October 15, 2013
Imagine: it’s 1pm in Paris. It’s lunchtime, you’re hungry, and you really need to take a break to unwind from a stressful day at work. Where do you go?
The answer will soon be, to Le Café des Chats.
The concept of a cat café is nothing new. Wikipedia tells me the first cat café opened in Taiwan in 1998, but Japan has since perfected the business model. The concept dug its claws into Europe with the 2012 opening of Cafe Neko in Vienna. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 18 Comments »
October 3, 2013
Early fall has always been my favorite season in Paris. Residents return for “La Rentrée,” tanned and smiling (at least for now) after les grandes vacances and itching for some quality terrace time in their still seasonal summer looks.
Kids go back to school (hence the smiling parents), the weather is often lovely and the energy in the air is palpable. There’s always a lot happening – from restaurant openings to new exhibitions and film releases.
One of my favorite discoveries this rentrée is “Les Berges,” the newly pedestrianized waterfront that spans the Left Bank from the Pont de l’Alma to the Musee d’Orsay. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 3 Comments »
September 19, 2013
For decades, Pigalle was known mainly for its sex shops, seedy shows and working girls. During WWII, this sketchy section of Paris earned the nickname “Pig Alley” thanks to its bawdy rep. But these days, Pigalle has earned a few new monikers as well as a cleaner reputation. Now, in NYC fashion, trendy locals refer to it as either NoPi (North of Pigalle) or SoPi (South of Pigalle).
While both North and South have plenty to offer, it’s SoPi that’s become the latest neighborhood to watch. Moving beyond nighttime entertainment, SoPi is packed with plenty of destination restaurants, food shops, cafes and enough to make an itinerary that runs from morning until nighttime.
To get a day’s worth of enjoyment out of one the city’s hippest ‘hood, kick start things with some caffeine at Rocketship. Like many places in Paris, they don’t open until later in the morning, so make your way there leisurely. In keeping with the neighborhood’s NY-inspired nickname, this concept coffeeshop works a Brooklyn vibe and offers chai lattes alongside coffee from Coutume.
After coffee, take time to browse the boutique. Benoit, the owner, prides himself on finding unique treasures and includes a good number of pieces from SoPi-based artisans.
Le Rocketship, 13 bis rue Henri Monnier, Paris, 75009, +33 1 48 78 23 66
Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews, Shopping | 11 Comments »
September 12, 2013
It’s no secret that some of the most interesting things in a city happen off the tourist grid. New restaurants, music and, of course, lots of art gets made in places where the rents are cheaper, the residents funkier and the tourists far fewer. Paris is no exception. Such is true of the area in north eastern Paris in and around the 19eme. Thanks to some major cultural attractions and a smattering of fun eateries, it just may be on the brink of its moment.
Setting off from Metro Stalingrad one recent afternoon, I discovered a quartier in exciting transition. Where its once dilapidated streets were lined with international call centers and cut rate shops, a new energy is palpable in a smattering of neighborhood boutiques, vegetarian eateries and performing arts centers.
Here are the highlights.
Le Centquatre. In 2008 the Marie de Paris unveiled Le104 (Le Centquatre), a performing and visual arts center that serves as the creative hub of the area. It’s a vast and luminous space that features rotating exhibitions and installations from this summer’s epic Keith Haring retrospective to “interactive” work that quite literally invites audiences to experience art first-hand. Continue Reading »
Posted in Arts, Food, Restaurant Reviews | 4 Comments »
April 30, 2013
Tucked away on a tiny side street near Square Temple, across the street from hipster hangout Nanashi and bobo haven The Broken Arm, Café Pinson is serving up quality coffee and healthy eats to expats and natives alike.
