Paris/Avignon Trip Report

Jun 18th, 2005, 04:02 PM
  #1  
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Paris/Avignon Trip Report

I was going to post a question, but then decided I should first post a trip report from my trip to Avignon and Paris last September. Here goes:
Arrived at CDG on Sunday 9/5/04, took TGV to Avignon, had no problems using TGV for first time, very smooth trip. Checked into Hotel du' Europe. A beautiful hotel with a great courtyard bar. Nice room for 129E, with sepearte marble shower/bath.
I should explain now that my wife and I travel primarily to eat. We love researching and planninng our restaurants before each trip.
Dinner that night at La Mirande - restaurant in nice hotel behind palace de popes. We ate outside under an umbrella with only candlelight. We had fabulous tomato, vegetable risotta, a fish that reminded me of a cod, with a tomato and black olive cake. We followed up with an excellent chesse course. We had each had a class of champaign and split a bottle of local chateau neuf du pape. I believe the total was around 160 E. Overall we really enjoyed the meal and even more so the setting. We highly recommend it.
Next day: WE rented a car and drove all through Provence. We had reservations at La Mere Germaine located in Chateau Neuf Du Pape. This was a local place that we had read good things about. We decided to order the 4 course menu for 38 E.
1st course fresh Parmesean and Mushrooms sliced paper thin with OO on top. Fantastic
2nd - Large slice of butterly foie fras. As good as I have ever tasted.
3rd - Wife had a lobster and mushroom lasanga and I had Veal chop. Both good but not as good as the first two courses.
4th decided to sample several cheeses, tasted 6 between us, all very different, the Roquefort the best.
5th - Souffle's for dessert, very good.
Overall it the restaurant had excellent food. The setting was nice but not great and it was a little too warm for such a large meal. I think we drank 4 or 5 liters of water.
To be contiuned . . .
JWard is offline  
Jun 18th, 2005, 04:16 PM
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I'm so glad to hear that the Hotel de l'Europe is still good, I stayed there eons ago.
Keep posting your installments here, it sounds like you had a great trip.
elaine is offline  
Jun 18th, 2005, 04:58 PM
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After stops in St. Remy and Arles, we did not make it back to Avignon until late afternoon. We had a 9:00 reservation at La Fourchette. We were sooo tired we almost cancelled, very glad we didn't, one of the best meals of our trip. Very casual restaurant pack full of both locals and tourists. Nearly everything on the menu sounded great. We had appertifs, pitcher of house Rhone, salads of sun dried tomatoes and fresh monzerella. Entrees were foie gras for her, lamb chops for me. All extremely fresh and prefectly prepared. I do not recall what we had for dessert, but we stumbled back to the Hotel around midnight feeling very satisfied. I cannot wait to return. Full meal with drinks and wine was under 100E. . . .
JWard is offline  
Jun 18th, 2005, 05:10 PM
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Next morning we headed to Paris after a brief two nights in Avignon. We gave a lot of thought to how to split our time, we had 7 nights and decided on two in Avignon and 5 in Paris, after all, we are there for the food.
TGV to Paris was uneventful. We checked into Hotel Caron de beaumarchais. What a great place. Reasonable prices, 400 year old building with exposed beams in the celings of the rooms, modern bathroom, flat screen TV, and a phenominal breakfast that they will deliver to your room: Pasties from the boulangerie around the corner, fruit, yougurt, coffee. This is our second stay at the CdB and we liked it as much as our first. Lots of extras for 150 E/night.
Lunch that day at Chez Vong in Les Halles. We had eaten at this Chinese restaurant on New Years Eve in 2000. It a beautiful restaruant in an old stone building with lost of Chinese antiques. Food is good but not great, and the prices seemed a little high this time, but the staff is incredibly friendly and made us feel very welcome.
Killed the rest of the day walking in the Marais. Dinner that night at L'oulette, a restaurant in the Bercy district that had received rave reviews from numerous sources. We were glad we took a cab as it would have been hard to find on foot. Overall both o of us were underwhelmed. After all the great reviews we were expecting a first class meal and we both were not really impresssed with either the atmoshpere or the food. They are known for their confit, which we did not order, so maybe it was our fault. Overall we do not recommend it.
Wednesday - slept in and went to lunch at L'angle du Fouburg. Very beautiful restaurnt, very modern but well done. It reminded me of Jean Georges in NYC. We seemed to be some of the only tourists, I did wear a coat and tie, but nearly all of the other men had on dark suits. As nice as this place was it was not the least bit pretentious. They greeted us warmly. WE ordered drinks, and the 3 course lunch menu for 35E.
JWard is offline  
Jun 18th, 2005, 05:14 PM
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Fist course L'angle was a cold tomato soup with a cube of iced horseradish. Fabulous, maybe the best soup I have ever tasted. Next Lamb chops with mint, basil and other herbs and OO on them. Fabulous as well. Dessert Apple tart with ice cream, good but not great. When they brought the check I asked to see the Dinner menu and teh Maitre'd came out and sat at our table and invited us back for dinner on Friday. He even gave us the dinner menu to take back to the hotel so we could plan the meal. Overall a great experience, very different atmosphere than that bistro/Brassiere setting of most Paris Restaurants.
JWard is offline  
Jun 18th, 2005, 05:31 PM
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I stayed at L'Europe, their dining room was not a disappointment. Enjoying your report. I hope there is more to come.
cigalechanta is offline  
Jun 18th, 2005, 08:20 PM
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L'angle gets some very good reviews. Waiting for more from you.
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Jun 18th, 2005, 09:14 PM
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We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around and trying to walk off lunch.
