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Our trip report, piece by piece

Hello from Paris!

We are in the middle of our trip, but I just wanted to post as I go, so I don't get overwhelmed with posting at the end and also so I don't forget details.

It's been a wonderful trip so far. Our first day, we got in to our hotel around 1:30, so after cleaning up, we headed to CUISINE DE BAR for a little snack before our dinner at Chez L'Ami Jean. We split the lunch formule which included a fresh and light vegetable puree soup, the anchovy tartine, and a glass of wine. It was light, flavorful, and the perfect way to tide ourselves over until dinner. We walked over to HUGO & VICTOR and got a chocolate cake for later. It had tonka beans on top as well. It was okay, but we didn't really love it. The interior of the store was sleek and expensive, the pastries on display like jewels and relics, and the service was quite lovely. I would certainly try other things there, but am not rushing back at the moment, given the huge plethora of other things to try. Dinner was at CHEZ L'AMI JEAN. We were the second couple to arrive, as I figured we wouldn't want to be out too late on our first night. As we weren't very hungry, we decided to split the roasted foie gras in a parmesan espuma with hazelnuts and the grilled beef for one (I remembered the cote de coeuf I had last time which was supposedly for two, but could have fed four easily), that came with the most divine white asparagus, cubes of bone marrow, and their rich potato puree. Our first waiter was quite annoyed at us for our order and didn't hide it, but everyone else, especially the sommelier, was perfectly pleasant and helpful. The food was spot on, the foie was at once decadent and rich, but at the same time, fresh and agile. The beef was just perfectly cooked. Wonderful sear on the outside, beautifully red and tender on the inside. The asparagus were fabulous. I've ordered anything with asparagus in it since that evening, and that was the best so far, nothing has approached it. It really was the perfect amount of food, especially considering that we ordered the riz au lait, which has had its share of attention here and elsewhere, all of it well-deserved. Wonderful dinner, and probably one of the best meals so far on the trip.

The next day, we started off the day with a pain au chocolat and chausson citron from DES GATEAUX ET DU PAIN. We went across the street to the cafe to have our pastries with coffee. Textbook perfect pain au chocolat, perhaps one of my favorites of all time. THe chausson was also great. Everything was flaky, flavorful, wonderful. Exactly what I want in a pastry.

After walking around for a while, we ended up at BREIZH CAFE, as this was a Sunday, and split a galette with chorizo, asparagus, tomatoes, egg, and cheese. It was very good, but I think I preferred the galettes at Pot O Lait. Ah well, it served us just fine for a Sunday. We stopped by Pain de Sucre and got the millefeuille, and I must say, it is the best pre-assembled millefeuille I've ever had. The pastry was amazingly flaky, the cream chock full of vanilla flavor and specks, and the cream somehow didn't ooze out of the layers. Later that evening, we went to LE MARY CELESTE for the tail-end of their one Euro oyster happy hour and dinner. We had four great oysters, four wonderful glasses of wine, and three small plates to share. We had the veal tongue Chinese crepes, an endive salad (which was too sweet in my opinion), grilled cabbage with another slightly too sweet sauce, and a wonderful plate of deviled eggs with ginger and scallions. All in all, it was a fun time, pretty good food, and friendly (though very harried) service. The crackers they give you with your meal are seriously addictive. Covered in sesame seeds and fennel seeds, I suspect they may be fried. I don't care. They are so good....

The next day, we started the day again at DES GATEAUX ET DU PAIN with another pain au chocolat, a plain croissant, a kouglof, and a mango caramel Saint Honore. The croissant was perfect. The kouglof was good, and grew on us as we had it. Fluffy, light, crunchy sugar, very nice. The SH was intensely flavorful, especially the mango cream, and was very nice, though I would want to try something else next time. We followed with lunch at L'ARPEGE. Very minimalist room, nice, but not overly gushing service (a la Le Cinq). We ordered two half bottles of Bourgogne with our meal. We began with the classic tartlets, the absolutely addictive house made sourdough bread, and Bordier butter. It was a beautiful meal. I think the standouts for me were the pumpkin soup with smoked speck chantilly, the four flavors of ravioli in carrot and black radish consommé, and the poulet Bresse. It was truly outstanding, although for people looking for a fancy, special occasion with ambiance, this might not be their place. The mignardises deserve a special mention, as I thought all of them were really excellent. This is certainly not the case everywhere. We had the famed apple tart in the shape of a rose (the least wonderful of all, surprisingly), a rosemary marshmallow, a fennel macaron, kiwi macaron (both were superbly executed), a mint white chocolate bonbon, a dark chocolate caramel bonbon, and a stunning honey nut nougat. We were pretty wiped out by the meal, however, and ended up just snacking late at night later, while watching a movie in our room. One of our snacks was a series of chocolates from Patrick Roger - lovely chocolates indeed. We also had a pot of yogurt by Bordier with a dollop of Christine Ferber Griottes d'Alsace avec Kirsch on top. Not too shabby, I'd say!

As I'd like to return to spending a little QT with my beloved, I'll stop for now and post more tomorrow.

All I can say is, thank you everyone so much for helping us have such a wonderful trip so far. It's been a whirlwind of wonder and magic. Even on my 6th or 7th trip to Paris, how incredible to experience it anew with a loved one even more magically than ever before.

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  1. cannot believe you are writing /updating on your honeymoon! Love the report. Thanks.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ChefJune

      Everyone has been so helpful (K is still taken aback by all the generosity of advice, and is loving every meal and thanking CH at each one, very cute) and as I have a tendency to forget details quickly, I wanted to make sure I got them down before they fade.

      We were at Pirouette yesterday and also had a picnic courtesy of Dubois and Verot. Today we are off to Le 6 PB, so those reviews are coming. Thank you everyone for your help, it's really been a stupendous trip. K remarked our second day, "Why would anyone not go to Paris for ANY trip? Is it silly for us to come back here on our next one?" Nice work, guys.

      1. re: j.jessica.lee

        Your reports are great :-) Thank you for that.. Will be glad to read your Pirouette report, as it is in my list also.

    2. DAY THREE

      I was still full from the previous day at L'Arpege (I don't know what happened, maybe I was still jet-lagged?), but we powered on with a run in the Jardin du Luxembourg, and then a pastry layout from PIERRE HERME sitting at the Cafe de Mairie. We got the Tarte Vanille Infiniment, plain croissant, a strawberry napoleon, and two macarons (rose and caramel). The tart was beautiful, full of vanilla, a beautifully velvety yet almost intangible cream atop the denser, more paste like center, and a crisp crust. I would have liked it a bit less sweet, but I know that that's what you get at PH. The croissant was good, but for me, wasn't as good as the one from DGetduP. But it was a superb croissant nonetheless, and I know that all these judgments are very subjective and based on each person's likes and dislikes. The napoleon was very good, but again, not as excellent as the one from PdeSucre or the one we had at L'Arpege the previous day. However, I must say that the fruit pate inside was great. Full-flavored, wonderful, it saved the pastry, as the layers were fine, the cream was fine. The macarons were very good, and K's first taste of a good macaron in Paris so far. We picked up two macarons the previous day from Larnicol and were shocked. I think they must have had an off day, because I cannot imagine these can be the way they taste. They were brittle on top, big air pockets underneath the shell, crunchy, and pasty. If I have another opportunity, I will try them again. We walked around a lot, here and there, and stopped by PIERRE MARCOLINI for three chocolates, which were superb. We were looking for the chocolate enrobed marshmallows, but they don't make them anymore. We also stopped in to TELESCOPE COFFEE for one of the best iced coffees we've had in a while and a wonderfully executed Americano. The space was very Brooklyn hipster, but so well done. They love owls, as you see them everywhere, but in a cute way. (OTOH, we also stopped in at COUTUME CAFE our first day, and while it was good, it certainly wasn't a place I'd go out of my way for, while we would cross town for Telescope). We wanted to go to Verjus Wine Bar around the corner for a glass of wine and a snack, but it wasn't open yet. It looked wonderful and we will try to make it there. That evening, we walked a few blocks to our dinner reservation at JOSEPHINE CHEZ DUMONET. I was unsure about how I was going to like it, but we ended up having a great time. We had our AMEX concierge make a reservation for us and let them know it was our honeymoon, so we were seated in the front room at a nice table and greeted with the usual glass of white on the house. If we had been seated by the kitchen and bathroom in the back, I can imagine we would not be happy at all. Our waiters were very jovial, nice, and playful. We got a half foie gras, half boeuf bourguignon, duck confit, soufflé, and moelleux au chocolate along with three decent glasses of Medoc. The foie gras here in France is incredibly fresh compared to what I have in the U.S. It is almost light, with many bright flavors complementing the obvious deeper, richer ones. We have really liked all of it, this one no exception. I love foie gras, but can usually eat no more than two or three bites. Here, I'm able to eat at least a third of every foie we share. The duck was great as well, with a very crispy skin, nice flavor in the meat (though I did think it could be a little more tender), and K just couldn't stop raving about the potatoes. The boeuf bourguignon, however, is where it was really at. I've never had boeuf bourguignon like that before. They know how to do it there. I would return just for that. Over and over and over again. They should make a spa treatment with that sauce. The soufflé was good, but I guess I'm just not the biggest soufflé fan. The moelleux was textbook and did the trick. We loved it, but can also see why some would or could have bad experiences here.

