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Paris: Plus Ça Change… the More It’s the Same

Little Brown Pen Paris restaurant sign

Little Brown Pen Paris buildingsAll photos courtesy of Little Brown Pen

When I leave Paris for extended periods of time, I’m sometimes overcome with a panicky feeling that I’m losing touch, losing ground, floating into a France-less obscurity, and that when I return, I won’t recognize the city anymore. Or worse, that it won’t recognize me.

But as soon as I come back—as I have now, for three weeks—I realize the futility of such thinking. If there is any city that is adamant about retaining its traditions, its quirks, its pace and its “sameness,” it is Paris. So I’m happy to report that the French are more or less wearing the same thing (black), eating the same things (steak frites, baguettes, macarons), waiting for the same thing (retirement) and complaining about the same things (everything).

Little Brown Pen Chairs Paris Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 17 Comments »

Croissant Smackdown: Paris’ Best Croissants

Amy Thomas, Paris’ sweets goddess, recently organized a croissant tasting for a blessed few. To our great dismay, we were out of town and unable to partake in the buttery festivities. To make up for it, we’re sharing her write-up here so you can live vicariously through the smackdown with us…

flickr-robopy
Buttery, flaky deliciousness… The Croissant. Photo by Robopy

One of the first things many tourists do upon arrival in Paris is go to the nearest café and order a café au lait and croissant. We expats like to whisper conspiratorially, “Only tourists order café au lait, it’s really un crème…” If we’re nice about it, we even advise our visiting friends of this nuance so they can be more local than tourist.

But when it comes to the croissant part of the equation, there don’t seem to be many insider tricks or tips. As omnipresent as croissants are in Paris, they don’t inspire the same loyalty and rivalry as macarons, the same adoring squeals of delight as petit gateaux, or the same declarations of the very, very best like baguettes or cocoa.

So on a recent Saturday morning, I gathered a group of bloggers and friends from all pockets of the world to at least begin making comparisons and declarations—it was the third edition of an American Smackdown in Paris. What did it reveal?

4montagemore redThe contenders: (clockwise from top left): Gerard Mulot, Au Levain du Marais, sample plate of the mystery contender, and the inside of the Gerard Mulot croissant. Photos by Amy Thomas.

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Posted in Food | 17 Comments »

When You’re Missing Paris in November: 7 Cool Events & Classes

Seine, Paris, France

Boat ride on the Seine; photo by Maggie Battista

I’m dreaming of Paris. Again. This happens when I’m in the States.

I just returned from a month-long trip to France. I traveled up and down the south of France, exploring most of Provence while fighting the devious Mistral winds. I spent a fabulous girls weekend in Normandy, sipping cidre and finally visiting Mont Saint Michel. And I drank small cups of espressos and not-so-small glasses of red wine all over our favorite city, Paris. I’m home in cold, rainy New England, missing out on too many fun November events across the pond. Here’s a peek into what I’m missing:

1. I really wanted to learn how to make macarons in Paris, and La Cuisine Paris offers a wonderful class on the subject. I’m living through their wonderful posts on their Facebook page.

Jean-Michel-Basquiat Paris France

Basquiat artwork; photos by mauidw and Eduardo Nasi

2. I adore the artist Basquiat, and spend tons of time in his old stomping grounds, downtown New York City. I was hoping to make it to the new exhibit at the Paris Musee de Art Moderne. The show is on through January 30, 2011, so perhaps you’ll be able to see it and report back?

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Posted in Events, Food, Parisian Living, Travel | 14 Comments »

Paris Fashion: 5 Fall Essentials

Badaude, the talented illustrator and Paris editor at the Style Bible, brings us here her top 5 fall fashion must-haves, as portrayed by her characteristic sketches of Parisiennes. Thanks to her advice we are off to start building our collection of opaque tights in bright fall hues!

What’s a French classic? We all know about trench coats and berets, though I’m not too sure many people wear them outside Amelie. There is a Paris ‘uniform’. If you want to fit in – or if you want to give it a go because, well, fifty million French girls can’t be wrong, here are the items I see on the street all the time.

Have I missed anything? Let me know…

Badaude - Five Essentials for the Fall
Paris Fall Fashion Essentials – Badaude

Continue reading for more Paris fall fashion essentials…

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Posted in Design, Shopping | 12 Comments »