Monthly Archives: May 2012

Pets in France


There is no joy like the love of a pet. If you are thinking of moving Fluffy and Filo with you to Paris, here are our pointers about pets in France to make the transition easier.

Generally, dogs are welcomed and loved throughout France. Don’t be surprised if you sit down at a café and find a little fluff ball on the chair next to you, awaiting their café crème. While I exaggerate only slightly, you will find that French dog owners often assume that their incredibly well behaved dogs can go anywhere and do anything. It is useful to know, however, what the rules, tips and tricks are to help raise happy healthy pets in The City of Lights.

Gaspard, Sasha’s dog, dreaming of macaroons

Arrival
France is one of the countries that does not have a quarantine period for most companion animals. Air France flies dogs and cats in a special air conditioned compartment in the hot summer months and most other airlines will fly dogs throughout the year.

Before your arrival your pet will have to have an EU passport which requires them to be micro-chipped and have all of their vaccinations up to date. Your dog or cat must be over three months old to enter the EU.

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The Perfect Parisian Picnic


As the weather warms, Parisians spill out onto the quays and into the parks for leisurely weekend and weeknight picnics. As avid picnickers, we at SFP have compiled a few picnicking tips to help you bring in the sunshine:

Buttes Chaumont Picnicers (photo courtesy of CelineNYC)

1.    Location, Location, Location!
Buttes Chaumont, 19eme |  Large park with rolling hills, tons of open grass and trees, waterfalls and a lake.

Canal St. Martin, 10eme  |  While there is little greenery and the small stretch along the water can get quite crowded on Saturday afternoons, this is a trendy picnic spot filled with great people watching and the surrounding bars and cafes provide for great après-picnic festivities.

Champs de Mars, 7eme  |  Huge stretch of flat grass extending from the base of the Eiffel Tower where you can picnic in front of Paris’ most famous monument.

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Agapé Substance | Fun with Food


A very good friend did something wonderful and thoughtful for me, and to thank her, I wanted to take her somewhere special. Agapé Substance was definitely the place.

The restaurant had been on my radar for a while but given the price range, it was out of my “average night out” budget. As this was a special occasion, I reserved our lunch table a little over a week in advance, for a meal that would tantalize our taste buds for weeks to come.

A sampling of our Agapé Substance menu

Practically walking right past the well-disguised exterior (that looks more like a spa that is still under construction than a restaurant), we entered to find a long, thin room with one long communal bar table leading up to the small open kitchen in the back. The decor was sleek and modern with strip lighting, mirrors and white leather bar stools.

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Food Shopping Guide | Baking


There is no question that we would all love to live the dream life of a Parisian, stopping off daily at the butcher, the cheese shop, the produce store, outdoor markets etc., smiles on our faces, picking up our supplies for dinner or a Sunday lunch, however, the reality of food shopping in Paris can take some time to get used to.

That is why we are pleased to announce the first installation to our Paris Food Shopping Guides. With these guides we will take a focus on specific products, stores, markets, and more in hopes of helping you, our loyal reader, with your shopping stress. Paris is a delicious city, let us help you enjoy it!

As an avid baker, it took me years of importing baking soda and brown sugar before I finally was able to shop for everything I needed, more or less, at my local Monoprix. Here are some helpful translations and tips for all of your baking needs:

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Round-Up | Paris Coffee Shops


It is no secret that we at SFP are huge coffee fans, however, it has been quite an experience finding a good cup of coffee in Paris! In a country where coffee drinking is such a part of the culture, this may be hard to believe. My years of frustration with my daily café were frequently met with reactions of shock from visitors and friends abroad:

Are you seriously telling me that there is no good coffee in Paris? Paris!?

Unfortunately, yes. The average coffee in Paris has a wide range of problems from using old, over-roasted beans and cheap machines to grinding beans in large batches instead of fresh with each order and improper training of the baristas. The word “espresso” isn’t even pronounced properly in French!

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Coming from New York City, where the coffee culture was booming with expertly trained baristas on every corner, where you could sit on your laptop sipping your fair-trade coffee with soy milk while writing emails, papers or searching the net on their free WiFi, Paris was certainly lacking.

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Semilla | A Perfect Contemporary Bistro


Having heard just small tidbits about this newly opened venture by the American-New Zealand duo behind the wine shop, La Dernier Goutte, sandwich shop, Cosi, and the ever-popular expat hangout, Fish la Boissonnerie, I was eager to try it out to see how it stacked up.

I made a reservation (rather easily, I might add) this past weekend with my friend Lindsey of LostInCheeseland and Lola’s Cookies.  At first glance, we loved the beautiful open kitchen and the comfortable airy and rustic atmosphere with stone-walls and exposed heating ducts. Lindsey, who had not ventured over to the left bank for dinner in months, was already gushing about the superior service and friendly waitstaff.

Photo courtesy of Lost In Cheeseland

Our biggest concern was that this new spot would be filled with English-speakers like Fish. We were pleasantly surprised, however, to find that all the tables around us were mostly french-speaking. The crowd was made up of diners of all ages and nationalities who were all smiling and chatting about the exciting new menu in town.

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