December 11, 2017

Clos de Montmartre a Vineyard in Paris

Clos de Montmartre a Vineyard in Paris

Nutmeg had read about a small vineyard in Paris, located in the shadows of the Sacré-Coeur spires. The last time either Ginger or Nutmeg had been to Montmartre was in the 1980s. After a crazy taxi ride complete with construction bottlenecks, pre-Christmas traffic, impossibly narrow streets and hills only fit for funiculars they arrived in the middle of a mob scene. A clear Saturday afternoon right before sunset, it was immediately obvious why there had been a 30-year gap since their last visit. (more…)

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February 29, 2016

Foodie Tour of Paris

Foodie Tour of Paris

There are many reasons to complain about the SNCF (French national railways) including their frequent schedule delays. However, when the system works you board the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) in Avignon and arrive 2.5 hours later on the platform at Paris Gare de Lyon – génial (brilliant)! Ginger and Nutmeg were in Paris for a quick visit, a weekend of “hanging-out”. As often happens, Ginger was simply happy to be there, and Nutmeg had a plan. They were going to stroll (flâner) the city and do a foodie tour along the way. (more…)

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November 8, 2012

Fun at the Museum with THATLou in Paris

Fun at the Museum with THATLou in Paris

Are museums boring? Treasure Hunts At The Louvre will change your mind. Meet Daisy de Plume a native New Yorker who has lived in Paris for 8 years. She is the Founder + Creative Director of THATLou. With a background in Art History and a past in print magazine editing and writing  THATLou somehow makes sense for Daisy de Plume. You can find her on her blog, on Twitter, pinterest  and her facebook page. Please read more about her fun company concept below. (more…)

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October 31, 2012

Get Dressed for a Diner en Blanc

Get Dressed for a Diner en Blanc

Nutmeg believes that the celebration of Halloween is perfect timing for this post. Trust the French to come up with an annual event that is sophisticated, classy, a bit rebellious and a whole lot of fun. Diner en Blanc started in 1988, when a group of 100 friends got together for a reunion in the Bois de Boulogne. The story is that François Pasquier instructed everyone to wear white in order to recognize each other. This was a brilliant idea, given those were the days before fancy cell phones, text messaging, Facebook and Twitter. (more…)

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August 16, 2012

A Revolutionary Tour of Paris Beware Madame la Guillotine

A Revolutionary Tour of Paris Beware Madame la Guillotine

Are you a history buff? Nutmeg would like to introduce you to a real find: Beware Madame la Guillotine, A Revolutionary Tour of Paris by Time Traveler Tours, an educational tourism start-up that is capturing worldwide attention. Sarah Towle is Founder and Creative Director of Time Traveler Tours, mobile iTineraries that reveal history through the stories of characters who helped shape their time, enhanced with dash of interactive games. Her first StoryApp, Beware Madame la Guillotine, A Revolutionary Tour of Paris, received accolades as a School Library Journal Top 10 2011 App and Teachers With Apps Top 10 Tried & True Classroom App. It was also recently named a Top 10 2012 Travel App by the World Youth and Student Travel Conference. Sarah’s second title, also on a death theme, Day of the Dead, a journey to the Napoleonic era, is due for release later this year. Like, Connect with, and Follow Sarah’s progress starting here. (more…)

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March 7, 2010

European Capitals Dining options in Paris, Vienna and Brussels

European Capitals Dining options in Paris, Vienna and Brussels

If there is one thing that Nutmeg and Ginger love to try it is food.  The truth is you are not going to starve in any of these great cities; the array of options can be overwhelming.  In all three cities Paris, Vienna and Brussels there is no end of options for international cuisine.  Each city offers fresh farmers markets, local produce retailers and many ethnic specialty areas.  In turn, each city has a large inventory of what Nutmeg likes to call the dreaded “overpriced and underwhelming tourist traps”. With the internet it is easy enough to search for good to great restaurant options in any city. Zagat is a reliable resource and a bit more established in Europe than Open Table. The other strategy is “roll of the dice”; this means taking some time to look at the menu (price and limited variety), the décor (lighting levels and table settings) and the number of diners (never try an empty restaurant).  Here are some recommendations based on this strategy: In Vienna: Nutmeg and Ginger tried Indochine 21 night the food is influenced by South East Asia and the décor by Thailand and Vietnam.  This place scored highly on Nutmeg’s list as the lighting levels were appropriate and the smoke levels low – oh and the food was very good. A funky place to check out is Urania was built according to the plans of Art Nouveau architect Max Fabiani (a student of Otto Wagner) at the mouth of the Wien River and was opened in 1910 by Franz Joseph I of Austria as an educational center with a public observatory. It was named after the Muse Urania who represents Astronomy. The bar/restaurant is perched right above the water.  The menu is not extensive but the food is decent and the service prompt.  If you are not hungry just go for a drink Urania is a great people-watching scene. In Brussels: A great find was Toscana 21.  This tiny restaurant has been open about three years it is located just of the Place du Petit Sablon. The menu is limited in size with a focus on Tuscan specialties.  Momma is the chef, her son Lorenzo and his wife (training opera singer) run the show out front.  We had an antipasto selection with great pecorino cheeses and a selection of specialty cured meats.  The main course pastas (all home made from scratch) were fantastic.  Ginger had a goat cheese and honey stuffed tortellini in a cheese, pear and poppy seed sauce.  Nutmeg had “nude gnocchi”; spinach and ricotta dumplings without the outer shell – they were like little cloud puffs.  The food was fantastic and Nutmeg will not be trying these at home.  She will be booking another trip to Tuscany though! So the bottom line is you are never hard pressed to find good and great food in these European cities.  Use whatever methodology you like (internet, word of mouth, roll of the dice) but Go and Explore! [tfb username=’GingerandNutmeg’ count=’true’ lang=’en’ theme=’light’]

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February 23, 2010

Don’t tell the French Italian Coffee is Better

Don’t tell the French Italian Coffee is Better

Nutmeg and Ginger are staying in the Novatel in Paris, needless to say it is not the Four Seasons nor the Ritz.  What is interesting is the coffee service, or lack thereof at breakfast.  The hotel serves a breakfast buffet and in an attempt to cater to international tastes, serve everything from croissants and baguette to powdered scrambled eggs.  Generally speaking they do a decent job (stay away from the eggs).  The two “coffee” waiters for a room of 60+ have the following task; to serve coffee.  Nutmeg is amazed how these guys (she has tested her theory on both of them) have the classic Paris waiter attitude often found in street side bistros…. just because you are seated in my restaurant in my section and look like you might want a coffee does not mean you deserve one. When you finally do get a coffee you are so darn thankful you drink it. Out on the streets of Paris it is good to know the following (because you can be sure your waiter will not help out): (more…)

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