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‘Appy ‘Alloween! – Translating Halloween to French

Since an early age, my mother tortured me by resisting my pleas for pre-packaged princess costumes in favor of handmade couture confections. Much of growing older is recognizing the tremendous sacrifices my parents have made to help me realize my dreams. One year in particular, no effort was spared to transform me into Catwoman for a few short hours. My mom locked herself away for the evening, applying decorative puffy paint stitches to my impeccable Catwoman costume until she sent me off to school the next morning, exhausted but not forgetting my parcel of orange Rice Krispie treats. Hereditarily, I have adopted the same do-or-die approach to the holidays. The festivities cannot begin without at least one all-nighter, a tearful breakdown, and a nail-biting countdown. Luckily, in France, holidays lack the high stakes of their commercial counterparts stateside. I can finally take a deep breath. But despite the tedious door codes which prohibit competitive trick-or-treating, Halloween is slowly infiltrating French culture…

France has not remained completely immune to the Hallmark holidays that result in a front-yard inflatable for every month of the year Stateside. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 3 Comments »

The City of Light: Capturing Paris’ Most Beautiful Moments

Carin Olsson

There’s a reason why Paris is known as La Ville-Lumière, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the Eiffel Tower sparkling at night, as many people might think when they first hear Paris’ favorite nickname. Forget the architecture, the food, the culture and the fashion. The light alone would have us coming back for more…

Making Magique & Olof Grind

In the morning, the early sunshine kisses the city and in the evening, Paris bathes in the warm setting sun. It’s truly breathtaking and it’s definitely worth making it out of bed in time for that extra-early morning coffee… Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 11 Comments »

Looking For An Excuse To Visit Brussels? Here Are Three

Michal Osmenda

Beer, frites, comics. Blah, blah, blah. No disrespect to lovers of ambers and ales, salty, fried foods, or Tintin, but there’s so much more to Brussels, capital of Belgium—capital of all of Europe—than these perennially touted attractions. Here are three lesser-celebrated reasons to hop on a train and make the 80-minute trip from Paris.

Chocolate boutique in Brussels (flavijus)

Architecture
At first glance, the architecture in Brussels is incongruous—ugly, even. But in that odd stew of styles are treasures from many eras. Continue Reading »

Posted in Travel | 5 Comments »

Le Galopin: Fresh, Friendly Dining by Paris’ Trendy Place Sainte Marthe

To be honest, eating at Le Galopin was a bit of a leap of faith initially. I had heard positive things, but its location on Place Saint Marthe (a great neighborhood, but far from my usual stomping grounds) and its link to television (the chef-owner is the 2010 Top Chef France winner Romain Tischenko) made me slightly skeptical.

However, willing to make sacrifices in the name of discovering delicious new things to eat, I went. And I was glad I did. In fact, I was so glad, that I found myself returning recently for my second dinner.

Place Saint Marthe in the 10th arrondissement is actually a bustling square, off the most well trodden parts of the Parisian dining grid, but clearly not unknown. Continue Reading »

Posted in Restaurant Reviews | 5 Comments »

Baking For A Cause in Paris: Sugar Daze Cupcake Shop

Sugar Daze, the former Little Miss Cupcake, has been sweetening everyone’s taste buds for the past 4 years with her smashing, internet-only, cupcake business. Cat is also one of the organizers of the annual Cupcake Camp event in Paris, where bakers, both amateur and professional alike, unite with their cupcakes to raise money to donate to the Make A Wish Foundation. This year the event will take place on Saturday, October 27 at Le Comptoir Général. You can find out more on the Cupcake Camp Paris Facebook Page.

In honor of this year’s Paris Cupcake Camp, I stopped by to have a little chat with Cat, my favorite Parisian Cupcaker (and a New Yorker to boot!).  I started out by asking her when she got into cupcakes: “I have been baking FOREVER!  I just love cupcakes. There is so much you can do with them. The flavor possibilities are endless and there are so many ways to dress them up or down. I also like that they are the perfect size for individual snacking!”
Continue Reading »

Posted in Food | 5 Comments »

Le Camion Qui Fume: Recipes From Paris’ Favorite Food Truck

Chef Kristin Frederick’s Le Camion Qui Fume was first in line in the recent food truck brigade to hit Paris. And Paris has not had enough. 2-hour waits, sold out services and tv spots, she has blown up into a local food celebrity. So what is next for Paris’ most in-demand Californienne? Frederick’s new cookbook ‘Les Burgers du Camion Qui fume’ is taking her authentic American burgers from the streets into the comfort of home, minus the two-hour wait.

