TR- A jaunt to Paris March 15

Apr 12th, 2015, 08:50 AM
  #1  
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TR- A jaunt to Paris March 15

This trip was a consolidation prize for having to give up a trip to China due to the acquisition of my company. We were going to be frugal, not spend the exorbitant amount the China trip was going to cost and save money against the possibility of my getting laid off. Well, the layoff didn’t seem to be in the near future so we decided to treat ourselves to almost a week in Paris.

The impetus for Paris (other than the fact that we love it and try to get there every March) was the 57,000 points we had in our Air France account due to a cancellation of my ticket two years ago. We had almost enough points with Amex to buy two round trip tickets so we did!! Two round trip tickets cost us $695 after the transfer of points and purchase of the few we were short. So we were good to go and just needed an apartment.

Usually I find a million places that I would love to stay in but this time the pickings seemed slim. I really wish that the VRBO would add a field for elevator!! Many times I would find an ideal apartment only to realize that it was on the 6th floor French with no elevator- too much for us at this age. We settled on an apartment in the 6th on the same street we had stayed on two years ago with my sister & BIL. It was through Vacation in Paris and the whole process couldn’t have been easier.

We flew out of Boston on Tuesday March 24th on a packed Air France flight. $695 only pays for steerage but it does get you to Paris. Once there we took the Air France bus to Montparnasse and walked from there.

We got into the building and dragged everything up two flights of stairs. The key was under the mat as we had been informed. http://www.vacationinparis.com/listi...in-one-bedroom The apartment was small, clean and bright. We had only a few minor issues which were lack of storage space and the addition of the towel warmer (a nice touch) impacted sitting on the toilet. They should have put it up a few inches. Otherwise we were fine. The Wi-Fi worked so I was able to connect to work when needed.

For the first time my DH was traveling with a smart phone. He was really gung ho with loading a bunch of apps. We had some issues with getting the maps to work and general male cursing and huffing about it. Didn’t get too lost but had to ask for directions to get to dinner one night.
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Apr 12th, 2015, 08:51 AM
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Since this trip was about relaxing we didn’t do a lot of sightseeing. One day we took the train in the AM to Chartres. We booked a private Cathedral tour with Malcom Miller ([email protected]). My DH was sort of non-committal about it but afterwards was raving about it. Even though it was rainy and windy we loved Chartres and are thinking on a future trip to come and spend a few days in the area.

A friend insisted we needed to go see the new Fondation Louis Vuitton (http://www.fondationlouisvuitton.fr/ ) so we did. Go on a nice day because the building is amazing and has roof top decks where you can see the Tour Eiffel and the gardens that surround the building. It is the Jardin d’acclimatation (http://www.jardindacclimatation.fr/) and I think if you buy tickets for the Fondation Louis Vuitton online you can go through the garden. I am not entirely sure about that. Some of the art in the building was too modern for my taste (two ironing boards and some paper flowers??? Really??) but the building is fabulous.

We went over to Opera to get into the Saturday 2:30pm English tour of the Palais Garnier. Alas it was totally booked so I bought tickets for the Sunday tour. I wasn’t so sure about the tour guide’s English ability but he turned out to be really good. I am ashamed to admit I have never read the Phantom of the Opera but I plan to rectify that situation soon. Who knew there really was a lake under the Opera House?? (http://visitepalaisgarnier.fr/en)
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Apr 12th, 2015, 08:53 AM
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Meals:
One of our primary reasons for visiting Paris is the food both in the restaurants and markets. I spend A LOT of planning time on the restaurant list with the dilemma being to go to new places or visit old favorites.

Once we dropped our stuff in the apartment we went back around the corner to the tea room where we had had lunch the last time we stayed on rue Saint-Romain. (Salon Marie The 102 rue Cherche Midi) My DH asked for the parmentier canard only to be told it was sold out- luckily Madame was misinformed. I had one of the French salads that would never fly here- Salade Payanne with poached egg, potatoes (fried in duck fat), bacon lardons and duck confit with butter lettuce. We split a glass of red wine and the rhubarb crumble with crème fraiche. The bill was €40.50.

