Burgundy, Paris and Ile de Re

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Jerry Hey
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Burgundy, Paris and Ile de Re

#1 Post by Jerry Hey » February 19th, 2020, 2:41 pm

My wife and I spent 12 days in yet another visit to one of our favorite places, France. This time we went to Burgundy for three nights, Paris for five nights, Ile de Re for three, and then back to Paris for the last night. We had some incredible meals and saw some great sites. Here are some of our favorites dishes and things we saw.
Burgundy
Our hotel was Chez les Fatien, a hotel particulier in the center of Beaune, a perfect place to locate for all things Burgundy.
Dinner at La Lune - sit at the bar and watch the chef juggle ten courses by himself, turning out some fresh tasting dishes with an Asian twist. And it’s practically free.
Lunch at Lameloise - it had been thirty plus years since we ate here so we thought we should try it after hearing so many good things. As usual, there were many courses but one of the favorites was the pigeon and foie gras stuffed in a pain d’epices crust.
A late night snack at Maison du Colombier was a surprise with a big wine list and tasty food.
I had a great day of wine tasting with my friend Thierry Caens at Sylvie Esmonin, Gros Frere et Soeur, and Bruno Clair. All the winemakers were very welcoming and showed us through a range of ’18’s and a few ’19’s with Sylvie opening up a ’10 Clos St Jacques for us.
Dinner that night was at Au Fils du Clos, which is the new location for the chef from Aupres du Clocher. This is a modern style restaurant set in the vineyards of Meursault. It isn’t our favorite style for a restaurant ambience wise, but the food is very good and the wine list is full of great wines at fair prices. I had a great escargot dish, Cindy had one of her favorites of the trip with the sesame coated foie gras, and the seafood dish with leeks was perfect with the 2010 Lafon Meursault Clos de la Barre.
Paris
We tried a different hotel this time, the Hotel Pont Royal. With the strikes causing tourism to slow down a bit, the hotel had a great deal on a top floor room with a view so we jumped on that. As many times as we have been to Paris we’d never done a tour of the Opera so that was on our agenda. What an wonderful example of Garnier’s vision. Also on the to do list was the Louvre exhibit of Da Vinci - an amazing display of his paintings including the Salvator Mundi which recently sold for $450 Million. The tiny manuscript booklets of his notes written backwards were breathtaking in their beauty.
We met a French couple at a chateau in the Auvergne a few years ago and they happened to be in Paris, so we met them at one of our go to places, Pottoka, in the 7th. Very tasty Basque food in large portions and we have always been very pleased, as were our French friends. The squid appetizer, a standard, is always delicious as were the fish fritters, and we loved the main courses of sweetbreads and scallops.
Dinner our second night was with Kathy Temperton, Rod’s wife, at Tomy & Co, a Michelin one star. It has a very casual atmosphere and service was also a little too casual. We did have a great dish of gnocchi with black truffles, but since we haven’t seen Kathy for a while the focus was on conversation and not food. Good, but not a place I’d go back to especially after the next two spots.
The next night was at a recent one star on the Ile St Louis, Sergent Recruteur. Much more sophisticated food than Tomy & Co. and the room is well done with comfortable chairs and a nice exposed stone wall. The Polenta with black truffles and a quail egg was one of my favorite dishes of the trip, and hen with the green sauce and Squid stuffed with pig’s feet were all delicious. Some decent wine selections as well.
Les Climats was at yet another level of one star restaurants. The staff was friendly yet professional, the food top notch, and needless to say I was in heaven with the HUGE Burgundy only wine list. It was nearly impossible to choose but since I’d tasted at Sylvie Esmonin’s a few days earlier, I spotted a Gevrey Chambertin on the list that would compliment our courses. My venison with beets and pears was absolutely incredible and the mandarin soufflé was as light as air but full of flavor. Our best meal of the trip so far and we will definitely be back.
Île de Ré
We haven’t been to this island off the west coast of France so now we can check off yet another place in France. We stayed at Hotel de Toiras, a member of Relais et Chateau, in the city of St Martin de Re overlooking the harbor. This city is surrounded by fortifications built by Vauban in the late 1600’s in the reign of Louis XIV. We walked around the ramparts and the city and although it was cold and a little rainy, it was relatively quiet, unlike it will be when the Tour de France ends here this summer. Valentine’s day dinner was part of the hotel package so we started with Champagne and petit fours by the fireplace in the lobby. Dinner was good but nothing special, however I did spot a 2015 Olivier Leflavie Chablis Vaudesir for a decent price.
A drive around the island to a couple of plus beaux villages gave us some beautiful views and scenery. The donkeys with the dreadlocks which were used to work the salt marshes stopped a lot of traffic. The steeple at Ars en Re and the lighthouse at the west end of the island were standouts, buildings with some gothic architecture and again the fortifications around St Martin de Re. Another drive was to more plus beaux villages east of La Rochelle. Brouage was another fortified villages by Vauban and really in the middle of nowhere so it is hard to figure out why it would need to be so secure. And a chateau with a nice garden was about a half an hour farther so why not? We’re only here once probably.
Dinner at a local restaurant, Baleine Bleu, was nice with small squid as tender as I’ve had and some smashed potatoes
Paris #2
As is always the case, the last night has to be in Paris with the early flight back to LA the following day so we tried yet another hotel, l’Empereur, the sister hotel of our usual Relais Bosquet in the 7th near Rue Cler. We upgraded to a room with this view of les Invalides.
Dinner that night was at Epicure in the Bristol Hotel and our two previous dinners there were as good as it could be, so we were looking forward to this our last night with much anticipation. Everything about the hotel and the restaurant exudes elegance, calm, and class. From the welcome to the staff everyone seems to be there to make the evening perfect, and they succeed. I looked at the huge wine list going directly to the red Burgundy pages and spotted a few possibilities. The sommelier, with his knowledge of the wines I mentioned, actually steered me away from a wine that was 3 times more expensive than the one he suggested I order, a 2010 Arlaud Gevrey Combottes. Now that is something you don’t see every day. Appetizers, bread with highly salted Normandy butter, foamed egg with ham and mushrooms, caviar from Sologne and whipped potatoes, a signature dish of macaroni with foie gras and black truffles, melt in your mouth lamb and herbed gnocchi, rare but so tender pigeon with a sauce to die for, grapefruit sorbet with fruits, spoons of green apple explosion, and some wonderful cheeses that I’d never had before. Probably the best meal we have had.
Looking forward to our next trip in October. Can you ever visit France too many times?? Not in my opinion….

