"The evolving Francophile..."

My husband Jack has always wanted to live in Paris and learn French. I thought it would be good for him to achieve his life time dream. Hence, we moved to Paris in 2008. My first year was difficult. I started "missives" to relieve some stress and chronicle my life so friends back in the US could read what I am experiencing. I currently write about my food in Paris, which is my passion., travel experiences, and "experiences living in Paris."

It is definitely a challenge to live here, but each year it gets easier, and quite enjoyable, in large part because I value friendships over locale. I have a love/hate relationship with Paris as do most Parisians, mais La vie est belle (but life is good)!

Saturday, March 23, 2024




I spent today starting to pack for our return to Paris in April. Although I also have a wardrobe there, I do bring back a few things to add to my wardrobe.  Then I thought, maybe I should share some ideas for my readers on what to bring to Paris, so they can blend in and not look like a stereotypical tourist, which makes you a target for so many things. 

- Go with 3-basic colors: Black, Gray, Navy blue, Brown, Beige or white as your base color

- Accessories with colors, such as scarf, belt or bag (murse)

- Don’t wear loud, bright and/or overly printed shirts that screams “tourist” or Aloha! You’ll be marked as a tourist and easily become a pickpocket target or be upsold at e.g., a Café

- In recent years, shorts have become very acceptable day-to-day wear.

- Don’t wear bling-bling clothes (e.g., sequins) unless you plan on going to the Opera or Ballet. And, NEVER wear them in the day time.

- Loafers are always a good bet, you can dress them up or down and are comfortable to wear. Note: sneakers are now acceptable to wear.

- Jeans worn with a nice simple print or plain color shirt, with a nice belt goes a long way. 

- Bring a light jacket and/or sweater like a cardigan that can go with any outfit for those cool Spring and Autumn days/nights. Always a good idea to have a light stylish blazer.

- Accessorizing with jewelry is always a good idea, but nothing flashy/expensive or you will be a pickpocket target. 

- A bag to carry all your accessories is always a good idea. But I recommend one with a zipper to prevent being pick-pocketed

- In Paris, when going out to a nice dinner, it’s customary to dress to show respect to the Chef and the other patrons

- Do not wear gym clothes, sweats or leggings

- Don’t be a walking billboard of designer names (e.g. head to toe with gucci, hoochi and poochi), it’s considered “trashy”. Maybe one simple designer accessory, eg a Louis tuition sling bag

- And, light on the make-up boys and girls. You don’t wanna look like an overdone drag queen. In other words,  go light on the makeup. A more natural look is the style in Paris 

- Ultra small portable umbrella, yes it does rain a lot in Paris. Paris gets more rainfall than London

Most important, enjoy.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023


Wishing all my readers, HAPPY HOLIDAY!

Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noël, 圣诞快乐, Vrolijk Kerstfeest, Frohe Weihnachten, Mele Kalikimaka, Tratry ny Krismasy, Feliz Navidad, Maligayang Pasko, Glædelig Jul, חג מולד שמח, Buon Natale, 메리 크리스마스, Selamat Hari Natal, Feliz Natal, Heri la Krismasi, สุขสันต์วันคริสต์มาส, کریسمس مبارک


Thursday, November 16, 2023

Complaints -- "Plaintes"


Sadly, as tourists we can easily be scammed, especially at cafes in tourist areas and feel helpless. For example being "upsold" in a cafe where you ask for a glass of wine and expecting it to cost less than €10, but get charged €30. This happened to me when I first moved to Paris. I complained to the manager, and as a general rule, they always side with their servers. Now I always ask for the menu, unless I know the place I'm going to.

These days you can actually file a complaint to a government office, and they will investigate and take action, if necessary. Tourism is a major industry in France and the government has been taken scamming seriously for the past 10 years. And, with the upcoming Olympics, they will be cracking down. 

So if you want to file a complaint, this site is similar to the "Better Business Bureau", and it's also in English. 

