Even after living and working in this city for 18 years, I find new experiences around every corner. I recently celebrated my 63rd birthday here in Paris, where I am happily married and the father of a family. We decided to celebrate at home—where my family gave me a glorious birthday celebration.
Imagine my surprise when, a few days later, I went to lunch at my favorite restaurant. I was not prepared for the extraordinary meal that Chef Fabrice of Les Jalles had prepared for me. Before lunch, I met Chef Fabrice on the terrace outside 24 Rue Cappuccines, near la Place Vendôme. Sitting in the sunshine, looking over the menu, I noticed a butternut squash soup was listed, and kindly asked Chef Fabrice if he might share some of the secrets to his exquisite preparation of this delicious soup.
He looked at me for a moment quixotically and then replied in French, “Come on, Madison, get serious. If I break down and tell you how I make the soup, next time I come to work I’ll look up at the awning and I’ll see ‘Chex Madison.’” This made us both laugh heartily. The French use what is called “second degree humor,” which, when executed well, is as funny as you can imagine. He went back inside to work his magic, while I found my way to my table. As I took my seat, I was greeted by my first surprise of the afternoon: the hostess approached and explained that an amiable client before me had left a bottle of exquisite vintage French wine, which she offered to me—on the house.
Unbeknownst to me, Chef Fabrice had decided to show me what culinary magic a gourmet French chef is capable of performing. The succulent butternut squash soup arrived with ground nuts and thin slices of juicy braised duck arranged like a star. I found myself transported immediately into culinary seventh heaven—I don’t recall ever tasting something so delicious in my life. I’m certain the pleasure was ineluctably augmented by the realization it had been made especially for me. I spent a leisurely half hour enjoying the delicate tastes of this delicious appetizer. When I finished, I discovered that I was merely at the beginning of my pleasure—absolutely spoiled by Chef Fabrice Chez Les Jalles
I had never had anything so exquisitely, delectably prepared as the meal that Chef Fabrice prepared for me that day. A delicately braised Norwegian salmon, niçoise dès legumes, sweet red peppers, scallions, zucchini and cherry tomatoes under a thinly sliced layer of Andalouse chorizo in a crème de basalmique decorated lobster sauce…
The experience was phenomenal—every bite, every sip, and the gracious, knowledgeable, efficient service—truly a once in a lifetime event. It reminded me of Marcus Samuelsson’s words, “even just a few spices or ethnic condiments that you can keep in your pantry can turn your mundane dishes into a culinary masterpiece.” Chef Fabrice and the staff at Les Jalles created masterpiece after masterpiece.
Sign up to our mailing list to get updated on new tours, blogs, and fun Paris trip ideas. You can unsubscribe if we bore you.
See the classic sights of Paris with this collection of Private Tours and other experiences. Great for New Travelers.
Some parts of France can’t be put into a 2 or 3-hour tour and some just take a while to get to. Venture out of Paris on an exciting Day Trip.
Experience some of the most significant works of art in Paris on a Private Art Tour. Learn about the story’s of the painters behind the works and ask questions along the way.
Taste the latest Paris Food experiences with our personal and tasty private food tours. Learn to make authentic Parisian meals, taste chocolate assortments, or…
From perfume to WW2, our private history tours are a way to see Paris in a different light.
Experience immersive music tours in Paris. Sit and listen up close to an award-winning Master Pipe Organist or learn about the history of Jazz in Paris on a private tour!
Looking for something particular? We’ll help you find it in Paris. Our private shopping tours include Antiques, Wardrobe, and more!
The Château de Fontainebleau, just 35 miles southeast of central Paris, can proudly claim to have been a sovereign residence for eight centuries. Capétiens, Valois, Bourbons, Bonaparte and Orléans, all members of French ruling dynasties, have lived within these walls. The chateau dates back to 1137—and centuries of royals have expanded this former royal hunting lodge to a more than 1,500-room estate. Most of what you’ll see dates back to the 16th century, a combination of Italian Renaissance art and French design, these rooms are some of the most intricate and breathtaking in France. If times allows, you can enjoy lunch in this charming area.
Tour Length: 5 – 6 hours