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La Méditeranée, created in 1942, is unique, inspired by Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) artist, poet, novelist, designer, film-maker, and regular client, who designed the menu. The stunning but discreet 1950’s decor has been discreetly revised and corrected, the incredible murals signed Christian Bérard and Marcel Vértes.
For the last 10 years, wearing the whites is the talented Denis Rippa (ex-Christian Constant : Le Divellec (now sold to Les Costes) : L’Ambroisie : Taillevent etc.
Rippa creates a menu which showcases the freshest fish and seafood possible, a reflection of the blue Med. His signature Bouillabaisse has made even the Marseilles mavens jealous, probably why he doesn’t do the tour of the salle, but stays backstage.
« I am not a fan of sauces, just jus and naked fresh products », he explained to-day.
At the bar Gillardeau, Papin, Prat-Ar-Coum oysters are served with a glass of white. Order a bottle of Bandol Domaine de L’Olivette (hommage to Cocteau) red, or the white Cassis Clos Ste Magdelaine 2011 (39€).
Chef Rippa, don’t mess with him, he’s into Japanese martial arts, to be exact, sends out warm and delicate vegetable tarts while you study the menu. The atmosphere’s charged with energy and positive vibes.
Consider starters of Salade Piémontaise aux langoustine : Red tuna Tartare, drizzled with La Vallée des Baux olive oil: Foie Gras, tartare d’huitre fine de clair et salicorne (samphire). If you don’t go for La Bouillabaisse, marvellous marine mains include :
Sole de petite pêche, pomme purée : Line caught sea-bass, roasted with sweet potatoes : Honey lacquered Daurade Royale, creamy polenta, vieux parmesan : Lotte cooked as paella, chorizo rice or fragrant Aioli de St. Pierre.
For Ashton ? Tartare de bœuf : pommes sautées. Thick slice of grilled liver or Filet de bœuf du Charolais : Mme Dubois’ cheese and don’t ignore Marmelade de pommes acidulés au gingembre sitting under a cloud of creme brûlée á la vanille Bourbon. Wicked !
La Mediterranée, perfect left-bank brasserie of your dreams, also serves as the hang-out of the ‘hood’s publishing houses and, in November, hosts the annual Medici Prize, awarded in its private rooms, which you can reserve for intimate dinners.
2 place Odéon, 6th
M : Odéon,
T : 01 43 26 02 30
Lunch Formula 28€ – Menu 30€ – A La Carte 50/70€ + wine
All Aboard La Belle Vallée !
“Guinguette” from the old french “guiguer” : “to jump”, and “guinguet”, the name of the sour, sharp wine once brewed near Argenteuil, the ‘burb just outside Paris, made famous by the likes of Monet and Renoir.
Parisian Guinguettes or music halls, were “the place to be” in the 18th century. Located just outside the city, they escaped the “octroi”, a compulsory duty or tax on all merchandise which entered through the city gates, and could serve drinks at a much reduced price.
So, why not enter into the 2014 neo-guinguette spirit and take a cruise along the Seine in a Mississippi style paddle-boat? It’s moored opposite Les Docks Cité de la Mode et Design, near La Maison Rouge. Spend the day in the ‘hood.
Climb aboard La Belle Vallée where a welcome Kir or non-A tipple apero awaits, it’s all inside so whatever the weather you’re good to go. Appreciate the fantastic light that inspired the artists, dance to the accordéoniste between lunch courses which may feature: Terrines du Terroir: Un bon blanquette de Veau et son Riz Pilaf: excellent warm Tarte Normande au Calvados/coffee, wine and mineral water.
Make new best friends at the gingham checked tableclothed tables d’hôtes – “venez flaner, partager, guincher, no passports required”.
La Belle Vallée, leaves every Thursday from:
17 Quai de la Rapée, 12th from 14.30-17hrs
M: Gare de Lyon/Quai de la Rapée
Table d’hôte lunch (49€) accordéoniste, singing, slow-dancing etc.
T: 01 53 46 00 60
Don’t let the word detox turn you off.
“You may think it sounds like a New Age idea or something from Hollywood slebs, but detox is a normal, everyday function. It’s the body’s way of breaking down and eliminating anything that doesn’t belong. “And, these days, there are a lot of things our bodies come into contact with that don’t belong”, say the waifs at Weleda.
Q : When is a detox not a detox ?
A : When you’re in Paris at Villa Spicy, the hip bistro next door to Weleda’s Spa/Salon. Plan to meet Ashton for lunch or dinner, book a massage á deux, enjoy an organic detox lunch and you’ll be fit as an Easter Bunny for an afternoon of retail therapy on the Champs.
La Villa Spicy,
8, Avenue Franklin D. Roosevelt 8th
M: Franklin D Roosevelt/Saint Philippe de Roule
T: 01 188.8.131.52
“Menu bio detox + Massage Weleda” 81€
Lunch: 3 courses, wine, Kusmi-Thé and mineral water 41€
Saturday night’s alright for eating (with apologies to Elton John)
Now that 3-star super-chef Christian Lesquer’s Ledoyen is open – “an incomparable and intense pleasure for the senses”, says Michelin.
Reservations and jackets required
`Cause Saturday night’s the night I like Saturday night’s alright alright alright’
T: 01 53 05 10 00
1 avenue Dutuit, 8th
M: Champs Elysées-Clemenceau + valet parking
After Chanel, Cacherel, Lanvin it’s the turn of Baccarat to design the annual Valentine themed stamp. Use for your cards or collection, they’re already on E-Bay!
“You deserve a longer letter than this; but it is my unhappy fate seldom to treat people so well as they deserve.”
Price: 3€05 for a sheet of 5 from here.