Stratford-upon-Avon

The birthplace of Shakespeare

So, this week’s blog posts are all about England, since I cannot wait to be back in the land of the Spice Girls, Harrod’s, Harry Potter, Kate Middleton, and, of course, my Englishman! We visited the picturesque town of Stratford-upon-Avon after Christmas (hence the decorations in some pictures); I absolutely loved it!

Apart from the town’s obvious claim to fame, there are plenty of things to see. Stratford is small, walkable, and full of sights and monuments to discover, some of which include the pub that has been serving ale since 1594 (!!!), a fabulous Peter Rabbit store, and the Royal Shakespeare Company Theater. The theater’s nearby river area looks like a scene in a J.M.W. Turner painting. Being there is a surreal experience, almost as if you were transported back to Olde England. Surrounded by English people and their gorgeous accents with a pint in hand, overlooking the river, and with the best company a girl could ask for, my experience in Stratford was exceptional, to say the least.

Location

Located in Warwickshire county, Stratford-upon-Avon is on the River Avon, 22 miles southeast of Birmingham and 8 miles southwest of Warwick.

How to get here

The train from London to Stratford takes about two hours from either London Marleybone or Euston stations. You can find more details on the UK National Rail website. If you’re planning a trip to the Midlands, make sure to check out Blenheim Palace, the Cotswolds and Warwick Castle, all of which are in the surrounding counties of Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, and Gloucestershire. For more information on Stratford, visit the official city tourist guide.

Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre

The Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre has a fabulous Spring and Summer 2013 season that includes: Hamlet, The Icebook, The Winter’s TaleThe EmpressAs You Like It, A World My Masters, Titus Andronicus, All’s Well That Ends Well, Candide, and Antony and Cleopatra. After the show, head over to the Dirty Duck pub, grab a pint, and mingle with the actors.

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London’s Bounce, the Home of Ping Pong

This place is awesome.

On our last trip to London, we spent a wonderful evening at the ping pong bar Bounce. The Englishman (aka tennis table extraordinaire) read great reviews about it, and it’s true: Bounce is fantastic.

The principle in itself is genius: ping pong + a bar + a restaurant. This is a recipe for a fabulous evening all around. When we went, there was a 30th birthday being celebrated. What a perfect place to host it! You can have a pint with your friends, play some table tennis, and then once everyone has worked up an appetite, head over to the tables for a delicious meal.

Founded by entrepreneurs Adam Breeden and Dov Penzik, this concept has been very successful. Here’s how it works: you can make a reservation for groups of 6+; otherwise, just walk in and write your name on the list. Any of the 16 tables can be reserved for half hour slots at £10 during off peak hours or £13 during peak times. You may even get lucky and have a chance to play on the Olympic 2012 Table and World Championship Table (see below).

For those that are waiting or just enjoying the ambiance, you can get a pint or a cocktail from the bar. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. We had such a fun night out there, so I highly recommend Bounce to Londoners and London-goers alike.

Bounce ping pong bar london

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Bounce ping pong bar london

Make sure to check out Bounce next time you’re in London.

Bounce London
121 Holborn
London
EC1N 2TD

Classic Burberry Trench Redefined at London Fashion Week 2013

Who can resist a perfect Burberry piece?

London Fashion Week has just wrapped up, and browsing through the collections, I was mesmerized by the twists that Burberry has put on their trademark item, the trench. The varieties of color, fabric, and texture really made the collection stand out. I would absolutely love to stop by the Regent Street store and pick up any one of these classic models!

Tomorrow, I’ll be writing about London’s hottest new concept bar. Hint: it’s fast!

xx PatriciaParisienne

Burberry Prorsum London Fashion Week 2013 trench

blue

jacket

treh

btrebch

btre

ttr

byr

omg

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trench

metallic trench

Burberry Prorsum London Fashion Week 2013 trench

121 Regent St, London W1S 4TB

All images courtesy of Vogue.co.uk

London Bubbleology!

