Then I Discovered the Paris Bistrot
Monday, February 5, 2007
Come out and celebrate the 9th Anniversary of the
Dear Parler Paris Reader,
Cooking was a delightful hobby until moving to Paris. Then I discovered the Paris bistrot.
That’s all it took to retire the pots and pans, that now gather dust in the kitchen cabinets and drawers. The marketing cart stays neatly tucked away in the closet and the grocery stores only see me occasionally to buy paper goods and cleaning products.
Instead, one can find me, literally on the average once a day, at a café, restaurant, bistrot or brasserie, letting someone else prepare and serve a fabulous meal. I know this, because at the end of every year, I take all the restaurant receipts I’ve saved and log them into a spreadsheet to learn more about my dining habits.
In 2006, 362 restaurant meals were accounted for, an increase over 2005′s 326 meals and 219 dining experiences in 2004. (Seems the kitchen utensils are getting dustier all the time.) The amazing news is that in spite of changes in the rate of exchange over the years, an average meal is still costing $25, consistently year after year and the most expensive month was December having dined out 88 times — no surprise.
Two mottos that have driven me to excesses of dining out are: 1) It shouldn’t take longer to cook than it does to eat and 2) Why waste a single meal? Maybe it comes from my New Orleans upbringing where everyone talks about the next meal while dining on the present one. Even as a kid, I remember that the family regularly had restaurant outings, my cousin owns the second oldest restaurant in New Orleans (Tujague’s), my ne ice grew up to become a chef (desserts are her specialty) and my sister threatened to remove the kitchen from her house long ago…until Hurricane Katrina did it for her.
Then I discovered the Paris bistrot.
One can eat inexpensively in the U.S., but not as well as inexpensively as you can here, in Paris or any part of France. That $25 average meal is usually two to three courses, at lease one glass of wine (usually two) and coffee, including tax and tip. Tell me where you can do that Stateside for a French meal? Or any meal?
I’m not rolling in dough, either. When we first moved here, I was living off savings, so with such a craving to taste everything, I set off to find the perfect Paris bistrot at the perfect little price. Thank goodness I was able to trade the expense of owning and operating a car, high medical insurance and private schooling for dining out in Paris…a big bargain and a good trade-off!
The guide books for tourists tend to recommend the pricier restaurants (not necessarily better) with English menus. Here you find more tourists who have used the same guide books. One of the worst meals I had in Paris early on was at the renowned Jules Vernes at the Eiffel Tower, that was expensive, mediocre and interrupted by the gentleman at the end of the row of tables who drunkenly and loudly declared to everyone in the vicinity that he was mayor of some Kentucky city. To that I said, “never again.”
I learned how to ferret out the neighborhood mom-pop spots that the tourists weren’t likely to find without a little help. Lace curtains became a sign for tradition and classicism. Handwritten menus in the windows were a clue that the food was more important than the marketing. If at 1 p.m. or 9 p.m. the restaurant was empty, then consider it a not-so-great find…as those who live in the neighborhoods are the most knowledgeable about the best little corners without consulting the guide books. My ability to scope out the who’s who in bistrots was becoming more acute and the list was getting longer.
Within a couple years, friends started calling for recommendations, knowing that I’d be the one to ask for the best little bistrot in any particular part of Paris to
Ten years later, still dining out, still ferreting, still writing the guide, there are more than 200, although the listing is constantly being pruned and refined so that not a single one is a risk. In fact, it got pruned and updated just yesterday! While having an “omelette aux fines herbes” (the best one on rue de Bretagne) and a “café crème” at the Café du Marché (corner of rue Charlot), with the laptop plugged in and the free WiFi (thanks to the Mairie of the 3rd), I added several new restaurants and deleted a few others.
More exciting news is that The Insider Paris Guides has a new publisher. As of this past January 15th, I relinquished my duties as both publisher and author to being just author, leaving the distribution and marketing to Bastille Media (publisher of Franglo.com), who not only will continue publishing the four electronic guides on the roster, but will grow and add to them as time goes on.
Not a single beat has been missed. First thing this morning, the newest version of the Insider Paris Guide for Good Value Restaurants was uploaded online and is ready to download. It’s 104 pages, with 200+ restaurants in all districts of Paris, including a complete Do’s and Don’ts section and Glossary of Terms.
If you use it while you’re here, you are guaranteed to eat as well as I eat for as little money as I spend. And I can assure you, I don’t believe in wasting a single meal…time in Paris is too short, n’est-ce pas?
