From your Parisian

Sharing my newest discoveries as I float through the streets of Paris. Restaurants, bars, events, all reviewed for you with love, from your Parisian.


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Paris Secrets: My top 5 garden-like restaurants and cafés to escape the city vibe

I love living in a city like Paris but there are times when I crave the feeling of lounging in my backyard, under a tree, with a drink and a good book. Summertime back home in Canada often involves attending barbecues or bringing dinner out into the garden to enjoy with family and friends. Yes, there are many beautiful parks where you can have a picnic of your own, but there are few restaurants or cafés where you can order something nice to eat and enjoy it, surrounded by trees and plants, without leaving the city.Jardin Renoir_Paris Most cafés/restaurants in Paris do have their terrasses but they are often on the sidewalk of sometimes busy streets with cars or masses of people passing by. Don’t get me wrong, people watching in Paris is super fun, except when you feel the need for a little vegetation and an escape from the noise and frenzy of the city. For those moments, I would like to share with you a list of some relatively unknown places where you can buy food or drinks and enjoy them in a garden-like environment without leaving the comfort of the péripherique…as let’s face it: most Parisians don’t enjoy venturing out into the suburbs if they don’t have to!!

So, here they are:

A la Folie: BBQ and party under the treesA la folie_ParisHidden at the North end of the Parc de la Villette, this bar and club is the place to be this summer and fall! It has a huge terrace surrounded by trees and complete with large picnic tables, perfect for meeting up with friends after work for a drink. If that wasn’t already good enough, they also have some delicious food choices, including an outdoor barbecue that cooks up tasty dishes of pork, sea bream, veggies, and a large selection of beef, available in three sizes: “un peu” (a little),” beaucoup” (a lot), and “à la folie” (after the name of this establishment, which roughly translates to madly…or in this case a crazy amount (1kg) of meat). If you’re in the mood for something a little lighter, they also have delicious salads, sandwiches, and baked treats. Oh! And did I mention that there’s a dance floor inside that really heats up in the evening? Basically, this is THE place to spend a night (or until 2am, when it closes) eating, drinking and/or dancing under the trees.

Where :

Parc de La Villette
26 avenue Corentin Cariou
75019 Paris

Café Renoir: A charming place to read a bookJardin renoir_Paris_2I only discovered this lovely spot at the top of Montmartre recently but it was definitely love at first sight. Perhaps it was the fact that Auguste Renoir (one of my favorite artists) painted two of his masterpieces while on the premises, or that Sacre-Coeur (my favorite building in Paris) is located right behind it, or maybe it is simply because the garden has several areas to relax and hide from the hectic outside world. You also have a wonderful view of the sloping Clos Montmartre vineyard, that borders the garden, which is rather unique. Although you do have to pay a 2-4 Euro fee to enter the garden, I believe that it is well worth it. Their café offers a variety of drinks as well as cakes, pastries and light lunches, perfect for a chill afternoon of drawing, writing or reading (trust me, you will feel inspired). If you’re an art lover, then a tour of the museum will also interest you, as Montmartre’s history is retold through various exhibits and you can even visit Renoir’s atelier and travel back in time.

Where:

Musée de Montmartre et Jardins Renoir
12 Rue Cortot
75018 Paris
+33 (0) 1 49 25 89 39

Les Mondes Bohèmes: Eating in your backyardles mondes bohemes_ParisI have been here several times (and have even celebrated my Birthday here), so I can safely say that this is one of my favorite restaurants to visit in the summer. It is all about the outdoor covered terrace that is shaded by the canopy of two large trees and tangled vines and bordered by bamboo plants. You really feel as if you are in a friend’s garden, with the hanging flower pots and the colorful watering cans and sparkling lights only adding to the overall magic that is this spot. The food itself is also very good. They serve classic bistro dishes like burgers, steaks, salads and roasted camembert cheese (yessss please) at reasonable prices! They also have a long drink menu to please everyone, so don’t be surprised if you end up spending the entire evening here. A true hidden gem in the East of Paris!

Where:
31 rue des Vignoles
75020 Paris
+33 (0)1 43 48 69 38

Hôtel particulier Montmartre: Fancy brunch or cocktails in a secret gardenHotel particulier_ParisThis luxurious hotel and its garden are like something from a fairytale! Located in Montmartre and only accessible via a private passageway (you have to ring a doorbell to even have access to the passageway) this garden is the definition of secluded. I admit that this is the priciest option on my list (with brunch being 38 euros/person), but for a special occasion this place is sure to impress. Plus, as staying at the hotel isn’t an option for me (until of course I win the lottery…*it will so happen one day*), being able to visit the gardens for a coffee or tea is one way to enjoy this special place in Montmatre without going broke. You can even drop by for a cocktail in the evening between 6pm and 2am, as they have a very sexy cocktail bar that opens up into the gardens. And Pssss: don’t miss a very lovely Eiffel Tower viewing spot from just outside the hotel gates!