      Ok, that's it for now. We are off today to have Genin for brunch. A lot of it. If you are planning to go later today, I'd suggest calling ahead to make sure there are still pastries left. :)

      5 Replies
      1. re: j.jessica.lee

        Thank you so much for the report. I have been following your plans because my daughter and I are doing a very similar trip (without the honeymoon part, of course) in less than 2 weeks. Glad to hear the report on the beef bourg. at jcd. Regarding chez l'ami jean, do you recall if they are still offering 3 set menus at night, along with a la carte?

        Your reports are making us so excited for our trip! Thank you!!

        1. re: tlubow


          How fun to do that with your daughter! Last time I was in Paris, I was here with my mom. I brought her here for her 60th and we had a marvelous time. I hope you enjoy your visit. The memories really do last a lifetime.

          At CLJ, there was only one set menu that evening. It was a lot of food, but loooked delicious.

          Have a wonderful time and I look forward also to your reports!

          1. re: j.jessica.lee

            Thank you. My daughter and I are celebrating our 50th and 25th birthdays, respectively. I also spent my (first) honeymoon in Paris 27 years ago! It was wonderful. Keep your reports coming and enjoy!

        2. re: j.jessica.lee

          Great reports - thank you. We plan to go to Le Mary Celeste next month so I was glad to read your review. And Cuisine de Bar has been on my list for a couple trips, as a "if we happen to be in one of those neighborhoods" place. Light & flavorful is all you need sometimes.

          Oh, and a belated congratulations! Nothing better than a honeymoon in Paris (I was lucky enough to have one, too, many years ago). Keep up the great reporting! (unless you get too busy, of course - we'll forgive you. ;-))

          1. re: VaPaula

            Thanks, VaPaula! Hope you have a wonderful trip!

        3. DAY FOUR

          We woke up bright and early to get to Versailles before 9AM. The previous day, we had purchased three beautiful cheeses from DUBOIS, pate grand mere from VEROT, yogurts de Bordier, beurre de Bordier, Christine Ferber confiture, fruits and vegetables, and some wine for a picnic in the gardens after our tour. One note at Dubois: take the advice of the people in the shop. They really know what's good. They will ask you when you're planning to eat it, where, etc. and help you plan accordingly. I go there every time I'm in Paris. Multiple times.

          We picnicked on the lawn after our tour and it was glorious. Sunny, 75F, lollygagging on the grass, looking up at the chateau. Fantastic.

          We returned to Paris, took a little rest, and then went out again. We were going to the base of the Eiffel tower, so decided to go to the rue Cler for an ice cream at MARTINE LAMBERT. I got the tiramisu, he got the rum raisin. It was fine, but I wouldn't run back to get it if I weren't in the area already.

          Dinner was at PIROUETTE. Wonderful place. It was still light out, the windows were open, people were out in the square having wine, the breeze was gentle yet present, and the aromas from the kitchen were dreamy. We each got the three-course prix fixe at 38E along with two glasses of wine each. The wines were gently priced and there was a varied and interesting selection. For entrees, we got roasted foie gras in a light espuma with black radish, and spring vegetables (some raw, some barely cooked) with fresh ricotta and tarragon cream. Beautiful dishes, both of them, though I really loved my spring vegetables. Elegant, fresh, and playful, both of them. For plats, we got the filet de bar with chorizo, roasted romaine, and caramelized onions, and the supreme de pigeon et sa rotie (!!!!!) with white asparagus. The fish was cooked perfectly with oh so crispy skin and tender flesh. The romaine and onions were a wonderful complement. The pigeon was also cooked just perfectly, a lovely rose with crisp skin. The rotie was ultra-decadence. Definitely moan inducing. The desserts were nice, but didn't come up to the level of the rest of the meal. We had a great time and highly recommend it, especially for the price. What value.

          More to come!

          5 Replies
          1. re: j.jessica.lee

            Next time you go to Dubois try his Morbier, a product that is generally a throwaway but his shows what a great affineur can do with a average cheese. l am going tomorrow for just that even with my new apartment needing a record four metro lines.

            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

              Thanks, deluca. I'm going to have to get that immediately. We tried the Cochon de tete aux piers from VEROT yesterday and it was pretty ridiculous. We have half our piece left. I'm thinking, add a some bread from Landemaine and that Morbier and call me done.

            2. re: j.jessica.lee

              Which Dubois is that ?

              google returns a "Martine Dubois" and a "Laurent Dubois"


              1. re: Maximilien

                Laurent, two stores one at 2 Rue Lourmel, metro Dupleix, other at Maubert-Mutualite, metro Maubert-Mutualite. Lourmel is smaller and closed for afternoon break, but you get Mrs. Dubois. Both stores have sinilar product, but it seems the aging done at Lourmel is a touch longer and better.

            3. j.,

              I'm enjoying your reports very much, but next time you go to France, I suggest getting out of Paris and traveling around the country. You will find wonderful food for much less than in Paris. If you rent a car you can see some wonderful scenery and visit charming towns and villages, and sample regional cooking. If you prefer not to drive, you can still get to a lot of interesting places by train. We have had many more memorable meals in the provinces than in Paris, for a lot less money.

              5 Replies
              1. re: rrems

                Hi rrems,

                How did you know we were heading out to the country tomorrow? You must have missed my other thread, planning our week outside of Paris. We are headed to the Luberon and also to Bourgogne for a week, before heading back here for our last few days. We will be renting a car (if we get a 3G connection, can we use Google Maps on our iPhones as a GPS?) and look very much forward to visiting all the little towns in our areas. Do you have any other recommendations around Bonnieux and Beaune?

                1. re: j.jessica.lee

                  Yes, I did miss that. It's been quite a while since I've been to Provence, but my report on Bourgogne and Franche-Comte should be of some help:


                  Beaune is very central to most of the places I covered in that report. Even Arbois is only an hour drive. Besancon is also a nice city, where we had a great lunch a few years ago at Le Poker d'As. I wrote about it in this report:


                  I will watch for your reports on these areas. Have a great time.

                    1. re: j.jessica.lee

                      trust rrems. I've followed him around Europe and he's fed me well every time.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        Wow! Thanks for the compliment. I am rather obsessive about finding the best places, and for the most part I think I succeed.

              2. DAY FIVE

                We began with another run in the Jardin du Luxembourg. Though we are still young, the kind of reckless eating we used to do cannot be left entirely untempered by a daily run, even though we are prancing about the city all day! We headed to Genin right when he opened at 11 and had a brunch of sorts. We weren't feeling like hot chocolate, but instead got coffee to go with our vanilla millefeuille and tarte au citron. They brought us four chocolates as well. What hasn't been said about the millefeuille? It was stunning. Leaves of buttery perfection, packed gently into a centimeter's worth of divinity. And that cream was thick, barely sweet, chock full of vanilla. I was able to slice through it with a knife - the filling behaved, not budging an inch. The tarte au citron was magnificent. Most delicate shell holding in a bright and puckery filling, that was also like a coating of velvet, jazzy flecks of green zest on top. We also got apricot, banana, pineapple, mango passion, and rose raspberry pate de fruits (fruit flavor explosion) and chocolate, macadamia, and mango passion caramels (best caramels we've ever had). As I remarked to K, I did not feel the slightest sugar rush after all of that (granted, we did have the candies later in the day). There was the barest employment of sugar in the desserts, perfect sweetness levels for me. Sun streaming in the ample windows, lighting up the display cases and beautiful flower arrangements, chocolates being hand picked by assistants in white gloves, K said that it felt like a temple dedicated to pastry and wondered why we don't have something like this in New York. I wish we did...

                We then trounced around town and ended up at TELESCOPE COFFEE again for another cafe allonge and a drip coffee, both very good. The cafe allonge was especially great during the first few minutes. As it cooled (and I noticed this the other day as well), the coffee became very sour. The owners were both there, pulling shots and making drinks, and they couldn't be nicer or more passionate. I had a nice conversation with one of them, who wanted to know what I thought of the coffee and asked which other coffeeshops in town we had been to. Great place.

