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Montmartre: Exploring the New, Hip and Delicious in One of Our Favorite Paris ‘Hoods

HiP Paris Blog covers what's new in MontmartreCoutume Izakaya / (magasin) – Ali Postma

After living in Montmartre for several months, I would like to think that I know the area well. But even the small village around metro Abbesses is constantly evolving with new cafés, restaurants, and shops opening all the time. If you find yourself in the 18th arrondissement visiting Sacré-Cœur or the Moulin Rouge, make sure to stop by some of my favorite places that have opened recently:

HiP Paris Blog covers what's new in Montmartre

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Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews, Shopping | No Comments »

Playtime in Paris: Modern French Dining in the 10th Arrondissement

To celebrate Valentine’s Day four years ago, I dined at Le Grand Colbert, the restaurant made famous by Diane Keaton and her roast chicken in the film Something’s Gotta Give. For me, it will forever be famous for far different reasons. Over clangorous dining room voices and crumb-laden plates, my husband proposed to me.

The American couple seated next to us gushed as I beamed with joy and threw my arms around my new fiancé. The fullness of the moment was heightened by the Belle Epoque backdrop and the tuxedoed waiters who dashed back and forth with alacrity between the kitchen and the dining room, forging the surreal sensation of being the stars on a Hollywood film set. Unbearably prosaic but perfectly appropriate for the moment.

Since then, we’ve maintained the tradition of dining out on Valentine’s Day. Some of our choices have been memorable, some not even worth mentioning. We flirted with the idea of returning to Le Grand Colbert last month to relive our engagement but given the caliber of restaurants that have opened over the last four years, we couldn’t be bothered with average food and contrived theatrics, no matter how emotionally significant.

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Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 7 Comments »

Septime: Friendly, Inventive and Refined Cuisine in Paris

Hake with carrots and zucchini

In April, the Paris food scene saw the grand return of creative culinary prowess with the opening of Septime, a modern bistro in a remote corner of the 11th arrondissement that breaks free from the confines of traditional French cooking. Buzz about the high-caliber restaurant was instantaneous and spoke largely of the mastermind behind the apron.

After a tenure at L’Arpège under the auspices of Alain Passard, Bertrand Grébaut went on to snag a Michelin star at Agapé at only 27 years old. Earning himself even further attention was the 10,000€ Evian-Badoit grant he was awarded to bring his own venture, Septime, to fruition.  Innovative, successful and under 30 – my friends and I were intrigued.

Chef Bertrand Grébaut

The moment we entered the restaurant, we were greeted with warm, sincere smiles and glowing enthusiasm from devilishly handsome young servers. We were seated in the entry dining room, across from the bar where the evening’s first guests chatted gleefully over a glass of wine. It features one long communal table and is slightly quieter than the larger room just beyond the glass partition that offers a view of Grébaut and his team hard at work in the open kitchen.

Before even glancing at the menu, we were transfixed by the post-industrial décor, hanging lamps (which we later learned were from Holland) and the rustic, unrefined wood tables throughout the restaurant that provided the warmth and sophistication missing from the neighborhood. Passersby must have felt similarly because most stopped in front of the restaurant, with its wide-open windows and enviable energy, to analyze the menu and get a feel for the ambiance. This stop-and-gawk continued all evening, much to our amusement.

Tables set at Septime

After fawning over the environment, it was time to dive into the deceivingly short menu and choose between three appetizers, three main dishes, and three desserts. We opted for a bit of each with the 55€ carte blanche tasting menu — by far the wisest value given the quality and artistry involved in each plate.  The chef has carte blanche and selects the combination of dishes each guest will receive, but he will accommodate food preferences and/or allergies. Following our order, a sommelier advised our wine choice, explaining its origin and why it would produce the perfect sense of balance and harmony with the dishes we would be served. Continue Reading »

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Chez Michel: Classic Prix Fixe with an Adventurous Twist &

Meg Zimbeck at Girls’ Guide to Paris knows a thing or two about Paris restaurants. Below, she gives us the rundown on the many options available at neo-bistro Chez Michel: an adventurous diner’s paradise. According to, it’s one of Catherine Deneuve’s favorite eateries. We’re already impressed!

Text by Meg Zimbeck

In a city with so many incredible restaurants to try, repeat visits are a sure sign of love. Until this week, I could count on one hand the places to which I’ve returned more than three times: Spring, Frenchie, l’Avant Comptoir, Le Baratin and the crêperie Josselin. Chez Michel, the Breton bistro near Gare du Nord, has just joined the ranks and forced me to open a second hand.

My fourth visit on a frozen December evening was nearly perfect. Having arrived early, I waited for my friend with a glass of Cerdon—a sparkling pink wine that’s rarely seen in restaurants (6 euros). The extra time was devoted to studying both the printed menu and the lengthy chalk-drawn list of specials.

Chez Michel is a single restaurant with many different ways to dine. The foundation of any experience is the prix fixe menu, with three courses for 32 euros. It includes plenty of good pork and seafood options, with eight starters, six mains and seven desserts. You could stick to the plan and be very happy with a good fish soup and a stellar brandade de morue, plus the famous 36-hour Paris-Brest dessert. I don’t know anybody who does this.

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Jadis: Finally a Reason to Visit the 15th


photo courtesy of

While there’s nothing secret about Jadis anymore, its location—buried deep within the 15th near Metro Convention—shelters it from the tourist crowds that will inevitably descend on Paris this spring and summer. Hailed as the  “Best Bistro of 2008” by Le Fooding and “Bistro of the Fall” by Le Figaro, Jadis has emerged as a well-loved star amidst a sea of up-and-coming (and already established) neo-bistros. Continue Reading »

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