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Locavore Paris: Fall Market Shopping & The Perfect September Tart

I am a real foodie now. I have committed to buying locally and seasonally. So long sweet pineapples; see you sporadically. Most expats have their sentimental reasons that keep them in France. A perfect café crème, a favorite terrace, or unpasteurized cheese can easily outweigh all the persistence, courage, and patience it takes to build a life in Paris. Continue Reading »

Posted in HiP Recipes, Parisian Living | 10 Comments »

Vegetarian-friendly Paris: Successfully Navigating the Dining Scene

EverJean

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.

Chez Omar (Roboppy)

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 »

Market Shopping: Marché des Enfants Rouges

Marché des Enfants RougesMeg Zimbeck

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.

Marché des Enfants RougesMeg Zimbeck

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 | 12 Comments »

Markets in Paris – The Inside Scoop

olives

Photo by Erica Berman

Parisian Market Shopping

Although supermarkets, big and small, abound in Paris, most natives make it a point to buy their fresh produce from the colorful, bustling Marchés that dot Parisian neighborhoods. Long considered the centers of city life, nothing beats the satisfaction of returning to your apartment with a cartful of fragrant produce and a head-full of neighborhood gossip. With that in mind, here are few tips for navigating the oft-intimidating foodie meccas…

•    It’s more than worth it to make it out early enough to snag the day’s freshest picks. Most produce markets open around 9 or 10, and you can bet the freshest fish will be gone by 11.

•    It’s a good idea to do a quick walk-through before you start purchasing in order to get familiar with the offerings. Most stands will appear indistinguishable – yards and yards of contiguous vegetable stands, for example – but each often has a loyal following for whatever it does best, so a little detective work can pay off.

•    Unless you have a particular meal in mind, feel free to ask the vendor what he recommends – you’ll find most are more than willing to chat and, if prompted, are happy to point you to the choicest picks. A little charm and you might even walk away with a couple extra shrimp!

Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | No Comments »