Where:

Pavillon D, 23 Avenue Junot
75018 Paris
+33 (0)1 53 41 81 40

Musée de la vie romantique: Tea or coffee with someone specialmusee de la vie romantique_jardin_parisMost of you have probably already visited this salon de thé as it is always mentioned in the “top romantic places in Paris” lists, but if you haven’t yet… well, what are you waiting for? While the garden itself is very small, if you are lucky enough to grab a table, you can enjoy a coffee with a tartine or piece of cake surrounded by rose bushes, shrubs and trees. It has a very Romeo and Juliette feeling to it…but without the epic tragedy at the end! While you’re there, you might as well check out the small but elegant museum, as it displays some pretty furniture, jewelery, and works of art from the Romantic period.

Where: 

Hotel Scheffer-Renan
16, rue Chaptal
75009 Paris

With this list you can definitely find some shade on a hot day in Paris. I think I’m going to head out to one of these places now! 😉 If you know of any other restaurants/cafés in Paris that are hidden in gardens or surrounded by trees, I would love to hear from you! 🙂

 

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Travel Fun: A quick trip to the Greek island of Kefalonia.

I love Greece and truly believe that it is the best place to spend your summer holidays (I’ve spent 4 summers in Greece, on different islands)! Why? Because there are beautiful beaches, the food is amazing and affordable, and the people are friendly and relaxed. As I just got back from a 5-day trip to Kefalonia, and I have never written about my holidays in Greece on the blog before, I thought now is the time to write a review of the island before my slight tan fades away completely. By sharing some pictures and tips I hope that you will see why I love this place so much and maybe inspire you to visit this wonderful island on your next holiday!kefalonia_private beach_greeceFirst off: the basics! You can reach Kefalonia by boat (from Kyllini or Patras on the mainland) or by plane. One thing that rather annoyed me is that there are no direct flights from Paris to Kefalonia, which might be why there are so few French (and so many British and Italian) tourists on the island. Last year we arrived at the end of August/beginning of September and had to fly to Athens where we then took a short flight to Kefalonia. This year, while checking the various possibilities (this was a very last minute trip), I found that a flight from London or Bristol in the U.K. was way cheaper than flying from Paris and that it was also direct, so my bf and I spent a few days in England visiting my Aunt then came to Greece with Easyjet.

In general, it is best to book way ahead of time if you’re planning to travel during the summer months. If you can, travel in June or September as the island will be less crowded, it will be less hot (in August the temperature can be close to 40 degrees), and travel/accommodation will be cheaper.

Another important point: RENT A CAR! Although there is a bus service that runs on the island, I cannot imagine having to wait in the sweltering heat for a bus and not having the freedom to explore the island on my own timetable. Also, there are certain roads that are too narrow for buses and therefore you will miss out on potential discoveries. I recommend Ionian Cars, as the guys were great and were willing to meet us at the airport when we arrived, even though it was very late at night.

As this was our second time to the island and it was for only a short visit, we decided to stay in Lassi, which is a small town in the South of the island near the capital of Argostoli and close to the airport. We were here last year with friends and found it to be the ideal central base for exploring the island. Although there are many hotels full of British/Italian tourists and the restaurants along the main road of this town are nothing special, there are hidden beaches and cute tavernas to be found if you are up for a little adventure. Alternatively, if you plan to really explore the entire island, Agia Effimia is also a good base (we stayed here several days last year) as it is located further North, so closer to Assos or Fiskardo.

For basic rooms in Lassi for around 100 Euros/night for 2 people, I would recommend either Simatos Apartments (no sea views but super friendly staff) or Sunshine Resort (at a higher elevation so great sea views from balcony, but quite a hike up a big hill if you don’t have a car).

With that said, here are my list of things you must do when in Kefalonia:

