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La Cuisine Cooking Classes in Paris: HIP Paris Makes French Apple Tarts

Tarte Tatin, Tarte Fine aux Pommes (Julien Hausherr)

Eating and Paris. No matter how much you might try to dissociate the two, a stay in Paris without its fill of delicious treats could be a holiday in any other northern European capital, albeit one with some pretty nice architecture.  Letting yourself be tempted by the window displays in patisseries and the cozy banquettes of corner brasseries is all part of the charm of living in Paris.

You won’t be blamed for spending your time here eating your way through neighborhood markets and various restaurant guidebooks, but you may find upon returning home to a routine of simpler meals (what, no Coq au Vin for dinner tonight, Mom?) you wish you had brought some of the mythical recipes back with you.

To answer the ever more popular dream of the food-blogger/cook/tourist, scores of great and not-so-great cooking schools have opened up in Paris to teach eager visitors la cuisine française. If you are not serious enough to book a semester at the Cordon Bleu, though, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the options out there. Lucky for you, Ariel and I recently tried out a class at “La Cuisine”, a wonderful cooking school geared towards visitors and locals that we feel confident recommending to anyone looking to delve a little deeper into the secrets of French cuisine.

La Cuisine: Ariel peeling an apple, Geneviève stirring the Crème Anglaise (Julien Hausherr)

Oliver and Jane started “La Cuisine” just over a year ago, and its popularity has already supported their move to a fantastic location right next to the Hotel de Ville. Tired with the demands of her banking job, Jane decided to drop it all, work her network, put together a group of serious culinary professionals and open a cooking school. With a soon-to-be degustation room and cellar, in addition to the two lovely kitchen/classroom spaces, La Cuisine is a great place to soak up a few recipes & tips in a welcoming environment.

On our recent visit, Ariel and I learned from the lovely Nathalie how to make the elusive Crème Anglaise. As side dishes to this queen of creams, we also learned how to make a perfect Tarte Fine aux Pommes and a traditional Tarte Tatin. Ariel has the scoop on the recipes below… – Geneviève

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La Cuisine: Crème Anglaise (Julien Hausherr)

Mmmmm, I could just live off of Crème Anglaise alone! I miss that sweet ambrosia when I’m back in the states, since Americans tend to prefer the frozen version as a garnish to our pies and cakes.

For someone like me, an abysmal cook who can’t even fry an egg, the idea of actually making Crème Anglaise from scratch was madness, something best left to professionals for fear of botching one of the complex intermediary steps.

Au contraire mon amie! After taking the class at La Cuisine, both Genevieve and I have been able to recreate the sweet sauce (to the amazement of our family and friends)!

Here are Nathalie’s foolproof steps for a perfect Crème Anglaise: Continue Reading »

Posted in HiP Recipes, Tours and Classes | 16 Comments »

Paris in the Winter: The City of Light Shines

Above: Christmas window at Galleries Lafayette, Paris (JournaldesVitrines); Below: Christmas windows Galeries Lafayette (JournaldesVitrines); Eiffel Tower (Colodio)

Whoever said “all that glitters is not gold” can’t have visited Paris in December. I mean, why would anyone recoil at the prospect of ordinary, everyday sights being transformed into such delicious, enchanting illusions? From a damp black pavement glowing red, then amber, then green to the Eiffel Tower fizzing in a blaze of sparks, Paris in winter is pure magic.

But this light show is nothing new.  The French capital has been flickering on and off for centuries.  Its history stretches all the way back to the 1600s when a public decree ordered for lights to burn in the windows of all houses that faced onto the streets of Paris.  Ta-da, and so the City of Light was born…

La Grande Roue at the Place de la Concorde, ParisLa Grande Roue at the Place de la Concorde, Paris (Feuillu)

These days, over 100 streets are lit up from late November to late January to accompany Paris’ permanently illuminated monuments. Fancy basking in the city’s reflected glory? Follow my lead and wrap up warm for a bracing evening stroll along the Champs-Elysées.  The mile-long route from place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe glistens under a canopy of bright white fairy lights.  Everywhere you look, there’s a sprinkling of fairy dust and Christmas cheer.  Only the proverbial Scrooge would turn down a helping of roasted chestnuts or a spin on the twinkly Tuileries Ferris Wheel.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Events, Parisian Living | 8 Comments »

Winter in Paris: Pleasure or Pain?

