May 16, 2016
Paris abounds with design galleries, chic clothing boutiques and tile-floored bistros serving market-fresh cuisine, but rarely do you find more than one together under the same roof. Merci is a delightful exception.
Founded in 2009 by Bernard and Marie-France Cohen, Merci is a concept store that rolls the best of fashion, design, household goods, lighting, and lunch into one stunning space in the Haut Marais neighborhood. Spanning three light-filled floors of a former wallpaper factory, the gallery-cum-boutique is run a bit like a magazine: roughly 15 “exhibitions” held throughout the year highlight diverse themes that have included herring, urban sports, wax-dyed batiks, and urban gardening.
April 26, 2016
I desperately missed Mexican food when I moved to Paris from the United States twelve years ago. Now there are plenty of taquerias and places riffing on contemporary Mexican cuisine, but Café Chilango, which opened in June of 2014, remains one of the finest.
April 21, 2016
I recently found myself strolling near the Place des Victoires, a business district that appeared to have closed for the day. Continuing in the direction of the more promising Galerie Vivienne, my date and I spotted a 1950s-style café with mosaic tile floors, Formica table tops, and primary-color paint. We were dubious, but hungry, so we stepped in, pleased to find that behind Le Bougainville’s near-empty café was a welcoming restaurant with a trove of pleased diners.
December 15, 2015
Paris is home to a thriving, expanding scene when it comes to craft coffee, beer, and natural wines. However, despite evolutions in how the city’s residents and visitors eat and drink, the setting in which we enjoy these items rarely strays from the standard model. Enter any craft coffee shop and you’ll like have a choice of locally sourced cookies, or the more standard croissant or pain au chocolat to enjoy in a small, sparsely decorated space which incorporates innovative seating options to accommodate the hoards of self-employeds and bloggers who flock there. Standing-room-only is often the case at the city’s craft beer bars, where beer geeks are equipped with pints and perhaps a coveted bowl of roasted peanuts to go with.
December 1, 2015
Long-time friends Marion and Laura couldn’t have found a better spot for Myrthe, the half-cantine, half-épicerie they opened in December 2014. Sandwiched between specialty coffee shop Ten Belles and lush florist Bleuet Coquelicot, Myrthe is one of the Canal St-Martin’s newest tenants. And it’s a great fit for the area. In addition to serving sandwiches, salads, and gluten-free pastries on-site, Myrthe offers a selection of take-away apéro baskets that demand to be eaten canal-side. “The hardest part about opening a business in Paris is finding the right spot. We got really lucky with this one,” says Marion.
November 12, 2015
Le Marais is considered by many to be the dining capital of Paris with choices abound. Varying from take-out hot dogs on the corner of rue Vieille du Temple to falafels on the iconic rue des Rosiers to up-and-coming hipster hangouts where the design is equally as important as the menu, choosing a place to dine is a culinary experience in itself. One group of French restaurateurs with a penchant for North American travel decided what the chic quartier needed was a splash of something different, and opened a lobster joint.
Steering away from the opulence that could be equated with going out for lobster in Paris and taking a cue from Northeast lobster restaurants they frequented on their travels, friends Damien Borjesson, Remy Bougenaux, Vivien Mathieu, and Louis Kerveillant opened Les Pinces (meaning “claws” in French) in November 2014.
November 10, 2015
Paris may be experiencing unseasonably warm and sunny weather at the moment, but we’re still readying ourselves for the chilly months to come and dishing on our favorite addresses serving up boeuf bourguignon, a comforting winter French favorite. Enjoy! -Erin
Julia Child immortalized boeuf bourguignon in featuring it on her first French cooking show. At the start of the episode, she says in her distinct high-pitched trill, “it’s a wonderful show to begin our series on because it shows you so many useful things about French cooking.” Indeed by watching the 30-minute segment, a must-see on YouTube, you’ll learn how to brown meat, braise onions, sauté mushrooms, and make a wine sauce. However, it’s also clear this is a recipe that requires time and patience. “People don’t make it right because it takes too much time” is a phrase I heard often during visits to Burgundy, the birthplace of the beloved French dish. Luckily there are some places that are getting it right.
November 3, 2015
One of my favorite memories of Café de la Nouvelle Mairie in the 5th arrondissement is from Beaujolais Nouveau night in 2014. Tucked away on a quiet street just behind the Pantheon, Café de la Nouvelle Mairie only claims a small sidewalk terrasse as its outdoor space, yet when things get lively – and many an evening they do – wine drinkers and bons vivants spill out into the street and onto the small, tree-lined island that separates the occasional two-way traffic.
Traditional bistrot fare paired with an extensive list of natural wines make the Café de la Nouvelle Mairie a recommended addition to your Paris itinerary any night, but for Beaujolais Nouveau I can’t think of anywhere else in the city I’d rather go. The annual event, which is held on the third Thursday of November, celebrates the first wine that is bottled from that year’s grape harvest. The young wines are enjoyed as an extended celebration of the harvest season and all the wine to come.
October 13, 2015
It’s an absolute delight that, even after living here for almost a decade, Paris still surprises me. Sometimes the surprises are unwelcome; Parisians living up fully to their reputation of rudeness, the extent to which dealing with administration here can be Kafkaesque, or having a pigeon swan dive you as you ride your bike up Boulevard Barbès, to name a few. But most often these surprises are the kind that remind me why I moved my life to Paris.
Le Procope, a restaurant located in the touristy Odéon area, was my most recent unexpected discovery and a perfect example of how Paris is a city of hidden treasures. Founded in 1686, the site holds the honor of being the city’s oldest café. In fact, it was the first respectful address in Paris where you could get a coffee in good company, thanks to founder Francesco Procopio. A native Italian, Procopio came to France at an early age and, much like your average expat blogger today, got totally into the food scene. Coffee had arrived in France from the Middle East in 1644 and small coffee shops opened in Paris from that time on. Cutting his teeth at one of these early cafés, Procopio set out on his own, buying up several houses on the block where Le Procope still stands.
October 6, 2015
With its place firmly staked as one of the most happening areas of Paris, the 11th arrondissement does not lack in new, fresh spots to eat or drink. But with so many locations cropping up seemingly daily, all filled with inspiration spanning the globe, it’s nice to find a place aiming to keep alive the culture that the French people love so dearly. Tucked away in a nondescript side street off of the southern end of boulevard Voltaire, À La Française is a very French neighborhood favorite with a twist: incredible craft cocktails at exceptionally reasonable prices.
Owner Stephen Martin got his start in the restaurant industry at the age of 17, and has worked in numerous high-profile bars in France and elsewhere in Europe. He began to notice, however, that there was a lack of the true presence of French culture in bartending, so he dove into the project of rediscovering the art of classic French cocktails. Armed with his research and an impressive collection of cocktail books- some dating back to 1850- he opened À La Française to bring the Paris bar scene back to its formidable roots.