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Le Quartier d’Aligre: A Foodie Haven Near Bustling Bastille

Erin Dahl shares her favorite addresses in Paris' Quartier d'Aligre on HiP Paris.

Blé Sucré, Erin Dahl

The Quartier d’Aligre is one of my favorite pockets of Paris, and one I am lucky enough to call home. Located just southeast of Bastille, the area has a little bit of everything: bustling shops on rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine (including a Marks & Spencer and sizeable Monoprix) and easy metro access, but also calm streets and a true neighborhood feel. I even brought my caviste a portion of blanquette de veau a few weeks back. The beloved Marché d’Aligre, a lively daily market located on/around the Place d’Aligre, is only the start. Here are some of my other favorite addresses:

Erin Dahl shares her favorite addresses in Paris' Quartier d'Aligre on HiP Paris.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

My Montmartre: Food, Coffee, Shopping & More

Montmartre Roundup

I have a confession to make. Even though I’ve spent a good portion of my adult life exploring Paris, I’d never dedicated ample time to discovering Montmartre. Sure, I’d seen all the “must-see” spots – I had climbed the endless steps to Sacré-Coeur, bought a still-wet canvas at Place du Tetre, gazed upon the moulins, and even visited Amélie’s favorite spots. However, it wasn’t until this past trip that I truly experienced the neighborhood (thanks to a stay at this incredible apartment), and subsequently fell in love with it. Here are my favorite addresses for an ideal day touring the famed butte.

Montmartre RoundupMontmartre Roundup

Cafe Marlette, Cuillier

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Posted in Reader Tips & Reviews, Restaurant Reviews | 2 Comments »

The Best (Organic) Bread in Paris

The best organic bakeries in Paris, serving up baguettes and pastries that are healthy as well as delicious

Maison Kayser

Healthy, organic food is sweeping through Paris in the form of health food stores, juice bars, and vegetarian cafés, and not even boulangeries are immune to this food craze. The city’s top bakers are making baguettes and other loaves in biologique (organic) varieties in an effort to offer healthier products and protect the environment. Those who come to Paris hoping to forget about their diets and indulge in the city’s legendary baguettes and pastries should not be dismayed; the switch to organic flour doesn’t mean a sacrifice in taste.

The best organic bakeries in Paris, serving up baguettes and pastries that are healthy as well as delicious

Du Pain et Des Idées

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Posted in Food, Markets | 3 Comments »

10 Reasons to Love August in Paris

HiP Paris Blog, August in Paris, Isabel Miller-Bottome plages, pause

Paris Plages/Pause Cafe, Isabel Miller-Bottome

For those who cherish the peaceful atmosphere resulting from the mass exodus of holiday-goers, August is Paris’ most prized month. In the past, I haven’t always embraced this sentiment, mainly because I love the charge of the city. I adore the hustle and bustle of the busy streets; the fashionable Parisians strutting down the sidewalk, chatting over a glass of wine or coffee on café terrasses, and shopping in the stylish boutiques. However, perhaps these August-lovers have it right? Here are 10 reasons to convince any reluctant critics (myself once included) why August is the best month to be in Paris:

HiP Paris Blog, August in Paris, Isabel Miller-Bottome, reuilly, vosges

Jardin de Reuilly/Place des Vosges, Isabel Miller-Bottome

1. There’s so much going on for free

Free movies, free concerts, free exercise lessons, free…! Your social calendar will be packed with the outdoor cinema screenings at la Villette or the Clair de Lune festival, pétanque or dancing at the Canal de l’Ourcq, running on Les Berges, and more. It might just be the best month to be in Paris on a budget, and since the weather tends to be nice you can save on dining costs by picnicking.

HiP Paris Blog, August in Paris, Palmyre, Lucernaire 5,4

Le Lucernaire, Briag Courteaux

2. You can actually get a table en terrasse

I noticed the other day when scoping out the cafés on rue Montorgueil at the peak of lunch hour that there were a surprisingly large number of tables available. And same luck at apéro; we had our pick of the usually highly coveted tables. Next I plan to try some of the notoriously tough-to-get-into venues like le Perchoir; perhaps we’ll have repeat good fortune.

