Monthly Archives: March 2012

Shopping in Paris is never forgotten

There is one part of a trip that I feel is always fun to explore. This is shopping… who doesn’t love a bit of retail therapy in a new place. At least a little bit. In Paris, there is no shortage of shopping. You can do all kinds of shopping in Paris. Antique shopping, art shopping, clothes shopping, chocolate shopping, boutique shopping, wine shopping, cheese shopping, shoe shopping… you name it and it is there. Paris is the mecca for fun, cutting edge, fashion forward… shopping.

I have included a short but definitely not complete list of places to shop in Paris. Of course, I have left much room for your own explorations in Paris.

Champs-Élysées is definitely a mecca for shopping. Though a bit of a touristy street, it is fun and full of shops from large chains, to smaller boutiques, to high-end luxury goods. It is also a good place to people watch as you see people in high fashion walking the streets.

Next there is the le carousel du Louvre. This is a large shopping mall under the Louvre. This is another great place to go for a mix of this and that. Also a bit touristy but full of life and lots of people.

If you wanted to go antique shopping here is a list of a few:

rue de Seine, Paris 6th

Quai Voltaire

Louvre des Antiquaires — they are located across the Louvre on Rivoli Street

If you want to do more department store shopping there is Galleries Lafayette and Printemps. During, the holiday season in December their window displays are gorgeous.

The following shops are some interesting places to pick up some unique finds:

Merci

Cuisinophile

Le petit Atelier de Paris

Le Jardin D’Olaria

L’atelier des Quatres

Happy Shopping!

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Foods of Paris

Paris has wonderful places to eat. In any price range you can eat tasty foods that you can savor. We enjoyed eating the great crepes from small roadside cafe’s made fresh in front of you.  Breizh Café located in the 5th Arrondisement is a great casual creperie where they serve these wonderful delights. This is only one amongst many.

In December, there are the Christmas markets that offer food stalls galore. These stalls offer a variety of selections at affordable prices. You can fill your stomach with wonderful dishes from sandwiches to desserts to cheeses and pastas cooked fresh in front of you.

My kids loved the way they were wrapped in paper into a triangle shape that was easy for them to hold. Of course there was always some filling that fell all over them but they had fun all the same. Just make sure you bring lots of wet wipes. I really enjoyed the fresh baguettes with bree cheese. The baguettes were warm with a crusty outside and soft inside. My mouth waters whenever I think about it. Of course we cannot forget the bakeries. The bakeries are wonderful to say the least. They fresh baked good leave you wanting them all upon entry.

I have included a list of restaurants that could be good to explore in Paris. Though I have not explored all of these restaurants, they all have been recommended to me by others. I have added comments of thoughts from others as well as my own. My hope in compiling this is is that it could serve as a useful guide for anyone who would like to explore the culinary varieties of Paris. All of the restaurants I have included allow diners to bring their children. For anyone who has tried any of these restaurants I would love to hear your thoughts about them.

Le Grande Colbert, 29 rue Vivienne, Paris 2nd — This is a Parisian brasserie that is great for a casual lunch.

Au Bascou — located in the 5th arrondissement– They have good south French food in a casual setting.

Villa Spicy next to the Champs Elysées  – good French food with a twist–  They have a special children’s menu. The cost is around 30-40 Euros per person.

Glou, 101 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75003 Paris — this is a casual place, with simple food and good service. There is a nice view on the gardens on the opposite of the streets. This place is about 20-30 euros per person.

Le Petit Pergolèse, 38, Rue Pergolèse, 75016 Paris —  This is a restaurant with a variation on traditional French cuisine. This place is small with only 47 seats. It is located near the Porte Maillot underground station. This restaurant would run about 50-60 euros per person.

Les Fils à Maman, 7 bis Rue Geoffroy-Marie – 75009 Paris — The meals have a feel of food that would be cooked in a simple french home by someones grandmother. The food is simple comfort food. This is a very casual place. This place would cost around 20 euros per person.