WEBSITE IS: https://signal.conso.gouv.fr/en/cafe-restaurant/faire-un-signalement

Hopefully, you won't experience this, but if you do, now you have recourse to help correct this.  

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Michelin starred restaurants -- What say you.

Having a Michelin star does not guarantee good food. Some of the most cringe worthy experiences I've had were at Michelin starred restaurants. And, the question I ask, How the f*ck did they get a michelin star(s)

Bottom-line, garnering a michelin star should be about food, bad sadly as in anything else, it boils down to "food" politics.

Click on this link to read the article "Michelin Starred Restaurants"

In France, "Restaurants will have to display a new logo to indicate which dishes were not entirely prepared by the chef under new plans announced by the minister of commerce."

Check out this recent article on the french attempt to keep its "french cuisine", french and not "warming up frozen food," which many cafes in tourists spots do.

"Fait Maison Symbol"

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

L'Aube -- Restaurant Review


For menu, directions and general information:  https://www.laube-paris.com/

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor 

€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)

1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)

4.8 - Star........................................€€€................................... 2 - Bells

NOTE: Lower cost by € since we skewed total expenses by ordering champagne

The restaurant is located very, very close to the Palais Royale, some of you may recognize the building and/or location. It's the old Zebulon restaurant of years past.  Zebulon rose fast in the ranks to become a very popular Parisian restaurant. As fast as it rose, it lost favor and many of us stopped going because the quality of the food and service really degraded, but that's another story all onto itself.

Now onto what sits there now, which by-the-way has only been open for 6-months. 

There is vast improvement in the interior. They spent months and I assume lots of money to renovate it. It's much classier and a more "fine dining" establishment when compared to what was there before. 

The Chef de cuisine is managed by Thibault Nizard, a native of Marseilles. At the young age of 30, he cooks beyond his years. His style of cooking is innovative, stylish and more importantly, delicious. 

For lunch there are 2 prix-fixe menus, a 3 course (49
) and 5 course (95), but we all ordered the 3 course prix-fixe lunch and for 20€ more on the 3 course, a wine pairing . For us in Paris, this is a great deal, especially with this caliber of restaurant. 


Cheese boule. We had some tiny boules,  almost like an individual  Croquembouche or Chouquette filled with creamy cheese. It was beyond delicious. We were told the chef selected the cheeses to make it into a cream. 

Tomato "cake" with espelette. It was a tomato savory cake with espelette. Equally delicious.  

If this was the amuse bouche, then we're off to a very good start. 
It definitely tickled my taste buds, I wanted for more.


Tomatoes with cream.  We misunderstood the wait staff when they said they were serving us a
tomato liqueur along with our tomato entrée. We drank it with our amuse bouche. I guess you can't take us out anymore. It would've been a great pairing. The tomato liqueur was actually quite good. It tasted like a smooth, not too sweet sauterne, but with a hint of tomato. 

Regardless, the tomato entrée was quite delicious without the 
liqueur. There was one large red tomato topped with a smaller green tomato that was soaked in its natural juices. Sitting atop it was a cool cream. The cream tasted like it was folded with a light cheese, probably a concoction of the chef. And, there were hints of basil and mint. We all loved it. Very refreshing. 


Three of us got this dish. The picture does not do it justice since brown is a hard color to photograph. There was a cabillaud that was wrapped around a local sausage. The sausage was akin to a mortadela. The sauce was very rich made with chicken stock and wine that was reduced to a wonderful demi-glace. There were pieces of pork, potatoes and mushrooms. And, we got an additional bowl of more of the sides surrounding the dish. Very strong, rich flavors on this dish. The wine flavors came out. It was an excellent dish.  

Beef Cheeks. One person ordered this plat, which was one of the other choices for the prix-fixe menu. As I mentioned brown food is hard to photograph. It was delicious, but was very rich and the very strong reduced wine flavors, made it a tad bitter. I liked it, but I much preferred the cabillaud.

As for the side, it was a mushroom stuffed ravioli with a cream sauce. I thought it was very good on its own. In other words, it could've been a whole meal. 

