Font size: A A A A
  
Home > Miscellaneous
Font size: A A A A
Blogs
 

February 25, 2015

Cultural Events in Paris for Spring 2015

Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (www.eyepreferparistours.com), and also writes a popular insider's blog at www.eyepreferparis.com.

Spring 2015 is shaping up to be a prolific and busy cultural season in Paris. Below is a hand-picked list of some of the top events. 

Singin’ in the Rain

The Theatre du Chatelet in past seasons has presented full-scale productions of classic Broadway and movie musicals, such as Into the Woods, An American in Paris, West Side Story, A Little Night Music and The King and I. This spring one of the most beloved American movie musicals comes to the stage, Singin’ in the Rain, originally starring Gene Kelly. Robert Carsen, who staged My Fair Lady in 2013 at Theatre du Chatelet, heads the artistic team with choreography by Stephen Mear, set design by Tim Hatley, costumes by Anthony Powell with the Orchestre de Chambre Paris conducted by Gareth Valentine

March 12-March 16, 2015 
Theatre du Chatelet
Place du Chatelet, 75004 
http://chatelet-theatre.com/en/event/singin-in-the-rain

David Bowie Is…

The dazzling new classical concert hall, Philharmonie de Paris, designed by Jean Nouvel, opened in January. The venue's premiere exhibit, David Bowie is…, is a multimedia  journey following his remarkable career from the 60s to present day. Much of the show was taken from Bowie’s personal archives with previously unreleased documents and recordings, photographs, videos, costumes, set components, handwritten pages, drawings and instruments which meticulously documents the meteoric rise of the pop culture legend and innovator. 

March 3 to May 31, 2015 
Philharmonie de Paris  
221 Avenue Jean Jaurès, 75019
http://p0.philharmoniedeparis.fr/en/a-flagship-exhibition-david-bowie-is

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier - From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

The ultimate bad boy of fashion, Jean Paul Gaultier, has become one of the most influential and avant-garde fashion designers of his generation. A traveling exhibition, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier-From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, has already seduced fans from Brooklyn to Stockholm to Dallas and finally arrives in Gaultier’s hometown. Encompassing five decades of his prolific output of haute couture and ready to wear collections, the exhibit features sketches, archives, stage costumes, and film and video footage from his fashion shows and dance performances. 

April 1 to August 3, 2015
Grand Palais 
3 avenue du Général Eisenhower ,75008
http://www.grandpalais.fr/en/event/jean-paul-gaultier

American Icons: Masterworks from the San Francisco MoMA and Fisher Collection

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) proudly presents American Icons: Masterworks from the San Francisco MoMA and Fisher Collection. Doris and Donald Fisher, founders of the The Gap, have amassed one of the largest collections of post-modern American art. They have partnered with SFMOMA to show 64 of their most important works in Paris. Highlights include pieces from renowned artists Chuck Close, Dan Flavin, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Agnes Martin and Andy Warhol

April 8 to June 22, 2015 
3 avenue du Général Eisenhower, 75008
http://www.grandpalais.fr/en/event/american-icons

Dolce Vita? Italian Decorative Art 1900–1940, from the Liberty to Industrial Design

Italian decorative arts from the early twentieth century is the focus a new exhibit Dolce Vita? Italian Decorative Art 1900–1940, from the Liberty to Industrial Design at the Musée d’Orsay. The iconic modern Italian style was developed by cabinetmakers, ceramicists and glassmakers who started the Liberty style in the early 1900s with designs by Carlo Bugatti, Eugenio Quarti and Federico Tesio. The second part of the show is devoted to Futurism, where artist and designers interpreted the fast rise of technology and innovation of the rapid changing time. 

April 14 to September 13
Musée d’Orsay
1 rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 75007
http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/home.html

Posted in: France

January 28, 2015

An Inside Look at Fouquet’s Barriere Hotel

Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (www.eyepreferparistours.com), and also writes a popular insider's blog at www.eyepreferparis.com.

Last month I had a special invitation to take a tour and have lunch at Hotel Fouquet’s Barriere on the Champs Elysees. Celine Lavail-Georgin, the director of marketing and communications, was gracious enough to give me a tour explaining in full detail about the history of the original café and the opening of the hotel, in addition to the latest events. 

