Everyone seems to be going to France. Now my friends Art and Nell are heading to Paris – so here’s some restaurant and hotel and neighborhood suggestions…. Be sure to book the restaurants well in advance. It certainly was necessary when we were last in Paris four years ago.
We stayed at the Hotel du Palais Bourbon, 49 rue de Bourgogne – small comfortable affordable hotel, good location on the Left Bank near the Rodin Museum.
As for restaurants, here are two that my dear friend Johnny Apple suggested for us – L’Epi Dupin, a small gourmet place (www.zagat.com/Verticals/PropertyDetails.aspx?VID=8&R=69318); and La Coupole, a famous old bustling art deco brassiere (great steak tartar, oysters and other seafood on ice. It’s a huge place and we had a great table right in the middle of the crowded dining room where the waiters prepare the steak tartar with great flourish). Looks like you can book online at http://www.lacoupoleparis.com.
As far as what to see/do it’s good to hit some of the tourist hotspots during your first trip to Paris. Visit the Musee d’Orsay – home of my favorite painting by Manet i — “Olympia” ; Notre Dame; the Tuileries et. al.
My favorite thing is to to pick a neighborhood and walk – the Left Bank (where the hotel is); the Isle St. Louis (a small village on an island in the middle of Paris, with great ice cream at Berthillon), Montmartre and the Marais, a neighborhood we hadn’t explored much before our last trip. The Marais has a fantastic free museum of Paris history (Carnavalet Museum)and a Jewish neighborhood complete with delis and synagogues. Sort of like a French version of NYC’s lower east side. Also well worth a visit are: Victor Hugo’s house and the lovely Place des Vosges .
In the Bastille area, we went to a great farmers market – the Bastille Market, an indoor and outdoor place loaded with cheese, tapenade, bread, pastries. Next time, I’ll use some of those bikes now available on Parisien streets. see: http://www.parisdigest.com/museums/museecarnavalet.htm
On the posh right bank, do not miss La duree Royale, at 16 rue Royale, a 19th century tea salon, one of the prettiest places to each some of the world’s best macaroons. It always reminds me of my mom, who first took me there in,um, 1978 or so.