Posts tagged: Paris

Paris For The First Time {Part 4/4}

By , August 10, 2011 4:49 am
Versailles

Versailles

We are all having a great time so far on my parents’ first trip to France. The south of France has been spoiling them with perfect weather, wonderful dining experiences, and breathtaking landscapes. Then on our road trip up north, everything is going according to plan. If they left France right now, I know they would have only great things to say about France. But before they leave, we have one last city to see, Paris.

With only one and half day in Paris, it’s my job to make sure my parents see what the entire buzz is about Paris. What would be the first place you would bring your parents to if you were me? Would you get Disneyland Paris tickets?

My Parents At Versailles

My Parents At Versailles

If you said Versailles, you are correct. I have many warm memories at this place:

During college, my girlfriends and I took what began a yearly all-girls trip, to Paris. We roamed the gardens of Versailles for hours and laid on the grass talking about our futures.

Then many years later, I returned to this place to experience it again with my Frenchie. It began snowing and I should have been frozen in my sandals, but being with the guy of my dreams, it felt like springtime in the park.

Then to repeat the experience all over again with my parents, I happily oblige.

First Time In Versailles Ages Ago

First Time In Versailles Ages Ago

Second Time In Versailles With Frenchie

Second Time In Versailles With Frenchie Years Ago

Versailles Today

Versailles Today

It's a HOT DAY!

It's a HOT DAY!

As we are standing inside the city of Paris, my parents are in awe. They love all the pretty buildings around us. Everywhere we look, there is an even more impressive building, including the Louvre. There is really not one ordinary or ugly building in sight.

The Louvre

The Louvre

Opéra Garnier

Opéra Garnier

La Madeleine

La Madeleine

We stumble upon this cute restaurant to try for their first dining experience in Paris. The wine pairing is excellent and the food is unforgettable. We are very happy with our pick and when then the bill arrives, we are charged for 5 people, but we are only 4. Boris informs the waiter, who is drinking wine at every chance, and he apologizes for the mistake. Always double check your bill folks, even at fancy restaurants!

I took down the name of the wine and now it’s one of my favorites: Domaine Duseigneur Lirac Antares 2009

Bistrot du Sommelier Restaurant in Paris

Bistrot du Sommelier Restaurant in Paris

In the morning, we join the long lines of people eager to see the Eiffel Tower. During the three hours of waiting, we meet two wonderful Canadians in line. Thanks George and Charlie for making time fly by!

When we do make it to the elevator, it brings us only to the second level. We wait about another hour to get on the second elevator that brings us to the top.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Note to self for next time: make reservations two months in advance for the Eiffel so you don’t have to wait in line at all. If not, walk the stairs to the second level of the Eiffel and then buy your tickets to the top.

Parents At The Top Of The Eiffel

Parents At The Top Of The Eiffel

Grand View From Eiffel

Grand View From Eiffel

When we finally reach 80 stories high, we are greeted with champagne (not free of course). With zoom lens, we can see inside the courtyards of all the buildings in Paris.

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

Trocadéro in Mini Mode

Trocadéro in Mini Mode

Les Invalides

Les Invalides

I’m not sure if it is only my family that does this, but we have to see every Chinatown in all the big cities we visit. It’s not much of a Chinatown as there is maybe ten Asian restaurants in total, but the area feels like the new cool place to live.

We couldn’t resist the yummy smell and join the long line wrapping around this Vietnamese restaurant. Folks, stand back as we have found something worth coming to Paris for, besides the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. The pho (Vietnamese noodle) at Pho 14 is better than the pho we had in Vietnam (and California)! The other dishes we try are mediocre.

Pho Banh Cuon 14
129 ave de Choisy
Paris

Pho Vietnamese Noodles In Paris  (Pho 14)

Pho Vietnamese Noodles In Paris (Pho 14)

Now what I have not told you is the drama that unfolds during our time in Paris. We use Hotels.com to book our stay in Paris. Even after receiving confirmation of our reservations, we come to learn about a computer error upon check-in. It seems like they have overbooked hundreds of people and ALL the hotels inside Paris are full. We are on the phone with the rep for four hours before finding us one hotel to sleep at.

We drive about one hour outside the city to a random place that got booked for us. Whenever Boris and I are faced with extreme bad luck, it’s remarkable how some good does come out of it.

