February 10, 2017
Ariane Haas of The Naughty Notary and Lily Heise of Je T’Aime, Me Neither sit down to discuss their favorite addresses for a romantic (and sexy) Valentine’s Day in Paris. Still looking for a gift for your chéri(e)? Peek below for exclusive discount codes for HiP Paris readers! – Erin
Ariane: A hidden secret of sensuality underneath your winter coat on Valentine’s Day — or any other day of the year — is perhaps the sexiest way to treat yourself, whether single or coupled up. Dollhouse is the perfect Parisian destination in the historic area of Le Marais, that combines the erotic worlds of lingerie, sex toys, and every other sexy bedroom accessory you can think of. Treat yourself or the one you lust after to a truly decadent and chic experience shopping at this eclectic boutique that is sure to pay off for nights to come. And with the possibility to privatize the dimly lit, magenta walled boutique, the options are endless for starting your day off with sexy on your mind.
The Naughty Notary
Lily: Speaking of hidden, the Marais has some of the most seductive secret gardens of Paris. Many of these are found within a block north or south of rue Rambuteau/Francs Bourgeois, offering the perfect opportunity for a seductive stroll. You may want to start with the Jardin Anne Frank, tucked away at the end of a cul de sac behind the centre Pompidou. It is a relaxed and tranquil haven with cuddly lovers’ corners and a communal vegetable patch. Further up the road, you can play aristocrats in the gardens of the National Archives in the Hotel de Soubise palace. Once the gardens of the noble private mansions of this block, you can access this green oasis via the right of its stunning courtyard, creating an enchanting and opulent ambiance…. and the perfect place for some smooching.
Carry on back down Francs-Bourgeois, turn into #35-37 and there’s an entrance in the courtyard of the l’Hôtel de Coulanges to the Jardin des Rosiers-Joseph Migneret. In this secret garden you can surprise your sweetheart with one of the few remaining towers from the 12th century Philippe Auguste wall. Take the opposite exit onto rue des Rosiers — where you may want to pick up a falafel or other snacks to go — then loop down to rue Saint Antoine taking it east until you come to the Hotel de Sully, a fabulous former private mansion with a beautiful back garden. In the far right corner there’s a secret passageway into Place des Vosges, where you can end your amble by lounging on the grass or over a drink at one of its café terrace.
Sexiness & Love off the Champs-Élysées
Ariane: Paris is famous for its cabarets and cancan dancers, but the true jewel of the burlesque scene is Crazy Horse. Situated in a former wine cellar in the ultra fancy Champs-Élysées neighborhood, the venue is small and intimate, the stage not far from the audience. Vignette after dreamlike vignette features the classically bobbed dancers as moving works of art, carrying out choreography with expert precision. Breasts and booties on display under twinkling lights, the female form takes precedence as the Crazy Horse stage indulges you in fantasies you never even knew you had.
Lily: On the other side of the Champs-Élysées is the showcase of another sort of passion, that of art collecting. As this new part of the city was being sketched out by Baron Haussmann in the mid-19th century, banker Edouard André bought a plot of land to build a sumptuous mansion. He and his future Nelie Jacquemart would gradually fill its elegant rooms with la crème de la crème of Old World artworks, amassing one of the world’s most important private art collections. Now open to the public, a visit to the Musée Jacquemart-André almost feels like you’ve been invited over by the society couple’s for afternoon tea — which you can actually have in its gracious café, or, weather permitting, in its terribly romantic courtyard.
Dimly Lit & Exotic Bastille
Ariane: If dim lighting, black and white tiled floors, and red walls aren’t enough to put you in a sensual mood, just tuck yourself into one of the leather Chesterfield couches at Le China. Though a full menu of Asian food is available, the real power of Le China is its cocktail list featuring all the classics (martini fans rejoice), and unique drinks thought up by top barmen (try the Balsamico Rosso for something truly special). The mark of any truly sexy bar? A sexy bathroom. Its soft yellow lighting, floral wallpaper, and a full length mirror punctuate the experience. Take advantage of the bathroom’s boudoir vibes by sending a quick message to whomever is waiting for you on a Chesterfield downstairs — don’t be afraid to let them know what activity awaits them later in the night.
