DATELINE PARIS: I want to talk about another charming small hotel, and a historically great dining spot. (We escaped airline drama and have been “train-ing,” thanks to our wonderful Eurail Pass from ACPRail – check them out online!)
While lolling in our Hotel d’Aubusson’s spa bathtub, bubbling away after seemingly walking the Paris marathon, I ponder how to share the many possibilities of Paris with my Tolucan Times readers. There are high end and lower cost opportunities. And the most charming may be at an unexpected rate, like the Millesime Hotel, a pied-a-terre with country calm in the heart of St Germain des Pres.
At the urging of Walter Waeterloos, Directeur General Manager of the d’Aubusson, we visited his sister Inga Holzinger. And one sweet sister she is. We were shown around this 17th century gem and former abbey by the lovely young Manager Inga Holzinger, who is passionate about her hotel. The interior boasts ancient but well-preserved stonework, and through a large arched window at reception we can see the peaceful courtyard, with guests enjoying a snack, surrounded by attractive plants and flowers. The chambers are neat, spacious and technically equipped, including free Internet! Each morning a bountiful buffet is served in an atmospheric and witty-art filled cellar under a vaulted ceiling. Millesime means “vintage year,” and like a fine and precious old wine, this excellent little hotel is easy to take, and easy on the pocketbook (which may allow some shopping in the tempting shops nearby).
LASSERRE: Time to talk about serious macaroni. On our last day in Paris, we chose to lunch at the legendary and tres elegant Restaurant Lasserre, which boasts 2 Michelin stars and the astonishing cuisine of Jean-Louis Nomicos. I don’t always remember a lot these days, but his macaroni (stuffed with black truffles and duck foie gras) is unforgettable! Tenderly built, noodle by succulently stuffed noodle, with fragrant cheese melted meticulously on top.
And the rest of the menu is equally inventive and as lovely to look at, as it is delicious to consume. May I suggest you try not to miss the crawfish with asparagus mousse, so novel and flavorful even if I didn’t know what it really was until I asked. While enjoying dainty taste treats (and luscious fish and delish quail), we were surrounded by a movie set of gorgeous silver antiques in a flower filled room with wait staff in formal attire that was there to make sure we were happy. I was happy when the famous ceiling opened to reveal the beautiful Paris day and, just to amuse, there are upside-down flowerpots on both sides of the ceiling with little flowers hanging down. Very brilliant and delightful. Then, when we thought we had it all, came the desserts. Mon Dieu! Mine was a pineapple baked on a brioche topped with a pineapple sorbet and a mystery sauce. David, who barely had room for a dessert, was served a carnival of chocolate mousse and chips. It was indescribable but trust me: It tasted like a rumba and danced on the tongue with fragrant and delicate flavors. I’m getting much too prancey, but it’s taken me seven decades to achieve these delights and it’s too much fun to take for granted. Lasserre is a restaurant without equal in Paris, this city of great restaurants. You will find it on the rue Franklin Roosevelt, occupying the second floor of its stately home filled with antiques and flowers and a well-dressed elevator to lift us to dine.
Our thanks to congenial Director General, Guillaume Crampon. He gave us a miniature porcelain pot with little blue flowers painted on it, a signature gift from Laserre which guarantees a complimentary aperitif when you return. What a great way to spend an April afternoon while saying goodbye to this precious city. We’ll talk…