                We headed down and K was getting a bit munchie, having only had pastry until 3pm, so I looked and saw that LE RUBIS was close by. We stopped in for a glass of wine and split a sandwich of pate de campagne on Poilane bread with cornichons. It was cheap at 4E, and a perfect light snack for the two of us to share. Only French spoken around us, a boisterous, rowdy kind of place, the waitress screaming upstairs for clafoutis, the older folks around us enjoying their afternoon drink.

                After some Orsay, we went back to our neighborhood for a rest, but not before going to CHRISTIAN CONSTANT for one scoop of dark chocolate sorbet with whiskey raisins and the blueberry sorbet. We may have been served by the man himself, who retorted (when asked if we could try a taste) that "coffee tastes like coffee, what else do you want to know??. They were expensive, small scoops, but divine. Perfect sweetness, chock full of blueberries in the case of the blueberry sorbet, and the chocolate was remarkable. Dark, punchy, powerful, with little surprises of those whiskey raisins. We also stopped by VEROT for his cochon de tete aux pieds. Amazing. It finally made an appearance - get it.

                We took a little rest and then headed out to LE 6 PAUL BERT for dinner. We got the 4 course 38E prix fixe - great deal. Loved the space. Harried waitstaff, though I felt for them, being only two dealing with a whole room of people. The waiter was clearly impatient with me, even though I was speaking French, because I didn't know what a few words on the menu meant. I can understand that though. He was working HARD. We got 6 small plates between the two of us: white asparagus with egg yolk, XL razor clams with guanciale, grilled squid, grilled suckling pig, sweetbreads with curry carrots and radishes, and noix de veau. All perfectly executed, fresh, and flavorful. Not a miss among them. Then came the spectacular desserts, which may have been the best part of the meal. A ganache of chocolate with three textures - incredible. A "cannoli" with lemon cream and from age blanc sorbet. The cannoli was a thin, thin sugar shell, which made it like a lemon curd brûlée. Fantastic.

                Alright, time for us to go for another run before enjoying our last day in Paris before heading out for a week.

                8 Replies
                1. re: j.jessica.lee

                  That's great ! Thanks for all the info, writing down some notes based on it, like what to look for at Verot, that for sure will be very helpful next month. Jardin Du Luxembourg is fun for running, there are several running events in the city that are a lot of fun, especially the paris versailles race, which is really great, maybe for your next vacation :-)

                  1. re: oferl

                    Ay yay yay, oferl! I am a horrible runner. I just do a mile and a half or so, and that's plenty enough for me! But K used to run cross-country. Maybe I'll encourage him to do that next time, and I can use the time to go pastry-ing. :)

                  2. re: j.jessica.lee

                    Fabulous report! Also, fabulous selection of excellent eats, as well as excellent, and authentic, analysis. You're going to many of my habitutual places. For a stunning treat, I'd suggest you go to Carl Marletti at 51, r. Censier for the most stunning Religieuse. The way he makes the pastry "croustilante" is brilliant.

                    1. re: Nancy S.

                      Thanks, Nancy S! We will definitely get to Marletti when we return. It's on my list and I'll be sure to get the Religieuse. Sounds divine...

                    2. re: j.jessica.lee

                      Oh my, Jessica, you have made me so hungry. I want to go straight to Jacques Genin for just those pastries.

                      1. re: ChefJune

                        And I want to go back to have the millefeuille praline. It's the only one I haven't had. Plus, I'm hoping that if I pray hard enough, he'll make the chocolate eclairs again. I need to have an eclair here - ever since I got hooked on the caramel ones from La Maison du Chocolat in NYC, I've had a never-ending hankering for eclairs. :)

                        1. re: j.jessica.lee

                          When you come home, I can teach you how to make them. They are so easy!

                          1. re: ChefJune

                            Alright! I've made them before, but never an exemplary version, so I would love to watch you make them as they should be! :)

                    3. DAY SIX

                      We started off again with another run in the Jardin du Luxembourg. We made our way to DGetduP for a late pastry breakfast of plain croissant, pain au chocolat, pain aux raisins, and pain perdu. All excellent, wouldn't get the pain perdu again because I just love me my flaky pastries. Can't take me away from my pain au chocolat...

                      As it was our last day in Paris before heading out to the country for a while, we packed up our leftover Dubois cheeses, leftover Verot Cochon de tete aux pieds, and leftover wine from our Versailles picnic and headed out to do some sightseeing. In the mid-afternoon, we refreshed with a little picnic mishmash in the middle of town, with a demi baguette and some afternoon drinking, a definite requirement while on vacation. We stopped by on the way home before dinner to CAFE POUCHKINE. It was a bit of a detour, but I knew I had to get there before leaving town. It was ridiculous. Every pastry was beautiful and once we got home and sampled our rather embarrassing purchase, it was clear that they were every bit as delicious as they looked. We got the macaron pistache coeur fraise, and another one that was made of Russian condensed milk and honey. Both delicious, textbook textures, a little on the sweet side, but very forgivable given how wonderful they were otherwise. We also got the napoleon - beautiful cream, light as a feather, heady and intoxicating with its perfume, fresh berries atop the cream sandwiched by flaky pastry (which was a little soggier due both to the 6pm purchase and the rainy day). We also got a baba stuffed with a cream that I can't remember (delicious) and sitting in a chocolate lined, thin and crispy shell - probably one of the best textures of baba I've had from a patisserie, just the right amount of rum, a terrific juxtaposition of crispy and pillowy. We also got (yes, there's another, and believe me, if we weren't into day 6 of our trip, there may have been one or two more) the croissant vanille - very nice croissant, but the vanilla inside really put it over the top. Again, that vanilla went straight to the top of my head. We are definitely returning here. It is in the very touristy Lafayette, but the pastries are worth jostling through the crowd for.

                      We wanted to do something low key tonight as we needed to pack and have a very early train tomorrow, so decided to go to LE POT O LAIT for a simple dinner. K got the galette of the day stuffed with emmental, caramelized onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms, and I got the one with goat cheese, salad, and crispy bacon. The galettes were really good, much better than at Breizh, in my opinion. Crispy, very flavorful, packed with buckwheat. When having the dough on its own, you could taste the quality of the (very) salted butter, and that in itself was divine. The cider here is also very good, we had the one demi-sec, and it was just the thing with the galettes. The cider we had at Breizh just didn't go well (for us). We also had two sweet crepes - choco-banane, and the special of the day with salted butter caramel and toasted almonds. Both great, but we wished that they had also been made with the buckwheat batter instead of the traditional white flour batter. Most people probably prefer it the traditional way, so don't pay attention to that. Just take it to show how wonderful that buckwheat galette is!

                      That's it from Paris for a few days, but I will be reporting from the country as well. Any last minute advice will be greatly appreciated!

                      1. DAY EIGHT (I miscounted a day)

                        Provence is truly amazing. Having never been here, it is especially wonderful to discover it together with a loved one. Though it was rainy, cold, and windy, it was still magical. Can't wait for the next few days, which are supposed to bring sun and warmer temperatures.

                        I wanted to go to La Flambee for lunch, but were discouraged from it by our hosts at the B&B. They pointed us to a few other options, but as we wanted something simple and quick, they told us instead to go to LES TERRASSES which also had pizza. It was fine, but nothing to write home about. The view was lovely, but I'm still determined to go to La Flambee before we leave. We meandered, dilly-dallied, napped, lazed, admired, awwwwed, cooed, all wonderful vacation words. Bonnieux is truly stunning. I am not capable of using words in a way that would do it or the area any justice whatsoever, so I will just tell anyone who is considering visiting to stop mulling and simply come.

                        We went to Gordes for dinner at the ultra charming LA FERME DE LA HUPPE and had a delicious and relaxing dinner. Three beautiful and elegant courses. The beef and chicken of our main courses were lovely, though they could each have been just a little more well-executed. That didn't matter, though, because of everything surrounding it. All in all, it was a perfect first dinner in Provence, and one I would go back to any day.

                        I cannot wait to see what the next days hold. We are trying, though, to decide whether to go to Burgundy an extra day or stay here an extra day and can't decide. Any thoughts or urgings?

                        15 Replies
                        1. re: j.jessica.lee

                          If food is the top priority in deciding where to spend an extra day, I would vote for Burgundy.

                          1. re: j.jessica.lee

                            Don't sweat la Flambée. It's just pizza (well, they do have other dishes), albeit very good pizza. Worthwhile if you get to sit upstairs on the terrace, but with the wind & cool temperature right now, I'm not sure that's possible. And although we love it in Provence, I agree with rrems (below) if food is your primary motivation.