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Posted in Parisian Living | 1 Comment »

Au Revoir Paris, Bonjour NYC: What I’ll Miss and What I’ll Embrace

Jenny and David enjoying l’heure bleue in An Education

Once you’re familiar with the sweet life in Paris, it’s no easy thing to leave. After all, when every day is filled with arresting beauty, when all five senses get worked over like nowhere else in the world, when you’ve mastered the art of lingering for hours at the dinner table, the lunch table, on the river bank, beside the canal… well, where do you go from here?

Lucky for me, the answer is New York. And as loath as I am to leave some things behind (I’m talking to you, pain au chocolat), I’m equally excited to get back to certain creature comforts.

A stroll along the Seine and a vintage Tabac sign (pkabz, slimjim)

What I’ll Miss

Boulangeries

More specifically, the smell of boulangeries; of butter getting baked into millions of flaky croissant layers in the morning and of baguettes being pulled fresh from the oven each night. Getting smacked in the face with those delicious aromas is almost better than eating the warm, yeasty treats. Almost.

Velibs

It’s like being part of a symphony, riding around Paris on a Velib. You weave around delivery trucks, buzz past monuments, zip across bridges, and coast beneath dancing trees; your heart and legs pumping, spirits soaring, and then, the finale: you park outside Ladurée on the Champs-Elysées and reward yourself with un petit gateau.

L’Heure Bleue

What is it about this “hour” in Paris? Walking in the quiet side streets or staring out the window in the evening is nothing short of magic. It just doesn’t exist as beautifully, or linger as teasingly, anywhere else in the world.

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Posted in Parisian Living, Travel | 15 Comments »

Rosa Jackson stays in Erica’s Haven in Paris Montmartre Flat

Rosa Jackson, the fabulous food writer and chef, is based in Nice where she conducts market tours and succulent Provençal cooking classes. She travels to Paris frequently (as one must) in order to keep up with the restaurant scene. Last year, she stayed at Haven in Paris’ very own Houdon flat. This lovely write-up ensued on her blog

Vacation Rental Paris Montmartre Houdon

I have a vision of my perfect Paris apartment. It would be high up – stairs don’t scare me – with a small balcony and a sweeping view over the zinc rooftops, punctuated here and there with church spires and glimmering domes. There would be parquet floors, big windows on both sides (east and west, ideally) and a sunny kitchen that opens onto the living space. Oh, and it would have central heating.

When I first laid eyes on Erica Berman’s apartment just south of Abbesses Métro station, I felt slightly breathless. That might have had something to do with the five flights of stairs required to reach it, but it also came from the certainty that this was my dream apartment. I loved the antique table and mismatched chairs, I loved the contemporary paintings and well-tended plants, and I especially loved the vintage wooden pâtisserie sign above the kitchen, which Erica found at a market in Provence.

Vacation Rental Paris Apartment Montmartre Houdon

It’s no surprise that Erica’s flat should seem so effortlessly tasteful, given that she is the owner of the hippest apartment rental agency around: Haven in Paris. I first met Erica when she came to do one of my food tours in Nice, and I immediately realized that we had many things in common: our love of Paris, Provence and Italy (especially Liguria), our fondness for off-the-beaten track bed-and-breakfasts, and our insatiable curiosity about new Paris restaurants.

When I dropped by her Paris apartment before a meal at the nearby bistro Le Cul de Poule (here is a report on the Haven in Paris blog), she beckoned me onto the balcony for a glass of Italian wine. Erica has lived in Paris for 17 years and there is almost nothing she doesn’t know about the city, as proved by her frequently updated blog. We chatted about good and not-so-good meals she has had in the Pigalle and Montmartre area: her current favorites are Le Miroir (94 rue des Martyrs, 18th) and Guilo Guilo (8 rue Garreau, 18th), the second run by a renowned chef from Kyoto.