We almost didn’t make it to Philou (12 avenue Richerand, 75010)for dinner due to problems with the technology. We had been there for lunch with another Fodorite and really thought it was great. We still think so!! After practically running to get there we were glad to settle in with two glasses of sparkling wine with some olives. The entrees we chose were the foie gras terrine and a carpaccio of magret, basil, mango & mozzarella. My DH has asked me to get some duck breast to recreate this dish!! The plats were Filet de Saint Pierre with caramelized endive and an Onglet with mushrooms, potatoes and a yummy sauce. Decided to go with wines by the glass – a Samur (white) and a Roussillon red. Desserts were a delice de pommel & poire , caramel ice cream and croustillant de chocolate, raspberries & pistachio ice cream. With a glass of Armagnac the bill came to €129.

I had wanted to reserve at La Cerisaie (70 boulevard Edgar-Quinet, 75014)for the evening we returned from Chartres since it is close to the apartment. My DH who does the calling for reservations said the number was disconnected. I had him make a reservation at another restaurant but when we got off the train we decided to swing by and see if La Cerisaie was still in business. We were glad we did. The chef stopped sharpening his knife long enough to tell us there was a table available at the 7:30pm seating. (Yes we called and cancelled the other reservation!) La Cerisaie is a tiny restaurant with maybe 20 seats so does two seatings each night (closed on the weekend!!). We started with two glasses of cremant and some olives while we considered l’ardoise and listened to a description of the specials. Our entrees were a shellfish soup (very deep flavor but the topping tasted a little sweet to me) and white asparagus with a preserved lemon vinaigrette (wonderful). For plats we had the magret d’oie with roasted pears and the seven hour lamb. Desserts were a fabulous strawberry soup (with a sweet wine and Chantilly cream) and baba au Armagnac (don’t light a match near this puppy!!). We shared a glass of white wine with our entrees and bottle of Cahors with the plat. My DH loves Armagnac and tried both the 1964 and 1975 vintages. He said for the prices the 1975 was much better. With all the beverages the tab was €161 with my DH’s indulgence in Armagnac being €31.

We met friends for lunch at Ze Kitchen Gallerie (4 rue des Grands Augustins, 75006) which had been on their list for a while. We started with glasses of rose champagne to celebrate seeing each other in Paris!! We were brought an amuse bouche of shot glasses with a parsnip soup flavored with Thai seasonings (lots of lemongrass). We order the three course menus with the entrees we chose being Oysters & Shellfish with calamensi condiment, squid/softshell crab with a Thai flavored bisque (similar to the amuse bouche but shaded with shellfish)and black rice and conchigloni pasta with Waygu beef and kimchi (some of the pasta were stuffed with the beef). For plats we had Scallops with cauliflower puree and yuzu, quails with plum and vin de noix and Suckling lamb with a Thai sauce and pine nuts. Wines by the glass were Chassagne Montrachet, a red from Le Baux de Provence and two glass of a Côte du Rhone. Three of us had to order the white chocolate wasabi ice cream which came with passion fruit, pineapple and mango. You could taste the wasabi but not with the ice cream which was odd. I had to try it since I made a plum wasabi sorbet. The other dessert was Financier with praline and blood orange sorbet. This was a delightful lunch but in a sense could have been anywhere. I did enjoy watching the young staff in the open kitchen. The total for four was €305.80.

The odd thing about our first night at La Cerisaie was that we had picked it because it was a Restaurant Du Sud-Ouest which means it had a lot of foie gras on the menu and we hadn’t ordered any of it. SO we asked if they had any tables available for the next night and so we returned on Friday night. We started with the same cremant and olives. This time the objective was to stuff ourselves with foie gras. There were three dishes on the menu with foie gras and we ordered all three- terrine de foie gras de canard; pan seared foie gras with corn bread and a fricassee of pigeon with foie gras raviolis. To get our vegetables we ordered the white asparagus with preserved lemon vinaigrette again. We had a bottle of Roussillon which was very nice. For dessert we ordered the strawberry soup again and a special dessert which was a strawberry cream with meringue and strawberries. My DH had another glass of the 1975 Armagnac and a dish of prunes which had been steeped in Armagnac. At the end of the meal we asked Madame if they were open on the weekend and when she said no we asked if we could get an order of the strawberry soup to go. She very kindly gave us a jar which we ate with rhubarb yogurt and sliced strawberries for breakfast- YUM!! The bill was €155.

