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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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 exhibits: Helena Almeida – Corpus

So before I start I’m going to be completely honest: I am not an art connoisseur, far from it, actually. I may live in Paris, where there are some of the most amazing art galleries and museums in the world, but I have not taken any courses in fine arts or art history. I enjoy wandering around a museum or checking out an exhibit from time to time but I do not know much about the various styles and techniques used by artists or what a canvas painted entirely blue could possibly symbolize (besides someone who wanted to test the color out or practice smooth brush strokes before painting their wall). I know what I like (and what touches me) and I know what I don’t, but that’s about it! I do, however, have huge respect for anyone who speaks and lives through their art. helena almeida_paris_exhibitionSo, here is my rather naive review of the Helena Almeida exhibition currently at the Jeu de Paume gallery. The exhibit is named Corpus, which either refers to the Portuguese artist’s body of work (spanning over almost 50 years) or the fact that her body is featured in almost all of her creations. I had seen the poster advertising this event for several weeks in the metro stations, but it wasn’t until last week when I was walking through the Tuileries Garden and my corpus told me that I had to go pee, that I decided to enter the gallery and check it out. Seriously, you can never find a public toilet in Paris when you need one!helena almeida_paris_exhibition 2
Surprisingly (because usually it is not the case), I was allowed to take photos, which will help me to briefly describe what I saw. Most of her work involves photos to which paint or another material is introduced, giving you the feeling that the image is coming to life and that Almeida herself is in a state of action. I loved her collection of work entitled Pinturas habitadas (inhabited paintings), that feature a splash or a layer of blue paint that can obscure her face, be handled and put in her pocket, or be inhaled like some sort of blue jelly. She comes to life in these photos with the blue paint being an extension of her feelings and her gestures.helena almeida_paris_exhibition 3There were other pieces that I found interesting too where she uses string made from horse hair in order for the line traced by her pen to become three-dimensional. Again, what she draws in the first image appears to become palpable to her touch in the next. helena almeida_paris_exhibition 4Another series of photos entitled ouve-me (“hear me” in English) depict the artist’s mouth with the words drawn across her lips. It is rather powerful to see the progression of the photos where the lips seem sealed shut in the majority of the shots and then a few where the mouth is open and we can imagine her screaming through the frame, trying to speak to us…so that we hear her message. The performance art video by the same name didn’t touch me as much, as it looked like someone trapped and trying to disentangle themselves from a bed sheet…but I have to admit that I don’t often understand performance art films. A second film, in which the name gives you no clue of what it represents (Sem titulo or no title…geez, thanks), films Almeida tying her right leg to the left leg of a man (her husband) with some sort of wire and then watching them painfully drag their feet as they walk together across her studio floor, to the wall and back, for what seems like an eternity. I kept waiting for something to happen but eventually lost interest and skipped off to the other side of the room. I hope there wasn’t some crazy twist at the end that I missed! In any case, I had a rather cynical interpretation of what she might be trying to say about a long-term relationships, but maybe the message was completely lost on me, once again.helena almeida_paris_exhibition 6My favorite work of Helena’s (we’re on a first name basis now, I guess) was a beautiful black and white photo of herself with her back to the camera, one of her black pumps laying on its side, and the sole of her foot painted with a thick brush stroke of red paint. It made me think of a fashion shot showcasing a pair of gorgeous Christian Louboutins and the movement captured in the photo is truly beautiful.helena almeida_paris_exhibition 5So there you have it: Corpus is a collection that is sure to delight, disturb, confuse and surprise as various mediums collide in some very expressive art. The exhibit runs until May 22nd, 2016, so I definitely recommend checking it out and then wandering around the Jardin des Tuileries, where you can take your own series of pretty pictures!jeu de paume_paris_view1

Details:

Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume

1 Place de la Concorde

75008 Paris

+33 (0)1 47 03 12 50

http://www.jeudepaume.org/

Closed Monday


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Paris Shopping: My top 5 shops in Montmartre when in need of that perfect gift!

It is only 3 days away from Christmas, and although I’m sure you aren’t all procrastinators like me, I thought it would be a good time to give you a short list of my favorite places to get last minute gifts in the Montmartre area of the 18th arrondissement of Paris. These places are mainly small boutiques (no big brand name stores) that sell jewelry, clothes, gifts and handbags that are actually made or created in Paris or in France…which is what I’m looking for when I send a gift to a friend overseas. The last thing I want to get them is something that they could have bought at their local H&M. So here are my top 5 go-to places, when in need of a special gift:

Make My D…make my D_Paris_exteriorMake my D… or as I like to call it, Make my Day, is a store full of carefully selected clothing and accessories by Nathalie Bui, that’s right, Barbara Bui’s sister. She has a talent for finding the most amazing items and her store always gives me the feeling that I am entering my (imaginary) fashionable friend’s walk-in closet. While she stocks Dutch and other European brands, you are sure to equally find Parisian based brands like Fine collection (cozy sweaters and other clothing) and My Boobs Buddy (cheeky T-shirts supporting breast cancer research).

