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Doggie Bags Do Not Exist in Paris
Americans are accustomed to packing up their remaining restaurant meals and taking them home in a 'doggie bag'. Please don't ask to bring home any leftover food while in Paris. It's just not a custom there.
There are stories also about guests whose hotel offers buffet breakfasts. The guests would take extra food and bag them to eat for lunch so they will not need to purchase any food. Taking food from your hotel's dining room is a huge no-no also.
Almost as prevalent of a fashion accessory as a scarve, it seemed that nearly everyone was carrying a baguette with them, especially in the dinner time hours :-)
There was an interesting exhibit in one of the metro stations about why large grocery stores were bad and how they were destroying neighborhoods, somehow I think the daily need for a fresh baguette will keep the evil supermarkets away!
BTW, there is no bread that I like as well as a fresh French baguette
Stop and Have a Crepe or a Sandwich
We had arrived a few hours earlier from London on the Eurostar. After finally getting out of the Gare du Nord train station (a warning tip) we went to our hotel to drop off our bags and freshen up. We then took our first Metro trip (took RER from Gare du Nord) and got off at St. Michel. Walked over toward the Cathedral of Notre Dame and since we had about 1 1/2 hour until our bike trip we stopped off for a quick sandwich at this stand just down the street from Notre Dame
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Indulge in Some Cheese
It probably had not occurred to many here that there is a cheese course that's served in between the entree and the dessert. The cheese plate is considered to be one of the highlights of a multi-course meal. At Le Tastevin we had brie. It was wonderful: ripe, very creamy.
The Parisians shop for their cheese as much as they shop for their bread and meats. Therefore, there are many fromageries (cheese shops) located in the city. One famous fromagerie is called Androuet. I got to visit the location on the rue Mouffetard last December. It was very crowded most likely for the holiday season. Many types of cheese abound!
More Food Tips - Volume 2
(d) Fancy a coffee, newspaper and mingling with the chic Parisians? Then head to the world famous Café Flore (172 Bv. St. Germaine) or Deux Magots (170 Bv. St. Germaine) and...you WILL find a lot of singles (Parisians and foreigners) who don't mind chatting and getting to know you better. It's just like what you would see in the once-popular HBO TV series "Sex In The City" i.e. the kind of fabulous places the gals from SITC would hang-out. And don't worry... this is not some cheap pick-up joint. Many are habitués (regulars) but these two 'literary' (and very expensive) cafes attract tourists from all over the world.... from New York to Tokyo, Berlin to Singapore and Australia. :-)) Hey, some of them would even be thrilled to join forces with you to explore a bit of Paris or simply take a walk. My best friend and I have had some great moments at these cafés. Ah, c'est la vie...
So, go ahead and order a petit crème (that's - coffee with piping hot milk, baby).
(e) Sushi bars are another fun way to meet nice, cool and chic single diners. The current 'in' sushi hangout must surely be Lo Sushi (8, rue de Berri 75008). It has a revolving sushi bar where diners help themselves to the delectable sushi et sashimi that catches their fancy. I like it this way... The decor is better than the sushi, but amazingly this restaurant is a BIG hit with locals and foreigners alike.
Who recommended us this place?
A sales assistant from Chanel (the branch located along the Champs Elysees) highly recommended this joint to us. 100 brownie points to her.
(f) If you're interested to meet interesting people living in Paris, you should also consider popping into a wine bar (only the chic wine bars, pur-leeese!) where people have the same taste preferences or share a sense of sipping adventure. Food and wine in France tend to be the bond that binds like-minded people together!
