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One month in Paris - a few questions

May I just weigh in on Chez Jenny? As I know from experience (2 times, not sure why the second happened), bringing a group of loud American tourist friends equals being sent to a Siberia that is very clear to everyone.

Jun 18, 2013
johnmarseille in France

Marseille for lunch

On the site you'll find some threads on the topic, but if tomorrow means Monday, you're going to need some good luck!

Jun 16, 2013
johnmarseille in France

A place to meet my boss and his wife for drinks near le Maurice

A hot tip 5 min walk away : le Baudelaire bar at Le Burgundy (rue Duphot), great bartender, style galore

Jun 14, 2013
johnmarseille in France

Cassis, or nearby, before the Luberon -- recommendations, please?

A wonderful restaurant a bit south of Cassis, in La Ciotat but on the little coast route towards St Cyr : Roche Belle. No sea view but tucked back in a verdant little nook,, olive trees, great outdoor space, excellent cuisine, quality ingredients.

Jun 11, 2013
johnmarseille in France

Where as my 3rd France home base?

I'm prejudiced about such matters, but I couldn't suggest a better place than Marseille--great access to the rest of Provence, wonderful choice of restaurants, and . . . Marseille 2013: European Capital of Culture!

May 28, 2013
johnmarseille in France

nouvelle food in Southwest France

I'd highly recommend Le Vieux Castillon, near Nîmes and le Pont-du-Gard--a lovely medieval village, charming hotel, and what a table. I note that it no longer has its Michelin star, which is very surprising for we ate there last year and found it wonderfully delicate and memorable.

Apr 12, 2013
johnmarseille in France

Languedoc, Luberon, Provence and Girona and Calella

I'm sure that on this site and elsewhere you can find good hotel recommendations. My two might be 1) on the high end, the Palm Beach, great sea views and super bar, not in the city center but easily accessed by the 83 bus which runs all the time. 2) the New Hotel Bompard, a mini-chain with, I think, three in Marseille, all nice but the Bompard is interesting because it's in a cool "bo-bo" residential neighborhood, Bompard in the 7th (one of Marseille's 111 named neighborhoods), calm, nice pool and garden, five minute walk to the Corniche Kennedy (and the Petit Nice restaurant), four stars but not too expensive, and linked easily by the 61 bus to the city center. As far as restaurants are concerned, I think there is some good stuff already on the site, but you might also look at the NYTimes "36 hours in Marseille," which I could have written myself. But just for the record (maybe again): la Cantinetta (book, impossible otherwise), le Café des Epices (book), le Rowing Club (chez Gilbert), chez Vincent (simple, timeless), le Ventre de l'Architecte, la Villa, le Peron, l'Epuisette, le Yen, les Arcenaulx, almost anything in les Goudes (village in Marseille but way to the south on the coast road). Only places really to avoid absolutely are the crummy tourist joints on the south side of the Old Port--with the exception of the Café OM (very decent brasserie food), avoid anything on the Old Port within 100 meters of the McDonalds (yes, MdDo's). Good luck and enjoy your trip!

Mar 25, 2013
johnmarseille in France

Languedoc, Luberon, Provence and Girona and Calella

It's a pleasure to see you're wo open-minded about Marseille. Yes, public transportation is fine, with a very elaborate bus system complemented by tramway and metro. Check out the RTM site for the buses. Where is your hotel, by the way?

Mar 24, 2013
johnmarseille in France

Languedoc, Luberon, Provence and Girona and Calella

Excuse me but with all due respect I can't let cutting and ill-informed remarks like this pass. Though certain openings (like the MUCEM) are set to fall into place later in the year, Marseille is absolutely bubbling with wonderful things to do throughout 2013. Agreed, it's not a Certified Tourist Spot like some people only feel comfortable in; it is rather an authentic, vibrant city with a wonderful food culture. I am writing this after lunch at Arnaud de Gramont's Café des Epices. How he manages to surprise meal after meal stuns me. We were three for three delicious courses and a nice bottle of rose for a little over €100. The main course of pagre (a Med. white fleshed fish) on a layered bed of avocado purée et a crunchy kind of quinoa particularly stood out. In any case the sunny afternoon in the quiet space behind the town hall surrounded by dozens of olive trees in enormous, attractive pots didn't hurt either. Not trying to pick a fight but, seriously, if you can find your time is better spent elsewhere, then I'd like to know where elsewhere is.

