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Paris Winter Fashion: The Girls of Montmartre

Winter in Paris is the perfect opportunity to indulge in creative layering, colorful tights and stylish boots. While stylish Parisiennes abound in Paris, the people-watching on the cobblestoned streets of Montmartre is one of our favorite ways to while away a lazy afternoon on a heated café terrace. Fashion guru and dear HiP Paris contributor Badaude shares here some of her favorite cold-weather items, courtesy of the lovely Montmartro-girls, here. – Geneviève

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Written by Badaude 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 | 6 Comments »

Les Enfants Terribles? Kid-Friendly Dining in Paris

Mark and Allegra Karoski-Biava

Fresh off the plane and bleary-eyed with two kids in tow, we set out for our first family meal in Paris. Surely in this city of more than 8,000 restaurants, finding a suitable spot would be simple enough, non?

After passing snug bistros and lively brasseries, we spotted a red neon sign that seemed to scream, “Kids Welcome Here!” We made a beeline for Hippopotamus, the kid-friendly chain with outposts all over the city. Without dwelling on the gastronomic disappointment (and pricey menu) of that evening, we learned some early lessons about eating out with kids in Paris. Number one? Don’t eat at Hippopotamus.

Ready for a fancy French meal (Juliet)

In the months since, we’ve tried many restaurants with our children (ages four and six). Here are some tips and sure-fire hits when you venture out to eat en famille.

Not where but when: Successful family dining is about knowing when to go. Many wonderful restaurants will welcome kids if you go at off-peak times. Sunday déjeuner is a big one for family meals in Paris. Friday and Saturday nights? Not so much. For mid-week lunches, go earlier or later than the business crowd and you’ll likely be met with a smile. Bustling brasseries and service continu restos will suit you better than dinner at 9:00 at the cozy corner bistro.

Picnic-ing and playing on the Champs de Mars (Markus Bollingmo)

Know your kids. Know the French: French children are trained to sit quietly and eat like little adults. French parents are strict and never more so than around the table. Crying, screaming and crawling under the table are not tolerated and will prompt vocal disapproval and the not-so-subtle “oh la la.” Adjust your restaurant choices accordingly to avoid a miserable meal for all. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 10 Comments »

Happy Holidays from HiP Paris

As this wonderful year draws to a close, we can’t help but be grateful for all the amazing things we experienced in 2011:

All of this, thanks to you dear readers! Is there something you would like to see more of in 2012? Drop us a line to let us know!

On behalf of the HiP Paris team and our gloriously talented contributors, we wish you warm and happy holidays, and a fantastic new year full of love and success.

All photos Courtesy of CaramsLooking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris,  London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.


Posted in Parisian Living | 4 Comments »

HiP Paris Holiday Gift Guide: La Tartine Gourmande Béatrice Peltre

L’Art de la Table (literally translating as “The Art of the Table”) is probably as much about food as it is about having beautiful table linens and dinnerware, tasteful flowers, and colorful table accessories to enhance the dining experience. No wonder the French love to gather around tables to eat. No wonder that, after growing up in a food-obsessed family, I, too, love to give gifts that focus attention around the celebration of a meal.

In France, gorgeous-looking kitchen stores filled with beautiful dinnerware and designer linens can be found everywhere. During the holidays, they are favorite spots to find precious gifts to celebrate our love for beautifully presented foods. Brand names like Le Jacquard Français specialize in the art of dressing up a dining table with beautiful and colorful patterned tablecloths and napkins—I am a fan. What’s not to love about a gorgeous-looking table setting with scrumptious food at its center?

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Written by Béatrice Peltre for the HiP Paris Blog.  All photos by Béatrice. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in London, Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

Posted in Shopping | No Comments »

Foodie Christmas Gifts: Five French-Inspired Cookbooks

French Feasts, Dutch Oven (Ames Lai)

Christmas is four days away et bien sûr, I am quite tardy in purchasing some very special gifts for the very special people in my life.

Since I work for a company that rents boutique Parisian flats, I do tend to gift friends and family with French-inspired goodies, items that will inject the everyday life with a bit of la vie française. Better yet, if those goodies can be French food-inspired, I’m practically guaranteed une note de gratitude before the ball drops on New Year’s.

Alas, time is of the essence and a quick trip to Paris is not in the cards before Christmas. But I can still be the belle of their hearts and kitchens by gifting an old standby: a favorite French cookbook, with all the most delicious recipes well-marked, and a quickly-assembled glass jar of sel de mer, glistening and studded with herbs de Provence.

