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CURES FOR HOMESICKNESS


Fish and Chips


After the initial excitement of being in a new city has worn off a bit, the chances are that you'll begin to miss a few things from back home. From a pot of peanut butter to a decent English pub... here' the low down.

After the initial excitement of being in a new city has worn off a bit, the chances are that you'll begin to miss a few things from back home. From a pot of peanut butter to a decent English pub... here' the low down.

One of the best restaurants to have made the trip from the States is Planet Hollywood, a name synonymous with star quality. The place has kept to this tradition by being situated on the Champs-Elysees and by attracting the clientele of passing film stars Bruce Willis, Antonio Banderas, you name it, they've been there. However, it's not just glitz and glamour, but a great place to go when you want a strip steak, a Caesar salad or even a perfect Martini. Open from 11:30 to 1:30 every day, it has the lunch market covered, and at night time it's a great place for a birthday party or perhaps to hob-nob with the stars using the private cinema for a premiere screening. The international staff and atmosphere together with sensible prices make it a good choice for everyone.

If you don't want to eat out in style every night, but still miss your home comforts, then a general store such as The Real McCoy is the place to go. With carrot cake, clam chowder, tortillas and Twinkies, you're bound to find something that will ease your nostalgia. Lunch is also served here, so meet up with fellow Americans for a hamburger or maybe milk and cookies.

The Pantry had the same idea, but operates mostly through mail order. As a result, their prices are the lowest around, and you don't even have to leave your armchair as they have a home delivery service. Of course, they do charge a small amount for this, but they also have certain pick-up points, such as the Lycee International in St-Germain-En-Laye, or at their address in Vernouillet, so it's particularly useful for people in the suburbs. If you want to see their wares more closely, they hold fairs at certain times of year.

As all fellow Brits will know, good English pubs are hard to come by in the capital, but one or two stand out from the rest. The Bombardier at 2, place du Pantheon, has a great selection of beer, friendly staff and the kind of stain-proof carpet found in every pub across Britain. However, the customers are international, so is the menu, and the impression is of a traditional English pub with a pleasant French flavour.

The Long Hop has become something of a sensation in the last few months. The prices are the lowest in Paris, at °Ë4 a pint, the TV screen is the biggest and there are darts, a pool table and English papers. Definitely the next big thing, so get down there now before they have to put their prices up.

The Bitter End is the English pub in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, where the large expatriate community there meets up. The atmosphere is largely British, the choice of beer is good and they sometimes have live music, which distinguishes it from the others.

In Rue Saint Denis there is now a choice between 2 English pubs, the Floozy and Firkin and the Frog and Rosbif. Although they're both are similar in style, in this particular contest the Floozy comes out on top. Both pubs have big screens for sporting events, both have English papers; but the Floozy wins by having the friendliest staff, special theme nights and outstanding food. The full English Breakfast is particularly appetising. On the other hand, if you want a wide selection of beers, then the Frog and Rosbif or its sister pub the Frog and Princess are the places to go.

Pickwicks, in the 2nd, is the grocers for English people craving some stodgy comfort food. Pure paradise for non-EC regulation chocolate lovers, you can also find Heinz Baked Beans, HP sauce and other essential ingredients of British life. If you are feeling particularly hungry, you can get them to order a whole box of whatever you fancy, as long as you promise to pick it up.

The Irish have an ever-growing contingent in Paris and the amount of Irish pubs and bars here prove this. It is pretty difficult to choose between them all, but some stand out from the crowd. Coolins, in the Marche Saint-Germain, is a modern-style bar for the younger generation, which has a great atmosphere. The best thing about it is possibly the live jazz brunch they have every Sunday afternoon, where everyone gets up and dances.

The Hideout, in the heart of the Latin Quarter, is less obviously Irish, but still does a mean Guinness and the staff are particularly welcoming. It is always packed during televised football or rugby matches, and the international crowd makes it a good option for groups with divided loyalties. Their beer also reflects the clientele, encompassing San Miguel, Grolsch and Kilkenny to name a few.

Perhaps the nicest bar with an Irish flavour is right out of the centre in Neuilly-sur-Seine. Genuine Irish hospitality and decor make the St John a relaxing pub in the daytime, and at night people queue to get in. Their food is another good reason to go. Traditional Irish stew and smoked salmon have appeared on the menu, together with Franco-Irish hybrids, such as filet steak in whiskey sauce. Worth a journey.

There's not much in Paris for homesick Australians, the best thing to do is hop over to London where Australian bars are everywhere. However, Paris does have its own institution in Cafe Oz. There are two branches, one in the 5th and one on Rue Saint Denis, both with a different character. The latter has recently glammed up and now aims at a young crowd, with DJ nights every Thursday involving lots of pumping music. The other is more relaxed, and a nice place to go in the daytime for a coffee or a beer. Aussie grub such as kangaroo pie is served, and if you've had a longing for VB or other Australian beers, this is the place to go. At night it's always packed and the mix is international, which makes for a fun night out.

The unusually named Woolloomooloo is the only Australian restaurant in Paris . Far from being traditional outback tucker, New World cuisine is the order of the day, and there is a great selection of wines to match. The clean, spacious atmosphere makes the most of a combination of aboriginal influences and new Sydney design, and is a welcome escape from crowded bistros. You can even book it for private functions. Australian products are making a name from themselves among expatriates and natives alike.

One shop that has tapped into the market is Aboriginals, at 72, rue de Sevres, started by a lady who visited the country on her honeymoon and became a life-long fan. She now has a great excuse to go and visit often, as she chooses the wide variety of products herself. The range goes from surf gear and vegemite to painted boomerangs and outback music, and is guaranteed to please everyone that visits.

Scotland is just about represented by one pub, Scottish company, the Auld Alliance, where the choice of more than 100 Scotch Whiskies and various beers will make you feel instantly at home. The decor is nothing to shout about, but good food (haggis, fish suppers) and the friendly staff make it worth a visit.

If you don't particularly want to meet up with people from back home and your French isn't that hot, then there are some places to go that are anglo-phone, but not aggressively so. The 912 bar in the Bastille has got a good reputation as a friendly, lively place to visit, and customers are 70% French, 30% foreign. The Fifth Bar in rue Mouffetard is another place making a name for itself as a meeting place for anglo-phones, and is characterised by its warm welcome.

At the end of the day, if you don't feel able to just go into a bar on your own and are really feeling lonely, there are several avenues to go down. There are many cultural associations in Paris, such as ABAC which helps with finding contacts and useful addresses (see Living in France Yellow Pages).

There are also many aimed at specific nationalities, details of which are in the Living in France Yellow Pages. Alternatively, you could call a dating agency, such as Madame Desachy. Long established in the business of ìrencontresî, as it's known in France, this renowned agency has a special anglo-phone section to help you meet a person to discover Paris with. If you want someone special or just a bit of company, they have a huge choice of people with the same aim as you. If you don't want to take it that seriously, then you can always check out the classified ads on this site.

Above all, remember that French culture has a lot of things to offer, so don't just stick to anglo-phone hang-outs, Variety certainly is the spice of life.



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