The Naughty Notary
Lily: If intimate, lowly lit places are what you’re after, then why not explore the Bastille area’s many hidden passageways. Located outside the old city walls, the land east of La Bastille became home to a large number of artisanal workshops, namely for woodworking and the decorative arts. You can embark on your stroll right in front of the Bastille métro with the Cour Damoye. A whimsical vine-covered and cobbled alley, it’s lined with offices, galleries and even one of the oldest coffee roasters in Paris, la Brûlerie Daval, in business since 1945… its wafting aromas might tempt you inside for a gander. Working your way along larger rue Faubourg Saint Antoine, you’ll find a series more rustic workshop passageways, like le Passage du Chantier, which still has some furniture makers and restorers. Slink down le Cour de l’Étoile d’Or, le Cour des Trois Frères and le Passage de la Bonne Graine to track down any vestiges of the former ateliers… or some dark corners to steal a kiss! Eventually you’ll make it to le Cour de la Main d’Or, one of my personal favorites, where you can grab a drink around the corner with the locals at l’Ami Pierre (5 Rue de la Main d’Or).
Lights, Camera… Action!
Ariane: Going to the movies is a pretty basic date night idea, right? Well, not when your movie going destination is the Max Linder theater on the Grands Boulevards. Built at the beginning of the twentieth century, the 580-seat room was known for showcasing burlesque cinema. Though it’s a century later and the movies on show are contemporary hits, nothing about the theater itself has changed. Kick back in a velvet chair in your choice of orchestra, mezzanine, or balcony seating, and take in all the grandeur of a basic date made much less basic by some art nouveau surroundings.
Lily: Another cinema with some fascinating — yet slightly less risqué — history is Le Cinéma Studio 28. Opened in 1928, this art house cinema on a quiet side street in Montmartre played an important role in early days of cinema by promoting the works of Abel Gance, Jean Cocteau and the Marx Brothers. It also caused quite a stir in its early days for being the first to screen Luis Bunuel’s controversial film “L’Age d’Or”, which was consequently banned. Today the small theatre screens a selection of mainly independent films and hosts events like Lost in Frenchlation, a group that presents a French film with English subtitles — a nice date idea which can get started off or close with a cocktail in the cinema’s garden bar.
Ariane: Let’s face it, whether you’re part of a couple or not, the sexiest thing you can possibly do is to treat yourself. To relax, to indulge, and to spend time with and on yourself. There is no better way to gift yourself a day of pleasure than by going to one of the many hammams Paris has to offer, such as O’kari. Sweat out all your stress surrounded by tiled mosaics and soft lighting. Breathe in the subtle herbal aromas while your skin tingles as it plunges from tropical temperatures into a gently chilled pool. Leave feeling refreshed with impossibly soft glowing skin and a haze of relaxation that lasts beyond the hammam walls.
Lily: For a taste of the Orient without having to take off your clothes (not like there’s anything wrong with that!), make your way to l’Institut du Monde Arabe. This important center of Arab culture is housed in an avant garde building designed by French architectural star Jean Nouvel. It’s strategic location, design and collection have many intrigues for lovers. Take the elevator all the way its rooftop terrace and you’ll be granted one of the best views of la belle derrière of Notre Dame. All yours free of charge or you can savor the view over a cup of mint tea and delicate North African pastries in their stylish tea salon. Afterwards, admire the unique window design of the metal and glass windows, inspired by traditional Arab window shades. Then have a “One Thousand and One Nights” experience touring the museum — make a game with your sweetheart by seeing who can first spot the different representations of love and couples in some of the artworks… or find the magic genie lanterns to make some romantic wishes… to come true later on.
Red Hot & Seductive Pigalle
Ariane: In the famed red light district of Pigalle, you’ll find Lipstick: a bar with all of the cliché signs of a sexy atmosphere. Red velvet, soft red lighting, a leopard print couch, and even a stripper pole. What could be tacky and cheap ends up feeling like a hidden boudoir, a total escape from the streets on the other side of the door. And the best part? The wallpaper: a collage of vintage tea stained erotic imagery, never letting you forget that though it’s a cocktail bar now, Lipstick was formerly a bar à hôtesse, a popular style of bar that existed as a loophole after brothels were made illegal. Steeped in a history of salacious activity, the soft red glow oozes with lust.
