The Last Gasp ? Nukesafe in Paris Again

Jun 14th, 2014, 12:42 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,063
I am loving your report. I just returned from my annual European vacation, this time it was a 7 week trip, solo except for 1 week in Paris when a niece joined me to celebrate my 84th birthday.

I am taking notes from your wonderful report since I am hoping to celebrate my 85th birthday in Paris next year.

I do agree with you, so many places and so little time
tdk320n is offline  
Jun 14th, 2014, 06:32 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
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NUKESAFE, still with you.

"The Bristol is a truly elegant hotel. Huge marble lobby with lounge chairs and sofas in which one could take up residence." How posh. I believe that was the hotel featured in that great flick MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. Did you see it? Waiting for more.

TDK320N: "I am taking notes from your wonderful report since I am hoping to celebrate my 85th birthday in Paris next year."

You go girl! As they say - it's not over till it's over, right?
latedaytraveler is offline  
Jun 15th, 2014, 03:19 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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The Bristol is lovely in every way. I went to one of the fashion shows a couple years ago. It was great, as expected. They do send me the notices for them. Just to have one when I am there. Doubt there will be one from mid Dec to Mid Feb when I will be there next. I can always dine there, though!!

a bientot...

gracejoan3 is offline  
Jun 15th, 2014, 03:35 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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"Rue Montorguiel.... It is, indeed a lovely quite upscale market street. Crowded, high priced, and stuffed with incredible edibles. .. I don't think I will do my grocery shopping there." -- what a perfect summary!

Keep posting, please !
kja is offline  
Jun 15th, 2014, 03:04 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
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I am so looking forward to the Museum of Decorative arts on my upcoming trip. It's one of those things I didn't know about until after my last trip. I am also quite envious of the Herve Leger show at the Bristol. Fashion, champagne, elegant with envy here!
denisea is offline  
Jun 15th, 2014, 03:10 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I've just e-mailed the Bristol to see if a fashion show is being offered while I'm there. Thank you! One of my weeks is Fashion Week so I sort of doubt they'll have anything then but, you never know.
Judy is offline  
Jun 15th, 2014, 03:25 PM
Join Date: Mar 2013
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Nukesafe, thank you so much for your TR. I love your writing style and description of the places you visit. The Albert Kahn Gardens were my favorite place to visit on our trip to Paris last fall.

Your TR is giving me many ideas for our next trip which I hope will be sometime next year.
lateinlifetraveler is offline  
Jun 15th, 2014, 03:37 PM
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I will finish off this trip report with a few comments on the plans we had for eating while in Paris and the places we actually ate.


I had planned this part of the trip to a silly extent, I suppose, as I had carefully collected recommendations from travel sites and food critics for suitable restaurants, Mostly for lunch. My price point was based on a formule of €20-25 with a final tab of not much over €60 with a glass or two of wine. I had over 140 of them arranged on a Google map. My idea was that wherever we were at lunch time we could check the map, appear a bit early and hope to get a table without a reservation. I concentrated on places for lunch as Annette has a stomach problem such that she cannot eat a heavy meal in the late evening. That means we should have our main meal at lunch and when we go out in the evening I will have, perhaps, only the entree and plat, and she only an entree or desert.

For breakfast we invariably walked to the nearest cafe and had a petit dejeuner, i.e., croissant or tartine with butter and jam, juice, and coffee. That was very filling and only cost €6 each at our local. We had a kitchen in the apartment, but never used it. Our apartment was darkish, and Le Marine had a table for two looking out on the Canal Saint Martin, friendly waiters and a nice French bustle.

My plan for lunch did not work very well. Usually by 11:30, when we should be thinking of selecting a restaurant for lunch we were either in the middle of something fascinating, or still not hungry after breakfast. Except for the very special lunches Annette had reserved, we usually just grabbed something on the fly. For dinner we mostly reverted to the pattern we had adopted on our first trip, i.e., go into the nearest cafe or restaurant to our apartment, get blown away by the food and friendly staff, and eat there every night. We had done that at Le Centenaire a couple of years ago, and found Le Marine on this trip.

Comptoir de Relais. Having read many excellent reviews for this place over the years we tried it on one of our early days when in the neighborhood. It takes no reservations, so we milled on the sidewalk for a few moments before noon, along with some other folks, and watched them setting up inside. A waiter came out and pointed to us, saying, “You are first”, then organizing the other bystanders into a line like a Marine drill sergeant. We were promptly seated and had a very nice lunch. Annette with a lobster salad at €42 (ouch) and I had pate, followed by roast lamb steak, which was delicious. With no deserts, a glass of wine for me and no bottled water, the bill was €110.

