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Welcome 2 France Newsletter October 2009
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October Newsletter Highlights

· Four Favorite Ethnic Restaurants
· The Shoah Memorial
· Artisanal Chocolate
· Gardens of the Rodin Museum
· Menu Items to Note
· Looking Ahead to November

This Month's Featured Apartments

St. Germain des Pres - Cherche Midi
This one-bedroom apartment on the Left Bank is in walking distance to shopping, gourmet markets and museums. If you're a history buff, you'll love that it was built in the late 1700s as a cavalry garrison for Napoleon's troops.

Montorgeuil - Petits Carreaux II
Located right on the gourmet shopping street rue Montorgeuil, this 3-bedroom apartment will tempt you to cook at home every night. The eat-in kitchen is huge, with lots of light. It's a great place to share with friends.

Atelier Loft Furstenberg
You'll feel artistic inspiration in this 2-bedroom apartment with glass loft balcony on the Left Bank. Impressionists Claude Monet and Frederic Bazille actually lived and painted here in 1865, and the Delacroix Museum is in the same building.

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October, 2009
October is an exciting month to be in Paris. The weather cools off, especially in the evenings. All kinds of special events happen in October: the Salon du Chocolat, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Europe's richest horse race, the Nuit Blanche when museums stay open all night long.

A Few Favorite Ethnic Restaurants in Paris
Eating French food, of course, is one of the reasons we all love to visit Paris. The more I go to Paris, the more often I stay at least two weeks, and I still go home with lists of things I haven't gotten around to yet.
But on a longer stay, sometimes I just want to eat something different. So here are a few of my favorite non-French restaurants in Paris:

Bellota Bellota
Bellota Bellota in the 7th arrondisement at 18, rue Jean Nicot, is all about Spanish ham. (The name means "acorn" in Spanish, since that's what the pigs eat). Huge haunches of ham, feet still attached, hang from the ceiling, and you can buy a slice or two to take away at the counter. But it's most fun to make a reservation and sit in the small blue-tiled dining room.

When I was last there, we didn't order dinner entrées at all, but lots of small plates so we could taste all the variations of ham and sausage on offer. To counter the ham, we ordered salads and the tiniest of artichoke hearts and braised leeks. And, of course, we washed it all down with Spanish wines. Web: Metro: Invalides or La Tour-Maubourg.

Le Zyriab
At the Institut du Monde Arabe in the 5th arrondisement, take an elevator straight up through this building of graceful contemporary architecture. At the top, go left for Le Zyriab by Noura, where you'll have a terrific meal of Middle Eastern specialties and a gorgeous view over the Seine and the rooftops of Paris. This is a fine dining experience, so the prices are higher than we're often used to pay for such food in the U.S. If you just want delicious food, you can turn right into Le Mouchearabieh, a self-service cafeteria (open for lunch only) where the food is just as good, sans the view. Or just stop by late one afternoon, when the rooftop terrace is open for drinks and desserts. Metro: Jussieu or Cardinal Lemoine.

Lao Siam
Belleville, an area northeast of the Marais and Republique, is a wonderland of ethnic restaurants - Chinese, Vietnamese, Turkish, Tunisian and Thai restaurants are all here, next door to kosher and halaal butchers. I got off at the Belleville Metro stop and promptly confused Boulevard de Belleville with rue de Belleville; they intersect right there. The boulevard has bustling street vendors in the median, selling all sorts of object from blankets on the ground. The streets are dirtier than in the more upscale parts of Paris, and the storefronts a bit shabbier (and definitely multi-lingual) but the rich mix of smells is enticing.

I headed to Lao Siam a Thai restaurant reviewed not too long ago by Gourmet magazine. Its wood-paneled and green fabric walls provided a warm ambiance, and I was welcomed warmly even though I was alone. Seriously, I ate there the best garden roll I've ever had. I'm not enough of a foodie to recognize what gave the roll its sharp citrusy flavor, but I'd go back in a minute to have it again. 49, rue de Belleville. Metro: Belleville.

