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Solidarity, Peace, and Hope in Paris. Nous Sommes Tous Charlie.

Nous sommes tous Charlie manifestation at Place de la Republique Paris

Je suis Charlie. Paris. Place de la Republique. Nous sommes tous Charlie.

Je suis Charlie. Paris. Place de la Republique 11 January, 2015. Nous sommes tous Charlie.

Paris. We love you and our hearts are heavy for you. What happened at Charlie Hebdo will be with us forever. The families, colleagues, and victims are in our thoughts and prayers. There is the promise that we can use this momentum of hope to move forward and make us all better people, this world a better place. A world where freedom of expression prevails. Everywhere.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 2 Comments »

My Montmartre: Erica’s Favorite Spots In Montmartre

My Montmartre, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Erica Berman

Montmartre. My Parisian neighborhood. My home, on and off, for more than 20 years. Over the years, many things in the neighborhood have changed and evolved but I have remained faithful and dedicated to this little slice of Parisian happiness.

My Montmartre, Photo by Erica Berman, Erica's Montmartre view

Erica’s Montmartre view

SoPi has exploded and Montmartre has gentrified. Real estate values are up. Abbesses now evokes hip, funky and stylish. Parisians come here for a weekend outing, no longer shunning it for the potential dangers of hoodlums and prostitutes.

My Montmartre, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Erica Berman

L’Objet Qui Parle & Chairs from l’Objet Qui Parle and flowers from Des Fleurs Pour Soi

I wince at the increasing number of chain stores, the Starbucks that popped up around the corner, and the Subway sandwich shops exploding everywhere like mushrooms… Quelle horreur! Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 14 Comments »

5 Octobre: Handmade Jewelry in Paris’ Marais

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 »

Le Chateaubriand: Hip, Inventive and Sophisticated Dining in Paris’ 11th

Erica Berman

Located by Parmentier bobo hipster central and one of my personal favorite up and coming Parisian neighborhoods, Chateaubriand is certainly no new kid on the block.

Gandhu & Sarah

After following the ups and downs and mixed reviews of Chateabriand for years — the best, most creative food in Paris for some, too inventive for others, small portions, amazing service, rude service, not accommodating, very accommodating, noisy, quiet… the list is long — my curiosity finally got the better of me. Being of a somewhat pessimistic nature, my expectations were low. Continue Reading »

Posted in Restaurant Reviews | 9 Comments »

Leaving Italy For Paris

Coffee is still good. Coffee is still cheap.

The sun is still shining. The Italians are still smiling. My taxi driver was friendly. I got to the airport too early. My check in was easy. Continue Reading »

Posted in Travel | 10 Comments »

Still in Italy, Paris Here I Come

I’m still in Italy.  The coffee is still fast and the Italians are still ever so sweet. I’m still in Italy, but not for long.

Bogliasco (above) & San Disiderio, Liguria, Italy

I will soon be leaving the country of sunshine, smiles and scooters where everything is possible and everything is doable.

Genoa, Italy

I will leave behind, gelato, pesto, focaccia, 1€20 cappuccinos and laundry hanging to dry in the street. I will be welcomed by flaky butter croissants, crispy baguettes, stinky cheese and laundry hanging to dry in my apartment. I will leave the sea, sun and heat for cold, rain and smog. Paris, here I come! Continue Reading »

Posted in Travel | 11 Comments »

L’Office: A Delicious Paris Neo-Bistro in the 9th

L’Office owner Charles Compagnon

Coming off a string of mediocre Paris meals, I was less then lukewarm about heading out to, yet another Paris neo-bistro. Anticipating haughty service and below average food at a high price in banal ambiance, I almost bowed out of my recent girl’s night out at L’Office.

Going into this meal with a bad attitude and a hungry tummy, disappointment seemed imminent.

What a pleasure it was to be proven wrong, and how so! l’Office may just be my new French ‘go to’ restaurant for tasty food, in a mellow setting with adorable service. Continue Reading »

Posted in Restaurant Reviews | 5 Comments »

Fast Coffee in Italy – Quick, Cheap and Delicious

Coffee and focaccia – Breakfast in Genoa

In Italy, coffee is delicious, quick, and to the point.

You arrive, you order, you drink, you go. Now, your day can start or your afternoon can continue.

Your barrista probably knows your name, the name of first born child, where you live and, most importantly, what kind of coffee you want and how you want it.

Small and quick, the morning coffee fix

Your coffee will be served velocemente…. you will stand at the bar, you will chat about the weather, your vacation, your work, your kids, your partner, your pet …. Continue Reading »

Posted in Coffee, Food, Italy tips & suggestions | 13 Comments »

August in Paris: The City’s Still Buzzing

August. An ideal time to be in Paris, as long as you don’t expect endless days of sunny hot weather or being able to work on the perfect tan. Yes, as the current season has shown, Parisian summer weather can be unpredictable! Being in Paris in August is still fabulous (and my favorite month of the year by far), as long as  you don’t need to:

•    Receive medical attention of any kind…
•    Get a haircut
•    Order furniture
•    Perform administrative tasks
•    Renovate your apartment or fix a small leak

Picnicing at La Villette before a movie

As of July 1, the French are either on vacation, planning vacation or dreaming of vacation. When August 1 rolls around, they are pretty much all truly en vacances (if not physically, at least mentally).  Nothing serious is possible in Paris before September and la rentrée. One must know this and plan accordingly.

You can forget about ordering the new couch you’ve been coveting anytime between July 1 and Sept 1. “Oh la la Madame… the factory where the couches are manufactured is closed until the end of August! Zut, alors the 6-8 week delay will bring you to at least mid- October before delivery can be made.”

You can try to get to the dentist to repair the filling that inconsiderately fell out over dinner. Another chorus of “Oh la la Madame, ze dentist is on vacation and will be back September 1.” Continue Reading »

Posted in Events, Parisian Living | 7 Comments »

My Green Getaway: Eco Friendly Vacation in Bio-Friendly Brittany

Eco House Tremeoc Brittany

Summer is here and the crowds are starting to flee Paris for the coast. As I tend to do things in reverse and will be staying in Paris this July to enjoy all of the amazing summer festivals and events, I hit Brittany for a two-week jaunt in May, just before the summer throngs descended upon its lovely shores.

Canal Nantes – Brest

After searching long and hard, mere days before our departure, for last minute lodging that would be not only earth-friendly and green, but appealing and available, I stumbled upon two different eco-homes in Brittany that were, amazingly, available for our dates. Note to self: Planning in advance can be helpful, but if you are willing to chance it, great places that are still available are often ready to discount in the spring. Plus the weather is fabulous and the beaches are empty!

Ground House – Mellionec, Brittany

Our first week was spent in the Ground House , located in the center of Brittany’s rolling green farmland in the town of Mellionnec, one hour from the ocean. This completely self-sustaining eco home, built into the earth on one side and full of huge windows overlooking the garden on the other, was just the thing we were looking for. Built by its English owners and featured on the famous UK show ‘Grand Designs, this passive solar house was built with salvaged materials and features an organic garden, a compost heap, dry/composting toilets, and solar heated rainwater for hot water.

Canal Nantes Brest / Farm Centre Bretagne

Not well known, the center of Brittany (Centre Bretagne) offers an abundance of hiking, walking and biking options. Additionally, we were pleased to discover that the area immediately surrounding the Ground House is a serious haven for bio (the French word for organic) fans, with an organic grocery store, a couple of organic restaurants, local artisans, organic shops, and markets where local farmers sell their produce, meat and dairy directly. Continue Reading »

Posted in Green, Homes, Travel | 7 Comments »