One more week until I turn a quarter century old!

I’ll be celebrating the big day across the Channel, so to go along with my growing excitement, I’ll be writing some England-centered blog posts this week! Today’s post is about a fabulous boba “lab,” Bubbleology, that the handsome Englishman and I stumbled upon while walking from the tube station to the amazing Portobello Road Market.

Notting Hill is one of my favorite London boroughs that I’ve explored. It’s a shabby-chic neighborhood – well, it’s heavier on the chic but with quite a bit of character! Bubbleology fits right in. It’s fun, bright, and quirky. It’s hard to say no to boba, so we enjoyed an apple green tea there before heading off to the market.

Here’s the scoop on how Bubbleology came to be: Founder “Professor A” discovered boba tea during his stay in NYC and completely fell in love with it.  Upon his return to London, he realized that the English capital was lacking boba. He went off to Taiwan to do further research on the subject, found an Australian business partner, and the first Bubbleology cafe, or lab, opened April 2011 in London’s Soho. Today, there are four locations throughout the city.

FYI: Boba = chewy tapioca balls. This Taiwanese invention of the 80s has turned into a worldwide sensation, as you can see, but the principle is quite simple. You put little tapioca balls in with different flavored fruit or “milk” teas, add a big straw so you can slurp up the boba balls, and voilà, your boba, or bubble, tea is ready.  It’s delicious and addictive! 

Bubbleology London Notting Hill Boba tea singapore

Bubbleology London Notting Hill Boba tea singapore

Bubbleology London Notting Hill Boba tea singapore

Bubbleology London Notting Hill Boba tea singapore

Bubbleology London Notting Hill Boba tea singapore bubbleologist

Bubbleology London Notting Hill Boba tea singapore

Bubbleology London Notting Hill Boba tea singapore

Bubbleology London Notting Hill Boba tea singapore

The view we enjoyed while sipping our Boba Tea

Bubbleology London Notting Hill Boba tea singapore

Bubbleology London Notting Hill Boba tea singapore

45 Pembridge Rd
Notting Hill
London
W11 3HG

Ralph Lauren Fall/Winter 2013-2014 Collection

Ralph Lauren DÉFILÉS PRÊT-À-PORTER AUTOMNE-HIVER 2013-2014 fall winter collection

Since the arrival of my Englishman, I’ve become a big fan of Ralph Lauren.  Vogue.com is one of my favorite sites, and I am SO happy I took a little break from my thesis work to check out their latest … Continue reading

La Caféothèque de Paris: Coffee with a View

Coffee date, anyone?

La Caféothèque de Paris 4e arrondissement

La Caféothèque de Paris 4e arrondissement

La Caféothèque de Paris 4e arrondissement café Paris

café gourmand at La Caféothèque de Paris

La Caféothèque de Paris 4e arrondissement

La Caféothèque de Paris

La Caféothèque de Paris

La Caféothèque de Paris

La Caféothèque de Paris

La Caféothèque de Paris 4e arrondissement

With views of the Seine, La Caféothèque de Paris is a great place to sit and relax with a coffee and pastry. There are plenty of tables and couches to sit on, plus they have an incredible coffee bean selection from all over the world that you can enjoy in-house or chez toi. What makes La Caféothèque stand out is its commitment to providing the absolute best coffee from all over the world to their customers.

This 4e arrondissement gem also hosts a variety of events, including concerts, recitals, and art expositions, which they’ve dubbed “Café-i-culture”. You can check out this month’s schedule online here.

My experience at La Caféothèque was lovely.  Two friends and I had a wonderful afternoon laughing, catching up, and enjoying our delicious coffees.  The greenery inside made it seem like we were in a rustic, tropical place, all the while looking out at the Seine.