Chez Ly
Chez Ly is a Chinese restaurant at 95, avenue Niel in the 17th arrondisement, not too far from the Arc de Triomphe (Metro Ternes or Pereire). Why would anybody go so far for Chinese food? Because it's unlike our usual Chinese restaurants in the states. The decor is lush (and so are the prices, for Chinese food). When I was there last winter, my friend and I were the only diners in the place who weren't wearing fur, and under the furs were the latest styles in casual chic. This is no jeans and sneakers Chinese joint. But the food is exquisite, specializing in Hong Kong favorites, and also a taste of Thai. There are two other locations as well, at 5, rue Saussaises (Metro: Miromesnil) and at 25, rue La Boétie (Metro: Champs Elysées Clemenceau).

The Shoah Memorial
In recent years, the French government has begun to recognize the shameful role the Vichy government played in the deportations of some 70,000 Jews and other people from occupied France to the concentration camps during World War II. Marble plaques have been placed on exterior walls of buildings - often on schools or residences - where the deportations took place. You see them most frequently in the Marais, which was the old Jewish quarter, but if you're attentive, you can find them everywhere.

On my last trip to Paris, I visited the Shoah Memorial, a museum and study center dedicated to the history of this time in France. You walk in through tight airport-like security, and the first thing you see are long walls inscribed with the names of those who were lost. It's a very simple thing - just names - and yet overwhelming in its silent testimony. In the courtyard there's a bronze cylinder - symbolizing the chimneys of the death camps - that bears the names of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Because this is a fairly new museum (it opened in 2005), there are lots of interactive displays, and much of the text is presented in both French and English. I was particularly interested in seeing the films clips and photography of everyday life before the war, and of the deportations and life and death in the camps. It's not easy to take, but the material is beautifully presented. On a lower floor is an eternal flame, which sits across from the door of a barrack from one of the camps.

The memorial also contains the Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation, which has reading rooms, an excellent bookstore and a café. There's no entry charge, but voluntary donations are encouraged.

If you, like me, sometimes get your history through reading historical fiction, you might enjoy reading Sarah's Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay, a novel that contrasts the life of a contemporary Parisian woman and a young girl who was deported in the 1942 Vel' d'Hiver roundup, when several thousand Jews were sent to the camps.

The Shoah Memorial is located at 17, rue Geoffroy l'Asnier in the 4th arrondisement. Metro: Saint-Paul, Hotel de Ville, Pont Marie. Open every day from 10am - 6pm except Saturday.

Artisanal Chocolate to Look at, Eat and...
Do take some time this month to look over all the events listed in our calendar for October. One that I'll be attending for the first time this year is the Salon du Chocolat. I'll report about that later, but of course that puts me in mind of chocolate. Paris is rightly famous for its chocolate stores, especially those of Patrick Roger, Christian Constant and Pierre Hermé.

But my favorite artisanal chocolate shop is a tiny place at 4, rue Pas de la Mule, just a block past the Place des Vosges. It's called Josephine Vannier, and I will go very far out of my way to get there whenever I'm looking for a gift of chocolate for someone special. The shop offers the usual assortment of chocolate pieces, but what is most special is their selection of trompe l'oeil creations in chocolate.

They've made chocolate sculptures of musical instruments, boxes, shoes, handbags, African masks, artists' palettes; you never know what dramatic or whimsical design you might find. At Chinese New Year's earlier this year, I bought what appeared to be a red lacquer plate with sushi and chopsticks - all made of chocolate. The plate looked so real that when a friend accidentally broke off a corner, she apologized for breaking it - only to discover that it was edible. Best of all, their chocolate works of art aren't outrageously expensive. But be warned; they do keep erratic opening hours.

If that's not enough chocolate for you, you can visit Sensation Chocolat Paris, a spa located at 5, rue Saint Maur in the 11th. They specialize in chocolate facials, massages, and skin care products, all made with extracts of cocoa. You can have your chocolate to eat, or to smear on your body. Metro: Voltaire. Web:

Gardens of the Rodin Museum
This is also a good month for catching the last of the autumn sun, and I like no place better for that than in the enclosed garden of the Rodin Museum. Sitting for half an hour just absorbing Le Penseur (The Thinker) in its own little bit of garden will restore you to a quiet serenity.

Looking away from the house itself is a formal garden, but there's also a wilder section of trees, among which you discover more sculptures. At the back of the gardens is a stone pavilion that gives you a beautiful view of Rodin's house. The gardens themselves contain over 2000 rose bushes.

