Getting to Know Paris by Having Dinner at Home
The best way to get to know people is over a meal–and it’s even better when you’re dining in someone’s home, not in a restaurant. That’s what VizEat is all about.
Last night I joined a group of six travel writers at a dinner with Christiane and Renaud Lestage in their large duplex apartment in the 16th arrondissement. We walked down the busy Champs Elysees to the Metro and got out in a quiet neighborhood full of artists studios. Renaud took me to the window where they had herbs growing in a tray on the sill. “The one thing an artist’s studio needs is north facing windows,” he said. “Otherwise the sun is too strong and then can’t see what they are painting.”
This was the first time Christiane, who is a food blogger, and Renaud, who is retired from the French oil company Total, have ever had people join them with VizEat, a Paris based website that organizes these in-home dinners, matching up travelers with hosts who want to cook for guests. It’s a wonderful opportunity to socialize–our big meal cost just 30 euros per person plus tip–and the wines flowed as easily as the conversation.
VizEat has more than 300 hosts in Paris and is operating in 50 countries! Each participant is vetted by the staff, who visit their homes and who also provide the photos that are used on the VizEat site to attract travelers to dine with them. The site has English, Spanish, French and Italian language versions, and this summer they’ll add German.