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Paris report: 10 marvelous nights

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May 20th, 2008, 09:59 AM
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Paris report: 10 marvelous nights

I want to begin by thanking everyone on this board! I'm an avid Fodor's reader and have collected so much wonderful information here it's a joy to give back by sharing our experiences.

My husband and I spent 10 nights in Paris and couldn't have had a better time. The weather was sunny and in the mid-high 70s for the first 8 days and the last 3 were partly cloudy with an occasional shower in the high 60s. Couldn't have been better. This was my second time in Paris and his first.

The flight was Delta operated by Air France out of JFK and was fine. We used Bee Shuttle to get to the hotel and to return to the airport. Pickup at the airport came off without a hitch but they were 40 minutes late to get us on the day we were to leave. Luckily, I had allowed for that kind of thing in the requested pickup time so we made our flight without a problem. We paid 40E for 2 people plus luggage one way and 32E for the return trip.

We stayed at Hotel Jeanne d Arc, 3 rue de Jarente, 75004 in Le Marais
(Tél : 33.(0)148876211.)which turned out to be the deal of the century.

When we booked it last fall the price was 84E for a double. They've since gone up to 89E. They were doing work on the outside of the building as well as re-doing the breakfast room. To compensate for this, they offered us a choice of a free breakfast delivered to our room or we could have the cost of the breakfast deducted from our room rate.

We always go out for our own breakfast, seeking the best bakeries in the area, so of course we took the discount which was 6E per person. So we ended up paying 72E a night for a great room!

The room was decent size, very clean, with a big bathroom with a tub and shower. The bed was comfortable and there was internet wifi available in the lobby for a small fee. The location was fantastic, the staff friendly and helpful but it was a noisy street. We needed to close the windows at night which made the room a bit stuffy (no air conditioning)but it was well worth it to have such a great room in such a fabulous location for that price! Even at 89E, when the work is done it will be lovely and a very good deal. I definitely recommend it, but not in the summer.

Coming up: where we ate and what we did.


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May 20th, 2008, 10:04 AM
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>So we ended up paying 72E a night for a great room!<

Wow! Great price. Can't wait to read more.
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May 20th, 2008, 10:08 AM
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My husband and I are going to Paris in October for 6 nights. Both of us have been there before, with and without kids. This time, it's without the kids. We're probably staying at the Bonaparte Hotel, and I'd love to hear all about your trip. Believe it or not, I just discovered this site, mainly relying on Rick Steves' books and Tripadvisor in the past. So far, I've learned so much about Paris that I never knew. I wish I had known about this site last summer when we went to Italy as a family. We had a nice time, but it would have been so much more fun if I could have used some of the info that's posted on this site. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your trip.
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May 20th, 2008, 11:01 AM
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I'm a "foodie" and did a lot of research on restaurants that totally paid off. We had great meals that ran the gamut from 3 Michelin stars to classic bistro to casual cafe. Here comes the list:

Le Hangar 12, impasse Berthaud, 3 rd Tel: 01 42 74 55 44 : Dinner. A tiny little place hidden behind the Pompidou. Outdoor seating, no credit cards. No menu, but the carte is very reasonably priced. We had one entrée (baby green bean salad) 2 plats (beef “stroganoff” with fried potato puffs and sautéed foie gras on a bed of olive oil mashed potatoes) 1 dessert (chocolate gateau) ½ bottle of wine, 2 coffees for 70E. Excellent meal. I highly recommend this place.
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May 20th, 2008, 11:18 AM
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I never tire of reading trip reports and will be looking for yours to continue.
Thanks for taking the time.
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May 20th, 2008, 03:11 PM
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Looking forward to the rest of it.
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May 20th, 2008, 04:54 PM
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Passiflore 33, Rue Longchamp +33 1 47 04 96 81 one Michelin star:

We had a lovely dinner here. Very elegant, great service. The menu was a good value, 4 courses for 54E, all delicious and beautiful. The menu the night we were there was:
Entrée: Royal de foie gras baignee d’un cappuccino de champions: Foie gras mousse over a creamy mushroom sauce topped with sautéed button mushrooms.
Plat: Caneton croise mi sauvage roti aux cinq parfum: Roasted leg and thigh of wild duck in 5 spice sauce (caramelized) with a tiny poached pear and celery root puree.
Cheese: Fromage fermier d’ Auvern: 2 pieces
Dessert: Chocolate gateau with pistachio filling and a quenelle of dark chocolate ice cream.