Louis Foquet opened Fouquet’s Café in 1899, and it first welcomed coach drivers on their way to the Longchamp racetrack. In 1905, when Alberto Santos-Dumont landed his small plane on the Champs Elysees, he celebrated his big accomplishment at the café, and it became a meeting place for French aviators. While I was waiting in the lobby for Celine, I noticed a long wall with photos of movie stars, celebrities, and directors, and she told me Fouquet’s has long been associated with the movie industry. In the 1920s and 30s, the first movie theaters with talking films in Paris were opened on the Champs Elysees, and the café was a watering hole for people in film, including Marlene Dietrich and Jean GabinIn the late 1950s and early 1960s, the cafe was the headquarters of the Nouvelle Vague film movement with actors and directors, such as Francois Truffaut, Jean Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, Alain Delon and Jeanne Moreau frequently visiting. 

In the early 1990s, many of the Champs Elysees retail storefronts were empty because of the soft real estate market, and some were put up for sale. Fouquet’s Café was about to be sold to a large corporation and replaced with an office tower. Diane Barriere, whose family owned a chain of hotels and casinos in France (none in Paris), had fond childhood memories of visiting the café for lunch with her father and was distraught at the idea it would be demolished. Dianne made saving the café her personal pet project, and the family bought it in 1998. The family had always wanted a location in Paris, so Dianne fulfilled the family vision by proposing a hotel to be built next to the cafe. Five buildings were purchased surrounding the café, but unfortunately Diane Barriere passed away before her dream was realized. Her husband Dominique Desseigne continued with the fulfillment of Diane’s vision, and the hotel opened in 2006. In 2009 it attained the special status of five-stars and is the only privately held five-star hotel owned by a French family.

The café continues its historical association with the film industry by annually hosting the glamorous Cesar Awards, the French equivalent of the Oscars. Filled with memories of movie stars and luminaries visiting the hotel, we sat for lunch on the glass-enclosed terrace. In the main dining room were gold plaques inscribed with the names of various celebrities, such as Orson Welles and Edith Piaf, who had their own table reserved for them.  

Celine pointed out the signature dishes on the menu by head chef Jean-Yves Leuranger, and I indulged with a starter of lobster filled ravioli, followed by a lobster Thermidor and finished with a rich, classic mille-feuille with delicate pastry cream. Celine shared with me about the success of the old-fashioned ice cream truck that was set up last summer in front of the café. 

Hotel Fouquets Barriere has 81 rooms and 33 suites decorated by celebrated interior designer Jacques Garcia, with the smallest room measuring a very generous 400 square feet. The hotel is the only one in Paris to offer personal butler service in every room category. 

There are five restaurants: Fouquet’s, Fouquet’s Café, La Petite Maison de Nicole, Galerie Joy and Le Diane, which has been awarded one Michelin star. The property's three bars include Le Lucien, L’Escadrille and Le Bar Marta. The Shiseido spa on the lower level has an almost Olympic sized pool with a whirlpool and eight treatment rooms for massages and facials. 
 
Fouquet’s Barriere Hotel
46 Ave. George V, 75008
http://www.lucienbarriere.com/en/luxury-hotel/Paris-Hotel-Fouquets-Barriere/home.html

December 16, 2014

What to See in Paris This Christmas

Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (www.eyepreferparistours.com), and also writes a popular insider's blog at www.eyepreferparis.com.

Paris is all aglow for the Christmas holidays as the department stores have done up their windows to delight kids from 8 to 80, the expansive boulevards are decorated in festive lights, and the Hotel de Ville has installed their annual skating rink. Here are some of our selected holiday events. 

Galeries Lafayette is all about monsters this season -- not the scary kind, but the cuddly ones. Gustave, the main monster, is a furry hot pink creature. His female companion, Gaga, has big eyelashes and feminine white gloves.

A boy journeys from London to Paris with his teddy bear as Printemps devotes its windows to Burberry. This year for the first time Printemps' windows are interactive. Visitors can connect to Printemps' Wi-Fi to interact with individual scenes and can access additional content from their browsers. They can also control the weather as the boy crosses the Channel and can activate a storm – with accompanying sound – or sail a fleet of boats.

Colorful reindeer take over the windows at Le Bon Marche, helping Santa answer his stack of letters. Children who included their email in their letter to Santa will receive a special animated video in their mailbox. 