1) Visit the gorgeous town of Assos: The drive to get there might have been a little stressful, as we swerved along mountainous roads, braked as we crossed several goats sitting directly in our path (they don’t give a *@&!), and descended again following a zigzag road composed of a series of sharp hairpin turns (luckily I have a bf who’s a fearless driver), BUT Assos is worth so it! Once you have made it back to sea level you can walk around the adorable town full of colorful little houses surrounded by flowers, eat in one of the several cute restaurants along the bay, and chill at a little beach where you can swim and think to yourself “am I dreaming?”. From the car park you can also hike up to the ruins of Assos Castle, situated on a 170 m high rocky hill. It is free to visit and offers magnificent views (see picture below).Assos_Kefalonia_travel2) Take a picture at the famous Myrtos beach: while the experience of being on the beach itself wasn’t so spectacular (you are quickly out of depth and currents can be strong, there is no shade, parking can be tricky, and there are lots of wasps), the view from the road above that takes you down to the beach is too breathtaking not to visit. I mean, this is the beach featured on almost every postcard of Kefalonia, so it would be a shame not to see it in person. myrtos beach_kefalonia_greece3) Be a tourist in Melissani cave: I admit that once I saw the tour buses parked outside I wanted to run away, but this cave is still worth a visit as I’ve never seen anything like it before. A lake located in a cave, where a large opening lets the sunlight stream in. You walk down a dark (and refreshingly cool) tunnel into the cave and wait for a little rowboat to take you on a 15 minute tour of the cave. Entry costs 7 Euros/person, which I admit is expensive for a 15 minute trip around the lake, but I’m still happy I saw it. Just wish it wasn’t so full of people, as it kills the magic a little.melissani cave_kefalonia_greece4) Follow the path that leads to Pessada beach: This beach requires a little hike down some steps, followed by a short walk over some spiky rocks (tip: buy a pair of those ugly but very useful water shoes, you will thank me later), but you eventually arrive to the sheltered little cove with soft white sand. It is very popular in the summer and can often be very crowded. In September there were relatively few people but this year, in the height of August, there wasn’t room to lay a flip-flop, so we clambered over some other rocks, walked a little, and then descended onto a rocky plateau where we were completely alone. That’s how we do! Snorkelers will love this beach as it is full of fish and the water is crystal clear! pessada beach_kefalonia_greece5) Walk in the golden sand of Xi or Megas Lakkos beach: These beaches are located on the Pali peninsula, right across from Argostoli (ferries run from the capital to Lixouri to shorten the driving time), and will impress you with their beautiful stretches of golden red sand. It definitely gives you a change from the mainly pebble beaches on most of the island and you can easily rent sunbeds and umbrellas if you want some additional comfort. The water is relatively calm and shallow so these are good beaches for kids too.megas lakkos beach_Kefalonia_Beach6) Take a ferry to the magical island of Ithaca: technically this is not a thing to to do IN Kefalonia, but if you have the time to visit the home of Odysseus (for all you Greek mythology buffs) then I highly recommend it. We stayed here only 2 days but I would have loved to have explored even longer as this island is very authentic, with less tourists, and a truly natural, untouched beauty. It is easily accessible by a ferry that leaves from the town of Sami (about a 40 minute trip across). Random fact: Some scenes from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin were filmed in Sami! The main town of Vathy is charming and you can observe the small fishing boats and groups of Greek fisherman who sit together chatting in the tavernas along the waterfront throughout the day. Drive up North and you will have magnificent views of the sea (and of Kefalonia in the distance) and maybe even discover some magical, secluded beaches! Just be prepared that the roads are narrow and sometimes not well paved. boat in vathy_ithaca_greeceNow, to the most important part of any holiday…FOOD!!!

My top 5 restaurants in the South of Kefalonia:

Kamaroules Stamatelatos Τavernaki (Καμαρούλες Σταματελάτος Ταβερνάκι): My favourite place to eat brunch/lunch (they don’t open before noon)! Imagine your own Greek garden, located above a small, rock covered beach, with wooden tables set out among the olive and pine trees. You have the sound of the cicadas chirping, cute little cats lounging in the shade, and a calming view of the sea to enjoy while sipping on your freddo cappuccino. And the food: fresh and delicious! Try the most amazing Greek salad I’ve ever had in my life (with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers, olives, capers, and a huge piece of feta cheese mixed with a soft local Kefalonian cheese) with a plate of strapatsada (eggs, scrambled with tomatoes and feta cheese) or a chicken souvlaki plate before heading to the beach.Kamaroules Stamatelatos Τavernaki_Kefalonia_GreecePalia Plaka (Η Παλιά Πλάκα): Located along the waterfront of Argostoli (but at the far end where there are less people), this cafeteria-style restaurant serves up traditional Greek dishes that you can view before ordering as they are displayed inside. They even have fresh fish (I had the perfectly cooked sea bream). Honestly, in my opinion, this is the best place to try homemade Greek dishes such as Kefalonian pie (meat, rice and cheese cooked in pastry), stuffed tomatoes, or pastitsio (pasta dish with ground beef and bechamel sauce) while being surrounded by the locals of the island. They even give you a free dessert!palia plaka_kefalonia_greeceIl Borgo: Located on higher ground, right next door to the ruined Castle of Saint George, this restaurant has beautiful views of Kefalonia and even of the island of Zante in the distance. They serve many traditional Greek dishes, like lamb kleftiko (lamb chop cooked with potatoes, tomatoes and feta), or if you need a break from Greek food (don’t know why you would…but no judgment!) they offer various other choices such as pancakes with maple syrup, steak and eggs, and club sandwiches. Only downside: this place is very popular with tourists visiting the castle.il borgo_kefalonia_greeceGENTILINI Winery & Vineyards: This isn’t a restaurant but this winery sells bottles of wine that you can take back to your apartment to enjoy in the evening with some fresh Greek produce from the market (we did this a lot). I highly recommend their white Robola wine! They also offer wine tastings (3 wines for 5 Euros) that come with a plate of Graviera cheese, cherry tomatoes, bread, herbs, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.kefalonia wine and cheeseSto Psito: Another restaurant with a beautiful view, this restaurant is a little more pricey and fancy than the majority of restaurants in Lassi. The food is decent with Greek and Kefalonian specialties available in addition to various grilled meats and pastas. They even have roast piglet on the spit on weekends! The highlight of this restaurant is the view and the ambiance of being surrounded by Greeks and tourists alike while melancholic Greek music wafts around like the breeze coming from the sea. Make sure to reserve here, as it is very popular at night.Sto psito_kefalonia_greeceThere you go! I could go on forever about all the things I love about this island (don’t forget Antisamos beach), but I’ll leave it at that for now. Although you don’t see much of the typical white and blue buildings that you see in the Cyclades and many of the towns are relatively modern (Argostoli for example was rebuilt after a devastating earthquake in 1953), Kefalonia is really vibrant and has shockingly beautiful natural scenery that will definitely win you over. That is of course if you are up for the adventure! And don’t worry: people who like the resort holidays and crowded beaches with music and water sports will also enjoy this island as there are plenty of those (e.g. Makris Gialos Beach). Argostoli_Kefalonia_GreeceLastly, if you wan’t to know where on the island that beautiful, pristine beach at the beginning of this blog post is located (see first picture)…ask me! I’ll give you the directions! Just be prepared to potentially share it with this one nudist. We saw him two years in a row and he’s not ready to give up his secluded spot!