One of us ordered off the carte and had foie gras ravioli in mushroom cream with fresh morels(outrageously delicious) and cote de boeuf. The beef was the only real miss of the entire trip. It was tough and slightly over cooked. I suspect there was a bit of a language/
culture issue when they asked how I wanted it cooked. I asked for rare and they brought it medium rare, I think perhaps assuming that as an American I didn’t really want it bloody rare. Perhaps I should have sent it back but I didn’t.

1 menu, 1 entrée and plat from the carte, 2 glasses of wine, water and 2 coffees: 179E
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May 20th, 2008, 06:56 PM
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plafield...

Enjoying your trip report. Especially the restaurant/meal descriptions!
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May 21st, 2008, 01:19 PM
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Breizh Café: 109, rue Vieille du Temple (map) 01 42 72 13 77 closed Monday and Tuesday, but open continuously throughout the day the rest of the week. Real buckwheat crepes (galletes) excellent quality, cheap. Reservation suggested.

We had a great dinner here at a nice table outside. The galletes are made of real buckwheat and the fillings are top quality. You can eat quite cheaply here if you stick to the basic ham and cheese with egg but we splurged and went for two special gallettes: wI had white asparagus with smoked duck, gruyere, creme, and a broiled and m husband had special dark ham with melting leeks, chevre and a broiled egg. Delicious. We shared a dessert crepe of butter salted caramel ice cream with chocolate/caramel auce and whipped cream. 1 beer, 2 coffees, 42E.

Astier, 44 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud - 75011 PARIS tél : 01.43.57.16.35 A lovely little bistro in the 11th serving a simple homey menu. Great service, amazing cheese course. 4 course menu, 31E.

We had pigs ear croquettes and foie gras terrine (4E supplement) for entrees and rabbit stew and perfectly cooked salmon with haricot vertes for plats.

Then cheese: a “help yourself” tray of about 25 different kinds. They bring this huge tray to your table and leave it there for you to eat as much as you'd like! Eeven though we were already full rom entrees and palts and we knew dessert was coming, we still indulged in 5 or 6 different cheeses. Couldn't help ourselves! Yum.

Desserts were chocolate crème brulee (the sugar topping was a bit burnt) and raspberry/rhubarb en croute, good but so tart, a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream would have helped it out. With 2 glasses of wine and 2 coffees: 78.50E. An excellent value.
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May 21st, 2008, 03:27 PM
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La Regalade 49 av. Jean-Moulin, 14e 01-45-45-68-58
This was the best restaurant of the trip, rivaling and even besting in many ways, Guy Savoy and Spring. At the end of this meal we immediately reserved for another dinner later in the week rather than go for L'Ami Jean (which I was told by a Frenchman who really knows food and Paris, was the only other bistro in Paris that rivaled La Regalade for quality/value food.)

The setting is classic bistro with tables very close together, packed with people, but great servcie and the food is definitely Michelin star quality and an amazing value. When we returned for our second meal, they welcomed us like family and also comped our coffees. The basic 3 course menu is 32 E.

Shortly after being seated you are brought bread and a whole pan of pork and liver pate and a bucket of excellent cornichon and invited to help yourself. This pate is so good it’s hard to show restraint with the whole pan left on your table, but we held ourselves to a generous spread on one piece of good bread each, knowing that a great meal would be coming.

For entrées we had: terrine of layered pork, foie gras, and mixed vegetables served with a fig confit and a rich saffron fish stock, enriched with a bit of cream and Spanish spices, poured over chorizo and bits of white fish and something crispy that I couldn’t identify. Complex, spicy, rich, with varied textures. Delicious!

For plats: pan fried John Dory, with crispy skin served with fresh peas and white asparagus and Caramelized pork belly with mustard mashed potatoes. The pork belly has 2 distinct layers of meat, one moist, dark and rich, the other drier and lighter, and then there is a lovely layer of fat right under a crisp, caramelized skin. Eaten with the mustard mashed potatoes, it’s heaven. There are pork cracklings scattered all over the plate, adding crunch to every bite. Sinful! This is not a dish for cholesterol counters!

Dessert was rice pudding, served with a thick caramel sauce and a rich vanilla pot de crème with fresh raspberries. This rice pudding was to die for...rich and creamy, the best I've ever had and I'm a huge rice pudding fan. With 2 glasses of wine, a bottle of water and 2 coffees: 92.50E. The deal of the century.