More Food Tips - Volume 3
(g) And finally, chill out at a cybercafe in Paris. Wait. Not just any other cyber cafe. The latest 'in' spot is The Web Bar (32 rue de Picardie 75003 ). Head there if you want to surf the Net, check your email, meet cool dudes (French and foreigners). Do I look like I'm kidding you? Go, see and you'd know what I mean. Not only will you find computers here but also a full schedule of poetry reading nights... concerts....art exhibits.... ooh la la! You'd also probably notice 'Hm, who is that cute guy at the next terminal (er.. PC, I mean. Not the airport terminal, you twit!). This, my friend, presents the PERFECT opportunity for you to exchange e-mail addresses! I said - EMAIL addresses. So, don't go having any other wild thoughts, guys! Our favorite joint (without our boyfriends and husbands). Shhh!
(h) O.K., this is the absolutely final-final tip for the day: Shakespeare and Company (37, rue de la Bucherie) is one place you shouldn't miss. It is located just down by the River Seine. You can find used books, a really kewl atmosphere bursting with mind-expanding 'reads.' A perfect hang-out for geeks.... er, I mean... chic folks like us.
Dining, drinking, etc
What I've learned:
Parisiens do not fight over who will pay the bill.
If you want a drink, you must ask for it.
If you want a second drink, you must ask for it. An empty glass means nothing to the barmen.
If you want your check, you have to ask for it.
Waitstaff and barmen do only one thing at a time. Want a glass of wine? Wait til he finishes sweeping the floors
If you are Vegetarian or Vegan, DO NOT TRUST the waiter when he tells you it is vegetarian. It probably isnt and may actually contain huge chunks of meat!
If you do not finish your meal, you will get an eyeroll from the waiter.
If you send back food, they treat you poorly.
If you send back wine, it is not uncommon for them to pour the wine back in the bottle.
Ile flottante: A dessert for all seasons
Translated as "floating island", this dessert shows up on the menus of many Paris bistros. The standard version consists of a an "island" of fluffy eggwhites in a small pool of creamy custard. Sometimes caramel is added, or it is studded with other flavorings as in this version enjoyed at La Fontaine de Mars.
- Food and Dining
Belgium has brasseries (: breweries), so do Parisians. Parisians don't brew beer anymore. I have heard the sole case ever of a Parisian guy brewing his beer & serving it at his brasserie. Still, for me, Paris is the place for brasseries & Parisians love theirs. Maybe for the very reason I find them to be a good bargain: good food, less formal than restaurants.
For our stay in 2004, we used to have our typically French, half-baguette beurrée and café/ chocolat chaud breakfasts at Le Zeyer. The first day, it was around 10am. I was having my breakfast whilst the chef was studying the menu & his colleagues, displaying the fruits (strawberries, raspberries being placed in the fridge to be served at noon). Outside, the cute yellow awning stressed the impression of warmth. Another garçon was displaying oysters on a stack of ice. Those oysters & this seafood used to drawn us to Le Zeyer that day. It was a summer August stay in Paris. Still, it was fresh & quite relaxing inside.
Got to think... it was the same decades ago. In 1984, we used to live in the 14e for our 2-month stay. The same oyster & seafood display used to lure us when taking & stepping down at Alésia station.
Later on, after visiting les Batignolles, when my dad suggested we headed to this brasserie on Place Alésia, I remembered about the fruits... Mmmm.. so refreshing they were while chilling out after the long walk around Batignolles area.
Le Zeyer also has a roofed terrace where to sit soaking up the ambience, having some drinks (esp. a Kro, the French beer, a Pastis, a kir royal) and, for me, enjoying my dish of strawberries, suncurrants, raspberries at 4pm :-)... whilst one can have a look on the streets, on Place Alésia. Life is great. Life is cool.
Of course, breweries serve noon lunch and diner too. According to their specialty, one can have oysters, a regional cuisine, but mostly cuisine de brasserie, rather massive such as steak frites, a good grill, sometimes venison, fish, seafood...
To try one, browse the below web address .
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Le Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé !
The new Beaujolais has arrived!
We founded this sing in all the restaurants and cafes, so we tried it.
Is a new wine, so do not expect anything great, if you want to be for sure, try a Bordeaux.