                            1. re: j.jessica.lee

                              For what it is worth, In Saulieu in Burgundy, resides the cheese store, La Fouchale, as l have posted before. This store has my Number One of all cheeses, their fromage fort.
                              If you are not familiar with FF , it is a melange of their leftovers fermented by magic and capable of taking paint off a watertower. l have some in my fridge and would my place burst into flames, that is with what l would run out the door.

                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                So what are you trying to say? Are you recommending the place or just letting me know it's there? :)

                                Thanks, I guess I have to go try it now!

                                1. re: j.jessica.lee

                                  Recommend, this cheese is better than average sex.

                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                    Wow, ok. That's quite a rec. I'm planning to visit Alain Hess in Beaune - any cheeses I must have there? Are the manufacturies at Epoisses and Gaugry and the one with the silent monks in the abbaye worth a trip, or should I just enjoy them from the shop in Beaune? Any other non-wine tasting recs in the area? Any wineries I should definitely visit? I'm trying to visit Lignier Michelot in MStDenis.

                                    1. re: j.jessica.lee

                                      Must-eats/drinks in Burgundy (imho) the Fallot Moutarderie in Beaune. Call 1st day and make a reservation for the 2nd. You will find their superb mustards all over Beaune, but the factory is amazing.

                                      In the town of Echevronne is Domaine Lucien Jacob. They have wines, bien sur, but the reason to stop there is their Creme de Cassis, Framboise and Mure. I think theirs are the best around. Certainly the best I've ever had.

                                      Then there's the town of Chablis, on your way back to Paris. (Yes, it's part of Burgundy). We had a stellar dinner at Hostellerie des Clos (1 Michelin *) and it's next door to the William Fevre winery, so you might as well do some tasting while you're at it. (Chablis is my single most favorite white wine.... )
                                      Actually I've been to the Hostellerie several times, and it's always been delicious and welcoming. The hotel is lovely, as well.

                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                        Unfortunately, we are training it back to Paris, so probably won't get to Chablis. But I will try to get the tour at Fallot! I have a jar of it in my fridge at home. Thank you for your recommendations, I am beside myself with excitement at finally getting to Bourgogne. How I adore those wines.... Any other places that we could stop in for tastings in case our appointments fall through?

                                        1. re: j.jessica.lee

                                          There are a few houses on the peripherique of Beaune where you could stop in -- Bouchard Pere et Fils comes to mind. We dropped in at Chateau de Pommard when an appointment fell through and had a wonderful tasting with the director!

                                          email me if you like... I have a few ideas.

                                      2. re: j.jessica.lee

                                        l found most Burgundy cheese makers not all that interesting including Gaugry so l would not bother with the trip. Covered Market in Dijon was excellent. l will be going to Hess May 2, have not been there before.
                                        In the Saturday market in Toucy right at entrance is a man who makes and cooks boudin noir right in front of you, always thought worth a trip. Toucy is near St Bris and Irancy very odd wines in Burgundy as not pinot noir or chardonnay.
                                        If you get to Chablis try a visit to E. Gautheron. Was sent there once by a michelin *** sommelier and have been buying ever since.

                                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                          Darn, won't be there on Saturday! But will definitely get to the Dijon covered market on Thursday. I'll let you know what I find at Hess as well. Gee, I am kind of hoping I find something like that fromage fort there, though I'll be hunting for the real deal at the Dijon market. Watch out!

                                          1. re: j.jessica.lee

                                            Grey Poupon has an impressive mustard museum and shop in the Dijon center. I Christmas-shopped when I was there for mustard pots for everyone. They're really beautiful.

                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                              I visited the Maille shop in Dijon just to see mustard "on draft"...get place to get gifts. I didn't now Grey Poupon was there also.

                                      3. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                        Deluca - "this cheese is better than average sex." Hoo boy, can I tell your intimate?

                                2. DAY NINE

                                  We began the day with a wonderful breakfast at our B&B overlooking the valley and mountains across from Bonnieux. Absolutely breathtaking. It almost felt unreal. Our hosts make a special cake or tart every morning and this morning was decadent. A fromage blanc Charlotte with a brûlée top. That, along with two mini pain au chocolat made for a, shall we say, energetic morning. We drove to Isle sur la Sorgue for the Sunday morning market (boredough, we found the oyster people, but couldn't manage to stomach oysters at 9:30am, and didn't know when we would be back at our place, but I had to find them so I could tell you I saw them!) and enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the place. We loved the drive to and fro. We came back to Bonnieux, had lunch at La Flambee, which was just as fine as Les Terrasses. I think it would have been amazing to be on the terrace at Flambee, but due to the cold and wind, it was closed. We hiked the loop between Bonnieux and Lacoste and went up to the chateau atop Lacoste. Breathtaking views on top, and the hike to and fro was marvelous. There were so many different sections to the hike, showcasing so many of the lovely charms of the area. At every turn, there seemed to be something else introducing itself to us in its own voice, different going there as coming back. It was never the same. We returned to town, having already cancelled our plans for Bartavelle and Arome, wanting to just relax in town and do more casual things. I think we might have gotten burnt out on the coursed dinners after Paris, and having so many coming up in Burgundy, decided to spend today and tomorrow a bit more casually. Except for drinks before dinner on the windy, yet stunning terrace at CAPELONGUE. Unbelievable. Thank you boredough for this tip! We had two glasses of wine and they brought the most delectable amuses bouches. A mini tarte Flambee with shaved white truffles (!!!!), a mini fillo cone with anchovy and fresh vegetables, beef breadsticks, a savory flan with creme chantilly and fried potato strips. Incredibly food in that setting was absolutely mind-blowing. Next time, we come here for lunch or dinner. A definite must.

                                  We went to dinner at a wonderful, wonderful place just between L'Arome and Le Fournil, called AU P'TIT COIN. It was gently priced, casual, full of locals, bustling, friendly, and delicious. I would return here any day, and encourage anyone looking for a casual meal to come here. Everything was homemade with care, and you could tell. K had the foie gras board, with a homemade terrine, smoked duck, confit onions, and a salad. I got the lamb shank with potato gratin. For dessert, we had the moelleux au chocolat and the tarte tatin. It was food for the soul, if you know what I mean. The kitchen was open and you could see everyone at work. Everyone was happy to be there and we just had a marvelous time.

                                  We shall see soon enough what tomorrow holds (our last full day here...), but for now, we are two happy peas in a pod, full of the richness of Provence and happy to sit in that for a while.

                                  1. DAY TEN

                                    Great day here. Amazing run along the roads of Bonnieux. Visited Gordes, Goult (briefly), Lourmarin, Oppede-Le-Vieux. Each place had its very special touch, unique voice. Each one delicious in its own flavor. It's a weird way to say it, but my muscles feel magnetized to the earth here. So much relaxation and clinging to the soil. We had a midday drink at Cafe Gaby in Lourmarin along with a snack sandwich before grabbing a cone of gelato at the place across the way, before heading over to the chateau (stunning and so interesting!). Great place (Gaby) to sit and wile away an hour. We were so tired after the vigorous day of taking in beauty, that we split a pizza for dinner, watched the sunset, and are now preparing to head to wine country tomorrow. I am beyond excited! Does it really take four hours to get to Beaune from Bonnieux?

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: j.jessica.lee

                                      Thanks for your report. I'm so glad your experience at Capelongue turned out the way it did - I think the amuse bouches are their way of telling you to come back for dinner one day...! Also I've duly noted :-) your success at finding the oyster vendor, and completely agree that 9:30am is a bit early for oysters. Sorry you missed Roussillon, a place some CHers think is too touristy, but one I think is stunning just the same. Anyway, enjoy the rest of your honeymoon!

                                      1. re: boredough

                                        Oysters at 09:30 too early, hmmmm. One of my best memories was at Les Rimains in Cancale, my wife at the time wanted the expensive croissant, coffee, juice breakfast, l demurred and went to the harbor where the oyster stands were just opening, l purchased a box of huitre sauvage and came back to the hotel where l shucked them for a whole bunch of people and it may be the best breakfast ever, certainly a wonderful memory.
                                        Off now to Pleine Mer in Paris for Cancale oysters yet again.

                                        1. re: boredough

                                          Thanks, boredough! Oh Capelongue.... K remarked that if we had gone a day earlier, we would have made a reservation for lunch there immediately. Ah well, as if we didn't have enough reasons to go back, this is definitely the clincher.

                                          I'm sorry we missed Roussillon as well. I wanted to go at sunset, and we missed it the day that we had planned on it. Hope you're enjoying your time there. Say hello to Roussillon for me, and let her (him?) know that I'll be there to say a proper hello very soon.

                                        2. re: j.jessica.lee

                                          "my muscles feel magnetized to the earth here. "
                                          Wonderful phrase, so apt. Defines Provence. Bravo.

