May 30, 2011
Miranda Bothe can make dreams come true — if, like us, your dream is to own a property in France, that is. Although the obstacles can seem daunting (for French and foreigners alike), Miranda shares with us here the story of how her own mother made it happen. If she can, so can we! -Geneviève
When my mom found herself suddenly single at 45, she nearly took a year away from her medical practice in Boston to move to Paris with my little sister. She wanted to sip coffees in the late morning sun and read French poetry and eat confit de canard for dinner and take French classes and learn Serge Gainsbourg songs on the guitar… Her dream revolved around a small top-floor apartment on the Ile Saint Louis with a tiny balcony overlooking the Seine – the kind of balcony you see in a Sempé drawing of Paris. Life got in the way and she never made that trip – we have often wondered how all of our lives would have been different if she had.
Almost anyone with a long love for Paris can tell you as much about the apartment they would live in as they can about the life they would lead if they could live here. Continue Reading »
Posted in Homes, Parisian Living | 10 Comments »
May 27, 2011
Given that Parisians set the international standard for chic, it’s a bit tricky (as an étrangère) to figure out how to blend in among the locals. I’ve never considered myself a particularly risqué dresser, but when I moved to Paris, it was clear that some pieces I had worn in New York suddenly felt downright scandalous alongside the low-key, layered look of Parisians.
During seasonal transitions, the challenge of dressing for Paris is compounded by the unpredictable climate—it can be sweltering one minute, hailing the next—but this need not lead to bipolarity of the wardrobe.
Just do as the French do—layer accordingly and do not surrender your personal style to seasonal shifts. A few rules to keep you looking sharp as we move from spring into summer:
1. Lighten your layers. Warm-weather dressing in Paris is not really about shorter and skimpier; it’s about looser and lighter. It’s not about less layering; it’s about different layering. Switch your wool, cashmere and suede pieces for similar items in summer-appropriate materials (linen, cotton). This way, you’ll still look like you, but you won’t spiral into a heat-induced rage.
2. Show a little leg. Paris is not a cleavage-bearing city. Over-exposed décolletage always shocks me here—perhaps because it happens so infrequently. In the summer, however, you can get away with wearing shorter hemlines (just make sure to balance them out with more coverage up top). French women masterfully pair short dresses with tailored blazers, and shorts with modest menswear-inspired shirts. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 3 Comments »
May 25, 2011
Here in Paris, the warm days and longer nights have got us yearning for carefree summer fun… To tide us over, HiP Paris contributor Stephanie Wells shares her list of Spring/Summer concerts here. We’d love to hear from you too! If you know of any great gigs, feel free to leave them in the comments… -Geneviève
Having been either a student or an intern all of the five summers I’ve spent in Paris, it’s easy to understand why my entertainment budget is virtually non-existent. So when the pink cherry blossoms on the Canal Saint Martin turn the luscious green that signals the real beginning of spring, the promise of free concerts draws me like a magnet.
Last year’s Caetano Veloso concert at the La Défense Jazz Festival was a sun-blazed highlight of my summer. I’m chomping at the bit to see what musical gems are on this year’s program (under embargo until the end of May). What lucky folks we Parisians are that we can just hop over to the Esplanade de la Défense from June 18th-26th for a top-quality musical extravaganza – for free!
La Défense Jazz Festival 2011, 18-26 June 2011, Esplanade de la Defense, Free
While I’m waiting for the Jazz Fest’s unveiling, as if on cue, the Villette Sonique publicized their festival lineup a couple weeks ago. Continue Reading »
Posted in Arts, Events | 2 Comments »
May 23, 2011
HiP Paris friend, contributor and wonderful illustrator Badaude is coming out with a gorgeous book, London Walks, chock-full of witty drawings and snapshots into the lives of Londoners. In honor of the book launch happening next Monday at Shakespeare & Co, we asked Badaude to give us her top spots to hit up in London for a weekend getaway… Check out her list below for the places to stay, eat, drink, shop and stroll. PS: And if you’re in Paris, feel free to stop by Shakespeare & Co next Monday night to celebrate the launch of London Walks and more! -Geneviève
Badaude’s new book, London Walks
Stay at The Zetter Townhouse:London’s newest and hottest hotel is a clutter-chic bijou Georgian townhouse in the quiet square behind the original Zetter Hotel. Bedrooms are a riot of eclectic 19th century fun. Mine had a bedhead and wall panel taken from a French 3rd Republic carousel, an ipod dock housed in a red retro radio and, most stunningly, as well as the state-of-the-art drench shower in the bathroom, a mahogany-pillared bath set into an alcove in the bedroom.