Beaujolais is sold every year beginning the third Thursday in November.
Helpful hints on Eating and Drinking
This is the advice of Gulliver on The Economist:
Eating and drinking
• When dining out in Paris, it is easy to be intimidated by stroppy-looking waiters, long menus and longer wine-lists. Relax.
• Grabbing a sandwich for lunch at one’s desk confirms Parisians’ worst stereotypes of Anglo-Saxons. Lunch, a sit-down affair, is treated as a real break from the office, and conversation over food is not necessarily work-related.
• Don't turn up at 8pm for an 8pm dinner and expect anyone to be pleased to see you. Most Parisians won't arrive until 9pm (and dinner will probably start at 9.45pm). Conversely, it would be rude to overstay your welcome: once one couple leaves a private dinner party, the others will follow suit. This means that most private dinners are over by midnight.
• Wine at a business lunch is becoming unusual in Paris. But to refuse wine at a dinner could be considered odd. Whatever the circumstances, it is extremely bad form to drink too much. Equally, it is still bad form to object to a post-prandial cigarette or cigar (Nicolas Sarkozy himself is partial to the occasional Havana).
• Tipping is simple. A 15% service charge is automatically added to your restaurant bill, and no extra payment need be made. However, it’s a good idea if you intend to return to leave a modest amount; even just a couple of euro coins will be appreciated.
• As a rule, French waiters take their work seriously. They would not dream of indulging in the gushing familiarity that marks America’s dining rooms. You and they should first exchange a formal “bonjour/bonsoir Monsieur/Madame”. On the other hand, they will happily explain what is on the menu.
• Unless you are a connoisseur, it is wise to ask advice on what wine to drink. Even in quite humble restaurants the waiter will have the expertise to make a suitable choice. The same is true for cheese (eaten before the dessert). Moreover, whatever the standard of restaurant, the waiter will quite probably speak some English and be proud to use it.
• Water normally has to be asked for (and rarely comes with ice); loud voices are not appreciated; and in posh restaurants even the least stroppy waiter may sneer (at least inwardly) if you order a Coca-Cola to go with the chef’s haute cuisine.
• Smoking in bars, cafés and restaurants has been banned since January 2008, although establishments can provide a sealed-off room for smokers.
Great food and wine
One of the things that every visitor to Paris must do is dine at one if its many fine restaurants and bistros. The latter are often less expensive. Also, taste one of the many fine wines available. Bordeux and others cans be found quite easily throughout the city. Also note that many restaurants dont open for dinner until 7:00pm.
- Wine Tasting
Typical Back Street Pub - Latin Quarter
We had walked to the Pantheon on rue de Soufflot and then continued on past the adjoining church Genevieve, walking down rue Valette you can admire some local restaurants and apartment buildings as you quickly come to the square where Le Pub is located on the corner of rue Lanneau. This is a lively place with tables and chairs outside and people enjoying a drink and something to eat.
It looked like the local pub, a nice place to pass a few hours. Should you not feel like a beer just wander around the square, listen to the music and admire some of the old buildings.
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Breakfast In Paris
Breakfast for Parisians is not a sit down meal with fried eggs, potatoes and toast.
It is a visit to the local bakery and coffee or juice.
Take a look at the photo below. Much of it tastes better than it looks.
This bakery is located around the corner from Hotel Rouen, a hotel tip I have written about.
But regardless of where in Paris you are staying there will be one of these nearby. You don't have to hunt for the best one, they are all terrific. If they weren't they would be out of business as they are supported by the locals.
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Why is the chicken ...
... hanging out of this juicer??? [At least I THINK that's what it is .. ] I love Paris store windows because you never know what you will find. And I am still wondering why a chicken??
Okay -- VTer mariev solved my question -- "Maybe I have an idea about the chicken in the shaker -- the french term for egg-nog is 'lait de poule', could it be ?.." THANKS!!!
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