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Strolling Through Paris, Part II: A Tour of Central Paris’ Historic Towers

HiP Paris Blog, Isabel Miller-Bottome, SeineThe Seine

The most famous tower in Paris is certainly the Eiffel Tower. Beautiful as it may be, the masses of visitors in the summer are overwhelming. Luckily, the city is dotted with an array of intriguing towers, showcased in this little stroll traversing the historic core of Paris.

HiP Paris Blog, Isabel Miller-Bottome, VacheRue Montorgueil

Start with the Tour Jean-sans-Peur. Finished in 1411, it’s the last remaining structure of the palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, which extended over the neighboring streets. At 21 meters (69 ft) high, it’s also the tallest medieval civic structure in Paris. You can gaze up at any time of day or climb to the top during the summer, Wed-Sun from 1:30pm – 6pm.

HiP Paris Blog, Isabel Miller-Bottome, Rue MontorgeuilRue Montorgueil

Leaving the tower, make your way to lively rue Montorgueil, lined with excellent food shops and cafes. If the weather is nice, opt for some frozen yogurt at the new branch of Chacun Ses Gouts. Here you can make your own frozen yogurt “sundaes,” composed of weekly changing flavors and toppings of fresh fruit, nuts, candy, and more. Devour yours around the corner, lounging in the newly revamped Les Halles Gardens. Here you can also take in the unfinished towers of the Saint Eustache, one of the largest churches in the city.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 1 Comment »

Summer In Italy: A Beach Escape To Terracina

HiP Paris Blog, Carin Olsson, Week in Italy

“Do you want help with that?” and Italian man asked me when I was trying to push three suitcases at the same time over a threshold at the airport. “Non, merci” I said and smiled. “I mean no, thank you. Or no, I mean no, grazie!”.

HiP Paris Blog, Carin Olsson, Week in Italy

I don’t know if it was adjusting to people actually asking me if I wanted help or if it was the language that confused me the most when I arrived in Italy from Paris. But let’s just say that I adapted to both the language and the kindness quite quickly.

HiP Paris Blog, Carin Olsson, Week in Italy

Almost every summer since I have been old enough to stand (and even before that) my family travels to Italy — to Terracina to be a little bit more precise. We go for the warm weather, the delicious food and the laid-back lifestyle. Terracina is located about an hour and a half south of Rome, which makes this little town a perfect escape for many Romans during summertime as well. Continue Reading »

Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Travel | 11 Comments »

Discovering Nice & the French Riviera: One Day Trip at a Time

Sunny, sweet success! After carefully planning a Côte d’Azur getaway in 2010 and being thwarted by an angry Eyjafjallajökull, I finally managed to reach Nice on a fresh attempt nearly a year and a half later. And oh là là, was it ever worth the wait.

I’d been to the French Riviera before — Antibes, Juan-les-Pins, Villefranche, Monte Carlo — but not to Nice and never for long enough to really dig in, explore, and feel at home. So this was my glorious two-week opportunity and I intended to make the most of it from a home base in the charming, tangled streets of the colorful Old Town (known locally as Vieille Ville or Vieux Nice).

Nice is nice. Really nice. Really.

Old Nice was just as lovely as all the pictures and write-ups lead you to believe, only more so. The painterly churches and architecture of all kinds, featuring shuttered windows and trompe-l’oeil surprises are more than mere eye candy — it’s guilt-free dessert for the soul! Which is pretty handy given all the ice cream, gelato, and tempting local treats on hand around every corner. And as corners go, one street was sweeter or more brilliant than the next. But after 12 days I whittled down my favorite flavors to a short stretch near the top of the Old Town where a seemingly single building melted effortlessly from lemon yellow into burnt orange, then a rusty red, and finally a pale peach with celadon shutters, door, and matching mailbox. Truly a Technicolor work of art, Vieux Nice.