Winter Paris (Pauldc); Chocolat Chaud (yuichi.sakuraba)

I’m beginning to understand that I’m a bit of a masochist. I’m bored by things / people / places that make life too easy, which is probably why I like ornery cats, most fictional villains, winter and (if I’m being honest) the French.

To clarify, I have nothing against Golden Retrievers, damsels in distress, summer or … who’s fun and non-controversial?… the Swedish. It’s just that I also like a challenge. I like to be initially offended but ultimately won over. I like things that don’t care if I like them or not.

Paris under the snow (Christophe Verdier)

And thus, I love winter in Paris. It provides a dark, dismal, unapologetic, multi-month challenge that pushes you to your breaking point, but offers various olive branches along the way—pretty hanging lights, vin chaud, chocolat a l’ancienne, and a great excuse to drink serious red wines and then crawl into bed.

Philosophically speaking, Epicurus saw pleasure as the absence of pain, and Descartes considered the two to be linked on a continuous spectrum. I have to agree. Getting caught in a freak hail storm a few weeks ago (while wearing ballet flats) made arriving home to our cozy apartment on the Ile St. Louis that much more of a triumph. And going days (weeks?) without seeing the sun makes me feel totally justified in my decision to devote entire afternoons to the following “indulgent” activities: Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 13 Comments »

7 Little French Things That Make Life Better

Fleur de Sel Foodfreak.de / Diptyque Candles Frankincensy

The plight of the Francophile is that, more often than not, he or she doesn’t live in France. In fact, it’s quite possible that he or she has never even been to France, or at least, not with any frequency. But because separation makes the heart grow fonder (and sometimes downright obsessive), we must come up with coping mechanisms to keep the French dream alive, no matter where we are.

If I were super-motivated, I’d be hosting regular French film soirées and presiding over a French lit-themed book club, but alas, that all sounds much too Type-A. For now, I will indulge in the little things that help me feel closer to the country where I really belong (and where I would be, if there were any justice in this world).

1. Tarragon Mustard. Maille whips up a delightful version, but I am partial to the Edmond Fallot variety, which I slather on whatever happens to be lying around.

Caudalie / Tarragon Mustard  Julien Hausherr

2. Roger & Gallet products. Their Tilleul (Linden Blossom) moisturizing cream changed my life, and I will forever associate its scent with my cozy little studio on rue Mouffetard. Abroad, you can find these products in department stores and boutiques that carry high-end bath products.

3. Fleur de Sel de Guérande. Keeping a container of this fancy sea salt in the kitchen ups the ante of just about any dish, and will inevitably impress your foodie friends. Sassy food blogger David Lebovitz explains why this salt is all it’s cracked up to be.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 13 Comments »

A Truly Parisian Drink & Dinner: Hotel Amour & Casa Olympe

When my friend Jack, co-founder of Trufflepig, and I went out for a night on the town, I should have known absolutely anything could happen! Everything from snooty hipster bartenders, gigantic mushrooms and famous people citings were on the menu. Jack described the night in perfect detail below, and I look forward to our next perfectly Parisian rendezvous. -Erica

Julien Hausherr – Hotel Amour

Paris is an ever-changing city of contrasts, and many people who come here on vacation looking for a fixed, romantic idea of Paris based on a book or a film or a dream end up being surprised that it’s a real place, not a movie set. Not all the buildings are beautiful, the sun doesn’t glint permanently off the slate roofs, and not everyone who lives here is a charming Gallic man with a bristling moustache and a well-trained aquiline nose.

Julien Hausherr – Hotel Amour

But every now and then an evening unfolds in such a way that comes straight off the Paris song sheet. I had just such an evening on a recent night on the town with Erica Berman of Haven in Paris. If the evening followed a script, it would have been one written by a combination of the tourist board and the comedy council, rather than Disney. For a start, we were up in the 9th arrondissement rather than strolling on the boulevards in the more obvious parts of town, but by the end of the evening we were in stitches at quite how perfectly Paris the night turned out to be.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews | 9 Comments »

Paris Winter Fashion: What do Parisiennes Wear in the Snow?