Le Petit Resto dans la Prairie, 9/9 bis, cour des petites écuries — 75010 Paris — This is a sister restaurant of Les Fils à Maman. This restaurant has almost identical food in a different location and slightly different setting. This is also extremely casual and full of local Parisians. The cost is around 20 euros per person.

Le Relais de l’Isle, 37 rue Saint Louis en L’Isle, Paris 4th –very casual local restaurant.

Zyriad, located on top of the institute of the arabic world. They have a view of Notre Dame — The food at this restaurant is lebanese cuisine. The price is around 40-50 euros per person.

–  Le relais de l’entrecote next to the Champs Elysées– This restaurant is mostly steak with french fries and a special sauce.  They are somewhat touristy but good, casual and great for the kids. They cost around 20 Euros per person.

Les Cocottes, 135 rue Saint Dominique, 75007 Paris –Every meal is served and cooked in French Cocotte. This restaurant would run about 40 euros per person.

Le Bistrot du Sommelier, 97 boulevard Haussmann, 75008 Paris — For wine lovers, this is the place to try.They have one of the best rated sommeliers in the world. They have a 20+ page wine list. The service is immaculate and the food is tasty. The cost is 40-50 euros per person. Of course this will vary based on the wine you order.

Le Pinxo, 9 rue d’Alger, 75001 Paris. They are located near the Vendome place.  They offer a modern concept of chic tapas to share for up to 3 people. The cuisine is subtle and the service decent.  The owner of the restaurant, Alain Dutournier, is very famous in Paris for another excellent restaurant named le Carre des Feuillants. The cost is around 40-50 euros per person.

Au Gourmand, 17 rue Moliere, 75001 Paris. They are a gastronomic restaurant. The cost is around 60 euros per person.

L’Absinthe on the place du Marché Saint Honoré: nice terrace and nice bistrot decoration inside. The food and setting is nice, however, the service is not always predictable. The price is around 40-50 euros per person.

16 Haussmann is a restaurant with a nice setting. They have a mix of tradition and modernity. The price is around 40 to 60 euros per person.

If you wanted to try a more high end restaurant, here is a list:

La Maison Blanche, 15 avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris– Very interesting gastronomic and modern restaurant with nice view over the Eiffel Tower. Quite expensive for dinner when the illuminations give all powers to the scenic view (around 150 euros per person) but definitely a great deal at lunch (around 50-60 euros per person)
Gordon Ramsay at the Trianon Palace in Versailles. The price is 200-300 euros per person.

Les Fables de la Fontaine, 131 rue Saint Dominique, 75007 Paris –They have a modern setting, good service and a 1 Michelin star chef make the place a good pick for a gastronomic French meal. This restaurant is loved mainly for fish. The cost can range from about 40 to 70 euros per person.

La table du Lancaster, 7 rue de Berri, 75008 Paris — This is a Michelin star restaurant with fantastic food, very nice setting, and a great service.  We decided to splurge and enjoyed our Christmas Eve dinner at this restaurant. We had a wonderful evening. We took our young children as well and they were very accommodating. They even made special food just for them. The desserts at the end were a work of art and were a perfect end to a perfect dinner. Around 100 Euros a person.

Wonderful dessert with a sweet mango filling in the bottom half and raspberry filling under the top half topped with a chocolate hat.

Yummy chocolate cookie with a minty undertone.

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Destination Paris

J’adore Paris! Visiting Paris in December is something beautiful and magical. The city is festive with lights and beautiful window displays that are amongst the best I have seen anywhere.