                                          1. re: Parigi

                                            Thanks, Parigi. The phrase came to my head as I was walking down from the church at the top of Oppede-le-Vieux. I remarked to K that the other place I've felt this most keenly is in the mountains of Vermont.

                                        3. DAY ELEVEN

                                          We started the day off again with yet another gorgeous run in Bonnieux. Why is it so much easier to run when the surroundings are spectacular? After breakfast, we hit the road to Bourgogne. Nothing much to tell except that we had fun and giggly times checking out the various edibles at Autogrill, the "cafeteria", the gas station, and the DIY coffee machines that also dispense cocoa puffs with milk, hot chocolate with your choice of whipped cream, and "veloute" of various choice. Sadly enough, I'd say that a machine like this would be greatly appreciated on the NJ Turnpike....

                                          We saved our stomachs for Bourgogne, arriving at our B&B around 3:30, ravenously hungry. 30km outside of Beaune, I felt like my stomach lining was digesting itself. We dumped our bags in our room and went into the center of Beaune. After mulling around for a bit and discovering this and that closed, we decided that we'd quell our hunger at LA PART DES ANGES with a terrine, some bread, and two glasses of Burgundy. We peeked in Alain Hess to check out the selection and I nearly fainted from all the drool I must have expelled seeing all those delectable delights. We went around tasting our various options for breakfast tomorrow morning at LHERBE MICHAEL and two other patisseries near the Place Madeleine. The viennoiseries were all pretty bad by then anyway, but still quite awful, unfortunately enough. We stopped by the touristy looking patisserie on Place Carnot (maybe called Dix Carnot) and since they had a croissant au beurre, put that down for a possible morning breakfast. We headed back to the B&B for a petite break and then headed back out again for dinner at CAVEAU DES ARCHES. We passed BOUCHE Patisserie on the way in, and decided we'd try that out for breakfast tomorrow (in addition to trying the chocolate Concorde cake, of course!).

                                          We both had the very affordable Menu Bourguignon in addition to a lovely bottle of Morey St. Denis. We had for entrees the escargots with oeuf en meurette as well as jambon persillade. For plats, we had the boeuf bourguignon and volaille roti with fresh pasta and a sauce of Epoisses (yes, a sauce of Epoisses - just pick me up off the floor now). For desserts, we split a cheese plate and a moelleux au chocolat. It was a great dinner, especially for the price. Three courses for 24E, you can't beat that, and the food was wonderful. The boeuf bourguignon was, IMO, better at Josephine Chez Dumonet in Paris, but that's just me. It's richer, denser, and more concentrated, but I loved the version tonight as well. Great value, to which I'd return any day. We have reservations still at La Cabotte and Ma Cuisine (although I am now considering changing La Cabotte to something in Beaune as I hate having to make K drive after dinner - any suggestions?). I can't wait to experience the next two days here. It's so interesting to see such a different part of France. Anyone been to the Wednesday smaller market in Beaune? Is it worth getting up for? We are definitely going to the covered market in Dijon on Thursday.

                                          Alright, we're exhausted after the long day of wonderful. I think we're going to pass out now. Don't hate me too much. I'll be back to the grind soon enough, just don't remind me....

                                          1. DAY TWELVE

                                            Another brief run this morning, though much less inspiring than the ones in Provence. We made it over to BOUCHE for breakfast. We had a croissant, chausson aux pommes, and a chocolate Religieuse. All solid, but not exemplary. Not complaining though.

                                            We perused the market by the Hospice. It's small, but interesting nonetheless. Lunch was at TAVOLA CALDA by Ma Cuisine in the Passage St. Helene. We split a pizza and got two glasses of red Burgundies. The pizza was solid, and a nice, light lunch, which we followed with a cone of pistachio ice cream and a cone of pineapple sorbet from the WAGNER patisserie/boulangerie off of the square where the market is held. The pistachio ice cream was actually quite good and we are going to check that place out for breakfast tomorrow as the pastries looked decent as well. We had originally wanted to go to La Cabotte for dinner, but driving after drinking was seeming less good, so we cancelled our reservations, tried to get in at Caveau des Arches again and also at Caves Madeleine, but they were all full. Benaton was closed as always, and La Ciboulette was closed exceptionellement on Wednesday this week. So we reserved at LE GOURMANDIN on the touristy Place Carnot. Beautiful night, so we sat outside. We split a Gourmand menu at 35E and also ordered a boeuf bourguignon to split. Foie gras terrine, roasted veal with thyme and mashed potatoes, lovely cheese plate of Epoisses and an unnamed, rindy goat cheese, and profiteroles. It wasn't a meal that would win any awards, but it was good, and definitely not a horrible choice for Wednesdays, when many good places in Beaune are closed. The boeuf bourguignon was not the thing to get there, as it was stringy, and the sauce was not great, but the rest of the meal was quite good. Let me just say that we are very excited about Ma Cuisine tomorrow.

                                            It really felt like vacation today. Here, at least for me, there are only three things to do - eat, drink, and luxuriate in not HAVING to do anything else!

                                            1. DAY THIRTEEN

                                              Had breakfast at WAGNER near Place Carnot, just off it near the Hospices. Decent croissant and pain au chocolate. Definitely the better/best ones we found in Beaune, where we found a surprising lack of good pastries. I guess with all that fantastic decadent cheese and cuisine in general, it's a necessary happenstance! We ventured up to visit the Cote de Nuit and its hallowed villages. It was a very special time for me, as I have dreamed of visiting for years now. We made it back to Beaune for a late lunch/snack in the middle of the day. At this point in our trip and after two days of rich Burgundian cuisine, we were ready for a wee break. We went back to Wagner upon finding Tavola Calda closed for the day. There, we split a jambon emmental sandwich and can you believe it, got two refreshing bottles of .... Pellegrino! I nearly cried when I ordered it, but that was what my tummy wanted and I couldn't say no. I consoled myself by remembering what lay ahead that evening. We split a cone of Wagner's pineapple sorbet and a decent salted butter caramel macaron from Bouche and headed home for a nap. It was 77 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, and very sunny. After a lazy afternoon, we headed out for our much anticipated dinner at MA CUISINE. What can I say? I had read report after report raving about the place, and after dining there, I will join in the chorus. Some people said they would be happy dining there every day while in Beaune - I was a bit skeptical, but now have no problem seeing how that would be the case. I would certainly do so very gladly. Fabienne and Pierre were there when we walked in, and we were greeted very warmly. There is a lady who helps them with serving and taking orders, and she was a gem. We ordered a la carte. Entrees were white asparagus with mousseline and a foie gras bastilla, a riff on the Moroccan bastilla that is filled with ground meat and spices. This was filled with herbs, perfectly toasted pine nuts, and foie gras. Both were absolutely perfect, and the bastilla was so fun and inspired, yet perfectly delicious! Our plats were bouef bourguignon and a grilled demi-coquelet with pan-fried potatoes and ratatouille. Both were superb. I was struck by how all the elements were so perfectly executed and how much attention to detail was given to each element of each dish. I noticed the pine nuts in the bastilla and how nicely they were toasted, bringing the whole dish to a new level. The asparagus were steamed impeccably and the mousseline just the right balance of creamy and sharp. The coquelet was unbelievable. It was a Bresse coquelet, so that's a good start, but the meat was as tender as one could ever want, and whatever spices were on the outside were absolutely superb. The bourguignon's lardons were rendered as well as I could ever ask for, the carrots looked like they had first been pan-roasted (great touch, I will try that myself), and the sauce was both deeply rich and lightly acidic/floral. I will say, however, upon having Josephine Chez Dumonet's version again tonight, that Ma Cuisine's is a close second to JCD, only because the beef is much more tender at JCD - I suspect that they use a very different cut of meat. Anyhow, the meal was stupendous. We ordered two desserts, and being unable to decide between two of them, they brought us one and then half portions of two. We got a full slice of the gorgeous and rustic fresh strawberry tart, and half a slice of the almond cream cake and half a slice of the thin apple tart. The fresh strawberry tart was lovely. Fresh, juicy ripe strawberries on top of decadent yet also fresh cream and a buttery, snappy tart crust. The apple tart was textbook, yet what would have been the star anywhere else fell behind the fantabulous almond cream cake like I've never had before. It was the single best almond cream cake I've ever had and I'm still hallucinating over it. Thin, rich slices of almond cake sandwiched between luscious, thick cream, topped with nearly burnt and caramelized roasted almond slices. I wanted the whole cake to be brought out and put in front of me. The place was packed, boisterous, happy, warm, convivial. Do not miss this place if you're anywhere near it. All the parts came together for a wonderful whole. Book in advance. We saw more than a few people turned away. Don't be them. It would be too sad.

                                              1. DAY FOURTEEN

                                                Keeping this short because I am pretty worn out after the long day!

