Your taste of life in Paris and France Parler Paris Monday, October 10, 2011 • Paris, France
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All of you foodies must have felt a bit ignored, since even though I dine out twice a day and keep the Adrian Leeds® Top 100 Cheap Insider Paris Restaurants up to date, you haven't heard much from me about my latest finds. So, to do us all a bit of good, we're adding the "Restaurant of the Week" to our regular missives.
The Restaurant of the Week may not be a restaurant that warrants inclusion in the Top 100 Cheap Insider Paris Restaurants (Adrian Leeds Top 100 Cheap Insider Paris Restaurants), because it may not be cheap enough or classic enough to make the grade, but I promise you it will be worth a visit.
I've had some amazing meals lately, including Michelin Star chef Gilles Epié's concoction prepared at Le Palace des Vosges on Saturday, dinner at Les Ombres of the Musée de Quai Branly with a view of the Eiffel Tower and a formidable meal at the new Costes recreation of Thoumieux. And of all of these, the one that stood out the most was the least expected -- a little bistrot in 13th arrondissement where the only tourists are those touring the manufacturing plant of Les Gobelins called "L'Ourcine."
The atmosphere is simple bistrot and unassuming -- so much so that you will not remember the decor, but instead remember everything you ate. A young waiter who behaved with such confidence that he seemed more like an owner than the 'hired help' insisted on showing off his English in response to our American accented French. Thirty-four euros buys you three courses (26€ at lunch), what I'd consider a serious bargain given the quality of the cuisine -- that out performed Thoumieux and Les Ombres for half the price. The only complaint one can make is about the "Coup de Coeur" menu additions that are grossly overpriced at up to +18€. We chose to stick with the regular "carte" and taste test the lower priced items.
One of the things I liked most about the menu is that every single item sounded delicious and I wanted it all. So often nothing seems to strike a chord, but not here. For example…Fraîcheur d’encornets façon l’Ourcine, échalote et persil plat, tuile craquante au sarrasin, followed by Magret de canard de Sud-Oeust roti au miel d’acacia, poêlée de choux de Bruxelle and topped off with Poire conference pochée, sorbet cacao, caramel laitier…aren’t you salivating, too?
Address: 92, rue Broca, Arrondissement 13 Phone: 01.47.07.13.65 Métro: Les Gobelins, Place d’Italie, Saint-Jacques, Camp Formio (Lines 5, 6 and7) Google map: Google Maps Hours: Closed Sunday and Monday Average per Person: €35 - €45
Dear Parler Paris Reader,
I had a small window of opportunity Sunday afternoon to race to the Trocadero to see the “L’Hȏtel Particulier” exhibit at the Cité de l’Architecture & du Patrimoine in the Palais de Chaillot. Within moments of stepping into the exhibit, (which opened October 5th and runs until February 19th, 2012: Cite/Chaillot), I was drawn to an enlarged photo on the wall from the turn of the 20th-century of a woman standing on a small cobblestoned street that I immediately recognized. It took my breath away.
That spot, of all the tiny corners in Paris, was the entrance to the courtyard of “Le Palace des Vosges” – the luxury fractional ownership apartment at which we had spent all of Saturday filming segments for “Seductively French.”
A phone call to one of the owners who is there now visiting is all it took to get a photo of the entrance as we know it now emailed to me by iPhone to prove that yes, in fact, it was the same! And the description of the photo at the exhibition taught much about that spot where the apartment exists – once a stable, a carriage house, a garage and now a luxury residence:
“Vue de la basse-cour de l’Hôtel de Chaulnes, place des Vosges.” (View of the farmyard of the Hôtel de Chaulnes, Place des Vosges)
“The farmyard, where the commons were relegated, developed in the Middle Age in the Parisian hotel. This made it possible to avoid mixing reception and the service functions. First located in the vicinity, sometimes on the other side of the street, the farmyard was finally incorporated into the mansion’s general plan starting in the Renaissance (hotel Carnavalet).”
The Hôtel de Chaulnes, is the part of Place des Vosges at number 9 situated between the Hôtel de Sully and the Hôtel Pierrard, once the apartments of the king’s counselor, Pierre Gougeu-Descures and where Louis XIII stayed during the inauguration festival of Place Royale (now known as Place des Vosges). The first floor of the apartments later became the headquarters of the Académie of Architecture, still there today.
So, now we know the REAL story – that this little “basse-cour” was once the farmyard to the Hôtel de Chaulnes and it is with great pride that I can say that my staff and I had a large hand in restoring it’s rightful standard!
Seductively French, hosted by a tall beautiful blonde woman named “Slavica Monczka,” is producing segments for Eurocinema, a North American on-demand channel dedicated to European films. Le Palace des Vosges was the backdrop for several segments, including one with leading French chef, Gilles Epié, cooking on the apartment’s five-burner gas Falcon stove in the château-like gourmet kitchen. He was the youngest chef to receive the prestigious Michelin Star in Paris, having trained with Alain Ducasse and Alain Senderens at Lucas-Carton. After mastering his culinary skills in Paris and in Los Angeles as l’Orangerie and Chez Gilles, he’s back in Paris at his own restaurant, Citrus Etoile in the 8th.
While he was being filmed, with his son sous-chefing by his side, I remained silent but salivating over the aromas coming from the kitchen and was fortunate to lunch on his freshly prepared sea bass with foie gras accompanied by porcini mushroom and baby artichoke. Lots of great meals have come out of this kitchen, but this one may have beat them all.
Before being interviewed by Slavica about the apartment and what it’s like to be living in France in yet another segment, young designer Nabil Hayari showcased a few of his stunning wedding and evening gown collection on his signature models. The setting at Le Palace des Vosges for these stunning creations, more works of art than anything else, was ideal and there was nothing the models could do wrong to create perfect images for the show.
Producers of the segments seemed pleased as they were packing up their equipment and the owners were returning from their day exploring the City of Light.
When will it air? Sometime this coming Fall…so stay tuned! And btw, there are still a few shares left if you want to be a part of this exciting piece of Paris!...just email email@example.com for more information.
A la prochaine...
Adrian Leeds Editor, Parler Paris (with Slavica, Seductively French)
P.P.S. I am seeking someone with great administrative skills to work with me personally and regularly to help keep order at the Adrian Leeds Group. If you are interested in working a few hours a week, both remotely and ‘sur place,’ please email me at Adrian@adrianleeds.com with your resume and brief “lettre de motivation.”
Another benefit of the bus is you get to see Paris!
When we were in Paris we never used the Metro, (even though many people said it was easy to use), we enjoyed the sights and sounds above ground and got to know our way around much better!
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October 11 David Downie -- "Paris and the Nostalgia Business: Merging Past and Present in the City of Light"
Author of Food Wine Burgundy, Paris City of Night and Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light, David Downie is a San Franciscan who moved to Paris in the 1980s. His travel and food features have appeared in over 50 publications worldwide. Downie is a European correspondent for AOL's Gadling.com and the author of a dozen nonfiction books and two thrillers.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011 and the second Tuesday of every month 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Upstairs at La Pierre du Marais, on the corner of rue des Archives and rue de Bretagne, 3rd. Métro Lines 9, 3 et 11, stations Temple, République or Arts et Métiers
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