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Caroline De Marchi: Chatting Luxury Handbags in Her Hidden Paris Courtyard

Caroline de Marchi Boutique: Pick up one of these unique luxury Parisian handbags

On a recent rainy Paris afternoon, I found myself in a secret courtyard off the fashionable rue Saint-Honoré. A haven from the crowded street, lined with haute couture boutiques, the showroom of Caroline De Marchi, luxury handbag designer, offers a respite for the weary shopper as well as a welcome change from the typical Paris shopping experience.

Caroline de Marchi Boutique: Pick up one of these unique luxury Parisian handbags

I had the opportunity to sit down with Caroline, catching her just after she had returned from a trip to Milan, where she splits her time between stays in Paris. Caroline is of Belgian origin, but has spent most of her life in Paris, with stints in other locations around the world. She followed her Italian husband to Egypt, where she lived for four years, and has also called Sao Paulo, Brazil home. And influences from these séjours abroad are wildly evident in her bag’s styles. The stunning Bali sac, for example, is in the shape of a pyramid, a direct reference to Caroline’s time in Egypt.

Caroline de Marchi luxury handbags and a hidden courtayard in the heart of Paris

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Posted in Design, Fashion, Shopping | 1 Comment »

Le Comptoir Général: African Food, Drinks, and Dance Along Paris’ Canal Saint Martin

Le Comptoir General: Celebrating African with a Coffee Bar, Street-Style Thrift Store, Cocktail Bar, and Reggae Dance Floor Along Paris' Canal Saint Martin

Behind a street art mural along the Canal Saint Martin hides one of Paris’ best-kept secrets: the self-titled “Ghetto Museum” Le Comptoir Général. This multi-purpose treasure trove celebrates Franco-african culture through music, film, fashion, and dance, and has a steady following among in-the-know Parisians and expats.

Le Comptoir General: Celebrating African with a Coffee Bar, Street-Style Thrift Store, Cocktail Bar, and Reggae Dance Floor Along Paris' Canal Saint Martin

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Posted in Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews | No Comments »

Dating in Paris: How to Hook a Frenchman

How to Date in Paris: What to wear, what to eat, and what to talk about with the Frenchman of your dreams

Katerina Athanasaki

Finding myself a single woman in Paris after 20 years of happily-ever-after came as something of a shock. Having lived decades as a Madame, I was suddenly a Mademoiselle. It took months of deep mourning before I awoke and realized that I was in Paris, it was springtime, and I was free to explore my fantasy of dating a Parisian. He’d lived in my dreams for ages, suave with an intellectual flair. He definitely wore glasses and a scarf, his unruly brown hair would be lightly greased back. Miraculously, he’d be 100% nicotine-free. He’d occasionally trip over uneven cobblestone as he geeked out, contemplating an important question regarding Nietzsche, Hegel, or Sartre.

How to Date in Paris: What to wear, what to eat, and what to talk about with the Frenchman of your dreams

PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE

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Posted in Parisian Living | 4 Comments »

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

Elegant Eighth, Paris courtyard

8th arrondissement, Rebecca Plotnick

For Parisians, many of whom don’t necessarily identify personally with their professional alter egos, 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 the most prestigious Haute Couture houses), 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 | 2 Comments »

Online Dating in Paris: Finding Mr. French Might Be Easier Than You Thought!

Online Dating in Paris

Damien Roué

After 20 years of happily ever after, my husband awoke one morning in our Paris apartment a changed man, a man in a midlife crisis. Family? Non, merci! He wanted to work endless hours, have a wife without children, hang with 30-year olds. We already had two kids and I was the other side of 40. In six weeks I went from that lady at dinner parties with an adoring husband whispering, “You are the most beautiful woman in the room” to single mom-dom.

Online Dating in Paris

François Digital

Which is how I found myself dating online in Paris. My friends in the US had warned me that online dating is a nightmare. Men want young girls, or mothers to help them with their kids, or just a one-night stand. One-night stands sounded pretty good to me; after two decades of marriage, I suspected it would do me good to play the field. So I checked out my online options.

Online Dating in Paris, Couple at Parc des Buttes Chaumont, Charles Talbot

Charles Talbot

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Posted in Parisian Living | 5 Comments »

Before & After: The Renovation of Haven in Paris’ Victor Hugo Luxe Apartment

Victor Hugo Luxe Living room more

Salon, Julien Hausherr

Haven in Paris’ newest four-bedroom apartment, Victor Hugo Luxe (emphasis on the luxe), is found on a quiet street just minutes away from the Eiffel Tower and the Bois de Boulogne. The owner and interior decorator took the HiP Paris Blog through the nine-month renovation process of this spacious, Belle Époque gem. 

Victor Hugo Luxe Kitchen and Balcony

Kitchen and Balcony, Julien Hausherr

Built in 1903, the apartment was owned by the same family for 50 years and had not been remodeled since 1970. The design team wanted to revamp the out-of-date 70s-style interior and revive its elegant, turn-of-the-century charm.

Victor Hugo Luxe Dining Table

Dining Room, Julien Hausherr

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Posted in Apartment, Homes, Parisian Living | 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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Posted in Green, Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews | 2 Comments »

Halloween in Paris: Cemeteries, Catacombs, and Ghostly Itineraries in the City of Light

Montparnasse Cemetery graves, cachecacheMontparnasse Cemetery, cachecache

Temperatures are dropping as fast as the gold-stained leaves that crunch beneath our feet, filling the air with the fragrance of autumn. Sedate men selling warm chestnuts balance their shopping cart roasters at metro entrances. Fall has fallen on Paris and with Halloween just around the corner, it is the ideal season to explore the city’s darker side.

Pere Lachaise, CpaKmoi

Père Lachaise Cemetery, CpaKmoi

The Catacombs are a macabre storage depot 20 meters below street level; a maze of femurs, ribs, and skulls are arranged, stacked, and aligned, evoking an exhibition of Art Naïve. The aging bones of 15th century literary luminaries Rabelais and Jean de la Fontaine entwine with 18th century revolutionaries Robespierre and Danton, sitting among the remains of six million other Parisians, all of them originally buried in city cemeteries that were reclaimed as land for the living.

Catacombs, Rachel Alter

Catacombs, Rachel Alter

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

Ici Meme Counter

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, Tables

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 »

How to Order Coffee in France with Comme Une Française

You’ve packed a Paris-perfect wardrobe, planned your gastronomic meals, and found idyllic accommodations. Now it’s time to practice your French. Géraldine Lepère shares the phrases you need to order a coffee like a local so the next time you settle into a Parisian café, you will look like ‘un vrai Parisien’. Enjoy! -Erin

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZzQxerWyq4

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Coffee in Paris

Created by Géraldine Lepère for the HiP Paris BlogLooking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

Posted in Coffee, Parisian Living | 2 Comments »