India Box | Your Indian Restaurant in Paris

india box paris 75009

One of my favorite areas in Paris is the Rue des Martyrs neighborhood. Stretching from Saint-Georges up through Pigalle, the vibe is hip-sexy-fun-chic-cool-foodie-trendy. There’s something for everyone, from KB Cafe with their amazing Australian-style coffee, to delicious choux at Popelini, … Continue reading

Corsican Glory | Terra Corsa

I’ve never been to Corsica, but after this meal, it’s on the top of my travel list.

I love a good planche mixte. I could eat it just about every day. It’s a mix of different cuts of cured meat and sausage, as well as a variety of cheeses. (For my veggies out there, you can also have one with only cheese, too. Equally as delicious!) This past weekend, the Englishman and I had an incredible planche mixte at the lovely Terra Corsa in the 9th arrondissement.

terra corsa paris planche mixte charcuterie fromage cheese france rue de martyrs restaurant

Our selection of cheese included both a young and aged chèvre, along with their counterparts in the brebis form. Brebis is sheep’s cheese, which is unbelievably good. As you can see, we had a nice variety of meats, each one better than the next. The Corsican restaurant had a great selection of wine to boot, which they matched to our planche selection. DM ordered a more complex wine, while I went with a lighter red, both equally as enjoyable. The baguette was perfect, and we both left happy and full!

I highly recommend stopping by this eatery if you’re in town. The neighborhood is so much fun. Rue Martyrs goes from Notre Dame de Lorette up to Pigalle/Anvers, with tons of cute shops, boulangeries, and eateries. This is also where you can find the hotspot Rose Bakery, the fun Kookaboora Cafe, as well as the latest Popelini boutique for your fill of choux à la crème. So much to see here! To start the night, though, make sure to snag an outdoor table at Terra Corsa, order one of their amazing planches, and enjoy the flow of bread and wine throughout the evening.

xx PatriciaParisienne

Terra Corsa

42 Rue Martyrs, 75009

Alain’s Amazing Crêpes: A Visit to the Marché des Enfants Rouges

It was hands-down the best crêpe I’ve had in Paris so far.

The nutella-filled wonder was made by Alain, who has a stand at the Marché des Enfants Rouges (The Market of the Red Children) in the Marais. Merci to my Englishman for having found this gem!

Made popular in the UK by The Little Paris Kitchen’s Rachel Khoo, Alain’s organic stand had a long line of anglophones when the handsome Englishman and I stopped by for our goûter (the 4 o’clock snack in France). People visiting Paris for the weekend made sure to stop by the market and try these gastronomical creations. Not only does Alain make amazing organic crêpes (“tout bio!” as he shouts), but he also makes fantastic breads and the famous cornet végétarien.

The eccentric Frenchman sings and dances to the music of his boombox as he prepares your order. His cooking has a certain grace to it as he moves fluidly around his kitchen, grabbing this ingredient or that. The line moved quickly, and soon it was our turn! DM ordered a sugar-lemon crêpe, while I ordered my usual, a crêpe au nutella. As he buttered the hot plate, we were treated to another little song-and-dance performance.

Both crêpes were AMAZING. For the sugar-lemon one, Alain grated some organic lemon zest and then squeezed lemon juice all over it as a finishing touch. We thought it might make it taste a bit sour but instead it complemented the sugar and sweet batter perfectly with a crisp, tangy taste. My nutella one was heavenly! We decided that the magical element may just have been the slightly burnt butter that made the batter taste all sorts of wonderful.

The Marché des Enfants Rouges is a perfect place to stroll around on a Sunday or meet up for lunch. With a wide variety of stands, ranging from Moroccan tajines to a fantastic wine hub, there’s something for everyone to enjoy here.

Below you can see some of the pictures from our visit and the delicious treats we enjoyed. Can’t wait to visit again soon. Merci, Alain!

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Marché des Enfants Rouges 
39 rue de Bretagne
75003

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

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!

El Guacamole: Mexican food in the 10th Arrondissement

Mexican food. 