If I'm being honest, it was a very strange combination. You have a very, very rich meat dish accompanied with a creamy pasta dish. Rich-on-rich. Granted, separately, they were EXCELLENT. 


Dessert drink of gin, pear and St. Germain Liqueur. 

I normally do not like gin. But I have to say this drink along with the dessert was so good. So refreshing and not cloyingly sweet. This was a concoction made by the chef.

Cheese fondant. I went off menu and got this dessert. It was absolutely delicious. The cheese was a combination of the Chef's likes and whipped into almost like a mousse. It was savory with a savory ring of savory bread sticks formed into a circle. 

As you dug in, there was a surprise confiture of fruit that added a little sweetness that brought the cheese dish to the next level. It was an EXCELLENT dessert. I would have this again in a nano-second. 

Candied plumb with lavender and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a bed of crispy crumbles.

I'm not a sweets person but I have to say I really liked the plumb. And, with the ice cream and crumble it gave an extra layer of dimension and texture. It all came together as a cohesive excellent dessert. 

Coupe-de-Champagne. To close off our lunch, we got champagne later followed by "mignardise."

We ordered 3 glasses, JJ doesn't drink champagne. What can I say about it, but you can't go wrong with champagne in France. We had the brut. 

Mignardise. They looked so inviting, I broke my rule of no sugar and had some. The large boules were filled with a pastry cream. And, the smaller boues were filled with a "semi-solid" ganache. And, both were sitting on a bed of chipped chocolate crumbs. How can you go wrong with this as a parting gift. 


What can I say, all-in-all this was an excellent restaurant. The service was beyond reproach. We had 3-servers to us. But perfect service, not overbearing as in the U.S. The tables were spread out nicely that you actually don't feel crowded. You were provided with little stools for your purses/bags.  I can imagine it being quite a romantic restaurant in the evenings. They do have a private dining room enough for 12 downstairs. The ambiance and service is what you would typically find in a Michelin starred restaurant. The chef is not only creative in the kitchen, he has a fine eye for design, which is reflected in the aesthetics of the restaurant, which he helped design. 

It was near perfect. The only minor complaint/observation, the beef cheeks and ravioli combo confused me. Two very heavy rich dishes side-by-side. Each by themselves would've been delicious. I would've served some greens to lighten the richness. Speaking of greens, they really should incorporate some as an accompaniment. 

For 4-prix-fixe meals and added wine tasting pairing consisting of 4-glasses of wine, 8-glasses of liqueur, 
3-bottles of water, 3-glasses of champagne, 1-tea and, 1-off pre-fixe of a cheese fondant, our bill came to €368 or a total of €92 per person.

I would highly recommend you go before it becomes known, I foresee this restaurant becoming very popular. 

Would we go back? in a heartbeat. Sadly, it'll have to wait our return from our winter hajj to US. 

Note: If you are "purely" pescatarian and/or don't eat alcohol in your food, let them know. 

Monday, August 28, 2023

LA CRÉOLE -- Restaurant Review


For menu, directions and general information:  https://la-creole.fr/

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor 

€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)

1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)

4 - Star........................................€€................................... 2 - Bells

Normally I don't do reviews of ethnic restaurants since most of my readers want to read about french restaurants. But, I made an exception for this restaurant, since they were old french colonies and the french influence incorporated into their native dishes made them not only interesting, but delicious. You can definitely see the french influence.

Friends recommended this restaurant. First we had apéros at Le Select, bar/cafe which was the old stomping grounds of Ernest Hemingway and other famous writers. To this day, you'll see wannabe writers in the back trying to get inspiration from their "spirits."

Then onto the restaurant.

The interior is what I expected, lively and had a very tropical vibe. The food is from 2-different sides of the world. The Indian ocean, which comprises of food from e.g., La Reunion, Mauritius etc. And, the Caribbean where we have e.g., St. Martin and Guadeloupe.

