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Paris Markets: Part 5

Rue Lepic

This is my favorite food street in Paris. Not technically a market, Rue Lepic is a market street. I lived a few blocks away from Rue Lepic when I spent a month in Paris last January. My apartment now is much closer to the center of Paris, so when I returned to Montmartre for a visit I planned to buy groceries at all my favorite shops. Two metros and two cloth bags brought me to Rue Lepic and the realization that I am truly food centric. I might obsess about spending twenty euros for a beautiful scarf, but think nothing of purchasing quality food products without batting an eyelash or asking "C'est combien?". My visit to Rue Lepic took me to the Boulangerie, The Cave de Abessess, Les Rotisseurs du Roy for my all-time favorite rotisserie chicken and chicken onion sausages, to the best cheese shop in Paris, and to the Cafe des 2 Moulin, also known as the Amelie Cafe because many scenes in the film Amelie were filmed here. On the day I came I purchased:
1 chicken sandwich at Josse--the fantastic epicerie and charcuterie place (I was starving)
1 rotisserie chicken
2 onion chicken sausages
2 pork ribs
some pomme terres (potatoes)
mushrooms
two cheeses (one blue, one runny camembert)
a bottle of wine
and (but of course) one baguette.
I still have more markets to visit, and the Christmas markets will open later in November, but it's going to be hard for any market or market street to surpass Rue Lepic.
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Posted by teethetrav 07:15 Archived in France Tagged montmartre rue_lepic food_markets_paris amelie_cafe les_rotisseurs_des_roy Comments (0)

A Month in Paris in Winter

P.S.: Renters Beware

A few after-the-fact words on my experience with renting an apartment in Paris. I have rented apartments in Europe and elsewhere and had excellent results. One company in particular stands out: Parker Villas who rents apartments throughout Italy. I was met by the owner who handed me the keys and a list of suggested restaurants, taxis, emergency numbers, etc. But I have also had a bad experience with JavaVillas where the owner was actually on the premises and hung out with us for a few days, poolside. That was never the plan. There, I had contracted a cook who disappeared and I was never given a refund by the owner or the company. See my previous post: Jamaica: JAVAVILLAS The Bad and the Beautiful.

So when I set out to rent an apartment in Paris, I knew I had to do my homework. Long story short, I used VRBO thinking I was going to be eliminating an agency and renting direct (isn't that what Vacation Rental by Owner suggests?). Well, no. I ended up dealing with a rental agent. The photos and description of the apartment were sort of true. But not really. The apartment was run down and somewhat shabby. The curtains were stained and the floors were in sad need of repair. And there were lies by omission. WHY would I ever think to ask if there was central heating? Well, now I know. You need to ask. Believe it or not, there wasn't. There were three space heaters and numerous power strips plugged in to several outlets. How do you say "fire hazard" in French? 4C6668F0D5A2600886CC0CA8AA2F53C2.jpg4C65496E0449D860317229E0FA1ABAA9.jpg

Almost as disturbing was the lack of cooperation on the part of the rental agency responsible for the apartment (ask me in the comments section and I will tell you their name!). I was arriving on an early flight, so I asked if I could pick up the keys early. The apartment was empty the previous week, but I was told there would be a fee for early arrival. Wow. But that was nothing. The key pick-up was an elaborate, complicated mess. The keys were locked in a safe about 1/4 mile away and up four flights of stairs. When you are traveling with luggage, this is no small problem. Factor in the hilly, cobbled streets of Montmartre and the detail that the apartment was on a steep, stone staircase, and this becomes a true ordeal. For fifty euros, the agency offered to deliver the keys. The return of keys was the same situation in reverse. By the way, it was never made clear that the apartment was in the middle of seven flights of stone steps.
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The next lack of cooperation I encountered was when I asked for sheets and extra towels for the sofa bed. The apartment was advertised as sleeping four--which it did, comfortably. The agency informed me I would be charged for "additional guests." This was not mentioned in my lease or on the contract I signed.

Finally, I received my deposit back minus a charge for heat. What heat? Seriously? I did challenge this fee and the deposit was returned, in full.

I did some research when I got home and saw that VRBO is now part of Home Away and there are some pretty bad reviews out there about both. But I'm still seeing recommendations for both sites in places like the NY Times this month. I would advise differently. I guess there is no foolproof way of renting sight unseen. But personally, I would avoid VRBO going forward. I would also suggest asking to contact previous renters directly instead of relying on site-specific reviews.

