Ah, Paris! I’ve been making an annual pilgrimage there since my first trip there in 1989 when as a twenty-something I was put in charge of a group of non-French speaking wine salesmen, driving a van around the Parisian peripherique and zooming around the country in gasp a minivan, to the Loire, Burgundy, and Champagne. Given my highly charged lifestyle, I have a new mode of traveling to France now: rather than zip around the country, doing too many things, I like to hang in Paris for a week and just blend in. Nothing’s better than having no agenda, and letting your day unfold leisurely. Three years ago I stayed on the right bank (not my usual perch, but I wanted to experience a different neighborhood), and it was the Hotel Therese, I recommend it and I recommend the site, Tablet Hotels, that turned me on to the Therese, great for finding out of the way boutique hotels around the world.
On to gastronomy, one of the major reasons for being in Paris, armed with info from friends and great recos from Chez Pim, off we went. Three stand outs for me were Le Comptoir of Yves Camdeborde for excellent hearty fare, I enjoyed foie gras toasts and beef cheeks with a glass of 2003 Chateau Latour, bliss! L’Huiterie Regis right across St. Germain from Rue de Buci for a plate of oysters, a half carafe of bracing Sancerre, Issigny butter and whole grain bread, ecstase! Lastly, L’Ourcine in the 13th on rue Broca for their 30 Euro menu which then consisted of a starter of asparagus emulsion, a veloute of watercress (ephemeral), an amazing scallop dish and a delicious bottle from the well-priced wine list of Catherine and Claude Marechal Volnay 2004, absolutely perfect with my fish dish and my friend’s lamb chops. A soft Volnay pairs well with so many dishes.
We stopped by the incredible artisanal gourmandise shop of Pierre Herme specializing in chocolates, macarons and confiture. I toted home macarons for my gourmand colleagues and kept one of his jams for myself, passion fruit, mango and orange, OK, wow. I was able to take a bit of Paris home with my little jam jar. Having returned, I have really tried to recapture the l’art de vivre and to slow down and savor. That’s what Paris is about for me.