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Very Swell – Underground Concept Dinners,Teas & Cocktails in Paris

When Sweet Pea Baking in Paris followed me on Twitter I was intrigued by the idea of an American baking for Frenchies in the city of light. Upon meeting Sweet Pea (aka Alisa Morov) I was seduced by her vivacious personality and her innovative new project  Very Swell not to mention sated by her sinful 2-pepper chocolate cookies.

Themed dinners, afternoon teas, original artwork, and creative food are on the menu of this ‘retro but modern’ concept launch designed by Alisa and her partner Louise Brody of the Atelier 7 gallery.

This hip, and happening supper club/ art gallery/afternoon tea, gathering space will kick off its first event May 5th with a Mad Men themed dinner (appropriate dress obligatory and taken very seriously).

Alisa is a transplant from LA who has lived in Paris for 9 years and has two dessert cook books on cupcakes and meringues (a third on birthday cakes coming soon) under her belt. She will be cooking up a storm of Mad Men reminiscent food with a modern twist (no cool whip or processed mayonnaise). Louise, a UK native who has spent her formative years in the US and now calls Paris home, will style and host the event.

Signature champagne cocktails, straight bourbon whiskey, old-fashioneds, vodka gimlets, in theme music, dancing, Mad Men wall projections and original artwork will round out the much anticipated soirée. Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Design, Events | 2 Comments »

Haven in Paris & Apartment Therapy: 4 Ways Parisian Kitchens Differ

Haven in Paris and Apartment Therapy’s cooking and kitchen blog, The Kitchn, recently came together to discuss the differences between French and American kitchens. We were thrilled when The Kitchn decided they wanted to feature some of Haven in Paris’ kitchens on their fabulous and oh-so-inspiring blog! Already one of our favorite reads, we’re sure you can imagine our delight in sharing our Paris apartments with The Kitchn’s wonderful readers… We’re happy to share the article with you today here. -Geneviève

Oh, Paris! How I would love to scoot over there for a day or two this Valentine’s weekend! Paris is a classic destination for lovers, and with very good reason. The light, the romance of the city, and above all the wine and food make it such a wonderful place to wander on a romantic weekend. But if, like me, you won’t be visiting Paris any time soon, here’s a bit of eye candy and some thoughts on what makes a Parisian kitchen different from the average American kitchen.

These thoughts are from Maggie, a member of the team at Haven in Paris. Haven in Paris is a lush little collection of Paris apartments for rent — all quite beautiful and tempting. We chatted a bit about Paris kitchens, and how they tend to differ from American kitchens. These are all things to be aware of if you are indeed lucky enough to spend a Valentine’s weekend in a real Paris apartment! Continue Reading »

Posted in Design, Homes | 7 Comments »

The 10 Commandments of Flea Marketing in France: the Antiques Diva goes to Chatou

Some people shop flea markets as a hobby. For Toma Clark Haines (also known as the Antiques Diva), antiquing is a sport, a profession, an art, a lifestyle. What started out as a blog to share her passion for digging up rare gems in markets across Europe quickly evolved into tours, an online store and a popular international following. Today, we are happy to present her advice for making the most of her very favorite of flea markets, the world-renowned National Fair for Ham and Antiques at Chatou. – Geneviève

The fair coordinators who organize my favorite French flea market – La Foire Nationale à la Brocante et aux Jambons in Ile de Chatouwhich is going on in the Paris suburbs March 11-20, 2011, have compiled “Les 10 Commandements du Chineur a la Brocante de Chatou” or “The 10 Commandments of Flea Marketing at Chatou” to help customers shop the fair.

Because their version is only available in French, I thought I’d provide you with a rough translation (and a few ad libs) to let you know what the French fair coordinators have to say about what to do – or more importantly what not to do – when shopping this National French Fair of the Flea Market and Ham.  Now that’s what I call the inside scoop à la française!

1) Se lever tôt et venir en semaine. Get up early and come shop during the week (to avoid weekend crowds).

2) Ne pas hésiter à revenir souvent: la marchandise se renouvelle pendant la durée de la Foire. Don’t visit the market just once; return often as many vendors continue to put out new inventory throughout the duration of the fair. Continue Reading »

Posted in Design, Events | 7 Comments »

Paris Fashion: 5 Fall Essentials

Badaude, the talented illustrator and Paris editor at the Style Bible, brings us here her top 5 fall fashion must-haves, as portrayed by her characteristic sketches of Parisiennes. Thanks to her advice we are off to start building our collection of opaque tights in bright fall hues!

What’s a French classic? We all know about trench coats and berets, though I’m not too sure many people wear them outside Amelie. There is a Paris ‘uniform’. If you want to fit in – or if you want to give it a go because, well, fifty million French girls can’t be wrong, here are the items I see on the street all the time.

Have I missed anything? Let me know…

Badaude - Five Essentials for the Fall
Paris Fall Fashion Essentials – Badaude

Continue reading for more Paris fall fashion essentials…

Continue Reading »

Posted in Design, Shopping | 12 Comments »

Apartment Makeover: Before & After in Erica’s Montmartre Studio

Hip Paris blog friend and fabulous resource on all things Paris, Parisien Salon, recently stayed in our little Montmartre studio and published this article about our very own Erica Berman and her amazing job renovating Pilleux, Haven in Paris’ cozy Montmartre studio. We are pleased to share the story and the before-and-after shots here.

Paris Pilleux Montmartre Studio ViewView from Pilleux Montmartre Studio

Erica Berman has a gift. She can look at a crumbling shell of a hovel and see its potential as a beautiful apartment. This gift has served her well over her 18 years living in Paris, as she’s renovated upwards of 15 apartments that started out as “blah” (at best), only to be transformed into “wow.”