Lily: Pigalle indeed exudes naughtiness and sensuality, you can experience the swank side this at nearby Maison Souquet. Located in a former 19th century maison close, or brothel, this small boutique hotel has been designed by Jacques Garcia, of the Hôtel Costes fame, who aimed to recreate the boudoir lavishness of the Belle Epoque. Open to outside guests, you reach the bar and restaurant via an elaborate, tiled Arabesque foyer. The bar area is outfitted in plush red velours seating, period paintings, antiques and a fireplace. A glamorous place for an apéro or rather naughty nightcap.
To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Lily is giving a 50% discount the kindle version of her new book, Je T’Aime… Maybe! From now until noon on February 15th, you’ll be able purchase the e-Book via Amazon here, from the site you can also read the book on your computer.
No need for Valentine’s Day to be the only day you put the emphasis on your carnal cravings; postcards from The Naughty Notary are a fun bold gesture any day of the year. Illustrated by Ariane, they’re sure to turn up the heat hanging on your wall as art or gifted to a lucky lover. From now until Friday at midnight, shop The Naughty Notary and get 20% off your purchase by entering the promo code HIP17 at checkout.
Written by Lily Heise for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven In.
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December 21, 2016
There’s something particularly special about Paris over the holidays. Of course there’s the sparkling street lights, the enticing window displays, the abundance of heavenly holiday treats, but it’s also something more than that. Spirits ride on this wave of joie and les parisiens can’t help but have a little extra joie de vivre. Here are three itineraries that will take you away from (most of) the crowds and allow you to take in that same joy, guilty pleasures, and offbeat sites that will make the holiday season in Paris truly shine.
Hip Shopping, Food and Culture in the Marais
Skip the mayhem of les grands magasins and do your holiday shopping as you take this creative meander through the Marais. Embark on your foray at the trendy concept store Merci, where you can pick up some of their carefully selected holiday ideas and perfect stocking stuffers like a candle version of their trademark red fiat bearing a roof-load of presents or a Christmas tree, thin garland thread, offbeat snow globes and an vast array of other cool gift ideas.
Merci Concept Store; Lily Heise
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March 18, 2016
While some areas of Paris seem to be losing their character to gentrification and chain shops, there are still corners of the city that retain a true neighborhood spirit. A perfect example of one of these “villages” hugs the northern side of Montmartre, along rues Caulaincourt and Custine. Here, traditionalism has grown to co-exist — and even thrive — with the arrival of some new faces: contemporary restaurateurs, offbeat designers, and connoisseurs of the world’s best chocolate and craft beer, all of whom are giving new meaning to the word quartier.
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February 12, 2016
Paris, the City of Amour, is perhaps the most idyllic place to spend Valentine’s Day. But it’s much more than breathtaking vistas overlooking the Seine and its quiet cobbled passages ways. Design your own unique and très romantique lovers’ day by following in the footsteps of love on these three offbeat itineraries.
Lovers’ Road Less Traveled at the Louvre
The city’s greatest museum also contains some of art history’s greatest representations of love, abundantly found in 18th-century French rococo painting. Luckily these works are located far from the museum’s big stars, like the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa, making a stroll to the second floor of the Sully wing (rooms 54 to 36) a perfect jaunt for secret lovers.
You can’t help be swept up in the amorous atmosphere of these voluptuous tableaux featuring love gods, romantic exploits, and fêtes galantes. Valentine’s own Cupid is caught giving his first kiss to his fated lover in François Gérard’s rendition of the classic tale of Cupid and Psyche (room 53). King Louis XV’s love for his mistress the Comtesse du Barry is illustrated in the large works by Joseph-Marie Vien: Greek Maidens Adorning a Sleeping Cupid with Flowers and The Lover Crowning his Beloved (room 52). The character Innocence is corrupted by Cupid in the vivid painting by Jean-Baptiste Greuze (room 51).
Your hearts will continue to flutter thanks to one of the era’s great masters François Boucher’s monumental Vulcan’s Forge (Room 48) or through his lovesick duo Rinaldo and Armida (Room 38). In the same room, François Lemoyne depicts another female seductress in his Hercules and Omphale, the classic hero shown here fallen hard under the Omphale’s spell. Lastly, don’t miss the delicate works of Watteau, another valiant defender of romance, at the end of the wing.