Eschewing the grungy chipped paint aesthetic of so many new openings in the city, the bright, welcoming space features classic details like white-paneled walls, wicker chairs, and geometric-patterned tables. It’s the kind of place that invites any and all to come in and get cozy – I would feel comfortable cuddling down into one of their sunken chairs with an engrossing book and tea and pastry for a couple of hours, just as I would be happy meeting a big group of friends for a quick catch-up session or hunkering down with my laptop for a good old-fashioned work crunch. The honest-to-goodness friendly staff was all smiles as I took up a precious corner table for hours and hours one busy Friday afternoon. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 7 Comments »
March 27, 2013
When friends come to visit in Paris, I always get a little nervous. It’s Paris after all, the most-visited and eulogized city in the world. They’re expecting a lot. And I live here.
That means I’ve got the place wired, right? No exhibition ticket should be too hard to acquire, no chic table impossible to book. Such were my anxieties as I prepared for a recent visit from my sister and brother-in-law. We’d have ten days together but only a couple of kid-free evenings. Those dinners had to be perfect.
And so I searched. I scoured reviews, made calls and asked friends for recommendations. Of course I know plenty of great restaurants. I have dozens of favorites and an ever-growing list of places to try. But could I select the perfect place to eat? The one that says “this is the best of Paris” – that elusive combination of great food, distinctive atmosphere and, most importantly, a place where I could actually score a table on the night we had free?
Continue Reading »
Posted in Restaurant Reviews | 8 Comments »
January 24, 2013
Dining in Paris is the stuff dreams are made of: elaborate dishes made with top notch ingredients, artfully presented by passionate chefs.
Unless, of course, you happen into one of the infinite restos where instead of having a mind-blowing meal, you’re served mediocrity along with impressive attitude. In fact, doesn’t it taste like those vegetables on your plate came straight from a bag?
Of course every town has its dining hits and misses. But for so long, it was unfavorably risky to gamble on your average neighborhood bistro in Paris. But finally the tides have turned. We seem to have arrived at a place where you don’t have to break the bank to have a fantastic meal that gets your heart and stomach juices pumping. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 11 Comments »
November 28, 2012
On a recent Culturefish “Must Do” walking tour around the center of Paris, our guide Pierre enthusiastically described a major turning point of Parisian culture. During the Age of Enlightenment, the city was a hotbed of thinkers and politicians who were getting hyped up on a new drug being served around town: coffee!
The famous Café Procope, Paris’ first café, was serving this new, caffeinated beverage to the likes of Voltaire – rumored to have consumed 40 cups of coffee a day – among a star-studded cast of other enlightened historical figures, including Benjamin Franklin, Rousseau, Diderot, and Robespierre. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 8 Comments »
October 23, 2012
To be honest, eating at Le Galopin was a bit of a leap of faith initially. I had heard positive things, but its location on Place Saint Marthe (a great neighborhood, but far from my usual stomping grounds) and its link to television (the chef-owner is the 2010 Top Chef France winner Romain Tischenko) made me slightly skeptical.
However, willing to make sacrifices in the name of discovering delicious new things to eat, I went. And I was glad I did. In fact, I was so glad, that I found myself returning recently for my second dinner.
Place Saint Marthe in the 10th arrondissement is actually a bustling square, off the most well trodden parts of the Parisian dining grid, but clearly not unknown. Continue Reading »
Posted in Restaurant Reviews | 2 Comments »
September 28, 2012
As I parked my Velib on a rare sunny afternoon in Paris, just steps from the Canal St Martin, I could already tell I was in for a treat. I made my way up charming rue de la Grange aux Belles to the narrow storefront of Ten Belles, snuggled next to a lush, overgrown plant store (le Bleuet Coquelicot). I highly suggest a peek inside… adorable!
Ten Belles, this brand new Paris coffee house is a collaboration of the team behind Le Bal Café and Frogfight organizer, and well known Paris barrista, Thomas Lehoux. It’s intimate ambiance and focus on refined and meticulously cared for coffee make it the perfect stop for coffee enthusiasts, even attracting other known Paris baristas on their days off. Ten Belles served up one of the best cappuccinos I have ever had in Paris, and the charming baristas make it all the sweeter. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 12 Comments »