April 30, 2010
An American friend once told me that when he spent his semester abroad in Paris, he was starving the entire time. It’s true that portions in France are generally smaller than those in America (hence the svelte population), and those who are accustomed to an all-you-can-eat, 2-for-1, super-sized food culture might feel a bit of culinary shock upon arriving in Paris, the land of moderation. But there’s no reason to be nervous, guys. I promise there is plenty of fabulous food to go around. Some restaurants do better than others when it comes to satisfying the “rugged American appetite” that some guys bring to the table, but it’s just a question of knowing where to go—and what to order once you’re there. Luckily, we’ve eaten our way through this city and tackled our share of man-sized meals. Our top picks:
Chez l’Ami Jean. Helmed by superstar chef Stéphane Jégo, this resto dishes up rustic southwestern cuisine (that’s the southwest of France) in a casual setting that’s part neo-bistro, part Rugby-den. While there are plenty of à la carte options, the three-course menu (35 EUR) is where it’s at if you’re looking for value. I went for an American friend’s birthday dinner, and he thought he had died and gone to meat heaven. The highlights were various terrines de campagne, a steak for two, and a seriously decadent riz au lait (rice pudding) with the restaurant’s signature caramel sauce. I normally don’t enjoy slipping into an after-dinner coma, but this one was well worth it. 27, rue Malar, 7eme. Tel: o1 47 05 86 89. Metro: La Tour-Maubourg (Line 8).
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Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 12 Comments »
April 28, 2010
Paris by Appointment Only, one of our favorite blogs for insider Parisian tips, recently published an interview with Annie Venier, an American-born private pilates instructor in Paris. We know these gorgeous photos, courtesy of Nicholas Calcott, got us thinking about trading in our steak-frites for a little exercise! Readers: do you have any Paris zen fitness tips to share?
If you asked Parisians ten years ago what Pilates (pronounced “Pilottes”) was, they would have answered you with their habitual I-have-no-idea-what-you’re-talking-about-you-may-as-well-come-from-Mars shoulder shrug and dismissive lip fart.
But oh how the times have changed. Now, almost every sports club and well-being center is offering some kind of Pilates class, just like every grocery store these days has some kakamayme organic product line that they’re pushing. The point is that finding a fabulous, authentic, personalized Pilates studio in Paris can be as costly as it is exhausting. But now you can save your Euros and your breath because I have the Pilates pro for you!
Long, lean, strong and supple, American-raised, Paris-based Annie Venier is a walking and talking advertisement for Pilates. As well she should be, she’s been doing it now for close to fifteen years. Venier fell into the discipline quite literally by accident. After a running injury knocked her off her feet, she found herself in search of a deep, therapeutic strength-building alternative. She got hooked immediately, and before long quit her job to pursue a new career as a Pilates professional. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living, Tours and Classes | 2 Comments »
April 27, 2010
Maggie Battista – Falafel
France is the land where food dreams come true—all HiP readers know that by now. But for those of us lucky enough to spend extended periods in Paris, there comes a moment (astonishing as it may sound) when both the body and the palette reach butter overload, and the arteries cry out to be spared the cheese course… please, just this once.
On these occasions, Paris provides a wealth of non-French food options that—if you’re not careful—can easily become addictions in and of themselves. Last time I left New York for Paris, a friend sent me off with explicit instructions to eat a fallafel for him. And when I got sick during the same trip, I secretly loved turning my attention to spicy Asian soups for the better part of a week.
So next time your taste buds start craving variety (or your children balk at the sight of escargots), consider venturing into new culinary territory. Don’t worry; it’s not gastronomic sacrilege—unless you go to McDonald’s.
Here are our top six non-French food obsessions in Paris:
1. Falafel. The Marais’ Rue des Rosiers is famous for its warring falafel purveyors. L’As du Falafel (34, rue des Rosiers, 3eme. Métro: St. Paul) has long reigned supreme, perhaps due to the attention it has gotten from the New York Times, but the place directly across from it is not too shabby, and there a number of nearby spots worth sampling as well. The jury’s still out on this one.
