Tag Archives: Paris dining

Top Of The Paris Peninsula

Mark and I had to move out of our apartment on a Friday so we had a lot of time to say goodbye to Paris before our flight home on Monday.

I had been a little bit obsessed with the Peninsula Hotel since it opened after its four-year restoration a year ago. Check out this video to see why I was so enamored of this gorgeous hotel that was restored with such attention to detail and authenticity. Even my obsession, however, could not allow me to justify the cost of a night there. We did, however, venture to the rooftop bar one afternoon, and then to the enclosed rooftop restaurant the next day for lunch.

It doesn’t cost a centime to walk into the lobby and admire the stunning glass sculpture entitled “Dancing Leaves”. The 800 hand-blown glass leaves represent the sycamore leaves that shade so many Paris streets. They appear to be blowing in the breeze and landing in the lobby, and the effect is breath-taking.

The flower arrangements were understated in a towering kind of way.

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The downstairs Bar Kleber looked so cozy. I totally kicked myself for not ever meeting Mark there. His office was just a short walk up the street.

We headed up to the roof bar on a Saturday afternoon, where the view was mighty fine but the sun was mighty hot.

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The terrace is part of the lovely l’Oiseau Blanc, a restaurant with a retractable roof, where we enjoyed an elegant lunch the following day. L’Oiseau Blanc was named after a French bi-plane that disappeared in 1927 while attempting to make the first non-stop flight between Paris and New York. The aviation theme of the restaurant is classy and not at all over-the-top.

Even making our reservation only the day before, we scored a very nice table (number 25). In face, according to a recent article in Conde-Naste, we enjoyed the nicest view of any of the tables for two. It was next to the most coveted four-person table, Table 17, in the corner. Now you can ask for them by number when you make your own reservation!

Table 17

Table 17

I loved the plates even before they had any food on them.

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When I was looking up the hotel information for this post I noticed that Google describes this restaurant as “Down Home Cooking”. Hmmmm- not at my home, Google.

Here were the “Down Home Desserts”:

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I loved the little propeller on the left!

The bathroom, though keeping with the aviation theme, was nicer than any one I have ever used on Air France.

and yes, smoking

and yes, smoking “in the toilets” was strictly forbidden, just like on a real plane

Just outside the window on the far side of the restaurant was this model of l’Oiseau Blanc.

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And just off its left wing was this excellent view of the Eiffel Tower.

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If you are in the mood for some Down Home Cooking, head on over to the Peninsula Hotel and ask for Table 25. It will be a meal to write down home about.

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Because I’m Happy

Happy Hump Day to all! My friend and I are celebrating Wednesday with a bike tour to Giverny. I did this tour five years ago and thought it was time for a repeat. I’ll share photos here soon!

Here are some things that have made me happy recently.

The floor at one of my favorite stores, Crimson Cashmere

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Happy eggs

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Rhubarb pie oh my

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So many peonies because I cannot get enough.

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Rosé in a beautiful bottle

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Amazing gazpacho poured around spiced avocado on the terrace of the Mini Palais

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with an amazing floor

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And this beautiful little nugget in the park

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What is making you happy today?

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Fun Night Out At Frenchie Wine Bar

I hope you all had a nice weekend and that your week is off to a smashing start. We finally got a little cleansing rain here in Paris yesterday, and today the sun and cool breeze have returned. If this month has been typical of Paris in June, I highly recommend a June vacation to Paris. The crowds are thinner than they will be next month, and the weather has been ideal.

My college roommate and long-time good friend is on her way to me right this minute, having the good sense to flee Texas in summer and be rejuvenated in Paris. We will have a fun week of walking, shopping, and (of course) dining and drinking.

Speaking of dining and drinking, Mark and I recently had a spontaneous and thoroughly enjoyable Friday evening at one of our favorite spots, Frenchie Wine Bar. You may have heard of her older and harder-to-get sister,Frenchie, who is just across the street. Frenchie has been a hot dining spot here for several years. We tried unsuccessfully to get reservations there for months before the Wine Bar opened across the street. The Wine Bar doesn’t take reservations, and once we  experienced its delicious food and lively atmosphere I decided I didn’t care if I never went to Frenchie. Since then we have returned many times, often with visitors from home, and have never been disappointed. The Wine Bar opens at 7:00 PM every night, and we have always gone an hour early in order to be at the front of the line. The place is small and people tend to linger, because the food is served in small plates and people order at a leisurely pace. This last time, however, we didn’t plan ahead and showed up closer to 8:45. We had to wait for an hour but did it inside at the bar, providing me with ample time and material for taking pictures. Enjoy.