Printemps
64 Blvd. Haussmann, 75009 

Galeries Lafayette
40 Blvd. Haussmann, 75009 

Le Bon Marche 
24 Rue de Sèvres, 75007

Snow White/Blanche Neige was an instant showstopper when it premiered six years ago and is now at Versailles. It has a limited run just for the holiday season with music composed by Gustav Mahler and costumes by Jean Paul Gaultier. The show is directed by Angelin Preljocaj.

Chateau de Versailles 
December 17- 21 (Dec. 18 sold out) 
http://www.chateauversailles-spectacles.fr/en/spectacles/2014/preljocaj-snow-white

Everyone’s favorite holiday ballet, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, gets a glorious production originally choreographed and staged by Rudolf Nureyev

Bastille Opera
https://www.operadeparis.fr/en/saison-2014-2015/ballet/casse-noisette-rudolf-noureev

Enjoy the Christmas festivities at the magnificent Vaux le Comte, a 17th century palace themed on Versailles. Christmas carols, tables of holiday delicacies, sparkling lights and surprise gifts for children under the tree are all part of the fun. 

December 6-, 13-14, and every day from December 20 to January 4, except Christmas & New Years Day
 http://www.vaux-le-vicomte.com/en/vaux-le-vicomte-celebrate-christmas/ 

Our favorite Christmas markets are the Christmas Village on the Champs Elysees, with over 200 chalets selling holiday gifts and crafts, mulled hot wine, toys, jewelry, food and Christmas ornaments, and the Village du Père Noël, a more intimate market in front of the ancient St. Germain Church.

November 21, 2014

Bustronome: A New Way to See Paris

Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (www.eyepreferparistours.com), and also writes a popular insider's blog www.eyepreferparis.com.

Tourists in Paris have a plethora of ways of seeing the sites of the city, including bicycles, tricycles and Velibs, buses, cars -- including driving your own Maserati sports car or sitting in the uncomfortable back seat of a Citroen CV -- Segways, rickshaws and mini-trains. In this crowded field comes a new refreshing way to see the Paris in a luxury bus like no other before. 

bustronomeBustronome is a custom-built bus that serves multi-course gourmet lunches and dinners while touring the highlights of Paris. 

We were a little curious about how a tour like this worked so we chose the night tour, which started at 7:45 pm on Ave. Kleber right off the Place Etoile/Charles DeGaulle. Standing almost three stories high the big, shiny bus awaited us. We were escorted to the second floor, where tables were set with fine china. In the center of each table was a Lucite structure to hold the glassware, so we were relieved that we wouldn’t have red wine spilling on our laps. We were immediately offered a glass of Champagne and relaxed before the bus took off, taking in the 360-degree view of the Arc de Triomphe from the glass-wrapped terrace around us.

The bus departed at 7:55 pm and slowly circulated the streets, touring the Champs Elysees, Trocadero, the Eiffel Tower (timed on the hour so we were able to see the glitter lights sparkle), the Champs de Mars, the Opera Garnier, Musée d’Orsay, the Grand Palais, the Hotel de Ville and Notre Dame. A lavish six-course meal was served during the almost three-hour tour. The winter menu by chef Vincent Thiesse consisted of smaller plates, including a porcini mushroom custard, a sea scallop carpaccio garnished with grapefruit and pistachio, turbot fillet with a pumpkin and safran sauce, roasted veal with potatoes, Cabecou -- a soft goat cheese from the Midi-Pyrenees -- and a pineapple and passion fruit cheesecake. The bus moved at a leisurely pace so that it never felt bumpy, even though the glassware rattled somewhat on the cobblestone streets. 

Another thoughtful feature of the service was instead of having the historical information about the sites blaring through the speakers, on the back of the menu was a map of the different points of interest. You were given an electronic pointer so you could tap on each spot of the map and it would automatically dispense the history through a speaker in the pointer. 

Bustronome is available seven days a week and offers two-hour lunch tours from 12 pm to 2 pm for 95 euros per person with drinks, including Champagne, wine, and coffee or tea, or 65 euros without. Dinner service is two and a half hours from 7:45 pm to 10:15 pm for 125 euros per person with drinks or 85 euros without. The good news is Bustronome can prepare a vegan menu and can also do private or customized tours. 

Bustronome is a luxurious an unhurried way to experience the splendors of Paris. 

