Saturday, May 1, 2010

Where to shop for unnecessary desirables #3

Over the past few years, small French brands have made a killing. The clothes are simple, with a twist, always fashionable. Here are two of my favourites. They have stores all over the city (including a large concentration in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th arrondissements), so go ahead, explore and enjoy!

BRAND: Zadig & Voltaire
Because you used to think skulls and butterfly wings didn't look right on clothes, but now you know better. Because you can finally be totally "now" and comfortable at the same time. Because it's an opportunity to brush up on your French literature. Because you'll love it more each time you go back. Because (and don't tell too many people), if you're wallet's a bit thin these days, there's a stock store tucked away in a small street in the Marais. Happy hunting.

BRAND: Comptoir des Cotonniers
Because they claim both mothers and daughters can wear their clothes, which makes them perfect for us 30-somethings. Because their canine mascot (Leon) is adorable. Because they manage to make girly clothes look cool. Because everything fits incredibly well, even if you're not a 6ft, size 0 model.

Where to dine #4

RESTAURANT: Le Pavillon Elysée Lenôtre
Because it's on the Champs Elysées, but in the middle of a garden, so priceless. Because the terrace lets you soak up the sun. Because the food is just the right kind of slightly pretentious but affordable French that goes so well with that new dress you bought. Because you might be sitting next to a celebrity (a French one, such as Michel Drucker, not a massive superstar, but still).

Pavillon Elysée Lenôtre
10 avenue des Champs Elysées, Paris 8ème
metro: Champs Elysées Clémenceau, Franklin Roosevelt
01 42 65 85 10

Because there's one in Montmartre (the original) and now one in the Marais. Because everybody else has already been there. Because everything is delicious and healthy. Because once you're done with lunch, you can also buy all your organic veggies and Rooibos tea. Because it's a sign that good things happen when the British and the French make not war but love, and cafés.
Rose Bakery
46 rue des Martyrs, Paris 9ème or 30 rue Debelleyme, Paris 3ème
metro: Pigalle or Filles du Calvaire
01 42 82 12 80 or 01 44 78 08 97‎
RESTAURANT: Les Bouquinistes
Because it's one of the "affordable" Guy Savoy restaurants, and the food tastes almost as good at the much more expensive mother shop (although slightly less surprising). Because ordering the 75€ tasting menu means embarking on a 3-hour long pleasure cruise for the palate. Because it is everything that fine French cuisine is about. Because if you take a date here, you're guaranteed to score.
Les Bouquinistes
53 quai des Grands Augustins, Paris 6ème
metro: Saint Michel
01 43 25 45 94

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Where to check out some art #1

MUSEUM: La Pinacothèque
Now showing Edvard Munch, l'Anti-Cri
Because the Pinacothèque is famous for its very unique approach to tried and tested masters. Because the Munch exhibit is fascinating. Because The Scream is not in it and so you have to focus on all the other stuff. Because you'll finally be able to have an opinion on Munch (Res loves him now). Because you can download the exhibit guide as an App. Because the gift shop is fun.

La Pinacothèque
28 place de la Madeleine, Paris 8ème
metro: Madeleine
Edvard Munch expo on until July 18

MUSEUM: Jacquemart André
Now showing Du greco à Dali, collection de Perez Simon
Because it's got Frick Collection thing going, as in it's the house of art collectors (husband and wife team) and, like the Frick Collection, the house is probably the best part. Because the current expo is very original, and gives you a rapid but educational view into Hispanic painting from the 15th century to the 20th. Because it too, has an App. Because the salads (and the cakes) at the museum café are to die for.
Musée Jacquemart André
158 boulevard Haussman, Paris 8ème
metro: Miromesnil
Du Greco à Dali expo on until August 1

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Where to set up your laptop #1

Maybe you're writing a novel (and what better place to be doing that than Paris?) Maybe you're playing hookie from work. Maybe you just like to stay connected. Whatever the reason, here are a few of my favourite free wifi places around town.

CAFE: Au Carillon
Because writing a novel in Montmartre is so much of a cliché it's actually cool. Because the walls are covered with lyrics and autographs of rock bands (including Phoenix, which is actually French. Mais oui.) Because it's often more full of locals than tourists (no mean feat in this neighbourhood). Because there are plugs everywhere for your computer. Because service is nonchalant, in a really good way.

