sunnuntai 18. joulukuuta 2011

Destination Paris

We had been talking about a trip to Paris for at least a year. But it seemed Paris is quite hard to reach from Helsinki. Either the flight times were unbeareable with at least one stop or the direct flights were just ridiculously expensive. This fall we decided to try out our luck again. And we got lucky! We found a great deal from Ebookers. Direct flights with Finnair and a three star hotel in a good location for 360 €.

We decided to go in December because we had few extra holidays in the beginning of the month. So we chose a morning flight on Saturday morning. We arrived in Paris at 11.30 am. First we headed to the ticket office to buy a train ticket to Paris and we bought the subway tickets at the same time. The cheapest option for us was to take 10 rides to the subway. Return ticket by train to Paris was about 20 € and ten tickets to the subway was around 15 €.

Some buskers at the subway station

It took us a while to get to the hotel. The subway in Paris is quite complicated and there are lot's of long tunnels you have to walk if you change trains. When you are heading back to the airport you should allow at least an hour to transfer. We took the subway to station called Nation which was actually quite a scary station. Not the nicest places we have visited...

Our hotel was called  Best Western Le Patio Saint Antoine. Our room was small but we have seen smaller ;-) The room was tidy and had everything that we needed. We were very satisfied with the room. We had a little kitchen and a freezer which was nice. The hotel had a cute little courtyard which probably is really nice during the summer time.

For Saturday we didn't have much plans. Just to get to know the neighborhood and to have dinner in Chez Paul which is a traditonal French restaurant located near our hotel.

Chez Paul

We had booked a table well in advance, a few weeks earlier. Reservations are essential on weekends because the restaurant is very popular among Parisians. We arrived there at eight o'clock, which is a very typical time in France to enjoy dinner. The restaurant was very cozy and homey. We didn't notice any other foreign customers there.

We had been eyeing the English menu online beforehand. To our surprise there wasn't any English menu available. Fortunately, our waiter spoke very good English, and indeed made the effort to translate the menu for us in English - and the menu was quite long!!! The menu at Chez Paul was very French. Appetizers included for example snails, foie gras in many different ways and different formats, onion soup, various salads, ox tail, bone marrow, etc.

Pauliina chose onion soup and Mirka snails for appetizers. The onion soup was wonderfully full-bodied and rich, cheese was not spared. Snails were disappointing.

Onion soup


For main courses we chose kidneys and steak tartar. Most of the mains were meat (like calf brains) so this restaurant is not the right choice for vegetarians. Tartar steak and kidneys were both absolutely fantastic.

Tartar steak


After gigantic first and main courses we were really full but could not resist the desserts. Mirka chose Crème Brûlée and Pauliina Ile Flottant. Crème brûlée was fantastic but Pauliina's dessert did not get quite as much praise. We also found a brilliant white wine: Sauvignon de Bergerac. The cost for the whole dinner (including drinks: red wine, white wine, dessert wine, beer) was less than 50 € per person.

After dinner we went to the Oberkampf street to have some drinks. There are lot's of bars and restaurants in that area. We had drinks in this small bar called Les Pirates and some other places.

Some bar on Oberrkampf

On Sunday morning we had planned to have brunch at Cafe Charlot. We had read praises from this cafe and escpecially from the brunch so we decided to test it. But the place was seriously over priced and the brunch was really disappointing. The brunch included small piece of white bread, a bowl of cream cheese, marinated tomatoes, a bowl of fresh fruit, brioche and a bowl of egg porridge(?) with lax. The brioche was amazing and fruits, tomatoes and cheese tasted good. The brunch also included coffee and a small class of juice. The price for the brunch was 19 € . We also took a extra cup of coffee which costed 5 €.

Brunch at Cafe Charlot

From the cafe we walked to Pompidou, the huge modern art museum, where we spent the next three hours and saw about 1/3 of the collection. This is something you definately should not miss when you visit in Paris! The entry is free every first sunday of the month!