Dinner: We had a 9:00 reservation at Le Souffle in the 1st ard. We had read good reviews on this site as well as others adn we were not disappointed, although it was not what we expected. From the descriptons we had read we thought it was a casual restaurant. When we arrived for our reservation we were surpirsed to find that it was very sophisticated and very "French". I mean that in a good way. When we walked in the door we were clearly the only tourists as the restaurant was filed with mostly older locals dressed very nicely. The Maitre'D did not seem excited to see us when he first set us, but when our waiter came and we each ordered the three course all souffle menu he the waitrers warmed up considerable. Teh souflee's were greaat. We both started with a simple cheese souflee. All of the Souflee's are huge, I believe theree eggs each. They brought a simple green salad between the first and second souflee which was very good. For my entree souflee, I had the Henry V (Henri Quatra) the waiter called it. A simple souflee that was filed with chicken and mushrooms. It was absolutly fantastic. My wife had a vegatable which was not quite as good. For Dessert, of course, souflee's mine chocolate, her's grand marnier. The waiter brought a liter bottle of Grand Mariner to the table to put a shot into the top of her souflee and left the bottle. Once I added a shot or two to the chocolate that I had, it was even better than hers. All in all it was a great restaurant and a good break from the French food we had been eating. With a bottle of wine I do not quite remember, but I believe that it ran just over 100 E for the two of us. We cannot wait to return.
JWard is offline  
Jun 18th, 2005, 09:42 PM
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Thursday: Lunch at Restaurant De L'Aster. We ate here b/c we had eaten at Jamin a few years ago when Joel Rochebome (forgive my spelling) was the chef and had a great lunch. we had read that Rochebome's assistant at Jamin was now the chef here. I do not know if this is still the case, b'c we had a very mediocre meal here. We had read that they had a 50E menu that ihcluded wine. when we arrived we were told that they did not have the menu we expected. We ordered a la carte and had food that was not great and very expensive. We would not recommend this restaurant. With two drinks and a reasonable bottle of wine it was nearly 200 E.
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Jun 20th, 2005, 06:33 AM
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Friday - Lunch in 7th Ard. at Au Bon Accuiel. We had a fabulous lunch. The restaruant had been renovated since we had been here three or four years earlier, it had a more modern feel to it, but stil the same great food. We ate inside as it looked a like it was going to rain. We had tomoato soup that was nearly as good as what we had at L'Angle. Entree's were a light white fish with an excellent sauce and lamp chops. The chops were far better here that what I had the previous day at L'astor. Ended with cheese course and coffee. Overall great meal, great atmoshpere, formal service and a place not to be missed, We have referred sevearl others here as well and have heard nothing but good things from all who have been.
JWard is offline  
Jun 20th, 2005, 06:36 AM
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Dinner that night at L'Angle. We decided to try the 5 or 6 course tasing menu. The restaurant had a totally different feel to it at night than it had at lunch. The night crowd consisted of very well dressed American and Asian tourists. The restaurant was much quiet, despite being full and seemed to have a slower pace. I must admit that we did not write down what courses we had on the tasting menu. I can say that I enjoyed it very much and I thought it was a good value. I beleive that the 5 or 6 courses was 60 E each, which I thought was an bargain for a restaurant of this caliber. On the whole, we enjoyed dinner, but both decided that we prefered the atmoshpere at lunch and also preferred the simple three course menu at lunch as well. Next trip we will return for lunch.
JWard is offline  
Jun 20th, 2005, 08:47 AM
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So glad you enjoyed Le Souffle. We had the same experience. I was hesitant to go because I thought it would be too touristy but a friend encouraged me and we had a great time. The place was full of French people and everybody was very friendly and fun. Hope you got to see the beautiful but tiny bathroom.
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Jun 20th, 2005, 02:27 PM
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I do recall the bathroom at Le Souffle was tiny. The restuarnt was nothing like I expected either. For some reason the reviews I read made it seem the ompletel opposite of what we encountered. We enjoyed it very much.
On with the report.
Saturday we had lunch at Jules Verne. This was the splurge of our trip. We arrived about 15 minutes early for a 12:15 reservation. We lined up and were in the first group that went up the elevator to the restaurant. When we arrived the first view out the massive windows is stunning. The restaurant itself is very nice, lots of black and white. We were seated at a table for two next to the window.
When we received the menu I was surprised to see that on Saturday the lunch pre-fixe is not offerred. This left us with two choices. Eitehr order a la carte or go for the 7 course menu. A la carte would have been around 100 E each at a minumem for three courses. The 7 course was either 120 or 140 E each. We decided, this would probably be our only time to eat here, so we splurged for the 7 course and ordered an inexpensive bottle of wine. I did notice that sereral American seated at a table nearby were trying to order either only one course or were trying to split the appetizers, and this seemed not to be going over well with the waiters.
The only problem with the 7 courses was that there was no choices. Two of the first three coures involved seafood mousee. They looked very good and if you enjoy shrimp and crab moouse they likely were good. I do not so I managed to choke down most of it hoping that the meal would take a turn for the better by the entree. Well, it did, the brought a veal tenderloin with potatoes that was excellent and the cheese and dessert were very good as well. Overall, I would agree with many reviews that I read that you come to Jules Verne for the experience and not the food. THat is not to say that the food was not good, but for the prices, it is not great, as it shoudl be. All in all a great way to spend a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. If we ever return it will be on a weekday lunch so we can catch the 60 E lunch special.
JWard is offline  
Dec 11th, 2005, 08:45 AM
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GE
 
