December 21, 2016
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.
Merci Concept Store; Lily Heise
November 10, 2016
Since 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.
July 8, 2016
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…
June 28, 2016
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€.
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.
February 19, 2016
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.
January 28, 2016
It had only been a few months since I moved to the French countryside, but my city life already seemed like a distant memory.
In exchange for a Parisian apartment, I now have a house in the Loire Valley. I also have a dwarf goat and a giant goose in my yard, a basketful of freshly harvested walnuts and farm-fresh vegetables in the kitchen, and 150 bottles of Gamay juice fermenting in an ancient stone shed in the front yard, slowly becoming my first batch of wine.
January 13, 2016
In late November, as my several-month stint in Paris was coming to a close, I felt far from ready to leave. Perhaps it was due to the fact that fall had flown by, or that I had met a sweet Frenchman. Likely both. So when he propositioned we take an overnight jaunt outside of Paris a mere week before I my return to New York, I was torn.
September 15, 2015
It’s been a belle année in France and the annual grape harvests are upon us. Due to the beautiful summer weather and almost ideal conditions throughout the year, the harvest – or vendanges – are taking place much earlier than last year. Sun-soaked southern winegrowing regions, like Beaujolais and Languedoc-Roussillon, began their harvests in mid-August and cooler regions, like the Loire Valley, will start the harvest in these first few weeks of September.
Taking part in the vendanges is almost a rite of passage for French youth. Broke high school and college students often take advantage of this opportunity to make some money before the school year starts, while spending time under the sun and making friends from all around the world. In smaller vineyards, the vendanges feel like a family affair, with communities forming among the harvesters who come back year after year. I kind of think of the vendanges as the French version of summer camp, only instead of making lanyards you’re helping to make wine.
June 23, 2015
One of the greatest things about living in Paris (and Europe in general) is how easy it is to get to so many amazing places; two hours and twenty minutes by train to London, an hour and a half on high-speed rail to Brussels, and in just three and a half hours by plane you can touch down in another world: the red city of Marrakech. There’s a reason the city has been a favorite of creative types and designers for decades; the colors and the chaos are intoxicating and inspiring. Because it’s a relatively quick flight, you can feasibly tackle the city in a long weekend. But if you have more time, by all means take it, and be prepared to use your French.
April 15, 2015
Settled amongst the vines of the Rhone Valley, where the fresh air is perfumed with the scent of the surrounding fruit orchards and olive groves, you’ll find Nick and Sabine’s slice of paradise in France’s Côtes du Rhône region.