Downstairs mixologist Tony Conigliaro’s hot cocktail bar looks like a London pub (busy Victorian paintings and pleasingly eccentric taxidermy) only more comfortable. Kick back on one of the cozy sofas and let staff serve you tapas-style snacks as you study the innovative drinks menu. With so many clever inventions it was a tough choice, but I wasn’t disappointed when I ordered a Somerset sour (apple brandy, cider, gomme and lemon) – a heavenly ice-cold balance of sweet and sour. My date went for a sharp Richmond (Chivas Regal, apple honey & Lillet blanc ). Both arrived in cute retro glasses — the perfect finishing touch. We picked at a platter of delicious pates and Parma ham, fresh buttery radishes, English cheeses and sardines on toast pimped with a pimento puree, accompanied by a carafe of aromatic Jurancon sec (£30 for 50cl). We felt too full to make use of the bar’s table tennis room afterwards.
Rooms from £185. The Zetter Townhouse Website.
Eat at: St John.This is hardly news to residents, but if you only eat out once in London, you won’t find an experience more British than Fergus Henderson’s legendary ‘nose to tail eating’. If the whitewashed restaurant pushes the abbatoir look a little beyond your comfort zone, the meaty menu lives up to the ‘everything but the squeak’ premise. The last time I was there I had a roasted marrow bones with parsley salad (£7.10) followed by Calf’s liver and shallots (£18.40) . Was there a part of the menu that wasn’t offal? The British cheeses and Eccles cakes (£6.80) were sublime.
Continue Reading »
Posted in Arts, Events, Travel | 4 Comments »
May 20, 2011
Adrian Leeds is an experienced flathunter who has helped many dreamers find their perfect home in Paris. Over time, she has also become something of an expert in navigating residential building etiquette, but some quirks particular to Parisian neighbors continue to amuse her, 14 years later… -Geneviève
When you move into any new house or apartment in North America, you might expect the neighbours to drop by, introduce themselves, bring a small offering or just let you know that if you need anything, they’re there for you… Or you would do the same, just to introduce yourself to them. This is common practice, standard procedure and, in essence, what we hold to be the ‘right thing to do.’ That’s in North America.
If you do this when you move into your new house or apartment in France, particularly in Paris, you certainly should not expect the same treatment, nor would your new neighbours look kindly on such ‘friendly’ efforts. “Au Contraire.” This behaviour is considered aggressive and intrusive…at least it has been for quite a long time. For many traditionally-minded French,“étranger” = “danger” [foreigner = danger]. It seems, though, with the influx of foreigners actually settling in Paris, things are (luckily) starting to change and the neighbours are getting friendlier.
When I first moved to Paris, I heard a great story from an Italian friend living in the chic 7th district near La Tour Eiffel. She had a neighbour living on the same floor opposite her who never said more than “Bonjour Madame” for several years. One day they both entered the elevator at the same time and the neighbour, not wanting to seem presumptuous, actually asked, “Quel étage, Madame?” (“What floor?”), as if she had never seen her before. My friend was shocked! Continue Reading »
Posted in Homes, Parisian Living | 8 Comments »
May 18, 2011
We first met the lovely Kari Geltemeyer when she stayed in Haven in Paris’ Livingstone flat and have been hooked on her witty writing and great photography ever since. Here are some musings and images from her latest trip to Paris this May… -Geneviève
Hi. My name is Kari, and I am a tourist. A lot of people don’t like to admit this, or feel guilty about it, and those people refer to themselves as “travelers.” That’s fine; we become what we wish to be, etc. But I’ve decided to embrace the “tourist” label wholeheartedly, unabashedly, with gusto—mostly because it takes too much energy not to.
According to Merriam-Webster, a tourist is “one that makes a tour for pleasure or culture” (no mention of fanny packs). I enjoy the culture, yes, but I go to Paris for the pleasure. I waited 40 years before I saw this city and now I love it the way I first loved New York, cinematically, as a hopelessly romantic construct no reality can touch.
Must be something in the air. I stumble around, staring up at the rooftops—those rooftops!—and the nonverbal part of my brain just takes over, the part that processes beauty and joy and awe, the part that wouldn’t be able to translate the emotion into language even if I spoke the language. (I do not. I flail and I fumble and I manage, but I deeply, fundamentally do not.) Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living, Travel | 14 Comments »
May 16, 2011
You might have noticed if you’ve been wandering the markets of France recently: asparagus are in season. Wonderful cook, teacher and friend of HiP Paris Marjorie Taylor, who runs the Cook’s Atelier in Burgundy, shares her yummy asparagus risotto recipe with us here, and throws in a few tips for your next weekend trip to Beaune on the way. We don’t know about you, but we can wait to try both! – Geneviève
To a food and wine lover, Beaune makes for a perfect day or weekend getaway when visiting Paris. It is ideally located, just a couple hours from Paris via the TGV, and gives visitors a little taste of authentic France. Beaune is a very picturesque, international little town that offers many possibilities for those interested in learning more about the food and wine of the region. You can explore the small wine villages just outside Beaune and bike through the famous vineyards, wine tasting all along the way.