Le Camion Qui Fume has been a tremendous success since it dished up its first burger this time last year. It has turned the Capital of Gastronomy upside down by questioning the approachability of good food in a culture still dependent on a fork and knife. Kristin is still surprised by the enormous — and instant — success of her little-Camion-that-could, “It has never ceased to amaze me. People not only come out, but come back again and again. In the summer, in the winter, in the rain. In all seasons.” Before Le Camion Qui Fume, burgers in France were an afterthought, limited to Big Macs and regrettable 18 € bistro burgers. “For me, a burger is a blank palette with a lot of possibilities“, Kristin told me. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food | 7 Comments »

Les Parisiens: Rude? Sometimes. But Impolite? Never.

vince 42 & OZ Hohn Tekson

After several weeks in sunny California, Paris can feel like a bit of a shock. Everyone knows that Californians are preternaturally, well, sunny. Parisians? Not so much. But are Parisians as rude as their well-worn reputation? Although I hate to admit it, I’m tempted to say oui.

…Damien…Wasson…

But here’s what I’ve learned: rudeness is in the eye of the beholder. After all, one woman’s nasty remark is another’s conversational norm. And while many Parisians might be described as rude, they are also — and often maddeningly — scrupulously polite. So what gives?

To help decode yet another aspect of this French paradox, here’s a little cheat sheet to employ on your next visit. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 11 Comments »

London Is Buzzing In the Fall: Frieze Art Fair, Bonfire Night and More

Skate at Somerset House (slimmer_jimmer)

As autumn draws in, the cultural goings-on of London start to head inside and ratchet the pressure up a few notches: bigger, heavier hitting fairs and events are scattered throughout the season. October brings out the big guns of Frieze Art Fair and the BFI London Film Festival. There are major, in-depth art shows, classic ballets and of course, fireworks lighting up the sky on Bonfire Night.

 

Bonfire Night (*_barbd_*)

Royal Academy: Bronze 15 Sept – 9 Dec
The Royal Academy calls it “a celebration of bronze on a scale never attempted before.” This means works in bronze spanning the last 5000 years from every continent. Arranged thematically in groups, the exhibition includes Ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan bronzes, rare Medieval examples, the Renaissance (Ghiberti, Donatello, Cellini), all the way through to the present day via works by Rodin, Boccioni, Picasso, Jasper Johns, Moore, Beuys and Bourgeois. Continue Reading »

Posted in Events, London | No Comments »

Answering the Inevitable: “So, Are You Totally Fluent in French Now?”

Karigee

When I moved back to New York from Paris, I began to notice a trend. When people learned that I had lived in Paris, their first question (once they’d finished gasping with joy) was almost always: “So, are you totally fluent in French?”.

Annelie Willemijn

At first, I thought it was a test. People wanted to know if I had really lived in Paris. Because if I’d really done it right, then I would, of course, be totally fluent. But as time has passed and the question has continually been posed, I think it’s less of a test for me than it is some kind of self-assessment measure for the asker. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 13 Comments »

Paris Fall Fashion Week: A Recap in Images

I returned to Paris just in time for the fashion madness last weekend, and here are some photos I took to document my passage… – Carin

Twice a year (or three if you count the haute couture shows) the stiletto clad fashion crowd invades the streets of Paris. During these weeks, Paris becomes even more glamorous and frenetic than usual. The streets are suddenly filled with photographers, super slim models, high-heeled fashionistas and plentiful dubious sartorial choices.

In-demand hotels and restaurants are fully booked, and first-time visitors may be left to wonder where all the regular people are hiding. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly run into Rachel Zoe on the street (which I managed to do twice) or bump shoulders with the lovely Garance Doré (which I also did a few times).

Continue Reading »

Posted in Fashion | 6 Comments »