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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

Old Jun 4th, 2009, 05:38 PM
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Leely- Loving this report. Good for you, enjoying everything to the fullest. I was in Paris last year and loved the Musée Jacquemart-André.
I find it interesting you hired Julot as I've read his writing on the Chowhound boards and his blog for quite a while now. He definitely knows his stuff.

111op-It's not uncommon for restaurants in LA to ask for a "head shot" to accompany a resume, especially those of the more "trendy" nature. It is rare to find a server in LA that is not a hopeful actor, director or writer.
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Old Jun 4th, 2009, 05:40 PM
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Thanks to panecott andothers for the feedback! I appreciate it very much.

Forgot details:
<b>Au Bon Accueil</b>
Maybe close Sa/Su?

14 rue Monttessuy, Paris 7.
Ph: 01 47 05 46 11.

I then took a long, long meandering walk home. The city was hopping. The thunder and lightening started by the time I was at Ile de la Cite. And I was drenched reaching the edge of the Marais. A lot of fun, actually.

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Old Jun 4th, 2009, 06:01 PM
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Hi Kristina,

Julot is very nice and easy to talk to. I enjoyed learning about his opinions, likes and dislikes. I've certainly never done anything like this before but I was completely delighted by it all.

(I guess I was a princess in a former life.)
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Old Jun 4th, 2009, 08:11 PM
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>>>I always end up spending much longer at musuems than people say they take<<<

Me too. That's the one thing I really love about travelling alone- getting to spend as much time as you want without worrying about somebody else.

I'm looking forward to hearing about the ballet. Too bad about Morrissey. He's as good an excuse as any to return to Paris (I had every single Smiths album by the time I turned 13 so I definitely don't think you're a dork!)
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 07:45 AM
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Great report. Looking forward to more! As you know, I'm also a dining fanatic and lucky enough to be friends with Julot and his wife so we spent a lot of time with them. For anyone thinking about it, he's well worth hiring for help choosing where to dine and what to to order and any other food related questions/issues. He's also writing a book/guide about fine dining in Paris with pictures! that we're all waiting breathlessly for it to be finished.
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 08:08 AM
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Just catching your report now Leely--it's really great. Love the headers. Thanks for including all the detail. Did you map out your runs in advance or just go wherever you felt like it at the time?

Any photos from the mini-GTG?
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 08:09 AM
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Still reading and enjoying your report. I never thought I'd want to be a purse, but I've changed my mind--if I could be a purse that goes to Paris restaurants.

Your photos are great. I remember that stove store and used to stop and admire the Aga stoves every time we walked by.
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 12:52 PM
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Hi apres, glad to know you don't find me too dorky. Although you'd be whistling a different tune if you met me in person.

cw, I covet those stoves! Aren't they great?

plafield, I will rely on your descriptions for some of the food at Le Cinq. I'm afraid I didn't take notes but fortunately we had some of the same courses. And your descriptions are way better than mine would be.

Katie, I didn't plot my runs in advance, just sort of took off. however, I have been to Paris a few times before and on one trip my whip-cracking sister had me out running bright and early every morning so it was easy to avoid busy streets. mapmyrun.com is good for this kind of thing too.
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 02:01 PM
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I love those stoves. I was doing the conversion from Euro to $$$. Even if I was willing to pay the price, I'm not sure I'd have room in my kitchen. Well . . . maybe room for the stove and nothing else!
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 02:32 PM
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hi leely,

one day...i can but dream. i had a look at the website for La grande cascade - what were the wines like that they paired with their €85 menu? worth the extra €20?

regards, ann
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 02:54 PM
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Hi Leely2 -

I just came back from my first solo trip to Paris too! I stayed in the 6th arrondisment (St. Germain). My favorite meal was at Le Cigale Recamier. They make a killer almond souffle. My favorite museum was the Musee Rodin. Had fun on my cruise along the Seine too. The best day was when I took a day trip to Monet's garden and house in Giverny and the palace at Versailles. (After seeing the excess at the palace, I would have been inclined to join in the Revolution too!)
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 05:41 PM
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Unfortunately I am an enthusiastic wine drinker but far from a wine expert. I thought the wine I had with my meal was great (I chose white every time I was asked b/c it was beastly hot and I was wearing that ridiculous wool cardigan). However, I imagine that if you are dining with another person or two just choosing a bottle that you like would be more sensible. The thing that pushed my cost up was the coupe de champagne that I had once seated. And my food "consultant," cognizant that I was trying to keep price down, had warned me about this. And yet I indulged...

