October 28, 2014
What happens when two fine arts graduates of the prestigious École du Louvre team up with a French wine expert? A cadre made in French heaven: a wine shop art gallery hybrid for enthusiasts who like their Sancerre with a side of up-and-coming art. Ici-même + Gallerie Graphem, located steps away from the manicured gardens of the Promenade Plantée, finds itself a home in this bohème corner of the 12th arrondissement.
Art directors Fabienne Lafaye and Claire Aimonier-Davat, who started their careers in fine art galleries throughout Paris, conceptualized the adjoining Gallerie Graphem. Through their experience in the art world, they have been able to cultivate relationships with artists from all over Europe who have been invited to display their work at exhibitions booked through 2015. During their residency, artists are invited to bond the two spaces with a light sketch trailing from the gallery into the wine shop.
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September 15, 2014
In North America, it’s “back to school.” That time of the year when classrooms fill up and families slip into familiar routines, or start new ones as the youngest step into kindergartens and the oldest fly the nest for college. In France, it’s la rentrée, and is not just about families and their children. Each September, almost the entire population faces their regular routines after a long holiday season.
Since many businesses close for the month of August and three-week holidays are taken for granted, September means Parisians are frantically mourning their fading tans as they get back into the swing of things. Stock that has been arriving slowly over the previous weeks has shop owners scrambling to get their newest collections out on the floor (eg. the Pablo boutiques just announced their collaboration with actress Clémence Poésy, who played Fleur Delacour in the Harry Potter series and dabbles in fashion design on the side). Figs and wild mushrooms also begin to perfume the air at local markets, inspiring chefs to rewrite their menus to reflect on fall’s bounty. And, like Canada or the US, it is also back to school for the young ones.
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Posted in Parisian Living | 5 Comments »
May 28, 2014
Aristide Boucicaut opened the world’s first department store in the 1850’s. Le Bon Marché was an instant and enduring success, changing shopping habits (and the neighborhood) forever.
The magnificent Hôtel Lutetia was built across the street to host out of town shoppers, and restaurants opened to feed them. Little has changed in the last 150 years and there are still a lot of great lunch options in the area, making it hard to choose just one!
Café Varenne - Although they all have similar menus, not all cafés are created equal and Café Varenne is a cut above the rest, using fresh, quality ingredients for simple, seasonal meals. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews | 3 Comments »
May 22, 2014
Domaine Chandon de Briailles
Burgundy is home to some of the most rare and expensive wine in the world. Though prices have gone up significantly in recent years, this wine region is not just for the 1 percent. There are still many great deals to be had if you know where to look.
Burgundy is divided into five wine producing regions. The most famous part, the Côte d’Or, starts just south of Dijon and includes the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune. The Côte de Nuits typically produces the best reds and the Côte de Beaune the best whites.
Chateau de Chamilly
Burgundy produces primarily Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but the lesser-known white Aligoté and the fruity Gamay (if you include Beaujolais in the region, which is often up for debate) are also grown. Continue Reading »
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May 15, 2014
L’épicerie du Verre Volé
With more and more people in Paris paying attention to the quality and origin of their food, it’s no surprise that independent, organic stores are increasingly popular. A focus on ingredient-based cooking in restaurants has inspired a focus on ingredients in the home and specialty food shops like Terroirs d’Avenir and L’épicerie du Verre Volé provide the everyday consumer with options for locally sourced and artisanal ingredients.
If you’re looking to go “bio”, or organic, in Paris, there are several options for certified organic shopping. Three open-air markets, Marché Batignolles, Marché Raspail, and Marché Brancusi, are exclusively organic- with everything from fruits and vegetables to meats and cheeses all cultivated respecting traditional and natural methods. If you can’t make it to the market, there are quite a few options for organic shopping in Paris. Chain stores such as the Monoprix group owned Naturalia and the swiftly expanding Bio C’ Bon abound and are easily found in most neighborhoods, but if you’re looking for something with more of a family-owned feel here are a few independent and ethically engaged organic shops that you shouldn’t miss:
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May 13, 2014
Montmartre. My Parisian neighborhood. My home, on and off, for more than 20 years. Over the years, many things in the neighborhood have changed and evolved but I have remained faithful and dedicated to this little slice of Parisian happiness.
Erica’s Montmartre view
SoPi has exploded and Montmartre has gentrified. Real estate values are up. Abbesses now evokes hip, funky and stylish. Parisians come here for a weekend outing, no longer shunning it for the potential dangers of hoodlums and prostitutes.
L’Objet Qui Parle & Chairs from l’Objet Qui Parle and flowers from Des Fleurs Pour Soi
I wince at the increasing number of chain stores, the Starbucks that popped up around the corner, and the Subway sandwich shops exploding everywhere like mushrooms… Quelle horreur! Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 14 Comments »
May 9, 2014
Immortalized in literature and song, there might not be a better time to be in Paris than the Springtime.
Les Berges (Raïssa)
Les Parisiens bask in the warm rays and take in the spring air and blossons in any way they can, usually camped out on the sunniest terraces or leisurely strolling through the most popular parks and along the waterways.
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April 29, 2014
Although the world of wine has long been a men’s game (with a couple notable exceptions), women are increasingly playing greater roles in winemaking around the world.
Perhaps nowhere are they having more of an impact than in the Burgundy region of France, where it seems women own many of the best and most prestigious domaines. The region, whose wines are often described as elegant and subtle, seems well suited to a woman’s touch. Here are some of the women who are making Burgundy tick. Just don’t call their wines feminine.
The female winemakers association of Burgundy, Femmes & Vins De Bourgogne, is about 40 members strong. For the first time, the Director of the Ecole des Vins de Bourgogne is a woman; but to the women of Burgundy, this is not really news. “I don’t think you make a better wine if you are a man or a woman, “ said Caroline Parent-Gros, the daughter of winery owner Anne-Francois Gros “you have to understand it.” Continue Reading »
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April 25, 2014
Walking through the streets of Paris, past famous monuments and cult patisserie shops, it’s hard not to notice the lines filling up with tourists. The Japanese, in particular, have become huge fans of French sweets in recent years, thanks in part to the now-global reach of brands like Ladurée.
The influence between the two cultures is far from one-sided, however. Asian ingredients and flavors are no longer rare on French menus, as French chefs and patissiers are won over by the restraint and precision that dominate Japanese cuisine – a refreshing alternative to over-the-top traditional fare.
This symbiotic relationship has not escaped the pastry arena in Paris. Among the most popular pastry shops in Paris today, you’ll find more than one Japanese star leaving its mark on French and international palates. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 4 Comments »
April 23, 2014
Lise Kvan and Sarah Mouchot at Holybelly (Holybelly & Kim Laidlaw)
As we know well, the promise of gastronomic delights is enough to inspire travelers to explore the world, seeking out hard-fought reservations and off-the-beaten-path restaurants in the name of really good food.
It’s easy to forget that behind these curated culinary experiences there is a team of dedicated professionals committed to using their talents and passions to improve and diversify the general landscape of food and dining. Certain events, TV shows, publications, and guidebooks spotlight some of these talented and resolute food professionals.
While these “foodie guides” are becoming more and more ubiquitous, they are unfortunately not always comprehensive as they far too often exclude women from their lineup. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 2 Comments »