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Paris Is for Pleasure: Eight Days of Solo Dining, Wandering and Decadence

Paris Is for Pleasure: Eight Days of Solo Dining, Wandering and Decadence

Jun 3rd, 2009, 07:17 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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Got into town on Monday afternoon - Spent yesterday unpacking etc., etc., and it's sure good to be back in my own bed!
Yes, the report will be posted in due course but I want to sort through and select the photos first so that when I write about our three weeks away I can add the photos immediately.

I envy your gourmet dinners Leely!! With those prices we would have definitely broken the bank! (Exchange rate at time of purchase of foreign exchange was around R12 to 1 euro!)
tod is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2009, 08:45 AM
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tod, everything's cheaper when it's just one person. Also, I couldn't afford to dine like this for three weeks.

All my other reviews will be much shorter, promise! I went into such detail about LGC because I don't see it mentioned here very often. I forgot to mention the excellent, excellent risotto with lemon and asparagus flowers (?) and that the amuses were both great, especially the tartlet with veggies.
Leely2 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2009, 08:57 AM
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I just stumbled upon this report...I haven't had time read more then your first entry but loving it already. I'll savor the rest later today!
LowCountryIslander is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2009, 05:18 PM
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Leely, I don't know if I imagined this or not, but at some point did you mention something about trying to get tickets to see Morrissey in Paris? Did you go see him? Or am I completely whacked?
Apres_Londee is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2009, 06:24 PM
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The Morrissey thing didn't work out (the ballet did)--he was scheduled to play after I departed. But as you can see, I was bound and determined to do all the things friends/boyfriends/family/other traveling companions will not agree to.

On the other hand, I believe Moz's dates have been postponed until November so...

(Leely=100% dork.)
Leely2 is offline  
Jun 4th, 2009, 07:32 AM
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Sunday miscellaneous
I'm sure those of you accustomed to fine dining know this, and I think I had read about it before but had forgotten: at LGC and Le Cinq they bring you a little upholstered stool for your bag. Very cute, as if your purse is dining with you. Technically, your purse is taking you out if that's where you keep your wallet.

After lunch at LGC I had my taxi driver drop me at Musée Jacquemart-André.
This was my first visit to this museum and as an audioguide aficionada, of course I indulged. My verdict: good audioguide--great museum! French, Dutch (Rembrandt, Van Dyck) and Italian painting are represented and the objet d'art, decor and house in general are worth a visit in and of themselves.

I always end up spending much longer at musuems than people say they take, so I was there for quite a while and ponied up for the Italian Primitives exhibit too because I was in "do whatever I want whenever" mode. I enjoyed it but cannot remember it that well--kinda blurs with Uffizzi, Siena and other painitings I've seen in Tuscany.


After the musuem, walked down FDR to the Champs d'Elysees, past Grand Palais, Petit Palais, Place de la Concorde, to the Louvre and finally caught the Metro. Did all this in heels and my dogs were barking. So the excitement for that evening involved doing laundry, eating a pear and drinking some wine. Barefoot.

Some random shots from that walk:
Leely2 is offline  
Jun 4th, 2009, 07:35 AM
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I apologize for my typos. I do know how to spell museum but am rushing before work.
Leely2 is offline  
Jun 4th, 2009, 08:32 AM
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Yes this was my stool at Les Ambassadeurs:


I think I encountered it in Spain too.

My favorite is still my experience at Le Calandre. There they put my carry on on a chair so my dining companion was a carry on. (I was going to Venice that night after dinner, and left luggage in Padova station was shut for the night already.) Would have been great to have a picture taken of me and my dining companion that night.
111op is offline  
Jun 4th, 2009, 08:45 AM
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That is so adorable, isn't it. I never felt alone with my bag.

I was a little confounded by the napkin-changing deal at Le Cinq too. Of course in that kinda place they're so gracious no matter what gaffes one makes. They made me feel like a real charmer!

Had a conversation with my "consultant," Julot about the economics of palace restaurants like Le Cinq, how they don't exactly need to be profitable and can employ a staff of hundreds--because of the relationship with the hotel which is turning a ginormous profit.
Leely2 is offline  
Jun 4th, 2009, 09:20 AM
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Hi Leely, Good to hear you have arrived home safe and sound. By the sounds of things you had a great time (so did your purse.) I am loving your reporting of all the restaurants, the one in the Bois du Boulogne sounds perfect.

I am still going with my report, I think I have bored everyone senseless now!!! Only a couple of days to go and we have the long trek home to Aussieland on Monday night. Loving SAnta Margherita, I know you said you hadn't thought of linking the two but it works quite well, a quick flight to Genoa and then the train to SML. Both of course very different places a good contrast.

I hope you are sleeping well back home and jet lag is not keeping you up all hours particularly as you are back at work.
I was very pleased to meet you and I thought you were a very happy person, now I realise it was helped along by so much wine!!! Only joking, it was great to see and meet you.
Keep going with more details.
schnauzer is offline  
Jun 4th, 2009, 09:24 AM
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What was the napkin changing ritual?

Was Julot paid for his efforts? (I guess so.)

Through my various dining experiences, I think I've gathered enough material for a book.
111op is offline  
Jun 4th, 2009, 10:15 AM
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Oh my!! Your pictures make me really miss Paris.....only 4 months!!!
Sooosally is offline  
Jun 4th, 2009, 10:22 AM
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111op, nice use of passive voice. Yes, I paid for Julot's services. I'm sure I could have gotten a lot more, but I was specifically looking for a not-too-heavy schedule and I didn't want to eat at the same type of restaurant twice. We went back and forth revising/changing "the list" for a while. He'll do quite a bit of this just because he's interested--very nice guy whether you engage his services or not.

