Sunday, February 5

PARIS REVIEW: Our Moveable Feast in The City Of Lights--Bookmark these restaurants for a fantastic meal!

Channeling A Moveable Feast:
our favorite, high-style Parisian haunts, 
and a hotel review to boot!

while sharing a glass of champagne at La Closerie des Lilas. we found ourselves sitting in "Hemingway's spot" with a plaque to commemorate it!
we popped in for a refreshment at the Prince de Galles Hotel
Before we embarked upon our trip to Paris, my son, (Miles) and I both read Hemingway's novel, the Moveable Feast in order to plunk us into the mood of the cafe and salon lifestyle of days gone by.  This was Hemingway's memoir offering insights into the years he spent living in Paris as a writer during the roaring 1920s.  He walks us through his apprenticeship in Paris telling of his trials and tribulations along the way.  It certainly got us prepared for the City of Lights to read about the poets, writers and artists all from Hemingway's perspective, and showing how they converged in the cafes of Paris. The energy is palpable in the book at a time when Paris became the epicenter of flourishing art, influencing society for generations.  It is obvious the "lost generation" certainly left their mark on us all! 

breakfast at Hemingway's haunt, Cafe Flore, where we met up with friend and writer, Saxon Henry, who afterwards guided us on a walking tour.

Miles and  Saxon tracing Hemingway's steps through Paris

I learned that Hemingway was a correspondent to the Toronto Star when we traveled to Europe in 1921.  He rubbed elbows with great authors, artists and writers of the time--Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound and F. Scott Fitzgerald, many of whom he counted as his friends.  He also wrote about the local Parisians, giving an in-depth look at the culture.  The book was published posthumously by his wife in 1964, and four years after his death.  In 2009, Hemingway's grandson published a revised version, which offers additional text and more illustrations. Reading about the cafe life and struggles living in Paris offered "food for thought" on the meaningful life of the artist, a journey that seems to beg questions and meaning from generation to generation.   Since my own teen son is a burgeoning writer and on the brink of embarking upon his college years, this trip gave us plenty to contemplate.  In the end, it was a wonderful mother-son experience that we will both relish for years to come.  Although Hemingway was pinching pennies during his time in Paris, we decided to splurge a little for this trip.  I love that we could use this book as a road map of sorts to guide us throughout Paris and through Hemingway's perspective.  Here are some favorite spots-- places we stopped in for a meal, drink and to spend time with friends.  
While this story is food-related, please stay tuned for Miles' editorial about Hemingway on Saxon Henry's blog. In the meantime, check out his story on 
Bruce Andrew's furniture site and blog, 
The Desk of a President.  I hope you'll bookmark these restaurants for a future special occasion in Paris!

1. a Fine Dinner at L'Orangerie at the Four Seasons
The hotel has recently been refurbished and its shiny and new parts combine well with the historic nature of the hotel, a lovely medley of old and new.  The service was simply the finest we had in Paris, with the staff attending to our every need.  The food was delicious with unexpected flavors.  Miles ordered the Roe deer, and the desserts were unusual and favorable pairing of flavors.  

Food is art at the Four Seasons, Paris 
2. a dinner party at Chez George, 1 Rue du Mail
We were a large group and this "hot spot" accommodated us, and they were friendly to boot.  We sat in the front room by the bar where there was lots of activity (and people watching). Our good-natured waiter seemed to enjoy our raucous, American laughter.  The resident black lab was meandering about.  All of this made for quite a celebratory evening.  We even procured a photograph with Miles' favorite filmmaker, Wes Anderson who just happened to be right next to us (how serendipitous).  These are stories that make for great memories, and the escargot was the finest we have ever had!
set on the lantern-lit rue du mail for Deco-off
Miles with filmmaker, Wes Anderson
3. Lunch at Le Relais de L'Entrecote
with locations in New York and Paris, this classic French 
Steak Frites hot spot is a perfect meeting to share a meal.  We met up with two favorite public relations friends, Joanne Gibbs and Karen Peterson of KJ Public Relations who introduced us to this special place.  There is only one choice on the menu, steak and frites.  They ask you a single question, "who do you like your steak cooked", and it comes with a spicy peppercorn sauce.  The restaurant is busy and noisy (in a good way), and the wait staff dons classic French service outfits, as they charge around the dining room carrying large silver trays overflowing with frites.  
It is delightful!

4. cocktails at the Hemingway bar at the Ritz 
The famous Ritz in Paris is extravagant, overlooking the swanky Place Vendôme at number 15. The hotel is ranked among the most luxurious hotels in the world.  We enjoyed an delightful set of snacks and cocktails, and my fancy Margarita was laden with sea salt and garnished with a fresh pink rose.  We cozied up in the corner perched overlooking the regal bar area, and chatted it up with the famous bartender and concierge who both shared stories and laughs about Hemingway's time spent at the bar. The entire place is a homage to the man, chock-filled with his memorabilia! There is a lot of history at the Ritz, and, remember, 
Coco Chanel lived here too!  
5. Lunch at Alaine Ducasse's Jules Verne 
top of the Eiffel Tower. 

Even though it is certainly a tourist attraction, we were not deterred because it was a once in a lifetime experience.  From the moment we were whisked into the all-glass elevator and taken up over 225 flights, we were in awe.  The food was exquisite, and the service was good (I write good, not excellent because they did all the right things, but were not as personable as some of the other fine places we frequented while in Paris). It was very expensive meal, and it broke our budget, but, we'd do it again in a heart beat!   We left completely and utterly satiated by our delicious meal and the overwhelming views of Paris.  We were pleased with the entire magical experience! 
6.  We stay at the Hotel Des Grands Hommes--Last but certainly not least is our favorite, boutique hotel located in the lovely Left Bank.  We've stayed here before, and we keep coming back because of the friendly concierge, the designer wallpaper-ensconced walls, the comfortable and stylish beds, and of course, the views of the Pantheon, which is all lit up in the evening.  It's located on a quiet street and easy access to all Hemingway's haunts.  Ask for room #10 with that fantastic view, and during the holidays the trees are lit outside! 
  Happy Nesting,
Happy Travels!
XO Tamara