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Getting Paris Right the First Time

We've asked journalist, podcaster, and Paris dweller Oliver Gee to share his advice on how to pull of the perfect first trip to Paris.Grant Lemons

Editor’s Note: Memories of a first trip to Paris never fade. The indelible experience of discovering one of the world’s most beautiful cities unfailingly leaves its mark. No matter what you do, once you’ve seen Paris it will never leave you. Having said that, there are ways to approach your first time to Paris that will assure you get the most out of the experience and guarantee a maximum of memories you’ll hold dear for years after your first steps on Paris’ cobblestone streets. We’ve asked journalist, podcaster, and Paris dweller Oliver Gee to share his advice on how to pull off the perfect first trip to Paris. Happy reading.

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The Best of Brittany: Culinary Treasures from the Breton Coast

Monika Grabkowska

Crispy crêpes, ribbons of salted butter caramel, bubbling cider, and freshly caught seafood. You may have been delighted by all of these delectable ingredients in Paris but never known their origins. To track down their source you must travel to Brittany, the most Northwestern tip of France and home to these, and more, gastronomic treasures.

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Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? Learning the Ropes of Social Life in Rural France

But now, in a small village where no one locks their doors (and everyone is up by 8am) I realized that I was effectively living in an open house community, where neighbors pop over at any moment to say hello, ask for a favor, or just chat because the mood strikes them.Edu Grande

When I moved to the French countryside two years ago, I knew that it would be a major lifestyle change, but I didn’t know what would change the most. Living in a house, with a garden, in the calm of the Cher valley among the vines and forests of this beautiful region I knew that I would lead a more quiet life. I soon learned that the countryside was calm indeed, but this calm was not free from interruption.

But now, in a small village where no one locks their doors (and everyone is up by 8am) I realized that I was effectively living in an open house community, where neighbors pop over at any moment to say hello, ask for a favor, or just chat because the mood strikes them.Annie Spratt

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Rediscovering Florence: Craft Coffee, Vegetarian Dining & More

One thing I noticed during my most recent visit was this: Florence has become cool.Ditta Artigianale

Before moving to Paris, Florence was my second home. I lived there for four months while studying Criminology and Law in Prato, a lovely town just outside the city. Before I settled down in Paris last June, I returned to my (second) favourite city. One thing I noticed during my most recent visit was this: Florence has become cool.

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48 Hours in Venice: A Weekend of Italian Food, Art and Culture

HiP Paris Blog tells you how to spend 48 hours in VeniceAll’Arco – Brian D. Luster

Resembling a fish hooked by a fishing line, Venice is a mosaic of 118 small islands linked by hundreds of bridges. It’s so different from anywhere else in the world that it takes a lot longer than a few days to explore all its maze-like neighborhoods. However, the charm of this unique city can still be appreciated during a short visit provided you do your research and avoid tourist traps. Here are some suggestions for making the most of Venice in one weekend.

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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 | 10 Comments »

A Day in Champagne with Tasty Side to Life Tours

Champagne, Tasty Side to Life ToursSince becoming à la mode among French and English nobility in the 18th century, Champagne has symbolized royalty, celebration, and the elite. However, few are familiar with the other side to the unique, bubbly beverage; one that’s close to the earth, rooted in the terroir, and reliant on the men and women who spend their lives in the vines, artfully and painstakingly toiling, experimenting, and taking risks to produce a blend that honors and embodies the complexity of the land. Champagne was born of an accident and a regional envy of Burgundy’s acclaimed reds. And today, tourists still prefer the Loire and sunnier Provence to Champagne, the country’s second least visited region. But a new generation of passionate organic and biodynamic growers is changing that.

Champagne, Tasty Side to Life Tours

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Negotiating à la Française: The Meaning of Non

Learning the different meanings of 'non' in Paris

victorillen

Anyone who has spent a serious amount of time in Paris knows the word well. Non, Monsieur, it is not possible to have green beans instead of fries with your tartare… Non, you can not have a reservation for 20h, we have two seatings: 19h30 or 21h30… Non, I do not take credit cards in my taxi…

Negotiating à la française is something of an art. Here are a few of the nons you may hear on your Parisian adventure, and my best advice for replying:
Learning the different meanings of 'non' in Paris

Guillaume DELEBARRE

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Paris with Kids: Quick Fix Fun for under 5€

Cheap activities for kids in Paris

Daisy de Plume

Apart from being romantic, Paris is also marvelously family-oriented. Despite this, it can be tiring traveling en famille. My son, Storsh, is far more tourist-tolerant if he knows some “kid time” is just around the corner. So instead of making the whole day about the kids, why not plan your days with several bursts of kid-time in between what you want to see? I’ll even give Storsh a few city facts, explaining that I’m going to quiz him on them before his next “kid-time,” and watch his ears perk up a bit. Here are some of my favorite kid-friendly activities, all of which are free or cost less than 5€.

Cheap activities for kids in Paris

Daisy de Plume

What’s better than free fun? Smack dab in the middle of town is the gorgeous Palais Royal, with Daniel Buren’s stripy stumps that any Parisian kid has raced through. Or there’s always the forest of columns at either end of the enclosed gardens, once Cardinal Richelieu’s residence, where my family and I play a quick game of hide-and-seek when passing through.

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A Weekend in Normandy: Rouen Roaming

A weekend jaunt through the rustic streets of Rouen.

I took the early morning bus to Rouen on a bright, clear day in October. But chillier temperatures wouldn’t diminish a visit to the Haute-Normandie capital, where you can spend the day exploring several of the most impressive gothic churches in France, antique and artisan shops, a 14th century astronomical clock tower, and restaurants serving buttery Norman indulgences and Calvados to warm up with.

A weekend jaunt through the rustic streets of Rouen. Continue Reading »

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