P.S. If you have any other questions about travelling to Greece, don’t hesitate to send me a message! καλημέρα! 😉


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The Best Gift for Foodies in Paris: Le Food Trip Food Passport

I’ll admit it: I’m a total foodie! Discovering new restaurants in Paris is a thrill for me, I spend hours scrolling through Instagram looking at pictures of food and noting down the restaurants I must try next, I love avocado toast and bubble tea (this is purely FYI), I know that one of the reasons I have no savings is that I eat out far too often, when I travel to a new destination I strive to research in advance the local restaurant scene so that I don’t waste time in a tourist trap (nothing upsets me more), and I am extremely happy when eating an amazing meal (preferably with friends who are equally pleased).

I was therefore very excited when I received a Food Trip Food Passport from my co-workers as one of my goodbye gifts last month. Le Food Trip Food Passport is an amazing idea that involves discovering the city via its local food scene. It is basically a passport with 6-12 stickers and a map that pinpoints the various foodie locations (25 choices) to visit around the city. Each location is a food shop, bakery, wine bar or other food-related establishment. You choose where to go and, in exchange for one of your stickers, you receive a sample of one of their specialties. Translation: FREE FOOD SAMPLES!!!!lefoodtrip_foodpassportWhile I could rave about all the cool places I visited forever, here is a quick summary of all the yummy food I got to try:

