Restaurant Report: Rosemary

The dining buzzword in Paris in recent years has unequivocally been neo-bistrot, which describes well-priced, market driven restaurants, but few food entrepreneurs have explored its (big) sister concept from across the channel: the gastro pub. The two are very similar, blending gastronomic quality ingredients and dishes with a more laid back atmosphere and kinder price points but some of the signature dishes may vary. At Rosemary, Paris's first gastro-pub, both the interior and the menu lean English but doesn't forget the French twist. 

Ambience: Casual. The front of the space is reserved for craft beer, wine and cocktail drinkers and bar goers, setting a more animated vibe, while the back dining room is intimate for concentrated conversation during lunch or dinner. The addition of vintage, floral wallpaper and small flowers centered on each table adds a feminine touch to the wood and brick space.

In the kitchen: A Franco-English duo: Aurélien Sérugue and Joseph Rawlins, trained at Gordon Ramsay's school and at Jadis, the 15th arrondissement restaurant. Fun fact: the very first Rosemary menu was tested in Josh Eggleton's Michelin-starred country pub in Bristol, Pony & Trap. 

What to expect: Gastro-pub, English-inspired fare (beef wellington, beer braised lamb shanks, roasted quail or monkfish) in a comfortable space with great craft beer (like Deck & Donohue, BapBap & Brasserie de la Goutte d'Or) and solid service.

Strengths: Rosemary shakes up what we think we know about more traditional English cuisine by using top-shelf ingredients (cheeses and meats from Leeds, ciders and juices from Devon farms) executing with refined precision. What's more, every stage of the meal is spot-on, right through to dessert which you should definitely plan to order (during my visit, I ordered the tea sablé accompanied by a caramel mousse and rosemary yogurt sorbet and nibbled on the carrot cake which was fancied by slivers of whiskey-imbibed popcorn). Specialty coffee thanks to Terres de Café single-origin beans completes the meal beautifully. Bonus: a lunch and dinner formule option

Penalty point: There is not much they can do about it but a large space means that when it is not filled to capacity, the vibe suffers.

Overall: A great value in a sleepy section of the Marais and a welcome addition to the Parisian food scene!

4 rue Crillon, 75004
Metro: Bastille (1,5,8), Quai de la Rapée (5)

*All photos courtesy of Petits Béguins 

Lost In Cheeseland Food and Restaurant posts


Versailles by Bike (+ Giveaway!)

Visiting Versailles is a non-negotiable when traveling to the Paris region. It offers grand insights into the country's royal past as well as its horticultural prowess and caters to both those who enjoy lengthy museum visits and those who prefer to spend time exploring the outdoors.

But what can make the experience even better - or perhaps, I should say, more interesting - is seeing it from a different perspective. I have found that simply jumping on a bike and gliding through verdant countryside is all it takes.

Now imagine that experience in Versailles, riding to the city's open-air market to pick up picnic provisions, then throughout the lush gardens along trails and tree-lined paths toward Marie Antoinette's hamlet and onto the grounds immediately surrounding the Château where those handy bikes act as your fast pass inside, allowing you to skip the lines entirely.

That's what you'll get with the Versailles Bike Tour with Fat Tire Tours. And they've kindly offered two spots on the tour for two of my readers on their next visit!

Enter to win: 
1/ Leave a comment below describing your favorite memory from Versailles. Or, if you haven't yet visited, what you'd most like to see there. 

2/ For an extra entry, follow both Lost In Cheeseland and Fat Tire Tours on Facebook, then leave a separate comment saying that you're now a new follower. If you're already following, you can also begin following on Instagram: @LostNCheeseland and @FatTireParis 

And if you don't already have a trip planned, there may be a chance to win one. Fat Tire is currently running a contest (through September 30) for an all-expenses paid trip to Paris including:

-5 nights at the Fat Tire Flat
-Customized itinerary of Fat Tire tours
-Picnic provided by Paris Picnic
-2CV tour with 4 Roues Sous 1 Parapluie 

To make it easy for you, you can enter that competition directly below as well!

