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A Day in SOPI: Eating, Drinking & Shopping in Paris’ HiP South-of-Pigalle Area

HiP Paris SOPI Sebastien Gaudard4 Didier Gauducheau

For decades, Pigalle was known mainly for its sex shops, seedy shows and working girls. During WWII, this sketchy section of Paris earned the nickname “Pig Alley” thanks to its bawdy rep. But these days, Pigalle has earned a few new monikers as well as a cleaner reputation. Now, in NYC fashion, trendy locals refer to it as either NoPi (North of Pigalle) or SoPi (South of Pigalle).

HIP-Paris-SOPI-Rocketship2-Didier-Gauducheau

While both North and South have plenty to offer, it’s SoPi that’s become the latest neighborhood to watch.  Moving beyond nighttime entertainment, SoPi is packed with plenty of destination restaurants, food shops, cafes and enough to make an itinerary that runs from morning until nighttime.

HiP Paris SOPI Rocketship3 Didier Gauducheau

To get a day’s worth of enjoyment out of one the city’s hippest ‘hood, kick start things with some caffeine at Rocketship. Like many places in Paris, they don’t open until later in the morning, so make your way there leisurely. In keeping with the neighborhood’s NY-inspired nickname, this concept coffeeshop works a Brooklyn vibe and offers chai lattes alongside coffee from Coutume.

HiP Paris SOPI Rocketship1 Didier Gauducheau

After coffee, take time to browse the boutique. Benoit, the owner, prides himself on finding unique treasures and includes a good number of pieces from SoPi-based artisans.

Le Rocketship, 13 bis rue Henri Monnier, Paris, 75009, +33 1 48 78 23 66

Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews, Shopping | 13 Comments »

Paris, My Sweet: Amy Thomas’s Drool-Inducing New Book On Paris and New York’s Best Desserts

Lindsey Tramuta

Here at HiP, we’re always up for a good expat adventure tale, particularly one in which desserts play a starring role. In her new book, Paris, My Sweet, food writer (and regular HiP Paris contributor!) Amy Thomas regales us with stories from her two-year stint in Paris, where she wrote advertising copy for Louis Vuitton by day and scoured the city for sweets in her spare time.

All in all, it sounds like a pretty ideal existence, but like all expats in Paris, Amy faced a typical series of ups and downs. It’s no surprise that she fell hard for the city upon arrival; and it’s also no surprise that, once the initial Parisian shine wore off, Amy ultimately came to see the city’s not-quite-so-sweet side. It’s at this point that the story really starts to ring true for those of us who have been expats in Paris: you’re simultaneously charmed and alienated, comforted and challenged, energized and exhausted.

Paris, My Sweet; Takashi

As Amy weathered the highs and lows of expat life, she also covered serious ground in the dessert department, hitting all of Paris’ confectionary hotspots and sampling the city’s most decadent delights. This book is not only an account of her time in Paris, but also a goldmine of bonnes addresses (in both Paris and New York) for dessert lovers. This woman knows her way around a pâtisserie, and serious sugar-high seekers would do well to heed Amy’s recommendations.

Paris, My Sweet is a guidebook of sorts, but it’s also just a fun and decadent read—I devoured it in less than 48 hours, pausing only to scrounge up some chocolate now and again. In addition to making me hungry, Amy’s writing transported me back to Paris, a trip I am ever-eager to make, if only vicariously.

Evocateur

Below, I caught up with the author to talk Paris, pastries, and ultimately picking her favorite city. Continue Reading »

Posted in Events, Food, Parisian Living, Travel | 14 Comments »

A Good Sweet Smackdown: In a head-to-head battle, which side of the Atlantic is a sweeter place to live?

Doughnuts American style (Honey + Jam)

It’s an affliction. This I know after living in Paris for nearly two years. I used to think that, in New York, it was natural and inevitable that I was such a Sweet Freak. Everywhere I looked, there were seductive displays of oozing chocolaty chip cookies, obscenely large sticky buns and towering three-layer red velvet cakes. Irresistible!

But in Paris, I was just as big a leche-vitrine—maybe more so, drawn as I was to the rows of pristine gateaux, Technicolor macarons and perfect dark chocolate pavés. Having spent significant amounts of time and invested gazillions of glorious calories in both cities, it’s still a question I find difficult answering: who has the best sweets, New York or Paris? A transatlantic smackdown might tell.

Brownies v. Moelleux au Chocolat

Moelleux and Brownies (Shoko MuraguchiHoney + Jam)

A pastry Neanderthal might say: what’s the difference? They’re two brown chocolaty-cakey treats. But the pastry connoisseur understands the difference between dense and molten. Between fudgy and finessed. Between a snack that can be dunked in milk with your fingers and an haute dessert that oozes into a pool of uber-rich ganache on your dessert plate.

Verdict? A brownie is comfort and joy; moelleux is hedonism and bliss. They’re both worthy and delicious. But as good as a dense, fudgy brownie is, anything with molten chocolate wins, n’est-ce pas?

Winner: Moelleux. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food | 10 Comments »

The Best Baguettes in Paris

Every year, in a closed chamber on the Ile Saint-Louis, a panel of carb-loving judges select the Best Baguette in Paris. The top ten winners of this annual contest – the Grand Prix de la Baguette de Tradition Française de la Ville de Paris – are listed below.

Little Brown PenLittle Brown Pen

Click here to view these bakeries on a google map.

Grand Prix de la Baguette de la Ville de Paris 2010

1. Djibril Bodian (Le Grenier à Pain Abbesses), 38 rue des Abbesses, 75018
2. Daniel Pouphary, (La Parisienne) 28 rue Monge, 75005
3. Dominique Saibron, 77 avenue du Général Leclerc, 75014
4. Yves Desgranges, 6 rue de Passy, 75016
5. Philippe Gosselin, 258 boulevard Saint-Germain, 75007
6. Xavier Doué, 163 avenue de versaillais, 75016
7. Sébastien and Sylvie Lohézic (Boulangerie Lohézic), 31 rue Guersant, 75017
8. Michel Chorin (Boulangerie d’Isa) 127 rue de Charenton, 75012
9. Mohamed Zerzour (Boulangerie Zerzour), 50 rue de l’Amiral Roussin, 75015
10. Mohamed Zerzour (Zerzour II), 324 rue Lecourbe, 75014

PS: The 2010 winner, Le Grenier à Pain, is located just down the street from Haven in Paris Montmartre apartments Abbesses and Houdon!

Written by Meg Zimbeck. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

Posted in Food | 6 Comments »