April 30, 2013
Tucked away on a tiny side street near Square Temple, across the street from hipster hangout Nanashi and bobo haven The Broken Arm, Café Pinson is serving up quality coffee and healthy eats to expats and natives alike.
Eschewing the grungy chipped paint aesthetic of so many new openings in the city, the bright, welcoming space features classic details like white-paneled walls, wicker chairs, and geometric-patterned tables. It’s the kind of place that invites any and all to come in and get cozy – I would feel comfortable cuddling down into one of their sunken chairs with an engrossing book and tea and pastry for a couple of hours, just as I would be happy meeting a big group of friends for a quick catch-up session or hunkering down with my laptop for a good old-fashioned work crunch. The honest-to-goodness friendly staff was all smiles as I took up a precious corner table for hours and hours one busy Friday afternoon. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 6 Comments »
August 14, 2012
When the sun finally comes out in Paris, it’s time to move your déjeuner or coffee break outside. In this city, you don’t need to bring along a book, magazine or something else to entertain yourself – the busy streets and the people are plenty of material for distraction. But where are the best place to indulge in this simple, basic pleasure?
Le Deux Magots & Café de Flore
I don’t think of these two very famous cafés, as clichés (as I’m sure many other people do), I like to think of them as classics. Whether you think of them as clichés or not, no one can deny their amazing location and how fantastic they are for doing some serious people watching. Since both cafés are so famous, their clientele is always extremely diverse – you’ll see everything from tourists with their sun visor caps and maps at the ready, to women covered in designer clothes and expensive jewelry – and everything in between. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 4 Comments »
July 14, 2011
Although fabulous French food abounds in Paris, too many steak tartares and croque monsieurs can leave you yearning for something different. To rescue you from the Paris-Brasserie slump is this little gem of a japanese spot right on the canal, Petit Usagi. We can’t wait to grab one of these bento boxes and linger over dinner on the canal! -Geneviève
Situated on the ground floor of the new boutique Citizen Hotel, Petit Usagi is the tiny new outpost of the Northern Marais eatery, Usagi. Run by Shinsuke Kawahara, the lunch-crowd favorite serves a selection of healthy and simple Japanese options overlooking the trendy Canal Saint Martin.
The bijou yet airy and light-filled space is decorated with lots of blonde wood, cheerful touches of sunny yellow and cobalt blue, and an abundance of mini Japanese lanterns with a bunny motif (usagi means rabbit in Japanese).
Petit Usagi’s speciality is the bento box — which is essentially the Japanese version of a lunch box — providing you with protein, veggies and some kind of grain in one cute little airline-like platter. Continue Reading »
Posted in Restaurant Reviews | 5 Comments »
March 17, 2011
I always know I’m in New York when, on Sunday, everything is buzzing and churning as if it were any other day of the week. Does no one in this city ever rest?! It makes me pine for Sundays in Paris, when the city retreats into its secret corners and everyone does their own thing.
But if you’re new to Paris or simply passing through, Sundays can often beg the question: now what do we do?
Never fear. Though the city’s pulse has slowed, its heart is still beating, and Sundays have their own unique array of activities to be uncovered. Here are a few of our favorite weekend activities.
1. Linger over brunch. Brunch has most definitely become “a thing” in Paris, and there’s no shame in passing your entire day partaking in the act. Check out some of our favorite spots here.
Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 14 Comments »
February 28, 2011
Chic and Elegant Paris fashion – Paris in Pink
What is it about Parisian women that always leaves me staring as they ever so briskly pass by, thinking, how do they always manage to look so (for lack of a better word), chic? They appear to be dressed with a casual confidence, never looking out of place and drawing just enough attention. Each detail and accessory is carefully chosen, creating a color palette of distinctive greys, blacks and neutrals, with just a touch of color. Timeless. Elegant. And always classy. This ‘dress-code’ is most creatively displayed in the ‘bobo’ parts of Paris where ‘bourgeois’ meets ‘boheme’. The result is a never-ending fashion show on the streets of the Marais, Saint Germain, and often in between.
Longing for Paris summer fashion – Paris in Pink
What’s their secret? I have a few theories.
Timeless. Parisians are avid shoppers but not necessarily considered consumers. They choose quality over quantity and when the Soldes hit Paris, they spend the time necessary to find that one signature piece to add to their collection, which will naturally work with all the other pieces. Shopping becomes a curatorial experience. Thus, there is no end to the possibilities and no need to follow the latest trends. Rather than mimic a mannequin, a Parisian woman will simply use this model for inspiration. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 20 Comments »
November 4, 2010
Boat ride on the Seine; photo by Maggie Battista
I’m dreaming of Paris. Again. This happens when I’m in the States.
