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Four Bloggers Check Out Au Passage, Paris’ New Foodie Fave

One of the latest hot items in the Paris food and wine world, Au Passage has been garnering more than a bit of blogger buzz lately. It also just snagged the 2012 Prix Fooding d’amour, confirming its status as Paris’ newest foodie darling.  In the evenings, this low-key wine bar and tapas joint is jam packed with patrons partaking in small plates of munchies, various wines by the bottle and a bit of respectably rowdy foodie fun. Things take a different turn at noon with the (thankfully) limited lunch menu: one entrée, two choices of mains, one cheese, one dessert.  With kitchen talent coming from Spring and Le Verre Volé and carefully selected market-fresh fare, this spot is turning out some seriously savory meals.  I stopped in recently with three other food and drink-minded bloggers  ( Kasia/Love in the City of Lights, Caroline/Sweet Caroline in Paris and Erica/HiP Paris) to see how the lunch stacks up to the hype.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 11 Comments »

Black Friday: Paris Apartments on Sale!

Our Penthievre Apartment near the Champs-Elysées


The winter months are absolutely wonderful in Paris. The lines are shorter at our favorite museums and sights, and the restaurants put their best foot forward for the locals – steak frites never tasted so good!

Since we’d rather be in Paris in December, January and February, we’re offering you an amazing opportunity on Friday, November 25, 2011.

The dining room in our Penthievre apartment

Instead of spending Black Friday* braving the crowds for lackluster deals, you can spend that day with Haven in Paris. On November 25 only, we’ll be offering amazing discounts on stays in December, January and February, including 20% off all 1-week, low season visits. Now that’s a deal to write home about… from your perfect pied-a-terre in the city of light!

The master bedroom in our Penthievre apartment

Contact us now to begin planning your Paris visit, and we look forward to finalizing all the details on November 25th. Continue Reading »

Posted in Travel | 4 Comments »

Photographing Paris: Tips from a Travel Photographer

You’d think that as a travel photographer who’s endlessly enamored of Paris, finding infinite inspiration for things to shoot in the City of Light would be proverbial cake. Well, you’d be wrong. At least where this Francophile photog is concerned!

My problem with Paris (and what a wonderful challenge to have) is that after so many visits, what was once a mysterious new wonderland to discover and dissect through the lens is now a favorite, intimately familiar old haunt. So when I found myself “stuck” in Paris for two weeks last spring per that little volcanic kerfuffle in Iceland instead of down south in new-to-me Nice, I was actually un peu perturbed.

After settling into the reality that I’d be in Paris awhile — and potentially a really long while if that blasted Eyjafjallajökull didn’t pipe down already, I finally began to relax and reflect on how best to start a fresh relationship with this city I had captured through my lens so many times before. In the end, I don’t know what I was so worried about! With a few simple adjustments to my habitual Paris routines, seeing the city anew was easy.

Even though you’re not in Venice, go ahead and get lost.

Armed with my trusty copy of Michelin’s Paris par Arrondissement, I wandered sans worry. One of the most important things I learned was to take the time to explore and absorb at a leisurely clip – day or night. Rather than defaulting to the subway, the bus became my primary mode of public transportation. Better to survey large, unfamiliar chunks of the city that way, and scout new nooks and crannies to tackle à pied. Similarly, if I did ride the metro, I used it to reach pockets of Paris that I’d never seen or strolled before. It was fantastique.

Get up early, or stay out late.

As on any trip, I set my alarm to rise and shine before the sun and the city. I love doing this and particularly in a place like Paris, both for the dreamy photo opps and for the priceless experience of watching timeless cityscapes come to life. Plus it’s just about the only way you’re going to score some private time with landmarks like La Tour Eiffel. Unless you’re willing to stay out way after dark, which isn’t really my thing, but man — talk about interesting photo opportunities. Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events, Travel | 7 Comments »

Finding Inspiration in Paris: Exciting Alternatives to Paris’ Big Museums

At the Rodin Museum, Paris (Stephen Boisvert)

The other week, as the famed Musée D’Orsay was about to celebrate a grand re-opening after two years of renovation, museum workers went on strike. The strike ended fairly quickly, but for a few agonizing days disappointed Impressionistas were left wondering how to get their art fix in Paris.

Which brings up a good point. The Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre are not exclusive guardians of the greatest art ever, despite what your guide book tells you. Yeah, yeah, you want to see the Mona Lisa. But why not get out of the big musées and discover places you never knew you wanted to? I mean, you’re in Paris, for God’s sake. You can’t throw a pavé without hitting beautiful pieces of art. They’re not all in museums. They’re in gardens, on bridges, down hidden streets. Art is everywhere. Walk around and stumble upon it.

