Fancy Advent Calendars for Petits Gourmands

Advent calendars for the child with a discerning palate are now available. For the first time, both La Pâtisserie des Rêves and Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse are producing custom designed advent calendars stuffed with gourmet treats.  Continue reading Fancy Advent Calendars for Petits Gourmands

What life was really like during the week after the Paris attacks

Contrary to most news reports, Paris is not on lockdown. The city’s residents, and especially those of us who live, work and play on the city’s east side, are shaken up. But together we’re getting through it. Here is an incomplete attempt to show what that looked like during the week after the attacks on November 13th.  Continue reading What life was really like during the week after the Paris attacks

Beaujolais Nouveau 2015

The imminent annual release of Beaujolais Nouveau – no longer a media firestorm in the best of circumstances – may seem, in the wake of last Friday’s Paris terror attacks, about as pertinent as a rubber duck.

In such troubled times, who needs wine? Who needs cured ham and cornichons? Who among us needs to gather with friends and loved ones? Who can bring themselves to purchase inexpensive bottles of glimmery young gamay and share it liberally with neighbors? Who wants to support Paris’ liveliest tradition-minded bars and bistrots when their business has been threatened?

Well, perhaps quite a few of us. Beaujolais Nouveau, ordinarily an occasion for slightly meaningless fun, can become, in 2015, an occasion for slightly more meaningful fun.  Continue reading Beaujolais Nouveau 2015

Havens of hospitality: Small acts of heroism during the attacks

“Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise,” is painted above a doorframe in the bookstore and café Shakespeare & Co. It’s a motto that the iconic address certainly took to heart on Friday evening when Paris went into lockdown following the most deadly attacks on French soil since World War II. Shakespeare & Co’s staff sheltered roughly 20 people during the lockdown, many of whom ended up spending the night among the bookshelves and coffee machines. Owner Sylvia Whitman, however, is reluctant to be singled out as a hero. “This wasn’t exceptional,” she insists. “There were many places that closed with customers inside.”

Sadly, she’s right – it wasn’t exceptional. Many shops, restaurants and bars ended up sheltering patrons for hours on end. What was exceptional were the actions of staff who went above and beyond the call of duty on Friday evening to ensure that guests were taken care of. Continue reading Havens of hospitality: Small acts of heroism during the attacks

Patrick Roger: Sculpture with Taste

The Rodin Museum re-opens today after a long renovation, its lobby featuring a sweet new installation: A copy of the sculptor’s famous Monument to Balzac, standing nearly 4 meters high, and made entirely from chocolate. With this new installation – entitled “La Sculpture a du Gôut”, or “Sculpture with Taste” – Patrick Roger, the French chocolatier most famous for his giant chocolate orangutans, will prove that he isn’t monkeying around.  Continue reading Patrick Roger: Sculpture with Taste

À L’Étoile d’Or Re-Opens After Explosion

There’s nothing new at A l’Étoile d’Or, and that’s perfect.

Rarely is “it’s just like it always was” a compliment, but a delighted customer at the shop’s re-opening this week meant it as high praise. The iconoclastic and historic candy shop, which features hard-to-find, old-fashioned sweets from throughout France, had been a fixture in Pigalle for over 40 years when, in February 2014, an accidental nearby explosion destroyed the shop and forced its closure. Sweet lovers mourned the loss of unusual candies like the bars of Bernachon chocolates from Lyon (the only spot in Paris to get them) or blackcurrant jellies from Dijon with a liquid center.

Continue reading À L’Étoile d’Or Re-Opens After Explosion

Paris Restaurants That Are Good for Groups

In Paris, where restaurants are tiny and can sometimes contain only a handful of tables, dining en masse requires a certain level of strategy. If you’re trying to book dinner for a large group (more than six people) or are planning a special event, we’ve found a selection of restaurants that can welcome a crowd.

Continue reading Paris Restaurants That Are Good for Groups

Montreuil: Paris’ Great Escape

Don’t get excited: Paris has no Brooklyn. Due to short-sighted urban planning in mid-century, Paris is cinched into its ring-road, le péripherique, like a dress it wore sixty years ago and never removed. The sheer impracticality of crossing this eternally congested ring-road has long prevented, in les banlieues, development of establishments Parisians might consider destinations. For Parisians, you’re either within city limits, or you’re way, way out.  Continue reading Montreuil: Paris’ Great Escape

Fulgurances Opens a Restaurant

French food magazine Fulgurances has just opened L’Adresse in the trendy neighborhood off the 11th and will be serving dinner four nights a week (Wednesday-Saturday) as part of their new culinary residency program. During a six month stint, partnering guests chefs will have the opportunity to try out running their own restaurant.  Continue reading Fulgurances Opens a Restaurant

Daniel Rose to take on Chez la Vieille & New York

Chez la Vieille occupies an unassuming corner at the intersection of two quiet streets, Bailleul and l’Arbre Sec, between the Louvre and what’s left of Les Halles. It was opened by the formidable Adrienne Biasin back in 1960 and catered – like most restaurants in this neighborhood – to a clientele of workers from the nearby Les Halles market. When the towering iron and glass pavillions were torn down in 1971 and the market was transferred to the sanitary suburb of Rungis, the “old lady’s” place remained as a comfort for locals who were (and still are) mourning the loss of “the belly of Paris.”  Continue reading Daniel Rose to take on Chez la Vieille & New York

Has Gluten Free Become a Thing in France?

France generally doesn’t tend to fall in for fad diets. The Atkins craze that swept the States in the early 2000s barely made a blip in the Hexagon. The past two years, however, have seen a noticeable rise in restaurants and bakeries that are actively marketing their food as sans gluten, or gluten-free.  Continue reading Has Gluten Free Become a Thing in France?

Beards, beanies & bacon jam: Brooklyn arrives at Le Bon Marché

Hovering fifty feet above the corner of Sèvres and Babylone is the image of a hipster eating a hot dog. The waxed tips of his mustache curl up as he gazes down upon the sidewalk scene below: an elegant woman wearing a camel trench coat is loading her shopping into a car. This is the line for valet parking at the city’s most expensive department store, and madame’s bags are bursting with jars of bacon jam.

Between now and October 17, Le Bon Marché (LBM) is celebrating New York’s most populous borough with their Brooklyn Rive Gauche festival.  Throughout the department store and their next-door food hall La Grande Épicerie, black water tower display stands direct shoppers to kale chips, artisanal matchsticks, and beard cream. Continue reading Beards, beanies & bacon jam: Brooklyn arrives at Le Bon Marché

Shakespeare & Company to Open a Café This Fall

Construction is underway at Shakespeare & Company to open an adjoining café in partnership with Bob’s Bake Shop in October.

George Whitman opened the iconic Anglo bookstore at 37 rue Bûcherie in 1951. “The space next door has been empty for over 30 years, and my father always wanted to rent it for a bookshop café,” explains Sylvia Whitman, his daughter and successor. Continue reading Shakespeare & Company to Open a Café This Fall