Cafe Marly at the Louvre in Paris

Cafe Marly at the Louvre in Paris
Relax with a glass of wine at Cafe Marly overlooking the pyramid entrance to the Louvre.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Shakespeare and Company bookstore

This famous bookstore is named after the publishing house that first released James Joyce’s Ulysses. Hemingway and Fitzgerald were patrons. It’s a favorite hangout for expatriates from English-speaking countries. George Whitman, who died this week, ran the Paris bookstore for decades. His daughter will continue to operate the store. It's just across the river from Notre-Dame, so next time you're in Paris, stop in and soak up some history.

Info: 5th/Métro St-Michel. 37 rue de la Bûcherie. Tel. 01/ Open daily noon to midnight.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Paris shop windows!

Paris has some great displays in shop windows. Here's a shop selling mannequins and another selling interesting purses!

Paris Wine Tastings (in English)

What would a trip to Paris be without wine? Try one of these wine tastings (in English). A great experience!

Monday through Saturday at Ô Chateau: You can try either the Paris Pass Tasting (30€) or the Grand Crus Tasting (120€). 68 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the 1st arrondissement.

Every Thursday at Spring Boutique: wine tasting (six wines with cheese and charcuterie) for 60€. 4pm to 5:30pm at 52 rue de l’Arbre Sec in the 1st arrondissement.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Passages of Paris

In the 1800s, there were 137 glass-roofed shopping arcades (passages) in Paris. Only 24 remain. The oldest, dating back to 1800, is Passage des Panoramas, 11 blvd. Montmartre (known for its stamps). Nearby are Passage Verdeau, 4-6 rue de la Grange Batelière, and Passage Jouffroy, 12 blvd. Montmartre. Info: 2nd/Métro Grands Boulevards 

Passages are luminous and practical. The glass roofs not only admit light, but shelter shoppers from rain. 

My favorite passage is in the Passage du Grand Cerf in the 2nd near rue Montorgueil (pictured here). For more information, check out

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Paris Restaurants: Fall 2011 (La Grille)

Here's the first installment of our annual fall Paris restaurant update. If you look closely, you'll see an Eating & Drinking in Paris sticker in the window of a Paris restaurant in the photo below.

It's interesting to go off the beaten path to look for a new dining experience. The name of La Grille comes from the 200-year-old wrought-iron grills in front of the restaurant. For years, this small and intimate restaurant (in the 10th arrondissement) was run by M. and Mme. Cullérre. Under their ownership, the restaurant became known for the turbot prepared with an emulsified white-butter sauce. The new owners have kept this delicious dish and you'll find an excellent boeuf bourguignon à la ancienne (braised beef in a red-wine sauce) on the menu (pictured above). For starters, try the frisé aux lardons (curly endive salad with diced bacons).  Main courses will run you from 17 to 66 euro (the turbot prepared for two). Under the former owners, you were surrounded by a rather eccentric collection of lace and dolls. The dolls are gone, and the staff will assist you in ordering even if you don't speak French. Definitely worth the trip. Special thanks to our Parisian friend Patrick for taking us to this hidden gem.

La Grille
10th arrondissement
80 rue du Faubourg Poissonnière.
Tel. 01/
Métro  Poissonnière
Closed Sun.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Paris: A Day of Free Museums and Sights

Two of the best free museums in Paris are located near each other. You can easily visit both of them in a day. Note that all the museums on this day plan are closed on Monday.

Many of the museums in Paris are free (and crowded) the first Sunday of the month, including the Louvre and the Picasso Museum.

Take the métro to the St-Paul stop. This stop is where rue de Rivoli ends and rue St-Antoine begins. All along these streets are typical cafés where you can have coffee or breakfast before you begin visiting the museums. If you’re looking to save money, standing at the counter in a café (or bar) is cheaper than sitting down.

Now let’s head to our first free museum: The Musée Carnavalet-Histoire de Paris (pictured above). In the 1700s, the Hôtel Carnavalet was presided over by Madame de Sévigné who chronicled French society in hundreds of letters written to her daughter. I went kicking and screaming into this museum as it sounded so very boring. I was wrong. You’ll find antiques, portraits, and artifacts dating back to the late 1700s. The section on the French Revolution with its guillotines is especially interesting, as is the royal bedroom. There are exhibits across the courtyard at the Hôtel le Peletier de St-Fargeau. Truly an interesting museum of the history of Paris. Info: 3rd/Métro St-Paul. 23 rue de Sévigné. Tel. 01/ Open Tue-Sun 10am-6pm. Closed Mon. Admission: Permanent collection is free. €7 for exhibits.

Just a street away is another free museum. The Musée Cognacq-Jay, located in the Hôtel Donon, an elegant mansion, houses the 18th-century art and furniture owned by Ernest Cognacq, the founder of La Samaritaine department store. Cognacq once bragged that he was not a lover of art and that he had never visited the Louvre. Perhaps it was his wife, Louise Jay, who had the sense to compile such an amazing art collection, including works by Rembrandt, Fragonard and Boucher. Info: 3rd/Métro St-Paul. 8 rue Elzévir. Tel. 01/ Open Tue-Sun 10am-6pm. Closed Mon. Admission: Free.