Visit www.bustronome.com

November 19, 2014

Just Back: Delano Las Vegas' Bathhouse Spa

delano batthouse spa

Recently I got a chance to visit the newly renovated and renamed Delano Las Vegas, where I got to swing by the Bathhouse Spa. And even in a city famous for its indulgences, this spa has some noteworthy perks.

The Treatments

The Bathhouse Spa's new menu uses locally sourced ingredients, including cacti and wildflowers, as well as other elements from the desert. For example, immune-boosting "Milk and Honey" treatments feature edible raw bee pollen from the Mohave region.

I would have loved to try one of the Global Journeys, a series of treatments reflecting traditional rituals from regions where Morgans Hotel Group has hotels, including Asia, India, Europe and a "Taste from the Islands." Each "journey," which can run for as long as four-and-a-half hours, incorporates a holistic menu of treatments and ends with a cup of tea paired from the region for which the journey is named.

But since time was limited, I opted for the 50-minute Desert Stone massage, which used hot stones and two local oils for a sense of place. My therapist, Sudo, had wonderfully deft hands and did a terrific job soothing all the tense muscles--even focusing on my neck when I said it was particularly sore. 

For a seasonal treatment, visitors can try the warm apple cider massage (which we hear increases circulation and soothes muscles) or a pumpkin spice facial. There's also a Plum Pie Pedicure that uses a plum-spice foot scrub and a whipped body cream.

The Spa 

The Bathhouse has 12 treatment rooms on two levels, as well as several pre- and post-therapy spaces that are worth arriving early or staying late to enjoy. Much of the lighting comes from the floor, creating plenty of shadows and easing eyestrain. (It's nice to not have lights glaring right into your eyes.) The single-sex lounge has snacks and drinks (including coffee--a blessing for early-morning treatments), as well as several plunge pools. (Good to know: The pools are clothing-optional.) The steam room is especially soothing, with eucalyptus-scented steam and low lighting for a very relaxing atmosphere. Next time I'm there, I'll explore the sauna and plunge pools properly--it's definitely worth spending an extra hour just to take advantage of all the perks

Agents can make reservations for Bathhouse Spa by calling 877-632-9636. Day passes for the Spa are available to all Delano Las Vegas and MGM Resorts International hotel guests. 

October 27, 2014

Opening and Reopening of Two Major Art Institutions: Fondation Louis Vuitton and Musee Picasso

Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (www.eyepreferparistours.com), and also writes a popular insider's blog www.eyepreferparis.com.

Fall 2014 in Paris has been abuzz with anticipation of an opening of a new major art institution and a long awaited re-opening of a favorite Paris museum. 

Bernard Arnault, CEO of Louis Vuitton, and one of the richest men in France with an estimated fortune of $60 billion, spent 13 years realizing his dream of opening a private museum in Paris. Arnault chose world-famous American architect, Frank Gehry, who also designed the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain and the Walt Disney Opera House in Los Angeles, to fulfill his vision of the Fondation Louis Vuitton

The striking building located in the peaceful Bois de Boulogne Park on the outskirts of Paris has 12 architectural sails with 3,600 glass panels, nicknamed “the iceberg”. Gehry took inspiration for the design from the Grand Palais, the massive glass structure from the 1900 Paris Worlds Fair. It took 100 engineers and 3,000 workers to complete the complicated and complex design. The inside contains 13,000 square feet of exhibition space with 11 galleries. The galleries will mostly feature works borrowed from Arnault’s highly regarded and extensive private collection. The final estimated cost of the project was 143 million euros. 

The building of the museum came with controversy as many local residents protested that it would remove precious green space from the pristine parkland. Although it is a private museum, it was donated to the city for 50 years. 

After five years and extensive delays, the Picasso museum has reopened its doors. Originally launched in 1985 in a then-abandoned and dilapidated former 17th century palace once owned by salt tax collector, the museum became a big tourist attraction and helped transform the run down Marais area into one of the most desirable areas of the city. 

After Picasso’s death in 1973, the family donated over 5,000 works to the state in lieu of paying inheritance taxes. 

The reopening on October 25 was timed for Picasso’s birthday and President Hollande was present at the festivities. 

The renovation cost 52 million euros and the museum has now tripled its exhibition space by moving the offices and administration to an alternate building. It houses the largest collection in the world of Picasso’s work. 
 
