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Paris: Europe Part Un: Lodging and Eating


Daniel
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I, for myself, cannot picture going to Paris as a visitor for a short time and

"cooking in" .  Actually, there are never enough restaurant meal opportunities for me on a vacation in France.  Something like going to the Caribbean in the winter and staying in the room watching TV.  Paris is restaurant heaven!!  How long are you going for?

I would liken it more to going to the Caribbean and going to a tanning salon while you are there.. :biggrin: But if you know anything from my past trips, I am not trying to skip any meals, just add a couple.. :biggrin:

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But it is also food market heaven with ingredients that are at best difficult and at worst impossible to find in the US. If one enjoys cooking and one has  a reasonable kitchen, it is a fun alternative to restaurants at a fraction of the cost.

Perhaps, but the poster has been mysterious about the length of his stay in Paris. I suppose if it were 2 weeks or more, I might have more of an understanding about cooking in. It also seems daunting to find a well-equipped kitchen in Paris for a short-term rental. Sure, in the "Campagne" larger equipped kitchens might be easier to find. And then there is the issue of kitchen accessories, pots, pans, utensils, and small appliances.

If I were doing 10 days in Paris, my thoughts are... that's 20 terrific restaurant experiences, and 10 great " coffee & tartines". But of course, "chacun a son gout!"

I will be in Paris for about 13 days.. Which means 5 meals a day with a dessert after each meal..

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I've not seen a lot of Parisian kitchens, but they often look like toys compared to NY apartment kitchens.

Ah Bux, be careful of sweeping generalizations. We had our kitchen completely renovated and while we don't have a Viking oven, we have sufficient space and modern appliances to do almost anything. And, there are apartments for rent that do too. Not to get DocSconz's PM mailbox flooded, but the place he rented last year had a splendid open kitchen with great eqpt; it resembled a loft in SoHo (US) more than a flat in La Boheme (Left Bank). I think the trick is to view photos and know the size of the rooms before one decides. Also, not to be too chauvinistic but Americans, Scandanavians and others in Paris for a few years often get their kitchens renovated because they're used to cooking in bigger spaces and couples need elbow room to pass when cooking ensemble.

"Often" is not a sweeping generalization, even for me, but I note that you note that it's Americans and Scandinavians who need to renovate the kitchens the French leave behind. Then there are some kitchens that stick in my mind. A friend traded lofts, such as may be had in Paris, with a French woman whose space in Paris was designed by Jean Nouvel. The small oven was in a corner and designed such that the side hinged door prohibited anything like a direct approach to the open oven. Our friend returned with the burn marks on her arms from reaching over and under the door to retrieve the roast. At any rate, someone who wants a kitchen needs to know not to expect what he might expect in NY and take pains to ensure he gets what he wants.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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But it is also food market heaven with ingredients that are at best difficult and at worst impossible to find in the US. If one enjoys cooking and one has  a reasonable kitchen, it is a fun alternative to restaurants at a fraction of the cost.

Perhaps, but the poster has been mysterious about the length of his stay in Paris. I suppose if it were 2 weeks or more, I might have more of an understanding about cooking in. It also seems daunting to find a well-equipped kitchen in Paris for a short-term rental. Sure, in the "Campagne" larger equipped kitchens might be easier to find. And then there is the issue of kitchen accessories, pots, pans, utensils, and small appliances.

If I were doing 10 days in Paris, my thoughts are... that's 20 terrific restaurant experiences, and 10 great " coffee & tartines". But of course, "chacun a son gout!"

I will be in Paris for about 13 days.. Which means 5 meals a day with a dessert after each meal..

While I love Paris, if you are going for that long, consider renting a car and trying another destination or two. Champagne country and Burgundy are not far at all. Not that 13 days in Paris can't be completely blissful (of course it can), but something you might want to consider, even if you leave early in the AM and arrive back late at night.

Also, going to the markets and just getting some meat, cheese, baguette, wine, olives, etc. and eating that way is a wonderful idea that likes somewhere in-between restaurants and cooking. Better when you can enjoy the outdoors, but delicious all year round.

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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I was nervous about not having a concierge as well.. But a lot of the apartment providing companies, thanks to your websites, are based out of America.. They offer all the ammenities that a concierge would.. From reservations to picking us up at the airport..

With eG recommendations, who needs a concierge? I'm in the apartment camp too, and not necessarily for cooking big meals. To me it's just torture to be in a hotel room with only a mini-bar to stash cheese, charcuterie and other local finds. I love the extra space and also the facility to make my own breakfast... and in particular, a good cup of tea! Doc, the place where you stayed looks amazing!

Daniel, I am really looking forward to your report.

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Wow, John!  What a super looking rental!  You must have felt like a movie star!  What did you cook in that kitchen?  I've been browsing through their list to see if there were others with kitchens....  It looks like there is a whole list of one bedrooms with kitchens.    :rolleyes:

The internet can be a wonderful thing! This was an outstanding apartment and perfect for our family of five. The kitchen was well equipped as well as modern and spacious. The owners are in fact Scandinavian. The location was very good as well, situated in a real Parisian neighborhood as opposed to a pure tourist area.

