Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday Food for Thought - A French Brasserie Classique

Today I thought we would try something a little different for our Thursday food for thought post, by presenting you with a classic brasserie menu idea for your next romantic meal at home or if you just wish to re-create French experience right at home. You can put on your Gainsbourg CD, set up a little table (the smaller the better), in your living room or in your garden and whip out a nice bottle of red wine (suggestion to follow).

Steak au Poivre
Pomme Pont-Neuf (French Fries)
Tarte Tatin

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday Wanderings - market day in the 17th.

The section of the 17th arrondissement nestled just between the Batignolles neighbourhood and the Parc Monceau holds many attractions. I am discovering them partly thanks to one of my friends who lives in this area and who thinks it is pretty great, so has shared some of its secrets with me. I went last Sunday to check out the market on the rue de Levis.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

La Terrasse - Sun worshipping Parisian take to the outdoors

Last week we were certainly spoiled by the sunshine of early Spring. While the Northern hemisphere sprung forward into the season of rebirth calender-wise, many places were still in the chill of Winter, like for example New York where it actually snowed last week! But not here in Paris, thankfully. Lucky we were to have temperatures going as high as 19ºC (66ºF), and the change was certainly noticeable.

Spring time means more time outdoors and people were certainly outside last week. The Italians are said to have made dining al fresco (in the fresh literally), an art-form. The food and wine just seems to taste better outdoors (though my brother may disagree with me on this one). Since the Italians, even non-Mediterranean cultures have taken to chasing after the rays of the sun trying to get as much vitamin D as possible. Long gone are the days of covering up to keep that pale pearl-like skin-tone that was all the fashion in the last century.

The sun just seems to bring out the best in most of us, don't they say that the people living in the sunnier regions are friendlier? And it certainly helps the day go by faster. So it was of no surprise at all to see that once the birds started chirping and the tree buds started to give way to the early flowers that the Parisians took to the outdoors and anybody who is anybody went in search of "La Terrasse".
Believe me even in the Winter-time you will find people outside dining, particularly those who wish to smoke, but it is really when the hot rays come pouring down, that you really see the action of the sun worshipers in search of that perfect Terrasse. See the glares of those waiting to take your hot spot at a sidewalk cafe and you will understand how this is coveted commodity.

It seemed as if every restaurant, cafe or bar was putting at least one table and chair outside to attract the masses. It it didn't bring the patrons in it at least served as a stoop for the staff.

With all the interest in terrace dining, it is no wonder that the city has had to pass new laws about the rules of outdoor dining since the good weather has returned to the capital. The rule which will go to vote today, states that you will have to have 1.60 Meters of space between the terrace dining and the end of the sidewalk to allow for passersby. You can install two terrace dining areas with a passage running in between if you have at least 6 meters of space, an improvement for restaurant owners who had to have 9 meters in the past. Another change is the disappearance of the plastic covers that were used to shield clients from the wind, now deemed unaesthetic. This all sounds very promising and I certainly hope that it means that there will be more spots outside.

But what about what you get for your sidewalk dining experience. Honestly if you have a spot in the sun, you don't even have to be that good to attract clients. Desperate seekers of the sun shall continue to flock to the sunny side of the street contenting themselves with mediocre meals and pricey drinks just to spend an hour or two basking in the sun. I am not ashamed to admit that this is sometimes me one of those seekers. Well frankly when you spend what seems like an eternity with dark gloomy clouds over your head, you will certainly go that extra mile to find the near perfect spot you've been waiting so long to get.

So take to the sun and enjoy Paris' terraces, always a great spot for people watching and a chance to stop for a little while and enjoy Paris the way Parisians do, al fresco, with a glass of wine, and your shades.

Source: La Vie Immo

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sipping on Saturdays - Back at Mama's Place: Mama Shelter

Had such a great time at brunch that I marked my calendar to go back to Mama Shelter once again for drinks and dinner. I do not regret this decision in the least. I picked Thursday night because according to their calendar, Aline Afanoukoe, well known Radio Nova DJ was to be enchanting her captivated audience from 9:30 PM to 1:00 AM. It seemed a reasonable enough excuse to head over to the 20th and once again partake in the electric vibe that you can not help but feel when you pass an evening here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday Food for Thought - Mama Shelter's cooking up brunch

I am always trying to seek the perfect brunch and this one Sunday brought me to none other than the Philippe Starck designed hotel Mama Shelter in the 19th district. Sometimes you have to go a bit out of your comfort zones (in other words your respective districts), and venture off towards the horizon to perhaps even greener pastures.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday Wanderings: Honfleur, discovering Normandy

This Wednesday wanderings takes us to a lovely Norman city called Honfleur. A two hour drive from Paris, it is a trip that’s doable for a day but is worth an overnight or 2 days. The first time I went to Honfleur we only went for a day trip and decided that it was quaint enough for us to return for longer the next time around.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sipping on Saturdays: Paris takes on the Smoothie

They say it all the time, we need to have at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day or is it 5 servings. Now does a whole apple count as one serving or two? Hmm, no idea but I do know that I need to put more fruits and veggies into my diet for sure but Winter never motivates me to eat more fruit. But when the sun starts to shine, the fruit just looks more appealing. I can easily polish off a large bowl of cherries myself!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Foto: Macaron Day March 20th 2011

It's been 6 years since Pierre Hermé introduced Le Jour du Macaron, and boy are we grateful! This Sunday at Pierre Hermé boutiques and several other pastry chefs, you can enjoy this Sunday March 20th free macarons to sample and hopefully to inspire you to try the many flavors available.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Where to brunch?- Try La Maison Mère

The quest for the perfect brunch continues! My friend and I recently joined in with the Sunday morning pursuit of many a self-respecting Parisian, and looked for somewhere seriously good to brunch. We did quite an impressive amount of research before going, particularly my friend, who is one of those people who likes to look up restaurants, study the reviews and really weigh up her options before deciding on somewhere to go. This usually gives good results but takes some of the spontaneity out of proceedings. We decided on Cafe Pierre in the 12th, a seemingly good choice...until our plans were scuppered when we couldn't get a reservation. We obviously had the same idea as a lot of people.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Is French Wine in Danger?

