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PARIS | The Travel Empire


Paris’ Famous Steak Frites at Le Relais de l’Entrecôte

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Opened by Paul Gineste de Saurs in 1959, Le Relais de l’Entrecôte, is a popular Parisian bistro focused around a single dish, steak frites. Upon entering the restaurant, which is overseen by an all-female waitstaff dressed in traditional black and white servers uniforms, you will be seated, presented a sliced baguette and a wine list consisting of about five wines, from which you will more likely or not go with the house red, Cuvée du Relais de l’Entrecôte. The only other choice you will need to make throughout the meal is how you would like your steak cooked. The restaurant only offers it four ways: bien cuit (well done), à point (medium), saignant (rare) or bleu (nearly raw). Once you’ve decided, the waitress will scrawl the temperatures onto your paper tablecloth before bringing frisee salads with a light mustard dressing to the table. Banquet stations are set up around the restaurant for the servers to place the platters of steak once they arrive from the kitchen. The rib-steak is thinly sliced by the waitress, topped with the restaurant’s famous (and secret) sauce and plated with a high pile of thin-cut, crispy frites. Once you are down to your last few bites, the waitress will come back around and serve you the other half of your steak along with more sauce and an additional serving of fries. The steak dinner runs 25€ per person without wine.

 15, rue Marbeuf/8th arr.

101, Blvd du Montparnasse/6th arr.

20, rue Saint-Benoît/6th arr.

Reservations Not Accepted.

Paris’ Love Locks on the Pont des Arts

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Anyone who has passed across this pedestrian foot bridge will surely have taken notice of the hundreds of locks affixed to the bridge’s fence on either side. The hanging of love locks, or les cadenas d’amour, in French, has been an ongoing tradition carried out by love-struck couples from around the world. The locks come in all shapes and sizes, with initials, names, or messages engraved or written on them before they are attached to the bridge. Then the key to the lock is thrown into the Seine, as a testament to the everlasting love the lock is meant to symbolize. The city inexplicably tried to wipe out the practice in 2010 by cutting down almost all of the locks, but the romantic lure of the tradition survived with the hanging of hundreds of new locks on the bridge.

A Paris Cafe: La Maison Angelina

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The self-proclaimed “high point of Parisian gourmet pleasures” and widely recognized as an institution in Paris, La Maison Angelina, is a well-known tea room and patisserie located adjacent to the Louvre. Tuck into the ornate, arched arcades off Rue de Rivoli and enter into the bustling, Belle Epoque inspired salon. The refined elegance of the interior is perfectly matched with the delicately crafted pastries that Angelina stakes its reputation on. Established in 1903, Angelina became popular among the Parisian aristocracy and continues in its tradition of offering gourmet delights in a charmingly romantic setting.

The menu items drawing the highest acclaim include the Mont Blanc, a desert made from meringue, fresh whipped cream and chestnut cream vermicelli and the Chocolat l’Africain, a rich, thick hot chocolate served with a small pot of fresh whipped cream. Not to be outdone by the Mont Blanc, the classically Parisian macarons should not be overlooked. The macaron collection consists of dark chocolate, coffee, pistachio, Mont Blanc, vanilla, caramel, dark chocolate raspberry and mandarin.

 226 Rue de Rivoli, Paris

Views of Paris from L’Institut du Monde Arabe

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Stop into L’Institut du Monde Arabe and make your way to the 9th floor terrace to take in one of the best views of Paris. The sweeping panoramic scene captures Cathédrale Notre Dame situated on the Île de la Cité and continues to stretch along the Seine past the Île Saint-Louis and over the rooftops of the neighboring arrondissements.

Take time to linger over a drink or tea at the 9th floor restaurant “Le Zyriab” before exploring the rest of the Institute. Opened in 1987, the Institute houses numerous permanent and temporary exhibitions involving all aspects of Arab culture. The architecture of the building blends traditional Middle Eastern elements with modern design. Most notably, the south facade of the building contains 240 aluminum and glass mashrabiya panels that open and close electronically throughout the day to adjust to the natural outdoor light.

Free entry to the terrace/Exhibition prices vary. http://www.imarabe.org/

1 Rue des Fossés-Saint-Bernard, Paris

Paris Art: Space Invaders Project

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The Space Invaders Project undertaken by French street artist Invader aims to “invade” cities throughout the world with mosaic tile representations of first generation arcade games, in particular, the classic Space Invaders game. Despite spreading to 35 cities, the invasion began and continues in Paris, where Invader has put up around 1,000 pieces. Each city receives a score that is based off the total point value for the number of pieces put up. Each individual piece scores between 10 and 50 points depending on its size, composition and location. As of last count, Paris scores at 21,760, making it the most invaded city to date.

A limited number of Invasion Maps that pinpoint the location of the Invader pieces exist for certain cities, including Paris, but with so many up in Paris, a stroll around the city will likely reveal numerous Invader pieces.