Great Lovers of Père Lachaise
Till death do us part is not the case at Père Lachaise cemetery, where love seems to last eternally. The largest cemetery within Paris’ city limits (44 hectares/110 acres), it was opened in 1804 and today contains the remains of over one million people. With such an immense number of Parisian figures, there are indeed many examples of great lovers and tracking some of them down can be the theme of your stroll.
Start with one of the cemetery’s most famous pair of lovers (and its oldest “residents”): Abelard and Heloise. The legendary medieval lovers’ remains were transferred here in 1817, and as the tradition goes, lovers or lovelorn singles should leave letters with their wishes at the crypt (division 7). As you make your way through the tiny pathways you’ll most certainly end up in the “romantic section,” the central area, which is also the oldest. It contains some of the loveliest tombs and has been classified as a national monument (mainly divisions 4-39).
Here you can find some of the most important figures of the 19th century Romanticism, like Frederic Chopin (division 11), Théodore Géricault (division 12) or Eugène Delacroix (division 49). The obscure romantic can hunt down some lesser known personages of the era, such as Marie Catherine Sophie, Comtesse d’Agoult (division 54), a French romantic author and once the lover of composer Franz Liszt, or the Comtesse Marie Walewska d’Ornano (division 67), a mistress of Emperor Napoleon, whose heart remained here in her husband’s family crypt, whereas her other remains were returned to her homeland in Poland.
The twentieth century also left some heartstruck couples at Père Lachaise. Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, who died an unfortunate early deathfrom tuberculosis at age 36, is buried with his tragic mistress Jeanne Hébuterne (division 96). Mythical French songstress Édith Piaf is buried next to her second husband, actor and singer Theophanis Lamboukas (division 97), with whom she’d sung the duet “À quoi ça sert l’amour?” (What Good Is Love?), a sentiment possibly reconciled through their relationship as their tomb is engrave with “Love Conquers All.” Not far are some of the literary world’s greats; Gertrude Stein is eternally wedded to her life partner Alice B. Toklas (division 94). And no trip to Père Lachaise would be complete without a stop at the wildest of its tombs, Oscar Wilde’s (division 89), now protected from his admirers’ kisses by a glass case.
L’Amour Court les Rues, Love in the Streets of Montmartre
Montmartre may have the “Love Wall,” but expressions of love run rampant through the neighborhoods cobbled streets. Literary; these days with a work of street artist Wilfrid’s, “L’Amour court les rues.” His slogan, “love runs through the streets,” first scrawled in late 2014 in response to a tag of “love is dead,” has now spread throughout the area with dozens of declarations on the area’s facades, benches, pedestrian crossings, construction barriers, and abandoned planks of wood.
If you come up to Place des Abbesses on Saturday February 13th from 3pm to 10pm, Wilfrid will be present, signing any material you bring with his slogan (an ideal Valentine’s gift!). Alternatively, amble through the quiet streets around Abbesses any day and you can challenge your chéri/e to see who can spot the most “L’Amour court les rues.” You’ll have to keep your eyes peeled… some are where you might least expect. Along the way you’ll find other romantic imagery, from restaurant chalkboards to chalk-drawn hearts, that can count in your contest. You can also post your finds to the “Amour court les rues” Facebook page or Instagram account.
The winner can be rewarded with some toasty hot chocolate or vin chaud at one of the area’s many cozy cafés… or some other reward for the rest of your Valentine’s Day. May it be filled with love wherever you are and whatever you do!
- Still looking for a little special something for your sweetheart? My Little Paris shares 21 cute gift ideas.
- Whether you find yourself in love this Valentine’s Day or not, these short stories are sure to warm the heart.
- When the famed love locks were removed from the Pont des Arts, a temporary installation of love-themed graffiti took its place. Take a peek.
Written by Lily Heise for the HiP Paris Blog. All images by Lily Heise. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.
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August 7, 2015
Parc de Bercy
Parisians seem to have perfected the art of enjoying summer. The long days keep them basking in the sunshine in the city’s many bucolic gardens or on one of its ever-growing number of hip terraces and rooftop bars, not to mention the abundance of festivals which quickly fill up agendas. If you’re looking to enjoy the season with your amoureux in alternative ways and away from the crowds, try out one of these three romantic itineraries.