The repeat meal was at Chez L’Ami Jean. (7 rue Malar 75007)I love it for the energy and open kitchen with Chef Jego yelling at the window as much as for the fabulous food. We were seated on the wall in the row of deuces. The couple to our left never acknowledged us when we sat down and didn’t remove their eyeglasses from our table which I thought was odd. I had to remind the woman to take them and then she left her gloves. American and not very happy it seemed. Ah well they left early and a delightful three top sat there. They were French and the father (?) didn’t speak English but we had a great time with them. He ordered the terrine which they brought as the terrine pan about a third full and two big chunks of the terrine on a board. He encouraged us to try it with the cornichons. My DH suggested they get some moutarde with it which is how he prefers it. The gentleman also shared his brebis cheese at the end of the meal. When a couple sat on the other side of us and ordered the terrine it became a little party.

We started with two glasses of champagne while we perused the menu. We order a crab dish and the asparagus with aged Parmesan for entrees. It took me a while to figure out that langue d'oiseau was orzo but the dish was wonderful as were the asparagus. I had to order the ris de veau because I adore it and theirs is always wonderful. My DH ordered the côte de veau which he was very happy with. We had glasses of Meursault and Roussilon. For dessert we had a lemon cream dish which they kept saying had licorice but if it was supposed to have something poured on it they forgot. Not that we minded since it was very good. The other dessert was a chocolate mousse/pudding with a salted butter caramel ice cream. With a glass of Armagnac the bill came to €286.

As many know you can have problems finding a place to dine on Sunday night. We have a list of places that are open that night but were meeting friends staying in the 5th who like to walk to and from dinner. Au Bon Coin (21 rue de la Collegiale 75005) has always been a note on my list and finally we went there. It was a cold rainy night and the welcome was warm. We started with champagne with Pêche – a takeoff on Kir Royale. The amuse bouche was a shot glass of a very nice smoked haddock and potato soup. Our entrees were Œufs mimosa, seared foie gras with artichokes & white balsamic vinegar and a tart with chicken livers, confit of shallots and raspberries (yummy- would never have thought of combining fresh raspberries with chicken livers). The plats were rack of lamb with spring vegetables, smoked chicken filet with mashed potatoes (and they were very obliging and left out the scallions my friend didn’t want) and a spicy swordfish cooked en cocotte with quinoa and Kalamata olives. We ordered two bottles of wine- a Volnay and I think a Samur blanc. We only ordered two desserts- the ice cream selection with vanilla, coffee and pistachio and a Moelleux au chocolate with a substitution of raspberry sorbet. My DH ended with an Armagnac which brought the bill to €333. We were all delighted with Au Bon Coin. Since it is a nice walk for our friends they plan to return and asked if reservations were necessary for Sunday evening and the answer was definitely.

We generally tend to have one meal out a day while we are in Paris but a visit wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Le Comptoir du Relais (5 carrefour de l’odeon 75006) or L’Avant Comptoir. When we got there on Monday around 2 there were many seats available at the restaurant so we chose to sit inside. We ordered the asparagus with balsamic vinaigrette, a hearts of romaine salad and my DH’s favorite the roast tuna. We order two glasses of wine – a petit Chablis and Calcinieres Gauby red from Roussillon. We thought it was funny that the deuce next to us from Spain ordered Coke Lite with lots of ice. The glasses each came with one piece of ice and the guy was annoyed. Don’t quite see the appeal of lobster bisque and Coke Lite but I am not a cola fan at all. The bill was €58.