La Caféothèque de Paris

52 Rue de l’Hôtel de ville

75004 Paris

Latest Montparnasse Hotspot: Le Stand Restaurant

Your new favorite place to eat in Montparnasse: Le Stand

Le Stand is a new New York-Italian style restaurant in the fun 14e arrondissement. A lover of both the outdoor métro line 6 and the Edgar Quinet neighborhood, I was absolutely delighted to discover this eatery.

Le Stand Restaurant Montparnasse 14e arrondissement Edgar Quinet Restaurant americain italien

Chef Yann Frohn has put together an incredible menu that will satisfy any member of your party’s palate. Burgers and pasta dishes highlight his mastery of this particular cuisine, while the plat du jour menu usually features French dishes that are salivation-worthy.

Le Stand Restaurant Plat du Jour: Prawn Pizza or pizza au gambas 14e arrondissement paris france edgar quinet restaurant

Plat du Jour: Prawn Pizza or pizza au gambas

Frohn’s previous experience at four-star hotel restaurants and in the luxury industry is apparent in the presentation and variety of the menu. The ingredients are fresh, with the vast majority of the menu made in-house. The burger was perfectly American, and the fries were without a doubt the best I’ve ever had.

Burger at Le Stand Restaurant Montparnasse 14e arrondissement paris france edgar quinet

The décor is fun and modern, and it gives you the impression of dining in a Big Apple eatery. It’s only when the staff and other guests speak that you realize you actually are in the French capital. I absolutely loved the light fixtures (see below) and red walls!

Le Stand Restaurant Montparnasse 14e arrondissement Edgar Quinet Restaurant americain italien

Desserts were also amazing! As you know, I’m a lover of the café gourmand, and this particular one was a big hit. If you can contain yourself and enjoy just one dessert, I would go for the profiteroles!

Cafe gourmand Le Stand Restaurant Montparnasse 14e arrondissement Edgar Quinet Restaurant americain italien

My favorite dessert: café gourmand (tiramisu, brownie, and fromage blanc with raspberry)

profiteroles le stand restaurant montparnasse edgar quinet 14e arrondissement paris france restaurant americain italien

Profiteroles at Le Stand

Another plus is that they can accommodate large parties. We celebrated my brother-in-law’s birthday, and all twenty of us were easily accommodated and well taken care of.

For a casual lunch or night out, Le Stand is the next place on your list.

Le Stand
9, boulevard Edgar Quinet
75014 Paris

10 Best Valentine’s Day Presents from Paris

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope your Thursday is full of love and happiness.  For me, Valentine’s Day has always been a day where I indulge in sweets, flowers, chocolate, and letting my friends and family know how much I care about them. I love that there is a day of the year devoted to love!

For those that are still looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift from Paris, here are a few suggestions. (FYI, these presents are not exclusively Valentine’s Day cadeaux. I assure you that they will be welcomed with open arms and big smiles year-round!)

1. Pierre Hermé macarons

pierre hermé macarons pierre herme macarons paris france desserts patriciaparisienne

1a. Because I love macarons so much and their gift boxes, Ladurée macarons

ladurée macarons laduree paris france desserts patriciaparisienne

2. Veuve Clicquot champagne

Veuve Clicquot

Veuve Clicquot

3. Patrick Roger chocolates

patrick roger chocolates

patrick roger chocolates

4. Hermès scarf

Hermès hermes scarf paris france luxe luxury patriciaparisienne

5. Longchamp bag

longchamp sac bag roseau paris

Lastest item on the wishlist: the Roseau handbag

6. Diptyque candles

diptyque candles diptyque bougie paris france patriciaparisienne

7. Heurtault umbrella

heurtault parapluie parasole paris umbrella france patriciaparisienne

8. A beautiful Varda flower arrangement

Djordje Varda florist fleurist paris france french florist designer st barths

9. Angelina hot chocolate

Angelina hot chocolate angelina salon du the salon de the chocolat chaud patriciaparisienne

10 .  Mariage Frères tea (Pleine Lune is my favorite!)

mariage Frères tea Thé paris france patriciaparisienne

A fabulous macaron recipe by An English Gourmande!

