality and actually tops the list as being the biggest wine producer in the world. The various wine regions in France combine to produce up to 60 million hectolitres of wine every year which is equal to 8 billion wine bottles. In terms of vineyard area, it ranks second next only to Spain. Wine is a big business in France and is a great tourist attraction for tasting, or just for viewing the thousands of acres of vineyards that provide breathtaking views throughout the countryside.

The native grapes of France are widely dispersed worldwide, but the most important and famous grape varieties are Pinot Noir, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The three greatest French wine regions are composed of the well known trio of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne. Bordeaux is the most popular wine region in France and produces many of the most famous red wines of the world such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Château Lafite-Rothschild and Merlot. However, many other famous varietals are also produced by Burgundy, such as the high end wine product Côte d’Or. Champagne is, of course, known for its sparkling white or rose wine.  Ever heard of Dom Perignon?
Almost all areas of France cultivate vines and if you’re planning for a luxury Paris vacation, a tour to the famous vineyards is a must. April and May are great months to visit and so is September (harvest time) when you can take part in the many harvest festivals all over the countryside.
For a day trip from your Paris luxury apartment, many villages in the country provide tasting rooms, so you can taste the world famous French wines. Tourists should typically look for a sign that says “degustation.” This indicates that wine tasting is available. You can also buy wine in these places, but not all French vineyards offer tastings.
Wineries in Champagne are actually situated less than 200 km from Paris,  which will make a great starting point for a vineyard tour.  Guided tours are also a good option and many of them are easily accessed from any Paris apartment rental or hotel. They charge a fee of course, but provide direct, hassle free access to all the vineyards you can handle. They are also happy to translate for you if needed.
For detailed information about wine tasting in France, you can always ask your friendly CobbleStay Paris vacation rental booking agent.

Nightlife in Paris

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Chez Jeanette

Almost everyone who has the knack for traveling has Paris somewhere in their list of places to visit, and why not? Home to some amazing sights, sounds and many other cultural and recreational centers, this city has plenty of everything to fill the hours from morning until night.

If your mornings and afternoons are devoted to sightseeing, then you’ll probably find yourself heading out to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Centre Pompidou and the Arc de Triomphe, just to name a few. If these places are not enough for the experienced traveler, consider staying in a Paris vacation apartment and just walk about the city streets for a much closer look at the life of a Parisian and devote your nights plumbing the depths of the many night attractions in Paris.
Bars, dance clubs and restaurants come alive to bring you the entertainment and the sumptuous dishes that this city is so well known for. Paris bars are worth looking into if you are after making new friends and having the best time possible in the City of Love.  With CobbleStay, you can even bring your new found acquaintances back to your luxury Paris apartment for a nightcap!
Paris bars are oozing with sophistication, elegance and a friendly atmosphere that is conducive for meeting new people, making friends and generally having a great time, Paris style. Some bars in Paris incorporate their love for art with several paintings and artworks displayed on their walls.
As for the drinks, well, you have plenty of options to choose from whether you are after martinis, beer, hard drinks and the like; you name it, and they have it. It doesn’t take long for a traveler to get acquainted with the bars in Paris, especially when the friendly bartenders will make you feel right at home.
A few truly great Paris bars are Le Fumoir, Andy Wahloo, Cafe La Cannibal, and Chez Jeanette and they are definitely worth a visit. Each of these amazing bars have something unique to make your time truly memorable. From delicious drinks mixed perfectly and dishes that will make your belly full in no time at all, these bars will take care of you from the moment you enter their threshold all the way to your departure.
Assuming you will be making your own assessment though that is based on your own experience, we have no doubt that with the amazing beverages, food and friendly atmosphere, you will not have a hard time agreeing that they are some of the city’s best.

Quick Guide: French Wine Part 3 (food pairing)

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Now that you know a little about wine labels & regions, you’re ready to taste.  Feeling adventurous? Be a true Parisian and plan a French Meal around your wine (or plan wine with a French Meal) and where better to do so than in your Luxury Paris Vacation Rental?

