a friend last night asked me for recommendations to visit paris for a a week-end. and so, i have decided to write a blog post in case you might be interested. of course, these are based on a perhaps a strange idea that when i go 3-4 times per year, i like to feel as though i live there and so try to do things as i think i would living in the beautiful city of love that is paris, the eternal!
first, i always book a room at hotel muguet in the 7e arrondissement, just a stone throw away from “hotel des invalides” and a short walk to la tour eiffel. i have stayed there 15-20 times now, at least. why? because it makes me feel like i am visiting a dear aunt. and because i love the proximity to la rue cler and saint-dominique, 2 absolutely lovely foodie destinations.
of course, when i land from hong kong, i reach the hotel at around 9 am and my room is not normally ready because check-in is at 15h. but i make no fuss about it because the team at reception at very accommodating and will keep my suitcase and my phone number so that they will call me in case the room is ready before the time. i will head out for breakfast strait to “le petit cler” on the street of the same name. lovely staff and lovely seats on a small terrace outside for interesting people watching. rue cler is a pedestrian street and so only very few cars and trucks are allowed to supply what is in reality a market street with plenty of incredibly beautiful shops selling all kinds of food.
after breakfast, i will normally head down rue grenelle to reach rue de belgrade and the park surrounding the eiffel tower. the view there is splendid and perfect for photo taking.
after a beautiful lunch, on the buzz of a little wine having warmed my stomach and certainly enlightened my mood, i will probably walk along rue
by the time i have had my fill of sweet, i will hop on a taxi to reach my hotel and have a rest before going out to a beautiful dinner for the evening….
- la fontaine de mars , rue st-dominique is a wonderful bistrot experience anyone can hope to find in paris with a very traditional menu, service, and atmosphere. i fact, i love to go there for lunch or diner, it does not matte, each time i go, i am charmed. reservations recommended.
- les cocotte de constant s a great little place where the menu is super original and each dishes are serves in a small “cocotte” and for sure lip-smacking. the atmosphere is electric but the thing is no reservations are accepted. a positive thing if in the mood for an early dinner!
- brasserie thoumieux if i am in the mood to dress up, especially on a saturday night, i might want to make a booking at this trendy and chic little brasserie re-invented by the chef who has long experience and reputation. lovely dishes, especially when ordering something that is unknown and weird sounding. highly recommended.
- il vino by enrico bernardo is a wonderful. chic and trendy place where you select your wine and the dishes are secretly paired to them. a lovely concept by the youngest person to ever win the best sommelier of the world contest, enrico bernardo.
usually, i will be quite tired after dinner and the walk back to the hotel will do me a lot of good…
for brunch the next morning, i will make sure to make a reservation “chez janou”, a fantastic little bistrot featuring a menu from the south of france at the fringe of “le marais” close to place des vosges. the last time i went, i ordered the “pot au feu” and not only it was a huge plate but it was wonderfully lip-smacking!
after a satisfying brunch at any of the above destination, the wandering around the streets of le marais, especially on rue des franc-bourgeois, rue vieille du temple, rue du bourg tibourg, rue des rosiers is the way to do it. nice shops, beautiful people, and paris the way i imagine….
by the time i realise it, it will be later after-noon and time to head back to the hotel.
from the stop at the tour eiffel, it will be easy to hop on a taxi or walk back to the hotel to rest a while an get ready for another great dinner…
either i will head to another restaurant nearby as above or perhaps i will venture into town as follow - reservations well in advance (perhaps even before reaching paris) a must:
- l’atelier de joel robuchon the iconic chef does not disappoint in the 1st restaurant of the kind he created these years ago. i absolutely love the place. intense dishes, superlative service, in a very laid-back atmosphere & setting…
- benoit for an upmarket bistrot experience, where i plan to celebrate my 47th birthday in fact… the place is delightfully traditional, with a old world flair and a parisian attitude. the best of all world, paris style…
- spring an american chef making his way unto the legends of parisian gastronomy.
- pierre gagnaire, le restaurant. a very high level, and exclusive destination… i have never been but i have a reservation on the 2nd night of my 47th birthday celebration (yes, i like to make it last…). i definitely love pierre gagnaire. quite a few times, i ate at his restaurant in hong kong and each time, i was delighted by his creativity and genius in the kitchen. i very very much look forward to dine at this fabled restaurant on the 09 of march next
for me, paris is fantastic for eating. and for walking. i love the walk along the seine from pont de l’alma not far from the hotel all the way to pont de l’archevêché, just behind the catédrale notre-dame. on a beautiful day, the walk offers plenty of beautiful vistas, people watching and a wonderful feeling of well being.
food markets are aplenty in paris and so are museums, cinemas, fashion stores, and parks for delightful walks.
key for me is to feel the city, live it as closely as a local as i can. to love it and let it impress me with all of its glory and beauty...