December 21, 2016
There’s something particularly special about Paris over the holidays. Of course there’s the sparkling street lights, the enticing window displays, the abundance of heavenly holiday treats, but it’s also something more than that. Spirits ride on this wave of joie and les parisiens can’t help but have a little extra joie de vivre. Here are three itineraries that will take you away from (most of) the crowds and allow you to take in that same joy, guilty pleasures, and offbeat sites that will make the holiday season in Paris truly shine.
Hip Shopping, Food and Culture in the Marais
Skip the mayhem of les grands magasins and do your holiday shopping as you take this creative meander through the Marais. Embark on your foray at the trendy concept store Merci, where you can pick up some of their carefully selected holiday ideas and perfect stocking stuffers like a candle version of their trademark red fiat bearing a roof-load of presents or a Christmas tree, thin garland thread, offbeat snow globes and an vast array of other cool gift ideas.
Merci Concept Store; Lily Heise
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Posted in Food, Markets, Shopping, Travel | 9 Comments »
June 24, 2016
When Kristen Beddard moved to Paris five years ago, it wasn’t to fulfill a childhood dream of living in the French capital, or with the hopes of falling in love in the land of éclairs and socially acceptable daytime drinking. It wasn’t because her career, which was beginning to take off at a New York advertising agency, had brought her there, and it wasn’t because she had decided to explore Europe as some recent college graduates often do. Kristen’s Paris story doesn’t start as intentionally as any of those scenarios; it starts with the somewhat unexpected transfer of her husband to a city she barely knew with a language she didn’t speak.
While Kristen’s story begins with struggles – learning enough French to go grocery shopping, making new friends after leaving perfectly good ones behind, struggling to find a job as a foreigner in a new city – what she did with her time in Paris is truly a story of success. After several frustrating attempts – and failures – to find kale in Paris markets and supermarchés Kristen launched The Kale Project, a blog that documented her endeavors to find kale in her new home, and her subsequent quest to reintroduce the forgotten vegetable to the French. Five years later, The Kale Project has thousands of supporters and has also been featured in The New York Times. But the true testament to Kristen’s hard work is that kale can now commonly be found at markets and health food stores in Paris and the rest of France. Bonjour Kale, Kristen’s memoir of Paris, love, and recipes, tells her story of finding a home in Paris, sharing her love for her favorite leafy green, and all the surprises that the life of an expat brings.
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Posted in Food, Green, Parisian Living | No Comments »
May 16, 2016
Paris abounds with design galleries, chic clothing boutiques and tile-floored bistros serving market-fresh cuisine, but rarely do you find more than one together under the same roof. Merci is a delightful exception.
Founded in 2009 by Bernard and Marie-France Cohen, Merci is a concept store that rolls the best of fashion, design, household goods, lighting, and lunch into one stunning space in the Haut Marais neighborhood. Spanning three light-filled floors of a former wallpaper factory, the gallery-cum-boutique is run a bit like a magazine: roughly 15 “exhibitions” held throughout the year highlight diverse themes that have included herring, urban sports, wax-dyed batiks, and urban gardening.
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Posted in Fashion, Restaurant Reviews, Shopping | No Comments »
October 9, 2013
Hot on the heals of the ethical department store, Merci, comes a chic newcomer: the much vaunted Centre Commercial at 2 rue de Marseille in Paris’ 10th arrondissement.
As a conscientious citizen of the world, I’m happy to join the chorus singing this new concept store the praise it deserves. The idea is simple: ecological and ethical fashion that supports small-scale artisan industry in countries all over the world.
Sébastien Kopp, the co-founder of the innovative eco-sneaker brand, Veja, is responsible for this latest foray into stylish, well-made, ecological fashion − and the carefully culled results presented in this light and airy emporium, are surprisingly chic. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 3 Comments »
June 18, 2013
Before I moved to Paris, I was afraid of eating alone, at a table by myself, in public, for anyone to see. I have no idea why the idea was so terrifying, but I’m sure I’m not the only person who has ever felt that way.
