November 8, 2014
Le Timbre, Palmyre Roigt
Over the past few years there has been a lot of conversation around the startling statistic that around one-third of France’s cafes, brasseries and restaurants are actually using pre-frozen ingredients or entire meals that only need a microwave before reaching your plate. In typical French fashion, this was a drawn out discussion that needed a government vote and while restaurants now can mark on their menus “fait maison,” when items are truly made from scratch, you might not always be able to see the menu before sitting down.
Verjus, Diane Yoon
A few months ago, I attended a question and answer session about French food and the fait maison/frozen food question was raised. A few people said, “you just should know where to go.” But without any mandate and as a visitor to Paris, “knowing where to go,” is easier said than done. And for first-time tourists, it’s easy to end up somewhere that is beautifully authentic and appears to be using all fresh ingredients but well, isn’t. Here are five tips to keep you street smart when eating fresh, seasonal and farm-to-table in Paris.
Verjus, Diane Yoon
March 28, 2014
When it comes to what to drink in Paris, there will always be French wine. In the last few years, though, a few more exciting options have appeared. There are the specialty cocktail bars, offering a new twist on the classics; hot spots like Frenchie-to-Go, Glass and Dirty Dick now offer artisan beers, some of which are even brewed in Paris; and it seems there is a new coffee shop, with locally roasted beans, opening every week. Now there is also a healthy option to add to your drinking plans: cold-pressed juices.
What has become one of the top trends in New York City and Los Angeles has finally arrived in the City of Lights. Cold-press juicing differs from the average, fresh-pressed juice because an advanced press is used to extract the juice at a low temperature, therefore preserving all the vitamins, minerals and natural enzymes. If you’re going to drink your vegetables, cold-press is the purest way to do it.
While people come to Paris to break out of their health regimes and splurge on steak frites, stinky cheese, and pastries, there comes that moment when you just might need something light and fresh that’ll have a little less effect on your waistline. Luckily, there is now more than one place in Paris to partake in a mini-detox, and it’s also a great way to enjoy the organic, locally grown produce that France has to offer.
August 5, 2011
Parc des Buttes Chaumont (Celine NYC)
If you’re in Paris in summer, you’ll pretty quickly realize that as soon as the sun starts to glimmer, Parisians grind into picnic gear. However, despite informal appearances, there is a complex and unspoken code of conduct to be adhered to in order to avoid unforgivable picnic faux pas.
Do dress appropriately.
It is important to give the air of not trying very hard. For girls: a categorical ‘no’ to heels and look-at-me makeup. For guys: forget smart suits or bling sportswear, it’s all about skinny jeans and scarves. Subtle colour and pattern coordination are à la mode. Hats highly recommended.
Do arrive late.
It is useless to turn up anywhere near the appointed picnic hour. It is best to saunter up several hours in, give a slightly (don’t overdo it) apologetic smile, whilst simultaneously giving the impression that your diary is over-spilling with très fun engagements and that the organiser should therefore be delighted that you’ve managed to squeeze them in.
Do invite lots of friends.
The concept of ‘the more the merrier’ is de rigueur. Whereas the biting winter winds keep Parisians at home or drives them (penguin-style) into crowded, sweaty bars, the warm summer weather democratizes social gatherings, which are known to take on gigantesque proportions!
Do not buy ready-made sandwiches.
It is unacceptable to pop to the supermarket and pick up a long-life cellophane-encased creation that deigns to call itself a ‘sandwich’. A fresh baguette, some cheese and charcuterie are the bare minimum.
July 18, 2011
Little Girl in Paris’ Luxembourg Gardens (Ktylerconk)
I’ve always thought of Paris as the ultimate adult playground. But Paris for the under-four-foot set? I wasn’t so sure.
That’s why discovering kid-friendly Paris (yes, it exists!) has been such a happy surprise. When the kids tire of museums and medieval churches (dubiously labeled “kid-friendly” by many a travel guide) put the Luxemburg Gardens on your family game plan. Even if much of the grass is interdit, there’s more than enough here to tire out your little travelers leaving papa et maman to enjoy an evening à deux.
July 8, 2011
Summer is here and the crowds are starting to flee Paris for the coast. As I tend to do things in reverse and will be staying in Paris this July to enjoy all of the amazing summer festivals and events, I hit Brittany for a two-week jaunt in May, just before the summer throngs descended upon its lovely shores.
After searching long and hard, mere days before our departure, for last minute lodging that would be not only earth-friendly and green, but appealing and available, I stumbled upon two different eco-homes in Brittany that were, amazingly, available for our dates. Note to self: Planning in advance can be helpful, but if you are willing to chance it, great places that are still available are often ready to discount in the spring. Plus the weather is fabulous and the beaches are empty!
