September 18, 2014
Le Bonbon au Palais
French desserts would make almost anyone’s mouth start to water. Beautifully lined on bakery shelves, they are a heavenly wonder for sweet-tooths. But in addition to pastries, macarons, and mousse au chocolate, France is abundant with sweet regional specialties: Toulouse has its cachou lajaunie (licorice); Orléans its cotignac (quince hard candy); Aix-en-Provence its calisson (marzipan).
Henri Le Roux
Île-de-France may not boast its own traditional bonbon, but that doesn’t mean that quality Parisian candy makers and suppliers are not putting their flair on other regions’ specialties. Here are some of our favorite artisanal candy shops in Paris:
Le Bonbon au Palais
September 15, 2014
In North America, it’s “back to school.” That time of the year when classrooms fill up and families slip into familiar routines, or start new ones as the youngest step into kindergartens and the oldest fly the nest for college. In France, it’s la rentrée, and is not just about families and their children. Each September, almost the entire population faces their regular routines after a long holiday season.
Since many businesses close for the month of August and three-week holidays are taken for granted, September means Parisians are frantically mourning their fading tans as they get back into the swing of things. Stock that has been arriving slowly over the previous weeks has shop owners scrambling to get their newest collections out on the floor (eg. the Pablo boutiques just announced their collaboration with actress Clémence Poésy, who played Fleur Delacour in the Harry Potter series and dabbles in fashion design on the side). Figs and wild mushrooms also begin to perfume the air at local markets, inspiring chefs to rewrite their menus to reflect on fall’s bounty. And, like Canada or the US, it is also back to school for the young ones.
August 27, 2014
A bicycle provides the perfect tempo for exploring a city. You can get from point A to point B faster than you would walking, but it’s slow enough that you get to take in the scenery in a way that riding a bus or metro never allows.
August 25, 2014
Heading east on line nine, you’re welcomed to the unique Paris suburb as your metro tram whizzes by the Montreuil station Maraîchers.
Named after the market gardeners of this formerly green and fertile region, this vestige of the area’s agricultural history prepares you for what Montreuil has now become: a city proud of its bucolic past and embracing its diverse and progressive present.
August 22, 2014
One of the questions we receive most frequently from our readers and guests is, “I’m looking to buy an apartment in Paris – where should I start?”
Buying real estate anywhere has its challenges. When you’re navigating listings, visits, brokers, fees, and regulations from across a continent or an ocean, the whole process can grow to herculean proportions. Although anything is surely possible with unlimited time and resources, very few of us possess either in infinite supply. This is where apartment-hunters come in. Specialized in representing buyers and helping them navigate the French real estate red tape, “search agents” can often be your best resource in helping to make the entire process manageable. Which lets you get back to the exciting part: finding the place you’ll call home in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
We asked our friends at Paris Property Group, renowned Parisian search agents, to give us a list of their top five things to keep in mind as you go about your apartment search. Enjoy, and happy hunting! -Geneviève
August 20, 2014
In France, cinema is the 7th art, as important as painting or literature, and like museums or libraries, movie houses play a key role in local culture. Netflix has not yet come up the Seine, and according to the Office de Tourisme there are 84 theaters in Paris with well over 350 screens. Going to the movies is an important activity for Parisians who often spend their Monday mornings discussing the films they took in over the weekend. There are remarkable theaters across the city, but the movie houses below offer audiences more than just a film.
Le Louxor is an opulent 1920s architectural gem studded with Neo-Egyptian motifs and gilded mosaics. Recently renovated, the cinema screens modern blockbusters, but also houses an art gallery space and a stylish Art Deco bar with a view of Sacre Coeur. Once a month they feature the Université Populaire, a screening of a movie that has been chosen by a local celebrity who leads a discussion following the screening.
August 18, 2014
Craft beer is slowly but surely making its way into the Parisian palate. This May, Paris Beer Week inundated the city’s craft beer bars with brews familiar and unknown, leading local beer geeks to rejoice and even converting a few skeptics.
You can take the party home now, thanks to a growing number of craft beer stores popping up across the city. Check in with them regularly; they all host regular tastings and brewer nights.
August 13, 2014
The good King Dagobert would hunt bear and wild boar through the forest that is now the 2000-acre Bois de Boulogne on the western edge of Paris. That was over 1000 years ago. Today the air is filled with laughter instead of hunting arrows, but the woods are still alive with adventure and excitement, thanks to Napoleon III who returned from exile in London full of ideas for English gardens in Paris. He commissioned his city planner, the Baron Haussmann, to create more green space near Paris’ rapidly expanding west end, insisting on a stream with lakes like his cherished Hyde Park.
He insisted on the water elements to provide a bit of fresh air. Today they serve as an idyllic spot for a peaceful afternoon watching swans glide by, rowing boats, or dining at the remote, romantic Chalet des Iles, an island accessible only by boat.
The Bois offers a range of dining options, from fast food at one of the numerous snack stands, to the two palaces of haute cuisine: the Michelin-starred La Grande Cascade and the Relais & Chateau Le Pré-Catelan. For people with more moderate tastes but also an appreciation for good food, there are additional options available at many of the attractions, as well as the quaintly rustic l’Auberge du Bonheur.
August 11, 2014
Parisians who can’t flock to the seaside during the summer months are still drawn to their closest water sources, as evidenced by the ever-growing popularity of Les Berges on the Seine. However, this craving to enjoy the hotter months waterside goes back much further than Les Berges, or even the 12-year old Paris Plages. These initiatives are, in essence, revivals of the great era of Les Guinguettes, and once again Parisians can’t seem to get enough.
In its purest form, a guinguette is an establishment located by the water that serves up simple food and ample drinks (traditionally white “guinguet” wine, which led to the name guinguette), accompanied by lively music, and thus dancing. What’s not to love?
August 8, 2014
Paris Plages/Pause Cafe, Isabel Miller-Bottome
For those who cherish the peaceful atmosphere resulting from the mass exodus of holiday-goers, August is Paris’ most prized month. In the past, I haven’t always embraced this sentiment, mainly because I love the charge of the city. I adore the hustle and bustle of the busy streets; the fashionable Parisians strutting down the sidewalk, chatting over a glass of wine or coffee on café terrasses, and shopping in the stylish boutiques. However, perhaps these August-lovers have it right? Here are 10 reasons to convince any reluctant critics (myself once included) why August is the best month to be in Paris:
Jardin de Reuilly/Place des Vosges, Isabel Miller-Bottome
1. There’s so much going on for free
Free movies, free concerts, free exercise lessons, free…! Your social calendar will be packed with the outdoor cinema screenings at la Villette or the Clair de Lune festival, pétanque or dancing at the Canal de l’Ourcq, running on Les Berges, and more. It might just be the best month to be in Paris on a budget, and since the weather tends to be nice you can save on dining costs by picnicking.
Le Lucernaire, Briag Courteaux
2. You can actually get a table en terrasse
I noticed the other day when scoping out the cafés on rue Montorgueil at the peak of lunch hour that there were a surprisingly large number of tables available. And same luck at apéro; we had our pick of the usually highly coveted tables. Next I plan to try some of the notoriously tough-to-get-into venues like le Perchoir; perhaps we’ll have repeat good fortune.