Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Two Fabulous Classics in Paris: Its good to go back!

I had only one day in Paris passing through from my Pays Basque culinary tour on the way to Istanbul and my upcoming Turkish culinary/cultural tour. The weather on October 14 was gorgeous, late summer warm and blue sky. What to do with one day to choose from this great cities bounteous options... three things, take two good long walks, have a good lunch and later in the day, drink the best chocolate imaginable.

Long walk number one was along the Canal St. Martin, that charmingly winding canal with numerous locks and arched foot bridges in the 11th near Place de Republique. Lunch as at one of my favorite convivial classic Paris restaurants, the Auberge Pyrenees-Cevennes, 106 rue de la Folie Mericourt. This place is a gem. The chef owner and his wife (Francoise) are a very good pair indeed. The cuisine is Lyonnais with some SW France influences (a piperade for an appetizer for example). The very good value 30.50 Euro menu offers numerous delicious starters including classics like salade frisee with lardons and a poached egg, or a salad gourmande with a hefty slab of foie gras, or, poached warm herring. The mains include a massive cassoulet, sausages from Lyon, a beautiful grilled salmon filet with a sorrel sauce and on and on. The desserts are like a who's who of grand-mere's best... profiteroles, excellent tarte tatin, Ile Flottant, sorbets, and more. Portions are generous to say the least.

The cliente is a very faithful group of Parisian gourmands and food loving locals, plus the lucky tourist who occasionally finds this gem. Francoise and her staff keep the place filled with laughter and pay very good attention to their clients. Put this one on your list of must visits. It is authentic, real, and of a dying breed in Paris where sushi shops now seem to outnumber real bistros.

At the end of the afternoon, checking out the Haute Marais, the increasingly hip area north of the Marais propoer and south of Republique, I stopped in at the stunning shop and salon of master chocolatier Jacques Genin. Enjoyed the most delicious cup(s) of chocolate chaud served in a pretty while porcelain pitcher. Lovely texture, rich dark chocolate, absolutely stunning and a steal of sorts at 6.5 Euros. 133 rue de Turenne.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Paris-Angers. A Spirited Day Trip

Check out my story on our day trip from Paris to Angers in the heart of the Loire Valley last March. The purpose: to spend a day immersed in the extraordinary 14th century 'Apocalypse Tapestries', a world heritage treasure. And, to visit a magnificent contemporary series of tapestries created by 20th century painter Jean Lurcat called "Le Chant du Monde". This excellent day was part of my new Paris Through Eyes of Faith trip but is easy to do on your own.

Read the story on Bonjour Paris where there are also some gorgeous images.


Angers is well worth more than a day of course. It is a sympathique small city with good bistros and wine bars. It is near some very good wine growing areas in the Loire Valley like Saviennieres. But these two sets of tapestries are reason enough to go. Stunning.