Posts Tagged Paris

La Terrasse De Pomone, Paris, France

You can’t fault the location of this cafe under the trees, next to the lake complete with waddling ducks in the park in front of the Louvre in Paris.

I’d stopped by here for a quick morning coffee as I was walking upto Notre Dame cathedral, and after I’d been walking around for a couple of hours, and still an hour until my tickets for the Louvre were valid, I headed back for a late lunch.

It wasn’t overly busy around 1:30pm when I arrived and was able to get table under the trees.

The menu was comprehensive with many salads and various rolls and sandwiches.

I opted for a Pyramide Salade and half a litre of red wine. Food was OK and the wine good but by no means upto the quality of the food that I would have during the rest of my French trip – but I guess given the location they’re catering for tourists and not return business.

Something to watch with them is that when I paid by credit card they automatically used DCC (Dynamic Currency Conversion). DCC is essentially a scam that makes them more money by doing the foreign exchange (at a bad exchange rate) there and then and not via Visa or MasterCard at their official rate. By the rules of Visa and Mastercard they’re supposed to ask you whether you want to use DCC or not, but they did a shifty by putting the transaction through in Australian Dollars rather than Euros.

Despite the location, the quality of the food and the fact that they pulled the DCC shifty on me means that I would not go back here.

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Lavinia, La Defense, Paris, France

After spending the morning at The Eiffel Tower I’d headed back to my hotel, The Hilton Paris at La Defence, for a little bit of a siesta to get over the jet lag.

Hunger got the better of me so I searched TripAdvisor to see what decent restaurants were close to the hotel and I found one called Lavinia in the CNIT complex that the hotel is also part of.

Lavinia is a restaurant with a wine shop attached (or a wine shop with a restaurant depending on your point of view). There’s no printed menu but the menu of the day is written on the huge blackboard on the wall.

I’d turned up around 1:30pm so the service was in full flight and some of the menu items were no longer available.

For starters there was a very nice Ham and Melon plate that was just the right size. For the main I chose Tuna Steak, now I’m not normally a tuna fan but I thought I’d take the plunge and I was not disappointed.

The beauty of eating in a restaurant with a wine shop attached is that you can be pretty sure that the wine selection is good and there was a splendid selection of all varieties. You could do some damage to your liver in this place!

The food was great for my first “real” french meal.

HOWEVER, one thing I noted as I was going back through my receipts a couple of days later was that they’d charged me twice for the entree. A €10 error… I was pissed but couldn’t really do anything at that stage.

My note to you – check your bill before you swipe your credit card.

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Hilton Paris La Défense

Landing in Paris at around 7am I was heading to my hotel, the Hilton Paris La Défense, via the RER – 2 trains with a interchange at Châtelet – Les Halles for the onward train to La Défense – all up probably 75 minutes. I was hoping that I could check in early to get some shut eye after the flight from Hong Kong and I struck it lucky in that my room became available just as I was checking in around 10am.

If you’ve been to Paris you’ll know that La Défense is a little out of the city, but not too far. RER takes around 10 minutes, and from memory the Paris Metro was around 20 minutes to get into the city. Not too bad.

If you are at the Arc de Triomphe looking down the Champs-Élysées then if you do a 180° turn you will see the Grande Arche at La Défense. So not too far away but definitely a train ride anywhere.

The hotel is in the CNIT building.

Anyway, now that you know where the hotel is, what was it like?

I had a room that was reasonable size with a desk area behind the bed head. The view was out over the La Défense ‘common’, for the want of a better term. I was on the third floor and heard no noise.

Internet was supplied via Wifi and was decent.

The bed was very comfortable as were the pillows, but being about 8 timezones from home still meant my sleeps were shockingly bad. And that the sun came up around 5am didn’t help me either!

Breakfast was included in the rate I was on which allowed me to have a decent feed, including pastries and freshly cooked waffles, before heading out to explore Paris.

In the evenings you needed to make a decision of whether to train it into Paris, or stay in La Défense. The Tangerine Bar was the hotel bar that I had several drinks at after a day exploring. The menu had a somewhat limited drink and food choice but what you ordered was top notch. One peeve – took a while to get the attention of the serving staff at times.

All round, if your office is out west of Paris it’s a good place to stay but next time I am in Paris I’ll be staying somewhere a little more central.

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