Arial Shot of The Moat

Arial Shot of The Moat

We check into the gorgeous Chateau d’Esclimont, a Renaissance castle set on 150 acres of gardens built in 1543 for the Archbishop of Tours. Me And Frenchie’s room is situated in one of the rounded towers with a private balcony overlooking the moat. The interiors are completely adorned for a queen and my king.

While Boris is away to check on my parents and use the Internet, I pamper myself with a bath and the sounds of the castle at night start to be intimidating.

Chateau d'Esclimont

Chateau d'Esclimont

Keys To Me & Frenchie's Room

Keys To Me & Frenchie's Room

Frenchie Feeling At Home

Frenchie Feeling At Home

While our stay at the castle is a very cool experience, the drama while in Paris still lingers.  My parents want to visit their friends in Denmark after Paris, so I use Orbitz.com to book them a flight. After getting what I thought was a confirmation, I get another e-mail 24 hours later from Orbitz that the flight is overbooked. Luckily, I’m able to book direct with the airline and also get a lower price! Then I get tempted by the flights to Tenerife.

orbitz

On our way to the airport, we are stuck in terrible traffic. We listen to the radio to find out what’s going on. Not only do the strikes with Air France continue, they are facing some IT issues with their computers so it is another chaotic day at the airports with ongoing delays.

As we continue moving inch by inch on the highway, we run into a group of taxi drivers who are telling us to drive around them. Then we hear on the radio that there is a taxi strike so that is what we are seeing.

Folks, if you want to have a strike that is fine. But when it starts to endanger people, like deciding to have a strike on the highway, you should be thrown in jail.

Thank you for accompanying us on all this drama. Don’t let our bad luck stop you from coming to Paris or France, but just be aware this can happen, especially during the busy seasons. My parents had an amazing trip and they want to see more of Europe on their next vacation.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

Inside Notre Dame Cathedral

Inside Notre Dame Cathedral

Candlelit Hallway

Candlelit Hallway

Stained Glass Window

Stained Glass Window

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

Argentina: The Hip City of Buenos Aires

By , January 10, 2011 11:35 pm
Diego Maradona, Their National Icon

Diego Maradona, Their National Icon

Buenos Aires at first sight reminded us of Paris with its large avenues and European architecture, so it’s no wonder it is known as the most European city in South America.

Interesting Roof

Interesting Roof

Walking Tour

Walking Tour

Moulin Building

Moulin Building

From the airport, a cheap 2-hour ride into the city allowed us to see the different neighborhoods. It was only exploring the locations by foot that got us to see the vast differences from one neighborhood to the next. In San Telmo, we got some tango with our cup of afternoon coffee in Plaza Dorrego. In Palermo, shopping and eating were the only things on our agenda. In Boca, graffiti was the highlight. Finally, our walking tour through the center of the city left us breathless for its beauty and for how much walking we did.

Free Tango At Plaza Dorrego

Free Tango At Plaza Dorrego

Boca Neighborhood

Boca Neighborhood

Colorful Buildings

Colorful Buildings

Graffiti Art

Graffiti Art

Without a doubt, the Recoleta Cemetery is an awkward attraction where it feels like you are house hunting, but for a mausoleum.

Cemetery Right In The City

Cemetery Right In The City

Very Exclusive

Very Exclusive

House Or Mausoleum?

House Or Mausoleum?

During our 5 days in Buenos Aires, we probably had beef or lamb every single day. Most of the time, you can get an excellent piece of meat for less than $10. For our rare or medium-rare eaters readers, you need to explicitly say that you like blood since they tend to overcook the meat. We also fancied the pizzas (and the ridiculous amount of cheese they put on them) and ice cream!

Dining With Amy

Dining With Amy

Which Cut Looks Good

Which Cut Looks Good

Must Try Ice Cream In BA

Must Try Ice Cream In BA

There was so much in this one city to explore that we could use another trip back.

Thank you to our pretty awesome friend, Amy, for joining us in Bariloche and Buenos Aires!

