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Canceling Reservations

French menu

I’d arrived early this weekend at one of the “hot” restaurants in Paris, where I was meeting a friend for dinner, so I chatted up the barman while having a glass at the bar. Since it’s one of my favorite restaurants, I asked him how things were going because I want them to succeed and continue. He replied, “Well, we just had three groups of people who had reservations at 7pm, who didn’t show up.”

For a place that has fewer than a dozen tables, that’s a substantial percentage of places that could have gone to someone else. Many restaurants in Paris are small and it’s hard to absorb the loss of not having all – or most of – the tables filled, when they could be. And because costs to employ people are extremely high in France (higher than you might imagine), only the fancy places can afford to have a dedicated reservations person to keep track of who is coming and who isn’t. The rest rely on waiters or the bar person to answer the phone and write reservations in the book. So when you call and they seem harried, it’s usually because they are talking to you while serving customers or welcoming people walking in the door.

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Paris Pastry App Update – Version 2.0+

UPDATE! The Paris Pastry Guide app was completely updated and can now be found in the iTunes store. The new app was completely redesigned, all addresses were updated, and dozens of new addresses and photographs have been added. Get it today!


Paris Pastry App

We’ve completely revamped and rebuilt the Paris Pastry app, starting with adding updates and the latest information about Paris pastry shops and updating my favorite addresses. But we’ve also rebuilt the app from the ground up, including a scrollable, enhanced French pastry glossary and dynamic maps searchable with a tap, to find the pastry shop nearest to wherever you are in Paris.

Paris Pastry App

To use the app, open up the home page and you’ll find categories for everything, from delicious scoops of ice cream to where to find the best hot chocolate. There’s also an introduction by me about Paris pastries, as well as a glossary of terms you might come across in a bakery or chocolate shop. If you’re looking for a quick “Best of Paris” overview, check out my Top 25 Places in Paris for Pastry.

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Paris Pastry Guide E-Book

I’m excited to announce the release of the e-book of my Paris Pastry Guide!

With over 300 addresses for the best places in Paris for chocolates, pastries, and other confections, this comprehensive guide is the perfect sweet companion for your trip to Paris. But even if you’re not planning a trip, there’s plenty of pictures to so you can enjoy the scrumptious pastries of Paris – wherever you are!

The Paris Pastry e-book is available in three formats:

  • E.Pub: For the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Sony eReader, Kobo, and Blackberry.

  • Mobi: For Kindle, MobiPocket, and Calibre.

  • Kindle: The Kindle version is available on Amazon.

    They can be downloaded via the Paris Pastry website. It will soon be available in the iBooks bookstore and Barnes & Noble (Nook). To be alerted when they’re ready, follow Paris Pastry on Twitter or Facebook.

    So get your copy today!


    FAQs

    Is the map in the e-book aligned with a GPS system?

    Yes, it is. So if you tap on a link, a map will open that will take you there. You will need to have an internet connection to use that feature. For those with other mobile devices, and iPad users, the e-book will work on those devices.

    In the app, because people often have to pay substantial roaming charges, we attached the addresses to a fixed map. So if you want a map that is linked to Google maps, you might wish to consider downloading the e-book or the Kindle version.

    (We are working on an Android version of the app, and appreciate your patience. There’s no need to leave a message or comment requesting an Android version because it it already something under consideration; if you’d like to be notified when it’s available, follow Paris Pastry on Twitter or Facebook. Although I don’t have an Android-enabled device, according to the publisher, you can read the e-book on Android devices using the Kobo app.)

    I have an iPad. Which version should I buy?

    The app available in the iTunes store will work fine, although it’s formatted for the iPhone and to save on roaming charges, the maps in the iPhone app do not require an internet connection (they aren’t attached to Google maps-although that will be changed in the next update). The book is formatted for larger size reading devices, such as the iPad, and the maps are linked to Google maps, which work with an internet connection.

    Is there going to be a printed book available?

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  • Paris Cooking Classes, Schools, and Wine Tastings

    milk chocolate spatula

    Many folks coming to Paris have asked about cooking classes on the non-professional level. Here’s a list of cooking programs offered around town. Some offer professional-level classes lasting a week or several months, while others are for dedicated home cooks where you can prepare a meal with a local cook in their Parisian kitchen and perhaps visit a market. Click on the links to find their scheduled classes and what language they’re taught in.