For those of you on Facebook I posted lots of photos -

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dcornutt
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Re: Burgundy, Paris and Ile de Re

#2 Post by dcornutt » February 19th, 2020, 3:06 pm

Thanks Jerry.
I am staying at Chez les Fatien in June when I make a trip to Burgundy then on the Loire for my wife. This sounds so nice.
Thanks for all the restaurant information. I have reservations already at Les Climats in Paris and Au Fils du Clos in Meursault. So nice to see someone who has been.
Don
DON Cornutt

"Before you eat or drink anything, carefully consider with whom you eat or drink rather than what you
eat or drink,because eating without a friend is the life of the lion or the wolf." Epicurius

Joshua Kates
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Re: Burgundy, Paris and Ile de Re

#3 Post by Joshua Kates » February 19th, 2020, 4:42 pm

Great write-up, thanks,

I like Les Climats, though they would not sell me a bottle of Roumier the last time I was there--had to settle for Dujac at about the same reasonable price. Best meal when last there was at Restaurant David Toutain, fwiw.
Mark Twain, when asked whether he believed in child baptism, replied: "Believe in it? I've seen it!"

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G. Greenbaum
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Re: Burgundy, Paris and Ile de Re

#4 Post by G. Greenbaum » February 20th, 2020, 3:29 pm

That's a nice report Jerry. the list at Les Climats is unbelievable. Easily one of the most comprehensive Burgundy list I've ever seen. I was in Paris in April last year and spent many nights in the 11th. Paris's 11th arrd is amazing for food & wine these days. You should check it out when you return. And shocking you didn't visit Ma Cuisine? I'm assuming you've been. As a side note, I had the privilege of meeting Rod Temperton back in the early 80s. I was the assistant to Tom Bahler one summer. What a cool guy with an amazing song writing career.
Regards,
Gregg


ITB

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Jeremy Holmes
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Re: Burgundy, Paris and Ile de Re

#5 Post by Jeremy Holmes » February 20th, 2020, 10:22 pm

Thanks for the report Jerry.

We had a better experience at Tomy & Co than you guys last year. Haven't been to Les Climats in a few years, but it is on our list for April, as is Sergent Recruteur.

Please pass on our best regards to Cindy. Hope to see you both soon.

Cheers
Jeremy
ITB

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Andrew S.
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Re: Burgundy, Paris and Ile de Re

#6 Post by Andrew S. » February 22nd, 2020, 11:35 am

Joshua Kates wrote:
February 19th, 2020, 4:42 pm
Great write-up, thanks,

I like Les Climats, though they would not sell me a bottle of Roumier the last time I was there--had to settle for Dujac at about the same reasonable price. Best meal when last there was at Restaurant David Toutain, fwiw.
Agree, Joshua. David Toutain is on fire. He and his team's creativity and dedication is currently staggering. My favorite three spots (all doing different things) right now in Paris are Toutain, Septime and Les enfants du marché.

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