September 28, 2012
As I parked my Velib on a rare sunny afternoon in Paris, just steps from the Canal St Martin, I could already tell I was in for a treat. I made my way up charming rue de la Grange aux Belles to the narrow storefront of Ten Belles, snuggled next to a lush, overgrown plant store (le Bleuet Coquelicot). I highly suggest a peek inside… adorable!
Ten Belles, this brand new Paris coffee house is a collaboration of the team behind Le Bal Café and Frogfight organizer, and well known Paris barrista, Thomas Lehoux. It’s intimate ambiance and focus on refined and meticulously cared for coffee make it the perfect stop for coffee enthusiasts, even attracting other known Paris baristas on their days off. Ten Belles served up one of the best cappuccinos I have ever had in Paris, and the charming baristas make it all the sweeter. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 12 Comments »
September 26, 2012
I was born in London, and have lived here all my life apart from extended sojourns to other parts of Europe that are more conducive to joie de vivre, and, well, Paris. I can’t help but compare the two lifestyles and poor London always comes limping in at second place, looking all harassed with its suit creased and carrying a can of lager and a half-eaten burger.
Left: Paris, right: Wright Brothers Oyster & Porter House in London (Andrew Griffith & Laurabot_wrigh)
The aspect of quotidian life that gives me the most pleasure in Paris and that has the potential to have me hopping on the Eurostar to Paris from London on a whim is… lunch.
At Le Comptoir in Paris (pussnboots)
In Paris: At 1pm lock up the office, switch your phone off and go for a two and a half hour lunch with your colleagues at a charming local restaurant, dining from the three-course prix fixe menu. After a leisurely coffee and some more chitchat, pay the reasonably priced bill (probably with luncheon vouchers), and it’s back to the office well rested and energized for the rest of the day’s work. (Note: I did say stereotypical.) Continue Reading »
Posted in London, Parisian Living | 1 Comment »
September 24, 2012
The idea seemed too good to pass up. I’d exchange my Paris flat for a place in San Francisco for two weeks to visit family. Two whole weeks! Rent-and-hotel bill free! And we’d do it in August when no one really wants to be in Paris, anyway. I’d heard stories about fabulous swaps that didn’t end in identity or home accessories theft. With a little luck and a few well-lit interior pics, I was sure it could work for us, too. And so my search was on.
After several near-commitments that folded at the eleventh hour (“I had no idea airfare would be that expensive…” and “Off to Rome instead. Sorry!”), we swapped for a sweet little house just over the Golden Gate Bridge. It sounded perfect: Three-bedrooms with a view of Mt. Tamalpais complete with a private dock on a small saltwater lagoon. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living, Travel | 6 Comments »
September 21, 2012
Fall is the absolute best season for style—agreed? During the summer, you’d rather just be naked, and come winter, you wish you could wear one of those sleeping-bag coats all day. Autumn provides a precious window in which you can strut your stuff while feeling cozy and comfortable. Here are some of our Paris-ready favorites from brands in France, the U.S. and the U.K. Happy hunting!
1. A.P.C. to the rescue yet again with fall sweater perfection. Continue Reading »
Posted in Fashion, Parisian Living | 1 Comment »
September 19, 2012
I am a real foodie now. I have committed to buying locally and seasonally. So long sweet pineapples; see you sporadically. Most expats have their sentimental reasons that keep them in France. A perfect café crème, a favorite terrace, or unpasteurized cheese can easily outweigh all the persistence, courage, and patience it takes to build a life in Paris. Continue Reading »
Posted in HiP Recipes, Parisian Living | 10 Comments »
September 17, 2012
Paris is for lovers. Unless you’re single. Like I was for the nearly two years I lived there. It was always a jab to my heart, like a deliberate and personally directed taunt, to see couples canoodling in dark café corners, pressed intimately together along the quais of the Seine, or just shopping at an outdoor market on a Sunday afternoon. Oh lovers, how very nice for you.
Then a year after I left Paris, I returned. With a man. And indeed it was a different experience. But as happy and, oui, sometimes smug, as I felt during that week of amour, I also realized that the old adage is true: the grass is always greener.
