July 28, 2014
La Seine, meg hourihan
Falling in love with romance-infused Paris – the grandiose Haussmannian architecture, the Marais’ winding streets, and the city’s bistro scene – is easy. But if you’re not born here, living in Paris is another story. It’s a whole other lifestyle, a mentality. And although it is hard not to love Paris for its compelling beauty alone, not everyone takes to Parisian life like a duck to water. While most will relish in its temptations, others will see its grayer side. The very visible problem of homelessness, the significantly different humor, the mentality…even the party chitchat is different. The grimy metro, overflowing museums, and the onslaught of hipsters all take some getting used to as well. Paris may not be very far away from London, my hometown, but when I moved here, everything seemed far removed from what I knew. The unashamed indulgence in pleasure, the variety and standard of the food, the slower pace of life, the abundance of cultural activities, and the city’s manageable size are features I had a hard time finding elsewhere.
Drburtoni/ Roseval, Didier Gauchucheau
And then one day, I woke up Parisian. In other words, living a dichotomy of loving and hating the city, yelling at people for inconsiderate behavior on public transport, eating out most days, and when the sun shines, running to the nearest grassy spot no matter how crowded are now commonplace.
July 25, 2014
The summer is one of the best times to go out and explore the city in all its splendor. Unfortunately, some of the city’s best places for strolling often happen to be packed with Parisians and tourists alike. Here is a specific stroll to enjoy les beaux jours d’été without the crowds… And with some delicious delicacies to keep you fueled along the way!
There are lots of excellent food shops and markets in Paris, in addition to gorgeous parks. This stroll is perfect for the warmer months because it bypasses the summer closure of many of those great gastronomic shops, while evading the larger crowds camped out in the famous green spaces around the city. You’ll also work off any of the surplus calories along the way, or at least some of them. This walk through the 12th arrondissement is ideal for a picnic lunch or, if done in reverse, finishing the day with a glass of wine around the market.
July 21, 2014
You’re in Paris. The sun is out, a cool breeze is blowing, café terraces and park lawns are full of sunbathing Parisians. The city is waiting to be explored, and you got up early enough that the day seems endless. Today is the perfect day to ride a bicycle.
Riding a bike in Paris can in fact be glorious, but if you want to cycle in this city, get ready to do some work.
Despite all the romantic pictures you’ve seen of ladies in flowing skirts with flowers and baguettes in their quaint bike baskets, cycling in Paris isn’t always beautiful. It’s often fast, dirty and sometimes a bit harrowing. But it’s also rewarding. Because when the sunlight hits the buildings just right and you get into the flow of navigating a tight Parisian street on two wheels, life feels really good.
July 17, 2014
Every year, as the sun starts to sizzle, a picnic pandemic hits Paris. Although undeniably chic, the pique-nique parisien often comes with a lot of fuss. Those agonizingly slow-moving queues at the supermarket and the fight to find a decent grassy spot, can mean that by the time you actually sit down to eat you’ve lost your enthusiasm (and your appetite!)
So what’s the answer? Well, there’s one simple formula; fast food (real fast food, not McDo.) Paris’ street food scene has exploded in recent years, with a huge range of fresh and flavorsome options now available to Parisians a emporter. So here’s a guide to some of our favorite fast food take outs, all accompanied by a little-known lunch spot within a short walk, to ensure that perfect fast food, fuss-free Parisian picnic.
Burgers in the Marais
1) Blend burgers are some of the most notable on the ever-expanding Parisian burger scene. Made with locally sourced meat from one of the city’s best butchers, Yves-Marie le Bourdonnec, Blend doesn’t joke about fast food. Select your burger, fries and drink (not forgetting your preferred cuisson) and within minutes a fresh, cooked-to-order patty smelling tantalizingly tasty will appear before you.
July 15, 2014
There are few things in the world that make me happier than living in the 18th arrondissement. One could argue that it’s pretty great living anywhere in Paris, but there’s something about this quartier that has my heart forever. From the cinematic charm of Montmartre to the seductive side streets found beyond the Butte, this corner of of the city is full of friendly neighborhood addresses, unique boutiques, and rich cultural diversity.
Marche de Barbes
With the recent renovation of Le Louxor cinema (whose rooftop café offers magnificent views of the Sacre Coeur) increasing amounts of visitors are venturing to the foot of Boulevard Barbès, the entryway to the Goutte d’Or neighborhood. With its mosques, African markets, and North African pastry shops, this diverse and lively area has recently emerged as the city’s most eccentric up-and-coming neighborhood.
Sacre Coeur; Marche Dejean
Probably the most emblematic address of the Goutte d’Or is Thierry Roche’s Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or. Opened in 2012, the brasserie boasts the title of the city’s first microbrewery and has set an example for Ile-de-France brewers and Paris craft beer bars alike. Thierry takes inspiration from the diverse culture of the Goutte d’Or, using ingredients such a rooibus and kola nut in his beers, which can be found at nearby outdoor markets.
If you’re interested in finding your own inspiration at the market, visit Marché Dejean near the metro Chateau Rouge, rue Dejean. Open Tuesday to Saturday mornings, this chaotic jumble of a market is stuffed with overflowing baskets of exotic foods, fish heads, and cell phones of dubious origin. Get everything you need for a Senegalese feast or Cameroon cuisine. Here bartering is encouraged and the overall ambiance of the market transports you to another part of the world.
