May 21, 2013
Breaking up with someone you love is often a terrible experience. Breaking up with someone you love in what is supposed to be the City of Love can be a heart-wrenching emotional roller coaster.
Unfortunately, at the end of February, I found myself in this exact situation: ending a long-term relationship with a Parisian in Paris. At least by this point, Valentine’s Day had passed and I was no longer bombarded with images of happy couples in love, discounts on holiday-themed lingerie, and sickeningly sweet His & Her gift ideas on every street corner.
Nevertheless, the first few weeks were incredibly difficult. Not only did I have to deal with the usual post-break-up challenges common to any city — cancelling all the plans and trips we’d made for the following months, packing up his things in my apartment – but I also had to walk down the same Parisian streets that we had strolled through hand in hand, eat the foods he had introduced me to, and hear the romantic lilt of his language everywhere.
The worst part? Being French, he had one of those first names that 1/5 of the French male population seems to share. Included amongst the many other Arnauds in my life were (in no particular order): four people at work, two personal friends of mine, the guy at the Bastille Sunday market where I buy my vegetables, and the man at my favourite boulangerie!
May 16, 2013
In an episode of HBO’s New York comedy Girls, Lena Dunham’s character, Hannah, ironically states as she steps out onto a hip Brooklyn street: “it takes a lot of money to look this cheap”. Sadly, the irony of this statement will be lost on a Parisian.
The creative, sometimes, wildly eccentric outfits seen on the streets of London and New York, are relegated to sporadic night-time appearances under the cover of darkness in Paris.
Stepping out in anything risky during daylight hours might put you in the firing line of Parisian mirth and scorn. Surprisingly for a city, which is often referred to as the world’s fashion capital, there is an overall conservative, even uniform, approach to dressing.
Just in case you think otherwise, in Paris, cheap will definitely never be in. The general rule of thumb is this: the Parisian woman gives the impression of being effortlessly chic (you can be guaranteed there was nothing effortless about it); and the Parisian man is generally more polished than say your average New Yorker or Londoner – he would never consciously leave the house in a creased shirt, for example.
May 14, 2013
Left bank (Carin Olsson)
If you’ve ever dreamed of living in Paris, chances are you’ve thought about where. A funky Montmartre studio with a view? Perhaps a swank one-bedroom in the 6ème with herringbone floors and marble mantles sends your heart racing? Whether you’re more Marais hideaway or St Germain Haussmannian, it turns out that where you live in Paris says quite a lot about you.
Left bank (Carin Olsson)
Right bank (Carin Olsson)
Most Parisians are deeply devoted to their neighborhoods and can wax poetic on their unique charms. As to whether they prefer the Rive Gauche or Rive Droite, ask any Parisian and you’re sure to get an opinion. Having now lived on both sides of the Seine, I’ve got a few of my own. Here’s how to decode the meaning behind the coveted Parisian address.
Left Bank Lovely. Feel like donning an Hermes carré and enjoying a taste of old school Paris? The grand cafés of St Germain des Pres await. Alas, de Beauvoir and Sartre have long since fled but the swooping waiters and retro vibe are still reminiscent of the Left Bank’s intellectual heyday.
May 7, 2013
We’re very excited to be giving away a copy of Kim Horton Levesque’s latest book, Paris with Children, on HiP Paris today. Chock-full of great recommendations for kid-friendly things to do in Paris, we can hardly imagine making a trip with the kids without it now! Not to mention, the book itself is completely adorable. To win, see instructions at the end of this post. Please note: winner must be located in the continental U.S or Canada. -Genevieve
“Children have as much to teach us as we do them when traveling — their curiosity and imagination make even familiar destinations seem new.” -Barrie Kerper, The Collected Traveler
Paris is an overwhelmingly child-friendly city. Thankfully it’s organized in such a way that makes traveling with kids enjoyable. Many of Paris’s principal sights are concentrated geographically so it’s quite walkable with young ones.
Here’s a typical day for my family when we’re visiting Paris:
I have three daughters, a 3-, 5- and 8-year old. We head out of the apartment I’ve rented, usually in the Saint-Germain district, around mid-morning, and walk towards Jardin du Luxembourg. This elegant garden is a paradise for children––an elaborate playground (it even has a small but thrilling zip line), an indoor marionette theater, Charles Garnier’s vintage carousel, pony rides and model sailboats in the grand bassin, all make it easy to idealize life in the capital.
Before entering the park, however, we stop into Boulangerie Marc Rollot, a neighborhood bakery just off of rue de Vaugirard (48, rue Madame, 6th arr.). My father (who doesn’t speak French) serendipitously stumbled upon this shop several trips ago and it’s become our family favorite for viennoiseries––especially the apricot pastry (oranais) and the pain aux raisins. Treats tucked neatly into my purse, we head into the park, find an empty bench and dig in.
April 24, 2013
What is it that makes hotel bars so appealing? Is it the sense of travel and adventure? Is it the ease with which you could drop into a bed after drinks at the bar? Do the guests, themselves passing through for just a moment on the way to their next destination, imbue the spaces with an edgy sense fluidity and transience?
Hotel St James
The best Parisian hotel bars do more than just pour a decent drink; they combine old-world ambiance, stellar service and sophisticated décor to guarantee an exceptional experience. And here are some of the city’s finest choices to fit any occasion:
For a Romantic Escape: Hotel Saint James
With its modern-romantic decor, the Saint James is the perfect place for a dreamlike escape from the daily grind. Hidden away in a quiet corner of the city that once served as Paris’ first airfield, this neoclassical chateau still manages to transport visitors. In summer months, patrons canoodle in the garden under hot-air-balloon-inspired canopies over nicely priced bottles of white. In winter months they whisper over whiskey in quiet corners of the dark wood library bar amidst some 12,000 old books. Though the Saint James is a private club, you don’t have to be a member to enjoy a drink after 7pm – just call ahead and reserve.