Up near the house is Rodin's compelling Memorial to the Burghers of Calais. In 1347, after a long siege, the town of Calais was forced to surrender to the English. Six burghers volunteered to sacrifice their lives and deliver the keys to the city to the English. Rodin has sculpted them in the traditional medieval dress of humility, wearing only plain shirts and with ropes around their necks. When you walk slowly around the sculpture, you can feel the emotions expressed in their faces, hands and bodies. (In the end, their lives were spared.)

While I always enjoy a visit to the Hotel Biron, Rodin's house, which is now a museum to his works, you can buy a ticket to the garden only for just one euro. The museum and gardens are located at 77, rue de Varenne (Metro: Varenne), closed Mondays.

Menu Items to Note
You've got better chances to catch the Eiffel Tower twinkling in October, because darkness comes earlier. Not long ago, some friends and I went down for dinner at one of the admittedly touristy bistros near the Pont d'Alma. We chose the place entirely on location. Our plan was to eat dinner and then dash out on the hour to get a full view of Eiffel Tower twinks.

Hearing us we walked in, the waiter brought over four menus in English. I am not fluent in French, but I speak a little, so asked him to change mine for French.

"Mmmm," said one of my friends. "The chopped steak sounds good."

"Chopped steak," it said clearly on her menu. On mine, the words were "cheval haché," or chopped horse. The French do, of course, sometimes eat horse, and you might be adventurous enough to try it yourself. But if not, my suggestion is to always ask for a French menu, even if you're just using it to compare to the English translation.

I began to think of other mistakes and near-misses I'd had over the years ordering French food. On my very first trip to France, I ordered a "crepe andouillette," thinking I'd get a hearty crepe with sausage. Instead, I faced a crepe filled with white curls of tripe - definitely not to my taste.

If you speak French well, you've avoided these embarrassing situations. But here are some of the words that I've learned to watch out for on the menu:

"Cervelle": brains, usually of lamb or veal.

"Gesier": gizzards. This is a term you see more frequently in the Dordogne, and I admit that I love salade avec gesiers, but it's good to know what's coming.

"Ris de veau": veal sweetbreads (rice is "riz").

"Rognons": kidneys.

"Pieds et paquets": sheep feet and other ground meat stuffed into squares of stomach.

Finally, there are a few phrases on the French menu that look so English they deceive you, because they're not what they sound like. "Faux filet," a cut of meat from the T-bone, is very tasty, but it has no resemblance whatever to American filet mignon. "Lard" or "lardons" don't mean lard at all, but instead delicious bacon. And for some reason it took me forever to figure out "mi-cuit," which means half-cooked. Whenever I see that phrase in connection with "chocolat," it's probably one of those dense chocolate cakes with the gooey center.

To keep me on track, I carry a French Menu Master in my handbag. If you own one of these small red, white and blue booklets, you know it's maddening to use, because foods are first listed by course, then alphabetically. But at least it has kept me away from kidneys.

Note: all the times and fees we've quoted in this month's newsletter were accurate when we published, but things do change, so it's always a good idea to check before you go.

Sheila Campbell, Washington, DC Web:

Calendar of Events, October, 2009

October 1 - February 7, 2010
The Dutch Golden Age
La Pinacothéque
28, place de la Madeleine, Metro Madeleine

October 6 - January 10, 2010
Deadline (Ideas of Mortality among International Artists)
Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
11, avenue du Président Wilson, Metro Alma Marceau or Iéna

October 10 - January 25, 2010
From Byzantine to Istanbul
Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais
3, avenue du Général Eisenhower, Metro Champs Elysées Clemenceau or Franklin Roosevelt

Through October 11
@rt Outsiders: Art and the Environment
Maison Européenne de la Photographie
5 - 7, rue de Fouray, Metro St. Paul or Pont Marie

October 15 - January 17, 2010
Chasing Napoleon
Palais de Tokyo
13, avenue du Président Wilson, Metro Alma Marceau or Iéna

Through December 13, 2010
Veilhan Versailles (Modern art sculpture in the courtyards and gardens of Versailles)
Chateau de Versailles

Through January 4
Venice Rivals at the Louvre
Musée du Louvre, Metro Musée du Louvre or Louvre Rivoli