Mixed appetizer

There were 5 of us and we decided to share the mixed appetizers. The combination was fantastic. They had boudin noir sausages (blood sausages) very french, and many tropical dishes that had nice spicy flavorings. They had samosas, crab, crab fritters. Overall, it was a nice mix of different flavors, and some were actually spicy, yippee!

Goat Stew

This stew originated from Mauritius. It wasn't at all what I was expecting. I was expecting it to be more curried stew akin to what you find in Jamaica. It was not as spicy as I would've liked, but they did have some "Scotch Bonnet" salsa as a side that I added to it, to give it a zing. It had a side dish of rice and sweet plantains. Overall, it was good, but not one of my favorite dishes of the night.


This dish originated from Guadeloupe. This was my favorite dish of the night. The fish simply grilled. It was fresh, extremely moist and the accompaniments were perfect. Just squeeze a little lime and add one of the spicy sauces, and it became magic in your mouth. As everything else, it was accompanied by rice and sweet plantains. 

Sausage Créole.

Lastly, JJ ordered the créole sausage. This was one of the spicier dishes. It sort of reminded me of "Louisiana hot links" but had added spices, like basil and ginger. It was served in a tomato sauce. Absolutely delicious. 

We decided to pass on dessert, since we were all pretty full. Portions are substantial. 


What a fun evening. It was a lively restaurant with live entertainment. I have one word to describe the atmosphere, 'FUN'. The music was definitely afro-caribbean. I spoke to one of the singers, and he was from Guadeloupe. So his singing style was very stylistically Caribbean, but in french. The patronage were very mixed. Mostly people from the "old" colonies, so that's a good sign. The wait-staff were also very mixed. Some were from the Indian ocean with a strong Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani influence, as you can see in the food. Whereas the Caribbean side had more the seafood. 

The cocktails were very, very inventive. I had a taste of one of the cocktails, it was a sweet rum cocktail with spicy chilies, but not overwhelming, just gave it a nice interesting bite. Delicious!

1 Guinness, 2-cocktails, and 2 bottles of white wine, 1-shared large entrée, 5- plats, our bill came to €212 or €42.40 per person. Would we go back, ABSOLUTELY!

Thursday, August 24, 2023

ARDENT -- Restaurant Review


For menu, directions and general information:  https://www.restaurant-ardentparis.com/

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor 

€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)

1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)

4.25 - Star........................................€€................................... 2 - Bells

Our friends recommended this restaurant. It's in 9eme by the Folies Bergère, great areas for cafes and places to eat. We don't normally come to this area, because it's at the complete opposite end from where we live, but it was definitely worth the trek.

The interior is very sleek with clean lines, very typically french. One thing I noticed as I entered, the kitchen staff. There seemed to be quite a number of them for such a small restaurant. Either some are apprenticing or working as sous chefs. They also have indoor grills. The restaurant is known and specializes in grilling everything, especially seafood.

We had a relatively early lunch reservation by french standards at 12:30 pm, and we were the only ones there and assumed it would continue that way since it is August and half of Paris takes the month off for vacation. But by 1 pm, it was nearly packed. Good sign for a warm August day.

Two of us ordered the prix-fixe menu, and two of us ordered a-la-carte. Note: the prix-fixe lunch had 3-courses: entrée, plat, dessert for only 25€. 


Chou-fleur rôti au curry toast. (Roasted Cauliflower with curried toast) 

I love cauliflower and we have it often. At first bite I thought this isn't really much of anything, but JJ said to dip it in the sauce, and I did and it brought it to a whole new level. The acidity of the vinaigrette sauce with the curried spiced cauliflower combination was great together. So, never trust your first taste, sometimes you need to add all the components.

Charcuterie de poulpe fumée. (Cuts of smoked Octopus).  

Unfortunately, I forgot to take
a photo of this dish, but this was a great appetizer. So, photo of them grilling octopus I got from their website.  The octopus was so soft and moist, not rubbery at all. And, the vinaigrette sauce was mild and not overpowering as they usually are. This was my favorite entrée.


