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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Holiday Travel - Paris Sleeps and Eatings

HERE are some suggestions on where to stay and eat while in Paris and Nice.Restaurant Aphrodite, 10 Boulevard Dubouchage, NiceChez Flottes Restaurant, 2 Rue Cambon, Paris

Ellington Hotel, Boulevard Dubouchage, Nice

A boutique hotel in an excellent location just minutes from Avenue Jean Medecin and great restaurants. It has 119 rooms (designed along three different themes) with room rates ranging from 90 Euros (RM400) during the low season to 130 Euros (RM650) at peak season. What we loved best about the hotel were the jazz notes (framed photos of jazz greats at the bar and lobby area), energy saving auto-sensor hallway lights and the charming pink breakfast room that serves a delicious international breakfast.

Hotel Lumen, Rue des Pyramides, Paris

A newly renovated boutique hotel situated just three minutes’ walk from the Louvre, and on the corner of the famous shopping street Rue Saint Honore.

We stayed in a lovely single-bed room that has a ceiling to floor crystal chandelier and wonderful shower amenities. The staff are friendly, helpful and the service excellent. No impersonal machine wake-up calls but a pleasant voice that greets you and ensures you are up with a repeat call.

Packed with diners, the restaurant is a typical Parisian brasserie with Art Deco and stained glass d├ęcor, serving traditional French cuisine. Reasonable prices for its set dinner menu.

A chic yet casual restaurant with romantic al fresco dining; the glass window-walls and foliage circumscribing the restaurant creates a hothouse ambience. It offers classic and nouvelle choices but is famed for its set “molecular” menu (RM300 per pax); those who opt for the latter are in for a gastronomic experience with a difference. It is a showy affair, eliciting lots of gasps from guests watching panna cotta and mango juice transform into an omelette using gaseous substances at way below freezing temperature. Culinary art incorporating scientific principles at its best!

Restaurant Le 26 at 26 Boulevard Victor Hugo, Nice

Warm and inviting, the restaurant is a popular choice for family and social gatherings. We had two starters: a soup in a little glass flute and foie gras, followed by green tea risotto with Oliver’s truffle and a sumptuous dessert of panna cotta and fresh tangerine fisaliz.

Oliviera, 8 Bis rue de Collet, Nice

Run by Nadim Beyrouti and his wife Regina, this cosy little restaurant serves only the best and freshest of olive oils purchased directly from farmers.

Apart from beautifully presented salads that come in a riot of colours and hearty mains, what sets this restaurant apart from the others is the charismatic proprietor who walks from table to table with a bottle of olive oil in hand and lots of tales to share. His motto: good olive oil, good table!

Restaurant Pinxo, adjoining Renaissance Vendome Hotel, Rue du Mont Thabor, Paris

Our favourite restaurant this trip, with food that tastes even better than it looks. Everything we were served was superb, especially the best-selling starter of succulent and tender squid grilled to perfection.

The restaurant is well-known for its minimalist design and innovative cuisine. Its name is derived from “pincher” or touch your plate with your fingers.