Mar 22, 2013
johnmarseille in France

Sunday afternoon drinks

For something simple and unpretentious, with a nice mix of tourists and locals, try Le Danton right at the Odéon. It's more or less across the street from Les Editeurs. In my 30 years of frequenting the place, I've never seen the staff impolite to patrons or anything less than professional.

Jan 03, 2013
johnmarseille in France

La Dame de Pic

The individual who started this thread, I finally went to La Dame de Pic last week with my wife and three other couples, all French or long-time French residents and all (he wrote modestly) sophisticated palates. When I compare our experience to what's generally described here, I wonder if we went to the same restaurant. Yes, it's well-lit, modern, lovely, with an open kitchen, and yes there are those somewhat strange butters to start you off, but the whole is not at all pretentious and, if anything, underpriced for the sheer quality of the cooking.
Perhaps I say underpriced because we did get the lowest priced dinner menu (79 euros, I think), but what a bargain. And, as someone mentions, the wine is very reasonably marked up.
The menu in question is essentially two consecutive starters, a meat course, and dessert. The daring choices for the two starters were two not exactly thrilling winter vegetables, varied beet roots and various sorts of cabbage. But what lovely colors and subtlety for the "Betteraves café Blue Mountain." If anything the "Chou pluriel" with its notes of vanilla was even more delicately nuanced. Both courses extreme in their discretion but the overall effect is very powerful. The main course is Bigorre pork with fig leaves and green tea: melt in the mouth delicious. Not wild about Baba au rhum, I appreciated the dessert less than others in our group, but most found it excellent.
Service attentive but not oppressive. Light, modern vibe, no stuffiness. Not a temple of gastronomy, just a lively, even fun restaurant that seemed to work equally well for a romantic couple's tête-à-tête or for our noisier group table. With five bottles of St Peray (which worked out to a bit more than one per couple), coffee, and bottled water, we paid 130€ per person.
I have been to Pic in Valence and found that at least two of the dishes (the two starters) at Anne-Sophie's new place rival those of Valence. My recommendation is the opposite of some of the others responding to this thread: I say go, and sooner rather than later, for when the stars start to fall--and they will--the prices will rise.

Nov 26, 2012
johnmarseille in France

La Dame de Pic

Irony, John, irony . . . .What you posted was great.

Nov 11, 2012
johnmarseille in France

La Dame de Pic

Thanks so much, John--though I was asking for details and not just sweeping generalities!

Nov 11, 2012
johnmarseille in France

La Dame de Pic

I'd be interested to know if anyone has been to Anne-Sophie Pic's new restaurant in Paris. If so, any sense of how it compares with Valence? All details appreciated. Thanks a lot

Nov 10, 2012
johnmarseille in France

Bistrot du Peintre?

Really nice place at which I've eaten a dozen times. I particularly like their os à moelle--very generous with the bone cut length-wise. Also 10-12 min. walk from the Gare de Lyon for those seeking a good restaurant in that area.

Sep 11, 2012
johnmarseille in France

Le Restaurant at L'Hotel - thoughts?

We went last February and took the fixed menu with wine. Fine, but not up to one star standards. Our table was all (fluent) French speaking Anglophones, but it was one of those situations--perhaps recognizable to certain on this board--where the waiter simply insisted on forcing his bad English on us. As for the wine served with the dishes, they were very strict about one glass per course, even charging extra for yours truly when I asked for a bit more Bordeaux.
You're probably not looking for recommendations about other fixed price menus with wine, but let me suggest all the same a much more enriching culinary (and aesthetic) experience, the Chiberta (a farm team of Guy Savoy, one star, I think), which at least the last time we went had a fabulous menu with wine that is excellently chosen and very generously served, and all in beautiful dining rooms furnished with stunning paintings by Gérard Traquandi, arguably France's greatest living painter.

Sep 04, 2012
johnmarseille in France

Anything around the Camargue - Saintes Maries de la Mer?

Just a note about the Beauduc shack restaurants:you're right to suspect that they no longer exist. Three or four years ago they were razed because of their violation of the strict French coastline construction laws. But they were great--an inevitable, wonderful plate of tellines in aioli, whatever fish came in that day, and rosé. Tough to beat but now, regrettably, the past.