A coffee date with friends today turned into the discovery of a fabulous new Mexican restaurant, El Guacamole near the Canal Saint Martin. I’m not often in the 10th, but after today’s walk through the charming neighborhood, I will be exploring it more in the future. May I present to you El Guacamole.

El Guacamole restaurant in Paris mexican food paris france tenth 10th arrondissement 10e arrondissement mexicain restaurant mexicain taco paris

Being from Southern California (and the daughter of Mexican parents), my standards for the cuisine are high.  El Guacamole did very well.  It’s not easy to get the authentic ingredients to cook certain traditional dishes, but I really enjoyed their cactus (nopal) taco. I loved the horchataa traditional Mexican beverage made with rice and cinnamon.

El Guacamole restaurant Paris horchata tacos paris restaurant mexicain mexican restaurant paris 10th arrondissement restaurant

Drinking horchata at El Guacamole

I find it interesting to see how much tacos cost around the world.  I found a pub in Royal Leamington Spa, England, that has tacos for £6, and another restaurant in Paris that has them for 6€…each. Priced at 3€50, these tacos are reasonably priced, and the tortillas were so good!

El Guacamole restaurant in Paris restaurant taco horchata nopalitos puerco al pastor taco mexicain paris mexican restaurants in paris

Sincronizada (ham and cheese quesadilla), taco puerco al pastor, and a nopalitos taco

Lovely location, delicious food, and cosy atmosphere. See you at El Guacamole!

El Guacamole restaurant in Paris canal st martin canal saint martin 10e arrondissement 10th arrondissement paris mexican restaurants restaurant mexicain taco horchata tortilla paris

El Guacamole

37, rue Yves Toudic

75010

Citizens of Humanity, Hélène Darroze, and the Paris Oven Mitt

This is a match made in fashion and gastronomy heaven!

One of my favorite brands, Citizens of Humanity, has created a monthly video series called “Just Like You.”  Each video features a different, international personality discussing their respective passions, professions, personal stories, and thoughts on life.  One of my favorite videos in the series spotlights French chef Hélène Darroze.

chef Hélène Darroze michelin restaurant paris the connaught london ruff house moscow moscou

Though she is now the fourth generation of a family of chefs, Hélène Darroze first earned a business degree and joined Alain Ducasse’s team at the prestigious Louis XV restaurant in Monaco – but in the office.  Ducasse finally persuade her to return to the kitchen, and the rest is history. She returned to her family’s Michelin-starred restaurant, and then went on to open her own restaurant in Paris, where she won her first Michelin star in 2001, and then a second star in 2003. In 2008, she was named the new chef of The Connaught hotel in London after its nine month £70 million restoration and renovation program, where she earned them another two stars. On top of this all, other accolades include becoming a chevalier (knight) in the French Legion of Honor in 2012 and being the inspiration for the character Colette in Pixar’s 2007 film Ratatouille. Two cities, two restaurants, two children: she can do it all!

chef Hélène Darroze the connaught london mayfair chef Hélène Darroze paris 75006 michelin

chef Hélène Darroze paris 75006 chef Hélène Darroze at the connaught mayfair london michelin

Hélène Darroze dish

What is exceptional about Hélène Darroze’s cooking is her loyalty to her roots and the flavors of southwestern France, particularly from the Landes region where she was raised.  Her culinary style has been dubbed  “haute rustique,” as it combines the sophistication of French cuisine with traditional cooking methods and hearty ingredients. Darroze says she is very influenced by her heritage, where art de vivre cuisine and food is so important. This unique emphasis has no doubt contributed to her international success.

Salle à manger at Hélène Darroze paris restaurant the connaught hotel mayfair london michelin

Salle à manger at the Hélène Darroze restaurant in Paris

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught mayfair london michelin

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught

It’s no wonder that Citizens of Humanity selected such a dynamic and passionate person for their series. I fell in love with this clever combination to showcase their partnership, a jean oven mitt! And x marks the spot, or the Hélène Darroze restaurant in Paris. You can purchase the mitt online here.

