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
November 3, 2014
With everything from simple corner cafes to trendy nightclubs, Paris is a paradise for those with a taste for the nightlife. Even so, sometimes a night off is in order. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean you have to eschew a bit of sipping, as Paris offers some interesting alternatives for your home-drinking pleasure.
Natural Wine in Bulk: En Vrac
While wine by the box may not be new, this popular bar and restaurant is providing a new perspective on buying wine in bulk in its two Paris locations. En Vrac means “in bulk,” and here customers choose from a selection of natural wines that can be sampled on-site or taken off-site in fun French lemonade inspired to-go bottles (or bring your own). At prices that start around 5 Euros a bottle, it’s easy to take a chance on a few and spend a casual evening holding your own private wine tasting. And, for those seeking something stronger, they also offer up a selection of bulk spirits like Poire Williams, Vodka, Rhum, and more in a variety of sizes.
October 30, 2014
Montparnasse Cemetery, cachecache
Temperatures are dropping as fast as the gold-stained leaves that crunch beneath our feet, filling the air with the fragrance of autumn. Sedate men selling warm chestnuts balance their shopping cart roasters at metro entrances. Fall has fallen on Paris and with Halloween just around the corner, it is the ideal season to explore the city’s darker side.
Père Lachaise Cemetery, CpaKmoi
The Catacombs are a macabre storage depot 20 meters below street level; a maze of femurs, ribs, and skulls are arranged, stacked, and aligned, evoking an exhibition of Art Naïve. The aging bones of 15th century literary luminaries Rabelais and Jean de la Fontaine entwine with 18th century revolutionaries Robespierre and Danton, sitting among the remains of six million other Parisians, all of them originally buried in city cemeteries that were reclaimed as land for the living.
Catacombs, Rachel Alter
October 24, 2014
You’ve packed a Paris-perfect wardrobe, planned your gastronomic meals, and found idyllic accommodations. Now it’s time to practice your French. Géraldine Lepère shares the phrases you need to order a coffee like a local so the next time you settle into a Parisian café, you will look like ‘un vrai Parisien’. Enjoy! -Erin
- Also check out Géraldine’s demonstration of 12 common French gestures.
- How French are you? Here are 10 signs you were born and raised in France.
- Paris By Mouth shares more tips on ordering coffee in Paris.
October 10, 2014
The 20ème is one of the largest neighborhoods in Paris, covering the areas of Nation, Gambetta, Ménilmontant, and Belleville. Largely overlooked by tourists, this unique quartier is full of locals-only bars and restaurants, art galleries, theaters, charming backstreets, hidden pockets of nature, and a diverse population. As much as I love the familiar streets of the Marais and the Latin Quarter, after spending three months living here this summer, a part of me will always be called back to the 20ème. Here are a few of my favorite historic and cultural spots worth discovering.
View from La Bellevilloise
A historically working class neighborhood, the 20ème was the center of opposition to Emperor Napoleon III during the eve of the First World War, and the very last neighborhood to surrender during the Paris Commune of 1871. Predominantly an immigrant community for the last century, nowadays young entrepreneurs, artists, and bobos flock to the area for its affordable rents, active nightlife, and thriving arts scene.
October 8, 2014
Hoards of travellers and locals alike flock to Paris’ flea markets in search of antique wares and one-of-a-kind finds, and rightfully so. The Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen is one of our favorite markets and this series will detail some of its top vendors. Today we look inside the best of Mid-century Modern. Enjoy! – Erin
The Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen is the largest flea market in the world, welcoming over five million visitors to its maze of stands and alleyways each year. And a maze it truly is—the sprawling complex houses over 1,700 vendors, from art dealers to artisans to purveyors of second-hand furniture.
Marché Paul Bert
So, you might ask, how do you find your way through this market, and where do you start? While there is value in going simply to get lost, this won’t work if your goal is to really sort the treasure from the trash. It should help that the Puces de Saint-Ouen is divided into 14 separate markets, some of which generally have better quality items than others. The Puces website has a description of each market here.
Marché Paul Bert
October 6, 2014
It’s been three years since Paris food truck forerunner Le Camion Qui Fume hit the cobblestones of Europe’s culinary capital. Since then, the city of gourmet cuisine has experienced a revolution. More and more food trucks have joined the parade along the streets of Paris, invading the city with bistronomique burgers, kebabs, and bagels reminiscent of those in New York.
Just before lunchtime, these camions assemble at neighborhood markets to await hungry Parisians who are happy (or at least willing) to wait in line for a burger from Le Réfectoire or empañadas and helados from Clasico Argentina. Here are a few tried-and-true Parisian favorites to be enjoyed year-round.
September 30, 2014
Parc André Citroën
10% of all Parisians live in the 15th arrondissement, making it the most populous arrondissement in the city, with more citizens than the city of Bordeaux. They come because it’s easy, with spacious boulevards and lovely buildings. They stay because it is a vibrant neighborhood away from the hustle and bustle of all the tourist sights, with great restaurants, excellent public transportation, and plenty of entertainment.
September 24, 2014
From the outside, it looks like any other Parisian covered market. Wander through its romantic 19th century pavilions, however, and you’re transported to a hidden jungle within the Gothic heart of Paris. The sounds of traffic and crowds of tourists coming across the Pont des Arts are slowly drowned out by a piercing crescendo of birds calling from their cages: red and neon green parrots, lavender and turquoise parakeets, tangerine canaries, cooing doves, miniature cockatoos, and more.
The Marché aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux is one of the oldest markets in Paris. Located at the Place Louis-Lépine, it dates back to 1808, when Napoleon Bonaparte ruled as Emperor of France and implemented a number of upgrades to the city, including several different food markets, la Colonne Vendôme, l’Eglise de la Madeleine, and rue de Rivoli.
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 chocolat, 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: