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Deyrolle: Rue du Bac’s Temple of Taxidermy

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

While taxidermy has become trendy of late, there is only one place that has been using naturalized animals to lure clients since 1831. Nestled on the charming Rue du Bac, Deyrolle is a shop unlike any other in the world. Part store, part museum, part gallery, the much-loved shop houses a variety of formerly-living merchandise and other “natural curiosities.” From a perfectly preserved giraffe (25,600 €), to a levitating meteor (1,230 €), to a myriad of colorfully preserved butterflies (various prices), Deyrolle offers clients the opportunity to own a slice of the natural world. It’s no wonder that many Parisians claim this shop as the site of their most distinctive childhood memories… Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events, Parisian Living | 6 Comments »

Spreeing for Spree


Ah, the concept store.  Prescriptive, arrogant, attractive, alternately kitschy-cheap and prohibitively expensive; it’s hard to avoid mixed feelings when dealing with these store-size display cases of “cool”. Except, that is, if you wander up the Rue Vieuville in Montmartre and stop by Spree on a lazy, sunny afternoon.

This gallery/boutique was started 8 years ago by low-key creative couple Roberta Oprandi and Bruno Hadjadj, she a designer, he an artist, with the unambiguous purpose of allowing their inspirations to mingle and match.

Whereas fad-meccas like Colette inevitably make you feel like you’re walking into a museum where the docents are the judges and executors of trendy, Spree manages to elusively walk the line of cozy, intriguing and unpretentious. Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events, Parisian Living | 1 Comment »

Provence rentals ‘Chambre Avec Vue’ in Saignon


Text & Photos by Erica Berman

This charming 1 bedroom apartment is part of an unconventionally chic Provence vacation experience. This is one of my favorite places to spend a few days decompressing, antiquing, hiking, exploring and, of course, eating local. I have been here numerous times, and can’t wait to return!

Chambre Avec Vue is an independent vacation apartment (one of two) is located in a sensuous 18th century home in Saignon, a tiny village perched near the Luberon mountains. Saignon is said to be one of the oldest villages in France and is certainly one of the most charming villages in Provence.  Slightly off the beaten track, this funky vacation rental is a unique mix of restful tones, lovingly selected antiques, & original artwork.


Although the apartment is separate from the activity of the main house, clients are more than welcome to read, relax, and enjoy the large salon and cozy fire of the tasteful 800m2 “maison de village/maitre bourgeoise.” A combination Bed &Breakfast, contemporary art gallery, artist’s residence, with 2 private apartments, this fresh concept is perfect for those with creative minds and artistic sensibilities.



Spacious & lush, the private garden located behind the house is perfect for reading, dining, socializing, or simply enjoying the changing seasons and colors of Provence.

The on-site owners, an accomplished artist and a discerning curator with an aesthetic eye, will share with you their love of a certain Provence – a Provence that most tourists staying in a hotel or vacation villa would never suspect exists.

After a day in the picturesque Provençale countryside shopping for antiques, sampling locally grown olives & wines, exploring ancient hillside villages, biking through lavender fields, or hiking the Luberon mountains, “coming home” is always a pleasure for the senses.  Settle into the salon for an afternoon tea & gateaux, or wine baguette and tapenade, with classical music and the scent of lavender as your companions and experience the real Provence.


Original paintings, quirky creations, photography, and sculpture adorn the pastel walls. This hip home combines an understated elegance and “joie de vivre” with a tranquility of spirit and peaceful simplicity for those seeking the opposite of an anonymous Provence hotel. The exquisite taste of the owners has landed their “maison d’hote” in numerous interior design, art, and architectural magazines; Marie Claire Maison, Elle Decoration, Italian Achitectural Digest, Art News, Travel & leisure to mention a few.


Each morning, guests enjoy a delicious breakfast of croissants, “tartines”, homemade jams & jellies, fresh fruit, hand-squeezed juice, café au lait, tea or chocolat chaud, muesli, and, of course, stimulating conversation before setting off to discover the Vaucluse; “Peter Mayle’s Provence.”

For those who seek a unique vacation of intimacy, discretion and style not found in a typical Provence hotel, this is the perfect place to unwind and relax.