A delicious « citronnade » éclair from L’Atelier de l’éclair: It was hard to choose an éclair from the pastry rainbow in their display case but I definitely made the right choice. The lemon and lime cream inside the choux pastry tasted like key lime pie filling (which I looooove) and it was topped with a sweet lemon glaze, lime zest, and the cutest little meringues.  All of their éclairs (4, 90 Euros each) are works of art and I will definitely be back to try others.latelier de leclair_paris_foodtripBeaufort cheese tasting at La COOP: The Beaufort cooperative has several stores in France but only one location in Paris. This store sells various products from the Savoy region but specializes in Beaufort, the cheese made from the unpasteurized milk of cows that graze in the French Alps. Sound delicious? Well it is, and I got to try two types of this popular cheese: Beaufort d’été (summer), with a lighter more floral taste, and Beaufort d’hiver (winter), that was slightly stronger than the summer version. We sat down at one of their tables and ordered a glass of Chablis to wash down the generous serving of cheese that was offered by the lovely ladies of this shop.la coop_paris_foodtripCured meat from A la main: This food store specializes in products from Corsica! One of the owners carefully sliced me some Corsican sausage made from Corsican black pig meat and it was delicious, with a slight peppery taste and a little stronger than a regular saucisson. I looked around their boutique and ended up buying a jar of Corsican beefsteak tomato ketchup: it tastes like a mix between regular ketchup and a tomato chutney. I’m sure that all of their products are amazing!a la main_paris_foodtripA slice of Comté cheese on toast from L’affineur Affiné: This cheese shop is different from most as it has a seating area at the back which offers customers the chance to sit down and enjoy a selection of their cheeses (and yes, they have a nice wine list too) in addition to other freshly prepared dishes. The owners are very knowledgeable and can explain the difference between a Comté and a Beaufort. They even offer a cheese-filled brunch on Sundays. This place is truly a cheese lover’s paradise!laffineur affine_paris_foodtripA glass of white wine from Les Petits Domaines: It wouldn’t be a Parisian food tour without a glass of wine! This little cave à vin (wine store) has a great selection of French wines (for all budgets). Isabelle, the owner, who just celebrated Les Petits Domaine’s third anniversary knows all about the wines in her boutique as she carefully selects wines from small winegrowers and visits vineyards regularly in order to find only the best. I tried a nice glass of white wine from Provence that was dry (I can’t stand sweet wines) but with a lovely floral undertone. This is a great place to pick up a bottle for a picnic at Champs de Mars (literally only 200 meters away) or to participate in a wine tasting session (offered on Saturdays).les petits domaines_paris_foodtripA filled waffle from Méert: So this was one of the stops that I was already familiar with, but it’s hard not to have heard of this famous chocolate, sweets and pastry house known for its waffles. The beginnings of Méert go back to 1677 in Lille but their thin waffles, filled with a generous amount of vanilla cream frosting are still famous today. A little too sweet for my liking but I brought my boyfriend along, who loves filled waffles, and let him enjoy one of his favorite treats. meert_paris_foodtrip.jpgChocolate sampling at Ara chocolat: One of the most interesting stops on my journey was this tiny chocolate shop that sells authentic organic chocolate. The owners are very knowledgeable (I was given a detailed explanation of the entire chocolate making process) and they make their chocolate bars on the premises using cocoa beans from various places such as Costa-Rica, Peru and Belize. You can smell the chocolate as soon as you walk through the door and it was pretty fun getting to try the various chocolates, all of which had distinct flavors. ara chocolat_paris_foodtripThree samples of iced tea from Kodama. I love tea (I have to say I drink much more tea than I do coffee) so this little tea shop definitely won me over. The two owners create their own mixtures of teas with various fruits and spices and as it was a hot day I was offered three samples of iced teas. My favorite was “poids plume”, an organic mix of Sencha green tea, basil and citrus fruits. No sugar is added and no sugar is needed. Their iced teas are perfectly balanced and so incredibly refreshing on a hot day.kodoma_paris_foodtrip3 Mini cookies from Jean Hwang Carrant: Jean is an American expat who started her cookie shop when she couldn’t find any good cookies in Paris. Her cookies are delicious and very creative, with flavors including matcha with white chocolate, black sesame, and nutella. I have to say that she is also one of the friendliest people that I met on the food tour and she was kind enough to give me 5 mini cookies (thank you Jean :)) instead of 3! jean hwang carrant_paris_foodtripA mojito macaron from Les Artizans: After seeing the usual suspects I opted for the most original macaron on the menu with its lime and mint flavor giving it the taste of a mojito. In addition to their macarons they also have a beautiful selection of French pastries and are equally a bistro serving carefully prepared French dishes. A great place for lunch!artizan_paris_foodtripA little pot of jam from La chambre aux confitures: I chose their raspberry champagne jam after browsing through their huge selection of jams and sampling quite a few. It was very hard to choose as they have all the classics (i.e. strawberry, apricot, and fig) in addition to more creative concoctions such as a mix of banana, rhubarb and passion fruit. While they have several locations in Paris (and in other French cities), their jams, chutneys and honeys are all made in France and therefore make great gifts.la chambre aux confituresA mini chocolate cake from l’Épicerie Fine Rive Gauche: This little specialty food store can be found just off of rue Cler and is packed with various foodie treats such as sardines, patés, mustards… AND fondant baulois: a chocolate fondant cake originally from La Baule (a posh coastal town near Nantes). There was only the gluten-free version left (made with rice flour) but this compact and moist chocolate cake was delightful and a great way to end my food tour!épicerie fine rive gauche_paris_foodtrip.jpg What’s best about the Food Passport (apart from all the free food)? You get to discover some amazing foodie spots in the city while learning some fun foodie trivia (i.e. how the éclair got its name) and meeting the passionate people that sell the delicious food you are eating. Apart from two or three places that I was already familiar with, the rest were great discoveries. I also hope to visit the places that were equally listed in the passport but that I didn’t get to (it’s nothing personal, it was just so hard to pick only 12).

It is, without doubt, the perfect gift for a foodie like myself. It is also a unique way to take a tour of the city. So, if you (or a friend) are thinking of coming to Paris (or Lyon) anytime soon, make sure to order your very own Food Passport!

Happy eating! 🙂

For more information, or to order a Food Trip Food Passport for Paris or Lyon, check out the Food Trip website: https://www.le-food-trip.com/en/

 

 


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The Sunshine Blogger Award

sunshine_blogger_award

I admit that I am not super comfortable sharing too much personal information on my blog (I’m working on this), but when Paulie from Paulie Loves Food (you can read Paulie’s nomination post here) was sweet enough to nominate me for a Sunshine Blogger Award, I was more than happy to answer her list of questions! With the clouds back in Paris, the thought of spreading a little sunshine to others definitely appealed to me!

Thanks again to Paulie for the nomination and here are my answers to her questions:

1. What do you like most about blogging?

I think it has to be the act of writing freely!  My full time job at the moment is a medical writer and I do freelance writing projects too, but that type of writing is rather controlled and I usually have to follow certain guidelines or write about a certain topic. My blog gives me an outlet to write what I feel like writing about, and although I don’t blog that regularly at the moment and it’s more of a hobby, I really hope to have more time to develop my blog in the near future. I also love sharing my experiences and discoveries of the city I love with anyone that is interested!

2. One song you’ll never stop listing to?

Oh wow, there are way too many! But if I had to pick one I think it would be Lauryn Hill: Doo Wop (That Thing), from the album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (IMO, one of the best albums of all time). It was the first CD I ever bought and I’ve been listening to it ever since (and know the lyrics by heart)!

