July 25, 2012
I have a friend who goes to the supermarket with a set budget and sensible shopping list.
Not me. I’m a marketers dream. Bright packets of budget biscuits jump into my basket; heavily reduced items beseech me to take them home.
You can’t even imagine what I’m like in the wine section. In Paris, the shelves are lined with pretty, shockingly cheap bottles of vin. I stumble between reds from Bordeaux, sweet whites from Alsace, and row upon row of cerise coloured rosés from Provence.
There is an overwhelming selection of cheap wines to choose from. My schoolgirl French does not serve me well in decoding their sexy, enticing labels. I lunge at the looming wall of indistinguishable wines and pick a bottle based on its price-bracket and whether or not the label features a château. On the way home, I wonder if my wine will double as a paint-thinner. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 10 Comments »
June 11, 2012
L’Office owner Charles Compagnon
Coming off a string of mediocre Paris meals, I was less then lukewarm about heading out to, yet another Paris neo-bistro. Anticipating haughty service and below average food at a high price in banal ambiance, I almost bowed out of my recent girl’s night out at L’Office.
Going into this meal with a bad attitude and a hungry tummy, disappointment seemed imminent.
What a pleasure it was to be proven wrong, and how so! l’Office may just be my new French ‘go to’ restaurant for tasty food, in a mellow setting with adorable service. Continue Reading »
Posted in Restaurant Reviews | 5 Comments »
May 6, 2011
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left a quirky store or hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Paris and thought, “How does that place stay in business?” And I mean that as the highest compliment.
While commerce in the rest of the world seems to be accelerating at a highly unpleasant rate, Parisian proprietors, on the other hand, know how to slow down—and still manage to survive.
Olivier Camus’ Le Chapeau Melon is one such place. I first visited three years ago, just after I moved to Paris. The warm reception, perfect filet de boeuf, and eye-opening bottle of Morgon solidified my notion that I had come to the right city.
When I finally returned this spring, I was reminded all over again why Paris is the best place to eat in the world: nothing had changed. And rightly so—why mess with a good thing?
Camus (who is also involved with foodie hub Le Baratin, just up the street from Le Chapeau Melon in Belleville) is known as one of Paris’ most dedicated cavistes and as an early proponent of the natural wine movement that is now sweeping the city. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 9 Comments »
June 8, 2010
Guest Blogger, Laura, from the super cool blog My Mélange has shared her favorite organic hotspots in the city of lights. With more and more need to pay attention to the environment, we thank My Mélange for sharing these wonderful organic markets, restaurants and shops for us to explore. Let us know your Paris organic favorites to add to the list. Thanks!
These days it’s all about going green, natural, organic, or anything else that is friendly to the environment (and to our bodies). When you’re home, it’s easy to support local farms through farmers’ markets or buy organic goods from the supermarket, but traveling internationally could pose a threat to your health-conscious lifestyle and eating habits…unless you know where to go to find organic products and eco-friendly services.
In 2009, with the help of President Nicholas Sarkozy, Paris became proactive in supporting organic agriculture. The government cut subsidies given to large farms and redirected the financial aid to smaller organic and family owned farms. Paris has been the center of these organic or biologique (or bio) changes and boasts a number of successful organic and natural supermarkets, bakeries, restaurants, wine shops, and even hotels.
For those of you lucky enough to rent an apartment and enjoy an extended stay in The City of Light, grocery shopping is a must. Biocoop and Naturalia are two organic supermarkets in the Paris region. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Green, Parisian Living | 8 Comments »
May 21, 2010
I miss Paris – the gorgeous gray buildings, the bridges over that little river, the cranky taxi drivers. Oh, let’s be real for a moment; I miss the food more than anything else. And since my initial post on Paris Foods You Must Eat (part 1) did so well, I thought an encore was in order.
Let’s start with the chocolate mousse, that luscious mix of cream, sugar, cocoa and air. Only this mousse is featured in a chocolate mousse bar – that’s right, folks, an entire bar of mousses made from all different types of chocolate – that is scooped out by the spatula-full into a tiny paper cone (or into pint containers, if you’re so inclined). You gotta try this good stuff, made in a shop tucked away on a sleepy section of St. Germain. Chocolat Chapon is located at 69 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris, Tel: 01 42 22 95 98.
If thick chocolate mousse is not quite your speed, try the best gelato in Paris. I waited in line for 30 minutes in order to spoon some creamy deliciousness from Pozzetto (39 Rue du Roi de Sicile, 75004 Paris, Tel: 01 42 77 08 64) into my waiting belly. Well, I spooned it into my mouth and it traveled into my belly and… I loved it.
If sweets aren’t your thing, perhaps cheese is? It better be if you’re in Paris. And frankly, there isn’t anything better than a selection of cheeses from your local fromagerie, a fresh crispy baguette and a bottle of organic French wine. The moment you visit Paris, put the fancy restaurants on hold and gather supplies for your own makeshift picnic in your rented flat or hotel room. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food | 7 Comments »
May 6, 2010
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.
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 | 11 Comments »
April 15, 2010
There are a few places in Paris that make you feel like an insider the minute you step through the door. It’s an incredibly gratifying feeling, given that other elements of life here can feel downright impenetrable to those of us who aren’t born and bred (make that incredibly well-bred) Parisians. So when I “discovered” Le Baron Rouge and instantly felt like a regular, I knew I had hit the jackpot.
It turns out that quite a few people have hit the same jackpot, but as popular as this unassuming spot is, it maintains its low-key, local vibe. French still dominates among the staff and clientele, and the guys behind the bar are no-nonsense but still friendly (especially the one with the beard… you can’t miss him). There’s not a lot of hand-holding here, but there’s no judgment either (to me, that’s the perfect balance), and servers are happy to help you navigate the long and interesting wine list scrolled on chalkboards near the bar.
Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 10 Comments »
February 14, 2010
After seven months away, I’m back in Paris for a while and am greedily soaking up every minute of it. After two weeks, I’ve slipped back into many of my happy habits, though I’ve come to realize that settling back into my Parisian life does require a few active adjustments. For instance:
1. Dietary shifts. You’d be surprised how fulfilling a diet composed solely of butter, cheese, Dijon, bread, chocolate and macarons can be. Although I must admit, a steady stream of coffee and wine leave me perpetually dehydrated. Note to self: water is the essence of life, even in Paris.
2. Embracing linguistic limbo. When I get back to France, I regularly find myself in situations where two, three, or four languages are being spoken simultaneously. While the linguistic mélange is always exciting, I find that my English often starts to slip before my French has time to pick up the slack, and I am therefore left in a strange language-less limbo. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 5 Comments »
January 5, 2010
Paris expert Sally Peabody (of Your Great Days in Paris) shares one of her best-kept secrets: the exquisite Fil O Fromage traiteur in the 13th arrondissement.
Text by Sally Peabody
Surely there is no shortage of fabulous cheese, charcuterie or wine in Paris. Every quartier boasts fromageries run by noted affineurs. You buy your treasures ripe for consumption just when you want to enjoy them most—for that afternoon, that evening, or with tomorrow’s dinner. But surprisingly, it’s not so easy to find places that will allow you to enjoy your cheese sur place in convivial surroundings. At Fil O Fromage, tucked away in the 13th, lovers of cheese and charcuterie find the perfect setting in which to relax and sample one (or more) of the 24 delectably arranged assiettes in combination with perfectly paired wines. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food | 3 Comments »