We used the kitchen two evenings with one dinner with friends. I cooked some Bresse chickens and a few other wonderful market items. I certainly wouldn't want to go to Paris or anywhere with great restaurants and cook exclusively, but then I wouldn't want to go anywhere with great markets and not be able to cook at all. We actually used the kitchen a fair amount even if we did not cook a lot of big meals. That apartment had a lot going for it besides the kitchen though. I just hope that it will still be available the next time I want to return to Paris :wink:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I was nervous about not having a concierge as well.. But a lot of the apartment providing companies, thanks to your websites, are based out of America.. They offer all the ammenities that a concierge would.. From reservations to picking us up at the airport..

With eG recommendations, who needs a concierge? I'm in the apartment camp too, and not necessarily for cooking big meals. To me it's just torture to be in a hotel room with only a mini-bar to stash cheese, charcuterie and other local finds. I love the extra space and also the facility to make my own breakfast... and in particular, a good cup of tea! Doc, the place where you stayed looks amazing!

Daniel, I am really looking forward to your report.

I'm certainly in personal agreement about having a place to enjoy cheese, charcuterie and pastries. As for the concierge, it really depends on your budget and what you want the concierge to do for you. They can be of great service in gettting a three star reservation, but they're not a foolproof way to get your first choice at the last minute. Generally I can get myself to and from any airport with minimal trouble. Usually I can do if for less money that by following a concierge's suggestion. It's been my experience that when I ask a concierge how to get from point A to point B, I get the suggestion of a taxi. The Paris metro is a breeze to navigate and with the one fare to all points in the city, the bus isn't hard to deal with either.

I just took a look at Doc's apartment. I notice that even the rental agent acknowledges it has a "fully equipped American kitchen with Japanese plates and silver ware."

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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A "stove with a view" is the "call of the wild" for food-oriented people. My husband and I finally succumbed after Thanksgiving and took an apartment in Paris for a week, sandwiched between two several day stays at our favorite hotel, where we got over a little jetlag, filled in a few restaurant reservations, and finally relaxed before flying home. While we enjoyed the wines we bought at the Vignorons Independent expo, and cassoulet and choucroute and andouillette from the Salon Saveurs, we found that cooking-in became our fulltime occupation. Faced with all of the opportunities in Paris, it seemed as if we did nothing but forage for food! It was emotionally exhausting, especially when the two of us had opposite visions of what we wanted to buy and eat: me, fabulous liver, him, the eye-catching dish in the traiteur window. But I would go from shop to shop for perfect liver, and he found little in the windows that looked as good as it did in memory. We returned to our hotel with great relief, where we only had to pick up the phone in the morning to receive, 5 minutes later, our breakfast and the Internation Herald Tribune.

He has just commented that he would like to do it again sometime. I believe that the next time we would definitely intersperce more dinners out. Also, we learned that the quality and size of the mattress is absolutely as important as quality and size of the cassoulet! :huh:

eGullet member #80.

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My trips to Paris are generally quite budget conscious so my sublets are not in the same category as docsconz's. Still, I've loved my one-bedroom, small kitchen, marginally-equipped apartments, for all sorts of reasons. For one, while I love eating in restaurants, I get tired of eating out 3 meals a day for any length of time. Call me crazy. I prefer to have my morning coffee at home, listening to the radio and reading the paper, with something yummy from a neighborhood patisserie. Sometimes, depending on my meal and tourism agenda for the day, a quick, light lunch or late dinner at home is all I want or have energy for. I don't travel with a family, but I think I'd feel even more strongly about having a kitchen if I did.

And I love the market shopping and the chance to play with new things. How can you browse those markets and not buy?? It doesn't have to be complicated. Par example, I was last there in December for just a week, and girolles (a mushroom) were in season. They were on menus everywhere, and i'd never tasted them, much less cooked with them. after a couple of delicious restaurant experiences, I coudn't resist buying some when I saw them at the local market. They made an amazing and memorable omlet for a late-night dinner the next evening.


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We rented an apartment in the Palais Royal for two weeks last summer, and it had a very nice, fully equipped kitchen. We thought about cooking a dinner or two, but there were just too many restaurants we wanted to try. We did buy a lot of the cheeses, prepared foods, fruits, bread, pastries, coffee and wines, and enjoyed light breakfasts, lunches, and aperitifs before dinner in the apartment. I really enjoyed shopping at the shops and markets.

If I had to do it over again, I would leave a night open every 4 or 5 days to allow for lighter dinners or restaurants we come across while exploring. I have to admit that I have a hard time eating as much as I used to, and 14 big dinners in a row were a bit too much, even though we cut back on the lunches out.

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This thread has become so rich and such a good resource for members weighing whether to go to a hotel or rent a flat and whether to eat in or out that I've added these considerations to the title and subtitle. It should also make it more easily searchable in the future.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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We just went through this process. I have a number of apartments I was looking into in the 6th and around the Marais. Do you have a price range? One of the apts I was interested in that was unavailable is:

www.sant.com

Peggy's prospect also looks cute. I see fromt he floor plan that the kitchen is quite small, but present. Peggy, do you have details about the kitchen in this flat? If you do end up renting it please do give us a kitchen report.