Drying Herbs (Porter Palmer), Salt (Little Brown Pen)

If you’re also delayed in holiday shopping, I don’t mind if you take my idea and make it your own. In fact, I’ve got your back with my favorite French-inspired cookbooks of 2011. Just don’t say I never gave you anything…

1.  Based on the sweet boutiques in San Francisco, Miette: Recipes from San Francisco’s Most Charming Pastry Shop is a darling cookbook filled with scalloped pages of classic tart, cake and cookie recipes. I can imagine gifting this girly book with everything needed to make owner, chef and author Meg Ray’s famous Tomboy Cake, pictured on the book’s cover.

Miette (Yuichi Sakuraba, A Baked Creation)

Miette (Violet Blue)

2. I was at a gala celebrating Jacque Pepin’s contribution to culinaria recently and while he had a last minute hiccup that prevented his appearance, his new cookbook Essential Pepin: More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food stood in for him proudly. Delivered with some very good chocolate to make his version of Chocolate Mousse, this cookbook would be a prized possession.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Shopping | 3 Comments »

HiP Paris Holiday Gift Guide: Alexia Hollinger’s Pia Bag

Not only are Alexia Hollinger‘s handbags très chic, and très Parisien, but they are made right in the heart of the city by Alexia herself, in her gorgeous studio boutique on quiet rue Therese in the 1st arrondissement. I discovered her boutique about 4 years ago when I was researching for my first book Paris: Made by Hand. When I walked into the beautifully decorated store and saw Alexia working away on her sewing machine in the back room, it felt like I’d struck gold – this was exactly what I’d hoped to find in the heart of Paris, and all it took was a wander off the main thoroughfare and into a leafy avenue.

Rue Therese Paris

Alexia’s designs are sophisticated but practical – every time I visit Paris, I stop into Alexia’s boutique and buy a bag for myself and another as a gift. I have quite the collection of Alexia bags now, almost one for each day of the week. Her bags make the ideal gift and if you can’t make it into the boutique yourself, then you can easily buy a bag from her latest collection online as Alexia ships all over the world.

I was honored a few months back to find out Alexia had named one of her new designs after me – featured here in this post is one of her gold linen “pia” bags. Inside there is a pocket for your phone, a key clip, and zip pocket for personal items. It’s the perfect size and I love that the handles fit over the shoulder.

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Written and photos by Pia Jane Bijkerk. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in London, Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

Posted in Shopping | 2 Comments »

HiP Paris Holiday Gift Guide: Amy Thomas Shops at Monoprix

Evil Genius Society

Paris is one of the most dangerous cities to go gift-shopping. I mean, when you’re looking for the perfect piece of the City of Light to share with your family and friends, how can you resist the soaps at Fragonard, the pottery and notebooks at Astier de Villatte, the cool kid CDs at Colette or the boites of macarons and chocolates all over town—for yourself?

It’s easy to be greedy around such lovely loot. For better or worse, the price tags keep some of the madness in check. But there’s another way to work around this fair city that’s très cher: Monoprix.


Seriously! If you think about the delicacies and delights we all savor in Paris, you can find some real steals right at your neighborhood grocer. Take, for example, the pajama aisle. They may not be as raffiné as what you’d find at Le Bon Marché, but the options are pretty darn cute, nonetheless. (Don’t forget the matching slippers.)



For the men in your life, grab some jars of mustard and tins of sardines. They’re compact, come in infinite varieties, and pack a delicious punch per centime. Or, in the “personal goods” section, you can find lovely big blocks of olive oil soap, which are great “man gifts.” Continue Reading »

Posted in Shopping | 5 Comments »

Memorial: George Whitman, Founder of Paris’ Shakespeare & Company

What can I add to this week’s hundreds of tributes to the legendary proprietor of Paris’s Shakespeare and Company bookshop, George Whitman, including one by the writer, Jeanette Winterson?

Why was she impelled to remember him in print? Because, like so many others, she had stayed at Shakespeare and Company. George Whitman started a tradition of hosting writers, most famously members of the Beat generation, and the bookshop’s ‘Tumbleweed Hotel’ is still a place where literary dreamers can exchange a few hours’ work in the shop for a bed on a bench amongst the books of George’s personal open library on the first floor.

