Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Where to eat in Paris: Our favorites

If you follow this blog closely, you might have noticed that this has been something of a special year for the Lausanne Guide. Half of our duo (Sarah) spent the spring in Paris working on a master’s degree, which left the other half (Tanya) to manage the site all on her lonesome. Needless to say, both of us are pretty exhausted…

But with that being said, we are so glad to be together again and brainstorming about fun projects to bring you this fall. But first things first – you can’t spend 5 months in Paris without having a few favorite spots to recommend to your friends, can you?!? Here are our top picks:

Pomze – if you only have one night out in Paris, this is your place. We’ve been coming here through the years and as much as we love testing new restaurants, nothing has yet de-throned Pomze as our favorite dinner in the city of lights. Why? Because every dish is a conversation. Never have we seen such unusual ingredient pairings – the surprise and delight of each combination means that basically we spend our entire dinner talking about our dinner, sharing bites and marveling over the creativity of it all. This is foodie paradise! The restaurant gets its name from the French word for “apples,” props to all you geniuses who already figured that one out. ;)

The chef incorporates apples into each dish in some subtle and innovative way; non-apple lovers fear not! While the flavor may serve as a red tread, giving the cuisine its creative structure, the tastes are never overwhelming. This gorgeous dining experience is also the most affordable we’ve had: three courses for 35 euros. We’ve practically eaten our way through Paris this spring, and we can attest that this is the best value we have found anywhere.

Things to note: 1) Pomze features live piano music most weekend nights. 2) Be sure to request a table by the window. 3) The restaurant’s apple theme is tied to the Normandy region of France, and so Pomze features accordingly a large list of ciders. For 14 euros, you can add a cider pairing to your dinner, which includes a glass perfectly selected to accompany the dishes that you pick. How fun is that? 4) While there is no dress code, Pomze feels classy, so we like to take it up a notch… 5) One negative observation: sometimes the dining room is not fully set, meaning half of the tables are left without plates, silver and glasses. Sadly, it gives the impression that Pomze's true glory days are behind it. But, we can assure you that what comes out of the kitchen sends a completely different message!

109 Boulevard Haussmann
75008 Paris
+33 1 42 65 65 83

Bistroy les Papilles – This is a great traditional Parisian bistro serving hearty and satisfying French cooking. The space is snug and the ambiance convivial and warm. We love this spot for their delightful service and vast wine selection. Wine lovers will enjoy the process of picking their bottle from off the wall; less confident diners can always rely on the knowledgeable wait staff for a recommendation. The menu changes each night and there is only one option available – four courses of whatever the chef has imagined for 35 euros. But don’t worry – it’s all delicious!

Things to note: 1) The food is RICH. Show up hungry. Eat slow. 2) The location is near the Pantheon – romantic after dinner stroll, check! 3) Dining at Bistroy Papilles is a laid back affair, so come dressed casually (perhaps with a belt to let out about half-way through dinner)

Bistroy les Papilles
30 Rue Gay-Lussac
75005 Paris
+33 1 43 25 20 79

A few others that are worth mentioning:
Want to eat well and not spend a fortune? Le Potager de Père Thierry (This is essentially a Parisian, French-food dive - we recommend the oeuf à la coque with foie gras...)

Art Deco chic + no-frills, delicious French food? Poulette (Take a look at the site, and you'll see instantly why we love dining here!)

Stylish afternoon coffee and French concept fashion and deco store? Merci (This is near the lovely but understated upper Marais neighborhood)

We’re sure that there are trendier places out there, but our list is primarily curated with the idea of delicious food in mind first and foremost. Restaurants with great ambiance that didn’t blow us away with their cooking didn’t make the cut. All of these spots are places that we returned to multiple times and look forward to visiting again and again in the future. Hope we’ve given you a few useful addresses for your next trip to the French capital!

We’re curious; do you have any Parisian addresses that we should try this fall?!? Please, please let us know via email or in the comments below. Merci mille fois!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Festival de la Cité 2014 - en ville!

Festival de la Cité, which typically takes place in the historic heart of Lausanne (La Cité), has been displaced due to construction and is now bringing installation art, theatrical performances and concerts all over town from July 8-13.

To get an idea of what you might want to see, be sure to check out the program. However, leave some time to just stroll around town and be surprised too. Throughout the week, the streets will be filled with festival goers, enjoying local cuisine from food stands set up by many of our favorite Lausanne restaurants. This is the perfect week to meet up with friends and just soak up summertime in the city - Let's just hope the weather decides to work with us a bit...

For updates - follow along on the #cite2014. We'll be sure to share our photos and experiences - hope you'll join us!

City-wide festival map.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Montreux Jazz 2014

We can hardly contain our excitement – it’s Montreux Jazz time and WE have tickets to hear Van Morrison and legendary Mavis Staples. We’d be ashamed of gloating, but there are still spots available to this concert and several others, so it’s not too late to join us!

We started the festival off last night with some unexpected tickets to see Passenger and Angus and Julia Stone - thanks a mil to Lausanne-based Blogger Nicola from NexttoNicx who set us up with some tickets yesterday afternoon. The concert was great - but best surprise of all was how Passenger stole our hearts! What a performer! Were any of you there?!?!

Our area is known for its fabulous summer festival schedule, but the Montreux Jazz is the crown jewel. If you’re not interested in a paying concert, you can still participate via the free circuit, which every year features up-and-coming artists that before too long will be common names. Trust us, we kick ourselves every year when we realize that we missed an opportunity to see a new hot band for free the year before.

The Montreux Jazz Program lays out the entire event, free and paying concerts alike.

For a list of paying events and online ticket purchasing...Beware, for some reason the ticket purchasing function keeps reverting to German.