3. What things are you most grateful for in your life?

The people I love and my health. I’m really lucky to have some amazing people in my life that make me smile when I’m sad and are silly like me. Never take your loved ones or your health for granted! Oh and MUSIC – that feeling of pure joy when you are dancing and singing to a song that touches your soul! And of course, I’m super grateful for each day that I get to spend in Paris!

4. What’s the story behind your blog’s name?

I like to think that anyone who lives and feels alive in Paris can be considered a Parisian (even if they weren’t born here). I wanted my blog to share the cool and relatively unknown places of Paris from a local’s perspective. Almost as if I was writing home to my readers as their own personal “Parisian” of sorts and signing off as “From Your Parisian”. I guess it just sounded right to me.

5. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve eaten?

Hmmm…this really depends on your definition of weird. I’ve eaten chicken feet and jelly fish but they’re pretty normal menu items if you’re a fan of dim sum. My first time eating snails and frog legs here in France was weird to me, but they were surprisingly good. Some British food could be considered pretty weird too, like bread sauce (a must at our family Christmas dinners), spotted dick (is there any way to make a dessert sound less appetizing?) or toad in the hole!

6. Worst travel experience ever?

It would probably involve some form of motion sickness. I haven’t had any really bad travel experiences but I’ve felt pretty sick during certain long car rides or on a bumpy high-speed ferry between two Greek islands where I thought I was going to die! Luckily, arriving at the destination always makes up for any nausea encountered along the way.

7. Where are you from, and what is the most common stereotype or misconception about your home town/state/country?

I’m from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada! ❤ Lots of people assume that the entire country of Canada is a land of snow and igloos, so when I complain about the cold they reply with a “YOU’RE cold? But you’re Canadian! You should be used to it!” Umm….NOPE! Vancouver is a city located on the Pacific West coast close to the U.S. border and while we get A LOT of rain, we rarely get any snow or temperatures much below zero degrees (Okay, I know what you’re thinking Vancouverites, but this year was an exception)! We have beaches, mountains and amazing Asian cuisine! It really is different from any other city in Canada.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

8. What is one important lesson you’ve learned in your travels?

To get off the beaten path! Don’t follow everything mentioned in the guide books or visit only the touristy spots, try to meet a local and listen to their recommendations (or better yet, have a local as your own personal tour guide). In the Greek islands for example, you can often find your own private beach by avoiding the well known beaches with lots of facilities and snack bars. This also applies to restaurants: don’t worry if you don’t speak the language, if you see locals eating there, it’s probably a good sign!

9. Most unique travel destination you’ve visited?

To be honest I haven’t been to many exotic destinations due to lack of finances (blame it on the rent in Paris combined with my addiction to trying new bars/restaurants)!  I have, however, been lucky enough to visit Greece several times and check out some wonderful, relatively unknown islands. I think the most unique island that I’ve been to was Ikaria (named after Icarus, for you Greek mythology buffs)!  It is a beautiful, wild, mountainous and serene island that makes you feel like you have been transported to another time. The old people are in incredibly good shape and have a notoriously long life expectancy. They take naps in the afternoon and are awake and eating at around 2 a.m. at night! People here are super friendly, although there aren’t many who speak English. The island’s tourists are mainly Greek, the villages are pretty, there are goats roaming free, and the food is amazing!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

10. What is/are your travel goal(s) for 2017?

So far I have a visit planned to Canada in April for a friend’s wedding, then a weekend in Scotland to visit family. My goals for 2017 would be a trip to Portugal or another Greek island this summer, if I can afford it! My larger travel goals, although I don’t think they’ll be in 2017 would be to travel to new places outside of Europe: Hong Kong, Japan and Thailand are definitely travel goals of mine, as is Mauritius (as I have some potential local tour guides there ;))!

11. How do you like your coffee?

I’ll be honest: I’m more of a tea drinker, but when I do drink coffee I love a good flat white or an espresso!

Info about the Sunshine Blogger Award

This nomination is from bloggers to bloggers. The award is given to those who inspire and bring sunshine into the lives of their readers and fellow bloggers.

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Rules

  1. Thank the person that nominated you and post a link to their blog on your blog
  2. Answer the 11 questions from the person that nominated you
  3. Nominate some other bloggers for this award and give them 11 questions to answer
  4. Notify the bloggers you have nominated.
  5. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo

I nominate the following bloggers for this award:

Mandy from How to Do Some Good

Linda from Living the Spanish Life

Mindi from Mmmindilicious

If you ladies are up for continuing the spread of sunshine, then here are my list of 11 questions:

  1. How would you describe your blog to someone who doesn’t know it?
  2. If you were offered an all expenses paid vacation to one destination in the world, where would it be and what would you do there?
  3. Do you have a song that instantly makes you happy?
  4. How has blogging changed your life?
  5. Is there a place where you would love to live for a year?
  6. How do you overcome your fears?
  7. What is your favorite travel-related memory?
  8. What food could you not live without?
  9. What is your top foodie experience of all time?
  10. What things are you most grateful for in your life?
  11. What is your personal motto?