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All proceeds from the Hélène Darroze x Citizens of Humanity Oven Mitt will benefit Afghanistan Libre, an organization that provides assistance in constructing and running primary and secondary schools for girls.

Visit Hélène Darroze in Paris

4, rue d’Assas, 75006

 Hélène Darroze at The Connaught in London

The Connaught, Carlos Place, Mayfair, London, W1K 2AL

or at the Raff House in Moscow

Malaya Nikitskaya street, 25

La Galette des Rois – Three Kings Day Cake

The French celebrate Three Kings Day, or La Fête Des RoisThe first Sunday of each new year is dedicated to this celebration, and one of the most important players in this day is the delicious galette des rois.

France Galette des Rois three kings day la fete des rois

Traditionally a puff pastry with a frangipane stuffing (almond paste used in desserts), the galette is served to everyone in a very particular manner.  The youngest person present goes under the table and decides how the slices are designated.  Whoever finds the féve, the object placed inside the galette, is the queen or king of the day and, of course, gets to wear the crown that accompanies the galette.

Boulangère france galette des rois three kings day la fete des rois 2013

A French boulangère with her galettes des rois and crowns

This year’s galette was absolutely delicious, and the lovely Mieko was pronounced the queen of the day!

galette des rois la fete des rois france 2013 couronne feve

Mieko found the féve!

La Maison du Chocolat Advent Calendar & More Holiday Goodies

It’s officially December!

That means warm coats, scarves, cuddle weather, winter solstice, and – Advent calendars! I love that little daily piece of chocolate as a way to countdown to Christmas.

Advent calendars seem to be extremely popular in Europe! Every main chocolate brand has their own.  Kinder, Milka, Lindt, and Cadbury – you can find their cute little designs everywhere. I was recently gifted the Cadbury one below by a lovely Englishman; it’s quality chocolate. I learned that there is a game that goes along with it; the person who correctly guesses the shape or design of the chocolate that day gets to eat it!

Cadbury Advent Calendar Chocolate UK England Great Britain Chocolate Christmas Christmas Chocolate Calendar

Cadbury Advent Calendar

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Kinder Advent Calendar
Lindt Advent Calendar chocolate european chocolate calendar christmas 2012

Lindt Advent Calendar

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Milka Advent Calendar

If you are looking for a truly French advent calendar, you only need to look no further than one of the best chocolatiers in the country: La Maison du Chocolat.

Nicolas Cloiseau, Master Chef of La Maison du Chocolat, “Meilleur Ouvrier de France”, has created some delightful and unique collections for this holiday season. The beautiful Advent Christmas tree is the most delicious way to build anticipation for the 25th.

Or you can choose a Christmas Star Coffret, for the day of, and pick from the following options:

Dark & spicy – Praline with crunchy slivers and Christmas spices (cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg) 

Dark & sparkling – Ganache sphere with Champagne Blanc de Blancs (100% chardonnay, very fruity)

 Sweet & nutty – Almond paste from Provence with walnuts from the Périgord and honey from the Morvan forest

Dark & acidulous – Pure origin dark ganache from the Dominican Republic with full, round chocolate notes and crisp, acidulous flavours of candied fruits

Dark & fruity – Duo of ganaches with coconut and lime.  White chocolate ganache with coconut, dark chocolate ganache with lime.

I would have to get all of them!

For mouth-watering and gorgeous decorations, bring home the Celestial Tree, the Christmas Star, or for the most French touch to your Christmas, the Constellation Bûche de Noël. Looking forward to seeing what will come home with me on my next trip to La Maison du Chocolat!

