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Haddon Hall - A Glorious Country Manor House

Visiting historic houses is one of my favorite things to do in England and Derbyshire is a county that  offers an  extraordinary triumvirate of sites; Hardwick's Elizabethan glamour, the palatial splendors of Chatsworth and Haddon Hall, described by Simon Jenkins as "the most perfect English house to survive from the Middle Ages."  The joy of a visit to Derbyshire is that in visiting all three you can see the English country house through a variety of lenses and periods. 
In his definitive tome, England's1000 Best Houses Jenkins goes on to say of Haddon, "It has none of Hardwick's promiscuity or Chatsworth's bombast. It has not changed because it never needed to change". 
Indeed the house has remains in the hands of the Manners family since 1563 and is currently occupied by the Duke of Rutland's brother and his family. As they say on the website it has avoided, " fire; warfare;  family misfortune and changing fashions" and as such provid…

Le 6 Paul Bert - Well Worth a Visit!

I admit, we avoided all the "hot" new places while we were in Paris. You know the places I mean?  The ones with lots of buzz in the blogosphere and no reservations for months. They have  a website that has nothing but their phone number but they're confident there'll be a forthcoming article in the New York Times. Every year there's a set list of the next great place and it's filled with  global citizens. This is a smart well heeled, well informed and well fed crowd. I guess I'd fit in perfectly well but I just don't seem to have the energy (or is it the interest?) anymore to call that far in advance for the reservation. Perhaps I just don't value being able to say I went to the latest place as much as I used to, is this "personal growth" or just boredom?

So to get to the point, right at the very end of our trip we ended up at a hot new place, Le 6 Paul Bert. Though luckily this was somewhere we only reserved a few days in advance. Though of course there was a call confirming the reservation which immediately marks out the place as somewhere flash! I couldn't resist trying Le 6 Paul Bert when foodie David Leibovitz raved. I love his blog because despite being a food writer he resists the endless tedium of defining the next best restaurant in Paris.
With so many of us flocking to Paris believe me there's an industry just waiting to tell you where to have that fabulous meal you've been dreaming about! However, he did rave about Le 6 Paul Bert and I'd read his review just when our friend B. called to say he's be in town over our last weekend and could I make a reservation somewhere. It was certainly time to celebrate because B.(who lives between Houston and the Bay Area) had joined us in London for the  first night of "Our Small Adventure" and here he was going to be for our last joined by his friend L.

We had a great night, sorry no details about the dodgy bar that followed and the stumble home but here's what you need to know about the food, in a word - fabulous. It was an extraordinary meal. The format is 38 euro for four courses. These are small plates which can be shared. We ordered eight plates to share and then picked our favorites to have individually. 

The staff were excellent and didn't steer us wrong on either the food or the biodynamic wine list. Grilled octopus, ahi tuna, white asparagus, mackerel a slow cooked egg and sweetbreads, it was all fantastic. Interesting fresh and innovative, in fact it raises the only relevant question, when are we going back to Paris?