Photograph of Paris April 2022
Eating Out

Paris, April 2022

Saint James, Paris

The sun is shining brightly and we have just arrived at this fabulous hotel in the 16th arrondissement in my favourite city, Paris.

Saint James was originally built by the Thiers Foundation in 1892 to comfortably house brilliant students who had been awarded their academic scholarships. It went though considerable change in the 1980s and became home to the Saint James Club of Paris, rather like the gentlemen’s clubs made famous in London. It wasn’t until 1992 that it was converted into a hotel and became part of the Relais & Châteaux group, in 2011.

Grand, imposing and sumptuous, yet romantic and intimate, this hotel exudes luxury, but without ostentation. On their website, they rather accurately describe the hotel as exuding ‘a modern and timeless Parisian chic but also the soul of a real home.’ This magnificent place is our home for the next 4 days!

Wonderfully close to the Eiffel Tower and Montmartre, I can’t wait to start exploring.

The room is not too shabby either …..

Off for a wander:

Andrew set off for the conference whilst I checked in and went off for a wander in the local area, the 16th arrondissement.

The Bellefeuille, Saint James, Paris

Dinner tonight was at the Bellefeuille, the 1 star Michelin restaurant at the Saint James. Run by executive chef Julien Dumas, the incredibly delicious food is beautifully presented, full of flavour and bang on season. The asparagus was a triumph! I would definitely recommend this wonderful restaurant, in this sumptuous setting

Day 2

As Andrew set off fo the conference, I decided to explore Paris on foot. I met Andrew at lunchtime in the Tuilleries Garden, via the Arc de Triumph and Les Champs-Elysées. We had a wander around the Samaritaine department store and then I went on to see the renovations at Notre-Dame, the Marais and Ile Saint-Louis

Samaritaine – a very Parisian Department Store

Rebuilding Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

The Marais

Lovely wander around the Marias area, plus a visit to the Merci Concept store and coffee shop.

Dinner at Benoit

Alain Ducasse’s Benoit is the only Michelin starred bistro in Paris. We had extremely high hopes prior to visiting this restaurant, and although the food was delicious, with a price tag to match, we were surprised that it was deemed to be Michelin star quality. The restaurant itself was heaving, the service quick but attentive. The tables were exceptionally close together and we had a lovely evening getting to know our neighbours from Miami!

What we ate:

  • Gougères – these were fabulous.
  • Confit duck foie gras with toasted Parisian brioche
  • Salmon Koulibiac served with beurre blanc. So good, but I should have ordered some vegetables to eat along side.
  • Pan seared beef tenderloin, bordelaise sauce with bone marrow, served with mashed potatoes (as opposed to macaroni au gratin). Very tasty.
  • Benoit profiteroles with hot chocolate sauce – exceptionally good.
  • Parisian flan – like a cross between Crème brûlée and egg custard tart. Unbelievably good.

Although it was difficult to fault the food, we won’t be rushing back for dinner. We have found other bistros in Paris, with more sensible price tags, more space, equally good, if not better food, and wonderful service. However, I should point out that Andrew was very excited by the wine list which contained fabulous wine at incredibly reasonable prices. That said, I believe they have a fabulous lunch menu – three courses for 42€. Maybe I will be back afterall!

After dinner:

Lovely walk after dinner and cocktails back at Saint James

Day 3

A good walk around Emma’s old haunts, the 16th arrondissement, today before lunch at L’Ogre. I even found a lone daffodil!


What a fabulous lunch at this vibrant and friendly restaurant in the 16th. Featured in the top 25 restaurants in Paris by Condé Nast Traveller magazine, it certainly lived up to its billing. Busy but relaxed, we enjoyed delicious, authentic food and wine. My only regret was that we were going to Helene Darroze in the evening and I needed to be abstemious. I didn’t eat or drink nearly as much as I should have! Nevertheless, we managed –

  • Foie gras maison
  • Ravioles du Royan
  • Entrecôte Black Angus with french fries, salad and mustard
  • Tiramisu Breton (Caramel beurre salé)
  • Delicious bottle of Pommard

After lunch …

We wandered back to the hotel, with fabulous views of the Eiffel Tower, and a sit in the beautiful garden at Saint James.

Saint James Garden and hotel cat!

Marsan par Hélène Darroze

We had been looking forward to coming to this beautiful 2 star Michelin restaurant, in the 6th arrondissement near Le Jardin du Luxembourg, since we luckily managed to secure a booking a few weeks ago.

Situated on the first floor, the restaurant style was light, chic and modern yet classical with neutral, calm colours.