And if free concerts are all you are looking for, visit the list of the free offering.

Join the festival conversation online with #MJF14

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Where to Work Out in Lausanne: FitMama

As a mother, trying to find the time to work out is hard enough--but then when you do have the time, maximizing it becomes even more difficult. Enter Michelle. A personal trainer and mother herself, she knows that time is precious. That's why her FitMama class is only 45-minutes long but extremely focused on exercises that benefit a postpartum body. It's also a class where your children are welcome, so no need to figure out childcare etc. Mothers set their children up in the corners of the class with their toys and their games and can focus on the workout without worrying.

Michelle runs the FitMama class like a bootcamp. A 45-minute workout comprised of different exercises that change every two minutes--sounds [and is] a bit daunting, we know. But Michelle is encouraging, and she is extremely knowledgeable and aware as her background is in personal training, fitness, and nutrition.

Because of the intimate nature of the class, Michelle offers personal advice and corrects your technique--which we found extremely helpful. She also offers alternative exercises based on your personal abilities (or in our case, inabilities) and injuries.

Michelle said right away that her goal isn't to make you skinny--she doesn't do skinny. Her goal is to get you fit, toned, and feeling good about your body. Her class was exactly that--though the bootcamp style can be a little harrowing to some,  and if we are being totally honest extremely challenging, it totally kicked our butts in a good way. We left the class full of energy, endorphins, and with a feeling of accomplishment (the fact that we couldn't lift our arms to shampoo our heads for a few days is another story).

***Your first class is free when you mention The Lausanne Guide!***

Fit Mama 
Monday and Friday in Lausanne from 10h-10h45
Monday and Wednesday in Morges (see website for times)
Tuesday and Thursday in Geneva (see website for times)

To book a class online or check out the other classes Michelle offers, visit the Pure Gravity website 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Cocktail Series: Pimm's Cucumber Spritz

Ok lazies, this one is for you! This is literally the easiest cocktail to make in the history of ever.  Pimm's is a summery favorite (spicy and citrusy notes make it an easy liqueur to use), paired with the already prepared sparkling cucumber water creates a crisp and fresh cocktail.

The Players:
  • Pimm's No 1 Cup
  • Qcumber Sparkling Water (available at Globus)
  • Ice (if Qcumber water is not cold)
  • Optional: Fresh cucumbers and/or lime to add to the drink itself or to use as garnish

The Play:
  • Put 1 1/2 shots of Pimm's in glass
  • Fill the rest with chilled Qcumber water
  • Optional: Add cucumber garnish and a squeeze of lime (and ice if not cool)

Simply delicious.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Where to Chop your Locks: Meet Pedro

We don't know about you, but we have been on the hunt for an English-speaking, reasonably priced, trendy, and local hair stylist for quite some time. That's why when our friend Steph confided that she wanted to chop it all off for the summer we jumped at the chance to find one here in Lausanne. We reached out to friends, paid a few salons a visit, and finally, through our good friend Eleni, we found Pedro.

Pedro claims he doesn't speak English, but after thirty minutes of conversation, banter, and joking all in English you realize that he's just being modest. Originally from Portugal, Pedro made the move to Switzerland many years ago and opened up the salon,  Théâtre de la Coiffure, around nine years ago. It's a large lofty space full of natural light with an art deco feel--magnificent mirrors line the walls with thick gaudy golden frames, the work tables hang from the ceiling from thick rope, and multi-bulbed Medusan light fixtures provide an edgy vibe. 

Pedro is attentive, meticulous, and isn't afraid to lend his own opinion about your chosen cut. Be careful though, he can be quite persuasive--he almost convinced me to shave part of my head! As a side hobby, Pedro spends his time DJing, which means the salon is always pumping great tunes and beats (which Violet the intern greatly appreciated as she busted out her moves).

And here's Steph's final cut!* Doesn't she look incredible? After the initial shock, she has fully embraced her new summer locks...and makes us want to chop it all too!

What about you? Are you looking to change your look for summer? 

Théâtre de la Coiffure
Rue Centrale 29, 1003 Lausanne
021 312 51 30

Watch this YouTube clip to get a feel for the salon and its stylists. 

*Steph's haircut with shampoo, blow-dry, and style cost 80CHF

Saturday, June 21, 2014

What to do in Lausanne: Fête de la Musique 2014

Every year, Lausanne (along with our neighboring countries) kicks off the summer with a music festival that takes place in the heart of the city. This year, the festival will share space with the Lausanne Jardins in various places in the center city. All music genres for all musical tastes, and what a beautiful day to partake! So go, grab a beer or an ice cream cone and let the Fête de la Musique provide the soundtrack to your first day of summer!

Get more information and the official program here: http://www.fetemusiquelausanne.ch

Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer Cocktail Series: Rosé Pamplemousse

This delightfully refreshing spin on apéritif is starting to pop up in cafés across the City of Lights. How do we know? Because we discovered it with Parisian friends this Spring. It's still rare to find a good one, but once you take your first sip, we're sure you'll believe us when we say that the Rosé Pamplemousse will soon take over the world. With any luck, we'll begin to find it in Lausanne next summer - for now, you can whip it up at home!

The players
Grapefruit sirop
Rosé wine - cheap is best ;)
A wedge of grapefruit (or two...)
Ample ice cubes

The play
  • Pour 2 dl of rosé wine into a cocktail shaker
  • Stir in the grapefruit sirop - add a little at a time to taste. There's no precise recipe - every café owner we spoke to has their own proportions
  • Add ice and give it a few shakes before pouring into a large glass and garnishing with grapefruit
  • Enjoy outdoors*

*As much a part of the recipe as the rosé wine. View of Lake Geneva optional.
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