For our second meal at La Regalade, entrees were: boudin noir: blood sausage, served over a croquette of mashed potatoes surrounded with finely chopped apple, dark ham and a scattering of pork skin cracklings, topped with beautifully dressed baby greens. The other entrée was red tuna, just seared on the outside, served cold over a puree of deliciously seasoned eggplant, topped with lightly dressed baby greens. Both fantastic.

For entrée we decided to splurge and for a 14E supplement, we ordered the foie gras for 2. WOW! This was an enormous portion of perfectly cooked foie, crisp on the outside, melting on the inside, served with mustard mashed potatoes, fresh peas and beans and a few mushroom all in a light, simple pan sauce. What a decadent meal and worth every bite.

Dessert was the rice pudding and caramel sauce again and a delicious quenelle of Guanjia chocolate mousse with a vanilla tea custard sauce and a chocolate tuille. Another totally outrageous meal. With wine, a bottle of water and they comped us our 2 coffees, 90.50E.
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May 22nd, 2008, 07:19 AM
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Nice report. I love hearing about the food.
How did you book the Hotel Jeanne d Arc? When I look up their website I get re-directed to a booking site.
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May 22nd, 2008, 08:40 AM
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Kristina, I emailed them directly at [email protected]

You can also call them at 33.(0)148876211
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May 22nd, 2008, 10:36 AM
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Au Gourmand 22, rue de Vaugirard 01 43 26 26 45 (6th): Great meal, lovely, elegant setting, very good service, fine value, 3 course menu of simple but very creative and delicious food for 36E.

Entrées: escargot in a pine nut pesto surrounded by pesto mashed potatoes and topped with fresh, lightly dressed salad of baby greens and herbs… and 3 large shrimp in a coconut milk broth with scallions and large red roe.

Plats: Bresse chicken, served with the liver, with a rich macaroni and cheese, white asparagus and fresh peas… and pork in a rich pan sauce with broccoli puree. Desserts: chocolate mouse layered with chocolate wafer, enrobed in dark chocolate ganache with a quenelle of rich chocolate glace and a gorgeous vanilla soufflé with bits of citron served with fresh strawberries and yoghurt sorbet.

A completely delicious, gorgeous and satisfying meal! 2 glasses of wine, 1 bottle of water, 2 coffees:105E.
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May 22nd, 2008, 10:42 AM
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Au Gourmand was on our list but was unfortunately closed the days we wanted to go. It sounds great. Am enjoying your report and my stomach is growling!!
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May 22nd, 2008, 02:58 PM
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Next was lunch at Spring (28 rue de la Tour d'Auvergne 75009 +33 (0)1 45 96 05 72) This place has had a ton of hype and I called months ahead and could only get a lunch reservation. They only do lunch on Thursdays and Fridays.

I must imagine that at times the meals are sublime but the day we were there, most of the food was really quite simple and straight ahead. It consisted of the freshest ingredients and was very well prepared, but based on this meal alone, I would say the reputation is over rated. Anyone who enjoys cooking a bit could make this exact meal at home. Don't get me wrong, it was delicious and a fine value at 39E for the menu, but I was expecting more WOW given all the hype.

The day we went for lunch, the menu consisted of:
entrée: A slice of roasted eggplant topped with a piece of perfectly grilled John Dory, topped with sautéed and lightly dressed squid (vinaigrette)
plat: A slab of perfectly cooked rare duck breast, sauce of carrot puree with ginger, tiny roasted yellow fleshed potatoes, a dribble of balsamic vinegar
dessert: fresh strawberries with a strawberry/raspberry/red wine puree and a browned butter sable.
With coffee: fresh pineapple and mixed nut butter brittle.

With 2 glasses of wine, a bottle of water and 2 coffees, lunch was 97E for 2.

By the way, here's a link to some pictures from some of our meals.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/?saved=1
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May 23rd, 2008, 01:58 PM
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Chez Jenny: We wanted one classic brassiere meal of onion soup and escargot and had planned to try La Rotund near Montparnasse which Julot had recommended, but we discovered a free organ concert in a church near Place de Republique that started at 9:00 so it didn’t make sense to eat near Montparnasse. We were heading home the next day so wanted to eat before the concert and someone recommended Chez Jenny as a famous Alsation brassiere that was a 5 minute walk from the concert so we decided to try it.