Our first week was spent in the Ground House , located in the center of Brittany’s rolling green farmland in the town of Mellionnec, one hour from the ocean. This completely self-sustaining eco home, built into the earth on one side and full of huge windows overlooking the garden on the other, was just the thing we were looking for. Built by its English owners and featured on the famous UK show ‘Grand Designs‘, this passive solar house was built with salvaged materials and features an organic garden, a compost heap, dry/composting toilets, and solar heated rainwater for hot water.
Not well known, the center of Brittany (Centre Bretagne) offers an abundance of hiking, walking and biking options. Additionally, we were pleased to discover that the area immediately surrounding the Ground House is a serious haven for bio (the French word for organic) fans, with an organic grocery store, a couple of organic restaurants, local artisans, organic shops, and markets where local farmers sell their produce, meat and dairy directly.
October 4, 2010
While I love the pace of a vibrant city like Paris, I’m a New England girl at heart. As such, there’s nothing like a big green vista or a vast ocean to make me feel at home.
On my latest trip abroad – which started off with a bang last week at the lovely Chateau de Raissac (more to come on that later) – I’m scheming up several more excursions beyond the fairest city to see the landscapes of Normandy and explore the farms and vineyards of Provence. While bopping across the country, I’m hoping to make a short jaunt to visit a new virtual friend, Kate. We met on Twitter, but I already feel like we’re best friends.
June 8, 2010
Guest Blogger, Laura, from the super cool blog My Mélange has shared her favorite organic hotspots in the city of lights. With more and more need to pay attention to the environment, we thank My Mélange for sharing these wonderful organic markets, restaurants and shops for us to explore. Let us know your Paris organic favorites to add to the list. Thanks!
These days it’s all about going green, natural, organic, or anything else that is friendly to the environment (and to our bodies). When you’re home, it’s easy to support local farms through farmers’ markets or buy organic goods from the supermarket, but traveling internationally could pose a threat to your health-conscious lifestyle and eating habits…unless you know where to go to find organic products and eco-friendly services.
In 2009, with the help of President Nicholas Sarkozy, Paris became proactive in supporting organic agriculture. The government cut subsidies given to large farms and redirected the financial aid to smaller organic and family owned farms. Paris has been the center of these organic or biologique (or bio) changes and boasts a number of successful organic and natural supermarkets, bakeries, restaurants, wine shops, and even hotels.
For those of you lucky enough to rent an apartment and enjoy an extended stay in The City of Light, grocery shopping is a must. Biocoop and Naturalia are two organic supermarkets in the Paris region.
April 23, 2010
It seems somewhat unnecessary to write a post of this nature, given that any part of Paris could be considered an ideal place to loiter. A blind-folded novice could be dropped in any corner of this city and, after a few minutes of wandering, would have no trouble finding a scenic spot in which to spend a few hours. There are almost too many places to park oneself for a morning or afternoon (or, hey, a whole day), which is why I’ve come up with a list of a few standouts that I return to again and again.
Note: I’m assuming that the city’s big gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg, the Tuileries, Bois de Boulogne, and the Bois de Vincennes) are givens. You can’t go wrong at any of them, but as a semi-pro loiterer, I prefer to venture off the beaten path.
Chilled-out loitering—Canal St. Martin. Paris’ low-key canal stretches from Place de la République all the way towards the northern border of the city. People from all walks of life—hipsters, families, total weirdos—hang out along the Canal’s cobbled banks, picnicking and reveling until the wee hours of the night.
March 3, 2010
Ah, life in Paris. One day, the city is invaded by the cat-walking, champagne-sipping Jet Set; and the next, it is overrun with guys dressed up as life-sized vegetables (literally). Yes, the Salon International de l’Agriculture is here, and eco-friendly agriculturists and the gourmands who love them are in town to partake in the year’s biggest agricultural extravaganza. In thinking about it, this week strikes quite a nice equilibrium for those of us who can appreciate both a killer stiletto and a tub of artisanal foie gras. After all, isn’t balance what life is all about?
December 10, 2009
Looking to “green” your holiday shopping list? Guest blogger Emma Haberman shares some insight about this weekend’s “Noel en Bio” holiday fair, December 11-13 in the Marais.
Text by Emma Haberman
Once upon a time, recycling presents meant re-gifting those unwanted tube socks that weren’t on your wish list. No longer! This year in Paris, Christmas will be greener than ever, thanks to the Noël en Bio holiday fair. The highly anticipated exposition will take place in the Marais this weekend, just in time for holiday shopping (and coinciding with the much-discussed Copenhagen Climate Conference).