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I definitely vote for renting an apartment with a kitchen. On two of our trips to Paris (each 5 weeks or more), we did just that. First apartment was in the Marais; we found it through a local real estate agency whose name we'd gotten from the French Government Tourist Office. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my trip notes, I probably still have the name. The apartment was tiny but cute, with a fully equipped (from a French point of view) kitchen: two burners, tiny oven, good coffeemaker, nice pots & pans, contemporary tableware, and even spices, EVOO, and vinegar! The only things inexplicably missing were potholders and dishtowels, which we bought. A typical neighborhood shopping street was around the corner with several bakeries, a butcher shop, fishmonger, greengrocer, charcuterie, and convenience store. Bus and metro stops were on the corner, and there was even an Asian grocery store a few blocks away.

Second sublet was in Montparnasse completely out of the tourist loop, in an apartment belonging to a friend's boyfriend (he'd moved in with her, so his place was available). Kitchen was more haphazard: a mixed collection of cookware, a stove we had trouble lighting, an oven whose temperature was so off that a roast I made came out half-raw at the appropriate time. It was about a block away from a market street with a Monoprix supermarket and a good cheese shop, but it was situated so distant from the center of town that we were rarely back "home" in time to shop in any of the neighborhood food stores.

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Well we are waiting to here back on this apartment.. Kitchen looks fine, as does the area.. Love having a balcony.. apartment hopefully

very luxe neighborhood (and property) indeed! you'll be loving that rue Cler market. There are great permanent shops too, along that street and the Poujauran bakery not far from it -- i've seen pix of the food you cook in other threads: bring your camera along to record your paris exploits! bon sejour...

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I love that area of Paris. There is so much within walking distance. The rue Cler market is very nice, and Marie-Anne Cantin (12 rue du Champ de Mars) is a perfect cheeseshop, with the best Saint Marcellin, Bichounet, Le Saint Antoine (75% butterfat), Clacbichou, and Roquefort "Reserve". I am partial to Sancerre, a low-key wine bar very near you. Rue Saint-Dominique, is a great place for all kinds of food and drink, including Les Grandes Caves (70 rue Saint-Dominique) for small producer wines.

For restaurants, within a generous walking distance of your apartment, you have Au Bon Accueil, Le Clos Des Gourmets, Le Violin d'Ingres, Café Constant, Les Fables de la Fontaine, Cinq Mars, L'Ami Jean, La Fontaine de Mars, Les Ormes, and even l'Astrance.

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Thank you, thank you.. I really cant wait to get word.. I should know by Monday which apartment I will have..

Carlsbad has given you some excellent info. I would add the 2 excellent moving street markets close by. They are both of the top quality demanded by the wealthy clientele in the area( Princess Caroline has an apartment directly opposite yours on the other side of the Champ de Mars), and are in walking distance. You can visit the Sat. morning market on Ave. Wilson by walking under the Eiffel Tower, crossing the Seine on the pedestrian only Passerelle Debilley which leads right to the market a block from the Seine. The other market is on Ave. Saxe right behind the Ecole Militaire and is open on Thursday as well as Saturday morning.

Edited by Laidback (log)
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Looks like a fabulous apartment, and a great neighborhood. I would second Carlsbad's mention of Sancerre, a nearby wine bar, as a place for a low-key, simple meal.

Since this is your first trip, and will obviously include a lot of food shopping, maybe folks here can offer some advice/tips on successful market shopping. I know the first time I rented a place, speaking very little French, it took me a little while to learn some of the unwritten "rules." A few things that were new to me:

- in supermarkets, produce isn't weighted at the cashier, as it is in American markets. There are little scales in the produce department where you weigh your own purchases and afix the resulting price label

- you bag your own groceries

- at street market stalls, I find that self-service is strongly discouraged

I'm sure others here will be able to add to this list.


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A few things that were new to me:

- in supermarkets, produce isn't weighted at the cashier, as it is in American markets. There are little scales in the produce department where you weigh your own purchases and afix the resulting price label

Ah the times they are achangin', after its renovation, in my Monoprix, you no longer do.

- you bag your own groceries
still true-
at street market stalls, I find that self-service is strongly discouraged
it depends, at my street market the guys most frequently say pick it yourself

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Stretching the subject just a bit to buying and renting in "affordable" Parisian areas; the New York Times Real Estate Section Sunday, Stephanie Rosebloom suggests one look in the (up and coming) 10th, (the "arty") 18th and 19th and that long-term furnished rentals in the 19th run $320-430/sq ft.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Hope Therese is having a good time ...  I bet she's out shopping now. 

Having a great time, in point of fact, though at the moment it's rainy and cold outside and I'm in a cybercafe catching up a on few things from work. Kids at home still drowsing. Apartment lovely, kitchen large by Paris standards and well-equipped, but I wouldn't want to cook with two people. I'll post some photos when we return.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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