Our final night in Paris was Monday night- another difficult night to find open restaurants. Using the list of restaurants open on Monday on the Paris by Mouth website we decided on Pirouette (5 rue Mondétour, 75001) in the first. Our friends were joining us to try and talk us into coming back to Paris while they were there in the fall (I wish!!). I am a little shaky on details of this wonderful meal but since the menu changes daily it shouldn’t matter. We started with kir royales and the amuse bouche was a piece of pork skin that seemed to have been deep fried (had the texture of a shrimp chip) with a radish and some wonderful soft cheese. The entrée I remember was fregola with morels. The plats were a red mullet with a very dark red wine sauce reminiscent of the Provençal fish soup, veal cheeks also with morels and we think the last dish was a pigeon with asparagus and radishes. For desserts we had a chocolate ganache, rice pudding with caramel sauce, a crumble with lemon ice cream (I think) and my DH got a cheese I had never heard of -Ossau-iraty. The cheese came topped with a black berry puree and was fabulous. Of course the next days I seem to see it everywhere. My memory of this dinner might have been affected by the wine- my DH splurged and ordered a 2002 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape. With the wine (€125) and an Armagnac the bill was €451.00. Good thing the exchange rate was more favorable this trip!!
AGM_Cape_Cod is offline  
Apr 12th, 2015, 09:42 AM
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gosh, AGM, did you write all of this down? where do you find the room? i know that you say that you only eat out once a day but I'm sure that I can count more then 7 meals here! Brava!
annhig is offline  
Apr 12th, 2015, 10:14 AM
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Wow, how wonderful!!
jubilada is online now  
Apr 12th, 2015, 10:50 AM
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Yippee, AGM! So excited to see your TR up. DH and I usually traveled in March as well. The “points” he got for taking me on a trip on our anniversary, 3/17, were many. And FWIW, we lived by Montparnasse station once (for Chartres trip) and once on rue du Cherche Midi. I’m sure my ghost is still there.

Your apartment looks sweet. And with a Nespresso machine! I haven’t read or seen “Phantom…” either. Nor did I know about the Opera House lake.

OK, I am now swooning as I read about your meals. OMG, all that foie gras. And, raspberries and chick livers.

Brava and thanks for a yummy TR.
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Apr 12th, 2015, 11:13 AM
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Formidable! I hope you recreate the strawberry soup and post your recipe on WFD. Murray's has ossau-iraty http://www.murrayscheese.com/ossau-iraty-vielle.html I've never had Armagnac but now I feel I must try it the next time we're in Paris (hopefully in May!).
mvor is offline  
Apr 12th, 2015, 11:34 AM
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I have been waiting and waiting and have re-lived all of it through your report......just great! When can we do it again?????
Traviata is offline  
Apr 12th, 2015, 12:17 PM
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It sounds like a wonderful trip. You certainly deserved one after all the hassles you have had at work.
Vttraveler is online now  
Apr 12th, 2015, 12:29 PM
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"It took me a while to figure out that langue d'oiseau was orzo"

I wouldn't have guessed either--thanks for the delightful report!

(I do vaguely recall once having had ducks' tongues at a Chinese restaurant in New York. Nothing to write home about.)
jahoulih is online now  
Apr 12th, 2015, 12:33 PM
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Oh my.

When I went to La Cerisae a couple years ago, I had called for a reservation but did not leave a message. I was surprised to get a call later that day asking if I had been looking for a reservation, must have been the chef as I think there are just the husband and wife working there. I guess they got my number from the caller ID. I'm glad he called, because I loved my meal there.
Nikki is online now  
Apr 12th, 2015, 01:03 PM
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It all sounds wonderful AGM!
Toucan2 is offline  
Apr 12th, 2015, 01:55 PM
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That's my kind of week in Paris! Drooling...
elberko is offline  
Apr 12th, 2015, 02:55 PM
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I had a simple, tasty meal at Au Bon Coin last summer. Such nice staff. Pirouette has been on my list-will have to move it up a notch.

Thanks for the report.
Leely2 is offline  
Apr 12th, 2015, 08:36 PM
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Now I want to eat chicken livers with raspberries.
Patty is offline  
Apr 15th, 2015, 01:26 PM
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Lovely TR with great food details! Thanks for including addresses!
MarySteveChicago is offline  
Apr 15th, 2015, 05:18 PM
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I was drooling just reading it. Now I have to add some new places to my list of go tos.
Thanks
northie is offline  
Apr 20th, 2015, 09:35 PM
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Nice report. Thnx.
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Apr 21st, 2015, 07:19 AM
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AGM, I remember corresponding with you (always about food!) on our last Paris trip. We are taking kids for first time next year. Am drooling! Chez Eux is a favorite of ours for southwestern food-fois gras with figs and cassoulet is a fave of mine. We walk for hours after that meal to prevent a heart attack!
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Apr 25th, 2015, 08:39 AM
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I don't now how I missed this. I wasn't going to have lunch today because of that wonderful dinner last night with you and Tomas but after reading all those incredible meals, my body asked for food. One of the best food trip reports.
If only I had a cremont. Armagnac is being saved.
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