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 Our Favorite Places and Things
(France)

We have assembled some useful links to a variety of places we like to visit as well as restaurants and hotels we have enjoyed.  None of these links is a paid sponsorship -- just our favorites.  This page is dedicated to France, but click here for other European Countries.

If you would like a copy of our Paris Guide, click here.

If you would like to read Meril Markley's travel columns in the
Quarterly Newsletter of the Greater Houston Chapter of the
Wine Society of Texas, click here.
 

Eating and Drinking in Paris and Beyond (for more, see our Paris Guide)

L'Escargot Montorgueil (Paris) (no website)
escargot-montorgueil@hotmail.fr

Since 1832, this remarkable eatery has been serving up traditional French dishes on the Right Bank.  Specializing in snails, don't miss other staples such as ris de veau. Friendly staff, evocative décor, reasonable prices for food and wine.

Les Caprices de Charlotte (Paris)
www.lescapricesdecharlotte.net

With fabulous almond croissants for breakfast and delectable pastries anytime, we're here at least twice a day when we stay at the Hotel Folkestone Opera, just up the street. Jean-Pierre and his colleagues are a delight but don't ask for Charlotte!  

La Ferme Saint-Simon (Paris)
www.fermestsimon.com

For more than 30 years, an elegant destination for great food and wine on the Left Bank.

Brasserie Le Vaudeville (Paris)
vaudevilleparis.com

This restaurant dates back to when brasseries or beer-oriented restaurants were opened by proprietors fleeing Alsace in the wake of the Franco-Prussian War.  In an elegant atmosphere, traditional dishes such as veal liver are cooked to perfection.  To see our article about it, click here.

Chez Papa (Paris)
www.chez-papa.com

Fabulous duck dishes from the heart of Southwestern France make this casual eatery, down the street from our usual hotel, a top destination on every visit to Paris. 

Bistro des Halles (Paris)
(no website)
 

This tiny eatery dates back to when Les Halles was the central food market for Paris and the freshest meats were served at nearby bistros like this one.  To see our article about it, click here.

La Durée (Paris)
www.laduree.fr

Don't know where to get something light on a Sunday when most restaurants are closed? Try these two famous destinations for tea in the 8th District.

Mariage Frères (Paris)
www.mariagefreres.com

Le Jules Verne (Paris)
www.tour-eiffel.fr

Our first taste of veal liver and a dessert featuring wild strawberries, this restaurant in the Eiffel Tower is worth every Euro.

Boulangerie Eric Kayser (multiple locations)
www.maison-kayser.com

We love the specialty pastries from Eric Kayser as well as sandwiches, croissants, etc. at numerous locations around Paris.

Paul (Paris, London, etc.)
www.paul.fr

Ubiquitous in Paris, don't miss the Paul at CDG Terminal 2E on arrival after a trans-Atlantic flight.  A great way to start the first morning of a memorable visit to Paris, Paul never disappoints while upholding the traditional standards of an artisan bakery.

Le Pain Quotidien (Paris, London, etc.)
www.lepainquotidien.com/

This chain of pastry and sandwich shops turns out consistently great pastries and light meal items.  It's also at St. Pancras Station in London where you can sample a taste of Paris while waiting to board the Eurostar (or wishing you were).

Le Roi du Pot-au-Feu (Paris) (no website)

So renowned and busy that it doesn't need a website, this restaurant is home cooking in the heart of Paris' right Bank near the grand department stores (to see our article about it, click here)

Le Délice Impérial (Fontainebleau)
 (no website)

This eatery epitomizes the terrific meals to be had in small towns offering pastry, coffee, snacks, and main dishes -- one of the best duck confits we have ever eaten.

La Chaum' Yerres (Chaume-en-Brie)
www.chaumyerre.fr

Chef Berton's jewel in the countryside, memorialized on The Flavors of France. For photos and details of our most recent visit, click here.

Restaurant Au Vieux Porche (Eguisheim)
http://www.auvieuxporche.fr

Nestled in a small town among the vineyards of Alsace, this restaurant is a destination in itself for an elegant take on traditional Alsatian fare.  For photos and details of our most recent visit, click here.

La Maison des Taneurs (Strasbourg)
www.maison-des-tanneurs.com

Dating back to the 16th century, this eatery along the canal in Strasbourg serves traditional fare and is a great destination for lovers of venison, veal kidneys and spaetzle.  It even has a Houston connection as a favorite of the 2nd man-on-the-moon, Buzz Aldrin.  For photos and details of our most recent visit, click here.

