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The Perfect Weekend Along Paris’ Canal St-Martin

Canal St Martin and Quai de la Seine Paris

Quai de la Seine

Every Sunday the city of Paris inhales deeply, taking a short break to live life at a different rhythm as shops close and entire neighborhoods are labeled pedestrian zones. Museums and monuments become a refuge for art lovers and sight-seeing tourists, while many Parisians head for the greener pastures of local parks.

A weekend along Paris' Canal Saint-Martin, an upcoming neighborhood with markets, boutiques, cafes, and more

A weekend along Paris' Canal Saint-Martin, an upcoming neighborhood with markets, boutiques, cafes, and more

Hôtel du Nord; Le Comptoir Général

The 15th-century canals in Paris’ 19th arrondissement, Canal St-Martin and Canal de l’Ourcq, are great areas to slowly drift into the relaxing weekend beat. Start your day at the Marché de Joinville, where vendors announce prices for perfect picnic pickings. If the day has promised sunshine, rent an electric boat from Marin d’Eau Douce and head north, swans to port and cormorant starboard as you savor your market fare and take in the display of the local street art scene unfolding in this urban countryside.

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Posted in Markets, Parisian Living | 1 Comment »

Signs of Spring in Paris: Asparagus & Daffodils, Fresh Market Produce & Sunny Picnics

Spring in Paris: Fresh flowers, seasonal fruits and vegetables, bike rides, and picnics in the sun

Spring is blossoming in Paris as sprigs of green sneak into our grey city, bringing us back to life after months spent under winter skies. As an opening act to the Lily of the Valley vendors in May, bunches of daffodils are now being hawked on street corners, in front of cafés and bistros, and in flower shops across the city. The cheerful flowers are the first sign of the transition towards spring for Parisians, who can’t help but bring a bunch home to brighten up their cozy apartments. 

Spring in Paris: Fresh flowers, seasonal fruits and vegetables, bike rides, and picnics in the sun

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Posted in Food, Markets, Parisian Living | 3 Comments »

Le Poutch: Coffee, Breakfast and Brunch on Paris’ Hip Canal Saint Martin

Visit Le Poutch Café for Breakfast, Brunch, or Lunch!, Inventive and Seasonal Food near Paris' Canal Saint Martin

Rife with hip cafés, the web of streets surrounding the Canal St. Martin are a hipster haven, boasting savvy coffee and lunch options to locals and visitors alike. Café Le Poutch may be new to the scene, but it’s already made 13, rue Lucien Sampaix its own.

Butternut squash quiche, savory muffins, or riz au lait with orange zest are just a glimpse of the culinary fare. Offering a rotating, seasonal menu and a commitment to serving up innovative recipes and vegetarian options, Le Poutch is sure to surprise you with something new.

Visit Le Poutch Café for Breakfast, Brunch, or Lunch!, Inventive and Seasonal Food near Paris' Canal Saint Martin

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Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 1 Comment »

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 »

Found: Authentic Mexican Cuisine in Paris

HiP Paris Blog, Best Mexican Restaurants, Casey Hatfield, Candelaria TacosCandelaria

When I spent a semester abroad in London in college, I desperately missed Mexican food. I remember asking a local if you could get it anywhere in the city. He replied “You mean like Doritos?” Obviously Mexican food was a long ways from catching on. Even though that was over 10 years ago, when I moved to Paris this year I came fully prepared to pine away for chunky guacamole flavored with lime and cilantro, tender pulled pork tacos and mouth-prickling margaritas. To my delight, and surprise, I’ve been able to find all this and more.

HiP Paris Blog, Best Mexican Restaurants, Casey Hatfield, Candelaria MenuCandelaria

There is a delicious and thriving Mexican food scene currently in Paris. While Parisians have been aware of so-called Tex-Mex for a while, the current crop of restaurants are serving more authentic Mexican-style street food and many are owned by people from Mexico and other parts of Latin America. Mil Amores Tortilleria, owned by a woman from Cancun and two partners, makes fresh corn tortillas daily and supplies many of the city’s best Mexican restaurants. You can even buy black beans at Bio c’bon. So the next time you get a hankering for carne asada or citrusy ceviche, don’t despair; try one of these restaurants.

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Posted in Food | 4 Comments »

On Becoming Parisian: 10 Signs I Belong in the City of Light

HiP Paris Blog, Becoming Parisian, meg hourihanLa 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.

HiP Paris Blog, Becoming Parisian, drburtoniHiP Paris Blog, Becoming Parisian, Roseval, Didier Gauducheau PL9A3093Drburtoni/ 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. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 8 Comments »

Paris on Two Wheels: Our Tips for Navigating the City of Light by Bicycle

HiP Paris Blog, Biking in Paris, Anna BronesAnna Brones

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.

bikes paris 4Anna Brones

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.

Montage 1Anna Brones

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.

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Posted in Parisian Living | 3 Comments »

Gluten-Free Dining and Bakeries in Paris: NoGlu and Helmut Newcake

Gluten Free French Eclairs – Helmut Newcake

Sans-gluten or gluten-free has not always been the easiest menu requirement to accommodate in Paris. As gluten intolerance gains visibility in everyday culture, it’s no surprise that gluten-free options are popping up all over, even here in Paris, the land of pastries.

NoGlu

The first of the two spots I’d like to share with you is Helmut Newcake. Helmut Newcake is Paris’s first 100% gluten-free pastry shop, located on the, ever so lovely, Rue Bichat right by the hip Canal Saint Martin. This cozy and relaxed tea parlor has more than just pastries; you can go for lunch, brunch, afternoon tea, or just to grab some food to go. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 11 Comments »

La Pinata: Pinatas Made By Prisoners Near Paris’ Canal Saint Martin

Parisian shops devoted entirely to a single specialty (like olive oil, honey, or communist literature) are considered obvious fixtures in an urban landscape where commercial efficiency is, if anything, an afterthought. So, when my roommate Winnie showed me a place on our street specializing in piñatas, of all things, my only thought was, “Of course. Naturally.” It was, incidentally, just across the street from our radical left-wing bookstore.

Winnie, a journalist, was covering the shop in a story with an unusual social twist. The piñatas, it turns out, are made by prisoners.

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Posted in Arts, Design, Events, Shopping | 10 Comments »

The Perfect Parisian Picnic: Our Top Spots

Paris Picnic by the Seine Ile de La CitéMark Nunez

Picnic season is in full swing in Paris, and because nearly everything (eating included) is better when done outdoors, now is the time to take advantage of the city’s myriad picnic spots. While lunch in Paris is often a serious sit-down affair, summer loosens people up, and you’ll notice everyone from schoolchildren to businessmen grabbing a sandwich and a spot on the nearest bench to mellow out for a bit.

Summer Picnic in Paris: Ile St LouisMark Nunez

And while benches and sandwiches are great, pro picnickers prefer to take it to the next level. We want real grass to sit on (I’ll make exceptions for the right cobblestones), hours to waste, an assortment of delicious things to sample, and lots of friends to come and go as they please. Oh, and lots of wine.

Many of my more memorable afternoons and evenings in Paris seem to have involved those elements. They often began somewhat spontaneously, and then suddenly, five hours had passed and we’d discussed everything from the latest exhibit at the Pompidou to the rise of bionic cats (my friends are a little weird). But this is what picnics are for—musing, lounging, making sense, not making sense, and practicing the ever-important art of doing nothing.

Summer Picnic in Paris SeineMark Nunez

Here are a few spots where picnickers of all kinds can find their bliss. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 5 Comments »