Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pizza anyone? Dining at Pizzeria Maria Luisa

The city of Paris does not seem to be short on pizza dough. There are dozens and dozens of pizzerias throughout from the chains to the artisanal to the unique and the 10th district boasts some at least two nice options that I like but I certainly haven't explored them all. To think that there was a time that I hated pizza. A time when this great bread was foreign to me. Thank goodness those dark days are over.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sipping on Saturday: Les Vins du Chateau du Petit Thouars

When I took on our first property in the Marais, I searched and searched for what to call it. I love trying to come up with a name that I hope will be catchy for future guests and which has some sort of significance. The apartment is located on rue du Petit Thouars close to metro Temple and like all street names in Paris, or all in France for that matter, it is named after either a person, a battle or a region. In this case, it is a name of a person. So who was this du Petit Thouars (the street name is actually written Dupetit Thouars - the spelling which was used during the Revolution)? Aubert du Petit Thouars was a botanist (hence why I went with Fleur du Petit Thouars as the name of the apartment), who specialized in orchids and is responsible for identifying and cataloging quite a few. This is a family history rich with admirals, captians and scientists.

But this is a post about wine. So forgive the divergence and bear with me. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Foto: Rain rain go away, sunshine is here to stay!

3 long weeks! Is that what it was. The sun has not been a friend of Paris and the rain just kept coming and coming. So you can imagine that as soon as the sunshine was upon us, people took to the streets. Photos like these could have been taken anyway in the capital. The interiors of restaurants and bars with terraces were empty and everyone poured onto the streets.

Happy Friday! May the sun shine on.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Restaurant Cheri Bibi - Girl's Night out in Montmartre

This little place has been on my to do list for some time and I'm glad that I finally made it over there.

You might miss the restaurant as you walk by as there is no sign on the outside to be seen

Monday, May 21, 2012

Paris People: Hélène Dufleit - The Best Massage in Paris

I have always been a great lover of massage from an early age and only believe that those who don't like massages just haven't found a way to let go.

I remember trading massages with the grown-ups whose hands were certainly stronger than mine, at as early an age as 8 years old. I even took a massage class in university - a perfect way to end the work week I thought. What better time to get a massage than when you've arrived at your holiday destination? At least that's what I always say. And try to do. I've been told it is great for jet lag.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sipping on Saturday: French Wine Tasting class with Preston Mohr

Today's Sipping on Saturday guest blog post comes from Gwen Evans of Paris Found. Gwen takes us into the Cook'n With Class' French Wine Tasting taught by Preston Mohr  where palettes are being opened to the finer side of French wine and general wine knowledge. Not to be missed!

If you are like most American visitors to Paris, one of the big pluses is being able to sample wonderful French wines at very reasonable prices.  The downside of that is that it can quite confusing and intimidating when faced with so many choices — many of which are unfamiliar to us from the States.  Add to that the fact that a lot of the wine labels have very little if any helpful information, and it's a bit of a gamble when you are at the store. In my 20 plus trips to Paris I have tried (mostly at random) lots and lots of different wines, both red and white, and have never really had a bad bottle; for between 4 and 10 euros you can get some amazingly good wine. Even the equivalent of "2 buck chuck" here is a whole lot better than the stuff back home.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Foto: Nostalgia in Montmartre

I remember the first time I visited Montmartre as student. At the time I was living in the 5th and though I loved it there, there was something so magical about Montmartre. tIt is no wonder that I ended up back here again as an adult.

I had my portrait painted once at Place du Tetre with a friend visiting me in Paris and I heard the accordions playing in the streets. I have that painting to this day - Just have to locate where I've hidden it from myself. I remember thinking - this doesn't look that much like me. I wonder what I would think today?

It's funny when you re-visit a place you went to long before and you try to conjure up that first impression, that first awe and the feelings that you had when you looked upon the area for the first time. It always brings a smile to my face. You see I am a very visual being. My mind photographs everything I see. I stock the images away in my memory and can call them up whenever I like but some memories get fuzzy of course, so walking back in my footsteps helps bring it all back to me.

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thursday Food for Thought: Chef Geoffroy Maillard - La Table d'Eugene

Chef Geoffroy Maillard - photo: Yetunde Oshodi

I have been keeping a little secret. Ok, well not much of a secret since I share it with so many people passing through Paris.

If you ask me what my favorite French restaurant is in Paris, I generally have one answer ready to go on the tip of my tongue - La Table d'Eugène. Why? Because I haven't had a bad meal yet. And frankly that is exceptional. This small elegant bistro located in Montmartre, Paris' 18th district is a gem not to be missed. A sort of (at this stage), not so well kept local secret. I've recommended it to Doni. I've recommended it to countless guests and I'm happy to say that they've all come away with a great food memory.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wednesday wanderings: Forest of Fontainebleau

With all its people and traffic, Paris can get a bit overwhelming after a while. That is why the large and scenic forest of Fontainebleau has become a favorite getaway for Parisians. The forest has an area of 280 km2 (110 sq mi) and it has plenty of walking trails, bike trails and other outdoor activities. It actually gets over 12 million visitors each year who come to relax in nature.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Paris is for the dogs — Dog stores in Paris