La Cité Florale
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February 13, 2015
There’s no question that the city of Paris exudes and encourages love, in its many forms. This passion can manifest any time of year, but it’s certainly intensified around Valentine’s Day. This year, the theme of this varied amour is explored in many of the pieces in the new anthology, That’s Paris, a lovely collection of short stories. With an entertaining forward by Stephen Clarke of A Year in the Merde fame, the 24 fun, funny, and touching pieces of both fact and fiction are organized in sections ranging from, “What’s Love Got to Do with It” to “Becoming Parisian.” In celebration of Valentine’s Day, we’re going to visit some of the city’s most romantically charged locations through a selection of the works from the book.
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December 29, 2014
With the temperatures dropping and the light dimming, winter in Paris might not seem like the most romantic time of year. In many ways, however, it can actually be a lovers’ paradise, even if you’re not skating hand in hand in front of Hôtel de Ville, strolling the streets brightly decorated for the holidays, or huddled together sipping vin chaud. Here are five fun ideas to warm up (and spice up) your couples’ outings in the chilly city of amour.
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September 21, 2014
Although the bright colors of Provence normally come to mind when thinking of the paintings of Vincent van Gogh, it was actually in Paris and nearby Auvers-sur-Oise that the passionate artist produced most of his work. As this year commemorates the 125th anniversary of his death, I’ve put together a stroll through the village using his own correspondence as a guide in his work, to pay homage to the artist and highlight the places that so fervently inspired him.
“Auvers is decidedly very beautiful. So much so that I think it’ll be more advantageous to work than not to work, despite all the bad luck that’s to be foreseen with paintings.” A poetic foreshadowing by Vincent near the beginning of his stay in Auvers; in the 70 days he spent in the hamlet, he produced over 70 paintings. It was his fellow artist and dear friend Cezanne who encouraged the Dutchman to spend some time in Auvers under the care of Doctor Paul Gachet. The doctor himself dabbled in art and, over the years, had become a patron and friend to many other Impressionists including Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, and Sisley. For him, art was therapy.
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August 11, 2014
La Guinguette de Neuilly
Parisians who can’t flock to the seaside during the summer months are still drawn to their closest water sources, as evidenced by the ever-growing popularity of Les Berges on the Seine. However, this craving to enjoy the hotter months waterside goes back much further than Les Berges, or even the 12-year old Paris Plages. These initiatives are, in essence, revivals of the great era of Les Guinguettes, and once again Parisians can’t seem to get enough.
La Dame de Canton/La Guinguette de Neuilly
In its purest form, a guinguette is an establishment located by the water that serves up simple food and ample drinks (traditionally white “guinguet” wine, which led to the name guinguette), accompanied by lively music, and thus dancing. What’s not to love? Continue Reading »
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August 8, 2014
Paris Plages/Pause Cafe, Isabel Miller-Bottome
For those who cherish the peaceful atmosphere resulting from the mass exodus of holiday-goers, August is Paris’ most prized month. In the past, I haven’t always embraced this sentiment, mainly because I love the charge of the city. I adore the hustle and bustle of the busy streets; the fashionable Parisians strutting down the sidewalk, chatting over a glass of wine or coffee on café terrasses, and shopping in the stylish boutiques. However, perhaps these August-lovers have it right? Here are 10 reasons to convince any reluctant critics (myself once included) why August is the best month to be in Paris:
Jardin de Reuilly/Place des Vosges, Isabel Miller-Bottome
1. There’s so much going on for free
Free movies, free concerts, free exercise lessons, free…! Your social calendar will be packed with the outdoor cinema screenings at la Villette or the Clair de Lune festival, pétanque or dancing at the Canal de l’Ourcq, running on Les Berges, and more. It might just be the best month to be in Paris on a budget, and since the weather tends to be nice you can save on dining costs by picnicking.
2. You can actually get a table en terrasse
I noticed the other day when scoping out the cafés on rue Montorgueil at the peak of lunch hour that there were a surprisingly large number of tables available. And same luck at apéro; we had our pick of the usually highly coveted tables. Next I plan to try some of the notoriously tough-to-get-into venues like le Perchoir; perhaps we’ll have repeat good fortune.
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