10 Things We Love About Our Yellow Flat.

It’s rather amazing but it has been ten years since we finished renovating our Yellow Flat Paris and began sharing it with our guests.  Along they way we have gotten to know a wonderful community of people who enjoyed our pied a terre as much as we did.  So to celebrate the 10th anniversary Florence and I took a moment to think about what makes this place so special and why we enjoy it so much every time we visit Paris.

Number 1. Something new! Our comfortable queen sized bed. We sleep well after a day of enjoying a day in the city.  Good reading lights too.

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2.  Our living room couch.  We love the wonderful late afternoon light on the corner seat of the couch reading or just relaxing and taking it in.   It makes a great second bed for our extra guests.

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3.  The third thing that the we love about the Yellow Flat is our remodeled kitchen, efficient as hell and fully stocked. And our new espresso machine.

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4.  Our shower. It has so much hot water and great pressure. Perfect for relaxing after  a day of touring or walking.

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5.  The two-minute walk to the Champ De Mars park to look at the Eiffel Tower. We never get tired of looking at.  It is spectacular at any time of the day.

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Or night.

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6.  Walking to Poilane bakery for their amazing breads and morning pastries. Yes those are some amazing apple ‘chansons’ that make a perfect breakfast.

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7.   Two glasses of rose’ on the terrace enjoying the afternoon sun.  No comment needed.

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8.   The views of the Parisian skyline from our floor to ceiling sliding glass windows in the living room and bedroom.

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9.   Buying a salad at the Grenelle Marche bringing it home and enjoying it with a plate of artisan cheeses and a fresh baguette. And perhaps a lightly chilled Chinon or Bourgogne Aligote to go with it?

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10. The 10th reason to love the Yellow Flat is that we are celebrating our 10th anniversary. So please take 10% off of any booking of a week’s stay during July or August 2016. Just mention our 10th anniversary celebration when you book. And enjoy this shot from 2006 when we were finishing construction.

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As well as that wood paneling from the old kitchen.  It seems so dated in style.

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As a further thank you to everyone who has stayed with us over the years I am happy to send you an 8 by 10 print of any photo that has appeared in this blog  Just tell us your story on our Facebook page and mention the photo you have in mind.  Or ask me to pick one.  Like this one for example.  I think its pretty cool.

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All the best.

Jules and Florence

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www.yellowflat.com

Avant Le Comptoir. So Much Good Fun In Such A Small Place.

IMG_2151Has a restaurant ever haunted you? Well Avant Le Comptoir has haunted me for a couple of years over several trips to Paris.

Much is written about chef Yves Camdeborde. His bistro Le Comptoir de Relais is in all of the hip guides to Paris. He even made it onto that famous not so renegade anymore Bourdaine’s TV show for his Paris visit.  But I don’t have the patience to line up for an hour to wait to get in.  Instead, I have had my eye on his little wine shop/cafe located next door, Avant Le Comptoir  at 9 Carrefour De L’Odeon.

But my eye was all that had made it in despite numerous tries. There was always a crowd. A wait. Or it was closed. Yet I couldn’t get it out of my mind as I exited a wonderful black and white photography exhibit near Opera at 2pm on a winter day. I was glad that I had on a warm coat, gloves and a scarf.  I was heading out on a long walk across the Seine and surely at this hour I would be able to get in.

I was right.  No line and half full.  Finally.

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Avant Le Comptoir  is a tiny temple of gastronomic delight that serves wonderful small plates of modern French food accompanied by a well put together wine list.  In a work surface the size of a Parisian kitchen they turn out food that is likely the match of the big brother next door without pretension and with great panache.  It has a sort of drunk slightly bourgeois working professionals vibe and once you get in just let the river of baguette, butter and glasses of wine wash over you.  And don’t fight the current.

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First look up.  Those aren’t decorative signs, that is the menu.

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Now get the bartender’s attention and that is going to be tough because it is loud, there is lots of competition and he is doing most of the cooking too.  Then tuck yourself into a crevice, eat drink and be merry like I did.

I started with a glass of Beaujolais.  Not the nouveau stuff, but a good solid bone dry gamay.  Watching the cook pulling small containers and ingredients from countless containers the show began. I started with a cream of sunchoke soup with toasted slivered almonds, the crunchiness was a great counterpoint.