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This lobster roll was probably the best thing we ate all night. Divine.

This lobster roll was probably the best thing we ate all night. Divine.

This couple was also waiting and I thought she was so chic. He- not so much.

This couple was also waiting and I thought she was so chic. He- not so much.

Enjoy your day, mes amis.

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Walking Around Belleville

I spent a lovely day last week wandering around the Belleville neighborhood, which felt like a world away from the eighth. Back in the mid-19th century, Baron Haussmann’s makeover of Paris left many slum residents homeless. Throngs of these displaced people fled to Belleville, and today the area is home to many working-class people of all ethnic backgrounds. This is the place to look for those exotic ingredients or spicy peppers, or for authentic ethnic restaurants. Belleville also offers beautiful vistas of Paris without the crowds and tacky souvenir shops surrounding Sacre Coeur.

My first stop was Parc de Belleville. This relatively new park (I think it was opened in 1988) is built into a hillside and is a series of shady paths traversing the hill and stairs going up and down. It was serene on that late morning, with only a few people occupying shady benches and a small group of sun-worshippers having lunch in an open yard. IMG_2397 IMG_2395 IMG_2399 The park was nestled right up against apartment buildings, whose residents no doubt enjoy the view as well as the prime picnic opportunities. IMG_2398 IMG_2400 IMG_2401 And the view!! IMG_2402 Just outside a park exit was this inviting little cafe with a shady terrace. IMG_2407 I took a seat at one of the colorful tables and ordered the cheese and tomato tart. IMG_2403 IMG_2404 And then this happened. Don’t judge. I was climbing hills. I needed my strength. IMG_2405 Just across the street was this adorable building anchored by a boulangerie. I fantasized about living on the top floor. Yes, I would have been able to touch both sides of the apartment at the same time, and my bed would have to be placed diagonally. But I could rig a basket onto a rope pulley and send my money down and then pull a warm baguette or croissant back up through my window! And then I could eat them while admiring my view of the Eiffel Tower. How sweet would that be? IMG_2406 After that lunch, I had some walking to do. IMG_2409 IMG_2410 IMG_2413 I walked a long way up Rue Gambetta, which begins with this gorgeous Art Deco metro station. IMG_2414 IMG_2415 This street borders one side of the Pere Lachaise cemetery and offers a beautiful shady walk. IMG_2416 IMG_2396 IMG_2417 IMG_2419 IMG_2420 The street is also home to many elementary schools like this one. Each has a marble plaque commemorating the Jewish children who were removed from the schools and taken to camps with the cooperation of the Vichy government. It is difficult to visualize those scenes, how terrified and confused those poor children had to have been. IMG_2418 IMG_2424 IMG_2425 IMG_2427 I did not go to Place Sainte-Marthe on this trip to Belleville, but one of our very favorite restaurants is found there, Le Galopin. It’s well worth a trip off the beaten path the next time you are in Paris.

Thanks for visiting!

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Fun Week With Family

We just said “au revoir” to Mark’s brother and his wife after a whirlwind week of food, drink, and laughter. Here is a brief recap.

On Easter Sunday we drove 35 miles south of Paris to the gorgeous Chateau de Fontainebleau.

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The next day we took the train to Reims, where we spent a sunny but breezy day.

We toured the Pommery Champagne House, which was an interesting mix of modern and old.

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love these fun "single serving" bottles sold in bars

love these fun “single serving” bottles sold in bars

After a delicious lunch we visited the Reims Cathedral.

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The next day we explored the Canal Saint-Martin area of Paris.

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That night we ate dinner at Frenchie’s Wine Bar, where we got in line at 6:45 in order to get a table when it opened at 7:00. As always, the small plates and wine were delicious. This little place is worth the early arrival.

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Wednesday we walked around the area surrounding the Eiffel Tower and enjoyed an amazing lunch at Au Bon Acceuil.

white asparagus soup

white asparagus soup

We had never experienced a cabaret show in Paris, so that night we went to Crazy Horse for a bit of adult entertainment. No photos were allowed during the show, but this was the stage before it started.

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Thursday we wandered up Rue Saint Honore, admiring the windows and doing a little shopping. We then strolled the garden of Palais Royale and the Tuileries on our way home.

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Our week ended with a memorable meal at another old favorite, Le Galopin.

This tiny, out-of-the-way place offers a set menu, scrawled and copied on a piece of white paper.

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The seven- course menu is always fresh, inventive, and delightful.

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On the way home we stopped by Sacre Coeur so they could have one last look at Paris.