Entries on the Versailles by Bike contest will close August 30th and the winner will be announced at the bottom of this post, in the comments section of the blog and by email. Bonne chance! 

UPDATE: congratulations Julia! You will be receiving an email with next steps. Thanks for playing, everyone!


The Lost in Cheeseland story

Lindsey Tramuta, Paris

Some of you have been following me here (and there or there) for years and know, more or less, the behind-the-Cheeseland story but some of you may be new to these parts and wondering: what is Cheeseland all about and how did she end up in France? Fortunately, I recently had a few opportunities to hold forth about this site and the work that has emerged from it and so, in honor of my 6 year blog anniversary, I thought I would share a few links that offer more to the story:

1// Interview on Eat Boutique: 'Lost In Cheeseland on living in Paris, the Food Scene and Where to Eat in Paris Right Now

2// Q&A with my friend Lou on her blog Lou in Paris

3// Interview on World Radio Paris! Skip to 12min40 to jump right into my section.

For more updates that might not make the blog and sneak peeks from my forthcoming book, sign up for my monthly newsletter HERE!


Love, Loss and the Brighter Side

Plaza Athénée

I never gave too much thought to the term roller-coaster - as in a roller-coaster day, week or year - until I was buffeted by my own this year.

You may recall a brief mention of my cat, who we rescued mere weeks after I moved to Paris nine years ago, becoming quite ill at the start of the year. Since then, caring for her and monitoring her progress attentively became second jobs for both of us. Amid the wrenching low points of the year were several professional highs, making that roller-coaster sensation all the more challenging and confusing. There were excellent days and disheartening ones but all of them were thinly veiled with grief. We were fully aware, though we could hardly bear articulating it aloud, that her condition would invariably worsen, leaving us with a painful decision to make.

Despite our greatest efforts to become an exception to the rule, that day arrived last week. Within ten minutes our trio was shattered. Now, our tiny apartment feels massive with pin-drop silence.

She was our little child, our greatest stress reliever and a true friend. But beyond her role as companion, she taught us to intuit the subtler symbols in life. She couldn't speak but the tiny signs she emitted spoke volumes when we finally allowed ourselves to pay attention.

Plaza Athénée La Cour Jardin Plaza Athénée La Cour Jardin

Four days after we said goodbye to her, we forged ahead together hand-in-hand. In a week of loss, we still felt profound love and hope. On Sunday, our 7th wedding anniversary took on much greater meaning. We had experienced very different travails last year but this was a new, all-consuming cross to bear which, in hindsight, we handled with more grace and fortitude than I expected. 

The idea of celebrating the milestone in any way seemed incongruous with grieving but shutting ourselves in at home would do nothing to uplift. So we upheld our reservation at La Cour Jardin, the courtyard restaurant in the Plaza Athénée hotel, for a change of scenery. What we got was the kind of urban calm and doting attention we had largely deprived ourselves of over the last seven months. It was peaceful and intimate, allowing us to talk privately about the future without our little Cali and reflect on the indelible ways she touched our lives. We managed a few laughs and enjoyed the moment when we realized how much she brought us together, right up until the end. Our petit monstre was a unifier. 

Plaza Athénée La Cour Jardin Plaza Athénée La Cour Jardin Plaza Athénée La Cour Jardin
Plaza Athénée La Cour Jardin Plaza Athénée La Cour Jardin

Feeling the sun's warmth on our faces as we ate and reminisced and surrounding ourselves with chirping birds and gorgeous greens was a reminder to see beauty even at our darkest points. For fellow diners, it was a lazy Sunday afternoon. For us, it was the push to keep going.