After sightseeing around Champ Elysee, Triumphal Arch and Eiffel tower we had dinner at Cafe Constant. There was really nice Christmas market on Champ Elysee. We both some jewels and some Glühwein to keep us warm. By the way, Eiffel was really impressive at dark when it is lit. Cafe Constant doesn't take reservation so we went there at seven o'clock when the restaurant opens. The restaurant is owned by famous Chef Christian Constant. Cafe Constant is situated just 10 minutes walk away from Eiffel tower.

The dinner was just perfect. Food was fresh and delicious. We ordered artichoke salad, pumpkin soup, fish with sweet potate mash and  for dessert dark chocolate dish. The dessert was really something!

The best pumpkin soup ever!

Amazing dessert

They had also menu in english and was priced clearly: Appetizers cost 11 €, mains 16 € and desserts 7 €. With the meal we enjoy once again red and white wine.  From French wines our favourite area is Rhone. Wines from this region are soft but not too light. We can warmly recommend this restaurant!

After dinner we met some friends from Paris in this really cozy little bar in Bastille area called Bubar.   

On Monday we skipped the breakfast and had early lunch at restaurant Benoit which has one Michelin star.

The restaurant was really fancy. There were lot of staff working at the restaurant. There wasn't any Menu in English, but the waiter translated the lunch options for us. Lunch cost 34and included an appetizer, main dish, and dessert. Since it was only 12 o'clock, we drank water with the food.

To start with, we got a couple of wonderful cheese puff. Superb. For starters we chose endives and walnut soup. The dishes were skillfully prepared, but neither of the doses did really fully hit our palate.

Cheese puff

For mains we took fish and meat. We weren't told what kind of fish or meat it was. But it was good and that's all that counts.  Mirka's main course was brought to the table in a pot, which the waiter placed on the plate. The meat just melted in your mouth. Heavenly!

Beef and carrots at Benoit

For dessert we chose a three cake assortment. The lemon meringue cake was absolutely fabulous ;-) The food in Benoit was good and satisfying. Benoit is a very valuable and sophisticated restaurant. But the value for money was good, 34 € was a reasonable price for this quality!

Tarte au citron

After lunch we decided to do some shopping. We bought some champagne, red wine, nice jewels and some gifts.


Couldn't resist ;-)

Iphone handset

After that we decided to visit Sainte-Chapelle (cover charge 8 €) and Notre Dame (was free for some reason) which both are situated on Ile de la Cité.  

The rose window of Sainte Chapelle

Notre Dame

In the evening we went to have dinner at La Ferrandaise. We had booked the table in advance. This modern bistro is located in Saint-Germain-de-Prés. We were dining with our friends from Paris and the following photos are taken by a very talented photographer Èole. You can find more of his work from: and

We took a taxi to the restaurant which was a great choice! The subway in Paris is quite exhausting. We started our dinner by enjoying some champagne. First we got a little amuse bouche which was a really nice gesture. Three course dinner costs 34 € at La Ferrandaise. The menu was fairly extensive. Pauliina chose a Pumpkin soup. Mirka's appetizer was quite weird and we really don't know what it was. Pumpkin soup was perfect but Mirkas dish didn't taste very good. 

For mains we selected fish with couscous and rabbit stew. Both main courses were really good. Fish was skillfully prepared, crispy and tasty. Mirka's rabbit stew was served in a pot. The meat was tender and melted in your mouth. Excellent. For dessert we chose some cheese and chocolate cake.

Dinner cost about 55 € per person including champagne and one bottle of wine. The service was friendly, efficient and effective.  The atmosphere at La Ferrandaise was relaxed and the place was cozy. All in all food was good even though we didn't like all of the dishes. A nice experience anyway.

There are so many things to see in Paris. Definitely something for everyone. In 3 and a half days we got to see only a little part of Paris. If you are planning a trip there you should stay there at least 3 days!

Ei kommentteja:

Lähetä kommentti