To learn more or download the restaurant guide (or any of the others, all purchasable safely online using a credit card), click here now: http://www.insiderparisguides.com
A la prochaine…(and happy dining)…
A la prochaine…
P.S. “Paris Je t’Aime” (Paris, I Love You) was the theme of this year’s “Paris, Capitale de la Création” celebration this past Friday night. The organization is designed to promote 16 professional trade fairs of design in fashion and homewares. Over champagne cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, three of Mayor Bertrand Delanoë’s deputies, Jean-Bernard Bros, Lyne Cohen-Solal and Christophe Girard, honored a line-up of creative and innovative leaders in the design community, including Cacherel, in front of an audience of hundreds at the salons of the Hôtel de Ville. The entrance, lobbies and main ballroom were lit entirely in pink, as is the tradition and a large screen showed attendees as they entered via the grand staircase.
Let us show you just how hassle-free it can be to get a French property mortgage for your dream Paris pied-a-terre or villa in the country! /frenchproperty/loan
French Property Insider Consultation…your complete solution to finding, buying, renovating or renting your new dream home or apartment in France. /frenchproperty/consultation
I imagine you’re much like me, gathering together last year’s revenues and expenses to either post on a tax return or turn into our accountants and tax planners in time for due day. It’s an arduous task each year and one that not only costs our hard-earned bucks in the form of tax, but in the form of advice and service from the professionals who spend our money in order to save us money…FPI Subscribers Read On…
Learn how to buy property in France. French Property Insider is an e-mail newsletter from the editors of Parler Paris. Learn all the insights, recommendations, and discoveries about buying and investing in real estate in Paris and France that French Property Insider readers get every week.
We cover specific, niche-interest topics that are difficult to find anywhere else. Get an insider perspective on Restaurants… Making a Life… Black Culture… Expat Writers…
For more information, visit http://www.insiderparisguides.com
Come to On Rue Tatin, Susan Herrmann Loomis’ 15th-century Norman retreat, for a sumptuous Sunday lunch. Your day will begin in Paris at the Gare St. Lazare where a representative from On Rue Tatin will meet and ride to Normandy with you. An hour and twenty minutes later you will walk through the small wooden door at On Rue Tatin and enter a savory, aromatic world where culinary adventure awaits.
To reserve your place or for more information, email Susan Herrmann Loomis, On Rue Tatin, at email@example.com
Welcome to your home in Paris. Home is how you will feel in a private apartment in Paris that has the “seal of approval” from Parler Paris Apartments and me, Adrian Leeds.
Parler Paris Apartments offers high quality accommodations to make your stay in the City of Light as enjoyable and memorable as possible. We at Parler Paris know each and every apartment owner or manager personally, and stand behind the quality of those we represent. We understand your needs and desires, all the small details that make a rental apartment a warm and welcoming home – and a much better alternative to an impersonal hotel!
Parler Paris Apartments is administered and serviced by the same great team as Parler Paris, French Property Insider and French Property Consultation. You can trust that Parler Paris Apartments and all those with whom it is associated will do their best for your 100% guaranteed satisfaction.
***”Le Provençal” Studio
Located in a very charming and quiet 18th-century building in the heart of Le Marais, this sunny studio is perfect for one or two seeking ultimate Parisian calm, flavored with the beautiful colors of Provence.
LAST MINUTE RENTAL! Available March 8th – 27th and April 26th – May 6th (departure May 7th)!
Pictures and more details available here: /parlerparis/apartments/rentals/provencal.html
*** Rent the Personal Two-Bedroom Apartment of Adrian Leeds
Located in a charming 17th century Le Marais Hôtel Particulier, this 70 square meter two-bedroom apartment with lots of light is nicely furnished and is perfect for up to 4 people. Includes high speed Internet access, free international calling, housekeeping one time per week and all linens. 150€ per Night, 7 Night Minimum, References Required
Come for a drink and to meet and chat with other readers in Paris:
The next gathering is February 13, 2007
So mark your calendars to be sure not to miss it! See /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for more details.
Come out and celebrate the 9th Anniversary of the
Then I Discovered the Paris Bistrot
This entry was posted in 2007, Parler Paris and tagged 10-session card, 20-session card, Adrian Leeds, ANNIVERSARY DINNER PARTY, average meal, best little bistrot, card 24 sessions, dinner party, dream paris pied-a-terre, English Conversation Group, French English Conversation, French Property Insider, Good Value Restaurants, Gratin Dauphinois, guide books, Insider Paris Guides, La Pierre, la prochaine, Le Marais, moelleux au chocolat, Neuf PARLER PARLOR, NIGHT Reservations, Paris bistrot, Paris Bistrot Parler, Paris Je t'Aime, Paris Métro Temple, parler paris, parler paris apartments, Parler Paris Après, Parler Paris classifieds, Parler Paris Express, parler paris reader, Parler Parlor, PARLER PARLOR ANNIVERSARY, PARLOR ANNIVERSARY DINNER, perfect paris bistrot, pierre du marais, rue charlot, rue des archives, Rue Tatin, Rue Tatin Chef, single meal, special anniversary prices, sunday lunch, Susan Herrmann, Susan Loomis, two-bedroom apartment. Bookmark the permalink.