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Getting Paris Right the First Time

We've asked journalist, podcaster, and Paris dweller Oliver Gee to share his advice on how to pull of the perfect first trip to Paris.Grant Lemons

Editor’s Note: Memories of a first trip to Paris never fade. The indelible experience of discovering one of the world’s most beautiful cities unfailingly leaves its mark. No matter what you do, once you’ve seen Paris it will never leave you. Having said that, there are ways to approach your first time to Paris that will assure you get the most out of the experience and guarantee a maximum of memories you’ll hold dear for years after your first steps on Paris’ cobblestone streets. We’ve asked journalist, podcaster, and Paris dweller Oliver Gee to share his advice on how to pull off the perfect first trip to Paris. Happy reading.

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Posted in Parisian Living, Travel | No Comments »

Saint-Sulpice: A Peek Inside One of Paris’ Most Coveted Neighborhoods

HiP Paris blog. Discovering Saint Sulpice. Browsing on Boulevard Saint Germain.
Boulevard Saint-Germain

Saint-Sulpice is one of the poshest quartiers in Paris. With neighbors that include Catherine Deneuve and Scarlett Johansson, it is the regular haunt of celebrities, writers, and intellectuals, making it the cultural capital of the city. The area is named for the nearly 400-year-old church and its soaring bell towers, declaring both the geographical and social center of the arrondissement. A stately square spills from the church steps, lions guarding the central fountain. After school children come to play kick ball, practice tricycle, and engage in all the sports that are forbidden in the nearby Luxembourg Gardens. Gourmands from across the globe fill the green park benches, savoring delicacies from the area’s pâtisseries extraordinaires: Pierre Hermé and Gerard Mulot. In the winter, there is a free merry-go-round for young children on the square, while in the summer the Foire Saint-Germain sets up stalls to celebrate poetry, math, ceramics, and antiques. And there are other festivals around crafts, volunteering, and jazz throughout the year.

HiP Paris blog. Discovering Saint Sulpice. Café de la Mairie.Café de la Mairie

The elegant Mairie, or city hall, dominates one corner of the square, providing a backdrop for neighborhood weddings, while the Café de la Mairie sprawls out from the opposite corner, creating one of the city’s most popular terraces for hours of people watching under dappling shadows of chestnut tree leaves. Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Food, Parisian Living, Shopping | No Comments »

Le Bon Saint Pourçain: Back with New Owners and a Traditional-Modern Mix

HiP Paris blog. Le Bon Saint Pourçain. On the corner.

For years, dining at Le Bon Saint Pourçain was like stepping into a time machine set to the 1950s. Neighbors would come, their dogs and children in tow, spending as much time with the owner/waiter catching up on the local gossip as placing their order for a very traditional meal, invariably served with a glass of Bon Saint Pourçain wine. Suddenly, without word, the windows were white-washed over, rumors spread of a health issues (the owner’s, not the kitchen’s) and the neighborhood was left bereft.

HiP Paris blog, Le Bon Saint Pourçain, Eating in the restaurant

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Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 4 Comments »

Being A Tourist in Paris: It’s All About the Pleasure

We first met the lovely Kari Geltemeyer when she stayed in Haven in Paris’ Livingstone flat and have been hooked on her witty writing and great photography ever since. Here are some musings and images from her latest trip to Paris this May… -Geneviève

Hi. My name is Kari, and I am a tourist. A lot of people don’t like to admit this, or feel guilty about it, and those people refer to themselves as “travelers.” That’s fine; we become what we wish to be, etc. But I’ve decided to embrace the “tourist” label wholeheartedly, unabashedly, with gusto—mostly because it takes too much energy not to.

According to Merriam-Webster, a tourist is “one that makes a tour for pleasure or culture” (no mention of fanny packs). I enjoy the culture, yes, but I go to Paris for the pleasure. I waited 40 years before I saw this city and now I love it the way I first loved New York, cinematically, as a hopelessly romantic construct no reality can touch.

Must be something in the air. I stumble around, staring up at the rooftops—those rooftops!—and the nonverbal part of my brain just takes over, the part that processes beauty and joy and awe, the part that wouldn’t be able to translate the emotion into language even if I spoke the language. (I do not. I flail and I fumble and I manage, but I deeply, fundamentally do not.) Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Travel | 14 Comments »