Mar 28, 2012
johnmarseille in France

Kigawa in the 14th

Thanks for your help!

Jan 24, 2012
johnmarseille in France

Kigawa in the 14th

A friend of mine recommends a restaurant in the 14th called Kigawa (Japanese chef, French cuisine). I've looked at a couple of sites and the results seem positive. so far.

I'd love to have a few more opinions. Thanks.

Jan 22, 2012
johnmarseille in France

Best way to store my delicious cheese for another 5 days? [moved from France]

Many years ago, stressing the living quality of French cheeses, a cheesemaker friend told me not to separately wrap cheeses in plastic but to place them together--soft, hard, the whole nine yards--unwrapped in a tupperware container in the fridge--not touching but snuggled in there together. it's worked fine for me.

Nov 17, 2011
johnmarseille in Cheese

Aix-en-Provence - where should I eat?

Bruno Ungaro at the Amphytrion is an excellent chef. A good choice all around.

Oct 01, 2011
johnmarseille in France

Eating in the Minervois?

Relais Chantovent in Minerve is very good--refined cuisine, relatively inexpensive, good local wines, warm welcome, lovely view. Enjoy!

Oct 01, 2011
johnmarseille in France

Alternatives to L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon

Can we return to your original question? It's probably naive and unsophisticated of me, but have you thought of the Chiberta? I know it's the Guy Savoy minor leagues, but it's so modern, lively, and wonderful, and the Traquandi's on the wall (France's greatest living painter, excusez de peu) are also wonderful.

Aug 29, 2011
johnmarseille in France

Au Petit Sud Ouset ou Robert et Louise?

Chipndale, let me just chip in with this: I agree, skip APSO

Aug 26, 2011
johnmarseille in France

Provence restaurant recommendations_Arles and Cassis

Just back from a quick weekend in Arles, where we loved le Cilantro. Very deserving of its one Michelin star. If the weather permits, eat outdoors. As someone else advises, avoid la Place du Forum, but, we've had good luck for casual lunches at many little back street places. Aside from a couple of obvious spots, Arles is a town with tourists that manages somehow to be un-"touristy." Don't miss the photo shows, if you're there before mid-September. The best deal is to get a one-day pass for 27 euros; if you're going to visit the shows for more than one day (very tempting and possible), get the 35 euro pass. Enjoy your trip!

Aug 22, 2011
johnmarseille in France

Restaurant recommendation for Carcassonne and Avignon?

Hi Parigi, well, maybe not New Provence, but the first words in the Lonely Planet guide to Languedoc-Roussillon are "The next Provence is the buzz . . . ." And, really, that's how the place feels, something like pre-Peter Mayle Provence.

Aug 06, 2011
johnmarseille in France

Restaurant recommendation for Carcassonne and Avignon?

Addedum re. le Relais Chantovent. The Bru family which runs the restaurant and hotel has a number of small children. There is even a room across the narrow village street from the restaurant where I frequently saw kids playing, coloring, hanging out. In other words, not at all anti-children. Enjoy!

Aug 06, 2011
johnmarseille in France

Restaurant recommendation for Carcassonne and Avignon?

Just back from the area. Don't miss le Relais Chantovent in Minerve, a ridiculously picturesque Cathar village. The food in the restaurant is beautifully prepared yet rather inexpensive; the local wines are both incredibly cheap and incredibly good. Great address. They also have simple, clean rooms to rent. A lovely place run by a wonderful family.

We also heard good things about the restaurant in Lastours, but were eating so well in Minerve that we never made it.

This part of Languedoc is fantastic, but do get out of Carcassone fast--way too Disneyland. As soon as you do, you'll find a delicious region to visit: sunny, "winey," and steeped in history (les Cathars, the Canal du Midi, etc.) The New Provence label is very deserved. By that one means, of course, the Old Provence.

Aug 06, 2011
johnmarseille in France

Great food, a little space, atmosphere, etc. in Paris for under 125 E pp

Guy Savoy's one star Chiberta--great!

Jul 17, 2011
johnmarseille in France

Paris restaurant suggestions in 5th or 6th?

You're so right! Marché St Germain

Jun 24, 2011
johnmarseille in France