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Posted in Food | 8 Comments »
April 26, 2010
As sunny days gain hold in Paris, an excellent, and somewhat secret, transportation alternative shines through. Linda Donahue, HiP Paris friend and founder of Parisien Salon, details a sun-and-scenery-filled metro substitute: Paris by boat!
Photos Erica Berman
A few years ago, during one of Paris’ notorious strikes, the metro and the buses were shut down for nearly a week. After a few days of going à pied, I realized I needed to figure out some alternative transportation to get across the city to the Marais. That’s when, after years of getting around Paris, I discovered the Batobus. It was a revelation.
Batobus Paris is a hop on, hop off shuttle service on the river, offering eight stops along both the left and right banks: Tour Eiffel, Musee d’Orsay, St-Germain-des-Pres, Notre Dame, Jardin des Plantes, Hôtel de Ville, Louvre and Champs-Elysees. You can buy a one-, two- or five-day pass that lets you get on and off the bus as many times during operating hours as you’d like. There are no guided commentaries offered, but it’s as good a way to sightsee as any other. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 1 Comment »
April 23, 2010
View from Pont des Arts – Erica Berman
It seems somewhat unnecessary to write a post of this nature, given that any part of Paris could be considered an ideal place to loiter. A blind-folded novice could be dropped in any corner of this city and, after a few minutes of wandering, would have no trouble finding a scenic spot in which to spend a few hours. There are almost too many places to park oneself for a morning or afternoon (or, hey, a whole day), which is why I’ve come up with a list of a few standouts that I return to again and again.
Note: I’m assuming that the city’s big gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg, the Tuileries, Bois de Boulogne, and the Bois de Vincennes) are givens. You can’t go wrong at any of them, but as a semi-pro loiterer, I prefer to venture off the beaten path.
Chilled-out loitering—Canal St. Martin. Paris’ low-key canal stretches from Place de la République all the way towards the northern border of the city. People from all walks of life—hipsters, families, total weirdos—hang out along the Canal’s cobbled banks, picnicking and reveling until the wee hours of the night.
Canal St Martin – Erica Berman
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Posted in Green, Parisian Living | 7 Comments »
April 22, 2010
We know, we know… enough about the volcano already. But for those stranded in Paris, it’s still the issue of the moment. From my current position in New York, I refuse to pity you, and I’m secretly hoping that when I return to Paris in May, the tectonic plates will shift in a way that will force me to stay there forever. Fingers crossed!
But for now, why not kill a few hours by picking up some unique Parisian items while you still have the chance? We’ve written at length about particular shops and goods in Paris. Here are a few favorites that are well worth checking out while you wait for the ash to settle.
Merci Store – Photo by Erica Berman
Merci. This spacious concept store has everything from home goods to vintage clothes and fresh flowers. You could literally spend a whole day inside, stopping for lunch at the restaurant in the basement or fueling up on coffee in the library’s cozy cafe. The best part? A large part of the proceeds are used to support a young women’s co-op in Madagascar. Continue Reading »
Posted in Shopping | 1 Comment »
April 21, 2010
Still stranded in Paris? Step away from the ticketing hotline and treat yourself to a little trip to the steam baths. Guest blogger, writer and illustrator Badaude shares her favorite spots along with a little know-how on navigating the traditional hammam (North African steam baths). We can’t think of a better way to make the most of your bonus days in Paris!
It may be getting warmer, but some April days in Paris still start off pretty icy. But it’s not all bad. April is the last month I can indulge in my monthly treat at the only place you can get truly warm in the Paris winter – the hammam.
Paris has lots of hammams: traditional North African steam baths, not chi-chi hotel spas. They cost on average €45 per session including massage or exfoliation (gommage) and pastries — and who could fail to be attracted by this combination? There’s a hammam for every kind of Parisian, but how do you choose? I’m now a hammam veteran, but here’s what happened at my first visit to my favorite, the Hamman de La Grande Mosquée de Paris.
