Europe Food Hotels Travel

A Quick Trip to Paris: Part One

On my last trip for work to London (read here) and France, I ended up with a few days in Paris. Even though most of my trip was spent at work, I did find blocks of time to enjoy the city and explore some new and old favorite haunts.

First up – the hotel! My work has a few “set” hotels in Paris, but I never found them to be particularly inspiring. On this trip, I was determined to try out some accommodations that still fit within my modest HR mandated travel budget. I ended up finding Relais Bosquet, a small three star hotel near the Eiffel Tower and the Champs de Mars, in the 7th arrondissement.

Relais Bosquet Outside

I arrived in my room, and was pleasantly surprised – it was small yes, but with still enough space to move around, and had lots of light.

Relais Bosquet Bed

Relais Bosquet 2

There were coffee and tea making facilities in the room, and best of all – there was a newly renovated, quite large (for Paris) and very clean bathroom!

Relais Bathroom

Toiletries were provided, (but no conditioner). No problem as I went out and bought a 3 euro bottle of L’Oreal conditioner from the supermarket three stores down.

Relas Bosquet amenities

Overall, I would highly recommend Relais Bosquet as a hotel option in Paris. It was clean, comfortable, and in a fantastic location (more on that to come), and extremely reasonably priced (around 200 euro a night or less). If you like some more space, I would splurge for a Superior level room or above.

The only downsides I would note were the slower internet (my room was far as well, so the speed was even slower), and also the lack of room service. There was a buffet breakfast provided each morning, and if already included in your room rate, would definitely sufficient to start the day. If not, the hotel charged 15 euro per person for breakfast, which I found a little high as there were plenty of options just right outside the hotel. On most mornings, I just grabbed some fruit, a pastry and a coffee for less than 7 euro.

Now onto what I loved best about Relais Bosquet…the fabulous location. The hotel was literally just steps away from the famous Rue Cler.

Rue Cler

Rue Cler is a famous market street in Paris, with all kinds of shops and stands specializing in food.

Rue Cler Street

Just on one evening walk, I passed by some local shoppers picking up produce for their evening meal…

Rue Cler1

Rue Cler fruits

..along with fish and seafood…

Rue Cler Fish

…cheeses…

Rue Cler Fromage

Fromage

..and some meats, as well!

Rue Cler Chartucerie

Aside from Rue Cler, something else that I loved about the Relais Bosquet’s location was its proximity to some amazing restaurants. For one of my first meals there, I met the lovely Carin for lunch at Cafe Constant, which was a seven minute walk from the hotel.

Cafe Constant

We got there right when it opened – at 11 – and it was a good thing, as the restaurant filled up shortly thereafter! Another restaurant (like Barrafina in London) with no reservations.

We both had the same starter – a lobster ravioli.

cafe constant ravioli

For my main, I had the paella special of the day, while Carin had a duck with potatoes (hers was a menu regular, and I’d pick that one between our two!).

cafe constant paella

Cafe Constant was on the street Rue St. Dominique, which was home to a string of amazing restaurants. You could probably eat happily for a week on a few blocks alone here!

Rue SD

One restaurant you might recognize is le Fontaine de Mars, where the Obamas ate when they visited Paris in 2009. I didn’t eat there on this trip however, the menu looked a little more traditional which wasn’t craving this time around.

Fontaine de Mars

Where I did get a meal in (and actually several), was the fantastic Les Cocottes, just a few doors down.

Les Cocottes

At Les Cocottes, each and every dish was served in a Staub pot. My meal there was so delicious that I returned there another night.

Les Cocottes 2

Some of my favorites, starting with a poached egg and bacon salad.

les cocottes salad

Tuna terrine.

tuna terrine

An amazing dish, potatoes stuffed with pigs feet. Oh my lord! If you go to Les Cocottes, you must get this.

les cocottes 5

Each evening I was there, I ate so much that by dessert, I felt that I should at least order something with fruit in it. Starting with a crumble…

les cocottes 3

…and ending with the fresh fruit of the day! This pineapple was delectable, though it did cut up my mouth for that night!

les cocotes 6

Les Cocottes and Cafe Constant both share the same talented chef – Christian Constant. Actually, I later learned that Constant had three restaurants all within the same block or so on Rue St. Dominique. Cafe Constant was the most casual, Les Cocottes was the second, and the third, L’Violon d’Ingres, was the most formal (it actually took reservations, and had a Michelin star). Since I had already hit up two out of the three, I decided to try the third on my last night and ate at L’Violon. I tried the staff’s recommendations for greatest hits, which started with a scallop carpaccio (simple divine):

l'violon carpaccio

And also a white perch, which was fantastic.

l'violon fish

I would recommend any of Constant’s restaurants (Cafe Constant, Les Cocottes, and L’Violon d’Ingres) when visiting Paris, but if you can only visit one, I would recommend Les Cocottes.

