Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bonbon's Paris Guide, Part Une

Le Tour pic by "The Chairman"

My friend is going to Paris on Sunday and staying right down the street from where I usually stay in the 5th so this is for Stacia:

Likeable Information
-Buy the little blue book, Plan de Paris par Arrondissement. It's the best for finding your way around, finding streets and better than any pull-out map. Walk down the Blvd. St. Germaine on your first morning through the 5th into the 6th. There are all kinds of bookstores and stationers where you can go in and ask for one.
-A Paris zip code will tell you which arrondisement you're in. 75001 is the 1st, etc.
-If you think you'll take the metro at least 10 times while you're there, buy a carnet. Just ask the station attendent in rudimentary French: "Un carnet, s'il vous plait" and then she'll hand you a bunch of purple tickets for about E10.60.
-I don't change money anywhere but ATM's-best rates, especially at the airport. The euro is kicking the ass of the dollar. I think it's at 1.32E=$1. Don't let this deter your fun!
-Unless you're going to take the train into the city in which I say more power to you, make a reservation to be picked up from the airport through Paris Shuttle. It's a shared shuttle service: you can pre-pay on-line and just ring them when you get to the terminal and tell them, "I'm here!" Cheaper than a taxi and if you don't like the feeling of mystery when you arrive in a new city, then this move takes the edge off.

Cafes and Markets
-The market at Place Maubert, maybe because I pass that one the most. I love the cheese monger there and there a few stalls that sell Provencal goods where you can Fleur de Sel (salt) and herbes, lavender etc. Along the back side of them market are wonderful little take-away food shops, a boucherie and all kinds of goodies to take a way for a picnic.
-Take your picnic to: Luxembourg Gardens and watch kids and their toy boats on the pond there or anywhere along the Seine, especially in front of Notre Dame.

-Good places for drinks/coffee/wine and a scenic people watching sit: Any of the cafes behind the Louvre at Place Colette, any of the little cafes on the Ile de St. Louis just near the bridge to Ile de la cite. I like Cafe Lutecia for beautiful views.

Bonbon's New Favorite Restaurants as of March 2007

1. Le Rouge Gorge: 60, rue St. Paul in the 4th (very close to the Seine and Quai de Celestins-just across the river from the 5th!) A wonderful intimate little restaurant/wine bar with a little cave in the cellar. The food is wonderful and you can go down with the lovely owner and choose your wine and take a bottle home as well. I can't get enough of this place. THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE IN ALL THE WORLD.
If you go for lunch, you can walk in and out of all the little antique shops on rue St. Paul.

2. Aux Tonneaux Des Halles: 28, rue Montorgueil in the 1st near Les Halles (Tel: 01 42 33 36 19) Very typical Paris bistrot with bad attitude and all but i like how saucy the staff is. it's not too expensive and you can have some really well prepared old school Parisian favorites like entrecote (steak) with mouelle (marrow bones..mmm) and blanquette de veau (rolled veal with white sauce) and cassoulet with crispy duck. Rue Montorgeuil is also really lively and fun and fun for a cocktail.Getting INTO it at Aux Tonneaux des Halles

3. La Rôtisserie d'en Face: 2 rue Christine in the 6th (just around from the rue Buci and rue Dauphine where there are lots of lovely restaurants). The atmosphere is a bit fancier- attracting an older clientele but the food is wonderful, specializing in roasted meats and fish. The chicken is the specialty and is the most delicious chicken I've ever tasted. The food isn't so heavy which is nice.

4. Le Relais de l'Entrecôte: 20 rue Saint-Benoît in the 6th just down from Cafe Flor off the Blvd. St. Germaine. I guess this place is a little touristy, and if you go late the line is around the block but the only thing you can order here is Steak frites. The waitress comes over and asks you how you want it done-you tell her and you eat the most delicious steak with the increasingly more delicious bearnaise sauce in every bite. Vivian Pei, Sandy's cousin recommended it, and then Sandy and Craig went, and then I went and it was fun and delicious.

5. Ribouldingue: 10 rue Julien le Pauvre (01 46 33 98 80) in the 5th, not too far from rue de petit pont. I didn't eat here but I will next time I'm in Paris. It was recommended to me by my friend Ann of the amazing Ann-Ann handbag line and her husband Charlie who owns Vinoteca, a wine bar in London. They are people with palates to be trusted. The food here is apparently, uh, challenging as in pig snout and trotters and black sausage the such. But well prepared and really delicious I hear. And the name is pretty cool huh?
I'm so there--have someone ake the reservation for you if you don't speak French.

Walking and Doing
I love shopping and walking around in the Marais. Walk over to Mariannes for the best falafel in the Jewish Quarter around rue des Rosiers. A perfect day in the Marais would be to walk through St. Paul through Place des Vosges into the little streets behind and follow the signs for the Musee de Picasso, have a wonderful time. After that stroll back to rue du Vieille du Temple and find some cool new shops. Sit in the cafe across from the Biblioteque Nacional and have a glass of something.
In St. Germaine, I love buying a good looking sandwich from one of the little boulangeries and eating it while I walk down the street, something I'd never do in NY. I'm a sucker for art and office supplies and book stores and there are some great ones in the 5th on and around the boulevard St. Germaine and rue des Ecoles since it's a student-y area near the Sorbonne. You can visit the Côte Bastide store and Diptyque. Deliciously stinky fancy shops. Keep walking a little further along the Boulevard St. Germaine and buy some great French creams and shampoos at the Euro Sante on Boulevard St. Germaine at Place Odeon (across from Carrefour de L'Odeon or all the movie theaters). My favorite lines are Nuxe and Caudalie creams and Vichy sunscreen and under-eye balm. They give a ton of samples if you buy a lot and if the counter girl is in a good mood.

Go to Montmartre, to Sacre Coeur and all the little streets up there! Look at the last remaining vineyard in Paris and enjoy the Montmartre atmosphere.

Bonbon's museum picks: Musee Picasso, and Chirac's new museum is awesome: Musee de Quai Branly, and Musee De l'Orangerie. Of course the Louvre, esp. at night.

Everytime I'm in Paris, I'm obliged to visit the Eiffel Tower at night. It's become kind of a ritual. Then I go across the river and up to the Esplanade des' Invalides and I talk to all the African guys selling little glass light-up Eiffel Towers. The lights change from red to green to blue--very touristy but I love them! I usually buy one or two and give them as gifts when I get home. They're really pretty. It's really pretty to look at the Eiffel Tower across the way with all the little light up Eiffel Towers in the forefront.
This time, Alexa and Joe were there and we rode the carousel and took pictures with the French Infantry--don't ask.
I swear I'll think of more and will add a Part Deux when I think of it.


The Chairman said...


That's my picture of Le Tour!!!

Deb said...

I was living vicariously through the time you spent outdside Le Showroom Cappy!