April 28, 2011
Aux Deux Amis
The beauty of any great city is that you never “finish” it. There’s always a new corner to explore, a windy street to be discovered, a café you wonder how in the world you missed.
Before I left Paris, I made peace with the fact that there was no way I would tackle everything on my to-do list (nor, my list of must-eats). It was partly to keep me sane in the frenzied last days of packing up one life to return to another. But it was also a way of reassuring myself that I would return to Paris. I would get dressed up for a ballet at Opera Garnier. I would stumble into a subterranean jazz club. Angelina’s obscenely thick chocolat chaud would once again deliciously coat my teeth and send me off in an orbit of bliss.
A bike near Notre Dame and Merci store
Now I’m on the cusp of returning to Paris—but only for a week. As a tourist, I want to leave my schedule loose enough for spontaneous explorations (which are more magical in Paris than any other city) and let my friends guide me to everything that is new and hot since I left (Saturne? Grazie?). But certain destinations and activities are non-negotiable. With my first post-expat visit on the horizon, here is what I’m most excited about. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 10 Comments »
April 26, 2011
Literary woman about town Sara Rahman has the scoop on Paris’ newest and hippest artsy event: The Book Club, occurring monthly at trendy SOPI wine bar, Le Carmen. The next gathering takes place tomorrow, so here’s everything you need to know. -Geneviève
Dress code: book required, clothing optional (not really, please don’t do that). The Book Club at Le Carmen was launched this February in order to promote a new literary magazine, A Tale of Three Cities (TOT), which will be debuting this June. The lit-chic fête is held the last Wednesday of every month at Le Carmen near Place Pigale in Paris’ 9th arrondissement, in the rooms where Bizet composed his most famous oeuvre.
I recently met with Rosa Rankin-Gee, one of TOT’s founding fathers and a talented writer, editor, and purveyor of merriment in her own right. We sat atop a hill this Easter Sunday and chatted about her most recent work in progress.
Naturally, my first question was who attends.
“Beautiful people who read.” Excellent. Those non-prescription Ray-Ban specs are being put to good use after all. Truly, though, the crowd at the two parties I attended was mighty fine looking indeed (see photos).
Now, if that isn’t reason enough, why did TOT decide to do TBC?
“It’s all to do with the magazine which is a join-up of dots between Paris, London, and Berlin. And I suppose it’s the exchange of stories by writers in those cities. The Book Club’s quite a nice way of doing that. We’re sharing books, we’re sharing stories.”
So, what to wear? Continue Reading »
Posted in Arts, Events, Parisian Living | 8 Comments »
April 22, 2011
We are in love, here at the HiP Paris blog, with Candelaria. The tacos, the laid-back Brooklyn-like vibe, the secret back door… If you haven’t been yet, it’s high time you stopped by. Tory reports. -Geneviève
When I lived in Paris full-time, I experienced the occasional bout of FFF (French Food Fatigue). My friends and I re-energized our taste buds with falafel, ramen and freakishly cheap dumplings in Belleville, but we all agreed that Paris needed a low-key Mexican spot.
Enter Candelaria, perhaps the buzziest opening of the spring. Less than two months old, this tucked-away spot in the haut Marais packs a double punch. The front section of the restaurant is a sparsely-decorated taco stand, which leads to a sultry cocktail den that you could easily overlook if you weren’t paying attention.
So pay attention! Tacos up front, booze in the back. I highly recommend sticking around for both, as I did when I visited.
The taqueria dining experience is decidedly casual. Grab a seat at the counter if you want to observe the action in the tiny kitchen, or if you’re with a group, you can try to claim the restaurant’s only table. Regardless, prepare to battle the crowds: when it comes to seating, demand far outweighs supply at this point.
But if you time it right (they’re open from noon-11pm, Tuesday-Sunday), you will not be disappointed. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 11 Comments »
April 20, 2011
I searched for a while for my job at Haven in Paris, a role that finally combined my passions for hospitality, travel and writing into a true mash-up of, to put it mildly… utter joy. My passion for almond croissants has been totally fulfilled too. Regularly.
In a single day, I can spend equal parts discussing Paris with prospective visitors, luxury flats with their owners and all things French-inspired via this very blog. Would you like to love your job this much?