Happy December!

xx PatriciaParisienne

arbre celeste la maison du chocolat france celestial tree paris european chocolate christmas star christmas 2012

Celestial Tree from La Maison du Chocolat

Etoiles de noel ambiance La Maison du Chocolat 2012 chocolate paris france christmas 2012 european chocolate gifts christmas presents fancy chic

Christmas Stars from La Maison du Chocolat

Buche Constellation La Maison du Chocolat Noel 2012 Constellation Bûche paris france christmas 2012 christmas traditions holidays france french christmas traditions

Constellation Bûche from La Maison du Chocolat

La Maison du Chocolat

225 rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré – 75008 Paris

52 rue François 1er – 75008 Paris

8 bd de la Madeleine – 75009 Paris

19 rue de Sèvres – 75006 Paris

120 av Victor Hugo – 75116 Paris

Printemps de la Maison 2ème étage – 75009 Paris

Carrousel du Louvre – 75001 Paris

Orly Ouest – Hall 2 Porte A – Paris

Galeries Lafayette Maison RDC – 75009 Paris

Roissy CDG Terminal 2A-2C – Paris

Roissy CDG Terminal 2E – Paris

Roissy CDG Terminal 2F – Paris

Thanksgiving in Paris – and how to carry a fresh turkey safely across the city

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  Being away from the US, I was curious as to how the celebrations would fare this year.  Where does one get cranberries, a turkey, pumpkin pie ingredients, gravy, and stuffing in this city?

Thanksgiving Paris 2012 american holiday day of thanks

Thankfully, (pun intended) you can get it all in Paris! Not without a few treks across entire metro lines and hitting the store Thanksgiving in the Marais (without which the full meal would not have been possible), but you can definitely find everything you need to pull off a successful Turkey Day meal. In fact, at the store Thanksgiving, one can get all sorts of American food products! (Reese’s peanut butter cups, included!) Oh, the way to get a turkey across the city is to place yourself in the back corners of the metro, where you can put it under your seat, or behind you on your seat, because that thing is heavyyy.

Thanksgiving Paris 2012 France American holiday turkey where do you get a turkey in paris

Our lovely Thanksgiving spread!

I was fortunate enough to have not one but TWO Thanksgivings this year! Both involved including friends from all over the world and introducing them to our fabulous eat-til-you-burst holiday.  The best parts of the night were going around and saying what we were thankful for (which everyone loved! When an English friend heard what we were about to do, she said, “YES! I have always wanted to do this and I never thought I would get to!!!!!” Happy that this made her holiday!) and introducing European friends to my favorite dessert, pumpkin pie.  I loved seeing the concerned and curious faces take their first bite of the pie and immediately smile and say, “Oh my goodness! THIS IS SO GOOD!” Yes, ladies and gentlemen, pumpkin pie is amazing.

Whipped cream pumpkin pie Thanksgiving 2012 in Paris American holiday France

So excited for pumpkin pie!!!

Of course, the experience of being able to celebrate this important American holiday while being almost 6000 miles away from home was truly the best part of this Thanksgiving.  This year, I am thankful for: my family, of course, whose support and love is my biggest motivation to succeed and without whom my life in Paris would not be possible; my friends, old and new, who never cease to impress me, motivate me, make me proud, and make me laugh; my voice teacher and professors, who help and push me to achieve my goals; having met John, who every day makes me so incredibly happy; and last but certainly not least, Paris, which has shown me different sides of myself, has made me grow as a person with the new challenges and experiences that I see on a daily basis, and is the city that has introduced me to some of the most amazing people and things in the world.

Happy Thanksgiving 2012 Thanksgiving in Paris Thanksgiving Paris France american holiday turkey

Happy Thanksgiving! Photo Credit: K. Leverton

As always, Paris, je t’aime.

Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé! – Happy Beaujolais Nouveau Day!

It’s the third Thursday in November.  This can only mean one thing: Beaujolais Nouveau is here!

Beaujolais Nouveau Day officially starts at midnight on the third Thursday of November in Beaujeu, near Lyon, home of the vintage.  Barrels are rolled through the streets of the region, and the celebration lasts throughout the night.

Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé paris france 2012 wine ile de france

Barrels of Beaujolais nouveau are rolled through the center of Lyon.

French law prohibits the wine to be sold before the third Thursday of the month, which creates an exciting anticipation once the month of November comes around.  So today, all around France, people will celebrate the arrival of the newest Beaujolais!

Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé paris france 2012 wine

Wine is poured for tasting at the official launch.

The 2012 Beaujolais Nouveau campaign this year revolves around the world of fashion, as they believe that this wine shares the qualities of “refinement and glamour” that fashion possesses.

Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé paris france 2012 wine

Beaujolais Nouveau 2012 campaign poster

Although, the French are not the only ones to drink this light, fruity red wine.  Following the Parisians in Beaujolais consumption around the world are the Japanese, Americans, and Germans.

Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé paris france 2012 wine

As tradition has it, on this festive day, restaurants, wine caves, bars, and wine stores will have signs out that say, “Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!” (The Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived!”)  Can’t wait to celebrate!

le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé paris 2012 france wine

One of the signs you will see throughout France announcing the arrival of the new Beaujolais!

For more info, check out these links:

http://beaujolaisnouveau.beaujolais.com/index.php

http://www.beaujolais-wines.com/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/gallery/2012/nov/15/roll-out-barrel-beaujolais-nouveau-2012-pictures

http://www.beaujolaisnouveautime.com/

http://www.karenmacneil.com/

Cupcake Camp Paris 2012 Charity Event: A Success!

For all cupcake lovers in France: there is a mecca of incredible cupcake bakers in Paris.

I found many of them at the Cupcake Camp Paris 2012 charity event and was lucky enough to try their baked goods! The event was a Halloween-themed fundraiser, where the best cupcake bakers in the city came together to make over 2000 cupcakes. Entry to the event was free, and all of the proceeds from the cupcake sales, raffle tickets, and other purchases went to Make-A-Wish France.

Cupcake Camp Charity Event Le Comptoir General 80, Quai de Jemmapes

Cupcake Camp Charity Event

I was astonished at the fact that this incredible space existed near the Canal Saint Martin, let alone that you could rent it out for an event like this.  The line to get in was massive; I counted about one hundred people down the block – and I arrived halfway through the two-hour event!  There were countless varieties, styles, and flavors of cupcakes that were displayed at Le Comptoir Général.

Cupcake Camp Charity Event 80, quai de Jemmapes 75010 Paris Make-a-wish France

Cupcakes!

Upon entering, I didn’t know where to begin; there was so much to see! We ended up going for a counter-clockwise approach to scope out our options, and then we went to find the witch that would sell us our tickets.  (She was actually dressed up in a very convincing witch costume.) “Il faut trouver la sorcière!” the vendors would tell us.

Cupcake Camp Charity Event 2012 80 Quai de Jemmapes 75010 Paris Le Comptoir General

Cupcake Camp Paris 2012

So many cupcakes!

Cupcake Camp Paris 2012

Scottish Cupcakes!

Cupcake Camp 2012 Paris Charity

Cupcake Camp Paris 2012 Quai de jemmapes Paris 75010

Halloween Pumpkin Cupcakes

After much thought and reflection, Kat decided on the speculoos cupcake, while I went with the spicy chocolate, Dia de los Muertos themed cupcake.  Both were amazing! At the end of the event, there were still a few cupcakes left, so we got the “Bartender’s Chocolate Delight,” which was quite tasty.

Cupcake Camp 2012 Paris Dia de los Muertos Cupcakes

Dia de los Muertos Cupcakes

Cupcake Camp 2012 Paris quai de jemmapes 75010

Our picks of the bunch 🙂

Cupcake Camp Charity Event 80, quai de Jemmapes 75010 Paris Make-a-wish France
Yummy!

Everyone left happy and full. A few lucky people went home with some of the amazing prizes and baskets that were raffled off, like an original Kasia Dietz bag. Click here for more pictures of Cupcake Camp Paris 2012. Can’t wait for next year’s event!

Cupcake Camp 2012 Paris PatriciaParisienne 80 quai de jemmapes 75010 le comptoir general

PatriciaParisienne and two copines

We were truly impressed with the number of cupcake companies here in Paris. Below are some of the sponsors and participants in this year’s Cupcake Camp.