Glad you had a great time. Paris is a wonderful city for solo travelers, isn't it? All travelers, really. I didn't make it to the Musee Rodin this time, although I have visited in the past. Next time I'll go back, because like you I really love it. But I can't pick favorites--always something new I haven't seen yet.

Did you hit the heat spell as well?
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 05:55 PM
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Happy to meet another Pastis drinker. There are few females who do.
I enjoyed the stove photo, to get a glimpse of you!
You seem like fun. As a wine lover, that must always be with lunch and dinner.
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Old Jun 6th, 2009, 01:29 PM
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cigalechanta, I didn't realize Pastis wasn't popular with the ladies. I always crave it when it's very hot, a drink that instantly cools me down. And it makes me feel like I'm really on vacation!

<b>A Couple of <i>Uncrowded</i> Museums and Leaving the Camera at Home</b>
I wanted to visit a few museums I’ve never made it to on prior trips, so after running, relaxing and croissant-eating, on Tuesday I made it out of the apartment by 1pm and wandered over to the <b>Conciergerie</b>.

I was heavy into relax-mode by this time and decided to leave my camera at the apartment this day. Turns out it wasn't the end of the world. I survived!


Maybe not for everybody, but I <i>love</i> these kinds of museums—the kind not afraid to dress up mannequins in period costumes. I didn’t know much about the Conciergerie except for the Marie-Antoinette connection, so I learned quite a bit and found it very enjoyable.

There was an American family there in one of the rooms with me and I could hear the college-age daughter say, “Um, because we’re in <i>France</i>???” when her parents asked her why all the descriptions were in French. Funny. I have to say I found this place so interesting that I wished I had understood more. There are brochures, some handouts and a video in languages other than French but being there does breed additional curiosity. So I can relate to the parents—as well as to the daughter.

Next on tap was the <b>Musée du Luxembourg</b> for the Filippo and Filippino Lippi exhibition. The museum is small and a bit expensive, especially when you factor in the audigouide, but well worth it if you want to see whatever they’re showing, which I did. I seem to have seen quite a bit of Italian art this time. The Lippi runs until August if you’re interested.


No lines at either museum and both were uncrowded.

<b>Non-famous Falafel</b>
Got out of the Luxembourg at that weird time, after 6pm, too early for dinner, not having eaten anything but a croissant at 11am. I was in a neighborhood with no go-to eateries (holes in my restaurant research), famished and dehydrated, where to snack? Walked and walked, finally got the 4th and happened upon the famous falafel place, L’As du Fallafel. The line was long and I recalled reading somewhere (maybe here on Fodor’s?) people claiming the place across the street, <b>Mi-Va-Mi,</b> was better.

It certainly looked like I could easily walk in, sit down, and be served by a waiter. My choice was clear. So it was falafel and kosher wine for lunch/dinner at the non-famous place. It was very good, great to have the eggplant, cucumbers and cabbage after all the heavy food I'd been eating. The best falafel I’ve ever had? I don’t know, for me falafel is falafel and usually good unless it’s terrible. I'll have to try the competition next time.

23, rue des Rosiers, Paris, 75004
Between Rue Vielle du Temple and Rue Pavee

The rest of the evening involved window shopping, park sitting, stopping for gelato at <b>Amorino,</b> and walking around the islands watching the sunset.
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Old Jun 6th, 2009, 02:09 PM
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<b>Dinner at Le Chateaubriand</b>
Phenomenal. If you like innovative cuisine with high-quality ingredients in a casual bistrot with good prices, you will love <b>Le Chateaubriand.</b>

My note to Julot the following day reads:

Excellent dinner last night at Le Chateaubriand:
jambon with basilic and crunchy artichoke bits;
sardines and ? in a crispy phyllo (?) roll with ginger perhaps or something with a kick;
a delicate fish filet, cannot remember, possibly halibut w/asperge and chorizo foamy-sauce/saucy foam;
beef filet w/shallots/some kind of subtle-but-tangy light vinaigrette-y sauce over a generous and delicious beet(?)/potato not-puree-exactly;
strawberries, with a light verveine (again, I <i>think</i cream with light-as-air crunchy "biscuits."