Get cosy with local shoppers and squeeze your way through Marché Barbès (Bld de la Chapelle, metro La Chapelle) on Wednesday or Saturday morning. Standard market stands such as fishmongers and cheese sellers are in the minority at this busy market, which reflects the ethnic diversity of the area. North African breads and pastries, inexpensive produce from abroad, mangoes and other foreign fruits lend an exotic air to this market, which draws deal seekers and tourists alike. An overwhelming aroma of mint accompanies your visit to Marché Barbès as you pass by piles of herbs and spices and items that likely “fell off a truck” before making it to the market.
Goutte d’Or is about to welcome a unique new market to its collection. Just down the street from the Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or is the future site of La Louve Coopérative, a Park Slope Food Coop inspired project set to open in June 2015. Watch this space for more information on this exciting addition to the list of “bio” shops in Paris.
In the meandering side streets around the historic Eglise Saint-Bernard de la Chapelle, you’ll find a selection of boutiques and bars that are a testament to the transformation of the neighborhood. Design team Cocobohème has their studio and showcase on rue de Jessaint, where you can shop for unique home decor, children’s clothes and toys, and handmade jewelry and accessories.
If you need a drink break after a day of shopping, pop into Le Tout Monde, a perfect spot for a pit stop and some small plates paired with natural wine. Recently open for lunch, keep this bar in mind for a break between boutiques or before a beer tasting!
For a proper sit down meal of tagine and mint tea, head to neighborhood favorite La Môme (16 rue Stephenson). An extensive menu of African specialties offers something for everyone (there’s even a vegetarian tagine option). Don’t miss out on the specialty La Môme beer that the Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or made especially for the restaurant!
If you’re weary of running around the city, opt for an indulgent afternoon and head to Azhar Hammam & Spa an affordable and authentic option for a traditional hammam experience. Enjoy a steam, massage, or mani-pedi that will refresh and restore, leaving you ready to explore some more!
The constantly growing scene of creative commerce and collaborations makes the Goutte d’Or neighborhood one to watch. Whether sipping on locally brewed beer or natural wine, catching a matinée, or shopping for unique handmade gifts, be sure to take pause and soak up the energy of one of the city’s most vibrant and swiftly changing neighborhoods.
- Le Louxor – 170 Boulevard Magenta, 75010 Paris. Tel: + 33 (0)1 44 63 96 96
- La Louve Cooperative – 61 rue de la Goutte D’Or, 75018 Paris.
- Cocoboheme – 22 rue Jessaint, 75018 Paris. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 62 40 60
- Le Tout Monde – 4 rue Affre, 75018 Paris. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 54 29 51
- Le Mome – 16 Rue Stephenson, 75018 Paris. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 23 35 64
- Azhar Hammam & Spa – 59 rue Stephenson, 75018 Paris. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 58 02 02
- For more tips on the 18ème arrondisement, check out My Parisian Life’s neighborhood round-up
- Chocolate & Zucchini’s guide to the best bio shops in Paris
- David Lebovitz writes about the Marché Barbès
July 3, 2014
With a menu that embraces the best of France and an approach to customer service that rejects the worst, Le Bon Georges is swiftly becoming a new neighborhood favorite in the 9th arrondissement.
Lunch service starts with a smile from a hostess and a seat in the sun-soaked, airy dining room where the attentive waitstaff takes over, buzzing between tables and sharing their excitement about the food they serve.
The reasonably priced lunch formule is 15 euro for the plat du jour with your choice of starter or desert. The price is right to entice locals who come on their lunch break, giving the restaurant a nice, neighborhood feel.
July 1, 2014
Naturally, the summer continues its music kick this month with some not-to-miss solo concerts, as well as a few festivals. This weekend, Macki Music Festival runs from the 4th – 6th and features acts like Blue Hawaii, Rejjie Snow, and Funkineven. Festival Soirs d’été picks up where Macki leaves off and runs from July 7 – 11, with shows like Klaxons and Kodaline.
The Peacock Society Festival, put on by We Love Art & Savoir Faire, comes to the Parc Floral from July 11 – 13 and boasts names like 1-800-Dianosaur, Brawther, and Zaltan. And finally, Festival FNAC Live wraps up the month from July 17 – 20, with three days of shows including MØ and Glass Animals.
June 26, 2014
Last summer, the boys behind Le Perchoir brought eating and drinking in Paris to new heights, offering visitors and locals alike a never-before seen view over the rooftops of Paris from the East.
Le Perchoir, the first rooftop bar of its kind in Paris coupled with a high-end restaurant quickly became the place to be throughout the summer season.
I spent many evenings on their rooftop sipping their cocktails and natural wines, sunny Sundays filled with their specialty côte de boeuf and food festivals like the Paris Pop Up that gathered the it crowd of Paris food & wine. Needless to say, I wasn’t the only one.
June 24, 2014
Regulated by French law since 1906, stores are only allowed to have sales twice a year in Paris.
When the Soldes begin, it is like hunting season, with each shopper tracking their prey.
This year, Les SOLDES begin June 25th and last one month. Here are some hints for getting ahead of the competition…
June 19, 2014
No matter how much I try to avoid it, I occasionally succumb to speaking in clichés regarding my fellow female Parisian citizens.
To recap: Parisian women don’t get fat, Parisian women look fabulous with minimal makeup, Parisian women are more rock and roll than their anglo-saxon counterparts. Unfamiliar with this last one? Allow me to explain.