Monthly Archives: June 2012

Paris Guide | Shopping Les Soldes

It is truly the most exciting and highly anticipated time of the year. A time when all of Paris goes on sale and Parisians elbow and push and take off work to get that flat screen TV or that pair of shoes before it is out of stock.

As Les Soldes only happen twice a year (once at the end of June and again in mid-January), it is worth scouting out and taking the time for some good planning before heading out on your shopping spree. Here are our three “Dos and Don’ts” for making the most out of your shopping this weekend!

Do scout out your favorite shops in advance. Try on as many things as you can for size so that you can avoid the changing rooms during the sales.

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Palais Garnier

The Palais Garnier is one of the most famous buildings in Paris but it often gets overlooked by tourists who try fit seeing the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and other monuments into a visit of only a couple of days. However, for lovers of the arts, especially ballet and opera, this building is a must-see.

The Facade of the Palais Garnier (Photo courtesy of Schumata)

The 1970-seat Palais was built between 1861 and 1875 as part of the reconstruction of Paris by the Baron Haussmann ordered by Napoleon III. Named after its architect, Charles Garnier, the building served as the home for the ballets and operas presented by the Paris Opera company. Now, the Paris Opera occupies two separate buildings: the Opéra Bastille, an impressive contemporary building, which serves as the home base for the Opéra national de Paris, and the older Palais Garnier which is used primarily for ballets and some classical operas.

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Being Vegetarian in Paris

Before arriving in Paris to study abroad a couple years ago, I was told that being a vegetarian in France “would be impossible” and “thank goodness I eat fish because otherwise I would starve.” Aside from my very Parisian host mother who never quite understood that I didn’t eat chicken or that I would like more than a fried egg and apple for dinner, I was pleasantly surprised that everyone had been wrong and it was, and is, easy to be a vegetarian in Paris.

It certainly helped that I ate fish. Most bistros and restaurants offer some sort of plat with fish for lunch and dinner, and since most places have their menus posted outside, it was easy to eliminate places that did not have veggie-friendly options.

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The 5-Step Guide to Making the Move to Paris

Thinking of moving to France? Moving abroad can be very complicated and confusing, especially in a foreign language, but we are here to tell you that everything in France is 10x more difficult! No, just kidding – kind of! In all seriousness, things in France do tend to be just that much more confusing which is why we are here to help you get started.

Whether you are coming for just a few months on your own or plan on spending years here with your family, there are our 5 major steps that should be followed to help make your move go as smoothly as possible.

1.  Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork!

Before you even think about starting the moving process, make sure that you have valid passports for everyone in your family that will be valid through at least the first year of your stay. Continue reading

Nanashi | Le Bento Parisien

In celebration of Friday and to make up for the rainy weather, the SFP office went to Nanashi for lunch today. We had heard delicious things about this japanese-style dining spot and wanted to taste it for ourselves. We hopped off at metro Poissionniere on line 7, an area that is super hot for dining at the moment, to check out Nanashi’s flagship location.

Chef Kaori Endo, formerly of Rose Bakery, serves up his specialty, the bento box, in a meat, fish or vegetarian option on a bed of wild rice and quinoa mix, served with a trio of salads. Also on the menu are large salads, brioche pizzas and delicious fresh juices. The ingredients change daily, but to give you an idea, yesterday the vegetarian bento box featured a seared tofu steak and today we enjoyed a ricotta-stuffed zucchini. While the bentos are exclusively a lunch option, Japanese-style tapas take the spotlight in the evening.

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Wanderlust is a new creative space that just opened on the banks of the Seine, at the Cité de la Mode et du Design in the 13th arrondissement. Run by the same group that owns the hip Parisian nightclubs Social Club and Silencio, Wanderlust promises to be a unique mix of music, fashion, art, cuisine and film. The location features a 1600 square meters terrace (the largest in Paris), an 80 seat open-air cinema, a club, a bar and a restaurant.

View of the Terrace (photo: Lia Dykstra)

Open from Wednesday to Sunday, each day has a loose theme. The soirée on Wednesdays is called Eté de l’Amour while the activities for Thursdays center around different local artistic collectives. Fridays are dedicated to fashion and include film screenings and workshops. The weekends offer more family-friendly activities during the day, such as art workshops and yoga for kids and adults alike. Every evening, a different electronic music DJ keeps the party going until the early morning hours.

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Neighborhood Guide | 9eme

To kick off our series of neighborhood guides where we plan on sharing our top neighborhood picks for shopping, eating and strolling, I thought that I would start with a quartier that has recently captured my heart with its boutiques, charm, centralized location, delicious goodies and cozy feel.

Sacre Coeur from Rue des Martyrs (photo: Sasha Levenson-Wahl)

The 9th arrondissement is centrally located just north of the 1st and south of the 18th arrondissements. While it’s borders technically range from Rue Amsterdam to Rue Faubourg Poissoniere and from Boulevards des Italiens up to Boulevard de Rochechouart, when I refer to “the 9th,” I am specifically referring to the Lorette-Martyrs neighborhood that makes up the triangle between Pigalle, Trinite-d’Estienne-d’Orves, Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, Cadet, and Saint-Georges metro stations where Rue des Martyrs winds down the middle.

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What to Wear in Paris | Summer 2012

Summer is here and the sales are near and if you are planning a trip to the City of Lights, you want to make sure that you pack to fit in with Paris styles. Here are some current fashion trends we have picked up to help you feel like a Parisian this summer.

coral crepe jumpsuit from Paul & Joe

Jumpsuits & Maxi Dresses

Jumpsuits are perfect for Paris picnicking in the sun as you don’t have to worry about accidentally showing too much when you stand up, or sitting in uncomfortable awkward positions. Both jumpsuits and maxi dresses are perfect for the casual tourist as you can wear them all day and into the night when the weather cools.

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La Table D’Aki | An Intimate Dining Experience

We tried this tiny 16 seat restaurant last week for a nice weeknight out. Chef Akihiro Horikoshi, who has spent the last two decades at L’Ambroisie before opening his own place, met us at the door with all smiles and showed us to our table.

The minimalist, crisp and clean interior with white walls, counters and floors is brought to life with the red accents of the low-hanging lights that put a shining spotlight on the delicious dishes Horikoshi whips up in the tiny open kitchen.

At night, the menu is a fish-heavy no-choice 4 or 5 course menu coming in at 40 euro or 58 euro. The ingredients and dishes change daily based on what is fresh at the market that day. Our menu was read aloud to us by the one waitress (we think she is Horikoshi’s wife) and from then on, we sat back and enjoyed a delicious, refreshing, and intimate meal.

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