Le Marine. This was our “local”. It sits on the Canal Saint-Martin Quai de Valmy on the corner right by the Pont Dieu, the first vehicular bridge across the canal after it emerges from the tunnel. There is also a high, arched, pedestrian bridge there so folks can pass over when the bridge swings open for barge traffic. Very pleasant setting, with outside seating and the “mill” of smokers is not nearly as dense outside the entrance as some of the other restaurants along the Canal. We had breakfast there almost every morning before hiking over to Republique to start our journeys on the buses. We never made a reservation, just popped in for a drink at the bar, and to ask if we could take a table just for drinks. If they were not crowded they would say yes, but mostly I would say I was going to eat and Annette just have a drink and desert, so we would be seated. The food was consistently good; not gourmet, but solidly top notch. They would have a “Plat de Jour” each evening for €14, which I usually had, and a nice pichet of Cote de Rhone for another €14. The Boeuf Bourguingnon was great, with big chunks of lean beef and a delicious sauce. Another plat de jour, lapin aux pruneaux was also a hit, with rabbit baked in a crispy filo, flavored with prunes. I also tried my first tangine here. I had read about them, and when they served and lifted the lid of the earthenware vessel the bubbling contents looked really attractive. The flavor of those particular spices did not do it for me though.

At the beginning of the second week one of the owners came to the table an asked if we would like an aperitif. We said, “Of course.”, and she brought us a free Amaretto and a Calvados. In explanation she said, “You come here every night. You are family now.”


Vielle Maison. This very nice restaurant a short way down one of the side streets near the Cathedral in Chartres, and was recommended by Malcolm Miller, our guide to the Cathedral. The food was well prepared and plated. They had a €26.50 menu, but we chose a la carte and Annette was pleased with her rosy duck breast, and me with a delicious guinea hen. I did not write down the total, but we were not far off our €50 goal, even with a glasses of wine for me.

Le Grand Vefour. I had never eaten in a Michelin two star restaurant before, but that has been on my bucket list, so Annette booked us there for their €98 lunch special. As you know, Le Grand Vefour is one of those, “All you can eat for $1,000”, sort of places, so the lunch Menu was close as we were going to get. All I can say is that everything was simply superb! The menu is supposed to consist of entree, plat, cheese and desert, but the many amuse bouche, and the added delights that keep appearing between courses would have made a meal in themselves. Just to please the waiter(s) we also managed to find room for duck for Annette, and sea bream for me. With a bottle of Badoit, and a couple of glasses of wine the bill was a bit more than €250. We won't be doing that again soon, but neither of us regrets a single sou.

Le Cafe de l'Industrie. This place was suggested by our friend Claude when we invited her for lunch, before she took us to meet her artist friend. It was friendly and well laid our restaurant a few blocks off the Bastille. I recall the food was quite good, the staff friendly and the prices moderate. I must confess the conversation with the delightful Claude was so riveting I did not pay much attention to the food and don't remember what we had, nor what the bill was, other than it was not high.

The Crystal Room. When we had visited the Baccarat Museum one morning on an earlier trip, one of the staff kindly showed us both the Crystal Room Restaurant, which had just been set for lunch, and the ladies room. Since no one was there, I entered the feminine sanctuary and we were both simply bowled over by the mirrored opulence of the décor. Annette was also struck by the dining room, and she said, “We are going to have lunch here one day, just so I can go back to that bathroom!” Not one to argue when she uses that tone, we made reservations for lunch.

It was raining hard the morning we went to the Crystal Room, and as we walked from the bus stop, up the Place des Etats-Unis to the mansion in which the Baccarat museum is housed, it was torrential. It was a relief to pop into the doors, fold our bumbershoots and stand in front of the fireplace that warms the lobby. We then, being a bit early, went up the grand staircase and told the lady manning the Museum entry that we were there for lunch. She graciously waved us into the museum where we spent a few moments looking at the wonders of Baccarat crystal. We then sat on a lounge beneath the huge rotating crystal chandelier that hangs from the ceiling. Promptly at 12:00 we were ushered into the elegant room where we were served a lovely luncheon. They have a €39 lunch Menu from which we ordered, the Mozzarella for Annette and the duck terrine for me as entrees, and we bth had the “Lacquered Rabbit”. Desert for DW was Melon and raspberry, tarragon emulsion, « arlette » of pink pepper berries, and for me, Milk chocolate mousse on hazelnut pastry, caramel ice-cream and Guerande sea salt. The bill was right around €100. Good value for money for an memorable lunch in elegant surroundings.

Le Sainte Marthe. While wandering in Belleville on the Atlier Artist Studio Tour we found ourselves in a tiny square called Place Sainte Marthe, that had a cafe named Le Sainte Marthe, which I though not very original, and “Bar Sardine”, which I thought was. On impulse we sat down outside at the only open table in either place and ordered the Sunday specials, €18, which were eggs Benidict for Annette and Souris d'agneau, gratin dauphinois for me. The lamb shanks and the gratin potatoes were just scrumptious! I think the place is a real find, and it is on my short list when we return. Maybe we'll try the Bar Sardine, as well.

Le Verre Vole. We had seen a lot of press for this place just off the Canal Saint Martin, and it was within walking distance, so we tried to get in one night for dinner. No luck, except for the 10:00 seating which would be not good for Annette's stomach. We made an early reservation for 7:30 the following night and were seated in the tiny front room where we could watch the hard working cooks in the kitchen. The food was OK and the service adequate, but the high prices and higher noise levels made us not see what the fuss was about. We liked our local Le Marine down the street more.

