Eating up Paris, 2015

Eating up Paris, 2015

Living in sunny Florida for the past 25 years one sometimes forgets that the rest of the world does not share in our vast array of sunshine, especially during the winter months.
Arriving in the darkness to Charles De Gaulle International Airport at 8:15 in the morning was an immediate reminder of why we originally chose to visit Paris in the winter; guaranteed chilly weather,  less crowds, maybe a dusting of snow and now another……..morning darkness!! Who knew how greatly appreciated the absence of early morning sunshine would be following late nights of delicious dining!

Our “winter escape” plan was simple. Five days and nights of dining, site seeing and wine tasting. Obviously no where near the amount of time that should be allotted to this historically rich city, however, we knew that going in and had no intention of trying to “do it all” in just a few days.

An early morning arrival is the perfect Segway into what will be your first of many meals in France………lunch.  And the French take lunch seriously, dedicating time to relax and enjoy a comforting meal and most likely a glass of wine.  After checking into our hotel we decided on Bistro fare for lunch and headed to Alain-Ducasse’s  Benoit.  It was what I hoped it would be, an instant reminder of refined French cuisine, rich sauces, petite garnishes and pure flavors!  A perfect first stop after an overnight flight.
20, rue Saint-Martin, www.alain-decades.com

IMG_0088The magnificent estuary known as the Seine River can be admired from so many different locales in Paris, but none better then on a beautifully restored river boat, particularly those of The Yachts De Paris company and there Don Juan II Gourmet  Dinner Cruise.   A spectacular evening of sites and flavors complemented with lovely wines and gracious service. This is a must do!!  The evening starts off with champagne and Hors D’ oeuvres in the salon followed by a five course menu of French Cuisine Today.  Before dessert is served you are invited to step upstairs on to the deck for a perfectly timed sighting of the Eiffel Tower as it puts on a five minute sparkling light show.   We enjoyed this experience so much that we would absolutely revisit The Don Juan on our next Paris Holiday.
Reservations at www.ydp.fr
Having not been to Paris in 20 years I knew it would be next to impossible to experience the “local” eating scene without a local.  Voile!!  Enter Wendy Lyn,  Founder & Editor of The Paris Kitchen and………….
³One of the Top Ten Culinary Guides in Europe² ­ The Wall Street Journal
³On a first name basis with every Œit¹ chef in Paris² ­ Travel + Leisure
“Wendy Lyn is Paris’ Ultimate Food Insider” – USA TODAY
“One of the 6 Best Food Tours in the World” – Sunday Times Magazine

Get the picture?, Wendy was our go to gal!!  We spent 7 delicious hours with Wendy bouncing from a cheese seminar and tasting at the famous “Fromager” Laurent Dubois,
47 ter, bd Saint-Germain, to the hidden Hors d oeuvre bar at L’Avant Comptoir, (you must order the duck confit hotdog), address:  9 Carrefour de l’Odeon, Left Bank.
Next it was off to world famous Chef Guy Savoys newly opened oyster bar
L’ Huitrade directly across the street from his 3 Star Flagship Restaurant Guy Savoy.  We had not been seated ten minutes when Chef Guy popped out of kitchen to chat with his friend Wendy, this of course led to introductions.  A high point for me due to the fact that I have admired his talent since first dining with him in 1996.
Bistro Paul Bert was on our list to dine, however, obtaining a reservation was challenging, but once again, not for Wendy, one phone call and we had an 8:30 dinner reservation on a Friday night!  Bistro menu selections redefined, simple, flavorful and bustling with locals.  Note:  order off of the smaller chalk board, you won’t regret it.  Address, 18 rue Paul Bert

Cheers to our new foodie friend Wendy Lyn………She is awesome and would love to show you her city!
Merci be coup Wendy!!! Auvoir

Les Bouquinistes at 53 quai des Gds Augustine,   definitely did not disappoint.  A most sumptuous seared cod with creamy risotto was the perfect “lite” lunch after sleeping off our food coma from the previous day.
Walking and site seeing set us on a course up to the 17 arrondissement and to the doorsteps of Lucien La Chance.
Fourteen petite tables bustling with Mediterranean flavors from the matchbox size kitchen.  The owner graciously waited on us and guided us thru the chalkboard menu.  A highlight for me was his wine recommendation, a Vin de Pays Des Cotes Catalanes, which showed amazing minerality and what the French refer to as vin naturals. Always a special treat when you are able to interact with the proprietor of a restaurant.   I would highly suggest a reservation!!  8 Rue des Dames

I cannot mention often enough the amount of most hospitable folks we encountered during our short stay.  Among the many was our most gracious tour guide to Champagne, Trong Nguyen.   The amount of insight and knowledge he shared with everything Champagne, and the town of Reims was and is priceless. Six of us enjoyed his company for a 9 hour Champagne region tour, and all the details were attended to. On time pickup at our hotel, continental breakfast, a delightful lunch at Au Petit Comptoir in Reims, (www.au-petit-comptoir.fr) a personalized tour and tasting at Jean Claude Mouzon, a chilly yet insightful vineyard tour, a personal tour at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame at Reims or also called The Reims Cathedral, followed up with Hot tea, and a cave tour at Champagne Pommery,   Trong continually offered his assistance with photos, and left us with gifts of postcards, wine glasses and a photo video emailed to each of us.  Many do not realize that you can be in Champagne in under two hours from Paris, and the folks at
www.parischampagnetour.com are definitely the ones you should allow to handle the details for this special day excursion.

When Chef Joel Roubuchon decided to “give up on the stars” many years back it made headlines world wide. He had decided to scale back and open a more casual dining establishment where all guests ate at the kitchen counter,  he called it
L’ Atelier Joel Roubuchon.  His interpretation of this style of dining was an instant success in Paris, and when he expanded this concept to NYC a few years back I was one of the first to dine at the newly opened restaurant inside The Four Seasons Hotel. It was a very memorable dining experience, and the inspiration of my BarjMe.  Recently L’ Atelier has closed in NYC indefinitely and is rumored to be relocating to the Financial District.  Paris however still has the original plus a second location, and we were fortunate to snag a 10:30 pm seat to observe the “Cuisiniers” dance in the kitchen and turn out amazing dishes. There are so many flavor options on the menu and I would suggest splurging on the Chefs Tasting Menu which will give you a great insight of the talent that is Joel Roubuchon. Reservations Required.
L’Atelier de Joel Roubuchon
5 rue de Montalembert

If you have never been to Paris, or it’s been some time since your last visit, I would highly recommend it.  The city is clean, the hospitality is sincere and the history is breathtaking.

Feel free to reach out to me should you need anymore suggestions in The City of Light, and or any other places I’ve visited.

Bon Voyage!!!

Slideshow of Champagne