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Best local restaurants in Paris and lots more information

Even in Paris, a capital city famed for its gastronomy, it takes a little planning in order to have the most amazing culinary experiences. Here are some hints on how to avoid the tourist traps, navigate the ‘dining rules’,  and eat like a local in some of my favourite and best local restaurants. When to eat: Eating well in France often means sticking to meal times. Some of the best local restaurants are the smaller, family-run restaurants open from 12.00 – 14.30 for lunch and then everyone will pop home during the afternoon only to re-open earliest 19.00 closing again anytime from 22.00. Cafés and larger restaurants tend stay open from lunch time to late. If you want to eat your evening meal before 20.30 you can but you will be eating with other tourists. What to eat: Everywhere in France you will see traditional dishes on the menus. The French love their staples!  When they are cooked well it is then I remember why I live in Paris. Below are some of my favourites so if you don’t get the chance to eat these at home then track them down, except the last one! Escargots – snails cooked in garlic […]

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Second Empire styled ball at the Musée d’Orsay – interested ?

The Musée d’Orsay is organising a series of balls to celebrate their exhibition the “Spectacular Second Empire”. Some of the balls are masked! You can spend the day learning the Polka (if you can count to 3 you can dance this) or the Quadrille from the members of the Association Carnet des Bals. Take part in the ball in the afternoon just as Emperor Napoleon III and his wife Eugenie would have, all within the spectacular surroundings of the Musée d’Orsay. You are encouraged to come in costume :  “Clothing advice : for the ladies preferably a dress or long flowing skirt to remind you of the Second Empire theme. You could also add accessories such as a fan, handkerchief, low chignon decorated with flowers, ribbons or pearls. White gloves for the men.”  Who doesn’t love dressing up ? If you are you in Paris for the Bal de Carnaval à l’Opéra on Sunday 13th November from 11am to 5pm, tickets are €27.50. I love the period of the Second Empire. What the heck is that I hear you say!  Well it is the 18 years that radically changed Paris, from 1852 – 1870. For me this period denotes all […]

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The Magritte exhibition and my poor, poor feet

I was really looking forward to the Magritte exhibition ‘La Trahison des Images‘ at the Centre Pompidou. 5 differently themed rooms (flames, shadows, curtains, words and the body in pieces) bulging with paintings from this amazing Surrealist painter who was deeply interested in Philosophy. The art bit is at the bottom 😉 A friend bought tickets and asked me what time I would like to go as they were valid for the whole day.  The whole day being anywhere between 11am and 9pm or 11pm on Mondays and Thursdays.  I was rather happy about this because in a lot of exhibitions you are given a slot, rarely more than 30 minutes, and immediately I become terrified of not being on time ….. We agreed on 3pm.  You will understand how this was a supremely bad idea further on….  So the great day arrives and I plan to be out of the house by 2.30pm. The Centre Pompidou is not far, plenty of buses would have dropped me off practically outside and this was last week, so it was a bright, clear, sunny day to be above ground.  I had even considered walking and would have arrived on time but the […]

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Not to be missed – On Achève Bien Les Anges ( We Shoot Angels )

“Horses are wonderful partners with whom one can create poetry.” Bartabas On achève bien les Anges (we shoot Angels) is a spectacular theatrical event, perfect for the run-up to Christmas but don’t miss it as it closes on 31st December.    I have tickets for the end of November and I am so excited I want to keep crossing and uncrossing my fingers and toes and am having trouble even thinking about writing this! This type of show has been named Equestrian Theatre, for those who love horses and don’t speak French it is perfect because there are no spoken words and there are several songs by Tom Waits. It is a unique mixture of man, horse, music, dance, humour and of course, angels, unique to Bartabas, the creator.  It is absolutely not a circus. “The marquee, caravans, music & horses give it the appearance of a circus but this show is a ritual, the music a vocation and the love of horses a religion. It is the work of a group who are artists through to the tips of their fingers or their hooves.” Oh I can’t wait, I can’t wait.   Here is the YouTube teaser video – click the […]

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The fastest way to know all about Paris – a guided tour ?

There are hundreds of ways of finding out all about Paris, mainly on a guided tour, some free and some not so free.  You can take a guided tour whilst walking, running, riding a bike, motorbike or a segway, taking a bus, a tuk tuk, a boat or whilst sitting down in a comfy seat watching a theatre performance to name but a few. But how do you choose ? Well if you only have an hour or three, here are my Top Choices : I love walking so I will put that first : A great, and FREE choice is  www.discoverwalks.com  Take one of 5 trips round the Marais, Montmartre, ‘Parisian Landmarks’ The Left Bank (the South side) or the Islands with a young, bilingual Frenchman or woman, vividly – dressed in pink waistcoats or shirts so you can’t lose them.  These are not history lessons, they are full of facts, very funny anecdotes and stories about current events.  Great fun. If you are a lot more energetic you could sign up as from 5th October for the FREE running tours on Wednesday mornings at 10am.  Your guide is Luke, an Australian, and you can meet him at the pointy end of Ile […]

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Gene Kelly at the Paris Opera

Did you know Gene Kelly created a ballet for the Paris Opéra ?  Did you know he spoke excellent French ? Nope, neither did I until I booked to go on one of the several morning or afternoon English-speaking guided tour groups around the Palais Garnier for my Mother and I (highly recommended).  Apart from the 2 hour long tour of the building including the real explanation of where the Phantom of the Opera story came from (and yes there is a lake but no you cannot go there) we walked through the free, Special exhibition of “American Choreographers at the Paris Opera”. In that exhibition more than 70 years of American involvement at the Paris ballet is chronologically arranged – starting in 1947 with George Balanchine who created the New York City Ballet. Until 1970 the only other person to create a ballet was Gene Kelly in 1960 and in the exhibition is a video of him giving an interview in excellent French describing his ballet “Pas de Dieux”, a play on words meaning No Gods to the ballet term “Pas de Deux” meaning 2 people dancing together. This is the drawing of the costumes drawn by Gene Kelly and below is my bad […]

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5th of 6000 so here is an August thank you offer

Yeh, I made it to number 5 this week!!    Being ranked 5th on Trip Advisor means being 5th of all +/- 6000 listings in the Vacation Rental section of Trip Advisor Paris.   Just type ‘Paris’ and then list by Traveller Reviews. No other filters needed :-). I’m so happy I wanted to thank the people who made that happen, my gorgeous guests and all those who have at one time wanted to stay with me. When I started I had no clue how important Trip Advisor was and even less clue how their algorithms worked.  My first review was a 5 out of 5 so I jumped into the Top 500 ish.    I remember I posted on Facebook just how happy I was to be ranked in the Top 100. I was over the moon when I got into the Top 50 because that was technically page 1 of Trip Advisor !   That seems ages ago but as I only started in 2012 it can’t be ! Now the B&B has 126 reviews (of which only 9 are 4* peppered with ‘wonderful’ and ‘we will return’ statements).   The apartment is lagging behind in 9th position with only 107 […]

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