The best part of my trip to France last month was poking around the Southwest. Carcassonne, the Lot, Perigord, the Dordogne. Beautiful, restful, lots of interesting little towns. Below is some of the nice things we found. See also my notes on restaurants from the trip and my photos.

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culturetravelfrance2005
  2005-07-03 18:26 Z
Here are some notes about some of the more memorable places we dined in France (in addition to the steak frites place). I'm not a food critic, so this may be boring, but maybe it'll be helpful for people looking for places to go in Paris or in the Southwest.

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culturetravelfrance2005
  2005-06-19 21:50 Z
Ken and I are food tourists and we eat well in France. But sometimes we get tired of foie gras, delicate vegetables, and French menus (just what are St. Jacques' nuts? Mussels? Scallops? Clams?) When we get overwhelmed and want comfort food in Paris, Ken and I head to one of several steak-and-fries places.
Couldn't be simpler. You sit down and the waitress immediately hands you a little salad (walnuts, mustard dressing). No menu, just two questions. How do you want the steak cooked? A point. Do you want wine? Yes. (But get the wine list: the house red is awful.) The waitress swiftly comes back with a plate of delicious steak bathed in a yummy mustard and sage sauce, along with some perfect pommes frites. You eat your steak and fries, they bring you a second helping (kept warm over candles), and then it's on to dessert. Skip dessert.

The whole process is the opposite of the usual French temple-of-food experience. But it's very satisfying and, judging by all the Parisians we see there, quite popular with the locals. The restaurants are a franchise. We've been to Le Relais de l'Entrecte in the 6th (20bis rue St. Benoit, conveniently a block from St. Germain de Prs) and Le Relais de Venise in the 17th (271 bd. Preire). The joint in the 6th even has the same 1945 Cognac Rouyer poster I have at home!

Half the blogerati have been there too
culturetravelfrance2005
  2005-06-15 15:26 Z
Hey there, I'm back from a nice little vacation to France. Paris, the Lot valley, Perigord. I actually got sick of eating foie gras and truffles: life's pretty good. But before I write up the fun stuff, here are some reasons to hate Air France:
  1. The cabin in their 747-400 from SFO to CDG is older than I am.
  2. Paris has two airports, who woulda thought? And if you miss your domestic flight because you're an idiot and went to CDG instead of ORY, Air France makes you buy full fare tickets to replace the flight you missed.
  3. They don't have proper gates at CDG, so you get to spend 30 minutes riding a bus all over the airfield to get to your plane.
  4. They lose one bus of passengers, it takes 30 minutes to find them.
  5. Only one of your two suitcases is on your flight.
Bah! But France was great, lots more to come. One quick suggestion: the Chateau de Mercues is fantastic if you want a relaxing country stay in the Lot, near Cahors.
culturetravelfrance2005
  2005-06-12 23:07 Z