Friday, 17 October 2008

Fill in the blanks s'il vous plaît



Little Miss Manuel and I are off on our jollies to Paris in a few weeks time. It should be noted that little to no planning has been done for this our first venture to the French capital. We are very much excited at the thought of it all - the style, the galleries, the museums, the big towers, the coffee oooh the coffee, the food, the waiters! Oh yes I cant wait to learn from the masters of snootiness and arrogance. Hey maybe I can teach them a few things, like subtlety and the art of being rude without getting busted.

Christ I love a good stereotype.

I've been frantically searching for a good restaurant in which to celebrate my birthday but am simply overwhelmed with the choices available. I did consider Alain Ducasse' Plaza Athénée Restaurant but after a quick shoofty at the menu I realised that it simply wasn't gonna happen. As much as I want to celebrate my 36th birthday in style I really couldn't justify the best part of £800 or sixteen hundred of your American dollars for dinner. And that doesn't include wine. For that price I want the food to cut itself. Hell for that money I want the waiter to feed me and make airplane noises and generally amuse me.

So this is our itinerary for our three days in Paris.

Day one: Check into hotel, relax for a bit, get some food.
Day two:
Day three:
Day four: Get plane home

If someone could fill in the blanks that would be just great. No, but seriously, if anyone knows of good restaurants for lunch and dinner that would be fantastic. Obviously some places speak for themselves, the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, The Rhodia Notebook shop and what have you but if you know of anything or anywhere below the radar that we should see or do then let me know. I trust you, honest.

*******


I don't post very often on a Saturday but I will be from this Saturday and for the next few weeks. I am starting a new feature. Settle, I know many of my new features have disappeared after the first post never to be seen again but I'm not writing this one so whoopee! I give vegetarians and their crazier cousin the vegan a hard time. I call them salad botherers and meat dodgers and make spurious claims about their ability to stay awake. But maybe, just maybe I've been a bit too hard on our lamb loving friends. So with that in mind I'm giving a new vegan the right of reply. The Voluptuous Vegan will be documenting her journey from veggie to vegan and all that it entails, eating out, eating at home, the difficulty of finding vegan wine (?) and so much more.

It starts tomorrow, so make a cup of elderberry tea, tuck into a tofu burger and welcome the Voluptuous Vegan's, Well Done Nut Roast.

39 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Sooz said...

Manuel, I lived in the beautiful city of Paris for a bit so if you want some tips drop me a line, I shall sort you out.... You did, however, leave one thing out of your essentials list- Disney! If you're going over a weekend I wouldn't recommend it cos you'll queue for hours for everything, but if you're going during the week then pay a wee visit, book tickets in advance for 33 quid for both parks and it'll be high in banter- unless you're a big fearedy cat...

Manuel said...

sooz: oh Disney is never ever ever gonna happen. I have Disney issues. If you want send me an email and I'll tell you were I'm staying.......just as soon as I find out that is...

eguinan said...

Ask Travelling But Not In Love. He's over there (quietly hating the Beatles, heh heh).

Looking forward to the vegetarian feature. One goes through vegetarian phases (and then one gets a bit fucked off with tofu and Quorn and it's sausage time again. Hell, it should always be sausage time.)

Sooz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Manuel said...

eguinan: damn it of course! I'll annoy hi over the weekend! I'm looking for ward to the veggie feature too.......but mainly because I don't have to write for two days......

sooz: you are a star. I'm gonna delete your comment to keep the freaks away from your email....

Ken Burgin said...

Plenty of good recommendations at http://www.davidlebovitz.com/paris/

Have fun - just walking around is amazing...

problemchildbride said...

There's great walking in Paree. Down by the Seine and the latin Quarter are great. Lots of literary adn art history there if you're into that. And the Musee D'Orsay where there are loads of the Impressionist's paintings adn Van Goghs.

Also it's just fun to wander around and soak it up, cafe hopping and people watching - there's excellent people-watching.

Paris is expensive but 800 squids for a meal! That is obscene!

You guys are going to have a brilliant time. I'd love to have paris in mynear future. Going to DC next week though and meeting up with Dev - yay! Can't wait to see her again!

Silverstar said...

I hope you post about Paris. I have to do my traveling vicariously through the likes of you and Daisy Fae these days.

