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In Search of Paris’ Sweetest Candy Shops

HiP Paris Blog, Candy, Isabel Miller-Bottome, Le Bonbon au Palais 10

Le Bonbon au Palais

French desserts would make almost anyone’s mouth start to water. Beautifully lined on bakery shelves, they are a heavenly wonder for sweet-tooths. But in addition to pastries, macarons, and mousse au chocolate, France is abundant with sweet regional specialties: Toulouse has its cachou lajaunie (licorice); Orléans its cotignac (quince hard candy); Aix-en-Provence its calisson (marzipan).

HiP Paris Blog, Candy, Isabel Miller-Bottome, Henri Leroux 17

Henri Le Roux

Île-de-France may not boast its own traditional bonbon, but that doesn’t mean that quality Parisian candy makers and suppliers are not putting their flair on other regions’ specialties. Here are some of our favorite artisanal candy shops in Paris:

HiP Paris Blog, Candy, Isabel Miller-Bottome, bonbon 3, 12

Le Bonbon au Palais

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Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 2 Comments »

Back to School in France: Frantic Moms and Fading Tans

Hip Paris Blog, La Rentree, Emma Stencil 8

Emma Stencil

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.

Hip Paris Blog, La Rentree, Emma Stencil 11

Emma Stencil

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. 

Hip Paris Blog, La Rentree, Isabel Miller-Bottome

 Isabel Miller-Bottome

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Posted in Parisian Living | 4 Comments »

In Search of the Perfect French Oyster: Les Huîtres de Cancale

HiP Paris Blog, Huitres, photo 4-2

Kate Robinson – Oysters getting ready for market

On a clear day, the ghostly meringue-like swirl of Mont Saint Michel is just barely visible across the bay from Cancale. This plucky little seaside town has been famous for its oysters since the Roman occupation of Gaul, and continues to be a top destination for ostreaphiles the world over.

HiP Paris Blog, Huitres, Isabel Miller-Bottome DSC_0253

Isabel Miller-Bottome

On a painfully bright day in July, I found myself sitting on a beach littered with shards of chipped and broken oyster shells, bleached white by the sun. Balanced on my knees was a plate of nine intact oysters, fresh from the Cancale bay, deeply cupped and glistening in their own liqueur. The oyster farmer who had sold them to me five minutes earlier had cracked each one open with barely a downward glance, as he stood talking to me in the shade of the little blue and white striped hut where creuses and plats sat in jumbles designated by size (the largest was surely only meant for cooking…). In exchange for the last three euros of vacation money that still jingled in my pocket, he presented me with a sturdy white plastic plate of oysters, a half a lemon and his condolences regarding my imminent return to Paris on the afternoon train.

HiP Paris Blog, Huitres, photo 1

Kate Robinson – Oysters on the beach!

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Posted in Food, Travel | No Comments »

Loches: A Glimpse into Historic French Countryside in the Heart of the Loire Valley

HiP Paris Blog, Loches, Isabel Miller-Bottome DSC_0313

On a hill overlooking the Indre in the heart of the Loire Valley, Loches remains one of the best-preserved medieval cities in France today. With its shadowy cobblestone streets, sweeping views of the enclosing forest landscape, and lively marketplace and cuisine, Loches has a particular authentic charm difficult to find elsewhere. A half-hour from Tours and a three-hour drive from Paris, it’s an off-the-beaten-tourist-path detour for visitors of the Loire region, as well as an easy weekend getaway for Parisians seeking a breath of fresh air.

HiP Paris Blog, Loches, Isabel Miller-Bottome DSC_0335

I find the best way to learn about French history is simply to wander and take in the historical sites themselves. Loches may be a quiet city today, but its sundry past features some of France’s most fascinating characters: Joan of Arc, Anne of Brittany, and King Charles VII and his notorious, “favorite” official mistress, Agnes Sorel.

HiP Paris Blog, Loches, Isabel Miller-Bottome DSC_0264

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Posted in Travel | 3 Comments »

Women In Food & Wine: Ladies Of the Paris Dining Scene, Part I

Ladies in Food, Holybelly, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Holybelly, Kim Laidlaw 2

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.

Ladies in Food, Yamtcha, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Didier Gauducheau

Adeline Grattard of Yam’tcha (Didier Gauducheau)

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.

Ladies in Food, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by La Buvette

La Buvette

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 »

Philippe Starck’s Ma Cocotte: A Perfect Sunday Lunch Inside the Paris Flea Market

Ma Cocotte, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Aisling Greally 7

Ma Puce, mon lapin, ma biche, mon chou, ma poule, ma caille, ma cocotte…

These hidden terms of French endearment appear from the most unlikely places to surprise you inside Ma Cocotte, the restaurant designed by Philippe Starck in the heart of Paris’ enchanting antique and flea markets (aka, Les Puces).

Ma Cocotte, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Aisling Greally 2

As you bite into your roast chicken, a little hidden love message ‘Ma Poule’ (hen) appears on your plate. Take note as you dive into your bowl of hot chocolate, ‘Mon Amour’! ‘Mon Lapin’ (my rabbit) is displayed on the wall, perhaps replacing the portrait of a loved one? Continue Reading »

Posted in Restaurant Reviews | 2 Comments »

Clamato: A New Oyster Bar From the Team Behind Septime

Clamato, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Didier Gauducheau

As Europe’s largest oyster-producing country, France has a long history with the tasty bivalves. Busy brasseries boast display cases with servers who expertly shuck them for seafood platters and passing shoppers.

Clamato, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Didier Gauducheau 5

The year-end provides the perfect excuse to indulge in the festive combination of oysters and champagne. And, while they’ve always been part of the country’s culinary fabric, some of the city’s new chefs have been bringing them back to the forefront of the food scene by infusing a bit more energy and creativity into their service.

Clamato, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Didier Gauducheau

With seafood and shellfish playing a starring role in so many of the city’s new and popular restaurants, the team behind Septime finally unveil their own take on the trend with their third venture, Clamato.  Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 6 Comments »

Montmartre Dining: Le Grand 8 Offers Simple, Delicious French Classics

HiP Paris Blog, Didier Gauducheau, Le Grand 8

Sundays in Paris are perfect for indulging in a savory home-cooked meal. Though I often make these week-end dinners at home with fresh ingredients purchased at an open-air market that morning, I deviated from this routine on a recent Sunday and am thrilled I did.

HiP Paris Blog, Didier Gauducheau, Le Grand 8

After receiving a tip from Erica, the Owner of Haven in Paris, about this bistro tucked away on the East side of Sacre Coeur, I was intrigued.

HiP Paris Blog, Didier Gauducheau, Le Grand 8

Practically, this option made a lot of sense: the restaurant was within walking distance of my apartment (I was living on the rue Lepic and for a month and a half), I had two girlfriends from New York coming into town the following week and had yet to make a dinner reservation for us, and Le Grand 8 opens for Sunday dinner. Perfect, I thought. Continue Reading »

Posted in Restaurant Reviews | 3 Comments »

High-End Takeout: Verjus & Frenchie Do Gourmet Sandwiches To-Go in Paris

Frenchie To Go

It’s 1pm, and your stomach is growling. For many in Paris, that means a stop by the closest boulangerie for a classic sandwich au jambon fromage. But for those of us who want a little more oomph between the slices, two of our favorite resto/bar à vin combos have opened up lunch operations as well.

Frenchie To Go

It’s no secret that we at HiP Paris are big fans of Verjus, Braden Perkins’ and Laura Adrian’s  triplex that sits kitty-corner to the Théâtre du Palais-Royal. So it should come as no surprise that when I heard that they would be opening for lunch with a menu of creative sandwiches based on cult classics from the US, I went running.

HiP Paris Blog, Diane Yoon, Verjus Sandwiches & Frenchie To Go

Verjus Wine Bar

The menu features three sandwiches (as well as an off-menu vegetarian option), all of which are served with a daily choice of classic lunchbox desserts such as snickerdoodles, chocolate chip cookies, or caramel brownies, plus a non-alcoholic drink, for €15. There is also an option to supplement wine or beer for an extra €3, for those of us who moved to France for the option to have wine at lunch. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 9 Comments »

Mamie Green: Our Favorite Organic Brunch Spot in Paris

HiP Paris Blog, Julien Hausherr, Mamie Green

Tucked away on a quiet street in the 11e arrondissement, just across from a lovely little park where hipsters and bobos alike can be seen taking in the elusive summer sunshine, Chez Mamie Green is known for serving up some of Paris’s best organic brunches.

HiP Paris Blog, Julien Hausherr, Mamie Green

This pocket-sized place has seating for only a dozen people or so, but it’s packed full of charm and good energy. Inside, small pots of flowers sit atop mismatched wooden tables; organic green teas and honey line the counters and shelf spaces; and metallic baskets filled with fresh oranges hang from the ceiling.

HiP Paris Blog, Julien Hausherr, Mamie Green

The walls are covered with colorful Polaroids featuring the two lovely owners, Stéphanie Assouline and Emilie Goldman, alongside friends and family at home, at parties, on Parisian streets, and on weekends away. Taken together, all of these elements combine to make the space feel more like a cozy room in a friend’s apartment rather than just another restaurant.  Continue Reading »

Posted in Restaurant Reviews | 5 Comments »