Happy New Year 2009 & Paris!

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First of all, Happy New Year! I can’t believe we are now in 2009! Another 12 months ahead of us again! My holiday has long over! It ended 5 days ago. The time that I spent outside of London just seemed to fly too quickly compared to the time that I have to spend at work! Even though I have to accept this fact unwillingly, I have to say that my Christmas this year was fantastic!

We spent 4 days in Paris! This time there, it was all about shopping! We were really in the mood for shopping and had spent our time wisely in some nicest shopping spots in Paris.

I have to admit that Paris is a better place to shop compared to London as there seems to be more shops that sell decent and pretty clothes! I love those from the boutiques but they tend to be more expensive! Also, the size tends to suit me better compared to UK sizes. I have got some good address to share if you plan a shopping spree in Paris. Some of them are:

  • Rue de Buci (75006, Saint-Germain)
  • Rue du Four (75006,  Saint-Germain)
  • Rue du Rennes (75006, Saint-Germain)
  • Rue de Sevres (75006, Saint-Germain)
  • Rue Dauphine (75006, Saint-Germain)
  • Cherche Midi (75006, Saint-Germain)
  • Bvld des Capusines (75009, Opéra)
  • Avenue des Champs Elysees (75008, Champs Elysees)
  • Rue St Croix de la Bretonnerie(75004, Le Marais)
  • Rue des Franc Bourgeois (75004, Le Marais)

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Now that the exchange rate for British Pounds to Euro is less interesting, I had to really watch my wallet not to overspend! I went to a few shops that like Genevieve Lethu and La Vaisselerie which you will like as much as I do if you love kitchen props! Thanks to Bea from La Tartine Gourmande for these addresses. They are indeed now my favourite shops! If I lived in Paris, I would probably need to have a store room for my collections!!

Of course, food is always on the agenda! We wanted to go to Chez l’Ami Jean – a restaurant that serves Basque, Southwestern French food, which apparently is really good. Unfortunately, it was closed for when we were there. So, this will be an excuse for us to go to Paris next time! :)

One day, we both sat down at a Brasserrie, we looked at the menu and decided on the same dish – poulet rôti fermier (roast chicken). Yum.. so so delicious! I love roast chicken. The chicken was so tender, juicy and full of flavours.. just too good! It was served with purée de pommes de terre (potato puree) and some salad leaves - simple yet really good! It’s difficult to get this kind of food in London, trust me!

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Now, I have never been to the Chinatown (quartier Chinois) in Paris in any of my previous trips! I wondered how it looked like. I was quite disappointed as I couldn’t really tell it’s a Chinatown as there’s nothing to signify it as Chinatown. Well, they should at least build a Chinese Arch to recognise it as Chinatown. However, I have to admit that the Chinatown in Paris is bigger than in London! We went to try out the food of one South East Asian restaurant that specializes in Vietnamese, Thai, and Laotian cuisine. This restaurant was featured on Le Figaro (a French newspaper), so we thought we would try!

The restaurant is called Lao Lane Xang 2 (102 Ave d’Ivry in the 13th, Paris). I can see why it was featured on Le Figaro. It has modern design compared to others. Table settings and the ambience in the restaurant are quite well thought to suit the taste of Parisiens. It’s not like a lot of Chinese restaurants that make you think they need touch-ups and refurbishing. I think the trend of  having modern and sleek-looking Asian restaurants has mushroomed in London (for eg Yauatcha). But, in France, I believe there are still opportunities to develop. We ordered a lunch menu, which was pretty cheap, about €12 for the following, with a bowl of white rice.

1) Vietnamese Papaya Salad

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2) Lemongrass and Coriander Stir-Fry Chicken

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3) Vietnamese Deep Fried Spring Rolls

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We didn’t give Ladurée a miss! We needed a break for afternoon tea with some macarons after a long day of shopping! There was a long queue at the Ladurée in Champs Elysees. We were told that we had to wait for 40 minutes. We couldn’t wait, we were then told that we could go straight to Ladurée Bar, it’s got nice ambience plus we didn’t want to wait for 40 minutes for a cup of tea, some macarons and some time to relax and enjoy. :)

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After our 4-day stay in Paris, we departed for Le Mans. It takes a little less than an hour from Paris by TGV. This part of our holiday was very much relaxed and it’s all about spending quality of time with the family and enjoying good food.

For Christmas eve’s dinner, we started with a bottle of champagne and some petit fours salés. Petit fours salés are bite-sized salted appetizers and are usually served as part of apéritif (apéritif is an alcoholic drink that is usually served to stimulate the appetite before meal). We had so much of food that we were full by 10-ish and then watching TV while the clock was ticking away. We had to wait till midnight to open our presents!

 Avocado mousse and shrimps verrine

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Foie Gras, Blinis, and Onion Chutney

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Prawns and Smoked Salmon

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Seabass and Sweet Potato Purée

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La Buche de Noël (Yule Log)

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The next day, we had Christmas lunch. I promise myself that I need to lose weight after all these! So, this is really one of my resolutions for 2009! :) Overall, it was a great Christmas and a short break in France that I always love! :)

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