I just returned from a month-long trip to France. I traveled up and down the south of France, exploring most of Provence while fighting the devious Mistral winds. I spent a fabulous girls weekend in Normandy, sipping cidre and finally visiting Mont Saint Michel. And I drank small cups of espressos and not-so-small glasses of red wine all over our favorite city, Paris. I’m home in cold, rainy New England, missing out on too many fun November events across the pond. Here’s a peek into what I’m missing:
1. I really wanted to learn how to make macarons in Paris, and La Cuisine Paris offers a wonderful class on the subject. I’m living through their wonderful posts on their Facebook page.
2. I adore the artist Basquiat, and spend tons of time in his old stomping grounds, downtown New York City. I was hoping to make it to the new exhibit at the Paris Musee de Art Moderne. The show is on through January 30, 2011, so perhaps you’ll be able to see it and report back?
Continue Reading »
Posted in Events, Food, Parisian Living, Travel | 14 Comments »
June 23, 2010
When I first considered living in the Marais, I was drawn, like most, to its centrality, its tiny cobble stone streets and its fabulous shopping (on Sundays, when the rest of Paris is as good as dead). I was tempted by its offers of falafel and its proximity to Berthillon on the Ile St. Louis. I loved that it was quiet and lively, sophisticated and fun all at the same time.
I have now been lucky enough to live in a couple different parts of this wonderful area, and I have to say, it remains one of my very favorite places to both live and spend my time while in Paris.
Although the streets can fill with tourists (both from other countries and other areas of Paris — jealous of the scene-y café terraces, bars and Sunday shopping), on a rainy afternoon or evening you’ll still find neighborhood cafés spotted with low-key, well-heeled locals reading the paper, sipping a glass of wine, or tapping away at their laptops.
Haven in Paris’ Elzevir apartment, a gem of a one-bedroom that I just know is dying to be graced by my shopping bags and worn out shoes, is located on a quiet street in between the more residential northern Marais and the livelier south Marais. Right smack half-way between the famous Place des Vosges and the rue des Archives’ great terraces, it truly is a haven of designer furniture, open spaces and sophisticated touches. Continue Reading »
Posted in Design, Homes, Parisian Living | 3 Comments »
May 7, 2010
I was pleasantly surprised to discover Pramil with Rosa Jackson and Paule Caillat for a tasty dinner of refreshingly delicious, and reasonably priced French fare and excellent company. Pramil is a tiny bistro tucked away on a small side street in the hip Arts and Metiers neighborhood of Paris. I’m already plotting my return and thanks to Rosa’s great write up, I can re-live the savors and the experience until I’m able to find my way there again! — Erica.
When it comes to restaurants, I’m not really that demanding. I want the basic ingredients to be seasonal and good. I want the cooking to show restraint: nothing puts me off more than an overly complicated plate. And I want the chef to have a heart that shines through in the food.
Sounds simple, right? Yet these three elements come together more rarely than you might think, even in Paris. That’s why a recent meal at Pramil felt so refreshing.
Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Tours and Classes | 2 Comments »
May 6, 2010
If you enjoy the Marais and are a history buff or a market troll, you must take the time to discover the oldest market in Paris : le Marché des Enfants Rouges.
First off, a little history to get everyone situated. Marguerite de Navarre, sister of King François the 1st and mother of King Henri the 4th (who was the one to end the religious wars that had been bloodying France), was a very well educated, politically engaged and charitable member of the royal family. In 1534 she had an orphanage constructed in what is now the Marais whose little pensioners were dressed in red as a symbol of their status. The orphanage was closed in the beginning of the 17th century and in 1615 was transformed into a market dubbed the Marché des Enfants Rouges (market of red children) to commemorate the charitable establishment that had occupied the site for almost a century.
It remains a market today and has been on the list of national historical monuments since 1982. Today, neighborhood locals still congregate to shop for produce and fresh products, to have a coffee and to converse with other locals, old-timers and merchants. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Shopping | 11 Comments »
April 23, 2010
View from Pont des Arts – Erica Berman
It seems somewhat unnecessary to write a post of this nature, given that any part of Paris could be considered an ideal place to loiter. A blind-folded novice could be dropped in any corner of this city and, after a few minutes of wandering, would have no trouble finding a scenic spot in which to spend a few hours. There are almost too many places to park oneself for a morning or afternoon (or, hey, a whole day), which is why I’ve come up with a list of a few standouts that I return to again and again.
Note: I’m assuming that the city’s big gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg, the Tuileries, Bois de Boulogne, and the Bois de Vincennes) are givens. You can’t go wrong at any of them, but as a semi-pro loiterer, I prefer to venture off the beaten path.
Chilled-out loitering—Canal St. Martin. Paris’ low-key canal stretches from Place de la République all the way towards the northern border of the city. People from all walks of life—hipsters, families, total weirdos—hang out along the Canal’s cobbled banks, picnicking and reveling until the wee hours of the night.
Canal St Martin – Erica Berman
Continue Reading »
Posted in Green, Parisian Living | 6 Comments »