April 19, 2016
At L’Épicerie des Environs, you’ll find a local – or nearly local – version of just about everything you need to make a delicious dinner (and even clean up after): fruit and vegetables, rice from Camargue, pickles from Burgundy, fruity sorbet from Essonne, and even dish soap made in neighboring Vallée de Chevreuse.
The épicerie, or general store, opened four months ago. It’s quite at home in this corner of the 18th arrondissement, where a handful of other independent food stores and neighborhood restaurants are livening a neighborhood that had lost its flair. While corner shops still exist in every arrondissement, today most of them resemble late-night superettes. Owner Sandrine Cheikh’s idea was to create the kind of épicerie that used to exist in Paris, a place to stock up on all the basics. “I didn’t want to limit it to an épicerie fine, either,” she explains. “That’s why there’s a corner, for example, for beauty products and cleaning supplies.”
April 11, 2016
Le Square du Vert-Galant
What’s more Parisian than spreading out a blanket on the Champ de Mars or along the Seine and sharing a leisurely meal of fresh baguette, cheese, charcuterie, wine, and maracons? Paris Picnic, the first service picnic delivery service of its kind, will bring an artisanal picnic – complete with locally sourced goods, wine, cups, cutlery, and a cotton blanket – to the location of your choice. Simply select and customize your picnic online, request a delivery location and time, and voila: a picture-perfect picnic experience made easy.
Since its founding in 2013, Paris Picnic has become the 3rd highest rated restaurant on Paris’ TripAdvisor. The team serves up to 40 clients on a given day, from honeymooners, to families, to bachelorette parties, to corporate events. We sat down with the folks behind Paris Picnic to find out more.
Sandwiches from Paris Picnic
March 29, 2016
Once you start composting, you can’t go back. Maybe it’s the immediate difference you see in the amount of waste you throw away each day, or the excitement of seeing food turn into rich and healthy soil, or the fact that composting is a simple way we can nourish the earth that nourishes us.
I live in the countryside now, and when I adopted a brood of chickens from a friend who was moving into an apartment, the only caveat was that she be able to stop by whenever she wanted to visit the chickens and feed them her food scraps. “I just can’t throw food away,” she explained, and I completely understand. Before I moved to the Loire Valley, I had already become a composting convert.
March 22, 2016
Many people will say that the best way to explore Paris is by walking the city. Why go underground to travel if there is so much beauty to take in, from hidden passageways to grand boulevards? But all that walking also means sore feet and tight hamstrings. Luckily, there is now a booming yoga scene in Paris.
March 18, 2016
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.
March 9, 2016
Visitors see Paris as a giant playground, an outdoor museum with amazing food and wine, as the most inspirational city in the world. Visitors may be right.
As a travel writer, however, I see Paris a bit differently. It’s my business to know what’s happening under the surface, to distinguish the good from, well, the less good. Travel writers and journalists are trained to notice what the everyday tourist might not, to make sure you can just show up and enjoy the city without having to worry. It’s not always as easy as it looks, especially since we want to enjoy Parisian moments as much as anyone else, but someone needs to find the buried information. So here are some ways we do it.
February 16, 2016
I was working as a pastry chef in Brooklyn when I met my now-husband, Leo. While I didn’t realize we would get married in less than a year, I will confess that I did secretly wish my Frenchman would whisk me away to the land of pastries, cheese, and wine. And whisk me away he did… If you had told me one year ago today that I would be living in Paris now, I would have laughed and shrugged my shoulders. And here I am, writing this from my Parisian apartment in Montmartre.
February 12, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
- 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.
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 26, 2016
Locals and tourists alike are well acquainted with Paris’ Catacombs. But there is something sitting beneath Place Denfert-Rochereau besides the famed bones of the departed.