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Terrances’ 50 Favorite Paris Bistros & Restos

Dining out should be fun, relaxing and never, never stressful. Whether a 3-star restaurant or a neighborhood bistro there should always be an excellent rapport qualité prix–a positive relationship between price and quality.

A 20-euro lunch can be perfectly enjoyable and a 200-euro meal can be a nightmare. At a 3-star I expect the server to know that I want my water glass filled before I do and at a bistro du coin I want the meal that Melvyn Douglas and Greta Garbo had in Ninotchka-as good as grandma’s cooking in an atmosphere of conviviality.

Cold, intimidating, haughty service is never to be tolerated. A warm welcome, attention to your needs and special requests are essential.* It is in that spirit that I have selected 50 Paris bistros and restaurants of varying styles and price ranges for your Paris visits.

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Paris par Hasard:from Bagels to Brioches

How did a lousy French student (whom Mme. Cerrutti was compelled by law to pass only because he scored an 80 on the State Regents Exam) become the sophisticated American’s friend in Paris?

In this spirited, anecdote-filled memoir that has its poignant moments we follow Terrance’s life that began in post-war Casablanca, continued in the coal mining country of western Pennsylvania, acquired definition on the streets of Brooklyn, added polish in San Francisco and ultimately ended and restarted in the Paris he was born to inhabit.

The narrative is punctuated by the personal favorites and passions of Gelenter – films, French bistros and cafes, and, not least, his remarkable friends, acquaintances and companions today – the journalists, filmmakers, chefs and authors he had admired from afar but now includes in his circle.

Paris Par Hasard: from Bagels to Brioches – Terrance’s life lived par hasard – is an entertaining look at the author and his vision, and at the Paris he has created for himself and others. It is a book not quickly forgotten.

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Travels in France with Terrance

The pleasure of sharing a petit rouge with Terrance in Paris is multiplied six-fold – France, after all, is a hexagon – in these pages. His travels take him from the vineyards of Burgundy and Bordeaux to the châteaux of the Loire and the delights of the Riviera, with a visit to Normandy’s D-Day beaches as an aside. And, no surprise, his stepping stones are meals, all described in succulent detail, accompanied by an opinion on the chosen wines. With his inimitable voice, he is a good guide for the best possible reason: he wants us to enjoy this bucolic land as much as he does.

–Alan Riding, author of “And The Show Went On: Culture in Nazi-Occupied Paris

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The Paris Insider Newsletter

THE PARIS INSIDER family of weekly newsletters,Including THE PARIS INSIDER (Tuesday,) THE PARIS READERS CIRCLE (Wednesday,) THE PARIS WEEKENDER (Thursday,) and THE PARIS INTERVIEW (Friday) offer freshly written reviews about restaurants, museums, books, events, showings and what's on in Paris. Arriving at 9:15 AM Pacific Time you'll receive all of this plus tips on excursions to the surrounding regions from Champagne to the Loire Valley and much more. Thank you for subscribing.


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No one should have a bad meal in Paris! Whether a 2-star restaurant or a local bistro there should always be an excellent rapport qualité prix– relationship between price and quality. At my favorites you will be treated as a regular and have a satisfying experience. Just tell them  “Terrance sent you.”


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Regularly scheduled literary salons with guest writers, private dinners, restaurant openings, wine tastings,market visits and cooking classes attract a discerning, sophisticated crowd who love to have a good time while they learn. Our cadre of Paris–based colleagues happily share their passion for this magical city.