Relaxed and friendly service. Very handsome waiters!

<i>Things to Know If You Go</i>
There is no carte, just a menu each evening. So while I'm sure the kitchen would be willing to improvise a bit, you don't really have a choice.

Great wine list and they chose for me because I got flustered by the all handsomeness and had to put myself in my waiter's hands.

In spite of the rampant attractiveness, the real star is the food. I believe the chef graciously came out and thanked me for coming when I left. At least it looked like this guy:

The menu is 45&euro;. My total bill was 56&euro; including two glasses of wine and coffee. I understand that lunch is a good deal.

129 Avenue Parmentier
11th Arrondissement

Leely gives it two thumbs up, a swoon and sincere wish to return--for the food, really!

Walked home via Republique and snapped a few pics.

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Old Jun 7th, 2009, 04:27 AM
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Le Chateaubriand sounds wonderful. I love that area of Paris. Your description of getting flustered by all that handsome made me chuckle. The chef is no slouch, either!
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Old Jun 9th, 2009, 02:55 PM
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I'm finally getting a chance to read the report and am salivating as I'm reading this! I need to go back again, next time as a foodie. I'm definitely going to Le Chateaubriand. Wow, it sounds fabulous.

Oh, for the next time...
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Old Jun 9th, 2009, 07:52 PM
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Thanks for the kind comments. I have been slammed both at work and in the evenings and I need to finish this incredibly drawn-out report. Brevity may be the soul of both wit and lingerie but I can't seem to manage.
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Old Jun 9th, 2009, 07:56 PM
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<b>Chocolate and Miscellaneous</b>
I neglected to mention that the day I went to Le Chateaubriand, I also visited the <b>D'Orsay.</b> I got to the museum at around 1:30pm and there was no line at either entrance. It was moderately crowded inside but far from packed. Very thorough audioguide, almost too thorough for me once I got tired.

Visited Notre Dame on my way home to light a candle for a friend who is very ill.

<b>The chocolate</b>
The following day I made my way to chocolatier<b> Jacques Genin</b>'s cafe/workshop. I had heard much about his candies and pastries so I sat down and indulged in a bit of both. The chocolate millefeuille, wow.

Nota bene: When I left, I spent more on caramels than I had on dinner the previous night. I ended up going back twice during my trip because "Oh, it's such an easy pleasant walk over..." The chocolates, the caramels, the millefeuille are all delicious. The eclair is nothing to sneeze at either. Absolutely visit if you get the chance. I'd make a pilgrimage.

Jacques Genin
133 rue de Turenne, 3rd


<b>The miscellaneous</b>
That afternoon I shopped without success for a thin, plain, simple black belt (don't ask). I also finally made a complete--I think--visit to <b>Musée Carnavalet.</b>

No audioguide and they were out of the little brochures in English so they gave me a Spanish one. For whatever reason I got lost about 500 times, circling and circling the many rooms in an effort to find first Proust's bedroom and then the prehistoric finds, way down somewhere hard to locate.

I loved it and it's free!

Hôtel Carnavalet
23, rue de Sévigné, 3rd


The rest of the day involved jambon sandwich, salade verte, white wine. Then more unsuccessful belt shopping, <b>Pompidou</b> (open late that night and free with museum pass), a mad rush through the Calder and Kandinsky shows (not free), a glass of champagne on the roof and then as much as I could squeeze in of the permanent collections before they closed.


I kind of got in crazed-tourist mode and stopped enjoying myself for a while, which I attribute to the horrid belt shopping and general vacation-will-be-over-soon frenzy. That's when I decided to sit down and have the champagne. This guy cheered me right up:


These guys did too:


I had forgotten all about Roland Garros, but it was staring me right in the face in front of <b>Hotel de Ville.</b>


For whatever reason, I got my third or fourth wind and took a Seine cruise.
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Old Jun 11th, 2009, 08:11 AM
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OMG! The chocolate desserts at Jacques Genin look so good I wanted to reach through my computer and taste them!

I've got a tremendous sweet tooth and am definitely putting this place on my "really need to stop here" list!
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