Patisserie Winter (Strasbourg)
www.patisserie-winter.fr

Following an exhaustive, albeit unscientific survey, this wonderful pastry shop and restaurant/tea salon had the best plum tarte in Strasbourg.  The owner, Georges, is dedicated to preserving the traditions of the master pastry chef as the 3rd generation of his family to carry on this business.  For photos and details of our most recent visit, click here.

Le Coté Jardin
cote-jardin-restaurant.com/

A tiny restaurant on a busy street away from the tourist center of Gien but superb food and worth the trip, but book ahead as tables are few.

Meril Markley's Articles on France for the Quarterly Newsletter of the Wine Society of Texas (Greater Houston Chapter)

Homage to a Big Cheese in Brie

Out for the Count in Languedoc

Getting an Ear-Full in Van Gogh's Town

Quaffing the King's Tipple in a Paris Comfort Zone

Uncorking Vintage France, One (Extended) Family at a Time

Glühwein and other Germanic Treats in the Land of Noël

A Christmas Carnival of the Animals in the City of Light

Paris at a Snail's Pace

Our Favorite Hotels in Paris

Hôtel Folkestone Opera
www.hotelfolkestoneopera.com

Just a few steps from the Place de la Madeleine, the Opéra, and the Grand Department Stores as well as numerous Métro and train stations, the location is unbeatable as are the helpful staff, the quiet location, and the price.

Hôtel de Crillon
www.crillon.com

For the big splurge, nothing could compare to this elegant former palace on the place de la Concorde.

Hôtel Alison www.hotelalison.com

Our first hotel in Paris, a terrific value on a quiet street in the 8th District.

Museums (including those with great Furniture collections) and other Resources

Musée du Louvre
www.louvre.fr

Go for the paintings but don't miss the furniture.  Avoid the outdoor lines and enter below ground through the Carrousel du Louvre from rue de Rivoli

Musée National du Moyen-Age (Cluny)
www.musee-moyenage.fr

Go for the furniture but don't miss the Lady with the Unicorn tapestries and other woven delights.

Musée National de la Renaissance (Ecouen) www.musee-renaissance.fr

A short drive from Paris, this museum in a beautiful chateau has an outstanding collection of furniture and decorat.

Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Palais du Louvre) www.ucad.fr

Right next door to the Louvre on rue de Rivoli for furniture from prehistoric to modern times.  Don't miss the magnificent crescent moon mirror, framed by fantastic animals, by Gabriel Viardot

Château de Fontainebleau
musee-chateau-fontainebleau.fr
 

While recent focus has been on Napoleon and his association with this royal hunting lodge transformed into a palatial residence and now a museum, Fontainebleau was the cradle of Renaissance design owing to King François I bringing Rosso Fiorentino from Italy.

Palais Rohan (Strasbourg)
www.strasbourg.info

A great collection of imposing Alsatian armoires and other furniture.

Mapping Gothic France
mappinggothic.org 

A project co-initiated by Andrew Tallon, Assistant Professor of Art at Vassar College, the website provides "new ways to understand the relationship of hundreds of buildings conventionally described as Gothic."

Building the Great Cathedrals
www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/building-gothic-cathedrals.html 

Documentary about the engineering behind the construction of Gothic Cathedrals, featuring Andrew Tallon.

 Shopping 

 Museum Shops (see Museums, above)

Some of the best places in France to find unique gifts as well as copies of masterpieces are the shops at museums.  The Louvre has several shops -- for books, for reproductions.

Eric Bompard (all things cashmere)
www.eric-bompard.com
 

We love these glorious boutiques sprinkled around Paris as well as a shop on the menswear floor at Printemps where Michael spotted an electric violet scarf that is Meril's favorite.

Hermès
24, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris
www.hermes.com

The windows at the flag-ship store (corner of Faubourg Saint-Honoré and Boissy D'Anglas) are works of art in themselves, but venture inside to see all the luxuries and the museum.  For selecting that perfect scarf, head instead to the shop in the Hilton Hotel where you can choose at your leisure.

Annick Goutal
14, rue de Castiglione, 75001 Paris
www.annickgoutal.com

Our only stay at the Crillon involved a bathroom stocked with products from Annick Goutal's Eau d'Hadrien line of fragrances.  In order to recapture that experience back home we bought some items at the tiny boutique on the rue de Castiglione.  Can't make it there?  Contact Thomas Crutchfield at Bergdorf Goodman in New York.

La Vallée Village
www.lavalleevillage.com

Outlet shopping is a relatively new phenomenon in France and this outlet mall near Paris is a great destination.  You can get there on the RER and walk through a "regular" two-level shopping mall before getting to the outlet mall.