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Next the chicken.  Sort of a japanese approach like a Katsu, a boned thigh breaded and fried deep brown accompanied by a remoulade like dip and way too few frites piled into a mini Stonhenge sculpture.  The chicken was sumptuous.  Another glass of red please, yes the Morgon the bartender suggested was equally good.

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Sensing that all was well in this world dessert had to follow.  The riz au lait did not disappoint.  Think of a sweetened risotto in a caramel bath.  All washed down with a sharp espresso.

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You can also order sandwiches or crepes to go.  Next time.

The bill?  19 euro, about 25 dollars.

Don’t hesitate to come here at off hours.  And you will be comfortable going there alone, in fact, it is made for that quick hit meal as many many people did during the hour or two I spent there.  I never did open that book I brought along either.

Walking out into the cold afternoon after saying goodbye to the two ad guys who shared plates and conversation throughout the meal (they were still there at 430 now that is life) the cold wasn’t quite so cold.  St Germain looked beautiful.  Life was full and at this moment Paris was doing very very well.

Avant Le Comptoir
9 Carrefour de l’Odeon
75006 Paris
Metro: Odeon
08 26 10 10 87

Finding The Best New French Bistros and Restaurants Of Paris. Hint: They Are In The 15th.

The Yellow Flat Paris is located at the border of 7th and 15th districts off of Blvd. Suffren. These two districts are a study in contrasts, with the 15th clearly the poorer working class cousin. And while the 15th has some wonderful streets and parks, as you head further east towards the peripherique and the Porte De Versailles, the buildings become less and less charming and the streets more and more dull.

On the other hand this means that rents go down, and that in turn means that many young chefs turn to the 15th to open their first restaurants after leaving their training grounds behind.  As Brooklyn is to New York and Oakland to the San Francisco Bay Area, this is an area to find up and coming chefs and restaurants.  It is also home to a high concentration of  new wave bistros that serve reasonable well thought out food. Overall, you eat well and reasonably.

Many of these chefs have gone back to their roots creating ingredient forward menus.  And what roots they are!  Food that pays homage to where the regions and dining habits of the chefs, from the hunters of Burgundy  to the pervasive influence of Basque and South-West country cooking.

So here are some of our dining experiences, listed alphabetically.

Au Dernier Metro 70 Blvd. Grenelle 01 45 75 01 23

A rocking bar with a reasonable happy hour open until 2 am with traditional dishes in the style of basque country cooking. Very reasonably priced with a decent magret de canard and more mundane snacks to go with your beer and wine.  Good for an informal meal and just blocks from the flat down Blvd. Grenelle.  Go, find a seat on the terrace and watch Paris go by.  A place to relax and have a good time.  Can be very crowded.

Afaria.  15 Rue Desnouette, Paris. 01 48 42 95 90

Afaria remains one the most trendy of the bistros in the 15e and a reservation has become mandatory.  Can’t miss:  the duck breast served on, yes, a roof tile over grape vines.  Definite Basque influence in the food but modern enough to excite. Visited again in 2012 and it knocked me out with its creativity in presentation. I am going to take the time to review this later, but take a gander at this duck (it did feed 6 of us).  If you want that Boudin Noir (not me) the rendition is over the top.

L’ami Marcelle. 33 Georges Pitard. 01 48 56 62 06.

Located almost at the west extreme of the 15th, walking into this tiny room is like stepping into a time capsule.  Run by a very efficient waiter/host/owner? and his somewhat lost but willing assistant, you step directly back to the 1960’s.  I can’t say the food is gourmet, but is sure is fun. We laughed hard all night.  Not worth the trip.

Le Beurre Noisette.  68 Rue Vasco Gama. 01 48 56 82 49

Daughter  Olivia and I had a wonderful meal there that centered around the largest veal roast I ever enjoyed in a restaurant served in its copper baking dish and an incredible chestnut soup.  A delicate cooking style in a small hushed elegant room.  Very charming and approachable.  Portions are generous.  Worth the long walk.

Cassenoix.  56 Rue de la Federation 01 45 66 09 01.

This bistro was designed to have a road house country feel but the food is complex and satisfying.  We went with a party of 10 so we were a little limited by the menu choices but it didn’t matter.  Lots and lots of food for a 32 euro prix fixe, three courses (soup, appetizer, main) and dessert.   The chef comes from the famous bistro Regelade and brings a flare to his presentation and ingredient choices, this is a meal that feels like it should cost a lot more.  A very neighborhood restaurant where we had a lot of FUN.