April 16, 2013
Situated on a quiet, sunny corner in the 3rd arrondissement across from the Square du Temple, The Broken Arm is Paris’s newest concept store-cum-café. It’s already attracting a small crowd of creative types — and the inevitable bobo or twelve — to wile away the the afternoon browsing in its clean, bright retail space or sip excellent coffee and tea in its adjacent coffee shop.
The Broken Arm was founded by Guillaume Steinmetz, Anaïs Lafarge, and Romain Joste after four years of running the fashion and lifestyle website De Jeunes Gens Modernes together, and the shop carries the brands that the founders had long admired and featured on their online magazine.
When asked about the idea behind the brands in the shop, Steinmetz says that there is no singular aesthetic that they are going for; the owners developed a clear idea of the designers they wanted to work with during their time running the magazine and decided to feature them in their retail space. The carefully curated collection includes clothing brands such as Patrik Ervell, Carven, Kenzo, and Gyakusou, as well as lifestyle items such as handmade cutting boards, high-end office supplies, and design books.
The founders recognize that the products they carry aren’t necessarily going to appeal to everyone, but that isn’t really the point. “The most important thing is the mood of the place and how [the customers] feel inside the place,” says Steinmetz. The unpretentious décor reflects this idea — the store is laid out in clean Scandinavian lines flanked by bright white walls and untreated wood shelves that put all the attention on the bright colors of the items on display.
March 22, 2013
Paris wouldn’t be Paris without a bit of romance, right? The Parisian Male, that charming, well-coiffed pillar of French seduction, sometimes gets mixed reviews from visiting females. Do you like the attention you receive from men on the streets of Paris? Or is it all a bit too much? Claire, ever the English lady, takes a closer look at the men we love to hate to love. -Genevieve
I recently had a chance to observe the Parisian Male in his natural habitat over the course of a month or so. After many years of coming to Paris, I have managed to form and retain the view that the Male is more often than not charming, attractive, stylish, intelligent and appreciative of women. Oh, and romantic of course.
When I started to delve deeper (in the name of research, of course), what I discovered caused me to go from “hmmm” to “ookaayy” to – on one occasion – “eeeeewwww.” Obviously I’m coming from a northern European female perspective, so what might be off-putting to me might be delightful to someone else, but if you’re a foreign woman in Paris, you’re going to meet this type of Parisian Male.
You might have guessed by now that this is not the post to read for tips on how to meet Parisian men. The truth is, no tips are necessary. You just need to be a female and go to Paris.
The Parisian Male will not hesitate to approach you. And your friend, and your friend’s mother, and her friend, and anyone else who’s wearing a skirt. While this ardent pursuit may be flattering at first, you will soon realize it’s not that you’ve been singled out because you’re particularly enchanting, it’s just that you’re now part of an age old citywide sporting match.
March 19, 2013
When I first arrived in Paris, I tried to avoid the Parisian métro as much as I possibly could. The horror stories I had heard about people getting their valuables stolen, the stations smelling worse than most bathrooms and the crazy amount of people all fighting for a spot during rush hour made me keep my distance at first.
Even though I now know that the métro isn’t all that bad, I’m kind of glad for my initial repugnance, because it pushed me to look to alternative ways to get around the city. And that’s how my love affair with Parisian buses began.
Sure, there are a few negative aspects to taking the bus: you can never really be certain the bus will actually show up on time (yes, I realize that this might be more than a tiny flaw for those with appointments to keep); they stop running as soon as the first snowflake hits the ground during the winter; they’re a bit slow; and they can, bien sûr, be canceled (without prior notice) due to Parisian manifestations.
March 14, 2013
Josephine (Forest Collins)
Quenching your thirst with a nice glass of wine has never been the hardest thing to do in Paris. Cafes, restaurants and bars abound, making it all but impossible to believably complain about being thirsty for more than a block.
Bones (Diane, A Broad)
Recently, however, a new breed of wine bar is upping the ante and bringing a breath of fresh air to the scene. Here are some of the latest and best places to partake in wine and small plates:
Septime Cave (Forest Collins)
For the Adventurous and Outgoing: L’Avant Comptoir
This tiny annex of the notoriously popular le Comptoir serves up a selection of nicely priced wines alongside phenomenal small plates that justify the popularity of the main restaurant.
February 28, 2013
Leisure is one of the most sacred components of a well-lived Parisian life, which is why we thought it absolutely necessary to revisit the best ways to spend a Sunday in Paris. You can find part I, Tory’s list of favorite Sunday pastimes, here. -Geneviève
One of the many great things about living in Paris is the French approach to relaxation. Around here, it’s serious business. Everyday events that would strike most of us as de rigeur — traffic jams, inhospitable weather, waiting one’s turn in line — can cause mini-attacks of le stress for Parisians, thereby necessitating extended periods of repose. And when the traditional, lengthy French vacation isn’t close at hand, a Sunday in the city can be the next best thing.
Since many shops and restaurants are closed (although this is changing), Sundays offer a great excuse to slow down and just relax. But if you’re feeling energetic, there are still many great ways to fill your day. Here are some of our Sunday favorites.