Manuel said...

ken: welcome and thanks! ah walking, i'm no fan of walking but seeing as i'm on my hols.....

sam: awh wish i was going to dc too to meet devin in a strange hotel lobby like last time...

silverstar: oh hell yeah!

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

I have been to Paris a few times.But most times by myself.One time stayed with a friend for a week.Another time took the TGV train from Lausanne to Paris.That was cool.Went with my Mom on Bastille Day 200th anniversary in 1989.But what I liked most about France was the country side and quaint restaurants.Paris is big but you will love it.Have fun and Happy 36th.That was the year I started to date my wife. Ha Ha

Eily said...

Mon Dieu, Manuel, there are more variables in your proposition than one could shake a stick at! So much depends on roughly where/which arrondisement you will be based in - transport's great but who wants to do a runner from the table just to catch one or three metros home, etc. etc. Are you still shading towards Name chefs (Ducasse, also Robuchon etc. and I'd mention Hélène Darroze) or do you want to go for high-level “established” bistro fare so good you could cry? David Lebovitz (previously namechecked) knows his Paris, and I'd like to recommend www.chocolateandzucchini.com (Clotilde Dusoulier, food blogger turned published food writer) - she has a useful discussion forum on travel and restaurants, with an emphasis on Paris. She also has some good posts on her restaurant experiences, etc. I would give the Latin Quarter (esp. streets near St Michel/fountain) a miss - hard to avoid the tourist fare). You'll be spoiled for choice, whatever you decide.

Quickroute said...

Love that city! - enjoy

MJ said...

Is Paris crawling with French waiters with blogs?

savannah said...

i'll email with my suggestions, sugar! i am so envious!!!! xxooo

A.B. said...

I got nothing, but I'm just so very happy that you have something so fabulous planned!

AM in Brussels said...

There are 2 resturaunts which I love to visit whenever I'm in Paris.

One is slightly touristy, called "Ma Bourgogne" on Place des Voges in the le Marais district. It's good regional French cooking, and the prices are quite OK too. Their speciality is steak tartare. But they do good casseroles, etc too.

The other is a north African resturanunt called Chez Omar. But set in an old Paris bistro. It's been on the go for ages, and has the absolute best couscous I've eaten. If I remember correctly, it's up towards place de la Republic, but also in le Marais.

Enjoy yerselves.

Bruno said...

I've been to La Regalade earlier this year, was pretty happy. Great bistro ambience and no bullshit. Nice mixture of locals, suits, tourists and the food was delightful.

And do not forget the croissants. They are essentially butter sculptures there, and oh so good.

John Ferris said...

Manuel, I can't find a website for this place, but the last time we were in Paris we found a small little place called Chez Henri (no, not the restaurant from Frazier). We asked a highly efficient member of the staff in the Hilton and they recommended it.
The food was pretty good, but it was more the atmosphere - it was bunged with locals, and we had to wait a while, even though we'd booked. But it was just so Parisian that it was worthwhile - a lot of the tables were big long ones where you're dotted in beside other people like a family dinner. As I remember they did some great seafood. And the waiting staff were very friendly. Only online link I can find is this - http://www.frommers.com/destinations/destinationmap.cfm?destID=62&r_id=65577 - and you would need to get your hotel to book a table.

J

Sharon said...

I was in Paris for a half day trip when we went to Disneyland with the children. It was such a pleasure to have some decent food at a street cafe, after the dire rubbish served in the parks. (It is so very bad.)

If you want to go up the Eiffel Tower, book tickets in advance as we stood for hours queueing to get in then queueing again to get back down. And take food with you; I bought chips and croque monsieur at the little cafe and it was shit, worse than Disneyland.

redleeroy said...

I hope you have some sort of portable blogging device? We all must have minute by minute updates of the Clouseau-esque waiters and their attempts to make you feel hideous after your mispronunciation of the simple phrase - Chien du Fromage.

Carine said...

Simple. Two things:

1) Take LMM to colette (www.colette.fr) on the rue Saint-Honore. It is a brilliant shop. She'll love you forever.

2) Go to the Marais. It's the 'old' Paris and is the gay / jewish quarter. Don't freak out. It's fantastic. Great little bistros, excellent falafel - you'd love it.