Cupcake Camp 2012 Paris le comptoir general 80 quai de jemmapes 75010

Cupcake Camp Paris 2012

Bryan Pirolli – Lola’s Cookies – Paris Insights – Fairy Cooker – Faismoicroquer.com – Cake, Cook and Co. – LaVieMaraisienne – The Kale Project – NOGLU – Mimi’s Cupcakes – Sugar Daze – Ô Chateau – Beauty Cakes – CAKE & BAKE accessories – Once Upon a Cake – Paris Pastry App ~ David Lebovitz – COlunching – Sweetly Cakes – Bleekcup’s – Context Travel – La Cuisine Paris – Cupcake Lovers in Paris – Wrist Flick – Carolive’s Cupcakes – Excuse My French

~~~

For those looking for a cool place to grab a drink with friends or for an amazing Sunday brunch in Paris, Le Comptoir General is the place to go.  The beers are cheap, the location is incredible, plus the glass roof makes you feel like you’re outside enjoying summer in a beer garden. Allez-y!

 Le Comptoir Général

80, quai de Jemmapes

75010

A Parisian moment

“What is life in Paris like?” is a question I get asked very often. Well, life is…life. It’s wonderful! It has its ups and downs, just like life in any other city in the world. “But you’re in PARIS! The City of Lights!” This is true. This I never take for granted. I attend the Sorbonne; my classes all take place in that historic, beautiful building. I walk by the Seine and the cathedral of Notre Dame on a daily basis. I see the Eiffel Tower every day when I go to the conservatory. I hear French around me every day. These details are not overlooked.

But everything truly sets in when I find myself in a café or restaurant that is so classically French or more specifically, classically Parisian. The red booths and chairs, the dark wooden tables, the smartly-dressed servers…and the steak-frites with a glass of wine. Here I am, post-lecture at the Sorbonne. I always walk down to take the métro at l’Hôtel de Ville. I say au revoir to the Sorbonne, cross over and think “hi!” to the twinkling Seine, wave to Notre Dame and her gargoyles, and continue on my way to the magnificent city hall.

Usually I head straight to the underground, but today was a different case. It has been a wonderful week. I’m finally feeling better after being sick for a few weeks, I had an incredibly sweet surprise yesterday that has left me smiling since and feeling like the luckiest girl in the world, and on top of it all, positive and happy events keep popping up in my life. I was feeling giddy and on top of the world! As I passed the gargoyles, it suddenly hit me, as it often does, tout d’un coup – I live in Paris!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the incredibly historic city where so many renowned public figures and people have been, passed through, and taken place. And I live here! Me! My family is so incredibly supportive of my dreams and my passions that I now LIVE here! This realization had me almost skipping. I turned and saw a restaurant, Le Parvis Notre Dame, that I’ve been wanting to try for almost a year. I told myself, “Why not?? Today is the day!” And in I went.

It is a quiet Thursday night in the neighborhood, but there are still a few couples in the quaint restaurant. I know what I want; I’ve been craving it for days now. “Un steak-frites, s’il vous plaît!” “Avec un verre de vin rouge?” asks the server. “Oui, pourquoi pas?” I smile back. There it is, a fully French meal. A steak-frites with a glass of red wine is on its way.

My glass of Bordeaux arrives first. As I take my first sip, I am reminded that this is, indeed, my favorite wine. Shortly afterward, my meal is served. The presentation is typical, save for the cute little metal basket that the fries are in. The sauce smells incredible! I cut into the steak, and it is perfectly medium rare and a light pink, just the way I like it. The sauce is even better than it smells; in fact, it is the best sauce au poivre I have ever had! The meat is tender and savory, and the fries are golden. I was hoping there would be a side salad, and they did not disappoint. En plus, it had just the right amount of dressing (and I am quite picky when it comes to dressing). I had to tell myself to slow down and savor each bite. It was SO good! And with the smooth red wine to accompany the meal, I am in heaven. I believe I have truly found the perfect steak-frites here at Le Parvis.

Even the staff is lovely! Forget what you hear about the awful service in France. Here, they are kind and attentive – AND they smile!! Every person on the staff has come by and chatted with me, checked that my food was all right, and asked how my wine was. The manager is charming, and the server is very knowledgeable about their menu and wines. I was both serenaded and entertained during my stay! To experience both a truly French meal and the renowned French charm, stop by this restaurant and see for yourself.