Illustration by Badaude – Click on the image to view larger version
I step off the street through a hidden doorway behind the main entrance and hand over the notes to the cashier at the till in exchange for a handful of colored paper raffle tickets and a mysterious squishy black plastic sachet. I knew this was savon noir. I’ve seen it for sale in big plastic tubs at the marché at the Place des Fêtes in Belleville. What I don’t quite know is what to do with it. Or when. A visit to the hammam might make you warmer, but they certainly don’t hand out an instruction booklet.
My outside eyes take time to adjust to the blue patterns of the Moroccan tiles. Looking up through the steamy light filtering down from the small, domed window in the ceiling, I’m suddenly in fairyland, a Dulac illustration from Sleeping Beauty. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 6 Comments »
April 20, 2010
Melissa Ladd, author of blog Prete Moi Paris, recently stumbled upon every woman’s dream: a private shopping lounge, reserved just for you and your friends, stocked with all the gorgeous designer items you can imagine. Fantasy? Think again!
All photos courtesy of Miki
I don’t ever want to shop in a store again. I don’t want to do the queue for the dressing rooms, I don’t want to deal with pushy people grabbing the last black silk blazer in my size from my ecstatic fingers, and I am done with finding the perfect item after hours of searching only to discover the collar smeared with lipstick. Enough! Terminé! Finito!
And although I also love the comfort of browsing from home, online shopping is not conducive to the immediate gratification we crave — I have sent jeans back to Yoox three times in a row before finding the perfect fit. Personal shoppers are fabulous, but it can be tough to part with their fees when that cash could be put towards actual clothes…
What if I told you I know of a place that combines the best of these shopping worlds, brought to you by an Italian woman no less ?
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Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 2 Comments »
April 19, 2010
All photos by Maggie Battista, except where noted
The volcanic eruption in Iceland has changed my (and likely your) travel plans pretty dramatically. I was supposed to be back with the husband in cold and rainy New England but am instead stranded in bright and sunny Paris. Despite feeling pretty helpless, as you may imagine, I am not getting much sympathy from friends and family. Taking the bull by the horns, I have decided to make the most of every extra moment in this perfect city. I’m sharing my five-step plan with you, with the hopes that it may help those of you also stranded in Paris or anywhere in Europe.
1. Revisit your favorite restaurant and hope for a sweet homecoming. I’ve visited some fabulous restaurants during my stay in Paris, only to be warmly welcomed (most of the time) upon my second visit. The staff at Le Miroir, Glou and, especially, Le Pure Café have been attentive, sweet and delighted by my return visits. However, I only just discovered my favorite restaurant in Paris a few days ago. La Laiterie Sainte Clotilde (64 Rue de Bellechasse 75007 Paris, Tel: 01 45 51 74 61) is a little neighborhood joint, only four blocks from my flat, run by an unlikely duo – she’s an experienced grandmother-like host, he’s a young, cool bartender/server. Together, they run an efficient, candle-lit, warm diner that whips up nine seasonal comfort dishes (three entrees, three plats, three desserts) and easy, affordable wine. I felt so at home here, so much so that I’m hoping a return trip will ease my travel plan pain. If it doesn’t, I’m pretty certain a return trip to my favorite Paris wine bar, Le Baron Rouge, will do the trick. Wine cures all ills, right?
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Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Shopping, Travel | 6 Comments »
April 18, 2010
Don’t you just hate it when a volcano explodes and ruins all your travel plans? Us too. Then again, Paris is not such a bad place to be stranded. If you’re in Paris and looking for a place to stay, you’re in luck! Due to the European travel ban, Haven in Paris has some great last-minute availability, and we’re offering a number of special offers over the next few days / weeks.
Feel free to browse our portfolio at the links above, or contact us at [email protected] or by phone at 617-395-4243 with any inquiries.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Posted in Travel | No Comments »