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I have been looking for a web site for Hotel du' Europe with not success. Do they have one and if so what is it? Enjoyed the trip report.
GE
GE is offline  
Dec 11th, 2005, 05:01 PM
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Thanks for the great trip/eating report!!
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Jan 9th, 2006, 08:33 AM
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Can anyone help with travel around St. Remy (we plan to use as a base) If we take TVG from Paris to Avignon, can we get to St. Remy by public transporation? Are there trains or buses in and out of St. Remy for day trips? If not, we can rent a car, but thought I would ask for suggestions first.
mimi07 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2006, 08:44 AM
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Oh my JWard... you can order for me anytime! YUM
SuzieC is offline  
Jan 9th, 2006, 08:50 AM
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mimi:

There's probably public transportation from Avignon to St-Rémy, but since you really, really should have a car to visit this area, it's a moot point.
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Jan 9th, 2006, 12:12 PM
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There is public transportation from Avignon to St Remy as I've taken it -- buses. It's not terribly convenient by schedule, and it's a local bus that can take school kids home in the afternoon so meanders around a lot (sort of an experience in itself). You won't have a lot of time in St Remy, that's the main problem. When I took it (several years ago), there was only one run at a time I thought worked for me which arrived around 11:30 am or so. I think there was only one return run in the afternoon that was possible, maybe around 4, so that just didn't leave a lot of time given you have to walk the mile or so to/from the asylum to see the Van Gogh connections. The Roman ruins are down that way, also, very near it.

So, I did do it and am glad I did, but I didn't visit the Roman ruins as I'm not as interested in them. I think I first had a lunch around the center of town where the bus leaves you off, then walked to the asylum, saw it, and back and meandered around town a bit before the return bus.

I guess it doesn't sound terrible now that I review it, but I might have liked to have had a little extra time and the bus schedule at that time didn't allow for it. Check for current schedules in the Avignon bus station. Other than that, it was a pleasant ride as long as you don't mind being stuck on a bus with a bunch of French schoolkids.

There is no train station in St Remy.
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