One of my favorite things to do on a bright spring morning in Burgundy is to visit a local market. You know spring is here when the season’s first wild leeks and artichokes appear at the market. The air is perfumed with the smell of tiny Gariguette strawberries and the vendors’ stalls are filled with violet and white asparagus, wild leeks, fava beans, and spring peas.
The market days in Beaune are on Wednesday and Saturday. Locals fill their market baskets to the brim before stopping at Le Parisian, a favorite local brasserie, for a leisurely coffee or glass of crémant before heading home. On Saturdays, during the spring and summer months, there is a brocante in Place Carnot, the perfect place to find a vintage Madeleine pan, copper pots or French linens. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, HiP Recipes | 7 Comments »
May 13, 2011
When you’ve lived in Paris awhile, dining options can become a little, shall we say, lackluster. Don’t get me wrong—it doesn’t get much more delicious than French cuisine, bien sur. But one can only eat so many chevre chaud salads, salmon tartares and steak frites before ennui descends.
Thank goodness this past year has ushered in several exciting restaurant openings with creative cooking and cool scenes on equal display. Here are two to try right now.
The Scene: Le Pantruche, 3 rue Victor-Massé, 9eme Down the street from Le Lautrec; around the corner from Hotel Amour; not far from rue des Martyrs—in other words, the neighborhood of the moment. But instead of a feverish see-and-be-seen vibe, La Pantruche exudes smart and quiet elegance—c’est branché all the way.
The Set-Up: The compact 34-top dining room is dark but warm, thanks to dim lighting and natural wood banquettes. Support poles appliquéd with mirror chips glitter like disco balls, bringing a delicious taste of the neighborhood’s tawdriness inside. But the convivial-meets-cool vibe is best brought to life by the charming service, led by Edouard Bobin. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 8 Comments »
May 11, 2011
As soon as I landed in Paris, I knew I wanted a bicycle. Though I love and support the idea of Velibs, I have to admit I feel a bit dorky on those bulky gray carbon copies—plus, each Velib ride inevitably leaves me with grease on my pants. But a more important factor in my decision was an image I had formed when I first booked my ticket to France: me, riding a cool French bicycle, baguette in tow, zooming down the streets of the city of love. And the fancy hybrid I left back in Brooklyn would not do: I needed something that this romantic, idealized version of me could distinctly call his own.
So where does one go to find the bike they always dreamed of riding in Paris? There are a few different options that satisfy a variety of urges, from casual biker to fixie-dedicated hipster to everything in between.
1) Velo Vintage
To answer my own question: this is where I went to find the bike I always dreamed of riding in Paris. A craigslist post brought me to this small, 80s-inspired shop in the 18th. Upon entering the shop I was struck by the quality of their vintage rides, which looked more like art with a seat on it than transportation device. Their bikes range from classic French Peugeot’s to Dutch cruisers. Few are built for the Tour de France; style, comfort and more style reign here.
Although it would be easy to stop at window shopping here, a purchase at VV can be a wise—and even cost-effective—investment. While some of their bikes are in the 600+ Euro range, my very comfortable, sleek, blue 5-speed with a rear rack only set me back 180 €. Before riding off, co-owner Eddy told me to send a picture from wherever the bike ends up taking me. And I’m sure I will: on this bike I feel very photogenic.
Velo Vintage, 58 Rue du Ruisseau, 75018
2) Bicycle Store Paris
Entering this store is like walking into a hipster’s wet dream. Or the wet dream of anyone who likes beautiful bicycles. If you can look past the demonic clown art on the walls, BSP offers up a fantastic array of bikes, from fixed-gear (a favorite of bicycle messengers everywhere) to French velos de ville, in a stunning array of colors and designs. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 15 Comments »
May 9, 2011
Having lived in Paris for five years, I have experienced a full spectrum of highs (euphoria) and lows (disillusionment) of expat life. And throughout those emotional dips I’ve observed the local evolutions – the highs and lows – of the city itself.
Kedgeree – typical British dish
Perhaps the most noticeable evolution has been in food and drink with the warmly welcomed arrival of foreign talent. Ethnic fare and American diners and burger joints aside, the Anglo food curve has largely been dominated by the reigning hipster brunch institution, Rose Bakery, which opened back in 2002. But Rose is no longer the only canteen on the Paris food scene cooking up high-quality, authentic English dishes, as evidenced by the recent spate of Anglo-inspired eateries. Continue Reading »
Posted in Coffee, Food, Restaurant Reviews | 6 Comments »