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.
January 21, 2016
Shopping for meat in Paris is a great way to discover French specialities and find inspiration for new recipes. French cuisine favors using the whole animal and encourages preparing the meat for main dishes, but also using the intestines, bones, and other innards to make sauces, stocks, and sides.
December 31, 2015
As 2015 comes to a close, the requisite annual nostalgia is setting in. The past year has been a trying one for the city of Paris, but certainly not without many positive and exciting happenings too. On behalf of Erica and myself, I want to take a moment to thank our wonderfully supportive readers as well as our talented writers and photographers – you all continue to make the HiP Paris Blog what it is today!
We’re ready for the excitement 2016 is sure to bring, but are first taking a look back at some of the terrific pieces we shared over the past year:
2015 had no shortage of exciting developments in the food and drink scenes in Paris, bien sûr. Le Fooding announced the French food world’s departure from the bobo, bestowing this year’s emerging trends the moniker “faubourgeoise.” We checked out Dersou, an all-around favorite address of the past year and winner of Le Fooding’s coveted “Best table” award, and fell for the stunning décor and tasty far of Les Chouettes in the Marais. We also saw changes to the Barbès neighborhood with the arrival of much-anticipated Brasserie Barbès.
Brasserie Barbes, Briag Courteaux; Maison de la Chantilly, Emily Jackson; Poulet rôti, Casey Hatfield-Chotti; My Paris Market Cookbook
Shops specializing in specific items are also popping up around the city, and we thoroughly enjoyed the creamy goodness served up at Maison de la Chantilly. Equally as mouth watering was our hunt for Paris’ best poulet roti, a simple yet oh-so-delicious pleasure. And for those days when cooking a fabulous meal at home is what we crave, our peek inside Emily Dilling’s Paris Market Cookbook, complete with recipes and tips and tricks for eating locally, proves the perfect inspiration.
We simply cannot talk about 2015 in Paris without giving a nod to the slew of concept craft coffee joints that opened up around the city, seemingly a new one every week over the summer!
Paris’ wine and beer scenes continue to flourish as well. We dished on our favorite addresses for natural wine in Paris, the best classes for expanding our wine knowledge, and some of the most outrageous cocktails tasted this year. We also saw the opening of bars that place a focus on French-made spirits, like at bistro-bar A La Française in the 11ème.
A La Française, Emily Jackson; Bespoke, Jean-Marie Heidinger; Hotel du Nord, Palmyre Roigt; Dirty Dick, Jean-Marie Heidinger
We continued to discover new pockets of Paris and loved exploring the Canal Saint Martin, 20ème and Nation areas in particular. We got the dish on Paris’ Spring Fashion week from an outsider prospective and chatted with Melissa Unger, the wonder woman behind Seymour+, one of the most unique spaces in Paris.
In addition to sharing new openings, favorite addresses, and interviews with people who inspire us, we will always love sharing those heart-warming Paris stories, like one about uprooting a life in the US and moving to Paris, or advice from real Parisiennes on dating in Paris. For new visitors to the city and locals alike, we also put together our favorite off-the-beaten-track museums as well as the best apps to make exploring the City of Light easier.
We would love to thank each and every writer who contributed to HiP Paris this year. We could not do it without you. A big shout out to (alphabetical order):
Kristen Beddard, Doni Belau, Elena Berton, Anna Brones, Isabel Miller-Bottome, Forest Collins, Lisa Czarina Michaud, Meghan Cunningham, Emily Dilling, Casey Hatfield-Chiotti, Lily Heise, Rooksana Hossenally, Emily Jackson, Sara Mccarty & Jaimie Evoy (Context Travel), Marjorie Preval, Alex Roberts, Kate Robinson, Sylvia Sabes, Lauren Sarazen, Emma Stencil, and Amy Thomas.
We worked with some truly talented photographers this year as well. An especially big thank you to Briag Courteaux, Jean-Marie Heidinger, Palmyre Roigt, Didier Gauducheau, and Rebecca Plotnick for keeping the HiP Paris Blog looking gorgeous.
And we owe a very special thank you to our lovely Editorial Assistants who not only wrote and shot photos for a number of fantastic pieces, but also worked tirelessly to keep the HiP Paris Blog up and running. Emma and Emily – merci à vous!
Happy New Year 2016, may it be a wonderful one. -Erin and Erica
December 24, 2015
In the midst of this holiday season, we feel enormously grateful for those around us: our talented writers and photographers, supportive readers, wonderful Haven in Paris clients and colleagues, friends, and families.
The HiP Paris Blog and Haven in Paris Team sends our best wishes for a warm, healthy and happy holiday to all of you and yours.
– Erica, Erin, Emily and the entire Haven in Paris team.
December 23, 2015
“If you put yourself in a position where you have to stretch outside your comfort zone, then you are forced to expand your consciousness.” – Les Brown
It’s not very cold out today. For lack of a better term (and one you’re probably hearing a lot this year), it’s unseasonably warm. There’s no Christmas tree in my apartment. No gifts either. No creatures stirring. Not even a mouse! This isn’t to say that the Christmas spirit is absent in Paris… It’s definitely here. The mayor’s office is fully decked out with amazing trees that are three times my height, covered in ornaments the size of my head. The shops in my neighborhood are lit up and filled with gifts, and there’s even Armée du Salut, or Salvation Army, workers jingling their bells. I’ll soon be traveling to Orléans to spend Christmas with my husband’s family, but until then I’ll continue my week just like any other.
December 8, 2015
I don’t come from a family of explorers, travelers, or adventurers. My wanderlust has definitely been a learned trait, something that I’ve discovered after spending countless hours Google searching destinations I wished to visit. Needless to say, my parents were a bit shocked when I told them that I had bought tickets for my daughter Kailin and me to move to Paris the winter of 2011. My mother’s concern was that I “didn’t know a soul in all of France,” my dad’s was that I wouldn’t survive without knowing the language.
Armed with their endless words of advice and a handful of helpful phrases, such as “s’il vous plait, aidez-moi trouver les toilettes”(thanks dad !), my then four year-old and I boarded our very first trans-Atlantic flight to the City of Light. I wasn’t prepared for the anxiety attack I would have midway through our redeye, or how much I would fall head over heels once I’d arrived. In a penthouse apartment situated right across from Sacre-Cœur, how could I not fall in love with all that Paris had to offer me?
November 23, 2015
BioCoop, a French organic grocery chain, has opened BioCoop21: Paris’ first all bulk, organic pop-up shop with over 250 options to buy 100% en vrac. The aroma of ripe fruit welcomes customers who come to fill up on groceries at this pocket-sized shop in Paris’ 10ème arrondissement. Small paper bags or durable glass containers can be purchased for one’s dry goods, which include teas, coffees, grains, and legumes. Ideally, clients will bring their own containers, cloth, and paper bags for their bulk shopping needs.