When I wasn’t snacking on socca, salted caramel crêpes, Niçoise salads, Fenocchio ice cream, or the most amazing variety of vegetables and other delights seasoned to perfection à la Provençale, I was trekking up to the top of Castle Hill (Colline du Château), tucking into the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMAC), shopping for local art and other items you can only find in Nice, or soaking up the sun and people-watching à la plage. And beyond that, I was taking the most enchanting day trips to nearby towns, both inland and along the coast. Continue Reading »

Posted in Travel | 15 Comments »

Paris Foods You Must Eat – Part 2

I miss Paris – the gorgeous gray buildings, the bridges over that little river, the cranky taxi drivers. Oh, let’s be real for a moment; I miss the food more than anything else. And since my initial post on Paris Foods You Must Eat (part 1) did so well, I thought an encore was in order.

Maggie Battista - Chocolate Mousse ParisMaggie Battista

Let’s start with the chocolate mousse, that luscious mix of cream, sugar, cocoa and air. Only this mousse is featured in a chocolate mousse bar – that’s right, folks, an entire bar of mousses made from all different types of chocolate – that is scooped out by the spatula-full into a tiny paper cone (or into pint containers, if you’re so inclined). You gotta try this good stuff, made in a shop tucked away on a sleepy section of St. Germain. Chocolat Chapon is located at 69 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris, Tel: 01 42 22 95 98‎.

Erica Berman - PozzettoErica Berman

If thick chocolate mousse is not quite your speed, try the best gelato in Paris. I waited in line for 30 minutes in order to spoon some creamy deliciousness from Pozzetto (39 Rue du Roi de Sicile, 75004 Paris, Tel: 01 42 77 08 64‎) into my waiting belly. Well, I spooned it into my mouth and it traveled into my belly and… I loved it.

If sweets aren’t your thing, perhaps cheese is? It better be if you’re in Paris. And frankly, there isn’t anything better than a selection of cheeses from your local fromagerie, a fresh crispy baguette and a bottle of organic French wine. The moment you visit Paris, put the fancy restaurants on hold and gather supplies for your own makeshift picnic in your rented flat or hotel room. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food | 7 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 »

Rosa Jackson – Food Guru in Nice and Paris. Tour & Interview

rosahead1

Photos Courtesy of Rosa Jackson

We recently found ourselves in Nice for a night and were fortunate to be able to book a morning tour of the Nice food markets with Canadian food guru Rosa Jackson. I had heard about Rosa’s  food tours of Paris and Nice from numerous clients and was intrigued, and ready, to discover.

picture-102

Olive Photo Erica Berman

We met Rosa at the  Cafe La Civette du Cours on the edge of the central market – Cours Saleya. A cafe noisette and a brief history of Nice and the  old marketplace which started in 1861, and we were on our way.

We wandered the market admiring the mounds of  olives, basil, and sundried tomatoes, the amazing variety of herbs and spices, the heaps of  fresh produce, and the fresh seafood (although we learned that there is only one local fisherman left in Nice). We met with some organic farmers, and purchased some deep red cherries to munch on. Rosa bought us a wonderful tourte de blettes sucré to taste, which was delicate and delicious – layers of dough, cheese, raisons, rum and blette (swiss chard). I bought a thick tomato fougasse (the French idea of foccacia) to sample later.
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Posted in Food, Tours and Classes, Travel | 2 Comments »

Pozzetto – finally, fabulous coffee & gelato in Paris

Pozzetto

Photo Erica Berman

Despite my recent tirade and blog post ranting about the poor quality of coffee in France, I am pleased to announce that I recently had a fabulous cup of coffee in Paris. It was a coffee surprisingly worthy of any I have had in Italy, right in the heart of the Marais! Last Saturday after being jostled about in the Merci boutique (had to check it out – and found it overrated, overpriced, and overcrowded even if for a good cause, but lovely!) my friend Francoise and I made our way to the Marais and ended up at Pozzetto gelateria on rue du Roi de Sicile.

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Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 5 Comments »