                                                We had quite serviceable and good pastries at PAUL at the Dijon train station for breakfast. Pain au chocolat, of course, a croissant, and, for science, an apricot tart and pain aux raisins. The last two were forgettable, but the first two were quite good. I would get them again in a pinch.

                                                We were still recovering from our Burgundian excess, so just split a lunch formula at CUISINE DE BAR again. Lovely as always. We also tried the tarte tatin. It was too sweet, and the crust was soggy. I'd skip it. The rest of the meal was very good. I got a macaron at PIERRE HERME. We were there getting a special Christine Ferber confiture to take home, and I decided to try the same flavor of macaron - strawberry, rhubarb, passionfruit. I enjoyed it.

                                                We went back to JOSEPHINE CHEZ DUMONET for dinner and had asked to be seated in the front room when reserving. We had a demi boeuf bourguignon (my favorite out of four that I tried on this trip so far) and the pigeon millefeuille. Boy, those were two great orders. I don't know if I can order anything else when I go. You already know how I feel about the boeuf bourguignon. The pigeon was outstanding. Perfectly cooked meat - it can't get any better. And the layers of thinly sliced potatoes, crispy parts, rich and creamy parts. I nearly melted in my chair. We also shared a great version of the warm apple tart, much improved from the one served at CDB at lunch, and the moelleux au chocolat again. The waiters all remembered how we'd ordered the soufflé and then followed with the moelleux last time. Oy. :) Great meal, though. I think if you do it right, JCD can be a really great experience/meal. I highly suggest being prudent there, because it can be really, really good, and I'd hate to see anyone miss out on that.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: j.jessica.lee

                                                  You keep continuing with wonderful readable reports chuck full of excellent info, thanks again. Will be at Ma Cuisine on May 3 so l can compare theirs to JCD as well. How was the A Hess's shop in Beaune, and the market in Dijon for you.

                                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                    Thanks for all your help during the trip and planning.

                                                    The Alain Hess shop in Beaune was pretty awesome. Lots of good stuff there that I would have loved to try. They have a huge assortment of other things as well, which kind of took away from the atmosphere of it, made it seem more diffuse and almost touristy. The cheese looked great though, so if I ignored the things I didn't like, I was pretty darn happy there. I peeked in Barthelemy today and it looked great, but I'm headed to Dubois before I leave. Can't seem to be able to go anywhere else. Plus, those ladies scare me....

                                                    We didn't make it to Dijon market because K wasn't feeling too well. We will just have to return. Mostly to go back to Ma Cuisine. I hope you have as fantastic a meal as I did. I think you might be disappointed with the bourguignon though... Let me know. Have a great time!

                                                    1. re: j.jessica.lee

                                                      So l did enjoy Hess in Beaune, lovely people and lovely shop. Ma Cuisine was put of B Bourguignon on Fri evening, as my luck generally goes, hopefully Dumonet will not be out of it tomorrow as now back in Paris.

                                                2. DAY FIFTEEN

                                                  We began the day with another run - phew, after Burgundy, it was a harder run for sure. Trekked up to CAFE POUCHKINE for a change of pace and got a pain au chocolat, croissant vanille, and a chocolate eclair. They were good, but certainly not my favorites. I think it's best to stick to pastries and macarons there. I'll be back at DGetduP tomorrow.

                                                  We spent a lovely afternoon at the Orangerie and then hoofed it to CUISINE DE BAR again. K loves the place, and it's a good way to get a simple, good lunch. We went back to CHRISTIAN CONSTANT and I, of course, got the cacao sorbet with whiskey raisins and K tried the vanilla ice cream. Both outstanding, but that cacao sorbet is really something else, truly special. Deep, almost bitter cocoa flavor, punctuated by those whiskey raisins. We almost went straight back for another, and may stop by again tomorrow, even though it's supposed to be freezing. And rainy. I already looked up how to make chocolate sorbet, and plan to work on two things when going home - making a great boeuf bourguignon one day (probably never) and recreating this chocolate sorbet. It's definitely got a sticker shock, but it's worth every centime.

                                                  For dinner, we decided to keep it simple and though we wanted to go back to LE POT O LAIT, decided to try something new by going to WEST COUNTRY GIRL. We got the platter of 6 Gillardeau No.3 oysters (wonderful, briny, huge, very fresh), a simple salad, and two galettes - roasted apple with boudin noir, and goat cheese, sautéed leeks, mushrooms, and chives. Both were great, though we enjoyed the galette itself much better at Pot o Lait. WCG's were thinner, very crisp, but I couldn't really taste the buckwheat, whereas at POL, the flavor of the buckwheat was much stronger. We loved the fillings here, though, and the service was much more friendly. The girls we had at POL were intense. We finished with a crepe with vanilla ice cream and a pot of dark chocolate sauce. Nothing special, but it was good and did the trick. Finished off the night by catching a show by an American/English band at a club nearby.

                                                  1. DAY SIXTEEN

                                                    Another run in the garden this morning, even though it was freezking. Made it over to my official favorite, DGetduP for pain au chocolat, plain croissant, and pain aux raisins. The croissant and pac are truly exemplary. I feel no need to go anywhere else, now having sampled a plethora of them over my past 6 or so trips to Paris. The pain aux raisins did not approach their level, but it will do.

                                                    We went to the organic RASPAIL Sunday morning market and loved seeing everything. It's a great market and worth a visit. How I wished for a kitchen, if only to steam a bunch of that beautiful white asparagus to eat all day every day until I leave....

                                                    Afterwards, we did some museuming and sightseeing and walking, had lunch, and then picked up a chocolate eclair, pistachio/wild strawberry tart, and two macarons from PAIN DE SUCRE. The eclair was really great, one of the best I've had. It was an eclair croustillant, so had a crunchy exterior, which I love. The chocolate cream inside was dark, yet fluffy, and a lovely accompaniment to the crust. My absolute favorite eclair still is the caramel one from La Maison du Chocolat, but this is a very close second, perhaps even tied. The tart was lovely, but the crust was a bit too thick for my taste, and nothing about it screamed excellent, like it does at Jacques Genin. The macarons must have been stale, because they were pretty awful. I've had some in the past that were very good, so this must have been an off day.

                                                    For dinner, we made it to DANS LES LANDES at last. We got the fried calamari, sardine rilettes, white asparagus with pickled ginger and vanilla in cream, and the duck hearts. The food was wonderful. We loved the calamari, which comes in a wooden shoe - a little cheesy, but who cares when the calamari is that good. Oh so tender, decent crust (could've been a bit crispier, but no biggie), and a touch of spice in the breading. That was gone in a matter of minutes. The asparagus were interesting, and I really liked it by the end. The rilettes were also interesting, not my favorite sardine preparation, but tasty and polished off nonetheless. The duck hearts were awesome. I loved them. Meaty, soft and tender, yet with a bit of chew and heft, I loved them. The flavor was meaty with just a hint of gaminess, not too much. I love gaminess btw, but many people do not, so just giving an indicator of the gaminess and potential "unfriendliness" level for people who might be wary of ordering organ meats like heart. One thing I must comment on is the extremely harried and almost non-existent service. I am very used to the service style here, but this was really a step (or two or three) beyond. There were simply not enough servers, and our duck hearts were forgotten about. That's fine, but after waiting half an hour and then asking on two separate occasions for them, they only arrived (and we timed it) 55 minutes after we asked the last time. The family next to us also waited for an order, and I think they waited over an hour for their last dish. They even wanted to order dessert after all that, told the waiter their dessert order (after I saw the milassou wasn't on the menu, I asked for the check), and he brushed them off saying he'd be back after their table was cleared. He came back twenty minutes later and asked them if they wanted dessert. They asked for the check. The food was great here and I'm not dissuading anyone from going. Heck, I might very well go back next time, but with the knowledge that dinner could possibly take much longer than I think. I think it's an important thing for people who are visiting and are tourists to know, so they have an idea for how to plan their evening.

                                                    So sad to think I only have a few more days in Paris. Better make the most of them!

                                                    16 Replies
                                                    1. re: j.jessica.lee

                                                      I also love the eclair at Pain de Sucre, as well as their lemon tart (both which I prefer to Genin). Also, of course, agree with your croissant selection. You must try the brioche feuilletee from Patisserie des Reves -- it's quite spectacular. When I don't feel like make the croissant trek, this is my choice.

                                                      1. re: Nancy S.

                                                        Thanks for your recommendations! We might get that brioche tomorrow.... Sounds amazing.

