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Ici-même + Gallerie Graphem: Wine Meets Art in Paris’ 12th Arrondissement

ICI MÊME-19

What happens when two fine arts graduates of the prestigious École du Louvre team up with a French wine expert? A cadre made in French heaven: a wine shop art gallery hybrid for enthusiasts who like their Sancerre with a side of up-and-coming art. Ici-même + Gallerie Graphem, located steps away from the manicured gardens of the Promenade Plantée, finds itself a home in this bohème corner of the 12th arrondissement.

Ici Meme, 5

Art directors Fabienne Lafaye and Claire Aimonier-Davat, who started their careers in fine art galleries throughout Paris, conceptualized the adjoining Gallerie Graphem. Through their experience in the art world, they have been able to cultivate relationships with artists from all over Europe who have been invited to display their work at exhibitions booked through 2015. During their residency, artists are invited to bond the two spaces with a light sketch trailing from the gallery into the wine shop.

Ici Meme, Montage Interior

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Posted in Arts, Restaurant Reviews, Wine | No Comments »

Paris’ 20ème: History, Culture, and Shopping in Belleville and Ménilmontant

20eme, Rue Denoyez Street Art

Rue Denoyez

The 20ème is one of the largest neighborhoods in Paris, covering the areas of Nation, Gambetta, Ménilmontant, and Belleville. Largely overlooked by tourists, this unique quartier is full of locals-only bars and restaurants, art galleries, theaters, charming backstreets, hidden pockets of nature, and a diverse population. As much as I love the familiar streets of the Marais and the Latin Quarter, after spending three months living here this summer, a part of me will always be called back to the 20ème. Here are a few of my favorite historic and cultural spots worth discovering.

20eme, La Bellevilloise

View from La Bellevilloise

A historically working class neighborhood, the 20ème was the center of opposition to Emperor Napoleon III during the eve of the First World War, and the very last neighborhood to surrender during the Paris Commune of 1871. Predominantly an immigrant community for the last century, nowadays young entrepreneurs, artists, and bobos flock to the area for its affordable rents, active nightlife, and thriving arts scene.

20eme, Rue Denoyez

Rue Denoyez

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Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping, Tours and Classes | No Comments »

Paris’s Best New Cocktail Bars: Le Coq, Little Red Door, Glass and More

Le Coq

It’s a new year full of new possibilities. And if one of your resolutions is to get out and enjoy the Parisian nightlife, you’re in luck. 2012 went out with a bang when it comes to bars, leaving behind a trail of new nightspots in its wake. Here’s  a look at some of last year’s buzziest openings…

LRD (Little red door)

Le Coq: Breaking out of the speakeasy trend, Le Coq offers something more cutting edge with its sexy 70’s décor and rock’n’roll aspirations. Industry superstar Tony Conigliaro masterminds cocktail creations that focus on forgotten French spirits and liqueurs and incorporate secret ingredients imported from his London laboratory. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 9 Comments »

Smoking in France: Watch Me As I Fauxke This Cigarette

While I can go weeks without encountering a cigarette in the U.S., smoking is still a prevalent part of Parisian life. Though a recent smoking ban has cleared the air in restaurants and cafes, the French still manage to get their daily nicotine fix. How else are they going to stay so thin? Soon after moving to France, I wrote this post about how to be a non-smoker among smokers. Enjoy!

Flickr Candida.PerformaCandida.Performa

Let’s chat about smoking for a minute. Despite a recently passed no-smoking-in-bars law, tobacco continues to reign supreme in Paris. And while I’ve never really had any interest in being a smoker, it has become exceedingly clear that you won’t get far very in this town unless your lungs are lined with filth.

Listen up, Americans. Despite what your 3rd grade D.A.R.E. counselor may have told you, smoking is cool and, yes, it kind of makes you look like a movie star. I wish I could pull it off, but there’s a problem: smoking literally makes me feel like I’m going to die. Not so much in the moment, but more so the day after when I wake up wondering if I’ve swallowed a cauldron full of battery acid.

And now, while I would like to get really self-righteous about the importance of not smoking, my non-smoker status is less a responsible choice than it is a biological necessity. So my conundrum: what to do during the numerous cigarette breaks that inevitably occur over the course of a bar-hopping evening?

Flickr trix0rTrixOr

Option 1: I can stay inside the bar and hang out with the loser non-smokers.

Option 2: I can concoct a strategy that will afford me access to international smoking circles without sacrificing the sanctity of my lungs.

Option 2 it is. I’ve come up with a clever little trick: faux smoking… “fauxking” if you will (pronounced foh-king). I know it sounds sexual, but don’t get excited—it’s not. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 6 Comments »