A friend and I were saying how fun it must be to do what he does (though it's not his full-time job but rather his passion). Of course in addition to knowing a lot about food and chefs and restaurants, you have to be fluent in several languages and really like people.

Three strikes against me.

Here's Julot's blog for those interested:
Leely2 is offline  
Jun 4th, 2009, 10:26 AM
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This is just great! I am particularly looking forward to the report about Le Chateaubriand! And Le Cinq!

Curious why you changed from L'Ami Jean....(?)
ekscrunchy is online now  
Jun 4th, 2009, 11:08 AM
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Actually Leely, I think that you forget the most important asset for a job like this (or in most jobs): good looks! I hope you asked for a photo before you went out eating with him.
111op is offline  
Jun 4th, 2009, 04:34 PM
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111op, spoken like a true job-seeker. It's such a brutal, callous world.
Leely2 is offline  
Jun 4th, 2009, 05:05 PM
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I'm really enjoying this report, Leely. What better way to enjoy Paris than thru' its fabulous food and wine!
Great photos, too.
panecott is online now  
Jun 4th, 2009, 05:10 PM
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I was out with some friends and one of them said the waiters in NYC are better looking than the ones in SF? Why?

There are more actors in NYC (someone else came in to say that LA waiters are more attractive).

But then we said, well, there are probably a lot of people looking. Which one would you hire? The attractive one or the ugly one?

I don't mean to sound sexist -- but I've heard stories where people comment on how beautiful the receptionists of various companies are (not what the companies actually do!).
111op is offline  
Jun 4th, 2009, 05:27 PM
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A Hop to Saint Germain-en-Laye and Dinner at Au Bon Accueil
Sidenote: I never woke up early or got out of the apartment before 11am on this trip. It's part of the decadence. Why bother?

I went for a run Monday morning. After a few trips here and there toting my running shoes along with me but never taking them out of the suitcase, I managed to run three, count 'em, three times. Did an Arsenal, Seine, Ile St. Louis, Jardin des Plantes route. Very nice, especially Jardin des Plantes and along the Arsenal.

After running and coffee-drinking and croissant-eating, oh and showering too, the apartment has a pretty sweet rain shower, I hightailed over to Musée National Eugène Delacroix to see what I could see. It's very small and peaceful, no major works as far as I know, but an interesting place to get a sense of Delacroix's work and relevance.


The entrance to the museum is the green door in the corner:

Museum Pass
I also picked up a sox-day museum pass, which was a waste of money for me this trip. And I never visited any museum with a line, just lucky timing I am sure, so it didn't save me precious minutes either because I waltzed right into wherever I wanted to go. But this goes with the decadent, c'st la vie nature of my trip.

Bringing Something to a "French" Person
I had to go meet my former French tutor out in St. Germain-en-Laye for a lesson. We had changed our plans about a dozen times in the weeks prior to my trip. She ended up surprising me with a picnic lunch that she made and we had our lesson on the promontory next to the chateau. A lot of fun, not sure I learned much, but nice to see an old friend. It was BAKING hot. BAKING.

For those who answered my question about what to bring to dinner in France, we didn't end up having dinner. I did ask her if she wanted me to bring something from SF. She wanted posters from street fairs, community events, etc., in her (our) old stomping ground neighborhoods in San Francisco, things that reminded her of the good times she had when she and her husband lived here.

As it turns out, those are kind of difficult to get. But I was intrepid and sneaky--and have a friend who is director of design for one of the major museums in town who helped me out on that one. I brought eight. Pretty good, huh? She in turn showered me with spices and sweets and a "vegan" meal that included eggs and cheese. No matter, because I'm neither vegan nor vegetarian. Just one of those miscommunications that happen.

Au Bon Accueil
I had an early dinner reservation, 7:30, and the joint was empty save for three other tables of Americans. I elected to eat inside because it was still roasting outdoors. In fact, I started with a Pastis--it was that hot. Got a great corner window table. My purse got a grown-up chair this time but I am the one who pulled it out.

Good bread, good salami, good Pastis. Excellent quail with salad and mixed vegetables in pistou. It was far more precise and interesting than I can describe. I am a sucker for pistou. I followed with lamb and mushrooms, polenta sticks that were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, mashed potatoes...it was all excellent. The only thing bad I can say is that I do prefer my lamb a bit more rare. This was deep pink in the middle but I like a dark pink. Not a dealbreaker because it was still tender, well-seasoned and delicious.

There was a table with an Australian/L.A. couple near me. The guy told me how he had been dreaming of ABA's pigeon since they had been the previous year. He ordered it again and loved it just as much. They had reservations at l'Atelier de Joel Robuchon (which they had also visited last year) for the following evening and said they were going to cancel and come back for more pigeon.

I chose sorbet for dessert because of the heat. With two glasses of Cotes du Rhone, the Pastis and a coffee, the meal was 51€. My least expensive meal all week.

It's really good, straightforward food cooked with confidence and refinement in a relaxed setting. Terrific value.

Oh, a bunch of French people did show up later. It was interesting to me to hear how many people needed the menu translated. I guess at some point in my life I didn't know agneau, caille, pigeon (?!?), etc., either. But the staff was patient and seemed to explain everything very well.
Leely2 is offline  
Jun 4th, 2009, 05:29 PM
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111op, there are no waiters more beautiful anywhere, anywhere, than at Le Chateaubriand in Paris. This is a recent, and totally unexpected and shocking, discovery. The food is fantastic as well.
Leely2 is offline  

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