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Favorite Paris Spots: The Magic of Deyrolle’s Parisian Taxidermy

In the town where I grew up, there was a small, mostly underwhelming children’s science museum. The best part of it by far was its taxidermy Bengal tiger, which was positioned—perhaps strategically—just around a sharp turn in a hallway.

If you turned the corner unaware, it would inevitably scare the bejeezus out of you. And even if you knew it was there (as I did), rounding that corner was still a heart-pounding, adrenal experience. What if the tiger is alive this time? Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 9 Comments »

A Haven in Montmartre: Photographer Jenny Jimenez stays at Houdon

Jenny Jimenez, a talented Seattle wedding and portrait photographer, recently stayed at Haven in Paris’ Houdon Montmartre 1-bdrm. Since a photographer can never leave her camera for long, Jenny and her husband Robin Dupuy logged their Paris stay through these amazing pictures… Which we’re happy to share with you now! Be sure to also check out her great blog and pics from her recent trip to Iceland.

Staying at Houdon was a great opportunity to live life as a Parisian would, with our own neighborhood boulangerie around the corner along with other locally-owned specialty shops.  Two days of our one week stay were spent walking around Montmartre and getting to know the ins & outs of our little Abbesses part of it…

View from the Houdon balcony
Winding 5 floor walk up to the apartment. It became old hat by the second day. My buns thank you
Left: our bright, naturally lit kitchen with lots of helpful amenities. Right: our greeter Evelyn cut a bouquet of fresh flowers to welcome us
The best baguette in Paris, from Le Grenier à Pain

Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Reader Tips & Reviews | 16 Comments »

A Day in the Life: Paris vs. New York

I’m recently back in New York from Paris and am suffering a particularly acute bout of withdrawal. I think part of the problem is that the structure of my days changes completely when I cross the ocean. On the European side, time expands and flows and I rarely even know (or care) what day it is. Here, on the rational side of the Atlantic, I’m over-scheduled from morning until night. It goes something like this.

Janelle Mentesana - Paris streetJanelle Mentesana

New York Day
• Wake up when my alarm goes off (or when my upstairs neighbor’s alarm goes off—the perils of living in a poorly insulated industrial loft).
• Go running, as need to expend all energy for the day before settling into a chair for the next ten hours.
• Eat cereal. Healthy, practical cereal.
• If have time, stop for an espresso at Euro-favorite Cafe Gitane. Pretend to be Parisian. It’s not the same.
• Brave the Canal Street crush, which involves dodging aggressive pashmina vendors and dozens of dawdling tourists.
• During overcrowded subway ride, contemplate moving back to Paris for the thousandth time. Listen to Serge Gainsbourg to twist the knife in my heart even more.
• Get to work. In essence, I like my job, but I have such restlessness and A.D.D. that it kills me to think I have to spend a day in a chair, when I could otherwise be spending it roaming quiet Parisian streets.
• Post-work, sprint to event / drinks / dinner. Inevitably show up late. Friends annoyed, because they won’t give you a table in New York until all party members arrive. Friends even more annoyed when I accidentally double air kiss them.
• Then stay out too late.
• Then go to bed, way too late.

Dave Bloom New YorkDave Bloom

Paris Day

• Go wandering. On my last trip, I loved heading south from Belleville, crossing the Canal St. Martin, and conveniently finding myself at Du Pain et Des Idées, one of Paris’ best rustic boulangeries.
• Decadent pain au chocolat in hand, I begin my loitering for the day by lounging on the edge of the canal.
• Get restless, so wander through the Marais, stopping at Cafeotheque for a café du jour, before strolling across the Pont Louis-Philippe to the Ile St. Louis, where I install myself at the western tip of the island and gaze off into space for a while.
• When restless again, meander to the Left Bank, stopping to take in the Institut du Monde Arabe, and then strolling over to my old neighborhood, where I stop in at the market at Place Monge and the traiteurs along rue Mouffetard. One shop owner still refers to me as “la plus belle” whenever I see him (I’m always up for some good French-style ego-stroking).
• Inevitably end up lounging by the Fontaine des Médicis, stopping in for macarons at Pierre Hermé, poking around Repetto, and making a pit-stop at Deyrolle (to fuel my inexplicable taxidermy obsession).
• Before you know it, it’s time for an apéro. Convene with friends at Le Baron Rouge for wine. Everyone will be late; no one will care.
Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 15 Comments »

Stranded in Paris: How to Take Advantage of Every Extra Moment

globe-500All photos by Maggie Battista, except where noted

The volcanic eruption in Iceland has changed my (and likely your) travel plans pretty dramatically. I was supposed to be back with the husband in cold and rainy New England but am instead stranded in bright and sunny Paris. Despite feeling pretty helpless, as you may imagine, I am not getting much sympathy from friends and family. Taking the bull by the horns, I have decided to make the most of every extra moment in this perfect city. I’m sharing my five-step plan with you, with the hopes that it may help those of you also stranded in Paris or anywhere in Europe.

laiterie-0276-500

1. Revisit your favorite restaurant and hope for a sweet homecoming. I’ve visited some fabulous restaurants during my stay in Paris, only to be warmly welcomed (most of the time) upon my second visit. The staff at Le Miroir, Glou and, especially, Le Pure Café have been attentive, sweet and delighted by my return visits. However, I only just discovered my favorite restaurant in Paris a few days ago. La Laiterie Sainte Clotilde (64 Rue de Bellechasse 75007 Paris, Tel: 01 45 51 74 61) is a little neighborhood joint, only four blocks from my flat, run by an unlikely duo – she’s an experienced grandmother-like host, he’s a young, cool bartender/server. Together, they run an efficient, candle-lit, warm diner that whips up nine seasonal comfort dishes (three entrees, three plats, three desserts) and easy, affordable wine. I felt so at home here, so much so that I’m hoping a return trip will ease my travel plan pain. If it doesn’t, I’m pretty certain a return trip to my favorite Paris wine bar, Le Baron Rouge, will do the trick. Wine cures all ills, right?

Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Shopping, Travel | 6 Comments »

Playtime in Paris: Kid-Friendly Activities for the Whole Family

Erica Berman - BonpointErica Berman- Bonpoint Boutique Paris rue de Tournon

There’s no doubt about it: Parisian kids have a good thing going on. They’re well-dressed, well-fed and, by virtue of being French, are destined for terminal coolness.

I used to spend afternoons at a little park in the 5th where the same group of schoolchildren always had their post-lunch play hour. In retrospect, I probably looked incredibly creepy as I sat there observing them, but I was totally mesmerized by the scene: their demeanor (distinctly Parisian, but innocently so), their adorable school clothes, their clear, deliberate French. I’m convinced that Paris—with all of its sensory pleasures—would be a fascinating place to grow up.

KtylerconkKtylerconk

But what about Paris for visiting kids? Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 4 Comments »

Deyrolle: Rue du Bac’s Temple of Taxidermy

Photo courtesy of Deyrolle.fr
Photo courtesy of Deyrolle.fr

While taxidermy has become trendy of late, there is only one place that has been using naturalized animals to lure clients since 1831. Nestled on the charming Rue du Bac, Deyrolle is a shop unlike any other in the world. Part store, part museum, part gallery, the much-loved shop houses a variety of formerly-living merchandise and other “natural curiosities.” From a perfectly preserved giraffe (25,600 €), to a levitating meteor (1,230 €), to a myriad of colorfully preserved butterflies (various prices), Deyrolle offers clients the opportunity to own a slice of the natural world. It’s no wonder that many Parisians claim this shop as the site of their most distinctive childhood memories… Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events, Parisian Living | 6 Comments »