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 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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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