June 18, 2013
TOF alias christophe hue
Before I moved to Paris, I was afraid of eating alone, at a table by myself, in public, for anyone to see. I have no idea why the idea was so terrifying, but I’m sure I’m not the only person who has ever felt that way.
I wasn’t until last year during a warm spring day in May that I found myself in this completely new and quite intimidating situation. But to get past your fears you have to face them, right? So that’s what I did. I sat down at Coutume Café and had brunch, all by myself. Sure, the first few minutes were a bit awkward. And no, it did not help that the two gentlemen at the table beside me giggled every time they looked my way. Do I have something on my face? Did the spinach get stuck between my teeth? Did I pronounce ‘jus de fruits’ completely wrong?
TOF alias christophe hue
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Posted in Parisian Living | 2 Comments »
June 11, 2013
When we decided to move to Paris, I knew parenting here would be different. Not only would the moms (and les petits enfants) be better dressed, they’d enjoy luxuries not known to their American counterparts like guaranteed, paid maternity leave and high quality, state-subsidized childcare.
The impact of these family benefits cannot be overstated. And yet, I was still surprised to discover just how different parenting is here on issues big and small.
Some of the differences shocked me (and not in a good way). There’s an iron-fist disciplinary style that makes little ones quake in their parents’ presence and a culture of yelling that left me drop-jawed. The word “non” (shunned, albeit somewhat absurdly, by some American friends) is central to French parenting. Many smoke openly in front of kids and don’t shy away from spanking to discourage unwanted behavior. Continue Reading »
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May 30, 2013
By now, everyone’s heard of Verjus and its precipitous rise into the hearts of the food-obsessed expat community in Paris from its humble beginnings as the private supper club, Hidden Kitchen.
Having recently renovated the third floor of their triplex building into a private dining room for private parties of twelve to fourteen, and also having started a new lunch service, serving sandwiches to the ravenous masses, I wondered what was next for Braden Perkins and Laura Adrian, the team behind the venture. I sat down on a chilly Friday afternoon for a chat with Braden about their motivations in opening what Alex Lobrano called “the first real modern American restaurant in Paris.”
Braden and Laura landed in Paris, like many of us do, while taking a year abroad figuring out the next step in their careers. The intention was only to stay for a year or so. “So we’re here in Paris, and eating, and drinking, and traveling, but not meeting anybody. So we thought, let’s do a supper club once a month and just invite some people. And it worked exactly how we wanted it to work – we met tons and tons of expats, tons of bloggers, tons of cool people, and it was fun.” Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews | 10 Comments »
May 21, 2013
Breaking up with someone you love is often a terrible experience. Breaking up with someone you love in what is supposed to be the City of Love can be a heart-wrenching emotional roller coaster.
Unfortunately, at the end of February, I found myself in this exact situation: ending a long-term relationship with a Parisian in Paris. At least by this point, Valentine’s Day had passed and I was no longer bombarded with images of happy couples in love, discounts on holiday-themed lingerie, and sickeningly sweet His & Her gift ideas on every street corner.
Nevertheless, the first few weeks were incredibly difficult. Not only did I have to deal with the usual post-break-up challenges common to any city — cancelling all the plans and trips we’d made for the following months, packing up his things in my apartment – but I also had to walk down the same Parisian streets that we had strolled through hand in hand, eat the foods he had introduced me to, and hear the romantic lilt of his language everywhere.
The worst part? Being French, he had one of those first names that 1/5 of the French male population seems to share. Included amongst the many other Arnauds in my life were (in no particular order): four people at work, two personal friends of mine, the guy at the Bastille Sunday market where I buy my vegetables, and the man at my favourite boulangerie! Continue Reading »
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May 16, 2013
In an episode of HBO’s New York comedy Girls, Lena Dunham’s character, Hannah, ironically states as she steps out onto a hip Brooklyn street: “it takes a lot of money to look this cheap”. Sadly, the irony of this statement will be lost on a Parisian.
The creative, sometimes, wildly eccentric outfits seen on the streets of London and New York, are relegated to sporadic night-time appearances under the cover of darkness in Paris.
Stepping out in anything risky during daylight hours might put you in the firing line of Parisian mirth and scorn. Surprisingly for a city, which is often referred to as the world’s fashion capital, there is an overall conservative, even uniform, approach to dressing.
Just in case you think otherwise, in Paris, cheap will definitely never be in. The general rule of thumb is this: the Parisian woman gives the impression of being effortlessly chic (you can be guaranteed there was nothing effortless about it); and the Parisian man is generally more polished than say your average New Yorker or Londoner – he would never consciously leave the house in a creased shirt, for example. Continue Reading »
Posted in Fashion, Parisian Living | 4 Comments »
May 14, 2013
If you’ve ever dreamed of living in Paris, chances are you’ve thought about where. A funky Montmartre studio with a view? Perhaps a swank one-bedroom in the 6ème with herringbone floors and marble mantles sends your heart racing? Whether you’re more Marais hideaway or St Germain Haussmannian, it turns out that where you live in Paris says quite a lot about you.