Have a great day everyone, it looks like the sun is trying to break through those clouds! 🙂

 


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Paris Coffee Shops: Café Pimpin

There is an endless list of things that excite me in Paris, with the opening of a new eatery in my neighborhood being high up on that list! It’s been over a month now that I have been passing by Café Pimpin and watching its exterior slowly evolve into the adorable, white tiled facade with minty green awning that it is today. It finally opened last Wednesday so I decided to check it out with a friend on Saturday!cafe-pimpin_paris_interiorThe weather was pretty crap this weekend (rainy and cold) so the windows were completely steamed up, preventing onlookers from seeing what was going on inside. As we entered we were greeted by soft music, the sound of a blender, juicer or coffee grinder (I honestly can’t tell the difference), and the buzz of people talking and eating. The space is white and bright with vases of freshly cut flowers, potted plants and cookbooks (including an Ottolenghi) dotted about and an exposed stone wall on one side that adds a nice rustic touch. Owned by two friends, Clémentine and Marie, Café Pimpin is visually appealing with a soft and feminine interior that instantly puts you at ease. It wasn’t long before one of the owners saw us, smiled and pointed to one of the tables against the wall.cafe-pimpin_paris_food-menuWe took a look at the menu and quickly decided on our game plan. We both ordered the juice of the day (apple, beetroot and various berries; 4.5€) along with an avocado toast (5€) and a toasted cheddar cheese and truffle ham sandwich (6€). The juice arrived first and the combination was tasty and refreshing, with what I think was a hint of ginger. Next came the avocado toast (cream cheese, crushed avocado, cilantro, alfalfa sprouts and black sesame seeds) and the truffle ham and cheddar toastie (think of a luxurious grilled cheese sandwich), served with a side salad. Everything was delicious!
cafe-pimpin_paris_avocado-toastcafe-pimpin_paris_truffle-ham-cheddar-toastieAll of the action takes place from behind a large counter at the back of the room and as we sat there, clients (and I’m assuming friends) entered to congratulate the ladies with a “bise” before sitting down and placing an order. At times, it became very busy and the staff appeared to be a little stressed, but for an opening Saturday that’s pretty understandable.cafe-pimpin_paris_coffee-and-treatsWe still had some room for dessert so we both ordered a coffee (I had a cappuccino; 4€) with a slice of lemon cake and a chocolate chip cookie (that was packed with gooey chunks of chocolate). The coffee is supplied by Parisian based roasters, Café Lomi, and goes perfectly with one of their freshly baked products displayed on the counter. Everything they serve here is made with ingredients that have clearly been chosen with care, which results in a menu of enticing and healthy choices.cafe-pimpin_paris_goldfishI really enjoyed my lunch at Café Pimpin and will definitely be back! The food and drinks are reasonably priced, when compared to other trendy coffee shops in Paris, and it’s just so close to my apartment that I won’t be able to stay away for too long. I’m particularly looking forward to sitting outside, when Spring arrives, on their picnic style tables. Oh, and in case you were wondering: Pimpin is the resident goldfish, who you will see happily swimming in his vase on the large wooden table inside. Welcome to the neighborhood Pimpin!cafe-pimpin_paris_exterior

Restaurant Details:

64 Rue Ramey

75018, Paris

+33 (0)1 46 06 97 25

Rating:

4 goldfish out of 5!

 


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Paris Restaurant Review: Canard & Champagne