Jacques Genin. I should also mention the chocolatier in which we had such a pleasant conversation over tea and Paris-Brest after our Paris Greeters stroll. The chocolates and caramels are to die for, I'm told, and the delights of the chestnut crème and crispy pastry of the Paris-Brest I can attest to from experience.

Chez Adel. I don't know if Chez Adel qualifies as a place to eat, as we did not try. We were wandering down from the art tour in Belleville toward the the Canal and our apartment when we passed a bar and heard music and singing. We went in the packed place and luckily grabbed the last two stools at the bar to listen to a group of singers with accordions. They would pass out song sheets to the jolly patrons, who would bellow out the lyrics. We didn't know the songs, but had something to drink at the bar, where the Sicilian owner/bartender amused us as he hopped around filling orders and holding a dozen conversations at once. Another place I would visit again.

Air France Lounge at CDG:

I should at least give a mention of the Air France Lounge in CDG. Wow! Best lounge experience of my life. I happen to have a membership in the Delta Sky Club; long story, but many years ago, in the '60's, I used to fly a lot on Pan Am for which my employer gave me a Clipper Club membership for a year. Pan Am later offered a Lifetime membership upgrade for $50, so I bought in. When Pan Am went bust the new owner, Delta, transferred my lifetime membership. Best investment of my life! We were flying an Air France code-share flight with Delta so we could use the lounge. We arrived a bit early, so we hoped to get a coffee and brioche there before our boarding. The lounge is new, bright, airy, and furnished with really comfortable lounge chairs and tables. The breakfast buffet was simply overwhelming! There was an unlimited supply of all sorts of food, from pain au chocolate and croissant, to cheese omelets with a choice of four kinds of sausage, crepes, cereals, open bar, etc., etc. I am afraid I overindulged, expecting the indifferent food service on Delta coming over. In the event, the food going back, presumably from a French supplier, was a significant improvement – for airplane food, of course.


I should wind this up.

This was a great trip for us. We are financially challenged like most folks, but this was on my bucket list. Realistically it also may really be the last time I can get to Paris, so we decided to not count the pennies and just go. I'm glad we did.

Now it is time to attend to Annette's bucket list, which includes snorkeling. Not much of that in Paris, so it may be a few years, but I will, of course, come back if I can.
nukesafe is offline  
Jun 15th, 2014, 06:20 PM
Join Date: Mar 2010
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>>“You come here every night. You are family now.”<<

How can you not go back? Thanks Nukesafe, you are a very good storyteller. Thanks for taking the time to write another report. I know I said this on your last trip report but your wife is a babe
ziggypop is offline  
Jun 15th, 2014, 09:00 PM
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Wow you really are an inspiration! Loved your report. I've been meaning to go to the Baccarat Museum for a while now. I've put it at the top of my list for this trip.
ruedebuci is offline  
Jun 16th, 2014, 05:30 AM
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Glad to hear the Crystal Room was good - thinking about this for our trip, as well. I would love to see the museum...we always go to Baccarat at Place de la Madeleine to gawk at the beautiful crystal.
denisea is offline  
Jun 16th, 2014, 05:39 AM
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Le Grand Vefour and the Baccarat restaurants are now on my bucket list, for lunch. That is, if these old bones make it back one more time.Thanks for the detailed info on menus and cost.. My budget is limited too, but there's a time when you just have to go for it and if not when in Paris - well...

Thanks for an inspiring trip report!
The "young kid" aka Travelchat
travelchat is offline  
Jun 16th, 2014, 06:27 AM
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Oops! The imodicom smiley face did't work. Drat.
travelchat is offline  
Jun 16th, 2014, 07:42 AM
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Absolutely loving your report - and am inspired as well.
starrs is offline  
Jun 18th, 2014, 10:23 AM
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Great report! Thank you for taking the time. Your wife is lovely and her work is beautiful!
Belinda is online now  
Jun 18th, 2014, 03:01 PM
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Thanks nukesafe. Great report with some cool ideas. Appreciate it, and hope you keep going to Paris until you're 100. You might want to slow down a bit at that age, however.

maitaitom is offline  
Jun 19th, 2014, 03:21 AM
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He can just ride around on a HOHO bus all day then.
kerouac is online now  
Jun 19th, 2014, 04:52 AM
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Great report, thanks, so many good ideas.
Nikki is offline  
Jun 19th, 2014, 06:05 AM
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No HOHO for me, thank you very much! At 100 I will just creep about the city like a three toed sloth; moving infrequently and slowly from one wine bar to the next. A slow motion flaneur with a smile on my face.
nukesafe is offline  
Jun 19th, 2014, 01:40 PM
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I love your spirit, your humour & your travel adventures, nukesafe! I especially appreciate all the great information you have shared here! May there be many more trips for you in the future!
2010 is online now  

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