Fondation Louis Vuitton
8 Ave. du Mahatma Gandhi, Bois de Boulogne, 75116 
Open everyday except Tuesday 
Monday, Wednesday, & Thursday 12PM-7PM
Friday till 11PM
Saturday & Sunday 11AM-8PM
http://www.fondationlouisvuitton.fr/en.html

Musee Picasso 
5 Rue de Thorigny, 75003
Open Tuesday to Friday 11:30AM-6PM, Saturday & Sunday 9:30AM-6PM 
http://www.museepicassoparis.fr/en/

Posted in: France , Sight-seeing

October 07, 2014

On Site: Two Unique Group Activities in Las Vegas

Dig This Las Vegas

I'm on location in Las Vegas, and had the chance to try two decidedly unique group activities here for those who like to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. (Well, a little dirty.)

Dig This is, so I've heard, the country's first heavy-equipment playground. You know how some medicines warn against operating heavy machinery after using? This is what they're talking about.

Visitors can, after a quick introduction (and a breathalyzer test--they're not kidding about those medicines!) hop into a bulldozer or excavator to dig holes and push dirt around in a yard. (It's a great teambuilding activity, and companies like Google and Facebook have reportedly stopped by to run machines around the yard.) The drivers are connected via headset to an instructor at all times, so no worries about not knowing how to stop this crazy thing or running into another operator's space.

The excavators were especially popular, and two other attendees and I practiced picking up basketballs and dropping them into tires to show off our newly learned dexterity. (It's amazing that a machine capable of digging into hard-packed earth can be so precise and gentle that it can be used for a basketball game.)

Call 702-222-4344 and ask for Dave, Mark or Junior when booking. (They're great instructors.)

Once we were good and dusty (and quite proud of ourselves for playing basketball with a 15-ton excavator), we headed over to the Cosmopolitan, one of the newer resorts, which has a great range of high-end restaurants.

Jaleo is an authentic Spanish restaurant with a massive paella grill in the middle of the room, where diners can watch their to-order rice dishes be prepared from scratch. Even better, they can participate (with advanced reservations) and make their own paella while sipping sangria and sampling tapas. (The dish takes a little less than an hour to make, and the guests can be as involved--or uninvolved--as they like in the process.)

While preparing the dish, we learned about Spanish cuisine and about how head chef Jose Andres combines traditional cooking styles with local Southwestern produce. (As many ingredients as possible are locally sourced, and nothing is pre-made, including the chicken stock.)  And the final product is simply fantastic.

Tip: While the cocktail is not traditionally Spanish, Jaleo makes some of the best gin-and-tonics I've ever tasted. Be sure to order one.

Bonus: This is one of the few restaurants I've seen in the U.S. with a traditional genuine jamon iberico (traditional Spanish style of cured ham) available for sampling.

Contact Robert Jarrett (robert.jarrett@cosmopolitanlasvegas.com) for reservations and with any questions. 

Today, we're off to explore the Downtown area and the Fremont Street Experience. Stay tuned!

September 22, 2014

Best Bargain Lunches in Paris Under 25 Euros

Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (www.eyepreferparistours.com), and also writes a popular insider's blog www.eyepreferparis.com.

We know dining in Paris can be expensive and the top starred restaurants command a 300-400 euro price tag per person for dinner. We have gathered a list of some of our favorite bargain restaurants that serve excellent two and three course lunches for less than 25 euros per person, half the price of one appetizer at a star restaurant. You’ll discover that dining well in Paris doesn’t have to break the bank. 

RELATED: A Quick Guide to Types of Parisian Eating Establishments

Le ReminetLe Reminet 

Located on charming street in the Latin Quarter close to the Seine, Le Reminet tops our list of the best bargain lunch in Paris. For a mere 14.90 euros you can indulge in a three-course lunch with more than ample portions. You are given two choices for each course with appetizer offering a salad or soup, main course offering a fish or meat and a dessert or cheese course. We sampled a piquant sweet potato soup spiced with ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg to start with followed by a plump chicken breast cooked in its own juices served with fettuccine. For dessert we split a lovely plate of Camembert, Pont l’Eveque, and chevre cheese with salad and a scrumptious cream puff stuffed with vanilla pastry cream. 

The atmospheric interior has crystal chandeliers, deep plum walls, velvet banquettes, and gold gilt mirrors. 

