Paris is renowned for its food but it is often pricey. However an unassuming, high walled mosque at 39 Rue Geoffroy St. Hillaire serves incredibly tender tagines, beautifully fluffy cous cous, kebabs that tantalise rounded off with baklava and mint tea stuffed with fresh leaves.
Go here and you’ll avoid other tourists and the price tags that they attract.
And, don’t worry about not being authentic; immigration from Morocco to France means a tangine is as French as a curry is British (just don’t let them hear you say that)!
Le Lys is a unique B&B in a 17th century house in the atmospheric Marais district, a stone’s throw from Notre Dame and the Centre Pompidou.
Stéphane and Jean’s elegant home is stuffed with antiques and paintings, and the generous breakfast is a delight, but it is the warmth of their welcome that impresses the most.
By the time you leave, you will be firm friends, and your experience of Paris will be all the richer for it.
Le Lys is on Rue Quincampoix, w, and the telephone number is +33 (0)6 7741 2913/(0)1 4704 2880
Rue Quincampoix, 75004 Paris. +33 1 4704 2880
Excellent setting and service, shame about the food. Very bland!
No taste of coconut in coconut rice! Tasteless prawns.
Very disappointing evening considering the location and high prices.
Food needs to match the wonderful décor.
The best place to stay in Strasbourg for travellers on a shoe-string budget is Ciarus.
It offers clean, comfortable en-suite hostel accommodation, which is often booked up by MEPs.
For the best tarte flambees go to Les Trois Brasseurs at 22 Rue des Veaux. It often has special deals on tarteflambee and beers.
For great beers, go to Academie de la Biere on Rue Adolphe Seyboth. It is a great place to have a few drinks after wondering around beautiful Petite France.
Restuarant Gurtlerhoft, is situated directly opposite the Cathedral in the main square. The restaurant is a quieter, more relaxed alternative to the more popular terraced restaurants that are in abundance.
Passing through a passage opposite the Cathedral you will find the restaurant, situated in an immense arched cellar.
The ambiance in the restaurant is excellent - dimly, atmospherically lit, and decorated with dark wooden furniture. The restaurant offers all the local specialities, wonderfully cooked, and despite the excellent location the prices are reasonable.
Walk from Ribeauville to Kaysersberg and back - about an hour each way. Take a picnic and eat it in a field on the way back or eat in one of the restaurants in Kaysersberg.
This offers a nice gentle walk, it is well sign-posted and you can see the Rhine in the distance.
A bar you have to visit is L'Epicerie. Located in rue du Vieux Seigle, a narrow street in the centre of the city, its authentic fifties decor and ambience is worth a visit alone.
If you're recovering from the night before, try the vast breakfast, served with steaming bowls of hot chocolate/coffee.
Beware though - this place is extremely popular with the locals and its wooden benches fill up quickly.
Wander around Strasbourg and experience the local culture and cuisine.
August is the best time to visit for cultural events and street theatre.
As to getting familiar with the local cuisine, I came unstuck at trying their famous Alsace sauerkraut. They say you've got to try anything once, in the case of sauerkraut, once is enough in my lifetime no matter how many Michelin chefs prepare it.
Apart from that little hiccup I will recommend Strasbourg to anyone who'd like to experience the French/German melting pot.
Climb the Cathedral spire to achieve excellent views over the city and the Vosges mountains.
Visit the European Court of Justice, and end your day with an aperitif and meal at the Petite France Hotel on the balcony by the river.
Go hiking in the Black Forest - just a short distance away over the Rhine from Strasbourg.
No need for a car – there’s excellent public transport on tram-trains via Baden-Baden and Karlsruhe to Freudenstadt on a cheap day ticket or ‘Tageskarte’ that can also be used on regional German trains and rural buses.
Karlsruhe is worth a visit in its own right, for the Stats Baden-Wuerttemburg museum.
While in Germany, enjoy a reasonably-priced ‘Kaffe und Kuchen’ mid-afternoon, perhaps including a real Black Forest Gateau, quite different from what we get here.
Cheese is often undervalued but not at La Cloche a Fromage, Strasbourg.
The restaurant (a closely guarded secret amongst MEPs) is tucked down a cobbled street. Inside, it is dominated by an enormous, temperature-controlled Cloche.
All recipes contain cheese, apart from the chocolate fondue.
A selection of cheese from the Cloche is scientifically ordered in a "snail" on your plate and you eat your way into the middle saving le grand fromage for last.
Hotels in Strasbourg can be expensive and in short supply when the EU Parliament is sitting.
Try booking a hotel in just over the border in Germany. Make contact with your EU Member of Parliament and arrange a free private tour around the parliament.
Get to know them before you travel and who knows you might get them to take you to lunch or dinner.
Au Foyer des Pêcheurs is a wonderful fish and seafood restaurant, well off the beaten track but with excellent food and wine.
Getting there is a bit of an experience but well worth it: take tram A from the city centre to Illkirch-Graffenstaden (about 12 mins), get off by the university, walk down Chemin du Routier, under the road bridge, it may look like you are going nowhere but you find yourself on the edge of an amazing forest with tributaries of the river Rhine.
At the end of Chemin du Routier (about 5 mins walk) you find a detached house by a stream - the restaurant!
There are all kinds of fish, and there is a great family atmosphere, all for about 30 Euros.
Book on 0388661485
Try to visit in August when you should get a fantastic hotel deal in any of the hotels near the European Parliament (usually not sitting then).
You can enjoy the beautiful park nearby with its resident stork colonies or take a leisurely stroll along the river to the historic centre.
Another bonus of a summer visit is that there are free Son et Lumiere shows and street theatre at various riverside locations in the evenings.
For lunch,with the money you have saved on your hotel room,treat yourself to a special meal at one of the seriously good restaurants.
Or if you are like us and fail to read the small print, be embarrassed by only being able to afford starters and a bottle of wine in the evening.
The waiters didn't bat an eyelid and we were treated with exactly the same charm (and complimentary nibbles and aperitifs!) as the other diners.
Maybe we were lucky, but it did seem one of the friendliest, least stuffy 'significant cities' we have been lucky enough to visit.
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