Sculpture by Dali (Amelia Wells)

Or if you’re looking for a little more structure, here are a few ideas:

Find Monet elsewhere in Paris. If you want to see what inspired all the lily pad umbrellas and tote bags, head over to the Orangerie in the Jardin des Tuileries, renovated a few years ago. The enormity of Monet’s paintings alone is stunning. And just on the edge of Paris, near the Bois de Boulogne is the Musée Marmottan Monet, which houses over 100 works by Monsieur Monet.

Rodin’s “Eve”  (Rachel So)

Ever heard of Rodin? There are more than 130 art museums in Paris. So don’t just pin your trip on the two BIG ones. I was never much of a fan of Picasso until I went to the Musée National Picasso. (Sorry, that one is closed for renovations until 2013). Instead, make it a priority to see museums like ones dedicated to Auguste Rodin or Salvador Dalí, depending on your tastes. Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events | 8 Comments »

La Beauté: What Do French Women Have That We Don’t?

Michel Nguyen

Every time I go to Paris, I’m inspired anew. I look at the women with their ruby red lips, their studiously disheveled hair, their outfits that—really, aren’t that exceptional and yet still scream “cool” because of the way they hang on their petite frames or just because of the attitude with which they’re worn—and I think: I can do that!

You see, French women make beauty look so easy. They’re not all made up, hair sprayed and complexion painted to perfection. Their nails don’t match their lips. Their shoes don’t match their bags. They’re not highlighted, bronzed, veneered, acrylic tipped, implanted, injected or perfected. And yet they’re beautiful.

So what do they have that we don’t (okay, at least I don’t)?

Making Magique

It all starts with attitude

My friends who date French women assure me the pretty young things are actually racked with insecurities. But you’d never know it looking at them. French women ooze sex appeal. It’s in the way they walk, the way they talk, and the way they hold their wine glasses. They think, “I’m beautiful,” and it radiates outwards, causing others to look at and admire them which, in turn, makes them feel beautiful—a brilliant cycle if there ever was one. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 47 Comments »

Experience Gertrude Stein’s Paris: Picasso, Matisse and Other Stein Favorites Reunited at the Grand Palais

It’s 1905 in Paris. Visitors to the Salon d’Automne are outraged. Who is that flamboyant woman with the audaciously colorful hat? Or rather who could have painted such a daring work? Matisse’s Woman with a Hat shocked most viewers. However, it was avidly appreciated, and swiftly purchased, by two new art connoisseurs; Gertrude and Leo Stein, sparking a fabulous legacy of 20th century art patronage and perhaps the greatest collection of Modern art of the era. This collection is currently brought together for the first time in decades in Paris, in a special exhibit at the Grand Palais.

The Stein family, based in San Francisco, first came to Paris in 1878 when the siblings Gertrude, Leo and Michael were still children. This initial visit must have struck a cord, as they each eventually gravitated back to Europe as adults by 1904. Having sold off their family’s holdings back in the U.S., the Steins could live a comfortable bohemian life in Paris and were quickly drawn to collecting art.

The Grand Palais exhibit opens with some fine examples of their earliest acquisitions, several works by late impressionist masters, in particular Renoir and Cezanne, purchased during their first visit to the Salon d’Automne in 1904. These works would not only adorn the walls of the Steins’ respective apartments on rue Madame and rue Fleurus, they would also serve as inspiration for the next generation of young artists who started frequenting the Steins’ Saturday night Salons, lively evenings of conversation and debate over the ensuing new ideas of the modernist movement.

The next year’s Salon d’Automne also featured the more “traditional” artists, however, just as the impressionists had shocked the art world with their innovative works forty years prior, new artists such as the bold Fauves were causing a stir. While it was Gertrude and Leo who purchased Matisse’s aforementioned masterpiece, it was Michael and Sarah who became avid collectors and friends of the artist. Over the next few decades, they almost exclusively focused their collection on his works, many of which are shown here, several displaying the unique bond Matisse had with Michael and Sarah such as the two portraits he made of them and some paintings featuring their son Allan.

Matisse might have been one of the most important leading artists of the turn of the 20th century, however, he was fervently rivaled by another visionary artist; Pablo Picasso – who in turn was greatly supported by Gertrude and Leo. Gertrude first met Picasso in 1906 and they quickly formed a strong, if not turbulent, friendship. The exhibition features a number of wonderful Picassos from their collection, including the imposing Cezanne inspired pre-cubist portrait of Gertrude, but perhaps the most intriguing are eight original sketches and studies for Picasso’s first cubist work Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), tightly displayed together on one wall, just as they might have been hung on the walls rue Fleurus. Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events, Tours and Classes | 5 Comments »