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Winter Strolls: Three Itineraries for Soaking Up the Festive Atmosphere + Giveaway

Winter Strolls to Soak Up the Festive Season

Passage Jouffroy; Lily Heise

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.

Winter Strolls to Soak Up the Festive Season

Merci Concept Store; Lily Heise

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Posted in Food, Markets, Shopping, Travel | 9 Comments »

The New Faces of Caulaincourt Village

The new faces of Paris' Caulaincourt quartier

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.

The new faces of Paris' Caulaincourt quartier

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Chasing Love: Three Perfect Paris Valentine’s Day Itineraries

Valentine's Day. Paris. 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.
Valentine's Day. Paris. 2016.

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.

Valentine's Day. Paris. 2016.

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.Valentine's Day. Paris. 2016.

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.Valentine's Day. Paris. 2016.

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!Valentine's Day. Paris. 2016.

Related Links

  • 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.

 

Posted in Parisian Living | 1 Comment »

Romantic Summer in Paris: Offbeat Itineraries

HiP Paris blog. Summer in Paris. Offbeat Romantic Itineraries in the City of Light- Parc de BercyParc 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.

HiP Paris blog. Summer in Paris. Offbeat Romantic Itineraries in the City of Light- La Cité FloraleLa Cité Florale

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Stories of Love in Paris: Happy Valentine’s Day!

Romantic Paris: Celebrate Valentine's Day in the City of Love with Selections from

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.

Romantic Paris: Celebrate Valentine's Day in the City of Love with Selections from

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Winter in Paris: Hot Chocolate, Melty Cheese, and Fireplace Bars in the City of Love

A Romantic Winter in Paris: Sip a mug of hot chocolate, enjoy ice skating on the Eiffel Tower, visit Le Carnavalet, and snuggle with your lover at Paris' fireplace bars

niall62

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.

A Romantic Winter in Paris: Sip a mug of hot chocolate, enjoy ice skating on the Eiffel Tower, visit Le Carnavalet, and snuggle with your lover at Paris' fireplace bars

A Romantic Winter in Paris: Sip a mug of hot chocolate, enjoy ice skating on the Eiffel Tower, visit Le Carnavalet, and snuggle with your lover at Paris' fireplace bars

Sophie Asia; hpc_

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Following Vincent Van Gogh: The Artist in Auvers-sur-Oise

HiP Paris Blog, Van Gogh, Isabel Miller-Bottome, 10

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.

HiP Paris Blog, Van Gogh, Isabel Miller-Bottome, 16

“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.

Montage HiP Paris Blog, Van Gogh, Isabel Miller-Bottome, 18

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Posted in Arts, Travel | 5 Comments »

The Guinguette Revival: 30s-style Dancing, Drinking, and Dining Along the Seine

HiP Paris Blog, Guingettes, Palmyre, Neuilly-6La 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.

HiP Paris Blog, Guingettes, Palmyre, canton 31, 27HiP Paris Blog, Guingettes, Palmyre, Neuilly-5La 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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10 Reasons to Love August in Paris

HiP Paris Blog, August in Paris, Isabel Miller-Bottome plages, pause

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:

HiP Paris Blog, August in Paris, Isabel Miller-Bottome, reuilly, vosges

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.

HiP Paris Blog, August in Paris, Palmyre, Lucernaire 5,4

Le Lucernaire, Briag Courteaux

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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Strolling Through Paris, Part II: A Tour of Central Paris’ Historic Towers

HiP Paris Blog, Isabel Miller-Bottome, SeineThe Seine

The most famous tower in Paris is certainly the Eiffel Tower. Beautiful as it may be, the masses of visitors in the summer are overwhelming. Luckily, the city is dotted with an array of intriguing towers, showcased in this little stroll traversing the historic core of Paris.

HiP Paris Blog, Isabel Miller-Bottome, VacheRue Montorgueil

Start with the Tour Jean-sans-Peur. Finished in 1411, it’s the last remaining structure of the palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, which extended over the neighboring streets. At 21 meters (69 ft) high, it’s also the tallest medieval civic structure in Paris. You can gaze up at any time of day or climb to the top during the summer, Wed-Sun from 1:30pm – 6pm.

HiP Paris Blog, Isabel Miller-Bottome, Rue MontorgeuilRue Montorgueil

Leaving the tower, make your way to lively rue Montorgueil, lined with excellent food shops and cafes. If the weather is nice, opt for some frozen yogurt at the new branch of Chacun Ses Gouts. Here you can make your own frozen yogurt “sundaes,” composed of weekly changing flavors and toppings of fresh fruit, nuts, candy, and more. Devour yours around the corner, lounging in the newly revamped Les Halles Gardens. Here you can also take in the unfinished towers of the Saint Eustache, one of the largest churches in the city.

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