Happily full and more than satisfied, I sit back and bask in the music of Patrick Bruel that plays on the radio. His light baritone rolls the r, à la Edith Piaf, and the music is so wonderfully French. A delicious meal, a nice glass of wine, and a relaxed ambiance – this is what life in Paris is like.

Yes, there are days when you are crammed in the metro, and others when you ask yourself what people actually do in their offices (if and when they are there). There are also those moments when you feel very alone and foreign and so far from your country. (I have dubbed it Home with a capital h.) But these moments like tonight, THIS is life in Paris. You share delicious meals and wine and cheese with people from all over the world, and you communicate in this beautiful, complex language. You spend time in cafés and brasseries and parks and salons de thé because most students’ apartments are ten meters squared or less – and there’s no way you could all squeeze in there at the same time. You grab a café allongé in the morning at your local stop. And once you come in often enough, you walk in, greet the barman and the morning employees, and suddenly your coffee arrives without your asking for it, without sugar and with a little glass of water on the side because he knows that’s the way you like it. You walk by the Seine, the Eiffel Tower, the Sacre Cœur, the Louvre on a daily basis, you throw on your scarf and breathe in the cold air, and you smile. Because you, my darling, are in Paris.

Le Parvis Notre Dame
3, rue d’Arcole
75004 Paris
01 44 41 14 34

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Grand Reopening of Compagnie Française de l’Orient et de la Chine

Looking for some Asian-fusion cuisine and deco in Paris?

The newly-renovated Compagnie Française de l’Orient et de la Chine is back!  Though the design store and restaurant officially opens to the public on Saturday, September 22, at 10 a.m., the company celebrated their reopening and opened its doors Thursday night to a gorgeous crowd for a festive soiree.

View of Compagnie Française de l'Orient et de la Chine Chinese dragon dance Paris restaurant opening grand opening Asian-fusion in Paris

View of Compagnie Française de l’Orient et de la Chine

The party began with a Chinese dragon dance from the AFDDLC, Association française de danse du dragon et danse du lion chinois (French Association of the Chinese Dragon Dance and Lion Dance). Very appropriate, as we are in the year of the dragon (yours truly being a dragon herself!), according to the Chinese calendar. Guests were absolutely captivated by the dragons!

AFDDLC Performing the Chinese Dragon Dance at Compagnie Française de l'Orient et de la Chine

AFDDLC Performing the Chinese Dragon Dance on the red carpet at Compagnie Française de l’Orient et de la Chine

Dragons Dancing Compagnie Française de l'Orient et de la Chine

Dragons Dancing at Compagnie Française de l’Orient et de la Chine

The rest of the evening was just as impressive!  On the ground level, the two bars served an assortment of Asian beers and drinks, as well as a variety of delicious teas. On the second and minus one floors, the guests were also treated to fantastic wines and champagne.  It’s not a true French celebration without champagne!

Compagnie Francaise de l'Orient et la Chine window display Stephanie Moisan

The crowd downstairs at Compagnie Francaise de l'Orient et la Chine

Display at Compagnie Francaise de l'Orient et la Chine

The guest list had people from all walks of life and a variety of industries.  At the opening party, we chatted with Stephanie Moisan, the designer of the stunning window displays (scenographer), as well as Héloïse Mérat, the commercial director of la Compagnie Francaise de l’Orient et de la Chine.

Stephanie Moisan for Compagnie Francaise de l’Orient et de la Chine

APR

Some of the APR girls at Compagnie Francaise de l’Orient et de la Chine’s grand opening soiree

Héloïse Mérat - commercial director for Compagnie Francaise de l'Orient et de la Chine

Héloïse Mérat – commercial director for Compagnie Francaise de l’Orient et de la Chine

The event was a huge success, and the room was buzzing throughout the night with excitement and delight. Visit the Compagnie Francaise de l’Orient et de la Chine to spruce up your home or office decor, or to enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner.

Compagnie Francaise de l’Orient et de la Chine

170, boulevard Haussmann

75008 Paris

+33 (0) 1 53 53 40 80