What do I buy here? : Wallets, clutches and handbags by the Parisian brand Shine Blossom. They are made with soft leather in a variety of colors and styles. I love the details and the bright interior lining and have bought several items from this brand for friends and family! My black bag is pictured at the end of this post!

Contact Details:

7 rue la Vieuville

75018 Paris

+33 (0)1 44 92 82 98

La Boutique EtoiléeThis cute little boutique is located in the quiet rue Durantin and is great if you’re looking for a girly, sparkly gift for your best friend or sister. It is kind of like going to a local designer craft fair as all the items sold here are made by French (mainly Parisian) designers. My favorite jewelry brands discovered here include Chouette Fille (beautiful bracelets made from pastel colored, metallic and sparkly pieces of leather) and Virgnie Mahé (Art Deco inspired brass and enamel earrings that really stand out and give you a quirky, vintage look).

What do I buy here? Pretty gold or silver plated earrings by Hélèn Bussi that give you a classy bohemian look (a pair I bought is equally pictured below).

Contact Details:

16 Rue Durantin, 75018 Paris

75018, Paris

+33 (0)9 81 05 87 43

Cosi Loticosi loti_paris_exteriorIf you’re looking for some great home décor items, then you can’t beat Cosi Loti. It is actually equidistant from Abbesses and Pigalle metro stations and you are always greeted with a smile from the moment you enter the door. From framed inspirational quotes to scented candles to Japanese-style ceramic bowls and cups, you are sure to find inspiration for that special gift or for your apartment. They also have some jewelry and handbags for sale at the entrance of the store.

What do I buy here?:  Tea towels, aprons and cushions featuring cute patterns, graphic prints, and phrases such as “oh la la”, made by La Cerise sur le Gâteau. Perfect light gifts to send in the mail!cosi loti_paris_interiorContact Details:

21 rue Houdon

75018, Paris

+33 (0)1 44 92 90 39

Corpus ChristiCorpus Christi_Paris_exteriorCorpus Christi is the place to go for bobo/rock-inspired jewelry created and made in Paris. Although there is another boutique in the Marais, I usually shop at this location. I love the simplicity of their pieces that stand out thanks to the various religious emblems and influences from nature chosen. Baroque crosses, flowered skulls, totem polls, brass knuckles, feathers, daggers and other medieval medals are just a few of the choices of pendants you can have on a simple silver or gold chain. The boutique itself uses natural elements like fur, moss covered stones, plants and animal skulls to lighten the sometimes dark and medieval feel of some of their creations. Very popular with trendy tattooed Parisians.

What do I buy here?: Dangling gold bow and arrow earrings or a silver ring that looks like a French crown with delicate engravings and Fleur de Lys ends….too many choices to list!Corpus Christi_Paris_jewelryContact Details:

6 rue Ravignan

75018 Paris

+33 (0)1 42 57 77 77

PaperdollsPaperdolls_Paris_exterior1This concept store is so unique that it is worth a visit just to admire the decor, but if you look closer you will be equally impressed by the work of the various independent designers (mostly French) found inside. Clothing and accessories are presented in this universe, which is divided into sections corresponding to the various rooms (e.g. dressing room, kitchen) of an apartment. The bathroom features an old bathtub reconverted into a sofa, vintage taps and mirrors nailed to the wall, changing rooms hidden by shower curtains and jewelry displayed over two quaint dressing tables. The office has pretty rings laid out on a desk with an antique typewriter nearby. Floral wallpaper, porcelain plates and many other girly touches make Paperdolls a real pleasure to visit.

What do I buy here?: Cute rings by Emmanuelle Biennassis, featuring cutouts of clouds, foxes, sparrows or hearts. Very playful and fun, perfect for your little niece!

Contact Details:

5, rue Houdon

75018 Paris

+33 (0)1.42.51.29.87

So there you go! Obviously there are tons of other stores I could add, but that will have to come in another post… as I have to get out and finish my Christmas shopping! :p Happy holidays everyone!Shopping_paris_montmartre