Through January 4
Renoir in the 20th Century
Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais
3, avenue du Général Eisenhower, Metro Champs Elysées Clemenceau or Franklin Roosevelt

Through January 11, 2010
Bruegel, Memling, Van Eyck...the Brukenthal Collection
Musée Jacquemart André
158, Blvd Haussmann, Metro Miromesnil or St. Philippe du Roule

Exhibitions and Other Museums

Through October 28
The Years of Vian's Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Musée des Lettres et Manuscrits
8, rue de Nesle, Metro Odéon or St.-Michel

Through November 11
The Grand Dukes of Burgundy
Tour Jean Sans Peur
20, rue Étienne Marcel, Metro Étienne Marcel or Les Halles

Through November 22
Le Grand Pari(s): Ten Visions for the Future of Paris
Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine
Palais de Chaillot, 1 place du Trocadéro, Metro Trocadéro

Through November 29
165 Years of Iranian Photography
Musée du Quai Branly
55 Quai Branly, Metro Alma-Marceau, Bir Hakeim, École Militaire

Through December 13
Get Out of My Sun (furniture and household objects by Sylvain Dubuisson
VIA Gallery, Metro Gare de Lyon or Ledru-Rollin
29, avenue Daumesnil

Through December 31
Tales of the Eiffel Tower
First floor and stairs of the Eiffel Tower, Metro Trocadéro or École Militaire
€4.50 - 13.00

Through January 17, 2010
Louis Comfort Tiffany: Colors and Light
Musée du Luxembourg
19, rue de Vaugirard, Metro Saint Sulpice

Music, Theater and Dance

Through October 5
Le Jardin Shakespeare's Open-Air Theatre
Bois de Boulogne - Chapiteau Alexis Gruss
Allee de la Reine Marguerite, Metro Porte Dauphine, Les Sablons, Porte Maillot, Porte d'Auteuil, Porte de Passy
Prices vary by event.

Through October 12
Giselle (ballet)
Palais Garnier
Intersection of rues Scribe and Auber, Metro Opéra
€6 - 87

Through April 23
The Barber of Seville
Opera Bastille
Place de la Bastille, Metro Bastille
€5 - 138


October 3
Nuit Blanche
Museums, monuments, movies and parks stay open all night.

October 3 - 4
Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Europe's richest horse race
Hippodrome de Longchamp
Routes des Tribunes, Bois de Boulogne, Metro d'Auteil, then free shuttle bus

October 3 - 4
Open Weekend at the Garde Républicaine (brass bands and horse parades)
Quartiers des Célestins, Caserne des Célestins, Metro: Sully Morland or Bastille

October 7 - 11
Montmartre Harvest Festival (grape harvest in the only vineyard in Paris)
Dancing, singing, parades, fireworks, exhibitions in Montmartre.
Metro: Jules Joffrin, Pigalle, Anvers (+ funicular), Abesses, Chateau Rouge

October 10 - 11
Parc des Princes Antiques Fair
24, rue du Commandant, Metro: Porte de Saint Cloud

Through October 12
Jardin des Papillons - Butterfly Garden
Bois de Vincennes -Parc Floral
Route de la Pyramide, Metro Chateau de Vincennes

October 14 - 16
Salon du Chocolat
Porte de Versailles (Pavilion 4), Metro: Porte de Versailles
(No single website)

Through December 29
Grande Ecurie - Grand Stables of Versailles
Chateau de Versailles
Avenue Rockefeller - Versailles, France

Through January 3, 2010
Crimexpo - Interactive display of crime scene investigation
Cite des Sciences
30, avenue Corentin Celtou - 19th Arrondissement
€7,00 - 10,00; Under 7: Free

Through January 31, 2010
Madeleine Vionnet - French fashion designer of the interwar years
Musée des Arts Décoratifs
107 -111, rue de Rivoli - 1st Arrondissement
€6,50 - 8,00

A Look Ahead for November, 2009

November 1 - December 31, Christmas Windows of Paris' Grands Magasins

November 5 - 15, Bastille Antiques Fair

November 19 - 22, Paris Photo fair, Carrousel du Louvre

November 19 - 23, Marie Claire Idées Expo

November 23 - December 31, Champs Elysées Christmas Lights

Month of November: Toy Expo, Espace Champerret

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The Welcome 2 France team
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