                                                      2. re: j.jessica.lee

                                                        l was at Dan Les Landes as well but for lunch yesterday . Was not full and as a result the service was fine, but we commented on the fact if the place got busy, the small staff would be crushed.
                                                        The duck hearts were great as awesome, and perhaps you might rent an apartment on your next trip rather than a hotel as there is a boucherie on Bd Faubourg St Antoine right around the corner from Place Aligre towards Faidherbe-Chaligny metro that sells the hearts, l cook them all the time.
                                                        l checked and they said the millasou was removed from the menu until colder weather, l whimpered a bit but it made no difference. No Millasou for me.
                                                        l also bought a tarte au citron from Boulangerie de Monge, a usually reliable bakery, and it was pretty bad.

                                                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                          A bad tart is a very sad thing indeed, especially after being denied the millasou.

                                                          I'm going to have to find a fine purveyor of duck hearts in New York when I get back. They were awesome.

                                                        2. re: j.jessica.lee

                                                          j.jessica.lee: We're going back to Dans les Landes next week, and since we'll be with (American) friends we took the 7:30 seating. (Not happy that this restaurant has adopted this schedule...) I was told, of course, that we'd have to vacate the table by 9:30. When did you sit down? I can't imagine these kinds of service delays when the clock is ticking like that, unless you had the second seating....?

                                                          1. re: boredough

                                                            Hi boredough! We were not told we had to leave by any specified time. Perhaps because it was Sunday? I was wondering how they could afford to take so much time (we were there at 7:30) if they wanted any chance to turn the table. I will say that our first three of four orders came out within five or ten minutes of ordering. It was only after that that we waited and waited and waited for those darn duck hearts.... I hope you have a much better experience in that department!

                                                            1. re: j.jessica.lee

                                                              Great reports J Jessica! I've enjoyed reading your posts.

                                                              I just wanted to suggest that people might want to consider lunching at Dan Les Landes. We've been several times for lunch and had wonderful food and good service that wasn't rushed. AND you can walk off all that food...

                                                              1. re: sistereurope

                                                                Thanks sistereurope! Your reports also helped me a great deal in planning this trip!

                                                              2. re: j.jessica.lee

                                                                thanks - good to know you were at the early seating and were able to (unwillingly) linger. OTOH if you find duck hearts in Manhattan, be sure to report in!

                                                                1. re: boredough

                                                                  I can tell you where to get duck hearts in Manhattan, but you'll have to special order them...

                                                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                                                    Citarella? Dean & Deluca? please share...

                                                                    1. re: boredough

                                                                      farmer at the greenmarket @ Union Square. But you'll have to call their farm office upstate to ask for them in advance. I've never gotten hearts, but I order duck livers fairly regularly.

                                                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                                                        Do you mean Hudson Valley Duck Farm? If so, I think they're also at the Tucker Square Market (in my neighborhood, the UWS) - so it's good to know. Merci!

                                                                        1. re: boredough

                                                                          No, although you probably could get them from them. I meant Quattro Farms. They're at Union Square on Wednesday and Saturday.

                                                                  2. re: boredough

                                                                    If I can make it to one of those markets this week between rehearsals, I will be sure to let you know where I find them. Anyone know where to find white asparagus there?? I'm a bit obsessed right now.

                                                                    1. re: j.jessica.lee

                                                                      Union Square market is much bigger than Tucker Square, so you'll have many more options at the latter. I'm pretty sure that Quattro Farms is not at TS either. (Thanks ChefJune for the name.)

                                                            2. DAY SEVENTEEN

                                                              Another round of pastries from DG&DP. Pain au chocolat, croissant, chausson aux pommes. Still can't be swayed from my pain au chocolat, though today's was a little less exemplary than other days. Maybe it had to do with the humidity.

                                                              Lunch was at LE RUBIS again, where we sat behind D. Lebovitz. K had the pate de campagne and I had a simple tomato salad, which was exactly what I wanted and needed. I like this place very much. Great prices, simple and rustic good food. There was a very tempting looking stuffed cabbage and also sausages on lentils, but at this point, my tummy needs more breaks than it did earlier on in the trip. Plus, we had four PIERRE HERME macarons we picked up on the way. All were good, but the olive oil with pieces of green olive was exemplary. I still slightly prefer Laduree for macarons, but am holding off as we have them in New York. We picked up two pastries from PAIN DE SUCRE while we were at the Place des Vosges for later, post-dinner. We got the millefeuille again (so good for a pre-assembled one, how do they do it?) and the Baobab baba au rhum, which was lovely, but I think baba au rhum just isn't my thing. Lesson learned. Dinner was at LE PETIT JOSSELIN. We got the ham, cheese, and onion as well as the ham, cheese, egg, and mushroom. Both were good, very rich, super filling. I couldn't finish mine here, whereas I had no problem at West Country Girl, and almost finished mine at Pot O Lait. I think my favorite is Pot O Lait, with Josselin a fairly close second. Josselin has got a very nice, bustling, warm, convivial atmosphere, though, so if that's very important to you, keep it in mind.

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: j.jessica.lee

                                                                My last croissant in March from Des Gateaux was also not an excellent specimen, and I attributed it to the weather as well. I'm interested in your analysis of crepes -- I'm a big fan of West Country Girl for a few reasons -- I do like the lightness of the buckwheat (my only comparison is Breizh, which is "heavier") but I especially love the atmosphere and the service. I do wish, however, that WCG would use better quality products, especially ice cream (although their salad is nice and fresh with a tasty dressing and the degree of runny-ness of the egg in a "complet" is perfect). (As an aside, I think the products at Breizh are quite good, but I'm not a fan of the scene).

                                                                1. re: Nancy S.

                                                                  Hi Nancy S! Will do a comparison based on my experiences when I return in a few days. Thanks for the brioche feuillettee recommendation for which K is eternally grateful. :)

                                                                  1. re: Nancy S.

                                                                    So I think my favorite galette batter/dough is at Le Pot O Lait. As I described in my last post, I like that it is crispy, yet full of buckwheat flavor. There is a bit of chew/bite to it, yet crispy, sufficiently buttery (but not overly so, as at Le Petit Josselin, or not quite buttery enough, as at WCG). I found the batter/dough at WCG to be a little too light, but maybe it was only that day. I did love the atmosphere there and also at Le Petit Josselin. Regrettably, Le Pot O Lait is lacking in that department. The fillings at LPJ are pretty sad - canned mushrooms in the galette, blech! But still a fun time, and tasty nonetheless. Breizh, IMO, was pretty good, but I found everything a little bland. Plus, I was not personally a fan of the vibe/scene there. I think, however, that many others may like it. This is all very subjective! After five crepe/galette meals on this trip, though, I did come to the conclusion that the simple galettes are the best medium through which to taste the dough. All of these places have good to excellent batter, so it's a great way to experience it, much like one can more fully appreciate a great pizza dough and oven with a simpler and more sparing application of toppings. Regardless, I would be in heaven to have ANY of these places in my neighborhood at home!

                                                                    1. re: j.jessica.lee

                                                                      Jessica: Have you any idea how easy they are to make at home.

                                                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                                                        Yes, I do, and have made crepes/galettes many times. It's just that I want to learn how to make them as wonderfully as they do at Le Pot O Lait! :)

                                                                2. DAY EIGHTEEN

                                                                  As DG&DP is closed on Tuesdays, we went up to LA PATISSERIE DES REVES for breakfast. As we had lunch scheduled at Ledoyen, we kept it "light" with a brioche feuilletee and a pain au chocolat. We also bought a St Honore and Gran Cru Chocolat "for later". I'd had the Paris Brest before, so we decided to go with the St Honore. The brioche was indeed lovely, and I'd imagine it would be absolutely stunning if slightly warmed up in an oven. The pain au chocolat was okay, but I certainly wouldn't get it again, given the other lovely things I could get there. I think the chocolate also had a touch of hazelnut flavor in it as well. The St Honore was very good, we loved it. The caramel shell on the cream puff orbs was a tad too thick, but otherwise, was a great pastry. The gran cru was delicious, but not as good as I'd remembered it. My last pastry run tomorrow will certainly be DG&DP. :)

                                                                  Lunch at LEDOYEN. As wonderful as I remembered it. We both got the three course menu. Before the meal, we began with their usual hors d'oeuvres of the ginger and orange sphere, foie gras with red berries and meringue, fried capers, and a curry chip with herb paste. The squid ink crackers and prawn crackers also. As an amuse bouche, we received fresh baby radishes in an herb cream - delightful, so fresh, a perfect harbinger of springtime. Our entrees were green and white asparagus in an egg yolk and vinegar sauce dotted with salmon caviar; lobster in a gelee made with its own shell with various gels and creams. Both were excellent. I loved those asparagus... Our plats were the same - we both got the supreme de volaille. It was crusted with the most amazing brioche topping and served with yuzu infused poached turnips, which were the most perfectly cooked turnips I've ever had, yuzu both very discernible, but never overpowering, it was the most exquisite balance of flavors. They were all served in a chicken/turnip/yuzu sauce along with a thin cracker with "sa rotie" on top. The chicken was, of course, Bresse. For dessert, we got one of each - the fleur de sel caramel mousse with lemon sorbet on top, as well as creme brûlée with basil cream and strawberry cream and fresh strawberries. Both were incredible expressions of flavor as well as wonderful harmonies of them. That is where I think they excel. Not only do they bring out and extract the essence of flavors, but they marry them so well together that they become something exponential as a dish. There were pre-desserts, a dazzling cheese cart that included a perfectly ripe Valencay and the 42 month aged Bernard Antony Comte, and of course the chocolates, caramels, and the drool-inducing kouign amann. We had a lovely bottle of 1999 1er cru Santenay and were extremely pleased the whole time. I know people complain of "stuffiness" here, and I will admit that compared to Le Cinq, it certainly is. But our server was absolutely lovely and I did not find it at all a detraction from our meal. I personally loved the old and somewhat dated feel of the dining room and thought it evoked something of the past in a good way.

