Monthly Archives: September 2012

Serendipity | A Magical Children’s Boutique

While strolling down rue du Cherche Midi a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a magical wonderland of children’s home furnishings, accessories, toys and more. Serendipity is defined as “the gift for stumbling upon happy coincidences” and that is exactly what occurred on that late summer day as I explored this boutique of children’s wonders.

The shop name is derived from a Persian fairy tale ‘The Three Princes of Serendip’ whose heroes were endowed with the gift to bring about these happy coincidences.

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Recipe : Gratin de Figues aux Amandes

As the days start to get shorter and cooler, everyone in Paris is looking for ways to keep the chill away this fall. One of our favorite ways to stay warm is by baking (and eating) yummy desserts. This time of year, the markets are full of delicious produce that is great for making the perfect autumnal desserts.

We asked our friend Alisa Morov of  Sweet Pea Baking and Catering to share one of her favorite fall recipes. Alisa has moved from Los Angeles to Paris in 2002 and has since been baking up a storm and writing several cookbooks. She offers the full range of catering and party planning services as well as cooking classes and tours of Parisian markets and you can also catch her delicious goodies at Claus where she is the pastry chef.

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Neighborhood Guide | Montorgueil

For the second edition of our Neighborhood Guide series we move from the 9th arrondissement further south to a pedestrian-dominated, uber-trendy quartier of shopping and lunching known as Montorgueil.

Montorgueil is located in the 2nd arrondissement loosely between the metros Sentier and Etienne Marcel. Rue Montorgueil is one of Paris’ classic market streets and is always filled with daily shoppers picking up their fish, meats and vegetables. The small street (only about 5 blocks long) also has a great number of dining and drinking spots. The real gems in this area, however, are located on the off streets on either side of rue Montorgueil and it’s neighbor, rue Montmartre.

The iconic Cafe Etienne Marcel and Rue Montorgueil

This area is packed with great shopping. All of the classic mid-range shopping brands like Maje, Les Petites, and Zadig and Voltaire line the lower section of rue Continue reading

An Expat Life | Cat, The Cupcake Entrepreneur

For most people, living in France does not just mean eating croissants and drinking good wine every day. This blog post is a part of our new series, An Expat Life, exploring what it is like for an expat to live and work in Paris. Through these profiles of expats who have made their lives here, we will show you the different opportunities that exist in France and the (many) struggles that go along with them.

A few weeks ago, we stopped by the recently opened Sugar Daze bakeshop to talk with the owner Cat Beurnier and taste some of her delicious cupcakes. Cat, an American expat from New York City, was disappointed by the state of cupcakes in France. Cupcakes got a bad reputation in Paris, according to Cat, because so many of them do not look and taste like they should. Her goal is to show Paris how delicious real American cupcakes can be. “Educating people,” Cat explained, “and putting the word out there that cupcakes are great is really what I am all about.”

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Dining French-Style | The Dos and Don’ts of Eating in France

Whether you have been invited into someones home for a dinner or are just in Paris for a few days visiting as a tourist, there are a few rules that you should abide by as you enjoy the many culinary treasures France has to offer.

After over a decade of faux-pas at dinner parties and out at restaurants, we have come up with the ultimate tips for dining French-style to help you out!

 Time Your Meal Right

Try to time your meals with the locals. Lunch is usually between 12:30-1:30pm and dinner is between 8pm-10pm. Most kitchens close from 2pm until around 7:30pm so, even with jet-lag, try not to walk into a restaurant demanding steak-frites at 3:30pm. You will rarely have any luck with this. Same goes for early dinner eaters. 6pm is nowhere near an acceptable dining time here in France.

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Roseval | An Artsy Neobistro

One night last week, we ventured halfway across Paris to experience the new culinary sensation that is Roseval. Located in the bustling quarter of Ménilmontant, this bistro seems a bit out of place amongst the kabob shops and couscous houses that are its neighbors. At the same time, it fits right in with the works of the major street artists that have decorated this quarter. The restaurant is located next to a huge mural done by the street artist Zoo Project, in a quiet plaza, removed from the noisy boulevard de Ménilmontant.

Roseval, tucked away from the busy quarter (Photo by Lia Dykstra)

The exterior of the restaurant is unassuming, not even marked with a name. This simplicity was a theme that would repeat itself over the course of the evening. Outside is a small terrasse with several tables, perfect for enjoying a quiet summer meal in the shadow of the church of Notre Dame de La Croix. The interior, where we ended up sitting, is also quite small and simply furnished. It is reminiscent of the types of restaurants found in the countryside, with wooden tables and chairs and few decorations. There were also crystal chandeliers to give it a touch of elegance without being overstated.

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La Rentrée

There is a certain energy that has reappeared in the streets of Paris this past week. La Rentrée is upon us, that time when the kids go back to school and adults head back to work after long summer days in the sun. Suddenly, Paris has transformed from the sleepy town it was for all of August to a buzzing hive of activity. The tourists who descended upon Paris in droves while the summer was in full swing have begun to disappear (though of course never completely) and they have been replaced by Parisians resuming their daily lives.

Back to school and back to work (Photo by Lia Dykstra)

Taking 4 weeks of vacation seems bizarre and impractical to many outside of France, but here it is the norm. As we explained in a couple of our posts from August, life in Paris comes to a virtual standstill during the summer. Suddenly, it becomes impossible to get your haircut, visit the dentist or even get your daily baguette from your neighborhood boulangerie. It seems like everyone in the city has left to spend time somewhere by the beach. Those who stay tend to get very little work done, constantly running into vacation messages on telephones and emails.

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Black Market | A Coffee Oasis

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a new coffee shop has hit the Paris coffee scene. This calm and cozy spot has only been open a few weeks and was just christened with the name Black Market Coffee about a week ago. I had heard some buzz about a newly opened coffee hotspot in Montmartre and decided to meet my friend Haleigh of Making Magique there to try it out.

After seeing some sneak preview pictures online, I had high hopes for this newcomer, but getting out of the metro at Chateau Rouge is always a less-than-pleasant experience. After making my way through the swarm of people at the metro station I turned onto the calm rue Ramey and there it was: the calm coffee oasis that is Black Market.

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