I found that, contrary to popular belief, Paris was a great city for children. Our whole family had a wonderful time and the children loved the experience. Before going on the trip my children had watched Disney’s “Hunchback of Notre Dame”. When we got to Paris and actually visited Notre Dame, my daughter asked me several times if Quasimoto was there and if we could see him. She was extremely excited to be there even if she couldn’t meet him. To make things more fabulous, we were outside of Notre Dame at midnight on Christmas morning and the bells were chiming loudly. What a beautiful sound it was! We found it magical and exciting to be there at that moment. The children were up late to experience this and they loved it.  Learning about it in advance really helped to give the kids a context of what they would be seeing before we arrived. They were eager to see what they had learned in real life.

Where to stay?

Our first decision to make was where to stay in Paris. We opted to stay in the 5th Arrondissement in a short term rented apartment. We were extremely happy with this decision. My family and I experienced a local feel in a quaint neighborhood. To located our apartment we went through a company called Paris Attitude. They were able to find us an apartment within our budget, close to the metro and in the location we wanted. They offered great suggestions and sent out recommended apartments for our short trip. They were great to work with overall and our experience with them was without a hitch.

What to do?

Since we had opted for an apartment, rather then a hotel, we wanted to have a sort of concierge to help us plan our day to day itinerary. We wanted to use our time wisely and not miss a thing. Being new to Paris we really felt it would be good to have some assistance in this area. There is a great concierge service in Paris that helps with exactly what we needed. This service is called Unique Paris.They work just like a hotel concerge would and more. You can tell them the type of trip you are looking for and they can make suggestions for you and even organize the details including getting tickets for various excursions. It is almost like having your own personal assistant during your trip. They were accessible during our trip as well as before it.

Here is a sample itinerary of a trip in a short stay in Paris with young children. This type of itinerary gives a good overview of the whole city.

Thursday December 22

6:00am Arrival in Paris – transfer to Paris with First Way

Check -in to apartment

12:30pm Private City Tour of Paris

4:00pm Visit of the the Eiffel Tower and the carousel’s nearby.

Head to apartment in a cab or by metro

Dinner

Friday December 23

Morning: Visit covered market of les Enfants rouges

Lunch at the market

1pm – Private walking 2-hour chocolate tour

stroll the Tuileries gardens or go shopping at le caroussel du Louvre

4pm – 2 hour private guided tour of the Louvre – Though you could spend months in the Louvre and still not see everything, 2 hours with a guide allowed us to see highlights of select art work and kept our children interested.

Evening – Visit Montmartre neighborhood which is quaint, artsy and wonderful. There are a multitude of local shops and restaurants that are worth a try. there is a funicular which you can take all the way up that is fun for the kids. The Basilique du Sacré-Cœur is located close by so worth a visit at the same time as well.

8pm Dinner

Saturday, December 24

8:45am Departure for Versailles with driver and guide

9:30am: Reservation for a visit of the castle

12:15pm – Transfer to apartment or to restaurant for lunch

Browse some Antique shops or just go do some shopping as Paris in shopping is vast and fun!

Early afternoon – climb up the Arc de Triomphe

Christmas market on the Champs Elysees — (Open everyday including Christmas Day) -The Christmas markets are very quaint and wonderful. They have a unique charm that is a mix of European flavor and holiday spirit. There is a vast array of food, knick knacks, and music. There is also plenty of hot chocolate and Vin Chaud (mulled wine) to keep you warm when roaming around in the cool, crisp air.

Sunday, December 25

Morning – Classical River cruise on the Seine

Lunch in a Parisian brasserie

Go window shopping at Galeries Lafayette and Printemps as the window displays are gorgeous. You can refer the the pictures I posted showing this at the beginning of this post.

Go on the Ferris wheel near Concorde.

Dinner

Monday, September 26

Depart from Paris -transfer with First Way

There are, of course, lots of evening and night entertainment activities to do in Paris including the wonderful shows like Moulin Rouge. We got a nice view from the outside.

With children, however, that is one part of Paris we chose to leave for another trip. If you opted to, however, our wonderful concierge mentioned that she could assist us in finding childcare for any evening we would like during our stay so that is certainly an option for those so inclined.

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