On a recent Paris jaunt during the now infamous snow storm of last week, Badaude made some Paris fashion observations. As usual, they are right on and just right. What do you wear in Paris in the snow? – Erica

I was decorating the windows for Christmas last week in legendary Paris bookshop Shakespeare and Company and I had (perhaps too much of a) good chance to see what Parisienne’s wore during the recent cold snap. With snowflakes the size of postage timbres falling onto the Christmas tree outside Notre Dame, it was picture postcard pretty but definitely necessary to wrap up warmly. This is what I, with a Posca pen tucked behind my ear, saw from the top of a ladder…

(Click on image for full size)

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Text and illustrations by Badaude for the HiP Paris Blog. For our amazing rentals in Paris, Provence & Tuscany check out our website Haven in Paris.


Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 10 Comments »

New York or Paris: Une Bonne Question

Amy Thomas, the sweets queen behind the God I Love Paris blog and one of our very favorite contributors, can’t seem to decide whether she prefers Paris or New York. Hard life? But really, we can’t blame her… because  we can’t choose either. What do you think? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

New York or Paris? (Kat . . .)

Quick: do you prefer hopping in a taxi or on a Velib? Would you rather wear Manolos or Repettos? Oversized sunglasses, or an oversized scarf?

These are difficult questions. Ones that I’ve personally been trying to answer for a year and a half as I’ve also tried cracking the bigger dilemma: Which is the better city in which to live? I know, cue the teeny-tiny pity violins. Whenever I lament feeling torn between New York and Paris, I get the “poor you” rolling of the eyes. But truly, it’s not easy choosing between the two best cities in the world. Let’s see you do it.

Beauty or Energy?

Notre Dame in Paris or Snow in Manhattan? (Karigee)

Paris is dazzling. All you need to do is watch a Godard film or see a Doisneau poster to know that. But to actually walk the streets—with the Plane trees and cobblestones; the rose-tinted street lamps, green bookstalls and golden limestone facades—well, the French know a little something about seduction, don’t they.

But in New York, you’re swept away by everything and everyone around you: pedestrians, taxis, buses, street vendors, blinking neon signs, little dogs, big dogs, and, oh the freaks everywhere! To walk the streets of New York is to know what it means to feel alive. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Travel | 34 Comments »

The HiP Paris Blog: Spread the Paris Love via Social Media

Photographer at Musée Rodin, courtesy of Karigee.com

Life is incredibly busy for the ladies of the HiP Paris blog. Not only do we run this little corner of the world where we ramble on all things French, but we also spend our days helping our clients experience Paris like a local via our boutique vacation rental business, Haven in Paris. Business is booming and we need help with all the fun stuff. That’s where you come in, hopefully!

Haven in Paris is searching for one or two interns to support our corporate objectives through social media. In other words, to share the Paris love! We’re looking for a lot, but we’re sure you can send us some strong candidates through your network of friends, family and fellow bloggers. Do you mind passing this on to possible candidates (preferably, in the Boston area)?

Photos of Paris, France, courtesy of Karigee.com

Haven in Paris / HiP Paris is looking for social media interns to share the Paris love via all sorts of social media. The ideal candidates may be asked to perform some or all of the following duties:

Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 6 Comments »

The Last Days of Controversy: Larry Clark & Basquiat at the Modern Art Museum

Larry Clark courtesy of urban-gear.com

Nipples are often flashed on bus sides and at the beach but, still, the Frenchies have their limits. As evidenced by Mayor Bertrand Delanoe’s decree that no one under the age of 18 be allowed entry to Larry Clark’s retrospective, “Kiss the Past Hello” at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (until January 2, 2011).

Clark is no stranger to controversy in the more puritanical U.S. His 1995 movie, Kids, and his earlier collections of photography, Tulsa and Teenage Lust, caused quite a ruckus. But while the Parisian press lampooned the decision to ban minors from the exhibition—“hypocrisy, “censorship”, “repression” and “excess of prudence” were all bandied about— the raw, sometimes disturbing photographs of teens having sex or shooting drugs is certainly not for everyone.

Larry Clark courtesy of urban-gear.com

The exhibition starts harmlessly enough. The first series of the 200+ photographs, which span 50 years, are campy baby portraits and pet collages, shot by Clark’s mother, who was also a photographer. But once he moves to the Tulsa and Teenage Lust era, the 1970s and ’80s, featuring young addicts and hormonal teens, Clark’s dark side starts emerging: needles searing the skin of underage junkies, boys wielding guns or preening their privates for the camera, teenagers entangled on couches, in tubs and across beds—well, it’s not for the fainthearted.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events | 10 Comments »

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