February 28, 2010
I don’t remember life before Sacha Finkelsztajn. Ok, that’s not entirely true, but I’m certainly enjoying it more now that I’m a convert. For members of this club, the mere utterance of the word “Sacha” can induce profound hunger fits, and the sight of the boutique’s bright yellow facade literally has a Pavlovian effect on me (drool and all).
I’m referring, of course, to Sacha Finkelsztajn, Paris’ most famous Jewish bakery, located on the rue des Rosiers in the Marais. The bakery has been family owned and operated since 1946 and Sacha, the current owner, still whips up recipes passed down from his grandparents (the original founders of the bakery). Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 4 Comments »
February 25, 2010
“Le Baiser de l’Hotel de Ville” by Robert Doisneau
You may not know the name Robert Doisneau, but it’s likely that you’ve seen his iconic photographs of Parisian life in the ’30s and ’40s. If “Le Baiser de l’Hôtel de Ville” (see above) doesn’t make you want to hop a plane to Paris, I don’t know what will. But Doisneau’s oeuvre extends much further than the whimsical images we all know and love, and a current exhibit at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson allows us a window into the full breadth of his career, which spanned much of the 20th century. Continue Reading »
Posted in Arts | 2 Comments »
February 22, 2010
If you’ve spent even a small amount of time in Paris, you know that the macaron is ubiquitous. And in a city of fastidious eaters, it’s significant that a single dessert has managed to win the hearts and minds of so many. But the debate rages on: who produces the best macaron of all? While Dalloyau and Lenôtre both make a commendable run at it, everyone knows that there are only two real contenders.
In one corner, we have the elegant and established Ladurée, which has been turning out sweet confections since 1862. And in the other corner, we have upstart Pierre Hermé, the enfant terrible of the dessert world who worked at Ladurée before setting out on his own. (Word on the street is that the “oppressive” traditions at Ladurée were preventing him from exploring the crazy flavor combinations for which he is now world famous). Naturally, we wanted to get in on the debate, so Sarah (another Hip Paris blogger) and I gathered some friends last week for a comprehensive taste test. Two boxes of macarons later, we reached a nearly unanimous verdict! Continue Reading »
Posted in Food | 34 Comments »
February 20, 2010
I used to think I was pretty good at French… until the day I actually moved here and realized just how nuanced the language is when it’s coming at you from all angles. Old people, young people, drunk people, foreign people—they all have their own distinct accents, cadences, and vocabularies. I quickly learned that my “A” in high school French Literature meant very little in the real world, and that making sense of real French would be a lifelong challenge. So far, it has been endlessly amusing…
While I like to think I’ve come a long way, even the most basic phrases were slightly confounding at first. I can understand how new visitors to Paris might feel a little shell-shocked, especially when they’re being barked at by a burly vendor at the Belleville market who is insisting that they “MANGEZ!” the tangerine slice he is brandishing (a regular occurrence in my life). Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 5 Comments »
February 19, 2010
When I lived in the 5th arrondissement, I spent hours pounding the pavement (or the cobblestones, as it were) just exploring and trying to make sense of the diverse elements that make up the neighborhood: the historic Place de la Contrescarpe with its charming cafés, the lively market street Rue Mouffetard, the wild Jardin des Plantes, the magnificent blue-and-white-tiled mosque (La Mosquée de Paris), and the unexpected Arènes de Lutèce (a first century Roman amphitheatre). But more often than not, my walks ended with me staring up at the breathtaking Institut du Monde Arabe (Arab World Institute), my face tilted skyward as I struggled to take in the awesomeness that is this structure. Continue Reading »
Posted in Design, Parisian Living | 3 Comments »
February 18, 2010
Carrot Cake at Rose Bakery: rachelwoodmassey.files.wordpress.com
After all the great things I have heard about Rose Bakery on rue des Martyrs, and the number of times I have tried to go there but never made it for some reason or another, I finally made it for lunch yesterday at their new (well not so new anymore) location on rue Debelleyme in the Marais. I was fairly certain, being somewhat of a pessimist at times, that after all the fab reviews I had heard, I might be disappointed. Wrong. Rose Bakery was all it’s touted to be, and more. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews | 5 Comments »
February 17, 2010
Blogger Kari Geltemeyer is currently staying in Haven in Paris’ Livingstone Penthouse, and we were so excited to find that she’s been writing about her experience on her blog Litwit. It’s always so fun to see this city through someone else’s eyes, and first-time visitors like Kari often have a knack for recognizing the obscure details and nuances that are often overlooked by more seasoned Paris dwellers. We’ve selected some excerpts from her blog that highlight her decision to come to Paris and some of the discoveries she’s made here. We’re glad she took the leap!
Text and photos by Kari Geltemeyer
When I say it’s a very big deal to come to Paris, I don’t say it because I’m an idiot, I say it because where I come from people stay in their places. And this can’t be understood, perhaps, unless you grew up in exactly the same way, in a town of 8,000 people and a family of seven in the middle of Wisconsin surrounded by dairy farms, where—when I was young, at least—nobody seemed to stray too far. It wasn’t done, it wasn’t much considered, and if it was talked about, it was something impossibly foreign and unbelievably expensive and certainly too far away to actually be real… (To this day my parents’ reaction is “Ack! Paris! Alone??! Aren’t you scared!”) Of course I’m scared! That’s why I’m doing it. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 5 Comments »
February 16, 2010
As a new girl, a new American girl, in Paris, I’ve been inundated with suggestions on where to go, what to eat and, in general, how to suck the most from my Paris experience.
Often, these suggestions are truly personal, inspired by a friend’s visit with this city or a friend of a friend’s semester abroad. About twenty-seven people have reminded me to get a falafel sandwich at L’As du Fallafel in the Marais. Fourteen people have demanded that I enjoy the ice cream at Berthillon on Ile Saint-Louis. And I’ve had to promise every single one, in blood no less, that I’d indulge at both La Durée and Pierre Hermé.
While I sincerely appreciate all the insider advice, I’d be lying if I didn’t add that I’m a bit overwhelmed. I truly want to act on each and every suggestion because it was delivered with such love, or in some cases, with such insistence. I recall one friend saying she’d die (quelle horreur!) if I returned without enjoying a chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) at Angelina’s on rue de Rivoli!
Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 6 Comments »
February 14, 2010
After seven months away, I’m back in Paris for a while and am greedily soaking up every minute of it. After two weeks, I’ve slipped back into many of my happy habits, though I’ve come to realize that settling back into my Parisian life does require a few active adjustments. For instance:
1. Dietary shifts. You’d be surprised how fulfilling a diet composed solely of butter, cheese, Dijon, bread, chocolate and macarons can be. Although I must admit, a steady stream of coffee and wine leave me perpetually dehydrated. Note to self: water is the essence of life, even in Paris.
2. Embracing linguistic limbo. When I get back to France, I regularly find myself in situations where two, three, or four languages are being spoken simultaneously. While the linguistic mélange is always exciting, I find that my English often starts to slip before my French has time to pick up the slack, and I am therefore left in a strange language-less limbo. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 5 Comments »
February 13, 2010
I gave up long ago on the idea that I might ever effectively emulate the effortless chic of your average parisienne. It’s an innate sense of style that one is either born with or without, and it has become abundantly clear who has it (most Parisian women) and who doesn’t (me). I’m OK with this. But upon moving to Paris, I made a shocking discovery: not only do I look like a hobo compared to Parisian women, but also compared to their impeccably dressed children. This was a harder pill to swallow. Continue Reading »
Posted in Shopping | 13 Comments »