La Cour Jardin, open through September 15th (reservations necessary)
Plaza Athénée Hotel
25 Avenue Montaigne, 75008
Métro: Alma Marceau (line 9) 

Lost In Cheeseland Food and Restaurant posts


Tour de France 2015: the Paris Finale

Tour de France 2015 - Paris

You don't have to be a loyal Tour de France fan or even an avid cyclist to be completely mesmerized by the sheer skill involved in the competition. For the first time since I've lived in Paris, I found myself with a front-row spot to witness the riders, buffeted by wind and heavy rain at the start of the ride in Sèvres, whip through Paris for a momentous finale. Stationed at the Place de la Concorde, the riders cracked smiles as fans beamed and cheered from the sidelines and from the edge of the Tuileries Gardens. There is truly something to be said for the sense of community spirit that bubbles uncontrollably to the surface during moments like these. As I snapped photographs in wild succession, the man next to me guided me forward for an unobstructed view. We smiled at one another as if old friends but really it was the tacit knowledge that we both were living a unique experience that fostered the camaraderie. 

Tour de France 2015 - Paris Tour de France 2015 - Paris Tour de France 2015 - Paris Tour de France 2015 - Paris Tour de France 2015 - Paris Tour de France 2015 - Paris Tour de France 2015 - Paris Tour de France 2015 - Paris Tour de France 2015 - Paris Tour de France 2015 - Paris Tour de France 2015 - Paris

With such palpable energy, I returned home with not only a deeper respect for the sport but a desire to get myself back on a bike and ride.

Sincere thanks to TrekTravel who provided such a fantastic viewing space for the big event! Visit their website to review the cycling trips they offer around the world.

For more Tour de France photos, click HERE


Hilton Paris Opéra: Before and After

I love a good revival story and even more so when there are archival photos to illustrate the evolution.

In March, I visited the renovated Hilton Paris Opéra, a soaring hotel adjacent to the Saint Lazare train station. Its bandages had just been removed after an 18 month transformation (for the cool price tag of $50 million) and I was there to review the space for Afar Magazine. Formerly the Concorde, the 125 year old hotel was the first to have electricity in Paris and had a strong legacy as a business and social hub.

What left me slack-jawed was less the fact that the hotel had been completely redesigned, updated to beautiful effect, but rather that in an instant, my sole memory of sitting in the Terminus Café some seven years ago, still the name of the street-side restaurant seen in the photo below, came flooding back with vivid detail. I was there to meet a friend for a quick drink before she had to head home to the suburbs, hopping onto the RER A which she picked up right at the train station mere feet away. I remember thinking to myself, what a strange place to have an apéro! The neighborhoods situated immediately around train stations aren't typically the cleanest, safest or most appealing destinations but beyond that, the café itself was in serious decline. It was a place to take shelter in the rain or caffeinate in a hurry but hardly a meeting point to look forward to visiting.

It was the first and only experience I had with the space but it left a lasting impression. 'I hope someone gives this spot a second chance,' I thought to myself. When I returned earlier this year, I was overjoyed to see that it will flourish once again.
Perhaps the most incredible story I learned about the property, specifically with regard to the Grand Salon shown above and below in the recent photos, involves an 80-something Parisian woman who has lived each stage of the hotel's existence firsthand. As a child, she joined her father at the Grand Salon where he would go regularly for business meetings. As he chatted and discussed important matters, she would sit rapt before the spirited commotion of lunching ladies, busy hommes d'affaires and hotel staff zipping between tables to keep everyone comfortable. It was grand, frenetic and exciting, full of life and activity, the kind that latches onto memory and remains a fixture of childhood. As she got older, the grand salon played host to her own adult conversations and served as the backdrop to many lunches where friendships were built and nurtured. 

Today, she returns to the Grand Salon yet again to lunch weekly in the lofty, gilded epicenter of her own nostalgia. The furnishings may have been updated, the dust and tired columns revived, but the integrity and history of the place remains wonderfully in tact, eager and ready to be the frame for new memories.

Read my review on Afar! 

Hilton Paris Opéra
108 rue Saint-Lazare
75008 Paris

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