I’m sure that La Rotund would have been better but this was fine for what it was. The atmosphere was great (slightly upscale, beautiful place,) the service excellent and the food average. The onion soup had a great piece of delicious, bubbly browned cheese over too much bread floating in a decent but not particularly rich broth with lots of onions. We found no fault with the escargot, which were fat and tender and came easily out of the shells where they were floating in parsley infused garlic butter. The bread was a decent, plain baguette, not the best, but not the worst and delicious to soak up the garlic butter. we also tried Flammenkuche, which is a cross between a pizza and a crepe, (served flat and round like pizza but too soft to be picked up) topped with excellent lardon, sautéed onion and crème fresh. For dessert we shared an order of profiteroles. They brought 4! The choux were not particularly crisp or special but the ice cream was good quality with flecks of vanilla and the chocolate sauce was excellent. 2 onion soups, 15 escargot, one flamenkuche, one order of profiteroles, one glass of wine, no water or coffee
53E
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May 24th, 2008, 06:07 AM
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plafield,
Thanks for the trip report and all the yummy food descriptions. We travel to eat as well. I will be considering several of the restaurants you mention on our next trip to Paris. God willing it will be soon but it isn't looking like soon enough for me.
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May 24th, 2008, 06:21 AM
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plafield

Thank you for the great report on these restaurants. I love reading good food descriptions and yours are great! It is like being there.
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May 26th, 2008, 12:53 PM
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DAY TRIPS:

Because we had 10 full days in Paris, we decided to do a couple of day trips. We went to Versailles and Giverny (Monet's garden.)

VERSAILLES: We decided to go on a Saturday so we could see the fountains in action. They were spectacular.

We took the metro to RER C and then bought the Forfait Loisirs, the pass that includes the train to and back from Versailles and entrance into all of the attractions there. Most importantly, this pass allows you to bypass the line to buy tickets when you arrive. There is still a line of folks who have advance tickets but it's much shorter and moves much more quickly.

Make no mistake about it, whatever time you arrive and no matter what day you go, it's packed! It reminded me of being at the Vatican museums, being herded through the rooms, particularly the Hall of Mirrors. But it is gorgeous and the gardens, especially when the fountains are on, are spectacular. The grounds are huge, so once outside it's easy to get away from the crowds.

We bought fabulous sandwiches at our favorite neighborhood boulangerie (Au Levain du Marais 32 Rue de Turenne)before heading out to Versaille and had a lovely picnic in the gardens after seeing the palace.

GIVERNY: We got up very early to take the 8:15 train to Vernon from the St. Lazarre station. Monet's garden opens at 9:30 and I was intent on being there before the tour buses arrived and it was well worth it.

I had heard that Wednesday is a lighter day and I don't know if that's true but we went on a Wednesday. We got off the train in Vernon and grabbed a taxi (11E) to the gardens. You can get a bus for 4 E per person but we wanted to beat the crowds.

We were first in line at 9:15 and the doors opened right at 9:30. We hightailed it directly to the water lily garden and had the place pretty much to ourselves, slowly backtracking to the gardens by the house.

We had about an hour before the tours descended when we shared the huge gardens with only about 25 other people. By 10:30 the place was packed with hordes of people. We toured his house and then were ready to head back to Paris.

There is another museum in Giverny and Vernon is a whole little city you might want to explore if you make the trip, but we were ready to go back to Paris but didn't know how to get back to Vernon!

When you buy your train ticket at Gare St. Lazarre, they give you a schedule of return buses and trains but it isn't complete! It assumes you will want to stay all day in Giverny and/or Vernon, so it appears that there isn't a train back to Paris until 4:15 and then not again until 6:15.

We finally discovered that there is a bus that runs from Giverny to Vernon almost every hour and a train that returns to Paris from Vernon almost as frequently so we headed back to Paris around 1:00PM after a fabulous morning in the gardens.

Here are a few pictures from Versailles and Monet's Garden.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/2681956...7605269444469/

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May 26th, 2008, 01:43 PM
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Thanks for the report. A few questions - was La Regalade filled with tourists or mostly french? I went there about 4 years ago and loved it but noticed it has been in the press a lot since so wondering if that has changed anything.

How long did it take you to get to Versaille roughly? how do you think it would be to take a young child there with a stroller?

thanks!
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