Paris is world-renowned for shopping but where do you go if you want to buy a special gift for your furry friend back home? Luckily, my wife is always on the lookout for dog stores in Paris so she can send gifts back home for our little Henry.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sipping on Saturdays: Le Petit Ballon

Much like the Jelly of the Month Club, Le Petit Ballon monthly wine membership is the gift that keeps on giving! Today's guest post comes from Preston Mohr and he tells us about this months delivery from Le Petit Ballon. And if you'd like to learn more about wine, you can take a wine class lead my Preston through Cook'n With Class

I would like to share with you the joys of Le Petit Ballon wine memberships. For just 19.90€-39.90€/month you can have two expertly chosen bottles of wine delivered to your door (in France only at this point). Their easy to navigate website includes tasting notes and in-depth videos by their resident sommelier on each of the wines of the month. And if you like them, you're able to order them at reduced prices!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Foto: Gare de Lyon

Paris has quite a number of amazing train stations many of which in the last 2 or 3 years have undergone some "relooking" but inside and outside, such as Gare Saint Lazare, Gare de l'Est and Gare du Nord. One of my favorite stations is Gare de Lyon in the 12th district. Arriving at this station is majestic and I just couldn't help but whip out my iPhone and snap this shot from the taxi window.

The Gare de Lyon was constructed in 1847 and used to be called, "Embarcadaire de chemin de fer de Paris à Montereau". Thankfully they changed that to Gare de Lyon, imagining saying that to the taxi driver. This original station had just 2 tracks, arrival and departure. It was remodeled in 1899 and went from 2 to 12 rails.

From Gare de Lyon, you can of course go to Lyon, as well as Montpellier, Dijon, Avignon and even down to Spain.

The Gare de Lyon is also home to the very famous restaurant Le Train Bleu which if for nothing else is worth entering to see the amazing interior.
Photo: Yetunde Oshodi

Fact source:

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sipping on Saturdays: L'Academie de la Biere

You can get good wine anywhere in Paris but where do you go if you want good beer? L'Academie de la Biere! Follow James' journey to this fine establishment in the 5th. 

Europe might be known throughout the world for great beer but sadly that tradition hasn't made many inroads into Paris. While France does make some nice brew, it is overshadowed by French wine and Champagne. 

Just about every cafe in Paris sells beer and you almost always see people drinking it but most places only have 4-5 choices. So where do you go if you want a nice selection of brew (other than taking the train to Belgium)? Just head to L'Academie de la Biere.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Foto : From The Top Of Notre Dame

I still think one of the best views of Paris is from the top of Notre Dame cathedral and the walk up is totally worth it. The line to go up gets pretty long so get there early if you don't want to spend all day waiting in line.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Paris People: Constant perfection from Chef Constance

Okay, so my title might seem a little cheesy but believe me you would think it more than appropriate if you ever have the pleasure of taking a lesson or cooking alongside, French chef Constance Deledalle.

Between her jobs in the kitchen of the Assemblé Nationale preparing meals for France's regional deputies (the law makers) and as a chef-instructor at Cook'n with Class, Constance still finds time to whip up great meals at home and write a blog. She is definitely no nonsense when it comes to food and cooking, you just have to watch her in action to get that impression. She is fast, efficient and precise.

Continuing with our series with the chef's of Cook'n With Class, I sat down with Constance to ask her a few questions about her inspirations, love of food and food philosophy. So allow me to introduce you, ladies and gentlemen to the very talented, Mademoiselle Chef Constance Deledalle.

And the best baguette goes to . . . .

My my my how we are so obsessed with the baguette in France. A bread that whose price as once regulated by the government. That was the fate of the ordinary baguette. But did you know there is more than one baguette? If you go to certain boulangeries and ask for a baguette you will get bread but you may just get that ordinary baguette (still a tasty treat of course), which is made from bleach flour from yeast. The bread that I ask for when I go to get a baguette is la tradition. La tradition is made from bleached flour + whole-wheat flour (so more fiber), a yeast but yeast from levain naturel (fermented dough), so it relies more on the talent of the baker to give life to his levain naturel and thus taste to his baguette. This is why a tradition of one boulangerie can taste so different from that of another.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wednesday wanderings: Sainte-Chapelle

Most visitors to Paris know about Notre Dame but there is another amazing church that is located just a few minutes away—Sainte-Chapelle. Built in 1248, Sainte-Chapelle is known for its amazing stained-glass windows. The structure has survived a few revolutions and wars — all the stained-glass was taken down and stored in a safe location during WWII. Two-thirds of the stained-glass is original and continues to be an example of the finest 13th century craftsmanship. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tuesday Tidbit: On va faire le pont - May holidays

I've always loved the month of May. Anyone knowing me personally probably knows why. But after moving to France the month of May took on a whole other dimension.The month of May has the most Jours fériés (holidays) of any other month. You could even throw in May 27th (Ascension), for good measure.


Labour Day (La fête de travail) Tuesday


1945 Victory Day (Victoire 1945) Tuesday


Ascension (Ascension) Thursday



Whit Monday (Lundi de Pentecote)

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