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48 Hours in Venice: A Weekend of Italian Food, Art and Culture

HiP Paris Blog tells you how to spend 48 hours in VeniceAll’Arco – Brian D. Luster

Resembling a fish hooked by a fishing line, Venice is a mosaic of 118 small islands linked by hundreds of bridges. It’s so different from anywhere else in the world that it takes a lot longer than a few days to explore all its maze-like neighborhoods. However, the charm of this unique city can still be appreciated during a short visit provided you do your research and avoid tourist traps. Here are some suggestions for making the most of Venice in one weekend.

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Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Travel | No Comments »

Café Cour: A Hidden Pop-up with Terrace in Paris’ Marais

Café Cour: A Hidden Terrace in Paris' Marais

Is there anything more Parisian than lunch or drinks on a terrasse? The warmth of the sun offset by the breeze on your face, the tables spilling out onto the sidewalk…  It’s a perfect place to people-watch. But sometimes it’s nice to feel more secluded without having to move inside; that’s where the courtyard terrasse come in. Set just enough off the street to feel like you’re in a private space, it’s the perfect place for a summer apéro as the surrounding buildings create a cool oasis from the heat of the Parisian streets.

Café Cour: A Hidden Terrace in Paris' Marais

The Marais’ newest pop-up, Café Cour, offers exactly that. Opened the first of June and tucked away off of rue des Francs-Bourgeois in the heart of the neighborhood, the terrace offers half-sunlit, half-shaded seating up until around 17h, when the sun sinks just low enough to be hidden. There’s interior seating too, if you’re looking for a place to set up your computer and get some work done in a peaceful environment.

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Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews | 2 Comments »

Capucine: An Italian Café and Wine Bar Tucked Away in the 11ème

Capucine: An Clandestine Italian Café and Wine Bar in Paris' Faubourg Saint-Antoine

Emma Stencil

During a warm week in April I enjoyed a last meal at Paris’ favorite Italian restaurant, Caffè dei Cioppi, before it closed its doors for good. Although long-time fans of Fabrizio Ferrara’s flavorful cuisine were disappointed by the move, the good news is that the space has reopened as a relaxed Italian café and wine bar in the hands of Stefania Melis, already known to the Paris gastronomic scene as coupled with Simone Tondo of Roseval fame.

With the change of hands, the terrace tucked away in an alley off rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine hasn’t lost any of its charm. Folding metal tables and chairs are replaced by wicker stools and round café tables. A smart green awning reads Capucine in a curly script.

Capucine: An Clandestine Italian Café and Wine Bar in Paris' Faubourg Saint-Antoine

Melissa Leroux

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Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews, Wine | 1 Comment »

The Parisian’s Paris: Fabulous Dining Around Nation

The Parisian's Paris: Best Restaurants, Boutiques, and Bistros around Nation

Le Dalou

Do you remember the film 2 Days in Paris? I imagine if you’re reading this—the Francophile that you are—you are familiar with this movie. The scene in which French actress Julie Delpy narrates all of the arrondissements in Paris she had lived in struck me as grand, not realizing that five years after seeing the film I would be sharing this very narration.

The Parisian's Paris: Best Restaurants, Boutiques, and Bistros around Nation

Le Picotin

In the five years I have lived in Paris, I’ve lived in the 15th, the 3rd, the 4th, Oberkampf (twice), stayed in the 12th and the 13th, and even had a stint in Vincennes before settling down in Nation (also the 12th).  When my husband introduced the idea of checking out this residential enclave, especially after having resided in the more popular and bohemian areas, I couldn’t help but wonder if we were still going to be within Paris city limits and if my friendships were going to become long distance.

The Parisian's Paris: Best Restaurants, Boutiques, and Bistros around Nation

Le Picotin

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Posted in Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews, Shopping | 3 Comments »

Inaro: Local, Artisanal, and Organic Small Plates and Wine by Paris’ Canal St. Martin

Inaro, Tables

Opened in June of 2012, Inaro, a cosy restaurant specializing in apéro dinatoire style dining, has recently made itself more available to neighbors and lovers of all things local. Starting this month, the space is open in the afternoon, providing French-origin lunch options with a menu that is entirely locally sourced. Organic bread and artisanal ingredients are available for take away or to enjoy sur place in the comfortable dining space, which is lined with wood brought from Brittany and constructed by owner Johan Bonnet’s carpenter uncle.