Le Reminet
3 rue des Grands Degres, 75005
Open everyday 12PM-3pm, 
14.90 pre-fix is only served Monday to Friday
Reservations recommended 01 44 07 
http://www.lereminet.com/

Le Bar A Huitres

Le Bar A Huitres

Seafood and oyster lovers will revel in the freshest, mostly local caught fish at Le Bar a Hutires. Outside, waiters are preparing the famous raw seafood platters by piling oysters, clams, lobsters and crabs on silver platters with crushed ice. 

The Parisian Lunch menu at 26 euros per person is offered Monday to Saturday and includes an extensive list for the starter and main course. Appetizers include classic French fish soup, grilled sardines, 6 Grand Cru oysters, escargot, and for the main course, Mussels in white wine sauce, Label Rouge Scottish salmon, North Atlantic cod, and for non-seafood eaters, Steak Tartare. Dessert is a mini-three-course affair, the Coffee Plaisir, with a cup of espresso, chocolate mousse, and a cat’s tongue butter cookie.  It’s a luxurious dining experience with fine white china and table linens, and crystal wine glasses. 

Le Bar A Huitres has four locations in Paris. 

Open daily for lunch. 
http://www.lebarahuitres.com/uk/index.php

Pierre Sang 

If you want to hang with the hipsters, head to Pierre Sang Boyer in the trendy Oberkampf area. No reservations are taken, so diners start lining up at 11:45 to snare a spot at the counter-seating-only restaurant for lunch. Song has adapted the latest food concept in Paris, the surprise menu: diners are not offered a choice of dishes, only a single dish for each course, and the twist is they are only told what they ate after the dish is served. The chef is sympathetic to food allergies and restrictions, so you can make your request known before you order. The menu changes daily, so even if you return to the restaurant, you will never eat the same dish twice. 

Song is Korean and has worked in restaurants in France and England before he opened his Paris location, combining east and west flavors together in a creative manor. 

A two-course lunch is 20 euros and three courses 25 euros. For adventurous eaters only, picky eaters stay home. 

55 rue Oberkampf, 75011 
Open Tuesday to Saturday, lunch 12PM to 2PM 
http://pierresangboyer.com/en/

Assanabel 

France has a large Lebanese population and the two countries have close ties. Authentic Lebanese restaurants are in most areas in the city and we discovered a terrific one in the St. Germain area. Assanabel offers a full range of Lebanese delights but their specialty is the mezze plate, a smattering of different appetizers served on one platter. We shared the mezze platter for 37 euros for two people and the hot and cold appetizers included hummus, baba ganoush, tabouleh, lemon marinated chicken wings, an assortment of savory pastries, and falafel.

The lunch was satisfying and delicious and there was no need for a main course. A tray of almonds soaked in water, pickled turnips, and green olives and a silver dish with thin flatbread and pita bread was served before the meal. Dessert was a platter of fresh cut refreshing watermelon, perfect for cutting the spicy aftertaste of the lunch. 

38 rue Jacob, 75006 
Tel. 01 42 96 89 85
Lunch is served 7 days a week

Posted in: France , Restaurants

August 21, 2014

Inside the Five-Star Molitor Pool and Hotel

Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (www.eyepreferparistours.com), and also writes a popular insider's blog www.eyepreferparis.com.

Nestled in a quiet upscale residential area next to the Bois de Boulogne Park and the Roland Garros Tennis Center is the latest five-star concept hotel in Paris, The Molitor

molitor pool

The focal point and basis of the new hotel is the Molitor Pool, a legendary Art Deco pool built in 1929. It became one of the most beloved pools of Paris till 1989 when it was closed by the city but ironically designated as an historical monument. Graffiti artists had their way with the pool and created elaborate works of art. 

The pool has a rich history behind it: Olympic winner and star of the Tarzan films, Johnny Weissmuller inaugurated the pool along with being a lifeguard. It was also the site for the debut of the bikini in 1946, designed by Louis Reard. In the book and film Life of Pi, the main character Patel is named Pi after Piscine Molitor. 

RELATED: Ice Cream Shops in Paris

molitor

In August 2007, Mayor Bertrand Delanoe accepted bids from three companies for the renovation of the pool. The Accor Hotel Group won the bid and proceeded to completely rebuild the pool and added a luxury hotel, spa and pool club. 