Amy & Boris Exploring The City

Amy & Boris Exploring The City

Modern Building

Modern Building

Teatro Colon

Teatro Colon

We Got Standing Seats For Camerata Bariloche

We Got Standing Seats For Camerata Bariloche

Wicked Trees In The Park

Wicked Trees In The Park

Mercado de San Telmo

Mercado de San Telmo

Antique Market

Antique Market

Group Dinner With New Friends

Group Dinner With New Friends

Ceiling Decor Inside Restaurant

Ceiling Decor Inside Restaurant

Savoy Hotel: Albert Einstein Stayed Here & We Did Too

Savoy Hotel: Albert Einstein Stayed Here & We Did Too

America Del Sur Hostel

America Del Sur Hostel

Beets Risotto

Beets Risotto

Fish Special Of The Day

Fish Special Of The Day

Ribs

Ribs

Pizza

Pizza

MuiMui At The Evita Museum

MuiMui At The Evita Museum

Underground Milongas At La Catedral

Underground Milongas At La Catedral

What We Paid: Argentine
Pesos
USD Euro
– Visa fee for US passport holders 140/pp 35.25 27.25
– Local Bus From Airport To Center [2-hours] 2/pp 0.50 0.40
– Taxi From Center To Airport 110 27.70 21.40
– Subway Or Bus 1.10/pp 0.30 0.25
– America del Sur Hostel [4-beds per room, super clean & trendy, great location, free wifi, free breakfast, great staff, highly recommend] 55/pp 13.85 10.70
– Entrance to La Catedral For Underground Tango 15/pp 3.80 2.90
– Average Meal 30/pp 7.50 6
– Dinner Splurge 150/pp 37.75 29.20

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

First Stop in France: Pari(s)!

By , October 1, 2010 11:41 pm
Fromage

Fromage

Boris is from the south of France but with an international airport and lots of flight options, Paris was an obvious choice to fly into. We were so grateful to be greeted by Boris’s uncle, Bernard, and aunt, Elizabeth, who live right outside of Paris.

Elizabeth and Bernard take French hospitality to new limits. The best way to describe Elizabeth is you can think of her as a French Martha Stewart. From the day we arrived in Paris until we left, we were completely pampered and it felt wonderful. Every morning, I had coffee and a croissant paired with homemade jam. On top of that, the view from the kitchen through the French doors onto their meticulous garden was exactly what I needed.

Every Morning Comes With A View

Every Morning Comes With A View

Ooh La La ... Hidden Wine Cave

Ooh La La ... Hidden Wine Cave

As a surprise, they took us to our first Michelin-starred restaurant in France: Auberge de la Brie! When the food arrived, nothing mattered anymore. Each bite was exceptional and just brought back the sensations I had forgotten. For a starter, I had a glass of Kir Royal, which is Champagne with blackberry liquor. Then came my favorite part, my own plate of foie gras. Oh, how I miss you! Things start to get serious at this point with our bottle of Henriot Champagne. For my main dish, I had the finest grade meat in my mouth cooked at perfection. The next part is Boris’ favorite. When the fromage (cheese) cart came, I became the second most important in his life. Keep in mind, there are also a few amuse bouches (small bites) that come at random times throughout our entire dinner. What separates a really great restaurant from a Michelin-starred restaurant are the desserts. At this point in time, I just couldn’t take another bite of food but you can never say no to pure sweetness. While most of us had one dessert, Boris had to top us by having two. I don’t know how he does it; it must be the French in him.

Foie Gras

Foie Gras

Main Dish

Main Dish

Boris Misses Fromage

Boris Misses Fromage

Dessert

Dessert

We cannot thank Bernard and Elizabeth enough for their love and hospitality.
Thank you!

Inside Le Train Bleu

Inside Le Train Bleu

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Subway Of Paris

Subway Of Paris

Both Boris and I have visited Paris numerous times before so this time around, we didn’t do too much sightseeing.
MuiMui’s favorite: The gardens of Versailles
Boris’ favorite: Angelina for hot chocolate

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

Break In France This Summer

By , May 12, 2010 6:00 am

Some of you may already know but I wanted to remind you all that we will be visiting France this summer for 6 to 7 weeks. This will give us time to see the family, catch up with friends, and rest a little before continuing on with our trip.

As for the dates, we will be in Paris from June 29th to July 2nd, and then Montpellier afterwards.

We are hoping to see as many of you as we can so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment on our website or drop us an email.

See you soon around the cheese plate!

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