Haven in Paris is searching for our next team member, a Sales & Service Specialist based, ideally, in the Boston area. If you like Paris, luxury apartments and all things French-inspired, this may be the perfect job for you too. You must like sales and customer service too. Oh, and croissants.
Learn more about our available Sales & Service Specialist role now. (I’m kind of kidding about the croissants. Kind of.) Please email your resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Maggie Battista for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.
Posted in Parisian Living, Travel | 5 Comments »
April 18, 2011
We’re a bit obsessed with Paris’ budding coffee scene as of late. At the heart of it all are the Frog Fights, where Paris’ best baristas compete to show off their brewing, frothing and presentation skills. This month the event took place at Coutume Cafe. Our girl about town, Sara Rahman, has the inside scoop. Stay tuned for the location of the next event! -Geneviève
Earlier this month, an eclectic crowd bulged from the seams of Coutume Café, the host of Paris’ 9th monthly Frog Fight barista competition. Cameras clicked, wine glasses clinked, and at the center of the huddle, 25 or so baristas took turns in pairs behind a gleaming espresso machine, shuffling to execute caffeinated masterpieces as quickly and elegantly as possible.
Certainly not the first item on the menu to tempt the flocks of foodie pilgrims seeking sensory nirvana in Paris, coffee is usually an afterthought in traditional French dining. Sort of like the benediction rounding out a Catholic mass: essential, yes; transcendent, only if your priest/server is endowed with certain god-given qualities rarely found in the earthly realm.
Fortunately for Paris and all of us who pray for mercy each time we encounter the flat, soupy stuff that passes for espresso in some of this city’s finest restaurants, something interesting is brewing in our back alleys. In the past couple of years, several hip coffee shops have popped up around town, surprising their easygoing clientele with something other than the atmospheric qualities French cafes always get right: really good coffee. The Frog Fight is part of this trend.
Continue Reading »
Posted in Events, Food | 7 Comments »
April 15, 2011
Erica Berman is a serious coffee drinker. No joke. Long frustrated by Paris’ less-than-stellar coffee scene, she is overjoyed to see that some serious brewsters are finally taking hold of Paris. Be sure to check in next week for our review of Frog Fight, the buzz-worthy (and caffeinated!) competition where Paris’ best baristas battle it out. – Geneviève
Cappuccino from Coutume Cafe – Erica Berman
I don’t drink coffee in Paris. Why should I? It’s expensive and mostly bad and the waiters are often surly and unfriendly. No self-respecting coffee drinker should have to subject themselves to overpriced Parisian sludge served with a sneer.
I long ago gave up on the idea of great coffee in a sunny café by the Seine, and content myself to home brewed beans, leaving cappuccinos and friendly cafes for Italy.
Happily, changes are taking place in Paris. Just as the artisanal baguette was reborn after a long period of low quality bread on the Parisian bakery scene and interesting types of non Lipton tea are popping up in shops and cafes around the city, all of a sudden good, even great, coffee has arrived and a pro-artisanal coffee movement is on the rise, albeit only in a select few Parisian spots. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 61 Comments »
April 13, 2011
When I arrive in Paris, it never hits me all at once. Rather, the realization that I’ve returned to my city-of-choice creeps up on me via small encounters, random observations and chance interactions. And when I finally realize where I am—Paris!—I begin to wonder, “Why did I ever leave?”
We’ll leave that question for another time, but for now, here’s how I know I’ve arrived.
1. I forget how to tell time, and relinquish the notion of scheduling. On my most recent visit, it took me a full 36 hours to realize that daylight savings had occurred. It didn’t help that when I had arrived a few days earlier and asked my boyfriend, “Where’s your clock?,” his response was: “There is no clock. I’m your clock.” Well, it turns out he’s a very unreliable clock—albeit a handsome one.
2. Everyone is buzzing about the same new spot.
Candelaria storefront on the rue Saintonge (Lost in Cheeseland)
Of course, this happens in every city, but in New York, the buzz is more liberally distributed. Paris’ slower rate of restaurant turnover means you can literally watch the swarm of foodies descend on the newest (and hopefully well-prepared) hot spots. This time around, it was all about Candelaria, which is to restaurants what the mullet is to haircuts: simple up front, hidden party in the back.
Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews | 16 Comments »
April 11, 2011
Haven in Paris’ very own Ariel has started planning a return trip to Paris. June can’t come fast enough! We’re happy to share here the three things she is most looking forward to: food, jazz and art, of course! – Geneviève
The staircase at the Musée Carnavalet (Ricohf3)
After living in Paris for 4 months last year, it started to feel like home. Of course I was overjoyed to return to my family, friends and my own bed, but let’s face it; life in France is a little bit different from life in the good old USA. Now that I’m planning my return trip, I’m reminded of all the things I’ve been missing since my last visit…
French cheese plate (Erica Berman)
When I think of returning to Paris, I’m disproportionately excited about the incredible food I’ll be eating; the often touted, widely available steak tartare (I have to stop myself from having it every meal), rice pudding at L’ami Jean, and raw milk cheeses that are so potent and pungent, they’ll knock your socks off. Without a doubt though, the one thing I am most excited for is a very special pastry called the Escargot au Chocolat: an unbelievable trifecta of croissant, crème patissière and chocolate. You won’t find them everywhere, but my favorite neighborhood boulangerie in the 7th, Pain D’Epice, has them warm and melty every morning. Hurry though, they sell out fast! I usually pair it with a warm baguette topped with lait cru Camembert and a dollop of apricot jam. It’s my idea of the perfect breakfast, and possibly the reason why I gain so much weight every time I go to France! Continue Reading »
Posted in Arts, Food | 13 Comments »
April 7, 2011
Do you remember the first time you realized “Wow, I am in Paris”? Those of us who have been lucky enough to visit Paris have all, I think, had that moment — a tingling, joyful, excited realization that there’s something about Paris that can make one happy simply to exist and observe. We have asked a few of our favorite writers to share their true First Paris moments with us . For our first installment, Tory tells us about when she discovered the magic of Angelina’s chocolat chaud… - Geneviève
It was the hot chocolate that did it. For a girl who had grown up on watery Swiss Miss with tiny, desiccated marshmallows in it, the chocolat chaud in Paris was a life-changing revelation.
Angelina’s hot chocolate; macarons (Justine Robinett)
First of all, I was allowed to drink it for breakfast. It was no longer something I had to “earn” by clocking hours on an icy ski slope, trying to ignore the fact that I could barely breathe through my ice-encrusted neck-warmer. No, in Paris, it was my inalienable right to drink hot chocolate, simply because I had woken up. No neck-warmer needed. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 13 Comments »
April 5, 2011
I submitted my graduate school application to study in Paris around the same time as I adopted a dog back home in California. The timing was intentional, of course. I had naive daydreams of sitting outside at a sunny café in a striped shirt and ballet flats, sipping a glass of wine with my dog, Lucas, people-watching with me from the seat next to mine.
Let me just mention that, although it worked out for me in the end, I would not recommend this kind of logic. The hassle of the dog’s paperwork (on top of mine), the stress and cost of his place on my flight and the limitations he imposed on the already difficult apartment search are serious considerations that should not be overlooked if you are considering bring your pup with you to Paris.
That said, I don’t regret it at all. Although I have spent several years in France over the course of my life and considered myself fairly familiar with many French cultural quirks, having my dog here has allowed me to explore a whole new set of myths and clichés.
The first question on my mind was where exactly nos amis les chiens are welcome and where they are not. It’s not one I could find a useful answer to before I got here since the most common stereotype people have about the French and their dogs is that they bring them everywhere. Like most stereotypes this is both true and untrue so I’d like to share my experiences…
It took me months to gather the courage to take my dog on the metro. He is considered rather large by Paris standards, too large to fit in the metro’s mandatory 45 cm-long enclosed bag. Until one day I saw a full-size Labrador on my commute to school; my dog has been taking the metro twice a day to work with my boyfriend ever since. It is basically the same deal for the RER and other regional trains, though leashes are allowed and you’re supposed to buy a reduced price ticket for your dog. Buses, however, are the only form of public transit where it seems like people really do follow the official rules – I’ve only seen very little dogs and always in shoulder bags.
In the states I never dared to ask at a restaurant if I could bring my dog anywhere but an outdoor seating area. In France, I’ve learned to assume we’re both welcome and to walk straight in no questions asked. In a year and a half, I’ve only been stopped a couple of times with a polite “Excusez-moi, Madame…” Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 19 Comments »