What is France without its wine? Here are some facts that would probably not shock you about one of France's greatest contributions and traditions:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Paris gets a Face-lift - Le Ravalement

You may have noticed around town all the scaffolding up outside the facades of many Parisian buildings these days. It happens every year, one building or another gets a face-lift so that we can later appreciate it's original charm. They call this the "ravalement".

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sipping on Saturdays - Call Me Bubbles: Champagne Bar

When I first walked past this little store front last year, I immediately texted my fellow Champagne loving friends to tell them that we just HAD to try this place which had sprung up in our favorite Paris neighborhood, Montmartre.

At number 54 rue Custine came the cave a champagne, Call Me Bubbles whose name came from the hilarious show "Little Britain". Oh so appropriate!

They offer tasting of Champagne by the glass with a coupe at 8 euros and an accompanying buffet of sweet and salty treats. Perfect for an after work or if you just love your champagne (like I do).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday Food for Thought - Enishi, Authentic Japanese in Montmartre

Authenticity! I frequently find myself looking for it and too often end up settling for less. But I guess we all do.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday Wanderings - The hidden face of the Canal St. Martin

I recently went on a great tour of the Canal Saint Martin area with an association called 'Ça se visite'. We started off at the metro station Jacques Bonsergent in the 10th arrondissement where we met our guide Sebastien. He talked us through the areas we would cover on our walk and emphasized that this would not be a stroll along the canal, it was a visit to discover the hidden side of the canal Saint Martin area.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Paris - The ultimate open air gallery

Paris is a city of artists. With its impressive roster of museums and galleries this is not difficult to notice. But just below the surface there is a less obvious art scene, the world of street art. Street art is big news. Just recently I went to the opening of a street art exhibition at a chic gallery on the rue St. Honoré. The audience contained quite a startling number of rather senior fur-wearing Parisiennes accompanied by their poodles. So street art has been well and truly taken off the streets and into the houses of a select few. This is nothing new. But I started to get more interested in seeing where the art comes from…the street.
Coincidentally, on a guided tour of the 'hidden face' of the Canal St Martin a week or so later, my wish was granted. I will talk about this fantastic tour on Wednesday, but for now, one of the things I most appreciated about it was the insistence on observing the small details of the city. Cities are complex, big, scary sometimes, but we can appreciate them at every level.
On the tour I got talking to a woman who is obsessed with street art. She pointed out so many artists, styles, and hidden details. Just like with famous 'conventional' artists, the work is quite easy to match with the artist, and I was soon learning who was who.

At every pause, every corner, my new friend would point something out and tell me about it. She knew specific pieces, others had disappeared and others were new to her. I liked how this ephemeral this art is, it will never get boring. She was so enthusiastic and her enthusiasm for this urban art was infectious.

The following week, she informed me of a event called Le M.U.R. This is something that takes place every two weeks at the wall of the Cafe Charbon in rue Oberkampf. A different street artist comes each time to create a new piece of art for the wall. I was there to see FKDL, a Parisian artist whose work we had seen at many moments during the tour. He works mainly in collage, collecting pages from journals, flyers, magazines and newspapers and sticking pieces together then directly applying the result to the wall, normally in the form of a figure. For the M.U.R, he did a purple and red background with swirling black abstract shapes, and one of his typical women in the middle.

It was fun to watch street art in progress; I imagine it doesn't occur very often that we actually see someone creating art in this way. I prefer to see it this way, either at an event or just wandering round the city. It is the ultimate accessible art: get out there into the open air gallery that is Paris!

More info on the M.U.R can be found at
A really good tour of Paris street art can be found on the iphone app Invisible Paris

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Buzz on the Bars of Paris - by Sophie Delon

Story by Sophie Delon for Parisien Salon

This story originally appeared on Parisien Salon, an online magazine and travel planner named by Lonely Planet and Travel Onion as favorite blogs for Paris

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Fotos: Le Salon d'Agriculture meets Fashion Week

There's always so much going on in Paris it is sometimes hard to keep up. The Salon d'agriculture came to a close on the 27th of February and on March 1st, Paris' fashion week opened up.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thursday Food For Thought - Making the most of your Paris Market Visit

One of the things I love most in Parisian is it's markets. I am sure many people would agree with that but I do suspect that many people including locals don't use the fresh food markets as much as they should. Why? I ask would anyone choose the supermarket over a fresh market with so many wonderful looking things to eat and taste and people to get advise from. Go ahead ask the stock keeper at Carrefour for advise on how to prepare the filet of sole that you wish to buy, if you don't get a luck of utter stupor then I'll eat my hat!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wednesday Wanderings - Beyond Paris: Angoulême

One of the things I have loved about Paris since my first time living here as a student is its proximity to so many wonderful places. I dear say that as a student I probably spent more time visiting places outside of Paris than inside Paris . . . I know, I know, what was I thinking but really the opportunities were just too tempting and with a reduction card from the SNCF it was definitely affordable (for the under 25s), access to far points in France as well as points abroad were just so easy.

There was an error in this gadget

Popular Posts