    Because I haven’t gone to most of them, I can’t offer personal recommendations. But a visit to their website should give you an idea of the nature of their classes. For professional-level classes outside of Paris, there’s a list below of some that specialize in pastry.

    jam in tart

    Cooking Classes in Paris

    Atelier des Chefs

    Atelier des Sens

    Atelier Gastronomique de Alain Ducasse: The cooking school of super-chef Alain Ducasse

    Cook ‘n With Class

    Cordon Bleu

    Cuisine Attitude by Cyril Lignac

    Ecole Ferrandi: Paris’ school for professionals who want to cook, classes in English and French

    Ecole Bellouet Conseil

    Ecole Lenôtre: One-day classes for home cooks, and professional programs

    Elegant Home Cooking

    Les Coulisses du Chef

    Le Foodist

    Chef Martial

    Chez Bogato (Offers kids classes as well)

    Cucina di Terresa: Organic & vegetarian cooking

    La Belle Ecole

    La Cuisine: English & French classes

    L’Atelier de Fred

    Ooh-La-La Foods

    Gourmet Promenades: With Paule Caillat (in English)

    La Cuisine de Marie Blanche

    Ecole Escoffier: at the Ritz Carlton

    On Rue Tatin with Susan Loomis: Classes in Paris & Normandy

    Patricia Wells: Weeklong cooking programs

    spatulas chocolate

    Specialized Chocolate Classes For Professionals Outside of Paris

    Ecole Chocolat

    Pam Williams offers an online course in chocolate-making, with the option of coming to France (and Italy) and learning with selected professionals.

    Chocolate Academy of Barry-Callebaut

    Ecole du Grand Chocolat at Valrhona

    Read about my visit to Valrhona’s Chocolate School

    Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la Pâtisserie

    Never An Empty Glass

    Wine Tastings and Classes in Paris

    Musée du Vin

    Ecole du vin

    David in Paris

    Jacques Vivet’s Centre de Désgustation

    Lavina

    O-Château: Wine tasting in English with sommelier Oliver Magny and his excellent team of sommeliers.



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  • Paris Pastry App

    Update: The Paris Pastry app has been updated and completely revamped, with new functionality and a sleeker interface. More shops have been added, as well as a host of new features. You can check it out here!


    At long last, I’d like to introduce you to the Paris Pastry app. It’s a project that I’ve been working on for a while, doing lots of delicious research around Paris, scoping out the best bakeries, chocolate shops, and confectioners in the sweetest city in the world!

    Paris Pastry App

    In the app, you’ll find hundreds of the best addresses in Paris where to find the most buttery madeleines and financiers, how far you’ll have to go to get the dreamiest salted butter caramels from wherever you’re standing, where is the best cup of rich hot chocolate, and how soon you can get your hands on a scoopendous ice cream.

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    Favorite Travel Items

    I’ve made a couple of big trips lately, and although I’m (almost) home for a while, I’m not really a good traveler so I take a few things along to make traveling easier and more comfortable. Here’s a list of things that I don’t leave home without, to make life a little more pleasant on the road, and in the air…

    Tempur-Pedic Eye Mask

    My whole travel life changed with the Tempur-Pedic eye mask, which is the only one that blocks out all light and doesn’t hurt your head and make you feel like you’re recovering from brain surgery. It also doesn’t press on your eyes, which is said to discourage REM movements, necessary for good sleep. It takes a few moments for the memory foam to conform – and you look like a robotroid wearing it – but when you’re blissed out in total darkness, who cares if others on the plane think you look funny having a puffy black band around your head.

    They used to sell them at Brookstone but replaced them with another eye mask for whatever reason. (Amazon seems to be habitually out of them as well.)

    And there is a Rick Steves Travel Dreams Sleep Mask that is said to block all light, but with all those dark angles and pleats, it might make your face look like the batmobile.

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    Paris Apps

    I am accro (hooked) on my smartphone and when friends told me right before I got it, about how it would change my life, I was skeptical. But the moment I started figuring out all the features and downloading apps, it became an integral part of my life. And like many things, the rest of the world has adapted to the phones and enterprising folks have created a myriad of applications for them.

    Here are some of the apps that I have on my smartphone. Because they rely on a relatively new technology, in some you might encounter bugs and glitches. Some are free and others cost. But I’ve come to realize that with “free”, you sometimes get what you pay for – some of the free ones are ad-supported – (I have no commercial affiliation with any of these apps) and am happy to pay a few bucks for an application that I’ll use – like a good French dictionary. Which I am sure the rest of the people in France appreciate me having as well.

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    10 Things to Bring Back from Your Trip to Paris

    On my last visit to the states, I engaged a bit in the all-American pastime of le shopping. Of course, I wasn’t looking for things made in France (although folks have a tendency to want to direct me to French bakeries), but I did see what was—and wasn’t, available from my adopted country.

    Interestingly, I get a fair number of people coming to France and asking what they should bring their hosts. Generally speaking, the French aren’t especially interested in macaroni & cheese mix, backside-burning hot sauce, or jars of organic crunchy peanut butter. But I always recommend people bring things like bean-to-bar chocolate, Rancho Gordo beans, and a big bag of dried sour cherries, which I’ve only seen at a few places in Paris, and they sell for over €55 per kilo (2.2 pounds). Their hefty price reflects the fact that they’re imported from America.

    In the reverse direction, outside of France you’ll often pay hefty prices on French-made items; certain goods one can buy in France quite cheaply. Of course, shipping, exchange rates, taxes, and other costs figure in to those prices when you see them in a store in New York City, but if you’re coming to France, here’s a few things you might want to check out. I didn’t include things like chocolates, macarons, or other obvious things simply because, well, they’re pretty obvious.

    Continue Reading 10 Things to Bring Back from Your Trip to Paris…