I certainly didn't let any of this affect my trip. I'm home a little over a week and I miss nearly everything about Paris. I miss the view from my terrace, the crowds on the Metro, the food, my Sunday chicken place, Paris by day, Paris at night, my favorite wine store, the café down the steps, baguettes and croissants. I don't miss my broken toilet and my one-person, claustrophobic elevator. But I even miss the daily challenge of those damn steps. Did I really just say that?
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Posted by teethetrav 06:13 Archived in France Tagged paris france montmartre renting javavillas vrbo home_away apartment_rentals parker_villas Comments (0)

A Month in Paris in Winter

Day 28: Amelie, the Film

Amelie is a beloved French film made in 2001 about a sheltered, young woman who lives her life vicariously by manipulating the lives of people she is surrounded by in order to help them find happiness. If you know the film you know its close association with Montmartre. Many of the scenes in the film were shot in the neighborhood. There are scenes of the carousel at the Abbesses, the vegetable market Au Marche de la Butte ,and in the Cafe des 2 Moulins on Rue Lepic where Amelie worked and her co-worker famously had sex in the bathroom. The actor who plays the character she had sex with, Dominiqu e Pinon lives in Montmartre and we saw him on the streets.
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It's a sweet, unique film, if you've never seen it. Even if you hate subtitles, even if you never come to Paris or Montmartre ( Heaven forbid!), it's a great movie for a winter evening. I promise it will make you warm inside.
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Posted by teethetrav 07:23 Archived in France Tagged paris montmartre amélie dominiqu_e_pinon abbesses cafe_des_2_moulins french_films Comments (1)

A Month in Paris in Winter

Day 23: Eating in Montmartre

II believe it is truly hard to have a bad meal in Paris. Whether you are going for a quick petite baguette sandwich or a meal in a brasserie, or a fine dining experience, there are endless choices in Paris about where to eat. That seems especially true in my neighborhood of Montmartre.

I have eaten in many of the restaurants and have some favorites. Some meals were outstanding, and some were merely fabulous. Here are a melange of the great meals and restaurants I've eaten in so far. All are in Montmartre.
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The above is the "Charlie Special" at Coryllis on Rue des Martyrs. All of Paris was Charlie crazed after the attacks.
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An amazing, tiny, French, non-tourist restaurant is Le Jardin d"en Face on the Rue des Trois Freres. The menu changes daily with a few exceptions. The foie gras with egg appetizer is a staple and is to die for. It is dishes like this that make me want to stay forever.

Al Caratello is Italian owned and has three locations on Rue Audran. The menu is the same at all three ristorantes. The food and service are reliable and you can linger for hours. House wines are good and so are prices.

Another tiny, French treasure isLe Grande 8 on a small street to the right of the Sacre Coeur. The menu changes nightly depending on what is available in the market. This is your go-to Sunday dinner place. They don't speak much English and there are only about twelve tables. You can (and we did) linger here for hours. People bring their dogs who hang out under the table and are a part of the ambience and scenery. This is a mere walk up the stone steps for me and so it has become a true local favorite I will dream about and yearn for when I leave.
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Posted by teethetrav 09:18 Archived in France Tagged paris montmartre rue_des_martyrs coryllis le_jardin_d'en_face rue_des_trois_freres al_caratello le_grand_8 Comments (0)

A Month in Paris in Winter

Day 21: Market in Montmartre

Montmartre is home to one of the biggest flea markets in Paris. You can visit it any weekend from Saturday through Monday. It is so huge, most people suggest taking a map so you don't get lost. I like small markets; the kind where you can find great food treasures and see locals shopping. This weekend, there was just such a market near the Abbesses. Late Friday night, the tents went up. By Saturday morning the tents and the square were filled with people. Early in the morning, it poured. As if celebrating the festival, the rain stopped abruptly. The sun and bright blue skies appeared. The temperature climbed to mid-40s f and it felt like a tease of springtime.
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The longest line at the market was for Champagne, poured in real glasses which you can keep. All day long, people wandered around the streets of Montmartre with Champagne glasses in hand. 42593977C3F3B79A40096B4A6DA2F577.jpg

The next line was for oysters. They were sold to eat right there, or you could buy a dozen or so to bring home. 425D579CE05EC856D645AB78F56C7C41.jpg425EB84DC870DBF45BFEB2E63D6297EE.jpg

The galete is a French tradition. It's a pastry made with light, airy dough and filled with almond paste and other amazing ingredients. It is only made and sold from Epiphany when Baby Jesus was presented to the three wise men through Shrove Tuesday (fat Tuesday), the beginning of Lent. The [/i]Galette[/i] comes with a crown. Inside, a fete is hidden. Whoever gets the fete, gets to wear the crown and make a wish. The line for galletes looped around the festival.
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After slurping down the briney-est oysters I ever tasted, I purchased little jars of pates and some fresh pasta to cook later. It was 11 in the morning, so I skipped the champagne. I know. It was 5 o'clock somewhere, but I have to pace myself.

Posted by teethetrav 00:37 Archived in France Tagged markets montmartre oysters champagne foodie epiphany gallette_des_rois shrove_tuesday fat_tuesday feve Comments (0)

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