                                                                  We made do with some lovely sheep's milk yogurt from the Basque region as well as fromage frais from Beillevaire for dinner.

                                                                  One more pastry run, one more lunch! Oh how sad!!

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: j.jessica.lee

                                                                    The brioche is indeed fabulous when slightly warmed! I should have mentioned that my favorite pastry from PdesR is the tart tatin, also spectacular when warmed (and a bit of glace vanille on the side).

                                                                    1. re: Nancy S.

                                                                      Aw darn, next time! Thanks, Nancy S!

                                                                    2. re: j.jessica.lee

                                                                      I cannot believe you have a concert on Sunday. How on earth have you managed to practice between all these meals? Your LeDoyen lunch sounds incredible. It's on my to-do list...

                                                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                                                        Believe me, it was HARD. I had to make myself do it in the mornings after my run BEFORE I went out, or else it was too difficult to find time. All of a sudden the day would be gone!

                                                                        Hope you make it to Ledoyen next time - it was divine.

                                                                      2. re: j.jessica.lee

                                                                        I'm sad, too! I've been really enjoying your reports. I always feel adjective-challenged when I write about food/restaurant meals, but you sure don't have that problem!

                                                                        Hope your last day was a great one, and safe travels.

                                                                        1. re: VaPaula

                                                                          Thanks so much, VaPaula! If you are in NYC, I hope you enjoyed the absolutely gorgeous day today.

                                                                          1. DAY NINETEEN (last day...)

                                                                            We began with our favorite, DG&DP. Last orders of what we wanted to say a last goodbye to - pain au chocolat for me, of course; TWO plain croissants for K, a mini kouglof, and a financier, just to try. Picture perfect today. It pains me to wonder when I'll have ones as good. Stateside, I think it will be in August when I'm in Seattle and making a stop in at Besalu. Those were some great croissants.

                                                                            After packing up, checking out, and locking our luggage up at the front desk, we took a leisurely stroll on the Blvd St. Germain, got a few LADUREE macarons for K to try (pistache, fleur d'oranger, caramel beurre sale - just as fantastic as I remembered, slightly fresher than the ones in New York, obviously), and then walked on towards our lunch at LE POT O LAIT. However, the stars aligned, and as I was passing Odeon, we both simultaneously spotted UN DIMANCHE A PARIS! So we stopped in and bought two little tea cakes (pistachio cherry and chocolate caramel) and a dark chocolate eclair. It was also made of a choux pastry of the croustillant variety with cacao nibs baked in as well. The chocolate cream inside was dark and velvety, yet light, and there was a thin strip of chocolate resting on top. This was definitely the best eclair of the trip for us, narrowly beating out the one from Pain de Sucre. Now that I'm back in NYC, I might have to go get my caramel eclair from La Maison du Chocolat for old times sake and see if it is still my absolute favorite. The tea cakes were largely un-memorable. We had them this morning back at home (they said that they keep for seven days), and while they were fine, nothing made me want to have any more of them.

                                                                            We had our final lunch at LE POT O LAIT. A bowl of demi-sec cidre for K and a muscadet for me. We ordered the salade vegetarienne to start, as I thought that having a few vegetables in us might do us some good for the plane ride. It was a fine salad, nothing special, but it did the trick. K got the galette du jour that he'd had the last time - mushrooms, caramelized onions, cheese, and fresh tomatoes - he loved it. I got the galette mixte that had ham and cheese. I think I prefer my galettes super simple. It's the best way to taste the fabulous batter, especially when they do it so well as they do here. The butter was salted to the right level, so the galette itself was perfectly seasoned, very crisp, yet with a tender crumb that allowed you to taste the buckwheat. It was perfect. I am adding buckwheat galettes to my ever-growing list of things I must learn how to make.

                                                                            We walked back to our hotel through the Jardin du Luxembourg, and it was lovely to see and explore it for the first time when NOT running! We then stopped back at CHRISTIAN CONSTANT and got two cones of ice cream. I got, as ever, the cacao sorbet with whiskey raisins, and K got the caramel ice cream. Oh holy divinity, both of them are amazing. We were gushing the whole time, and I was in semi-panic mode, wondering how I'd deal with possibly never having this again. K couldn't decide which he liked better, and it was a very close call for me, but we agreed that for someone going there for the first time, you must get the cacao sorbet, because there is really nothing else like it. Also in the case that day was wild strawberry, which was calling out to us like crazy, but as it was our last day, we wanted to go with what we knew we would love. If you're in Paris right now, GO GO GO and get that cacao sorbet!

                                                                            We finally made it back to the hotel, got in a cab, and went to the airport, vowing to eat nothing but vegetables for a week. Ha. I did, however, go in search of white asparagus today (which they were sold out of at Dean and Deluca), and also in search of that divine, tall pyramid of white-rinded goat cheese from our lunch at Ledoyen, which our server told us is Valencay, but upon researching it, I found that Valencay is an ash-rinded cheese. No dice.

                                                                            What a wonderful, beautiful trip it was. Thank you to all you Chowhounders for your valuable advice, support, and information. I hope that this report will be helpful to future France/Paris visitors in the same way that all the threads from previous years helped us.

                                                                            Counting down to the next trip!

                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                            1. re: j.jessica.lee

                                                                              I think I found the cheese I was looking for - Pouligny St. Pierre. Anyone know where I can find it in New York? PLEASE??

                                                                              1. re: j.jessica.lee

                                                                                I don't know, but just want to let you know I enjoyed your reports thoroughly, including every "and" and "but", if I may paraphrase Mary McCarthy.
                                                                                I can't thank you enough for reporting back and sharing your experience so generously. I wish all visitors who use this board would do that.

                                                                                1. re: Parigi

                                                                                  Thanks, Parigi. I'm glad to be able to return some part of the favor that I received from all the France Chowhounders, particularly you and a few other regulars on the board.

                                                                                2. re: j.jessica.lee

                                                                                  Check out the Artisanal Cheese Center. If Max McCalman doesn't have it, I'm betting he'll know someone who does. Alternatively, the Whole Foods in Tribeca has an astounding cheese section with very hip mongers. I know I've seen it there. (at least once.)

                                                                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                    Alright! Thanks for the info. Drooling already.

                                                                              2. Thank you for a wonderful report! I love living vicariously through others' trips to France. Less calories than the real deal but not as satisfying though I am not sure I didn't put on some weight from your descriptions. Thanks again.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                                  My pleasure. Glad to know you enjoyed the reports. Don't even talk about weight gain - it was hard to maintain some semblance of acceptability with all the deliciousness surrounding us at every turn. :)

                                                                                2. In several years of reading the trip reports on Chowhound yours has to be the very best! Our annual autumn Paris visit will be greatly enhanced (also next year's trip to Burgundy). Your descriptions are beautifully written and I only wish this whole report could be published in a little booklet to be taken to Paris by every Chowhound foodie!

                                                                                  My husband and I have been visiting Paris nearly every year since 1968 and I have learnt more from your report than (I am whispering this ...) all the wellknown Paris blogs!!

                                                                                  I haven't had time yet to read every entry but I know I am going to have to print it all out myself but how on earth many pages and print cartridges will it take!!

                                                                                  I wish you and your husband the happiest of lives together. What fun it must have been to be at the next table to you in any of these restaurants - albeit that on your honeymoon maybe talking to your neighbours would be the last thing you wanted!!

                                                                                  Please keep telling us all about your future trips and dare I hope you might start a blog (maybe you already have one).

                                                                                  Thank you so much!!

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: angelica052

                                                                                    Angelica052: ...and you should hear her play the violin! (even better than she writes about food. ;)