Every moment I basked in my City of Loooove romance was rudely followed by the memory of something I was missing from my solo days. It made me realize: no relationship is perfect. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 8 Comments »
September 13, 2012
On a rare afternoon off, I took a stroll in Paris and came upon 5 Octobre and Sophie, its adorable owner. She has wonderful gem of a boutique selling her handmade jewelry in the Marais. After hearing a little bit more about her unusual story, I’m so glad to share it with you here – Erica
How did decide to move from being a lawyer to making jewelry? Was the stop gradual or brutal?
It was a long process because I have been passionate about accessories since my childhood. I was already very creative, and the dream was ingrained very deeply – I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide I wanted to make jewelry. When I was 10 years old, I was already collecting beads and stones and turning them into jewelry for my friends.
I was also always a bit of an intellectual, so law satisfied that aspect of my personality, but it wasn’t creative enough. I traveled a lot as a lawyer; the time spent in transit allowed me to spend time dreaming about a new career that would fulfill a larger part of myself. My family is involved in fashion; my mother is a creative buyer for several stores she owns, so that helped me to envision a project that was both creative and professional.
Were your friends and family supportive of the change?
Everyone supports me (my husband first, my parents as well), but I knew the change of social status might not be as easy. Being a lawyer is quite well considered and I didn’t know if I would succeed in this new venture. Continue Reading »
Posted in Shopping | 4 Comments »
September 11, 2012
Remember the fable of the ant and the grasshopper? Should we “sing” all summer? Or should we be preparing for the colder months ahead? Summer is the time of sweet, sugary stone fruit… and what better way to capture summer’s bounty than preserving it with jams to last you through the long months of winter.
If you’re like me, you have always been intimidated at the prospect of making jams, simply because you didn’t know how. Of course, we have searched the internet for recipes, bought books, and timidly thought about asking advice from those who actually know how to make jams, because they have been doing it for years. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, HiP Recipes | 7 Comments »
September 7, 2012
Collective grumbles and groans fill the Metro and all public places. Reacquainted with their suits and heels, there are no smiles behind those suntans. Kids arm themselves with freshly sharpened pencils and tall tales of les vacances. Vive la rentrée! Since Paris clears out in July and August, losing its habitants to warmer climates, the first week of September kicks off back to school and back to the grind. Knits, boots, and frowns automatically replace the brief bare-leg season in anticipation of Paris’ notorious grey months ahead. But before booking a one-way ticket back to the Côte d’Azur, rest assured : Paris comes out of hibernation and is reborn this time of year. And uncovering the joys of Paris in September can ease the pain of la rentrée.
Picnicking: Since summer hit Paris bizarrely late this year, I am optimistic that a few weeks of picnicking can be milked out of September. And the best part about a picnic in September? Since everyone is back in town, FRIENDS! Whether perched high on a hill overlooking Paris at the parc Buttes Chaumont or in a clearing deep in the woods at the Bois de Vincennes, the adventure begins with the guest list and the contents of the picnic basket.
Reuniting: September is also a time of rediscovery. Going back to my neighborhood green market and getting reacquainted with my favorite vendors is a pleasant reunion. And there is so much to catch up on: the weather, the cheese monger’s vacation in Corsica, the economics of figs, and finding inspiration in the lineup of fall produce.
Bread: Similarly, the boulangeries have reopened their doors! The doughy Monoprix supermarket imposter baguettes that subsidized our tomato salads this summer (affectionately dubbed crétin bread by my picky French other half) can be banished until next August. Instead of the summertime half-hour search for a baguette, now I all I need to do is choose from one of the three bakeries on my block. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 9 Comments »
September 5, 2012
I have a lot of fond memories of Paris in September. It’s been a few years since I studied abroad there, but I distinctly remember the late-August excitement of leaving for my favorite place in the world, knowing I’d get to stay for more than a handful of days. There is a lively buzz around the city in September.
Everyone has just come off long vacances and is duly rested and ready for fall. I’ll be heading back to Paris in a few days, the same week I left for my study abroad program several years ago, and I may be as excited as I was then. Here are some of the events I will not be missing:
Continue Reading »
Posted in Arts, Events | 1 Comment »