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NYC Part 1 - The Perfect Foil for Paris

Susie Hollands writing for I V Y paris

Picture 1

With a recent stay drawing to an end there is a bitter sweet quality about returning to France and not just because I'll have to swap Wholefoods mind-boggling aisles for dusty Franprix and Leader Price. 

I'll miss pleasantly passing the time of day with those in the service professions (about a weeks assimilation before I remembered this was common in other parts of the world than Paris).  Let's take the New Yorker's bistro du coin, Pastis. It looks exactly like every french bistro you may have ever have known or imagined, the McNally patina and creation of ambience is legendary.  From it's faux ciggie-yellowed ceiling to the scratched and battered toilet stall doors, (salvaged perhaps from a Montpellier chiotte ?) it would be better named Pastiche. 

In an eerie post-modern way it's better than any bistro I've been to in Paris for a good long while.  The serveurs are pleasing to the eye, rapid with one's order, funny and good humored.  A French Onion soup is hearty and reasonably priced. The bread baked at their Balthazar boulangerie is equally as fine as the ubiquitous Poilane. Lunch at $10 (or 7.50 euros) is excellent value. This includes a ring-side seat at the bar and chat with one's neighbouring diners, banter with the staff and a first-class view of the bustling theatre of the room and those working it - because it is a scene. I leave feeling full, satisfied and feeling I got great value for money. It doesn't happen to me often in Paris these days.

If you are hankering for the old-school Parisian service, toddle down to Nolita and Café Gitane. The sullen staff will happily ignore you and chat with their preferred local customers.

Bonapart Paris apartments


Hmmmmmm....A $10.00 lunch at Pastis? No wine! No bottled water!
What on earth did you have???

i think it was 10.50$. That was french onion soup, plentiful basket of bread, small white ceramic pot of butter and a carafe of ecologically sound tap water. In Lndon and NYC it seems that anything other than tapwater is frowned on now in certain circles. Not so Paris. I had a meeting after nb no wine ;)

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