One of the many things that I often heard from my American students when I worked in study abroad, was that they could seem to figure out how to meet French people. You would think that for young students it would be easy, so if they were having a hard time, then what do those who are beyond university years, or even in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and beyond do? Are you traveling here soon, and want a fabulous way to meet the locals? Book your hotel room, and then book your dinners with Voulez-Vous Diner, all in the homes of Parisians! What a great way to enjoy the culture here.
I got to test the concept recently at Sasha’s home. Sasha offers a menu and more through Voulez-Vous Diner, that you can order and reserve easily through their website.
After reading this post, if you want to try dinner chez Sasha, go for it! And find a hotel with Hostelbookers in the quartier she lives in so that you don’t have to go far. Hostel bookers has a great map locater (and cheap hotel prices!) on their website that allows you to browse hotels based on where they are.
I really wasn’t sure what to expect when Chéri and I went. I have never done one of these dinners-with-strangers things that you see popping up all over big cities these days. We were the first ones there, so at first I was a little worried that it would be just us, with Sasha (who was running around getting dinner ready) and her freind Carl (a mathmatician researcher who loved to talk!). But then more guests flowed in, Lisa of Ella Coquine with her brand new husband (they were married a week before) and Nicolas who is a French entrepreneur/CEO who lives in Brussels but travels a couple times a week to Paris.
The mix of guests was perfect and created a lively evening FULL of exuberant conversation! Lisa and I shared stories of our respective weddings, Nicolas got an earful of that but he smiled along politely and admitted that he found it quite interesting to get such an American/female perspective on the whole institution. We all laughed, the wine flowed and the food floated onto the table served by Sasha with a delightful smile and stories of how she learned to cook.
We were also treated to a little piano music during our apéritif (champagne), which was a great way to wind down after work and settle in to meeting these strangers who over the course of the evening became people with colorful stories and great anecdotes shared with much eagerness and enthusiasm.
The apréritif was served in the large living room which hosted the piano and many painted porcelain pots waiting for a client of Sasha’s to collect them. Sasha is an artist and painted porcelain is her forté. The colorful dining room where we ate was set beautifully among all sorts of crazy stacks of porcelain projects, all painted, and decorated with vibrant colors or pretty designs. If felt as if we had landed at an Alice in Wonderland tea party!
It was a fantastic evening, full of warmth and cheer and laughter and interesting people… and we all agreed to return for a warm soup dinner this winter.
Try Voulez-Vous Diner next time you are in the City of Lights, and enjoy a meal with the locals. It is a fantastic way to meet people!