Pillexu far wall after renovations
Pilleux Wall before renovations Pilleux Studio – Murphy bed with antique doors, after and before

Her most recent project really put her abilities to the test, as she and her partner Alain renovated a small studio overlooking the Cimetière de Montmartre. Having stayed in what is now a fantastic apartment, I was stunned when Erica shared the story of its evolution.

“There was nothing there but the bones when we bought it,” explains Erica. “Just a shelf.” Looking at some of the “before” photographs also reveals peeling walls, unremarkable floors and an enclosed bathroom that cut the space dramatically. “There was nothing in there we wanted to keep,” she adds.

Erica and Alain worked with an architect to determine the best way to use the space. Once they agreed on the layout, they got to work with a contractor. Continue Reading »

Posted in Design, Homes, Parisian Living | 13 Comments »

Homes: Spotlight on Elzevir, Fabulous Marais Flat

When I first considered living in the Marais, I was drawn, like most, to its centrality, its tiny cobble stone streets and its fabulous shopping (on Sundays, when the rest of Paris is as good as dead). I was tempted by its offers of falafel and its proximity to Berthillon on the Ile St. Louis. I loved that it was quiet and lively, sophisticated and fun all at the same time.

Paris Elzevir Apartment Vacation Rental

I have now been lucky enough to live in a couple different parts of this wonderful area, and I have to say, it remains one of my very favorite places to both live and spend my time while in Paris.

Elzevir Appartment Marais Paris

Although the streets can fill with tourists (both from other countries and other areas of Paris — jealous of the scene-y café terraces, bars and Sunday shopping), on a rainy afternoon or evening you’ll still find neighborhood cafés spotted with low-key, well-heeled locals reading the paper, sipping a glass of wine, or tapping away at their laptops.

Elzevir Marais Apartment Paris

Haven in Paris’ Elzevir apartment, a gem of a one-bedroom that I just know is dying to be graced by my shopping bags and worn out shoes, is located on a quiet street in between the more residential northern Marais and the livelier south Marais. Right smack half-way between the famous Place des Vosges and the rue des Archives’ great terraces, it truly is a haven of designer furniture, open spaces and sophisticated touches. Continue Reading »

Posted in Design, Homes, Parisian Living | 3 Comments »

L’Institut du Monde Arabe: Contemporary Architecture in Paris

building view

When I lived in the 5th arrondissement, I spent hours pounding the pavement (or the cobblestones, as it were) just exploring and trying to make sense of the diverse elements that make up the neighborhood: the historic Place de la Contrescarpe with its charming cafés, the lively market street Rue Mouffetard, the wild Jardin des Plantes, the magnificent blue-and-white-tiled mosque (La Mosquée de Paris), and the unexpected Arènes de Lutèce (a first century Roman amphitheatre). But more often than not, my walks ended with me staring up at the breathtaking Institut du Monde Arabe (Arab World Institute), my face tilted skyward as I struggled to take in the awesomeness that is this structure. Continue Reading »

Posted in Design, Parisian Living | 3 Comments »

Maison & Objet: Home Fashion Invades Paris

object_collection_hiresObject of Sound collection by NOCC studio. Image courtesy of NOCC.

As if Parisians weren’t already chic enough with their fabulous clothing and accessories, this weekend the city throws its twice annual home fashion show, Maison & Objet. And fashion show it is indeed – much like the runway shows, Maison & Objet has a degree of exclusivity and is invitation-only. Sadly, the invites are available only to professionals in the home & furnishings industry. Luckily, our secret sources have slipped us a few photos of pieces that will be on exhibit, and we just couldn’t resist sharing them with you. Of note is NOCC, an up-and-coming Paris-based design studio that we love and that has been selected as one of the Talent à la Carte designers to be featured at the show. They will be displaying their Object of Sound, Radiation, and Undished collections. Don’t have an invitation to Maison & Objet? Fear not, you can find them at their studio in the 12th arrondissement… more information on their website.

Maison & Objet-1Items from NOCC’s Object of Sound collection. Images courtesy of NOCC.

More photos from other designers after the jump… all images below courtesy of Maison & Objet.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Design, Events | 1 Comment »

French Interior Design Showcased at Pompidou Centre, December 16 – February 1, 2010

VIA - Images Courtesy of VIA.frImages Courtesy of VIA.fr

Not that there is any shortage of exciting things to do in Paris in December and January, but the Pompidou Centre has just teamed up with VIA to put on a stellar exhibit featuring some of France’s most influential contributions to the interior design field in the past 30 years. Conceived to present pieces considered “most representative of French design when applied to lifestyle” to the public, you can expect early and important works from giants such as Philippe Starck, Martin Szekely, Jean-Paul Gaultier and many more. The exhibit runs from December 17 to February 1, 2010. Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Design, Events | 2 Comments »

Paris: Made By Hand

Looking for a gift for the Paris-obsessed people in your life? Pia Jane Bijkerk’s book Paris: Made by Hand explores 50 of Paris’ hidden shops where artisans of all kinds are crafting one-of-a-kind items. You can read more about Pia’s work as a stylist, photographer, and author on her blog. Guest blogger Vanessa Joie (of Pois Rouge) discusses the book and some of Pia’s secret spots…

pmh lettersAll Photos: PiaJaneBijkerk.com

Text by Vanessa Joie

I’ll be honest, growing up the words “handmade” or “homemade” made me cringe. I had visions of little old ladies knitting big, bulky, awkward sweaters I would be forced into while my friends wore something cute and “store bought.” I would long for Oreo’s while my mother spent hours in the kitchen baking delicious smelling treats. Fortunately, when I was 19 I took my first trip to Paris and fell in love—not with the big shops, but with the markets and the boutiques and the studios where the real treasures of Paris were hidden. Continue Reading »

Posted in Design, Shopping | 4 Comments »