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Why Visit Paris? For The Chocolate, Of Course

cafepetitgateau

There are many different reasons people fall in love with Paris: the art and culture; the beauty and history; the fashion and femme fatales. Moi? I can think of no bigger, better, more divine seductress than the chocolate.

Cocoa is the food of the gods, and the French unabashedly worship at its altar. For nearly four centuries, they’ve been evolving the humble brown cacao seed into something decadent, transporting and otherworldly. You can get chocolate in liquid, molten or frozen form. Sculpted into a stiletto—or a squirrel.

As a single-origin bar (tablette) or a decadent box (un ballotin) of many splendored flavors. In fact, in Paris you can toss a truffle in nearly any direction and hit a chocolatier. But don’t leave it to fate. Get yourself to any of these 11 chocolatiers for an unforgettable Parisian experience.

vincen-t & yuichi sakuraga

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Posted in Food | 13 Comments »

Le Pantruche & Aux Deux Amis Are Paris’ Newest Scene-Stealers

When you’ve lived in Paris awhile, dining options can become a little, shall we say, lackluster. Don’t get me wrong—it doesn’t get much more delicious than French cuisine, bien sur. But one can only eat so many chevre chaud salads, salmon tartares and steak frites before ennui descends.

Thank goodness this past year has ushered in several exciting restaurant openings with creative cooking and cool scenes on equal display. Here are two to try right now.

The Scene: Le Pantruche, 3 rue Victor-Massé, 9eme Down the street from Le Lautrec; around the corner from Hotel Amour; not far from rue des Martyrs—in other words, the neighborhood of the moment. But instead of a feverish see-and-be-seen vibe, La Pantruche exudes smart and quiet elegance—c’est branché all the way.

The Set-Up: The compact 34-top dining room is dark but warm, thanks to dim lighting and natural wood banquettes. Support poles appliquéd with mirror chips glitter like disco balls, bringing a delicious taste of the neighborhood’s tawdriness inside. But the convivial-meets-cool vibe is best brought to life by the charming service, led by Edouard Bobin. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 8 Comments »

Once a Local, Now a Tourist: Amy Thomas’ Impossible One-Week Paris Itinerary

Aux Deux Amis

The beauty of any great city is that you never “finish” it. There’s always a new corner to explore, a windy street to be discovered, a café you wonder how in the world you missed.

Before I left Paris, I made peace with the fact that there was no way I would tackle everything on my to-do list (nor, my list of must-eats). It was partly to keep me sane in the frenzied last days of packing up one life to return to another. But it was also a way of reassuring myself that I would return to Paris. I would get dressed up for a ballet at Opera Garnier. I would stumble into a subterranean jazz club. Angelina’s obscenely thick chocolat chaud would once again deliciously coat my teeth and send me off in an orbit of bliss.

A bike near Notre Dame and Merci store

Now I’m on the cusp of returning to Paris—but only for a week. As a tourist, I want to leave my schedule loose enough for spontaneous explorations (which are more magical in Paris than any other city) and let my friends guide me to everything that is new and hot since I left (Saturne? Grazie?). But certain destinations and activities are non-negotiable. With my first post-expat visit on the horizon, here is what I’m most excited about. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 10 Comments »

Paris Dining: An Impromptu First Date at Café Constant

Spring is right around the corner, which makes me reminisce about last spring, when I headed to Paris and fell seriously in L-O-V-E. And not with a charming wine bar, or a crooked side street, or a crazy-flavored macaron—but this time, with a real live man. How novel!

I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I left my apartment that morning, but by evening, it was clear that I was on a first date with the soon-to-be love of my life. We had hung out a few times before, but (save for the hideous fluorescent lights that signal closing time at La Perle) always under the cover of night. It had been all moonlight and streetlamps and the dull glow of limestone against the black Parisian sky. Under those conditions, I could pretty much have fallen in love with a rabid possum.

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Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews | 8 Comments »

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