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Winter in Paris: Ice Skating Around the City of Light

Winter in France, Ice Skating at Hotel de Ville, the Eiffel Tower, and the Grand Palais in Paris

Esti Alvarez

After a mild November, temperatures in Paris have dropped to a respectable winter weather, thermostats hovering around 0° Celsius, bien sûr! Advent calendars have been cracked open and Paris is all dressed up for winter! After the lighting of the trees along the Champs-Elysées and the perfume of hot, spiced wine from the Christmas markets, everyone is putting on their party shoes (aka ice skates) to enjoy some pretty sensational ice skating rinks that have rolled in for the holidays, ensuring a White Christmas for anyone who seeks it.

Winter in France, Ice Skating at Hotel de Ville, the Eiffel Tower, and the Grand Palais in Paris

Simon Hooks

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Nichole Robertson on The Paris Journal & Book Giveaway

We at HiP Paris have been big fans of Nichole Robertson’s work for quite some time. She is now one half of the wife-husband duo Obvious State, creating literary-focused posters and some of the most gorgeous Paris photo-story books you can imagine. Nichole shares an introduction to The Paris Journal with us below, as well an excerpt from the book. We are also thrilled to be giving away copies to five lucky readers! More details on the giveaway below. -Erin

The Paris Journal, French Lifestyle Book by NIchole Robertson

“The Paris Journal is a labor of love. From the beginning, we had one mission in mind: To take people to Paris. The narrator is an anonymous traveler and we get to follow along as she explores the city she loves. Book one is comprised of 17 journal entries and over 144 full-color photos and explores the two islands at the heart of Paris, the Île de la Cité and the Île Saint-Louis. Below is a sample from the book. I hope you enjoy it!” -Nichole Robertson

RUE JEAN DU BELLAY RUNS DIRECTLY INTO THE BRIDGE THAT CONNECTS THE TWO ISLANDS, PONT SAINT-LOUIS. 

Outside of Café Saint-Régis, which faces the bridge from the Saint-Louis side, the staff prepares for the morning customers. It’s chillier here. The sun won’t reach the interior of the island for hours. The only warmth emanates from inside the café, carrying good smells with it. A waitress, clearly in charge, directs the staff as she organizes the one-shot cups on top of the espresso machine. 

The two waiters drag tipsy stacks of cane chairs to the sidewalk. There’s very little street traffic on the island, but on its perimeter, the sound of cars and mopeds steadily builds. Morning has arrived, and everyone moves quickly now. 

The Paris Journal, French Lifestyle Book by NIchole Robertson

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Posted in Parisian Living | 6 Comments »

Bloom: Local and ‘Fait Maison’ Cuisine in Paris’ 11ème

Bloom Cantine: Local and Home Made Cuisine at Paris Café in the 11th Arrondissement

On a quiet street in the 11ème, a few blocks away from the bustle of Bastille, sits a quaint canteen that opened this past spring and embodies the local, fait mason trend we’ve been seeing so much of in Paris recently. I cozied up at Bloom on a recent rainy Friday afternoon with a visiting American friend and enjoyed a lovely lunch.

Bloom Cantine: Local and Home Made Cuisine at Paris Café in the 11th Arrondissement

Bloom Cantine: Local and Home Made Cuisine at Paris Café in the 11th Arrondissement

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Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 2 Comments »

Le Timbre: Changes at the Well-Loved French Bistro on Paris’ Left Bank

Le Timbre Restaurant, Interior Tables, Paris, Cuisine

One reason I hold a special place in my heart for Alec Lobrano and his book Hungry for Paris is because his guide to Paris restaurants led me to Le Timbre, a tiny establishment tucked away in the 6th arrondissement. After my first lunch there three years ago, the restaurant quickly became a favorite of mine and regular stop on my itinerary when showing friends and family around the city. Each time I went to chef Chris Wright’s restaurant I knew that I would enjoy happy hours of eating at the tiny tables that line the space whose name- literally “the stamp”- commemorates the cozy size of the dining room.

Le Timbre, Montage Exterior and Table, Paris Cuisine

English by birth but francophile by choice, Wright’s cuisine was inspired by his childhood travels in France, particularly in the southwestern regions of the country. Wright’s menu proposed hearty servings of fresh fish and typical meat-and-vegetable meals along with nods to his native land, such as a Stilton and sherry dessert. Despite the odd foreign cheese or charcuterie, the restaurant remained a typical French bistro, its simple menu exemplifying the joy that comes with enjoying quality ingredients and leaving the table well fed and happy. 

Le Timbre Restaurant, Wine Bottles, Paris Cuisine

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Day Trips from Paris: Château de Fontainebleau, Château de Malmaison & More

Backside of Vaux-le-Vicomte

Backside of Vaux-le-Vicomte Casey Hatfield-Chiotti

From strolling the various quartiers to visiting museums to checking out the new “it” restaurants, there is no end to what you can see and do in Paris. Still, I must admit, some of my favorite days have been spent escaping the city. Many fascinating day trips are reachable by an easy train or car ride and while Versailles is by far the most famous and popular, there are other great places to visit that are just as interesting, and far less crowded.

Paris Day Trips, Palais de Fontainebleau, Chateau

Paris Day Trips, Palais de Fontainebleu Sculptures, Chateau Visit

Château de Fontainebleau, Richard White

Approximately 7,500,000 people visited Versailles in 2013. That’s 15 times more than the number of people who visited the Château de Fontainebleau, which is truly a bit of a crime. The only royal and imperial chateau in France to have been continuously inhabited for seven centuries, Fontainebleau’s history is deep and rich. It dates back to the 12th century, but much of what you see today was the work of King Francis I, who had the palace renovated during the early 1500s. And the Francis I Gallery, with its frescoes framed in stucco by Rosso Fiorentino, serves as a beautiful example of Renaissance art and architecture.