The spacious and sunny 1 bedroom vacation rental will welcome you with its patina walls, garden view, and cathedral ceiling. The pastel tones will put you at ease immediately. This bright and airy apartment has a king size bed, which can be made into two singles, a dining area, cozy chairs, and a large decorative fireplace. The vacation villa is bathed in natural light. The kitchen contains the essentials you’ll need for simple cooking, allowing you to enjoy the wonderful produce, cheese and wine of Provence in the privacy of your own home. Soak in the 19th century bathtub and relax after a long day of exploring Provence. dscn1686

As Provence properties are often large and expensive, this apartment is the perfect solution for friends, a couple, or a couple and child traveling together on a budget or just not needing a large villa. By renting this apartment, you’ll have much more space and flexibility than you would in most Provence hotels. You’ll be on your own, but not far from the B&B where you’ll have use of the salon and working fireplace, art gallery and the internet (upon request). I can’t recommend this off the beaten track haven in Provence more strongly for the adventuresome travelers among our readers. For those of you who need coddling and concierge services, this is not an ideal rental for you. Enjoy and let us know how it goes. I hope to return this fall.

Kamila Regent et Pierre Jaccaud
chambre de séjour avec vue… demeure d’art et d’hôtes – Apartment rentals B&B and artist residency:

84400 Saignon en Luberon – France – tel/fax : 33-(0)4 90 04 85 01

[email protected]


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Jadis: Finally a Reason to Visit the 15th


photo courtesy of

While there’s nothing secret about Jadis anymore, its location—buried deep within the 15th near Metro Convention—shelters it from the tourist crowds that will inevitably descend on Paris this spring and summer. Hailed as the  “Best Bistro of 2008” by Le Fooding and “Bistro of the Fall” by Le Figaro, Jadis has emerged as a well-loved star amidst a sea of up-and-coming (and already established) neo-bistros. Continue Reading »

Posted in Restaurant Reviews | 3 Comments »

Coffee in Italy – yumm!

Cappuccino ItalyErica Berman

At risk of offending the French, with whom I have lived for over 16 years, and Tory, who just wrote a post on coffee in France, there is just no comparison between coffee in France and coffee in Italy. If you ask a French national who has been away from France for an extended period of time what they miss the most from home they will undoubtably say bread, cheese & wine. An Italian asked the same question will most certainly say they miss coffee and pasta. For two countries so close together geographically, they are truly worlds apart in their customs and lifestyle. Continue Reading »

Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Travel | 2 Comments »

Merci: Shopping for a Cause in Paris

mer14photo courtesy of:

Photos Erica Berman (except above)

As the global economic climate has forced consumers to shop more selectively, it has also forced retailers to sell more creatively. Merci, Paris’ newest concept store, provides a breathtaking space where visitors can shop with a conscience. Created by Marie-France and Bernard Cohen, founders of renowned children’s clothing line Bonpoint, Merci donates all of its proceeds (after breaking even) to a co-op for young women in Madagascar. dsc_0061 Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 4 Comments »

La Caféothèque: Paris’ Best Blend

Photograph: Alain Ollier

Considering how much coffee Parisians drink, it’s high time they started drinking it right. And now they can, thanks to La Caféothèque, a cozy coffee sanctuary located in the 4th arrondissement. Owned by Gloria Montenegro Chirouze, the former Guatemalan ambassador to France, La Caféothèque combines a mellow atmosphere with a sophisticated and principled approach to importing, roasting, and consuming coffee.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Food | 7 Comments »

Spotlight: Exploring Palais Royal

Nestled between some of Paris’ most famous monuments, unbeknownst to throngs of shutter-happy tourists, the Palais Royal neighborhood is filled with hidden gems, covered passageways and some of the best hole-in-the-wall Japanese restaurants and shops the city has to offer. Today at the HipParis blog we delve a little deeper into this gourmet stronghold to bring you our selection of must-dos and sees.
Continue Reading »

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Saignon: Provence’s artistic haven


Photos by Erica Berman

You could search for original holiday destinations for years, and still not happen upon something quite as magical as the  “Chambre avec Vue” properties in Saignon (Provence). Saignon is a modern-day artist colony that thrives thanks to the generous patronage of Kamila Regent.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Travel | 1 Comment »