Inaro, Aperitif

At Inaro, the constantly changing seasonal menu is accompanied by a wine list that favors organic and sustainably produced wines. Working with small, independent producers is at the heart of the restaurant’s philosophy (despite the fact that Nespresso managed to secure a place at the espresso machine, a familiar elephant in the room for dining establishments in Paris) and the perfect-for-sharing menu makes this a great spot for a quick drink or a laid-back dinner.

Inaro, Interior

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Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | No Comments »

Ici-même + Gallerie Graphem: Wine Meets Art in Paris’ 12th Arrondissement

Ici Meme Counter

What happens when two fine arts graduates of the prestigious École du Louvre team up with a French wine expert? A cadre made in French heaven: a wine shop art gallery hybrid for enthusiasts who like their Sancerre with a side of up-and-coming art. Ici-même + Gallerie Graphem, located steps away from the manicured gardens of the Promenade Plantée, finds itself a home in this bohème corner of the 12th arrondissement.

Ici Meme, Tables

Art directors Fabienne Lafaye and Claire Aimonier-Davat, who started their careers in fine art galleries throughout Paris, conceptualized the adjoining Gallerie Graphem. Through their experience in the art world, they have been able to cultivate relationships with artists from all over Europe who have been invited to display their work at exhibitions booked through 2015. During their residency, artists are invited to bond the two spaces with a light sketch trailing from the gallery into the wine shop.

Ici Meme, Montage Interior

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Posted in Arts, Restaurant Reviews, Wine | No Comments »

Slowing Down: The Art of the Apéro in Paris

Apero Hour: drinking in paris cafeFrench apéro cafe scene, Paris. Mecredis

If there’s something the French know how to do well, it’s give themselves a break (or rather, a pause). They see downtime as a preventative measure, a means to avoiding exasperation (as opposed to an emergency response to it). Whereas many of us wear ourselves so thin that we desperately need whatever it is (a break, a drink, a vacation), in France, it’s more about “we deserve this” than “we need this.”

L’heure de l’apéro (the French equivalent of cocktail hour) is the moment when the French consciously create some space between the workday and the dinner hour, demonstrating their talent for slowing down and, somehow, miraculously expanding time. On nice days, the apéro coincides with the moment when the city is suddenly bathed in that rosy, only-in-Paris light, and you suddenly feel like you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be in the world.

France Apero on the SeineNon-traditional apéro settings are also appropriate: river banks, parks, benches… Boklm

Practically speaking, though, the idea of the apéro (a colloquial form of apéritif) is to whet the appetite for the meal to come. (The word comes from the latin aperire, which means to open). When at a café or bar, it’s typical to have glass of wine or champagne, a beer, or a kir (white wine with a splash of Crème de Cassis). Old-school traditionalists go for a pastis (an anise-flavored liqueur mixed with water and ice), and among my friends, Lillet (a sweet wine infused with citrus liqueur) has taken off of late. Take note: l’heure de l’apéro is not a time to pound American-style cocktails, which makes sense, considering a whiskey sour will do little to prep your palette for any kind of serious dégustation. And while cocktail culture is on the rise in France, mixed drinks have not historically been part of the French tradition. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 13 Comments »

Vin Chaud on a Winter Afternoon

Nichole Robertson (of Little Brown Pen) waxes nostalgic for afternoons spent in the Marais drinking vin chaud. On days when it’s too cold to go out, try her recipe and indulge at home!

chalkboardsPhoto courtesy of Little Brown Pen

Text by Nichole Roberton

Last night’s crisp air sparked a memory of sipping vin chaud on cold Paris afternoons.

Whenever Liam (just 18 months at the time) would fight his afternoon nap, we’d strap him into the stroller and head in the direction of our favorite cafe a few blocks away. He typically fell asleep on the way there, giving Evan, Alexander and me the rare opportunity to sit down like civilized human beings and enjoy a hot drink while he snoozed in the stroller. Alexander sipped hot chocolate and colored, and Evan and I engaged in our usual debate: The responsible choice of 3pm coffee? Or the not-so-responsible choice of 3pm mulled wine?

There were two benefits to choosing wine over coffee (cmon, you knew we chose wine, right?). Continue Reading »

Posted in Food | 4 Comments »