homesubscribe to newsletterpinterestfacebooktwitterrssinstagram
Parisian livingrestaurant reviewstravelartseventsshoppingour Paris apartmentsfood
link to HiP blog home page
link to HiP blog home page
search
Paris apartments
About HiP
contactcontact
vacation rentals
special offers
ParisLondon
ProvenceTuscany
Paris vacation rentals
pinterestfacebooktwitterrssinstagram

Le Beurre: Why Butter is Better in France

Why does French butter taste so good?

Frédéric BISSON

I hated butter when I was a kid, unless it was melted in mashed potatoes. Fast forward 20 years and here I am, living in France, regularly licking butter off my fingers while making tart crust or smooshing fat slices onto naked hunks of bread in the morning. Somewhere along the line, someone slipped me a sliver of Echiré and changed my world. There’s no going back once you’ve experienced the tender melt of cultured-cream butter on the tip of your tongue. But I wondered: what exactly makes this ubiquitous ingredient so good here?

Why does French butter taste so good?

JenSteele; jules

According to Luisa Weiss, author of My Berlin Kitchen and founder of the blog The Wednesday Chef, the easy answer is fat. “The main difference between American and European butter is that European butter has a higher percentage of fat than American butter,” she explained over the telephone from her home in Berlin. American butter averages 80 percent fat, while European standards hover around 85 and 87 percent, with the legal French minimum being 82 percent. It’s not a huge difference – we’re talking 5 to 7 percent – but it’s enough to give European butter a deeper, richer flavor than its American counterpart.

Why does French butter taste so good?

Luca Cerabona

Continue Reading »

Posted in Food | 4 Comments »

A Weekend in Normandy: Rouen Roaming

A weekend jaunt through the rustic streets of Rouen.

I took the early morning bus to Rouen on a bright, clear day in October. But chillier temperatures wouldn’t diminish a visit to the Haute-Normandie capital, where you can spend the day exploring several of the most impressive gothic churches in France, antique and artisan shops, a 14th century astronomical clock tower, and restaurants serving buttery Norman indulgences and Calvados to warm up with.

A weekend jaunt through the rustic streets of Rouen. Continue Reading »

Posted in Travel | 1 Comment »

A Quaint Mix of Old & New in Normandy’s Seaside Village Honfleur

Honfleur, a quaint town in the Normand region of France, is the perfect weekend retreat from Paris.

In late November, as my several-month stint in Paris was coming to a close, I felt far from ready to leave. Perhaps it was due to the fact that fall had flown by, or that I had met a sweet Frenchman. Likely both. So when he propositioned we take an overnight jaunt outside of Paris a mere week before I my return to New York, I was torn.

Honfleur, a quaint town in the Normand region of France, is the perfect weekend retreat from Paris.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Travel | 1 Comment »

10 Reasons to Love August in Paris

HiP Paris Blog, August in Paris, Isabel Miller-Bottome plages, pause

Paris Plages/Pause Cafe, Isabel Miller-Bottome

For those who cherish the peaceful atmosphere resulting from the mass exodus of holiday-goers, August is Paris’ most prized month. In the past, I haven’t always embraced this sentiment, mainly because I love the charge of the city. I adore the hustle and bustle of the busy streets; the fashionable Parisians strutting down the sidewalk, chatting over a glass of wine or coffee on café terrasses, and shopping in the stylish boutiques. However, perhaps these August-lovers have it right? Here are 10 reasons to convince any reluctant critics (myself once included) why August is the best month to be in Paris:

HiP Paris Blog, August in Paris, Isabel Miller-Bottome, reuilly, vosges

Jardin de Reuilly/Place des Vosges, Isabel Miller-Bottome

1. There’s so much going on for free

Free movies, free concerts, free exercise lessons, free…! Your social calendar will be packed with the outdoor cinema screenings at la Villette or the Clair de Lune festival, pétanque or dancing at the Canal de l’Ourcq, running on Les Berges, and more. It might just be the best month to be in Paris on a budget, and since the weather tends to be nice you can save on dining costs by picnicking.

HiP Paris Blog, August in Paris, Palmyre, Lucernaire 5,4

Le Lucernaire, Briag Courteaux

2. You can actually get a table en terrasse

I noticed the other day when scoping out the cafés on rue Montorgueil at the peak of lunch hour that there were a surprisingly large number of tables available. And same luck at apéro; we had our pick of the usually highly coveted tables. Next I plan to try some of the notoriously tough-to-get-into venues like le Perchoir; perhaps we’ll have repeat good fortune.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 1 Comment »

Living A Dream: The Search For An Old Stone House In the French Countryside

Buying a House in Burgundy, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Paige Frost 3

Paige Frost

It started on a whim. We were vacationing in the South of France near the idyllic medieval town of Roquebrun, about an hour’s drive from Montpellier.  Its sun-baked stone facades are built up into a cascading hillside; a smattering of cafes and merchants dot its central tree-lined street. At the foot of the village, the Orb River meanders through the densely green valley, inviting swimmers, fishermen and kayakers to partake.

Buying a House in Burgundy, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Nebojsa Mladjenovic

Nebojsa Mladjenovic 

It’s a hidden gem in the Herault region of Languedoc-Roussillon, affectionately known to locals as Le Petit Nice.

Glancing up the hillside at Rocquebrun’s ancient buildings — from my perch on a sunny cafe terrace — it was impossible to miss the sign hanging on a nearby iron balcony: A Vendre. The house faced the river offering what appeared to be an unbroken view of its lazy waters, arched stone bridge and the rugged valley beyond. It looked too good to be true. I had to see inside.

Buying a House in Burgundy, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Andree & Edward

 Andree & Edward

Continue Reading »

Posted in Homes, Travel | 3 Comments »

Brocante Shopping in Normandy with My French Country Home

Brocante finds in action (Laurence Amélie)

At My French Country Home in Normandy, we love to go antiquing. We welcome guests from all over the world, from private shoppers looking to experience real French brocantes (flea markets) and hopefully bring back a special souvenir of their holiday in France, to professionals looking for hidden gems to add a little French je-ne-sais-quoi to their boutiques.

Bedrooms decorated with brocante finds

Here is how it went for a recent client, Jeni, who came to shop for her vintage rental company in California. She was only here for 24 hours, but thanks to careful planning and her ability to make quick decisions, she managed to purchase all kinds of amazing loot! Continue Reading »

Posted in Shopping, Tours and Classes, Travel | 13 Comments »

When You’re Missing Paris in November: 7 Cool Events & Classes

Seine, Paris, France

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.

Jean-Michel-Basquiat Paris France

Basquiat artwork; photos by mauidw and Eduardo Nasi

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 »

Erica’s Weekend away from Paris: a Country Cottage in Normandy

montage French country cottage Bed & door detail NewMy French Country Cottage in Normandy – Photos Erica Berman

It can be hard to get Parisians out of Paris for a weekend. We think we want to go somewhere, but when push comes to shove it just seems so complicated that we prefer an apéro, a resto, or a leisurely dinner with friends. We save our energy for big trips to exotic and far away places. Also, being snobs, we think that anything close to Paris won’t be interesting or worth the hassle of the drive.

French Country Home Normandy BikesBikes by Sharon’s French Country Home

This weekend I managed to make an exception to this rule. The lure of a French cottage in Normandy, a walk in the forest and a few early morning flea markets was calling me since Sharon, the cottage owner, promised all of this at less than an hour’s drive from the center of Paris. Could it be true?

Continue Reading »

Posted in Homes, Parisian Living, Travel | 13 Comments »