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Coffee in Paris: The Coffee Revolution Continues in the City of Light


Loustic (Kim Laidlaw)

Paris: capital of a country whose gastronomy is UNESCO classified, populated by people with palates refined enough to distinguish multiple tasting notes in wines, to appreciate numerous subtleties of cheese… And yet, when it comes to coffee, nuances of taste seem to go out the window: to be necked back at the bar after a meal, its role is as a shot of caffeine to jolt the system awake through the soporific task of digestion.

Loustic, New Coffe Round-up, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Kim Laidlaw

 Loustic (Kim Laidlaw)

But, recently, something of a coffee revolution has been slowly but surely taking place in Paris, with serious coffee specialists popping up throughout the capital over the last couple of years. We talked about the inaugural wave of this trend back in 2011 here but the scene continues to go from strength to strength with a new spate of superlative coffee shops having since opened. Here is our roundup of some of the best and latest places to get your coffee fix in Paris. Continue Reading »

Posted in Coffee, Food, Parisian Living | 10 Comments »

The Other Side of Montmartre: Coffee, Food and Shopping Off the Beaten Path

Off the Beaten Path in Paris' Montmartre

Café Lomi

Paris’ 18th arrondissement, to the north of the city, is a vast and varied area, encompassing some of the most affluent enclaves (right up at the top of the hill) and some of the shadiest (La Goutte d’Or), as well as one of the city’s most frequented tourist spots — Sacré-Coeur and the surrounding streets and squares in Montmartre.

HiP Paris Blog,, La Rallonge, Montmartre Round Up

La Rallonge

But slightly off the beaten track is the more unassuming part of this neighborhood: the residential area in the foothills of Montmartre, extending from the arrondissement’s town hall – where I happen to have lived for the best part of a decade – which is well worth the detour to discover the lesser known shops, restaurants and more that the guide-book clutching hoards are yet to discover.

HiP Paris Blog, Manufacture Parisienne, Kim Laidlaw, Montmartre Round Up 8

HiP Paris Blog, Manufacture Parisienne, Kim Laidlaw, Montmartre Round UpManufacture Parisienne (Kim Laidlaw)

Here is a selection of my favorite new and newish places that look set to make this part of the 18th a destination on any discerning visitor or local’s itinerary. Food in the area ranges from a quick bite and coffee right up to fine French dining. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews, Shopping | 6 Comments »

Le Conservatoire: An Indoor Parisian Picnic, Italian Style

The Paris weather has been decidedly grey and overcast this spring, with only brief displays of sunshine punctuating what seem like never-ending downpours. The usual sunny Paris picnic season has been mostly rained off—and this is where Le Conservatoire comes to the fore.

Le Conservatoire, the latest private dining experience from Cédric Casanova, is a Sicilian grocery store-cum-restaurant, much like its predecessor and sister establishment, La Tête dans les Olives. Continue Reading »

Posted in Restaurant Reviews | 10 Comments »

Petrelle: Discreet Dining in SOPI (South of Pigalle) Paris’ 9th Arrondissement

Kim Laidlaw Adrey

Pétrelle is a small French restaurant tucked away in a quiet corner of the 9th arrondissement. It’s not new – indeed it’s been around for 18 years – and it’s not easy to stumble upon, yet it has enjoyed continued success among discerning locals and tourists alike for almost two decades. Erica Berman from Haven in Paris, Forest Collins (52 Martinis), Kasia Dietz (Love in the City of Lights ) and I (I Heart Paris ) decided to go and check it out to find out just why just why this unassuming but charming restaurant is such a perennial success.

Kim Laidlaw Adrey

So, first thing’s first. What did we think of the food?

Erica: The meal was tasty, fresh, honest and uncomplicated with pleasing portions and lovely artistic touches. It felt like a French ‘potager’ had come to my plate since I, unfortunately, could not go to it. The vegetables were perfectly cooked, the fish tender and juicy, and the desserts rich and sinful.

Kasia: Beginning with a courgette and girolle appetizer, the meal was very ‘fresh from the farm’ in flavor and artistic in composition – Basquiat, if I had to pick an artist. My Saint-Pierrefillet was a small but flavorsome portion complemented with a mélange of vegetables and herbs – this dish more a Kandinsky. The rich chocolate mousse left little room for the complimentary meringues eyeing us all evening. Hard to resist!