We were warmly welcomed into the restaurant and introduced to the chefs in the open plan kitchen, but unfortunately our table was essentially on the edge of the restaurant in a rather chilly corridor. Used as a thoroughfare for staff bringing food and drink to and from the kitchen to the rest of the restaurant, it was a very uncomfortable place to sit for a few hours.

Sadly, this set the tone for the rest of the evening. Whilst our waitress was utterly delightful and the sommelier, introduced us to some unique choices, as part of the wine flight, (some we enjoyed very much, others less so) the remaining staff were efficient to the point of surly, and the food was rather underwhelming for its 2 stars. The food was, of course, immaculately presented; works of art, not always matched by flavour.

I was so glad we came, as I learnt a few things that night. I prefer Hélène Darroze at the Connaught in London. London does haute cuisine as well, and often better, than Paris and when in Paris, we should focus on what Paris does best – traditional bistros and classical French food, such as the wonderful L’Ogre where we had eaten lunch`!

The restaurant:

The food:

Unfortunately, I did not make a copy of the menu on the night and it is currently not available on the website.

And home:

I never tire of seeing the Eiffel Tower!

Day 4

Bistrot Paul Bert

If you shut your eyes and imagine that you are in a fabulous, busy bistro, serving classical French food in a lively and bustling atmoshpere in the centre of Paris, this is exactly what you would conjure up. Or as Andrew said, ‘straight out of central casting!’. This well renowned, famous bistro lived up to its reputation and delivered, without compromising on its authenticity, wonderful friendly service and most importantly, delicious French food. Yes, we loved it. So much so, I booked it to go back again 2 weeks later!

Starters –

  • Gougères
  • Terrine de Campagne Maison
  • Asperges Vertes, Vinaigrette aux Herbes

Main courses:

  • Filet de Boeuf au Poivre de Sarawak, Frites
  • Belle Sole Meuniere du Guilvinec, Pommes Vapeur


  • Grand Marnier Soufflé
  • Tarte aux Pommes, Glace Vanille

After lunch

After our fabulous lunch we pottered around the Marais area for a while before heading back to the hotel for an Aperol Spritz in the beautiful gardens.

And in the evening:

Still full after our fabulous lunch, we decided on a couple of cocktail bars rather than more food – it was a great decision!


We started at a fabulous, small bar in the 16th, Cravan (@cravanparis). This small bar was packed from the moment we arrived, to the time we left, with people spilling out on to the extra tables on the street outside.

We drank –

  • Royal Basilic – champagne, fleur de basilic de Sicile
  • French 75 – champagne, gin, lemon juice, sugar
  • Yellow – gin, gentiane, citron, chartreuse jaune

I am a huge fan of champagne based cocktails, and these really hit the spot


A short walk from Cravan in the 17th, we set off for UC-61. Whoever came up with the idea of designing a cocktail bar to look like the inside of a submarine, is a genius. Who’d have thought?!! Dark and moody with more wonderful cocktails and a slightly younger crowd than us, we enjoyed:

  • So Fresh, So Clean – cachaca, citron vert, sirop simple, aneth, concombre, bitter celery, soda
  • Old Cuban – rhum blanc, rhum ambre, citron vert, sirop de gingembre, menthe, champagne, Angostura bitters
  • Sazerac – cognac, rye whiskey, sirop simple, Peychaud’s bitters

Needless to say, we got the munchies on the way home and managed to find a late bistro for some chips and a final espresso martini! Sore head beckons!!

Day 5

Clearly an early start was never going to be an option this morning – packing and checking out took all my energy! However we did manage a quick trip on the train, a walk along the Seine and a final lunch at Au Petit Tonneau before heading home.

Au Petit Tonneau

Tucked away in the 7th Arrondissement, this friendly, relaxed, traditional bistro serves conventional french food with a smile and enthusiasm. It was the perfect spot for our lunch today. Unpretentious and welcoming, this is a great place for lunch if you are seeking a truly French experience, well cooked food and some delicious and well priced wine. The Tarte Tatin was sublime! I would most definitely come back to this restaurant.

We enjoyed:

  • Mersault 1er Cru, Vieilles Vignes, Dominique Laurent
  • Baked Monkfish tail with Lemon Risotto
  • Dover Sole Façon Meunière with sautéed potatoes
  • Amandine of Pears
  • Classic Tarte Tatin and Normandy Cream
  • Mersault 1er Cru, Vieilles Vignes, Dominique Laurent

Until next time:

And here ends our trip to my favourite city, Paris. Such a wonderful few days in glorious weather, amazing food and drink (mostly) and the company wasn’t bad either. Until next time!

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