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At the beginning of the week our guests were shivering in their light coats, and by the end the coats were left at home. Spring appears to have set down her bags at last. Maybe she will stay awhile.IMG_2099

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The Final Installment of Paris With My Mom and Niece

Mom and my niece were only here for a week, but we made sure we filled each day with as much Paris pleasure as we could pack in.

Obviously, my niece could not make her first trip to Paris and not see a bit of the Louvre. We walked over one morning, hoping to beat the crowds, and did the “Masterpiece Tour” on the museum’s very cool audio guide. The guide had a screen with a GPS on it that showed where we were and guided us to the “top hits” of the collection. As we approached each masterpiece, the audio would begin telling us about it without the need to push any buttons. Way cool. Despite some technical difficulties, which may or may not have been due to user error, we found the guide to be very helpful and I would highly recommend renting it.

We spent about an hour and half there, which was just about all we could manage.

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Aren’t you glad I opted not to video my tour, as many others were doing that day?

Having experienced a tip-top view of Paris by day, we decided to try a night-time view from the restaurant at the top of the Montparnasse tower, Le Ciel de Paris. Mark and I had never been up there and were curious about the restaurant and bar with a view that included the Eiffel Tower. I must say that my expectations were exceeded by our dinner experience. The service was professional and friendly, the atmosphere was elegant, the food was good, and the view was prime.

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I was thrilled that my niece was actually interested in art, so I didn’t pass up the opportunity to show her one of my favorite museums, the Musée d’Orsay. We toured the sure-to-please impressionist collection on the fifth floor, and then chose a few classics from the second floor.

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Their final night in Paris was a Sunday, and we took them to an old family favorite near the Eiffel Tower, La Fontaine de Mars. Not at all pricey, but always good, this place serves a delicious roasted chicken and mashed potatoes for when you have had all the fancy French food you can stand.

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and I love their gigantic, cheery napkins

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And just like that, our week was over. Time always goes by too fast when we share Paris with family!

On a more recent note, I went to the Wilson Market yesterday and came home with the last of the winter’s cauliflower and the first of the spring asparagus. I love it when seasons collide like they did in this tasty dish from Smitten Kitchen, Roasted Veggies With Brown Butter  Breadcrumbs. Actually, her recipe was just for cauliflower, but I knew it would be delicious with asparagus too, because, brown butter.

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And it was.

I hope you are all enjoying this lovely season, wherever you may be. Spring is taking a time-out in Paris today, where it is grey and drizzly and a breezy 52 degrees. No worries, though- sounds like a perfect Sunday to stay inside, blog, and check out my new favorite Netflix show, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Thanks for sharing part of your day with me!

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Lunch With A View

Bonjour mes amis! I am still here, despite what you have NOT heard from me in the last week or two. I have put down my tour guide umbrella and put on my tourist fanny pack for a lovely visit to Budapest and Milan. As in Paris, spring is knocking but has not yet put down her bags. The trees have buds but few leaves and we are still zipping up our coats. The fruit trees are resplendent, though, and the forsythia is ablaze. I am loathe to miss the wild flowers in Texas this year, which promise to be especially knock-out due to the wet winter and spring, so I will be consoling myself with lots of fresh flowers from my market.

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But now, back to Paris!

I have been fortunate to dine at the elegant Jules Verne several times, but had not been there in over a year. When my mother and niece were with us we thought it would be the perfect time to revisit the amazing Eiffel Tower restaurant and share it with them. This Alain Ducasse restaurant is located on the second platform of the tower, and is accessed by a private elevator.

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When the elevator doors open into the restaurant, you are led to your table by waiters who make you feel as though you were royalty. The tables are close together but not crowded, and the atmosphere is subdued elegance.

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The white dome in front of my mom is about to be flipped over to become a charger. The geometric pattern is repeated on the ceiling.

The food is every bit as good as one would expect from a Michelin starred restaurant (which it is).

who could resist this little beauty from the bread basket?

who could resist this little beauty from the bread basket?

soup starter- I think it was lobster

soup starter- I think it was lobster

spring asparagus

spring asparagus with an egg

roasted lamb

roasted lamb

chocolate dessert

chocolate dessert

another dessert doused in armengac

another dessert doused in armangac

Of course, it is not so hard to find delicious food and elegant presentation in Paris. The reason people reserve weeks in advance for the Jules Verne is for the view. I neglected to take any photos from our table this time, but if I had, they would have looked much like these, which I took from the top after we ate.

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note- the triangular roof with green tarp, about one quarter from the top, is right by our apartment

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wave to the tourists

wave to the tourists

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It was a memorable lunch for all four of us. If you ever have the opportunity to dine at the JV- grab it!

Cheers to all of you.

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