Now as much as I love French food, after several days of dining, I inevitably was hit with what I always experience when traveling in Western countries – a desire for Asian food! In my case, specifically Vietnamese. I love finding Vietnamese food in Paris – I’ve always found it a distinctive cuisine on its own, different than what you’d find in the Bay Area, or Vietnam.

Just less than a mile from my hotel was a very nice Vietnamese option, La Table du Vietnam.

La Table du Vietnam

And it was here that I had some comfort food – a bowl of beef pho, and some spring rolls. Accompanied by some great wine of course (only in Paris do you pair pho with French red wine!).

vietnam

Although these were the same dishes that I order at home, the flavors and even the sauces provided were distinctively Parisian. If you are a fan of Vietnamese food, I would recommend a stop at a Vietnamese restaurant in Paris.

Now one other difference between Vietnamese food in Paris and the Bay Area? My little meal, with wine and water, was something around 50 euro. Ouch! But there are cheaper options, especially in Paris Chinatown.

All right – that about wraps it for the first part of my short stay in Paris! Next time, I’ll cover a little walk through the city, and a very important topic – my favorite treats and desserts.  Thank you for reading!

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  • Elena
    March 17, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Great reviews! I am hoping to spend a few days in Paris with my husband this summer and will definitely be trying a couple of the restaurants you mentioned.

    xoxo, Elena
    the20-somethingproject.blogspot.com

    • Katherine
      March 17, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      Thank you! Have a wonderful time!

      • Anonymous
        March 18, 2014 at 9:30 am

        Thanks! I like thekitchn.com but usually just experiment with whatever I have in the kitchen.

  • Samantha Mariko
    March 17, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    I enjoyed looking through your travel photos! the hotel looks so nice, and the food pictures made me so hungry! seems like you had a wonderful trip!
    http://www.lettersimpromptu.blogspot.com

  • Ammu
    March 17, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    Oh I love your food posts! Just curious, do you cook? If you do, I would love to hear about your favourite recipes or tips, given your refined palate.

    • Katherine
      March 18, 2014 at 7:31 am

      Hi Ammu I definitely do not have a refined palate but thank you 🙂 I do cook at home but very simple foods and I only have a few staples – usually Chinese fried rice, Pad see ew (thai), pho, etc. For American recipes http://www.skinnytaste.com/ is my favorite site 🙂

      If you have favorite recipes/sites please do share as well!

      • Ammu
        March 18, 2014 at 9:32 am

        Thanks! I like thekitchn.com but usually just experiment with whatever I have in the kitchen.

  • Tabitha
    March 18, 2014 at 12:24 am

    That food looks just amazing, how do you stay so tiny, I’d be huge!

    • Katherine
      March 18, 2014 at 7:34 am

      I indulge when I travel…especially if I’m by myself solo for work! 🙂 At home I usually will have much more simple meals 🙂

  • bisbee
    March 18, 2014 at 5:25 am

    Thank you so much for the timely post! When we go to Paris in May, we are staying at a hotel right near where you stayed – Hotel du Champs de Mars – so I am very interested in all of the restaurant options you mentioned!

    • Katherine
      March 18, 2014 at 7:34 am

      I think that was right next door! Have a wonderful time!

  • Marlene
    March 18, 2014 at 7:48 am

    I’ll keep these restaurants in mind when I pop across to the other side of the pond soon.

  • Jan P
    March 18, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Thank you so much for this post!! We went for our first time last June for our honeymoon and this brought back so many memories! We really enjoyed the 7th Arrondissement, and Les Cocottes was by far our favorite meal in Paris (much more so than Le Chateaubriand). I hope work sends you on more trips so we can get more reviews. 🙂

    • Katherine
      March 19, 2014 at 10:35 am

      Thanks Jan! Do you have any other favorite spots in the 7th? I’ll add them to my list for next time!

      • Jan P
        March 23, 2014 at 10:28 pm

        I’m not too familiar with the neighborhoods, but you’ve already mentioned our other favorite, Le Comptoir. We also really loved L’avant Comptoir, especially their crepes! I’m not sure how Le Chateaubriand made it to a list of Top 50 in the World, but there is much better to be had in Paris.

  • Anonymous
    March 20, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    That food looks amazing! We stumbled upon Rue Cler when we were walking around Paris last summer and I had no idea it even existed. It was where we bought our wine, cheese and baguette to go watch the Eiffel Tower light up 🙂 Great area — I will keep this hotel in mind for next time.

  • Shirling Vanessatime
    March 26, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Love this post Kat! Thank you for sharing all the information, will be back to Paris this year 🙂