Affordable Paris: French cuisine on sale now
Paris may be feeling the economic pinch right now, but the outward signs are subtle. Unlike New York, where you'll find "recession specials" frequently advertised, Paris has yet to slap many sale stickers on its rooms and restaurants. That said, there are two promotions running now that have significantly lowered the cost of eating well in Paris.
The first comes from Guy Savoy, whose eponymous restaurant is often cited as one of the best in the city (18 Rue Troyon, 17th arrondissement, +011-33/8-26-10-13-07). He’s offering to let any teenager aged 15–17 years eat for free when accompanied by two paying adults. This is limited to one freebie per visit, but it could still save you hundreds of euros on a special-occasion meal.
For those who can't splurge on the set menu (the cheapest is €275/$360), the chef is offering a similar deal at his other three Paris eateries. Le Chiberta (3 rue Arsène Houssaye, 8th arrondissement, +011-33/1-53-53-42-00) is a swish modern-design restaurant, Les Bouquinistes (53 quai des Grands Augustins, 6th arrondissement, +011-33/1-43-25-45-94) is a crowd-pleasing bistro, and L'Atelier Maître Albert (1 rue Maître Albert, 5th arrondissement, +011-33/1-56-81-30-01) specializes in rotisserie meats. At these three (much cheaper) eateries, Savoy has also lowered the age limit: Any teenager from 12–17 years eats free when accompanied by two paying adults.
The second promotion comes from Châteaux and Hôtel Collections, a group that manages more than 500 swank hotel and restaurant properties in France. From now until May 15, their La France Re[Cuisinée] promotion lets you eat lunch for only €28 at a selection of restaurants across the country. In Paris, that applies to two very good restaurants from acclaimed chef Alain Ducasse: Aux Lyonnais (32 rue Saint-Marc, 2nd arrondissement, +011-33/1-42-96-65-04) and Benoît (20, rue Saint Martin, 4th arrondissement +011-33/1-42-72-25-76). It also includes L'Assiette (181 rue du Château, 14th arrondissement, +011-33/1-43-22-64-86), a bistro that has the local foodie crowd raving. I haven’t yet been to "the plate," but a promotion like this is sure to get me moving.
Our Affordable Paris series of blog posts
A footnote to "Drink Like a Local in 6 Beer Cities"
We recently published Bret Stetka's fun story, "Drink Like a Local in 6 Beer Cities," which covered some locales you would expect, like Portland, Ore., and some you might not, like Salt Lake City. The Brooklyn section of the article mentioned three bars, and I thought I'd recommend another option for anyone thinking of visiting my home borough: Brooklyn Brewery. Bret mentioned that you can get Brooklyn Brewery's beers at Beer Table, but you can also go right to the source. The brewery is open on Saturday and Sunday from noon until 6 p.m., and beers are $4, or six for $20. (Those are great prices for New York City.) There's also a free 25-minute tour on weekends that covers the history of the brewery and the beer-making process. According to Lysandra Gibbs, the brewery's marketing manager, the tours at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. are a lot more crowded than the ones at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., so plan accordingly.
A few good links: The Sahara's 3-foot beer tower, furbies, West Side Story, and more
The Sahara Now Selling Three-Foot Tall Beers for March Madness. Only in Vegas: the Beer Tower holds 15 beers—perfect refreshment for those tense NCAA basketball games. [hotelchatter] Great moments in airline signs: No Furby on board. Qantas is not a fan of the cute but annoying toys. [Upgrade: Travel Better] 'West Side Story' revival opens on Broadway. The reviews are in for the show, directed by Arthur Laurents, who wrote the original book. [NewYorkology] My new favorite airplane activity. Keep the little ones occupied with this fun sticker project. [cookiemag.com] Royal Caribbean goes all 'Big Brother'. The cruise line identified 50 people who have written favorable comments about it on various websites, offering them perks if they keep saying good things. [gadling.com]
This weekend: Suh-weet! N.H.'s maple syrup celebration
New Hampshire might be a small state, but in the span of four to six weeks each year, its maple trees provide more than 80,000 gallons of syrup. You can see part of the process during the New Hampshire Maple Weekend. More than 65 sugarhouses in the state are participating this year by opening their doors and offering samples, tours, and special events. For instance, visit Turkey Street Maples in Chocorua, N.H., for demonstrations, samples served with ice cream, and an opportunity to help collect sap from trees. Other houses are offering horse or tractor-drawn rides around the farms, pancake feasts, and "sugar on snow," a New England delicacy made by pouring boiling maple syrup on packed, fresh snow—the combination of the two makes a caramel-like treat. See the full schedule. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup—New Hampshire's producers made about 85,000 gallons of the sweet stuff in 2008. Sap starts to run from sugar maples in mid-February when the nights are cold but the days milder (in the 40s), with lots of sun. To make syrup, sap is boiled to evaporate water. That's why sugar houses always have a ton of steam coming from them. Vermont is also hosting a Maple Open House this weekend. Most sugarhouse visits are free; some events cost a nominal fee. Call the hotline at 603/225-3757 for more info.
Comic reliefs in Brussels
There's a reason Brussels has been dubbed the Capital of the Comic Strip: It's the birthplace of the Smurfs, sharpshooting cowboy Lucky Luke, and intrepid reporter Tintin. To honor the city's animated heritage, the Belgian capital is throwing a yearlong bash, which includes the opening of the Hergé Museum, dedicated to the artist who first sketched Tintin and his trusty terrier, Snowy, 80 years ago. In the city center, the Comic Strip Route walking tour spotlights over 30 outdoor statues and murals that depict cartoon characters in, yes, comic situations. brusselscomics.com From the April 2009 issue of Budget Travel