Vaux le Vicomte is a 17th century castle built by Nicolas Fouquet, Louis XIV's financial secretary, who was arrested and imprisoned after Louis XIV became jealous of the splendour of Vaux. Vaux then served as a template for Versailles.
The castle itself is quite small, with a few rooms to visit, but the beauty of Vaux is in its gardens "a la Francaise", designed by Andre Le Notre. They are absolutely breathtaking, and well worth the detour if you are in Paris. The history behind Vaux is also incredible (mainly Fouquet's demise following his construction of Vaux).
Vaux also hosts specular candle-lit evenings in the summer, when the castle and gardens are illuminated with over 2,000 candles.
To access Vaux, you take the train (Grandes Lignes) from Gare de Lyon to Melun (journey 25min) or the RER D from Le Chatelet to Melun. From there, there is a Chateaubus that can take you to Vaux. Please check the website for details of openings, etc.
Please note that Vaux is not very accessible to people in wheel chairs (mainly with regards to the Castle itself).
This walk crosses the east of Paris from the Bastille to the Bois de Vincennes. You are transported to a space in total contradiction to the urbanity surrounding you. This walk provides a breath of fresh air, but unlike a park, this is a narrow-ish walk-way surrounded by trees and plants that takes you up on viaducts and above buildings (only one storey up) and sometimes in tunnels, for a distance of 4.5 km.
In addition to providing you with some greenery, it allows you to journey among the trees, instead of among cars (as there are numerous access points along the way), and to see houses and apartment blocks in a way that is impossible from street level.
From the Avenue Daumesnil to the Bois de Vincennes (access by staircases and lifts along the way)
Métro : Bastille (Lignes 1,5, and 8)
One of world-renowned chef Joel Robuchon's new ventures, the principle being: no reservations, small-sized dishes, bar seating on high stools, design.
His aim is to provide top-quality food without the fuss and pomp of the traditional gastronomic restaurants. The food is delicious (not if you're on a diet though, but it's worth breaking your diet for), presented impeccably and portions are small (tapas-style). The restaurant is aiming for a trendy, design look (all black and red, from the stools, bar and crockery to the clothes the staff wear), with muted lights. Diners are seated at a u-shaped bar, and so it is ideal for couples (more than that, and the conversation would be difficult).
The only issue is that they take no reservations. You can turn up from around 18.30 and they will tell you when you will have a table. Be prepared to dine late (my brother and I ate at 23.00!). As there are no nice bars to wait at, I recommend you walk about ten mins up the Boulevard St Germain and have a drink at the mythic Cafe de Flore or Les Deux Magots.
I recommend taking any dish served with the mashed potatoes (only an accompaniment, but absolutely divine - think butter with a bit of potato). And the poached egg in girolle soup was delicious.
5, rue Montalembert
Metro: Rue du Bac (Ligne 12)
This restaurant, not far from the Chateau, is a delight. It serves French cuisine with a modern twist, all seasonal ingredients, for a good price.
43 rue de France
Tél. : +33 (0)1 64 22 01 57
Fax : +33 (0)1 60 72 08 73
Email : email@example.com
Fontainebleau is about 35 miles from the centre of Paris.
A little shop tucked away in Nolita that sells jeans, jeans, and more jeans. We're talking all the latest brands (Seven for all Mankind, Citizens of Humanity, Earl, etc). It's a great little shop with friendly staff who don't overwhelm you and who can also recommend styles to you. (You'll need the help as there are so many models on offer.)
You have the time to try on whatever you want as the shop is quiet. They also have a lovely range of vintage belts. However, it's not the cheapest place for jeans (expect to pay $100 average).
9 Prince St
New York, NY 10012-3506
Directions: B, D, F, Q at Broadway/Lafayette; 6 at Spring St, Bleecker St; N, R at Prince St
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