The hotel and rebuilt pool opened in May, and is one of the more unique hotel properties in Paris. It’s a resort paradise far enough away from the commercial center, but still only a 15-minute taxi ride. There are now two pools, the outdoor heated one measuring 150 ft. long, and the indoor one measuring 108 ft. 

molitor

The 104 rooms and 20 suites, managed by the MGallery, from the signature collection of Accor Group, are luxuriously minimalist, decorated in tasteful soft shades of white and gray. Interior designer and architect Philippe Nuel has sumptuously appointed the restaurant, bar, and lobby lounge areas with an eclectic mix of Art Deco and Mid-Century Modern furniture. A room divider of milk glass panels was salvaged from the famed former department store Le Samaritane and beautiful reproductions of the original Art Deco stained glass panels are from 1929 and have depictions of bathers and sail boats. 

In the spirit of the former graffiti that covered the pool before it was rebuilt, the hotel has a commitment to forward and display the work of street artists, with a reception room on the lower level featuring murals painted by various street artists.

Yannick Alleno, one of the most sought after chefs in Paris, who was the head chef at the Le Meurice Hotel, created the menu for the indoor and poolside restaurant. A rooftop terrace has also has a restaurant, lounge, and garden area with a panoramic view of the city.

The facility has a Clarins Spa and state of the art gym. There is limited membership available to the spa, pool and gym for residents but one can also obtain a day pass for 180 euros. 

The motto of the hotel is Pool, Art, Life! A perfect description. 

Molitor Hotel and Pool 
8 Ave. de la Porte Molitor, 75016
http://www.mltr.fr/en

July 28, 2014

Ice Cream Shops in Paris

Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (www.eyepreferparistours.com), and also writes a popular insider's blog www.eyepreferparis.com.

It’s summertime in Paris and what better way to beat the heat than to enjoy the extravagant, delicious, and sophisticated ice cream the city has to offer. 

RELATED: Excursions Outside of Paris: Cooking Classes at Chateau de la Barbee in Loire Valley

Here are some of our favorites. 

pierre hermePierre Herme

Master macaron maker Pierre Herme branched out a few years ago to produce a line of ice creams and sorbets. Of course the specialty of the house is whipped ice cream with mini-macarons floating on the top. Traditional flavors include Tahitian vanilla, lemon, and Brazilian coffee, and if you have a more exotic palate, go for the Mogador, milk chocolate, passion fruit, and pineapple, Isaphan, litchi, rose, and raspberry, or the Celeste, rhubarb, strawberry and passion fruit. If you’re feeling nostalgic and miss the old fashioned Good Humor ice cream sandwiches, Pierre Herme has an updated version, the glamorous Miss Gla Gla. Packaged in an elegant shiny silver box, two layers of delicate macarons are filled with pistachio and raspberry sorbet, and fresh mint and red berry sorbet, among other flavors. 

Pierre Herme expands on his deliciousness this summer by having his ice cream creations served on the lovely, enchanting terrace of the Raffles Royal Monceau Hotel

72 rue Bonaparte, 75006 
Open seven days 10AM to 7PM 

Raffles Royal Monceau Hotel
37 Ave. Hoche, 75008 

berthillon

Berthillon 

The most popular and beloved ice cream in Paris, Berthillon has become a classic, must do/must taste when visiting the Ile St. Louis. Since 1954, Berthillon has been scooping out freshly made, all natural ice creams and sorbets (no preservatives, artificial sweeteners, or stabilizers) to millions of loyal fans that patiently wait on long lines to savor the legendary taste. The original shop has a takeout window serving cones and cups but also has a tea salon offering ice cream sundaes, pastries, hot chocolate, and ice cream cakes. If you like more unusual flavors try lavender, foie gras, praline, lemon, and coriander, or chestnut, or stick to the heavenly salted butter caramel. Berthillon is also available at other shops and cafes all over the city. 

29-31 rue Saint Louis en L’ile, 75004 
Open Wednesday to Sunday, 10AM to 6PM 

amorinoAmorino 

If you’re hankering for gelato instead ice cream, Amorino is the premier gelato brand of Paris. Started 12 years ago by two best friends, they aimed to bring the freshest and most authentic Italian gelato to Paris. Their hand packed cones are artfully shaped into layers resembling rose petals. Other products include granitas, crepes, milkshakes, hot waffles, gelato cakes, macarons, chocolates, and foccacina, sweet brioche filled with gelato. There are 23 Amorino locations in Paris. 

http://www.amorino.com/en/

 

Posted in: France , Restaurants