When I came to Shakespeare and Company a couple of years ago, it was a while before I actually met George. Already in his mid-90s, he spent his days in the apartment on the top floor.

He still owned the shop downstairs, now run expertly by his daughter Sylvia and her team, its ‘Tumbleweed Hotel’ principles intact.

When they arrive, Tumbleweeds are required to write a brief biography for the shop’s records. Employed by the shop to create stair murals, I decided I would do this later. Anyway I was here to draw, not write. I wasn’t a Tumbleweed.

Was I?

The next time I stayed I didn’t write it either, but I did spend my time writing. I’d do it on the next visit.

Or the next…

The last time I visited the shop in October 2011 , Paris was cold. George had just suffered a stroke and was in hospital, ‘recovering well’. The writers’ room, with its tiny electric radiator, was warm. Under my window, tourists snapped continually; Tumbleweeds lunched at the little round table by the door; drunks gathered at the fountain; a busker turned up and performed Shakespeare’s most famous speeches in rotation. Later on, the drummers took over outside the cathedral.

I stopped writing to eat at the café across the road. The man at the next table was telling his teenage daughter – her first trip to Paris – about how he’d been to one of George’s famous Sunday teas and heard the bookseller relate how he had set off to walk from North to South America but had been forced to turn back in the impassible Central American jungle. He was like a child, the man said. It was like he didn’t understand why he just couldn’t go as far as he wanted to go.

But after opening Le Mistral in 1951, which became Shakespeare and Company in 1964, the traveler largely stayed put in Paris, dying peacefully last Wednesday in his apartment above the shop, two days after his 98th birthday.

I walked back from the café to the bookshop and got back to work.

I wrote. Notre Dame chimed ‘Three Blind Mice’ on the hour: the light went.

I thought about space: Kilometer Zero in front of Notre Dame; Place René Viviani  next to the shop where the 2010 Shakespeare and Company Literary Festival was held – a free event into which the public could wander. That was the last time I had seen George downstairs; wearing an extravagant paisley jacket, he was carried in triumph through the shop on a sofa held shoulder-high by Tumbleweeds. Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events, Parisian Living | 4 Comments »

HiP Paris Holiday Gift Guide by Yvette Van Boven: Le Petit Atelier de Paris

As soon as our timetable lets us go, my husband and I move from our base in Amsterdam to our tiny apartment in Paris.

We’ve lived here in Paris part time for more than 4 years now, but I still discover new places, neighborhoods, and restaurants every single time we go on a stroll. Paris is inexhaustible when it comes to surprising me in any unexpected ways.

My dear friend, stylist, photographer and author Pia Jane Bijkerk, used to live here too, and she wrote a wonderful guide that everyone should have when they go to Paris. It’s a little book that takes you on a tour of Paris’ best shops and ateliers for handmade goods. So that’s right up my alley, of course.

One of the places she lists is Le Petit Atelier de Paris, so of course I went. Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Design, Events, Homes, Parisian Living, Shopping | 3 Comments »

Christmas in the City of Lights: Seeking Out Paris’ Holiday Cheer

Mic Mac

When I popped home to the UK in November, London was already in full festive swing with Christmas trees, festive songs and neon lights galore. Sent back with a Cadbury’s chocolate advent calendar adorned with an oversized Santa, I was ready to start the Christmas season with a bang.

Making Magique

Yet once back home across the pond, I realized Paris hadn’t joined in on the fun yet. I was ready to start in on my advent calendar and temperatures were plunging, but where were all those tell tale signs that our favorite mid-winter festival was fast approaching?

This set me thinking. What exactly is a Parisian Christmas? What happens in the cold windy days leading up to the big event? I set out on a mission to discover the seasonal delights that France’s most romantic city had to offer.

Little Brown Pen


Although the Christmas shopping frenzy begins relatively late in Paris (thankfully, shops only step into gear at the end of November), once it gets going, it really gets going. Stores go all out with light shows and designer-crafted window displays – always tasteful, bien sur. First stop? Paris’s iconic department stores. Whilst London has toy-filled Hamleys and elegant Harrods, Paris showcases its trademark sophistication with Les Galleries Lafayette and the neighbouring Printemps, where Karl Lagerfeld’s touch marks this year’s displays: think Chanel-clad rock ‘n’ roll dolls strumming their electric guitars and 20m Christmas trees. Continue Reading »

Posted in Events, Shopping, Travel | 5 Comments »