Three Days in Paris
My wife and I will be in Paris for three days in late May. This is our first time to visit Paris. We are looking for a good bistro, gourmet dining restaurant and any other recommendations. We are staying at Westin Pars. Also we are thinking of a day trip to Strasbourg. Is that too far? Is it worth it? Any other daytrip recommedations? We are looking to get out in the country for a day. Thanks!
I did think of a possible reason to leave town for a day in late May - - Monet's gardens in Giverny. This is an easy day trip from Paris There is a fun outdoor, riverside restaurant called Canne au Peche where you can have a meal. Nothing fancy, but it's fun.
You take the train from Gare St. Lazar (yes, the one in the paintings) to the town of Vernon and then a short taxi ride to Monet's property (or, if you are in the mood, rent a bike at the train station. I did this once and it was fun.) The gardens will be stunning in late May. If you start in the morning, you'll be able to do this trip and still have time for a great dinner in Paris.
Well, a few of my favorites:
-Taillevent (of the grand restaurants, I've also tried Le Cinq, and while that was also fabulous, and the food was every so slightly better than it was at Taillevent, Taillevent was the ultimate in intimate, exquisite service, impeccable food, and a lush, hushed atmosphere)
-L'As du Falafel, in the Marais (best falafel I've ever had)
-Pozetto's gelato, also in the Marais
-Pierre Hermé (superbly expensive, but incredible--the best macaroons I had)
-If you like tea, go to Mariage Frères and buy the "Éléphant Blanc" and "Capetown" teas, both of which are fabulous. If you go to the store in the Marais, you can sniff every tea.
-Morning coffee and croissants at Ma Bourgogne, overlooking Place des Vosges, as the sun rises over the square and floods the tables of the café with light
-Across the street from the Jardin du Luxembourg, on the rue de Médicis, there is a small square stall that sells crêpe sandwiches. They are really good. I recommend getting one with tomatoes, feta, an egg, and herbs. Eat it in the gardens, next to the boat pond.
-For a fabulous picnic, buy a fresh baguette (always ask for an "artisanal" or "traditional" baguette, or else you'll get the vastly inferior mass-produced version), a fresh piece of cheese, fresh tomatoes, avocado or whatever it is you like, a piece of fresh fruit, a pastry from corner bakery, and a bottle of wine.
You won't want to leave, believe me. When I was there for five weeks last summer, I thought I would at least get around to making a day trip or two...but I didn't! The time flew by, and by the last week and a half I didn't want to spare a day in the city.
Even if you had more time overall, I would never do a day trip to Strasbourg. It must be at least overnight, preferably 2 nights. With 2 1/2 hours each way on the train, and the time to get to and from stations, you will spend 7 hours travelling. If you want to do a day trip from Paris I agree with the suggestions of Versailles and Fontainebleau, or you could go to Chartres. But with only 3 days I would just stick with Paris. There is so much to see.
If you want a WONDERFUL little place that caters to locals, consider Au Fil de Saisons. I tried this place during a trip last year after reading about it on Chez Christine's blog (link below) and it's definitely on my list of places to revisit. The house special duck cooked for 7 hours, with foie gras melting on top of it, has been the stuff of my dreams ever since that meal. The tab for two of us for dinner, three courses each and a bottle of wine, was under 100Euros - a great value for the quality. This is a tiny place, so be sure to reserve in advance. http://chezchristine.typepad.com/chez...
Au Fil des Saisons, 3rd arrondissement
6, rue des Fontaines du Temple
On the same trip last year, we had lunch at Taillevent, which was wonderful. We ordered the 70Euro menu and felt not an ounce of deprivation. The food was wonderful, the wine was sublime, and the service was incredible. Definitely an experience to remember. If you are looking for a classic gourmet experience, you can't do better than Taillevent (in my opinion).
One of the nice restaurants in Paris where I've dined several times is L'Oulette, though we didn't make it there on the last trip. They specialize in food from the southwest part of France and are justly famous for their duck confit and their oxtails and foie gras wrapped in cabbage, but everything there is wonderful. They have a menu of coffees and you can choose the one you want (hmmm Ethiopian tonight, or maybe Hawaiian?) They also have wonderful herbal teas/tisanes. If you don't want dessert, you can have a flight of Armagnac, and they bring you a plate of mignardises anyhow (chocolates and sugared almonds). The main shortcoming is the location - - the restaurant is in Bercy, near the soccer arena, which is off the beaten path. It's a short walk from the Metro station to the restaurant, but it can be a long Metro or taxi ride depending on your point of origin. This is also a good value for the quality - dinner for two would probably be in the range of 150 Euros.
15, place Lachambeaudie, 12th arrondissement
Browse the board - there are loads of posts like yours with advice offered.
Strasbourg is a decent visit and now with the TGV only about a 2.5 hour ride. However, given that this is your first visit to Paris I would say no to that idea. There are more things to see / do in Paris than you will ever have time for in 3 days. Spending 5 hours on the train (really more counting getting to the station & back, etc) out of a 72 hour visit is not a good deal.
Strasbourg is doable on the TGV, but there are so many closer-by places. I love the town of Chablis, which is 90 miles outside Paris. VERY old town, lots of delicious wines to taste, and the lovely Hostellerie des Clos for a smashing lunch! You could rent a car or go by train.
Versailles is another nearby visit, the palace is spectacular. It could take the whole day to see it, the gardens and the Petite Trianon.
Fontainebleau is a town and castle I like even better than Versailles.....