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Celebrating Local and Seasonal at La Récolte, Paris’ New Sustainable Food Shop

La Récolte, Fresh Produce

In the two years that led up to La Récolte‘s opening in summer of 2014, owner Mathieu Mulliez tirelessly explored France, visiting independent producers. His goal was simple: find dedicated artisans practicing sustainable agriculture and bring their fresh, seasonal products to Parisians. The concept may seem simple, but it is shockingly difficult to find shops like La Récolte in Paris.

La Récolte, Carotte de Gwénolé

Bringing together quality products from France (and sometimes neighboring countries) as well as maintaining opening hours that correspond to busy city dwellers’ work schedules is a rare combination in Paris. Mathieu, who has worked his fair share of 9-5 jobs and has a love of cooking with quality ingredients, decided to meet this demand head on and create a shop that could welcome customers who are on their way home from work or looking for a quick, healthy lunch.

La Récolte, Montage, Bento Italian & Noisette Chocolat

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Posted in Food, Green, Parisian Living | 2 Comments »

Paris’ Best Indian Restaurants from Bollywood Kitchen Chef Sanjee

Indian Restaurants in Paris, Nalas Appakadai Bowls

Thali – Nalas Appakadai

Following our last post on Parisian Indian Chef Sanjee of Bollywood Kitchen when we visited her apartment in the very yummy-mummy 17ème arrondissement, she confirmed her frustration at the lack of good all-round Indian restaurants in the French capital. However, among the not-so-great restaurants, there are four that have held her attention (and palate), which she shares with us below.

Indian Restaurants in Paris, Nalas Appakadai Team

Indian Restaurants in Paris, Marcel

Sanjee at Nalas Appakadai; Marcel

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The Elegant Eighth: Affordable Food and Superb Culture in Paris’ Chic Business District

Elegant Eighth, Paris courtyard

8th arrondissement, Rebecca Plotnick

For many Parisians, a people who don’t typically identify themselves with their jobs, the Eighth Arrondissement represents the office. True, it’s pretty with row after row of Haussmannian edifices and wide, tree-lined boulevards. But isn’t so much of Paris just that?

Elegant Eighth, Paris street view

8th arrondissement, Rebecca Plotnick

Covering an area of 3.88 km² with a population a bit larger than 40K people, the Eighth is one of the wealthiest arrondissements in Paris. Second only to La Défense as home to multinational firms and banks, the Eighth also caters to tourism (Champs-Elysées), culture (Musée Jacquemart-André, Salle Gaveau/Pleyel, the Petit and Grand Palais), fashion (avenue Montaigne is home to all Haute Couture houses. period), churches (La Madeleine, St Augustin, and my own favorite, the little-visited royalist Chapelle Expiatoire), and luxury (George V, Plaza Athenée, the Bristol, Hôtel de Crillon).

Elegant Eighth, Paris flowers

8th arrondissement, Rebecca Plotnick

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Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews | 1 Comment »

La Jeune Rue: The Latest Cultural and Culinary Initiative in Paris’ Marais

La-Jeune-Rue-Vertbois

Rue de Vertbois, Emma Stencil

Three quiet streets in ParisMarais neighborhood are the site for one of the most interesting projects of the year. The name Cédric Naudon, French entrepreneur and millionaire, was splashed all over the French press this spring with the announcement of his sensational initiative La Jeune Rue.

La Jeune Rue, Empty Street

La Jeune Rue, Isabel Miller-Bottome

Not much is known about this low-profile businessman who is said to have made his millions in real estate and finance in the United States. The Gatsby-esque aura surrounding Naudon is reinforced by his reticence in interviews, as well as the flamboyant decision to purchase 36 storefronts over the course of a year to realize his vision for La Jeune Rue, a project that is estimated to cost over 30 million.

La Jeune Rue, Buildings

La Jeune Rue, Isabel Miller-Bottome

La Jeune Rue is set to transform three neglected Parisian streets – Rue Volta, Rue du Vertbois, and Rue de Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth – into a mecca for bohemian-bourgeois shoppers in search of locally-sourced and artisanal products.

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Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews, Shopping | 1 Comment »

Paris Farm-to-Table Restaurants: Delicious, Local and Fait Maison

Farm to Table, Le Timbre 25

Le Timbre, Palmyre Roigt

Over the past few years there has been a lot of conversation around the startling statistic that around one-third of France’s cafes, brasseries and restaurants are actually using pre-frozen ingredients or entire meals that only need a microwave before reaching your plate. In typical French fashion, this was a drawn out discussion that needed a government vote and while restaurants now can mark on their menus “fait maison,” when items are truly made from scratch, you might not always be able to see the menu before sitting down.

Farm to Table, Verjus 4

Verjus, Diane Yoon

A few months ago, I attended a question and answer session about French food and the fait maison/frozen food question was raised. A few people said, “you just should know where to go.” But without any mandate and as a visitor to Paris, “knowing where to go,” is easier said than done. And for first-time tourists, it’s easy to end up somewhere that is beautifully authentic and appears to be using all fresh ingredients but well, isn’t. Here are five tips to keep you street smart when eating fresh, seasonal and farm-to-table in Paris.

Farm to Table, Verjus 5

Verjus, Diane Yoon

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