The days are slowly getting shorter and colder here in Paris. On the positive side, this gives me the excuse to seek out restaurants serving warm and filling comfort food all over the city (it’s official: bikini body, bye bye)!Canard & Champagne is one of those restaurants, as it mixes deliciously prepared duck with champagne (a pretty awesome combo in my opinion) and is located in a beautiful covered passage (Passage des Panoramas) away from the cold. The exterior of the restaurant is truly gorgeous: its wooden facade carved with intricate designs gives you the impression that and you are in the presence of something from another era and very unique.canardchampagne_paris_exteriorThe decor inside is a mix of classy meets modern meets fun, as one of the walls is covered entirely with a huge black and white still from the movie Le Grand Restaurant, starring Louis de Funès (the much loved French actor). This wall matches perfectly with the geometric patterned tiled floor as well as the cute waiters, dressed in their white shirts and black bow ties, that glide effortlessly from one side of the room to the other as soon as you look in their direction (yes, they are very attentive). canardchampagne_paris_interiorAfter looking at the menu, our group of four all decided to take the 2 course meal with a glass of champagne for 32 Euros. If you want two glasses of bubbly the menu rises to 42 Euros, a little pricey, but as we all know its an expensive beverage (26 Euros without any drinks)! Next you have to select one of the two entrees: duck foie gras or duck terrine. Although I am not a fan of foie gras (*gasp*, I know! I’m a freak of nature here in France), I was pleasantly surprised by its rich and delicate taste and actually enjoyed this French delicacy, spread on top of a piece of crisp toast with a touch of apple chutney. canardchampagne_paris_menuThis light starter was followed by a perfectly cooked magret duck, pink in the middle and incredibly juicy. My knife cut into the tender duck breast like butter! Three sides are offered to accompany your duck: fries, seasonal vegetables or the seasonal purée…and here’s the best part: they are endless! So I started with a sweet potato purée, followed by a bowl of fries and finished off with a side of carrots, cauliflower and zucchini (to be healthy, of course). As the sides are served in rather small bowls, and therefore equally small portions, we had fun calling the waiters over to fetch us another helping throughout dinner! In case you’re wondering, one of my friends tried the confit duck and said that it was equally tasty.canardchampagne_paris_magret-duckUnfortunately, after overdosing on all of the side dishes, we didn’t have any room for dessert but the choices looked pretty tempting (such as profiteroles drizzled in chocolate or a dreamy lemon tart). I suppose I should talk about the champagne we had, which was also very good, and made for the restaurant by JM Séléque. I don’t know much about champagne but it was fruity and refreshing, with just enough bubbles to make me happy! I should also quickly mention the bathrooms (no…I’m not weird) that I found to be rather quirky; their walls were chalkboards covered in chalk-written messages and drawings of ducks. A little more tasteful then the usual words you read scribbled on public bathroom stalls! I left a little drawing of my own, washed my hands, then went back upstairs to join my friends who were paying the bill.canardchampagne_paris_passage-de-panoramasWhat more can I say? This place was a hit! Maybe not the best choice for vegetarians, but if you have friends visiting from out of town then this elegant but relaxed restaurant in Passage des Panoramas (thought to be the oldest covered passage in Paris) is sure to please. They also serve a yummy looking brunch on weekends, and Parisians: they deliver! 😉

Restaurant Details:

57 Passage des Panoramas

75002, Paris

+33 (0)9 81 83 95 69

http://frenchparadox.paris/fr/

Rating:

4 hot ducks out of 5!

 

 


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Fast Food, Fast Review: James Bun

So…the holidays are officially over! I was in Greece (which I will try to write about soon), and I must admit that it has been hard getting back into the rhythm of work and city life after lying on tranquil and gorgeous beaches for 2 weeks. One of the things that got me through these past few weeks at work has been thinking about what I’ll eat for lunch, so I thought I’d share with you a little eatery I recently discovered called James Bun, perfect for a tasty, quick lunch and open 7 days a week!James bun_Paris_interiorWalking into this restaurant, located right by Place de Clichy, you are greeted by the most lovely smell coming out of the kitchen! The cooks are all dressed in brightly colored patterned shirts and you can watch them expertly toss ingredients in large woks from where you are seated. The walls are covered in shelves filled with cups, sauces, and Asian food products, giving you the feeling of being far away from the European continent. James bun_Paris_MenuOn the menu are typical Vietnamese dishes, but with a French touch: pho, bo bun and bahn mi! My friend and I decided to go for one of their bahn mi (Vietnamese sandwiches that I love, but have not yet tried in Paris), as I wasn’t in the mood for noodles that day. We ordered one chicken (8.50 Euros) and one beef (9.50 Euros) bahn mi, so that we could try a bit of both! We also ordered a James-T each, an iced green tea with lime, ginger and fresh mint (4 Euros).James bun_paris_iced teaSoon we had two tall glasses of iced tea placed on the metal table in front of us, and I immediately fell in love with the floral paper straws! Seriously, how cute are they? The tea was very refreshing and perfectly sweetened, and soon after the sandwiches arrived. The French baguettes were crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, the organic shredded carrots and sliced cucumbers gave a nice crunch, and the beef and chicken were exploding with fragrant flavors and cooked perfectly. I also really appreciated the large bunch of cilantro which I either stuffed into my sandwich or devoured on the spot. For those of you who don’t like cilantro (like my sister), it’s nice that it comes on the side, allowing you to quickly pass it on to someone who loves it (like me)! I should mention that there is also a veggie bahn mi, made with tofu, mushrooms and edamame. They have really thought of everyone when preparing the menu! James bun_paris_chicken bahn miJames bun_paris_beef bahn miAlthough I didn’t get a chance to try their pho or their bo buns this time, I did see a bowl or two on my way out and I can say that the portions are generous and that they look equally delicious. They have special nem rolls too, filled with organic quinoa, edamame, cilantro and “vache qui rit” (a spreadable cream cheese). Definitely need to try some of those next time!James bun_paris_tableJames bun_paris_exteriorJames Bun is open for lunch and dinner and, if that wasn’t enough, they even deliver via http://www.deliveroo.fr. The young and vibrant team is sure to impress you with their energy and good service! So make sure to check out this fun, creative and ecologically friendly restaurant as soon as possible. It is sure to put you and your tummy in a good mood!

Restaurant Details: 

10, bd des Batignolles
Paris, 75017
+33 (0)1 43 87 90 13
Rating:
4.5 bunches of cilantro out of 5!