If you’re up to another free museum, head to métro Monceau.

On the edge of beautiful Parc Monceau (photo above) is the Musée Cernuschi. Cernuschi was a banker from Milan who bequeathed his lovely home and incredible collection of Asian art to the city. A must for Asian-art aficionados. There’s also a collection of Persian bronze objects. Explanatory map and notes are in English. Info: 8th/Métro Monceau. 7 avenue Vélasquez. Tel. 01/ Open 10am-6pm. Closed Mon. Admission: Free.

End your day by heading to the Seine River. Walk along the river, taking in the elegantly lit Notre-Dame and the stunning beauty of this amazing city. And, the view is free!

For more information, maps and photos in Open Road's Best of Paris by Andy Herbach available at

Friday, September 9, 2011

France's new food festival.

France'e new Fête de la Gastronomie is a new one-day celebration of food. More than 47,000 restaurants have joined the celebration. Events include free soup at greenmarkets throughout the country, a culinary treasure hunt in Paris, and an outdoor banquet in Avignon.

Check out the website (in English) at for a list of events.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Paris Cooking School

I'm frequently asked for a recommendation for Paris cooking classes. Here's my favorite:

Former New York chef & caterer Richard Nahem, and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, conduct the Eye Prefer Paris cooking classes. Classes start at 9am by shopping at a fresh food market. Then, you head to Charlotte’s private townhouse located in the 7th arrondissement, near the Eiffel Tower. After students arrive, they discuss the menu with Charlotte over coffee and then prepare a five-course feast for the next few hours. The meal is then shared, accompanied by French wine from a local wine shop. Classes end at approximately 2pm. Info: €185. Tue, Wed, Thu, and Fri. Minimum of 2 students, maximum of 6.  

Monday, June 6, 2011

Favorite restaurants in Italy's Cinque Terre.

The Cinque Terre are five beautiful towns, which until recently were accessible only by train or a series of hiking paths. Perched on dramatic cliffs above the sea, you will experience car-free serenity and an Italy of old. Here are some of my favorite restaurants in the Cinque Terre. For more on dining in Italy (including the most comprehensive Italian menu translator available), check out Eating & Drinking in Italy: Italian Menu Translator and Restaurant Guide

De Mananan
117 Via Fieschi, Corniglia
Tel. 0187/821166
Closed Tue.
Hearty fare served in the cellar of a home in the smallest Cinque Terre town. Many dishes feature pesto. Try the pansoti (triangular-shaped filled pasta).
Moderate - Expensive

Marina Piccola
120 Via Birolli, Manarola
Tel. 0187/920103
Closed Tue.
Dine on delicious cozze (mussels) or zuppe di pesce (fish stew) at this waterside restaurant.

104 Via Fegina, Monterosso al Mare
Tel. 0187/817608
Closed Tue. from Sep. to July, and all of Nov. and Dec.
Ligurian seafood, baked in a wood-burning stove, served in this charming Cinque Terre town. Enjoy delicious antipasti while you take in the sea view.
Moderate – Expensive

La Laterna
46 Via San Giacomo, Riomaggiore
Tel. 0187/920589
Closed Nov. to Jan.
Dine on fresh fish and innovative Ligurian cuisine at this trattoria above the harbor. Have a glass of limoncino.
Moderate - Expensive

Gambero Rosso
7 Piazza Marconi, Vernazza
Tel. 0187/812265
Closed Mon., Jan. and Feb.
Ligurian specialties at this harborside restaurant (it’s been open for over 100 years). The creamy pesto is fantastic.
Moderate – Expensive

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The largest wine bar in Paris.

Ô Chateau is known for its fun and interesting wine tastings. It has now opened the largest wine bar in Paris. Located near the Louvre (see details below), Ô Chateau's new digs have over 3000 square feet of space with three tasting rooms and a wine bar (said to be the largest in Paris). The wine bar is open Mon. to Sat. 3pm to midnight (until 2am on Fri. and Sat.). Highly recommended.
Info: 1st/Métro Louvre-Rivoli (line 1) or Etienne Marcel (line 4). 68 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau (a six minute walk from the Louvre and a two minute walk from rue Montorgueuil). Tel: 33 (0)1 44 73 97 80.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lunch in Pisa, Italy

Torre Pendente

The bar
No matter how many times I see the Leaning Tower (Torre Pendente), I am never disappointed. After taking in the Tower and nearby sights, take a short walk to the beautiful Piazza dei Cavalieri. On a street just off of the Piazza is a real find for lunch. La Sosta dei Cavalieri is an intimate and friendly restaurant.  Try the delicious tagliolini al sugo di piccione (thin noodles with a pigeon sauce) or the cannelloni alla erbe di campo e pinoli (cannelloni with wild herbs and pine nuts). There's a decent selection of wines from the region. The house chianti is a good choice.

The restaurant
tagliolini al sugo di piccione
Also near the Leaning Tower is another choice for lunch: Da Bruno. For details on Da Bruno, check out Eating & Drinking in Italy: Italian Menu Translator and Restaurant Guide.