Have a fantastic time. My Mum lives in Paris, drop in for a cuppa anytime.

x

Manuel said...

Seriously I love you guys.......is there anything you don't know....?

Manuel said...

oh and i'll respond to each of these one by one tonight......

Trekkie said...

Veggies - taking over the world, one blog at a time.
Seriously, well done for embracing the (to you) dark side.

Can't help with Paris I'm afraid - never been - but hope you have a wonderful time.

Manuel said...

keep em coming folks......

jen said...

Check out David Lebovitz's blog:

http://www.davidlebovitz.com/

He's an American in Paris, a former pastry chef who sometimes does food tours of the city. He's also got his restaurant visits catalogued.

Enjoy your trip :-)

AnFearBui said...

check out Anthony Bourdain on paris
http://www.travelchannel.com/Video_%26_Photos/Video_Detail?videoRef=TITLE250

I liked Bofinger on Rue du Bastille-great art nouveau room with glazed dome ceiling, great seafood.
http://www.bofingerparis.com/en/
You can have a panoramic nosey into their kitchen or dining room on the website.

On the way back to the hotel about 10pm we got the taxi to stop so our daughter could have a go on a Carousel near the Eiffel tower which was all lit up. great night.

If you like bookshops go to Shakespeare & co
http://www.shakespeareco.org/index.htm

Also go to the Pompidou then walk back towards lle de la cite & Notre dame

Sweetchuck said...

And will you be asking LMM a special question after a stroll along the seine and a glass of wine at the top of the eiffel tower? Eh?

AnFearBui said...

Sweetchuck, after a treck along the Seine & climbing the Eiffel tower I don't think Manuel would be in a fit state to ask anything.

my bet is on "could I have my cigs out of your handbag"

Anonymous said...

A.C


http://www.paris-absinthe-museum.com/index.htm

http://www.paris-tourisme.com/museums/picasso/index.html

Just two suggestions - My favourite things to do in Paris The Musee d'Orsay and the Picasso Museum, shopping and sit in a Parisian cafe. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Try davidlebovitz.com - he'll turn you on to some great spots without breaking your bank account!

Belle

Babaduck said...

How about a wee trip to La Grande Epicerie (38, rue de Sèvres - 75007 Paris) to buy lots of food you'll never get at home and have a gorgeous decadent picnic in the park (beats a can of Harp & a packet of Tayto anytime!)

Medbh said...

I'm green with envy, Manuel.

You and LMM will have a delightful time no matter what you do there.

Irish Parisienne said...

Hey Chez Omar is on Rue de Bretange in the 3rd metro stop temple or st sebastian froissert.. Its also a great area for bars.. any along there are always teeming with the happening parisians... just don't go down rue des archives towards the river unless gay bars are your thing..

Another favourite of mine is La Loup Blanc on Rue Tiquetonne... they have a website..easy to find on google. Very different food and great cocktails..

Or anything along Rue Vielle du Temple ie Les Philosophes/Tresor. Great atmosphere, not too expensive and yummo food!

Once you accept that parisian waiters are just going to be the way they are you just can have fun with it.. just don't tip unless they are really nice and give good service!

CheeseMonger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Babaduck said...

Found some more info for you...

http://travel.nytimes.com/2008/10/19/travel/19hours.html?8td&emc=tda1

William said...

If the weather permits, it's hard to do much better than hitting a market street, getting whatever fresh bread, cheese, sausages and wine suit your fancy at that moment and taking them to the nearest park for an ad hoc picnic.

For example, Rue Cler in the Septieme is an easy walk from the Champ du Mars / Eiffel Tower. Now which sounds better to you: waiting in line cheek-by-jowel to ride up the Eiffel only to look around a bit and ride straight back down? Or sitting in the park next to the tower enjoying the view AND a lovely '06 Borgogne?

If weather doesn't permit, the Fountain du Mars bistro in the same neighborhood is quite nice, but really you can't throw a rock in Paris without hitting a great bistro so I wouldn't trouble yourself too much about any particular place. Your instincts will serve you fine: if a place is dead around mealtime, avoid it. Otherwise you'll be in great shape.

jen said...

Here's another one for you:

http://smittenkitchen.com/where-we-ate-in-paris/

Deb from Smitten Kitchen has just got back from Paris and has handily listed all the places she went to eat :-)

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