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Be My Parisian Valentine: Three Romantic Itineraries in the City of Light

HiP Paris Lily Heise Valentine's Day - Flickr-Pocketrockets georgemoga Pocketrockets; Georgemoga

Be My Perfect Valentine

Paris is definitely one of the most romantic cities in the world. But with so much to do in the City of Love, it can be hard to choose how to celebrate the ultimate day of amour: Valentine’s Day. Here are some thematic original ideas to inspire your plans for February 14th, or any special Paris date night!

HiP Paris Lily Heise Valentine's Day Flickr, philippe leroyer 4Philippe Leroyer

1920s Glamour

Start your night by slipping on your flapper-girl dress and slinking to the new Club Rayé piano bar (26 rue Dussoubs, 75002). Opened in December in a former 13th century nunnery, owner (and New Yorker) Kein Cross applied his interior design experience to create a one of a kind venue. Black and white stripes (rayé in French) are ever-present in the décor, from the comfy lounge chairs to the custom-made rayé accessories. Ideal for a before-or-after-dinner drink, sit back and enjoy the live piano music, inventive champagne cocktails and savory arancini balls.

HiP Paris Lily Heise Valentine's Day Le Boeuf Sur le ToitLe Boeuf Sur le Toit

Your evening should continue in kind, so make your way to the majestic art deco restaurant Le Boeuf sur le Toit (34 rue du Colisée, 75008). First opened at a different location in 1921, it became the after-hours hotspot of the Jazz era attracting the likes of Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Erik Satie and Coco Chanel. While this incarnation dates from 1941, it impeccably embodies Les Années Folles.

HiP Paris Lily Heise Valentine's Day Tres HonoreLe Tres Honore

Craving one more drink? Cozy in at Le Très Honoré (35 place du Marché Saint-Honoré, 75001) with its 1920s Boudoir style bar, plush sofas and seductively named cocktails such as “Bisou Bisou,” it’s the perfect late night lovers’ retreat. Read more about it here by fellow HiP Paris contributor and cocktail expert Forest Collins. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 5 Comments »

Memorial: George Whitman, Founder of Paris’ Shakespeare & Company

What can I add to this week’s hundreds of tributes to the legendary proprietor of Paris’s Shakespeare and Company bookshop, George Whitman, including one by the writer, Jeanette Winterson?

Why was she impelled to remember him in print? Because, like so many others, she had stayed at Shakespeare and Company. George Whitman started a tradition of hosting writers, most famously members of the Beat generation, and the bookshop’s ‘Tumbleweed Hotel’ is still a place where literary dreamers can exchange a few hours’ work in the shop for a bed on a bench amongst the books of George’s personal open library on the first floor.

When I came to Shakespeare and Company a couple of years ago, it was a while before I actually met George. Already in his mid-90s, he spent his days in the apartment on the top floor.

He still owned the shop downstairs, now run expertly by his daughter Sylvia and her team, its ‘Tumbleweed Hotel’ principles intact.

When they arrive, Tumbleweeds are required to write a brief biography for the shop’s records. Employed by the shop to create stair murals, I decided I would do this later. Anyway I was here to draw, not write. I wasn’t a Tumbleweed.

Was I?

The next time I stayed I didn’t write it either, but I did spend my time writing. I’d do it on the next visit.

Or the next…

The last time I visited the shop in October 2011 , Paris was cold. George had just suffered a stroke and was in hospital, ‘recovering well’. The writers’ room, with its tiny electric radiator, was warm. Under my window, tourists snapped continually; Tumbleweeds lunched at the little round table by the door; drunks gathered at the fountain; a busker turned up and performed Shakespeare’s most famous speeches in rotation. Later on, the drummers took over outside the cathedral.

I stopped writing to eat at the café across the road. The man at the next table was telling his teenage daughter – her first trip to Paris – about how he’d been to one of George’s famous Sunday teas and heard the bookseller relate how he had set off to walk from North to South America but had been forced to turn back in the impassible Central American jungle. He was like a child, the man said. It was like he didn’t understand why he just couldn’t go as far as he wanted to go.

But after opening Le Mistral in 1951, which became Shakespeare and Company in 1964, the traveler largely stayed put in Paris, dying peacefully last Wednesday in his apartment above the shop, two days after his 98th birthday.

I walked back from the café to the bookshop and got back to work.

I wrote. Notre Dame chimed ‘Three Blind Mice’ on the hour: the light went.

I thought about space: Kilometer Zero in front of Notre Dame; Place René Viviani  next to the shop where the 2010 Shakespeare and Company Literary Festival was held – a free event into which the public could wander. That was the last time I had seen George downstairs; wearing an extravagant paisley jacket, he was carried in triumph through the shop on a sofa held shoulder-high by Tumbleweeds. Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events, Parisian Living | 4 Comments »

10 Ways To Spend a Sunday in Paris

 

I always know I’m in New York when, on Sunday, everything is buzzing and churning as if it were any other day of the week. Does no one in this city ever rest?! It makes me pine for Sundays in Paris, when the city retreats into its secret corners and everyone does their own thing.

But if you’re new to Paris or simply passing through, Sundays can often beg the question: now what do we do?

Never fear. Though the city’s pulse has slowed, its heart is still beating, and Sundays have their own unique array of activities to be uncovered. Here are a few of our favorite weekend activities.

1. Linger over brunch. Brunch has most definitely become “a thing” in Paris, and there’s no shame in passing your entire day partaking in the act. Check out some of our favorite spots here.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 14 Comments »

Paris Winter Fashion: What do Parisiennes Wear in the Snow?

On a recent Paris jaunt during the now infamous snow storm of last week, Badaude made some Paris fashion observations. As usual, they are right on and just right. What do you wear in Paris in the snow? – Erica

I was decorating the windows for Christmas last week in legendary Paris bookshop Shakespeare and Company and I had (perhaps too much of a) good chance to see what Parisienne’s wore during the recent cold snap. With snowflakes the size of postage timbres falling onto the Christmas tree outside Notre Dame, it was picture postcard pretty but definitely necessary to wrap up warmly. This is what I, with a Posca pen tucked behind my ear, saw from the top of a ladder…

(Click on image for full size)

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Text and illustrations by Badaude for the HiP Paris Blog. For our amazing rentals in Paris, Provence & Tuscany check out our website Haven in Paris.


Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 10 Comments »

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