The main thing to understand is wine’s many colorful descriptors while ignoring oddballs like asphalt or tree bark, or anything else non edible for that matter.  Do people really know what asphalt tastes like!? The following is a brief guide to some of these descriptors.  After reading them, you may even catch yourself talking about them to others.  Try describing wine with your amoré in your Paris apartment rental first and before you know it you’ll be a tasting expert!
The following is a short breakdown of wines and some common foods they are good with:
Riesling: light, fruity & sweet, with a subtle fizz *salads & appetizers
Gewurztraminer: very sweet & fruity, subtle fizz; *fruits or desserts
Sauvignon Blanc:  light & crisp, typically either fruity or dry with a pepper taste.  *seafood & appetizers
Pinot Gris: full bodied & crisp with a rich & floral aroma *salads & seafood
Chardonnay: full-bodied, tends to be creamy or oaky *chicken & pasta
Viognier: floral, aromatic & fruity with hints of nectar & cream.  *salads, pasta, seafood, chicken
Roussanne: intense aromas, hints of herbal tea and flavors of pear, pepper & nut.
Rosés: delicate & dry, and newer rosés are fruity *salads, seafood & pork
Remember, don’t confuse a rosé with White Zinfandel, which is cause for beheading in Paris (just kidding!)
Cabernet Sauvignon (aka “The King”): medium-full bodied, rich in fruit & tannins *red meat dishes
Merlot: medium-bodied & fruity *chicken, red meat, pork, pasta, salad
Syrah: big and bold, full-bodied, firm tannins, smooth & berry forward *rich meat dishes & chocolate
Grenache & Malbec: medium-full bodied, ripe and jammy fruit flavors *red meat & spicy dishes
Pinot Noir: the toughest grape to grow! Light-bodied & fruit forward *light meat & pasta
Cabernet Franc: medium-bodied and distinct berry flavors *chicken, pasta, greek & pizza
Overall, pairing wine with food is both an art and a science and can be quite complex, so here is sample meal and wine pairing to give you an idea during your stay in your very own Paris vacation apartment:
Appetizer:          Epoisses Cheese & Apple Tart. Wine: Domaines Ott Cotes de Provence Rosé
Main Entrée:     Beef Bourgignon; Wine: Domaine LaFond Chateauneuf du Pape
Dessert:             Chocolate soufflé; Dessert wine: Pineau de Charentes
Happy drinking!…and eating of course

Quick Guide: French Wine Part 1 (The Basics)

Thursday, August 26th, 2010
Producing 8 million bottles per year, French Wine is one of the most succulent and classic elements of French Culture.  As one of the world’s largest wine producers, wine is practically a national treasure that every Parisian traveler must experience. Contrary to popular belief, drinking French wine doesn’t have to be expensive.  Lucky for you as a traveler to France, they keep the more modest (and I’ll argue tastier) wines locally and at manageable prices.  You’ll also find when you purchase wine at a restaurant or take one home to your Paris apartment rental or hotel the label might be downright confusing.  Fear no more, as after reading this simple guide, you’ll be well versed on the wine itself and will reading and understanding the labels in no time.
The first thing to know about is quality control and there are 2 main concepts: the “terroir” which breaks down styles of wine by region, and the “AOC” system, which regulates the production of wine by region.  To see a few examples, you’ll find that most varieties of region and quality are found at any of the restaurants and stores located nearby your Paris vacation apartment or hotel.
The next thing to know about is the grape; Interestingly, many popular California grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay) actually originate from France.  But unlike most California wines, the French like to blend varietals rather than bottling single-grape wines.  Specifically, the French favor Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon & Cabernet Franc for reds & Chardonnay, Viognier, Gewurztraminer & Roussanne for whites.
French labels vary depending on region, but all have the following: 1) classification per AOC system 2) the name of the producer 3) the region it was produced in and 4) the bottling location.  Note: “au chateau”, “au domaine” & “a la propriete” mean the wine was actually bottled at the vineyard/estate.  The label will then list the type of grape. For single-grape wines, it must be at least 85% that grape and for multiple-grape wines every grape used is listed in descending order according to its percentage.
Now that you understand wine labels, stay tuned for more information on tasting and pairing French wines, should you choose to host a wine tasting party at your Paris vacation rental.