An English Gourmande

In Helmut Fritz’s song, Ça M’énerve, he singles out the customers at Ladurée queuing for macaroons (or macarons if you want to be French about it). Then he backtracks saying he’s heard macaroons actually taste pretty good. Nonetheless, many felt his frustration; macaroon-mania has had an inordinate amount of airtime. After all they’re just almond meringue jam sandwiches. Let’s not forget those lovely coconut macaroons with rice paper bottoms that are just as praise-worthy and don’t lend themselves to a faux-French accent.

So for the past couple of years I cut off my nose to spite my face and ignored them. Until last week when my eight-year-old nephew brought me to my senses by making a beautiful batch. I’m living in Paris for goodness sake! Surely that’s as good an excuse as any to jump on the bandwagon.

Mora, ParisAs they’re a notorious faff to make I set aside a Saturday…

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Happy Monday! Café Gourmand on My Mind

 “On prend un café?”

My answer to this is always “oui!”  I am always up for coffee.  What makes a little caffeine even better is if it’s accompanied by something sweet.

My favorite dessert, apart from the moelleux or mi-cuit au chocolat, is the café gourmand.

café gourmand is a “culinary concept aiming at proposing an espresso and a bunch of mignardises at the same time, served on the same plate.”

café gourmand goûter paris

My favorite goûter: the café gourmand

If you can’t decide which dessert to pick, pas de souci (no problem). Just order this winner; you can have your cake and eat it, too!

Gustav Klimt and The Kiss

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt is my absolute favorite painting in the world. 

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt Der Kuss Le Baiser Klimt Belvedere Museum Vienna Austria Vienne Autriche Wien Osterreich

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt

How and why do I love it so much? Let me count the ways.*

1. The colors – Look at all of that gold! Painted during Klimt’s “Golden Period,” the beautiful sparks of gold on the painting call out to the viewer, luring you further into the painting and the kiss.

2. The subject matter – Love!

3. The expression – Complete, utter happiness. There is nowhere else in the world that she’d rather be than in his arms.

4. The embrace – The world’s most tender two-dimensional hug

5. The kiss itself – The sweetness of the kiss is what I think I love the most.  It’s a simple kiss on the cheek, and yet there is an incredible amount of love, passion, and happiness that is represented in this simple act.

Gardens at the Belvedere Museum Vienna Austria osterreich wien vienne autriche the kiss le baiser klimt der kuss

Gardens at the Belvedere Museum in Vienna, Austria

One of the most thoughtful housewarming gifts that I’ve received was a printed canvas of The Kiss from my favorite Englishman. As I opened the package and saw the beautiful kiss and enraptured look of the lovers, I couldn’t help but sigh and stare. I have The Kiss in my apartment!

veuve clicquot gustav klimt the kiss belvedere museum vienna austria wien osterreich

What better way to start off the day than with champagne and Klimt?

You can view “The Kiss” in person at the Belvedere Museum in Vienna.

Prinz Eugen-Straße 27, 1030 Vienna

Austria

*Major props if you got my reference to Elizabeth Barrett Brownings poem, “How do I Love Thee?” (Sonnet 43).

25 Things to Do Before I Turn 25

I’m turning a quarter century old this month.

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Can’t believe it! My 16-year old self thinks I am pretty darn old now. That being said, it’s a milestone, 25! In order to celebrate this big birthday properly, I’m compiling a list of 25 things to do before turning 25. So far, I have decided to be active every day (must look good in that birthday dress), climb the Notre Dame towers, meet three new people, post on my blog every day, memorize seven new arias, anddd that’s about it thus far. It’s enough to keep me busy for the new few weeks, but I would absolutely love to have a list of 25 things compiled by the end of the weekend. 

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That’s where you, readers, come in! Please feel free to help out and make suggestions; I’m excited to see what else I can manage to do before the big 2-5!

Wishing you a lovely weekend! 

xx PatriciaParisienne