Forest: Well-prepared fish and proteins were dressed up with pretty veggies and garnishes like fancy hats on racing day. Cheese was served the way it should be: in big chunks on a plate allowing guests to cut off their own portions.

Kim: A very French menu with classics such as ris de veau, beef tournedos and a seasonal fish of the day featured on the hand-written menu. The focus is on simplicity and letting the quality of each ingredient shine through. I chose the fish of the day – a fillet of John Dory, cooked to perfection and served with a selection of seasonal vegetables – followed by a pudding of raspberries in a fluffy creamy mouse and with a crunchy mille-feuille style biscuit. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 6 Comments »

Petit Usagi: Bento Box Dining on Paris’ Canal Saint Martin

Although fabulous French food abounds in Paris, too many steak tartares and croque monsieurs can leave you yearning for something different. To rescue you from the Paris-Brasserie slump is this little gem of a japanese spot right on the canal, Petit Usagi. We can’t wait to grab one of these bento boxes and linger over dinner on the canal! -Geneviève

Situated on the ground floor of the new boutique Citizen Hotel, Petit Usagi is the tiny new outpost of the Northern Marais eatery, Usagi. Run by Shinsuke Kawahara, the lunch-crowd favorite serves a selection of healthy and simple Japanese options overlooking the trendy Canal Saint Martin.

The bijou yet airy and light-filled space is decorated with lots of blonde wood, cheerful touches of sunny yellow and cobalt blue, and an abundance of mini Japanese lanterns with a bunny motif (usagi means rabbit in Japanese).

Petit Usagi’s speciality is the bento box — which is essentially the Japanese version of a lunch box — providing you with protein, veggies and some kind of grain in one cute little airline-like platter. Continue Reading »

Posted in Restaurant Reviews | 5 Comments »

Le 104: Hip Art, Food and Shopping In a Colorful Corner of Paris’ 19th Arrondissement

Art installation at the 104

Paris is not a city lacking in cultural gathering places. And I’m not just referring to café terraces – be they high brow (the Flore), or controversial (La Perle). Just to keep the scene fresh, in 2008, the Mairie de Paris (Paris City Hall) converted a former morgue in the North East of Paris into a vast cultural centre, Le 104. With its art, restaurants, events and shops, it has since been drawing the bobo throngs to this otherwise gritty and largely overlooked part of the capital.

The monumental space, covering 39 000m2, was built in 1873 and became the municipal funeral parlor in 1905. Over a century later, the building has kept its open-to-all policy and the skeleton of its magnificent steel and glass structure, but now as a slightly less morose place pass some time.

Inside the 104

The 104 defines itself rather broadly as an Artistic Establishment. Under that title, it puts on a dynamic range of cultural events including art installations, art fairs, events, concerts and theatre performances. Around the edges of one of the two great halls are artists’ and musicians’ studios, and within each of the halls there is usually a variety of installations and exhibits and you will often see dancers or actors rehearsing here. You can even partake in free Qi-Jong classes and there is a dedicated space for children, La Maison des Petites.

Art Installation at the 104

There are three eateries at the 104, which cater to the full gamut of budgets and appetites. For a quick bite, there is the pizza van parked up in the smaller hall. The second option is the Café Caché, tucked away behind an interior courtyard. The 50s style decor was designed by a former artist in residence at le 104, Sebastien Wierinck. Here the speciality is small-plate sized servings, which you can mix and match in savoury and sweet combinations. Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events, Food | 6 Comments »

Getting Your Vegetarian Indian Fix in Paris: Krishna Bhavan

Kim Laidlaw, the hip British expat (and Paris insider) behind the I Heart Paris blog recently gave up her favorite Paris Indian rec, an unassuming spot in the La Chapelle area: Krishna Bhavan. As Parisians know, it can be frustratingly hard to get serious Indian food in this otherwise limitless foodie capital. Eager to share her find, here is her post below…

Indian Food Paris Krishna BhavanKrishna Bhavan Indian Food – Kim Laidlaw

When it comes to Indian food, I’ve got high standards. For a start, I come from the UK, the country whose national dish is chicken tikka. I’m a well seasoned traveller on the Indian sub continent and even when I nip back to London, a trip to the Brick Lane curry houses is usually on the cards. So what’s a gal to do when she craves Sag Aloo in Paris, where Indian food isn’t the foreign fare of choice and when it is they put Laughing Cow cheese in their naan bread? Go to La Chapelle in North Eastern Paris, that’s what. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 10 Comments »