Paris – by Jens Hoffmann.
When you arrive at “CDG”for me the feeling to be in the city of love and to be happy starts.
Just by walking about the Pont des Arts, Montmatre, look after new pop up stores.
Finding out that Paris-City removed the world famous ‘love locks”.
Hmm, a pity. The Pont des Arts is famously known for symbol act of affection and eternal love…
Today I am following Napoleon Bonapartes footsteps.
In Paris I always feel well and welcome especially after a check-in at Shangri-La, Paris.
Although it is in Paris, I got straight away my Shangri-La feeling. “Lost in Horizon”, the hotels elegant façade brings to mind its legacy as the former home of Napoleon Bonaparte’s grandnephew, Prince Roland Bonaparte. We got perfect staff and a pleasantly discreet check-in ensure that you receive the royal treatment right from the start.
The stairways are ready for royalties and celebrities, so do not forget to ask for an upgrade, they have lovely rooms, suits and bath rooms.
In your room, commanding views of the Eiffel Tower and the River Seine hold you transfixed. The old-world elegance of the room, lovingly adorned with the fine work of craftsmen, is mirrored in the city that lies just below.
It is located in the heart of Paris and the exclusive fashion designers on Avenue Montaigne and Avenue George V are just around the corner, waiting for you.
Our resto tip: Usually we recommend the Buddha restaurant.
If you’re in the mood for a light meal try the “La Bauhinia”. Nice food and the exquisite glass cupola and Murano chandelier reflect the elegance of the meals prepared here. Salmon, green asparagus, lobbster, pork mixed up with local vegetables. Just fantastic. With such a promising introduction, you look forward to savouring the Cantonese cuisine at the renowned Shang Palace, the very first in Europe, and which earned 1 Michelin star in the Michelin Guide 2012.
Later on The Pink Lady, Le Bar’s signature cocktail, is just the pick-me-up to start you off. Embark on a culinary voyage at L’Abeille, the hotel’s French gastronomic restaurant, 2 stars in the Michelin Guide 2012, to finish off your day.
My resto tip in #3: Arpege
For me Alain Passard is one of the greatest chefs of France, and has held three Michelin stars since 1996. In his earlier career he became a two Michelin star chef at Casino d’Enghien, in 1986 purchasing an existing restaurant from celebrated chef Alain Senderens, and renaming it Arpege, after the perfume from Lanvin. Passard caused a major stir in culinary circles in 2001 when he announced he was going to concentrate on vegetarian dishes, and although there are now meat dishes on the menu, vegetables are still the star. Passard gets his vegetables from his own dedicated farms and gardens in the northwest of France, shipped daily by train to the restaurant: they are of superb quality.
The “Arpege” has a nice exterior in the 7th arrondisement of Paris. The dining room is simply decorated, with relatively small tables placed quite close together. The room is carpeted with some wood panelling along the walls. The only real luxury in the décor is the set of Lalique glass insets in the wood panels. The full-blown tasting menu was our project.
The wine list stretched over x pages, and was all French other than a single page of wines from elsewhere in the world, plus a few German wines.
We enjoyed a great red Chateau D’Estoublon, which was a perfect companion for the dinner.
Growers were top-drawer, the dessert wine list is limited, with a rather small choice by the bottle and just a single wine by the half bottle and that one being a lovely “Yquem”.
It started with a set of little tartelettes of Parmesan and celeriac featured superbly delicate pastry and celeriac with terrific flavour, as had tartlets of black radish. However even better were the tartlets of beetroot and parsnip puree, smoking of the beetroot in the process giving a fabulous flavour to the puree. This was an impressive start to the meal, immediately showcasing vegetables. The served nice bread was excellent, made with natural yeast and served with butter from St Malo.
A long-term signature dish at Arpege has been the “hot cold” egg. An egg shell is the presentation vehicle for warm egg yolk with sherry vinegar and maple syrup, spices and a little salt, covered with a layer of cold cream. The key to the success of this dish is the quality of the eggs used and the perfect balance of the vinegar with the sweetness of the syrup, together with the blend of hot and cold temperature elements. A deceptively simple dish, and yet a lovely start to the meal
Next was a carpaccio of scallops with black truffles, pretty presented as alternating discs, garnished with rocket leaves and drizzled with olive oil. The scallops were of dazzling quality, their superb sweet flavour pairing well with the earthiness of the truffles. The best dish of the meal now arrived. Ravioli of vegetables rested in a consommé of Jerusalem artichoke and celery. Such a simple description does not do justice to the stunning purity of flavour that came through in the consommé. The ravioli was of flawless texture, the mixed vegetable filling of the pasta again showing off a quality of vegetables that is hard to imagine.
The next dish was lobster from Chausey Islands -Coast of Normandy-, which was presented at the table prior to the meat being extracted from the shell and served. The lobster was cooked in vin jaune made with a Jura wine and flavoured with truffle, served with smoked potato. As one might expect by now, the cooking of the lobster was flawless, the meat tender and having lovely flavour, the smoked potato and truffle flavours balancing the shellfish well,
Cheese is supplied by Bernard Antony of Alsace, and it was interesting see that Arpege does not serve a full cheese board, but selected just a couple in perfect condition, Moelleux du Revard and Gruyere in this case, served with more smoked potato. The main dessert was a magnificent chocolate millefeuille with delicate pastry, a lovely and delicate dessert.
What is impressive to me is the simplicity of the cooking at Arpege. Many dishes have just two or three elements, but employing impeccable ingredients and put together with flawless technical skill. What a meal.
We enjoyed a perfect fine dining experience.
After a night like that, you’re reluctant to leave. The city has left you enamoured.
Why? A perfect stay at the majestic Shangri-La Hotel, Paris.
Paris mon amour.
My last tip or better a drink with a vue.
Take a drink at Bar “La Vue” floor 33 in the Hyatt Etoile (former Concorde La Fayette).
Perfect view on the Tour de Eiffel.