France staycation

Say ooh la la to flaky croissants, vinotherapy and sexy underwear.



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Be chic like the French | Eat like the French | Live like the French

In Paris, Le Relais de l’Entrecte is famous for offering just one menu option (steak frites and green salad), prepared with unparalleled precision. Midtown Manhattan’s Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecte (590 Lexington Ave at 52nd St; 212-758-3989, boasts the same two-course prix-fixe menu ($24) as its Parisian counterpart: a Dijon-drenched salad followed by a perfectly cooked entrecte topped with an herbed butter sauce and served with crispy bistro-style fries. Once you settle into the vinyl banquettes and catch a glimpse of your black-and-white-clad server, you’ll swear you’ve magically teleported to the City of Light.

The jet set convenes at sleek new bistro Tartinery (209 Mulberry St between Kenmare and Spring Sts; 212-300-5838,, which was recently opened by three Parisian transplants. The namesake open-faced sandwiches ($8--$19) are made with rustic sourdough bread shipped every few days from Paris’s beloved Poilne bakery. Snag a seat at the bar to try the croque-monsieur ($10) or the decadent foie gras tartine with sea salt and fig jam ($18.50). Mercifully, carbs are still a vital food group in France (in moderation, bien sr).

Get your fix of authentic viennoiseries like clairs ($4.25) and flaky croissants ($2) at Laurent Dupal’s Ceci Cela Patisserie (55 Spring St between Lafayette and Mulberry Sts; 212-274-9179, Dupal picked up his skills during a five-year apprenticeship with the Compagnons du Tour de France, an organization that dates back to the Middle Ages and trains today’s French artisans in traditional techniques. “My products here are even better than in France,” boasts Dupal. “I am always here to oversee the production, and I still use recipes that I learned during my tour.” Don’t forget to pick up a baguette ($3) to tuck under your arm on the stroll home.

Inside info

When NYC’s French expats miss home, they patronize whimsical Mediterranean eatery L’Orange Bleue (430 Broome St at Crosby St; 212-226-4999,, where New York’s many francophone cultures collide. The dizzyingly diverse crowd flocks on Saturdays to hear live world music from 11pm until 4am, and the lively crowd often spills onto the sidewalk—all the better for smoking your Gauloises.

Be chic like the French | Eat like the French | Live like the French

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Loire Gites
Loire Gites

If you're looking for somewhere to stay in France, but you're on a bit of a budget, gites can be great for family holidays, especially with young children; self catering can be easier for feeding young children, yet you've still got reassurance of the owner being on site if there's a problem. Some gites have multiple units so can be good for a couple of families holidaying together. France is great for families too, children are welcome more widely than in the UK and you've always got Disneyland Paris to fall back on! The beauty of gites is that you can often stay for just one or two nights up to a week or so, and often the gite owners can provide home cooked meals as well (or you can always explore local restaurants).