Au Carillon
1 rue des Abbesses, Paris 18ème
metro: Abbesses, Pigalle

CAFE: Delyan
Because it feels like a French version of an English tea room. Because all the tables and chairs are different and the walls are green. Because there are couches upstairs. Because the "Formule tea time" is yummy and only 7 euros for a drink and a home-made cake. Because they have Rooibos tea (my fave, and very hard to find in Paris). Because people tend to stay here for hours and no one ever tries to make them leave. Because you're next to the Tour Saint Jacques which is one of the most overlooked treasures of Paris.
8 rue Saint Martin, Paris 4ème
metro: Chatelêt, Hotel de Ville
CAFE: Café Livres
Because there are books everywhere. Everywhere. And you can read them if you like if you're tired of trying to write one. Because the owner is likely to start chatting to you when you get writer's block. As is the guy who delivers the bread three times a day. Because brunch is lovely and doesn't make you feel like you'll never be able to eat again. Because it too is next to the Tour Saint Jacques.
Café Livres
10 rue Saint Martin, Paris 4ème
metro: Chatelêt, Hotel de Ville
CAFE: Pain Quotidien
Because even though it's a chain (and we don't like chains here at Res Ipsa's Paris), the Montorgueil branch just has that little something special during weekdays that makes it a perfect spot to while away the afternoon hours. Because the salads are delicious. Because the waitresses go out of their way to find you somewhere to plug in the laptop. Because you can get a big wooden table to yourself to spread your papers out on. Because it's on the rue Montorgueil and there are always interesting people to chat with (or eavesdrop on) there.
Pain Quotidien
2 rue des Petits Carreaux, Paris 2ème
metro: Sentier, Etienne Marcel

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Where to have something sweet #1

I know, I know, I've been terrible at updating this encyclopedia of all the things I love in Paris. In order to beg your forgiveness, I humbly give you today's favourite spots for the sweet tooth...

CAFE: Le Loir dans la Théière
Because the déco is very grungey student chic and therefore très Marais. Because Alice in Wonderland is very hip right now (thanks Mia and Johnny). Because the lemon meringue pie is... well... you really just have to see it... and taste it... you'll thank me.

Le Loir dans la Théière
3 rue des Rosiers, Paris 4ème
metro: St Paul

CAFE: Pozzetto
Because sometimes, even when you're in Paris, you're in the mood for Italy (well, just make sure that doesn't happen too often or we'll have to have a bit of a talk...). Because when that happens, a gelato is just the thing. And because this place has some seriously yummy gelato, served up by actual Italians (and not the stereotype, for once). The coffee's pretty good there too. And they do take-away icecream...
39 rue du Roi de Sicile, Paris 4ème
metro: St Paul, Hotel de Ville

Monday, November 23, 2009

Where to dine #3

Because the 20-odd spots in this tiny, cozy treasure chest of a restaurant are some of the most sought-after in Paris. Because the menu changes every day so you can keep going back. Because if there are two of you, you can order everything on it. And you should. Because even if you're an unemployed, struggling author, you can still afford it.

5 rue du Nil, Paris 2ème
metro: Sentier

RESTAURANT: Café Charlot
Because it is one of the many new spots in this area that will give you the sudden feeling of being transported to New York's LES, but with great French food (for a similar ambiance, see Drôle d'endroit pour une rencontre on the Rue Montorgueil). Because it's simple, friendly, and full of fun locals who come back, again and again. Because you'll never want to leave and no one will make you.
Café Charlot
38 rue de Bretagne, Paris 3ème
metro: Filles du Calvaire

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Where to dine #2

RESTAURANT: Les Gars dans la Cuisine
Because the deco is 70s kitsch meets 00s gay über-cool. Because the dishes are classic with a trendy twist. Because the prices are ridiculously low and the ingredients mouth-wateringly fresh.
Les Gars dans la Cuisine
72 rue Vieille du Temple, Paris 3ème
metro: Rambuteau, Filles du Calvaire
CREPERIE: Breizh Café
Because they're the best crêpes in Paris. Because this place does both traditional and not-quite-traditional-but-you-wonder-why-no-one-thought-to-put-those-things-together-on-a-crêpe-before. Because the smallest eater I know finished her main course AND her dessert when we went there. It's that good. (PS: I recommend you book in advance!)

Breizh Café
109 rue Vieille du Temple, Paris 3ème
metro: St Sébastien Froissard


RESTAURANT / BAR: Au Rocher de Cancale
Because downstairs it's full of pretty young things, loud music and strange art on the walls. Because upstairs it's actually quiet enough to notice the place is 150 years old. Because it's fun to have fusion food in an 1850s setting.
Update: And because it was apparently a favourite of Paris' first restaurant critic, Grimod, in his 1805 Almanach: see here.

Au Rocher de Cancale
78 rue Montorgueil, Paris 2ème
metro: Etienne Marcel

Because it's a brothel. Because now you're just dying to check whether or not I'm kidding. Because they have macaroni & cheese and one of the best restaurant terraces in Paris. (Oh, and the hotel looks pretty nice too, though I haven't tried it myself).

Hôtel Amour
8 rue Navarin, Paris 9ème
metro: Saint-Georges, Pigalle