It wasn’t until last year during a warm spring day in May that I found myself in this completely new and quite intimidating situation. But to get past your fears you have to face them, right? So that’s what I did. I sat down at Coutume Café and had brunch, all by myself. Sure, the first few minutes were a bit awkward. And no, it did not help that the two gentlemen at the table beside me giggled every time they looked my way. Do I have something on my face? Did the spinach get stuck between my teeth? Did I pronounce ‘jus de fruits’ completely wrong?
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Posted in Parisian Living | 19 Comments »
June 4, 2013
One of the welcome harbingers of summer has to be the season’s music festival circuit. After a long winter and a dreary, cold spring, all anyone really wants to do is pass the days outdoors. Add some great music and dancing, and everyone feels a little better. There is truly something for everyone as far as summer concerts go, but a few of my favorites this month include the Paris Jazz Festival (June 8 – 28), Fete de la Musique (June 21), and Solidays (June 28 – 30). Sounds will vary from laid-back jazz to popular names like Parov Stelar, The Hives, and Django Django, to name just a few.
Last month pop shop Merci opened its online boutique, and this month Frenchie intends to serve up a to-go menu… I am loving this democratization of Parisian favorites. Frenchie has been touted by foodies and taste makers as one of the top Parisian restaurants over the past few years, and I can only imagine their to-go dishes, rumored to include casual fare like bacon-sprinkled doughnuts, fish and chips, and a Pastrami Reuben made with house-cured meat, will be some of the best in the city as well.
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Posted in Events | 5 Comments »
May 3, 2013
Merci Goes Global: Merci has garnered a wide following, and rightfully so. Well, there is exciting news for (some) non-Parisians…Merci just launched its online retail shop, with shipping now available to Merci-lovers in the States, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand! Shrieks of excitement and sighs of relief from fans of this impeccably curated fashion and interior design haven are totally appropriate here.
Ongoing: Ma Chere et Tendre: Traditional French cuisine is known for, among so many other things, successfully incorporating a wide range of meats and their various cuts into everyday meals. This sometimes involves discovering more parts of the animals than many Americans might prefer. Those diners will appreciate a recent surge of vegetarian, gluten-free and other diet-specific options popping up around the city. Don’t get me wrong, I love this trend as much as the next person, but the opening of Ma Chere et Tendre, a new steakhouse tucked away in the 17th with a menu perfectly tailored for unapologetic meatlovers, really whet my palate. Ma Chere et Tendre, Beef Club, the recent Hotel de Ville BBQ…I think we’re seeing a resurgence of meals made for the loyal carnivore and I definitely don’t object.
May 10 & 11, New Friends Table: We covered New Friends Table nearly two years ago when it had just landed on the underground Paris food scene. Now the team is back with a new offering. They still host their beloved dinners – the goal of which is to bring like-minded foodies together around a great meal in a real Parisian apartment – but they’re now doing food tours around the Beaubourg neighborhood, home to the Centre Pompidou (and HiP’s Marais Triplex flat). The tour begins with a collective cafe and ends with a dejeuner consisting of products purchased throughout the morning… Perfection. Continue Reading »
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April 10, 2012
Being vegetarian anywhere requires extra effort and planning when it comes to dining out. Being a vegetarian in a place that eats pigeon, adores offal, and extols a head to tail philosophy (that is, Paris) requires Napoleonic strategizing.
At least it used to. In recent years, the dining scene in the City of Light has been opening up to alternative styles and menus, making it easier than ever to go veg (although you can still expect the occasional eye-roll from a waiter who simply doesn’t understand les végétariens). But whether you chalk it up to Anglo and ethnic infiltration, acceptance of new ingredients and spices, or simple ennui with traditional French cooking, it’s a great time to embrace your inner green goddess and take this meat-eating city by storm. Here are four delicious strategies to help.
Merce and the Muse (Julien Hausherr)
Strategy 1: Eat a big lunch
When Rose Carrarini (who’s British) and her French husband Jean-Charles opened Rose Bakery in 2002, their focus on fresh market salads—think: grilled tofu and tomatoes, and artichokes mixed with millet and chickpeas—was shockingly different from the staple of steak frites that many Parisians ate for lunch. Ten years and two additional outposts later, it’s hard to imagine Paris without Rose’s organic market salads, fresh quiches and famous carrot and pound cakes.
