Paris, France

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Don’t believe what they tell you about the French. Rude and cold – non! In my five visits to Paris, I’ve found the contrary. Like people who saw our bewildered faces staring at a map, and asked if we needed help; or those who kindly offered to take photos, so that I could actually be
in a few rather than always the person behind the camera. Regardless of what you think of the people, Paris is a magnificent city – so much history, art, sugar, bread, and fashion. But be warned it is expensive, and after such great affordable food in Florence, Milan, and Greece there was certainly a bit of price shock. And the coffee was on balance sub standard (and overpriced) – stick to hot chocolate!

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There is endless sightseeing to do in Paris – the Eiffel Tower of course, the Louvre, the Orsay, Montmarte, Versaille, Notre Dame, Champs Elysee, the list goes on and on. The Metro is an easy and quick way to get around the city if you are pushed for time and don’t have the luxury of walking, which is the best way to do Paris.

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Of course, everywhere you go in Paris you will find patisseries – and all so pretty.

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If you don’t want to go traipsing around the city, many of the “big name” ones – Angelina, Pierre Hermes, Sadaharu Aoki, Lauderee, and others – you will find in the department stores Lafayette and Printemps.

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In regards to presentation, I thought Sadaharu Aoki was outstanding – everything was picture perfect. But it doesn’t have to be a “big name” to be good – I bought a fabulous Paris Brest from some random patisserie on Rue Monge. And Eric Kayser’s simple almond croissant is to die for.

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Special mentions also go to Sadaharu’s choux pastry, and to Jacque Genin’s millefeuille – talk about flaky pastry.

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If you want to do a picnic lunch, there are endless specialty food stores. But do check out the foodhalls at the department stores – Le Bon Marche’s Grande Epicerie – and Lafayette’s Lafeyette Gourmand – they have almost everything you could think of for the perfect picnic. They make our Sydney David Jones Foodhall look like a hole in the wall.

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Other notable mentions – we enjoyed Market by Jean Georges (Avenue Matignon), an upmarket, buzzing, modern French bistro with a hint of Asian

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Cafe Sud (Rue de Castellane) had some good food going on (sorry my savoury photos went AWOL) – the cured salmon was just lovely, as was the salted caramel ice cream that came with dessert.

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Claus (Rue Jean Jacques Rosseau) is a delightful breakfast spot near the Louvre which we also enjoyed. Do book as it only seats twenty or so.

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If you don’t actually want to see any of the major tourist attractions and stand in queues, you’ll have an equally lovely time in Paris just walking the streets, getting lost, and taking it all in.

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