Café Commerce.  51 Rue de Commerce. 01 45 75 03 27.

Cafe Commerce is a throwback, a classic brasserie with a very serviceable raw bar.  Some dishes feel a bit old, but the room is exceptional.  Don’t come looking for gourmet and stick to the classics and you won’t be let down too far although on my last visit the restaurant seemed a bit tired even if it was almost August.  Wonderful collection of art deco posters on the wall and an easy walk.  Open past 10 and great for Sunday arrivals as so many restuarants are closed.  Moderate prices.

La Coupole.  102 Blvd. Montparnasse. (OK, it is just over the border in the 14th.).

A famous brasserie well beyond its prime.  I do not know why so many people love it. True, it is a gorgeous room.  But you must deal with a rude host, spacey waiters and very average classic brasserie food.  Service was so bad they brought us free champagne after we complained to the manager.  Don’t bother, you can do better.

Le Cristal De Sel.  13 Rue Mademoiselle.  01 42 50 35 29.

Reviewed here earlier this year.  We had an uneven meal, with lots of brilliance but some very bonehead mistakes and a very weak front of the house that took away from the great efforts of a good chef.

La Gitane.  53 Bis Avenue de la Motte Piquet. 01 47 34 62 92

Reviewed here earlier this year.  A steady performer just a block away from the Yellow Flat.  Although it describes itself as serving ‘cuisine bouregeoise, the chef has the style of a Michelin star.  A traditional comfortable stylish room, a charming couple for your host and some classic french food. Is it cold outside?  Then just go.

Jadis.  208 Rue De La Croix Nivert.  01 45 57 73 20

Had a wonderful lunch here last year.  Of all of the bistros we ate at this one was the one that could be called ‘gastronomique’.  Plates were prepared with style and delicacy (look at deconstructed rollmops above) and I remember my eat with a spoon daube (beef) c0oked in dark beer to this day.  As we finished our meal the chef came out and greeted the room is a red leather motorcycle outfit and then sped away on his scooter.  With all of the press this restaurant has received, reservations are mandatory.

 

Le Pere Claude 51 Ave De La Motte-Piquet.  01 47 34 03 05.

Two blocks from the apartment.  Truly Parisian. Check out the photos on the wall you will see the crème de la crème of Paris politics.  Great open kitchen, prices moderate to expensive.  Service can be indifferent to the point of rudeness.  Very hit and miss and in our view past it’s prime.  If you are there stick to the steak.  Even my roast chicken felt tired.

L’Os A Moelle.  3 Avnue Vasco De Gama.   01 45 57 27 27

There is a reason that this somewhat out-of-the-way room bistro and its cousin wine bar across the street are packed every night. The menu here is 36 euro, the difference here is that the tasting features five courses starting with an amuse; a soup, appetizer, main, cheese course and dessert.  For all of this food and two Sanceres, one the well-known white sauvignon and one red, a very well-balanced pinot noir the bills came to udner 50 euro per person. Be careful on hot nights, there is no AC.

Les Caves A L’os A La Moelle.  181 Rue Lourmel, 01 45 57 28 28.

This very charming wine bar is the informal twin of L’os A La Moelle.  Very informal self-service buffet menu and lots of regional wines by the glass.  A good meal for very little money, you can get out for under 20 euro.  Limited menu, communal eating from large terrines and pots.  Great fun but if the dishes aren’t what you are looking for there are no choices.

La Villa Corse. 164 Boulevard De Grenelle.  01 53 86 70 81

What lies behind the red curtain?  La Villa Corse is located just a block up from the La Mote Piquet metro station and very close to the Yellow Flat La Villa Corse focuses on the cuisine of Corsica. Inside is a packed room of booths, dimmed red lighting and books.  Almost a gentlemen’s parlor of days past.   I expected to see animal head jutting out of the walls. Expect to spend well over 50 euros a person, although if I was on a short vacation this would not be a choice.

With bistros like this you can see why many chefs have abandoned the 3 and 4 star world and gone back to their neighborhoods to enjoy their lives.  And you can walk to most of them from the Yellow Flat.