Similarly, when Marc Grossman opened Bob’s Juice Bar in 2006, the smoothies and bagel sandwiches the native New Yorker served up were wildly novel. Since then Grossman has not only spawned another café, Bob’s Kitchen, which serves additional goodies like pancakes and muesli, but a whole wave of casual cantines have followed suit. Hypercool concept stores Merci and Colette both have veg-friendly subterranean eateries; take-out lunch spots like Lemoni and Cojean always offer beautiful soups, sandwiches and salads; and lovely little cafes and bakeries such as SuperNature, Merce and the Muse, Tartes Kluger and Bread and Roses all offer outstanding veg fare.
Strategy 2: Eat ethnic
Another way to sate yourself without a bite of bifteck is by taking advantage of Paris’ ethnic restaurants. In the first arrondissement, Rue Saint-Anne is an oasis of Japanese dining options including hearty udon soups (try Kunitoraya or Higuma) and “okonomiyaki,” Japanese pancakes made of flour, grated yam, water or dashi, eggs and shredded cabbage. Or you can get stuffed on Indian lentils and curries (Saravanna Bhavan, Krishna Bhavan) and Moroccan couscous and tagines (Chez Omar). Decent pizza (Pizza Chic, La Briciola), and Italian (Caffe dei Cioppi, Olio Pane Vino) abounds and, with last year’s arrival of Candelaria, Mexican is firmly on the ethnic eating map of Paris. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 11 Comments »
February 21, 2012
In a few days, I’ll be sipping wine at un petit café in the Marais, just in time, we all hope, for the weather to finally swing toward Spring. There’s too much to squeeze into this 3-week trip.
Besides visiting Verjus and Au Passage bien sur, I hope to dine at Septime and Bistro Volnay. Perhaps I’ll splurge on a meal at L’hôtel Thoumieux. Though, the best part of being in my own Paris pied-a-terre is stocking up at the Marche des Enfants Rouge for home-cooked dishes that always seem to taste better in Paris.
Merci concept store (Liquidx)
While I hope to buy something special at Merci (a girl can dream), I’ll definitely pop into Les Mauvaises Graines, an urban garden concept store in Montmartre, and will likely fall in love with a handcrafted souvenir at Le Petite Atelier de Paris.
On one of my weekends abroad, I’m jetting to Copenhagen. Being a New England girl, I suppose I’m a sucker for the cold weather. I’m also eager to visit what’s hailed as the best restaurant in the world and after several odd-hour phone calls to Denmark, lucked out with a reservation at Noma. We’ll see if Copenhagen food stacks up to Paris culinaria.
More than anything though, I simply want to find my favorite spots near my Marais flat. I hope to take my daily espresso at Merce and the Muse, lunch at Glou and unwind with an evening wine at La Perle. I promise to only visit Jacques Genin’s fabulous boutique once or twice if, and only if, I take a few strolls around the Square du Temple. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Shopping | 11 Comments »
April 28, 2011
Aux Deux Amis
The beauty of any great city is that you never “finish” it. There’s always a new corner to explore, a windy street to be discovered, a café you wonder how in the world you missed.
Before I left Paris, I made peace with the fact that there was no way I would tackle everything on my to-do list (nor, my list of must-eats). It was partly to keep me sane in the frenzied last days of packing up one life to return to another. But it was also a way of reassuring myself that I would return to Paris. I would get dressed up for a ballet at Opera Garnier. I would stumble into a subterranean jazz club. Angelina’s obscenely thick chocolat chaud would once again deliciously coat my teeth and send me off in an orbit of bliss.
A bike near Notre Dame and Merci store
Now I’m on the cusp of returning to Paris—but only for a week. As a tourist, I want to leave my schedule loose enough for spontaneous explorations (which are more magical in Paris than any other city) and let my friends guide me to everything that is new and hot since I left (Saturne? Grazie?). But certain destinations and activities are non-negotiable. With my first post-expat visit on the horizon, here is what I’m most excited about. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 10 Comments »