Orlando is more than 6 hours and 3,000 miles from Paris, but the sadness and concern so many feel after Sunday’s attacks in Florida make even intrepid travelers wonder about travel in our increasingly unpredictable world.
I’m still ready to pack my bags for all parts French-speaking—but I’m taking more precautions.
Here are some tips on travel security:
• This NYT article summarizes key points for travel to Europe. I recommend putting each of these recommendations on your to-do list before you leave the country.
• If you’re traveling to Paris, Lille or Marseille before July 6, check to see if your visit overlaps with the Europe Cup soccer tournament. Matches are often besieged by rowdy behavior, which can spill out beyond the playing field, onto the metro and in the streets. The State Department is discouraging attendance at these events.
• At the Eiffel Tower, there will be a big “Fan Zone” for the Europe Cup—meaning large crowds, and potential security issue. Here is a Bonjour Paris article with more information about the area (scroll down a bit for the Fan Zone piece).
• The French Embassy website advises U.S. citizens to:
“Exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation.
Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places.
Follow the instructions of local authorities, especially in an emergency.
Monitor media and local event information sources and factor updated information into your travel plans and activities.
Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
Stay in touch with your family, have a plan if you are separated and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.”
• Finally, travel with love in your heart. Be generous and open to the people you meet. Help make the world the kinder, gentler place you want it to be.
Do you have a travel tip to share?
At Paris pâtisserie Gateaux Thoumieux, the chief passion is cake, in a myriad of forms. The specialty is the Saint Dominique, a rich, tender brioche variation — flat, round, made with honey, and finished with heavy cream, thick cream, and butter. Its simple appearance (the Saint Dominique has no decorative curls or flourishes) belies its satisfying, crumbly sweetness.
Fraisiers and cerisiers are seasonal cream cakes. Traditionally, these pastries are rectangular, with alternating layers of young strawberries or cherries and vanilla cream. The Thommieux version is round, made in a timbale mold, with the fruit forming the outside wall. Gorgeous and dainty, they seem the kind of thing Marie Antoinette would have enjoyed.
The shop’s marble counters are filled with sweet gems, leavened and unleavened, set out on cake plates with ornate pedestals: Araguani chocolate tarte made with a single origin Venezuelan chocolate; glistening baba au rhum; versions of Paris Brest and St Honoré pastries; small meringues.
Located on the chic shopping street rue Saint Dominique, Gateaux Thoumieux is a short walk from the Eiffel Tower, and a wonderful post Tower treat.
The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:
The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.
A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,600 times in 2010. That’s about 13 full 747s.
In 2010, there were 42 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 64 posts. There were 46 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 19mb. That’s about 4 pictures per month.
The busiest day of the year was June 15th with 119 views. The most popular post that day was Les Côtelettes.
Where did they come from?
The top referring sites in 2010 were parisbydesign.com, mail.yahoo.com, mail.live.com, en.wordpress.com, and facebook.com.
Some visitors came searching, mostly for musee d’orsay renovation, musee d’orsay renovations, paris, ephemeral champagne bar, and cos marais.
Attractions in 2010
These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.
Les Côtelettes May 2010
Musée d’Orsay Undergoes Renovation January 2010
On-line Tickets and Champagne at Eiffel Tower December 2009
Théâtre des Champs-Elysées Announces 2010-2011 Season March 2010
COS opens new store in Marais February 2010
If a cozy apartment sounds like just the thing for a solo Paris sojourn, or if you’re looking for romance on a budget, consider Intérieur 49 Paris.
After a day of wandering the city, come home to this Right Bank apartment with designer chic, a fully equipped kitchen, and views of the Eiffel tower from the 6th floor balcony.
Other amenities: queen size bed, air conditioning, TV, cable, DVD player, Wifi, iPod station.
In other words, wonderful for a weekend, a week or more. 150 euros per night if you book 2 nights or more, 900 euros per week. Contact Emmanuel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Les Ombres, the chic restaurant atop Musée Branly, has added tea to its menu. Pastries are served from 3-5pm daily – and include creations by pastry chef/chocolatier Pascal Chanceau. Choose tarte au citron meringuée with lemon sorbet, or carrement chocolat au lait et noisettes.
Tea is from Mariage-Frères, coffee from Columbia, Cost Rica, and New Guinea.
Les Ombres looks at the Eiffel Tower, a few blocks away, through a glass roof. On warm afternoons, tea is served outdoors, on the terrasse.
Lunch at Les Ombres can cost 40 euros per person; dinner runs about 100. At 10 euros per pastry, tea isn’t inexpensive. But the view is impressive, the pastries sublime, and the price puts a bit of luxury in reach.
Before (or after) you make your way through the crowds at the Eiffel Tower, enjoy a smaller scale experience nearby. At Carette, the macaroons are legend, and there are many other small pleasures to enjoy in the Art Deco tea room, or on the sunny terrasse.
Carette opened on Place du Trocadéro as a patisserie and tea salon in 1927. Its tile mosaics, large mirrors and, Art Deco lamps recall the spirit of the time.
Large, glass topped cases reveal more than a dozen flavors of macarons (including butterscotch, gjanduja, pistachio, rose and cassis), and treats like Boule de Coco, made with chocolate ganache and coconut; Black Forest, containing chocolate mousse, vanilla ganache, and a concentrated cherry mixture; Mont Blanc, a dome of meringue, chestnut paste and vanilla chantilly.
Imagine lunch on a Paris rooftop – a single room surrounded by four glass walls. You start with champagne and an amuse-bouche of caviar and kiwi. Three courses follow. Just beyond is the Eiffel Tower.
Nomiya is the city’s latest restaurant éphémère (temporary). It’s also one of the most intimate dining experiences in Paris. Twelve guests share a single white table in the clouds, on top of the contemporary art museum, Palais de Tokyo. The skybox was designed by French conceptual artist Laurent Grasso.
Chef Gilles Stassart turns market fresh ingredients into lunch (two hours, three courses, 60 euros) and dinner (three hours, four courses, 80 euros). He also offers cooking classes. Tours, which begin in a shaded terrace, are also available.
You can reserve for one person, or book the whole table. Make reservations on-line, one month in advance. Seats become available at 10 am, Paris time.
The Eiffel Twer isn’at just the most visited spot in Paris. It’s also a rapidly growing on-line presence.
The expanded website provides news (the tower is undergoing its 19th repainting, and the West elevator is closed); interactive videos of Paris as seen from the tower; and a 3D virtual visit of the tower.
The site also allows you to send free e-post cards and download an Eiffel Tower screen saver.
And if you wish you had bought snowglobes, paper weights, or an Eiffel Tower mug or lamp when you were there, fret no more. All of these and more are available from the official boutique website.
By the end of the year, you’ll be able to buy your tickets to the tower at the site, and avoid waiting in the long ticket lines.