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Posted in Homes, Parisian Living, Travel | 8 Comments »

Go Organic in Paris

Guest Blogger, Laura, from the super cool blog My Mélange has shared her favorite organic hotspots in the city of lights. With more and more need to pay attention to the environment, we thank My Mélange for sharing these wonderful organic markets, restaurants and shops for us to explore. Let us know your Paris organic favorites to add to the list. Thanks!

Erica salad in MontmartreErica Berman

These days it’s all about going green, natural, organic, or anything else that is friendly to the environment (and to our bodies).  When you’re home, it’s easy to support local farms through farmers’ markets or buy organic goods from the supermarket, but traveling internationally could pose a threat to your health-conscious lifestyle and eating habits…unless you know where to go to find organic products and eco-friendly services.

In 2009, with the help of President Nicholas Sarkozy, Paris became proactive in supporting organic agriculture.   The government cut subsidies given to large farms and redirected the financial aid to smaller organic and family owned farms.  Paris has been the center of these organic or biologique (or bio) changes and boasts a number of successful organic and natural supermarkets, bakeries, restaurants, wine shops, and even hotels.

Little Brown Pen  GreenLittle Brown Pen

For those of you lucky enough to rent an apartment and enjoy an extended stay in The City of Light, grocery shopping is a must. Biocoop and Naturalia are two organic supermarkets in the Paris region.  Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Green, Parisian Living | 8 Comments »

Let Them Eat Cupcakes: Paris’ Best American Sweets

Little Miss CupcakeLittle Miss Cupcake

As a New Yorker, I find it equal parts utter insanity and totally logical that as soon as I moved to Paris last year—with visions of millefeuilles, pains au chocolat, artisan chocolates and good old Nutella street crepes dancing through my head—I wound up Velib’ing through the back streets of the eleventh arrondissement seeking the city’s then cupcakes-only bakery. It took a few wrong turns down some side streets, but I found Cupcakes & Co, with sunlight happily spilling across the sole café table—an auspicious signpost pointing to the delicious display case of American delights.

cupcakes-and-co-3Cupcakes & Co

Rebecca and Maggie Bellity, the two sisters who opened Cupcakes & Co in 2008, pride themselves on using natural and organic baking ingredients for their petits gateaux. And even though the concept arose from their travels to the states, their recipes are all French. They’ve dreamed up combinations like jasmine and vanilla, lemon and coconut, coffee and hazelnut and over a dozen others that set my heart racing and ensured many weeks of repeat business.

That was well over a year ago. And as my American obsession has waned (grace à new obsessions with macarons, violet éclairs and salted caramels), the Parisians’ has exploded. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food | 23 Comments »

Pastry Hopping: A Sweet Tour Around the Faubourg Saint Antoine

Paris may be the best place in the world to visit if you’ve got a sweet tooth. Blocks lined with patisseries, crèpe stands on street corners, butter-filled pastries for breakfast… Amy Thomas knows some great spots for off-the-radar sweet fixes, and she shares her favorite picks with us here. Happy eating!

Amy Thomas - Cupcakes & CoAmy Thomas

Just as there are many must-know-slash-in-the-know restaurants that pepper the 11th and 12th arrondissements—Bistrot Paul Bert, Le Square Trousseau, La Gazetta, to name a few—there are also some killer sweet spots in this fringy neighborhood straddling le Faubourg Saint Antoine that are too good to be left unmentioned.

Perhaps the most notable is Blé Sucré, which was founded by ex-Bristol patissier Fabrice Le Bourdat. I’ve always wanted to treat myself to one of his sweets, but had previously only had the opportunity to ogle them through the window. But as I primed myself for this sweet tour, I did proper blogosphere research and arrived at the petite patisserie with a shortlist: the pain au chocolat, madeleine and financier. Still, it was a tortuous decision and the staff graciously humored me as I bounced between the rows of chocolate éclairs, raspberry bressons and chaussons aux pommes. Finally, I settled on the madeleine. Sold in packages of four, they’re moist and light; dense with some crispness along the ridge; and, coated with a thin layer of sugar glaçage, super satisfying.

Amy Thomas - MadeleineAmy Thomas

Then it was on to La Ruche à Miel, a North African patisserie/salon de thé on rue d’Aligre. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food | 4 Comments »