Entrecôte de porc/fenouil grillée/Caviar d’aubergine. (Pork steak with fennel, and grilled eggplant made into a caviar like paste)

This dish looked really inviting. The pork was delicious. I was a bit concerned that the fennel would overtake the flavors, but I have to honestly say it was a good accompaniment. They toned down the strong "licorice" flavor to not be overpowering. So, the pork along with a little bit of this, and little bit of that was quite pleasant and tasty. A hit for me.

Secreto de cochon français/Aubergine grillée au miso/Sauce goma. (French pork secreto/Grilled eggplant with miso/Goma sauce)

I'm not sure what the "secreto" is.  Although this was a good dish, this was my least favorite as flavor goes. And, go figure, I ordered this dish. The pork was cooked perfectly and was moist, but I found the miso overpowering the eggplant. All I tasted was miso, and miso can be very salty. And, with the exception of the green onions, it was not very attractive.

Overall, it was just a good dish, but did not wow me in anyway. 

Medaillon de thon germon/Artichaut/ Puree de fenouil.
(Medallions of albacore tuna/Artichoke/Puree of fennel)

I have to say, this was my favorite of all the plats we had. The tuna was grilled perfectly. The outside had a nice smoky flavor and as you got into the center of the tuna, it was so moist and tender, and very rare, how I like it. The accompanying sauce was a perfect compliment. You knew the star of this dish was definitely the tuna. An A+ for this dish. 



Not much to say about this dish, but as I always say, you can never, ever go wrong with cheese in France. I wish I could remember their names, but it was basically the selection of the day. I did like the blue cheese and the creamy aged camembert and brie. 

It was a very nice selection, albeit strong cheeses, but that's what I like. 

Cheesecake with nectarine

This came with the prix-fixe lunch. French cheesecakes are much, much lighter than american cheese cakes. Oftentimes they use (click on link for more info) SPECULOOS a cookie similar to graham crackers, but sweeter and richer. And the cream cheese is usually replaced with St. Moret cheese, a french version of American cream cheese. Much lighter than american cream cheese.

Although I don't really eat desserts, this I would eat. French cheesecakes are lighter, almost like a thick creamy ricotta consistency. This was a simple and good dessert. 

Mousse glacée fraise & poivron grillé / Crumble halva pistaches. (Strawberry and grilled pepper ice cream mousse / Pistachio halva crumble)

When our wait-person said a strawberry with red pepper, we assumed it was ground red schezwan peppercorns The reason being, black pepper is sometimes sprinkled atop strawberries to bring out a stronger flavor. But it turned out it was "red bell peppers" that were grilled and made into an ice cream.

This was my favorite dessert of the day. Red bell peppers are normally sweet, but it was quite an inventive ice cream. And, to give it some texture there were speculoos and pistachio crumble at the bottom. FABULOUS DESSERT! also quite refreshing for a warm day. 

S U M M A R Y 

What a find indeed. The restaurant is in a great location, you can go to many of the cafe's for drinks before and after a meal.  What was really shocking was that for €25 you can have a 3-course meal consisting of an entrée, plat and dessert. That is a steal in Paris, especially for this caliber of a meal. 

All the dishes were good, but some stood out from the rest: the octopus, the tuna, and the red bell pepper ice cream. I have one major complaint, with all the staff they had in the kitchen, there's no excuse for not changing out our utensils between the entrée and the plats. I thought it was just us because we were the only Americans, but it turned out that they did this for everyone. Not good in my book. Hence, I dinged them a few basis points.

As for the service, it was EXCELLENT! 

Other then the utensils issue, I would highly recommend this restaurant. For 1-lemonade, 1-bottle of sparkling water, 2-prix-fixe meals (included entrée, plat and dessert), 1-entrée, 2-plats, 2-desserts, and 4-glasses of wine, our bill came to €184.50 OR €46.13 each.

Would we go back, ABSOLUTELY!