Most Parisians are deeply devoted to their neighborhoods and can wax poetic on their unique charms. As to whether they prefer the Rive Gauche or Rive Droite, ask any Parisian and you’re sure to get an opinion. Having now lived on both sides of the Seine, I’ve got a few of my own. Here’s how to decode the meaning behind the coveted Parisian address.
Left Bank Lovely. Feel like donning an Hermes carré and enjoying a taste of old school Paris? The grand cafés of St Germain des Pres await. Alas, de Beauvoir and Sartre have long since fled but the swooping waiters and retro vibe are still reminiscent of the Left Bank’s intellectual heyday. Continue Reading »
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May 7, 2013
We’re very excited to be giving away a copy of Kim Horton Levesque’s latest book, Paris with Children, on HiP Paris today. Chock-full of great recommendations for kid-friendly things to do in Paris, we can hardly imagine making a trip with the kids without it now! Not to mention, the book itself is completely adorable. To win, see instructions at the end of this post. Please note: winner must be located in the continental U.S or Canada. -Genevieve
“Children have as much to teach us as we do them when traveling — their curiosity and imagination make even familiar destinations seem new.” -Barrie Kerper, The Collected Traveler
Paris is an overwhelmingly child-friendly city. Thankfully it’s organized in such a way that makes traveling with kids enjoyable. Many of Paris’s principal sights are concentrated geographically so it’s quite walkable with young ones.
Here’s a typical day for my family when we’re visiting Paris:
I have three daughters, a 3-, 5- and 8-year old. We head out of the apartment I’ve rented, usually in the Saint-Germain district, around mid-morning, and walk towards Jardin du Luxembourg. This elegant garden is a paradise for children––an elaborate playground (it even has a small but thrilling zip line), an indoor marionette theater, Charles Garnier’s vintage carousel, pony rides and model sailboats in the grand bassin, all make it easy to idealize life in the capital.
Before entering the park, however, we stop into Boulangerie Marc Rollot, a neighborhood bakery just off of rue de Vaugirard (48, rue Madame, 6th arr.). My father (who doesn’t speak French) serendipitously stumbled upon this shop several trips ago and it’s become our family favorite for viennoiseries––especially the apricot pastry (oranais) and the pain aux raisins. Treats tucked neatly into my purse, we head into the park, find an empty bench and dig in.
My daughters’ first request is always Luxembourg’s vast playground, Le Poussin Vert. Continue Reading »
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April 24, 2013
What is it that makes hotel bars so appealing? Is it the sense of travel and adventure? Is it the ease with which you could drop into a bed after drinks at the bar? Do the guests, themselves passing through for just a moment on the way to their next destination, imbue the spaces with an edgy sense fluidity and transience?
Hotel St James
The best Parisian hotel bars do more than just pour a decent drink; they combine old-world ambiance, stellar service and sophisticated décor to guarantee an exceptional experience. And here are some of the city’s finest choices to fit any occasion:
For a Romantic Escape: Hotel Saint James
With its modern-romantic decor, the Saint James is the perfect place for a dreamlike escape from the daily grind. Hidden away in a quiet corner of the city that once served as Paris’ first airfield, this neoclassical chateau still manages to transport visitors. In summer months, patrons canoodle in the garden under hot-air-balloon-inspired canopies over nicely priced bottles of white. In winter months they whisper over whiskey in quiet corners of the dark wood library bar amidst some 12,000 old books. Though the Saint James is a private club, you don’t have to be a member to enjoy a drink after 7pm – just call ahead and reserve. Continue Reading »
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April 2, 2013
Lobster rolls in Paris? Mais oui! Le Lobster Bar is opening up just in time for warm weather. The only thing that could compete with a lobster roll and a cold beer on a hot summer day might just be fresh tortillas and guacamole… And that’s also happening with Mil Amores Tortilleria, with a little help from the chef at Candelaria. Perfect timing.
Mark your agendas: the next Paris PopUp dinner, courtesy of Frenchie’s Laura Vidal and Harry Cummins, will take place on/around May 19, with tickets going on sale April 19. This installment will be a convivial brunch/lunch setup, with mixologists on hand, sweet music, and possibly a surprise appearance from across the channel. Can’t wait! Email email@example.com starting April 19 to score a spot.
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March 19, 2013
When I first arrived in Paris, I tried to avoid the Parisian métro as much as I possibly could. The horror stories I had heard about people getting their valuables stolen, the stations smelling worse than most bathrooms and the crazy amount of people all fighting for a spot during rush hour made me keep my distance at first.
Even though I now know that the métro isn’t all that bad, I’m kind of glad for my initial repugnance, because it pushed me to look to alternative ways to get around the city. And that’s how my love affair with Parisian buses began.
Sure, there are a few negative aspects to taking the bus: you can never really be certain the bus will actually show up on time (yes, I realize that this might be more than a tiny flaw for those with appointments to keep); they stop running as soon as the first snowflake hits the ground during the winter; they’re a bit slow; and they can, bien sûr, be canceled (without prior notice) due to Parisian manifestations. Continue Reading »
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