Archives for category: PARIS 2012

For the past year I’ve called Paris my home.  I’ve made friends, found my favorite markets, and favorite pastries.  I know the streets and I can —just— squeak by with the language.  I’ve gone to school and I’ve worked.  I’ve even found my favorite pizza place.

Home is such a complex idea, because it’s so much more than where we live.  I’ve loved coming home to my little apartment in the Marais, and yet, all year I’ve felt a little pang of something missing.  Elise and I would talk about this often and I think I’ve finally put my finger on it.  That something missing is home!  My home in Boston… and everyone and everything that comes with it.

So as I stuff my bags with my Paris belongings, while at the same time stuffing my face with croissants… I feel ready to say goodbye to living in beautiful Paris.  There’s no doubt I will miss the smell of bread baking, the impeccably dressed little French children, the old ladies riding bikes, and the men zooming down the street on their scooters while a cigarette dangles from their lips.  I think “c’est pas possible” and “voila” will become permanent additions to my vocabulary.  Paris will always be close to my heart.

So to celebrate this amazing year, I’ve made a little video.  Please sing along with me as I bid adieu to this lovely city…

Au revoir, Paris!

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We all know that Santa Claus lives in the North Pole.  But his spirit is strong in Strasbourg!  Known as the Capital of Christmas, Strasbourg celebrates the holidays like no place I’ve ever visited before.

I travelled to the gingerbread-scented city this week with my friend Marion…

She was invited to participate in a cooking competition for bloggers at the lovely Bistrot et Chocolat (http://www.bistrotetchocolat.net/)…

Before the competition we had time to stroll the streets and visit the markets… Read the rest of this entry »

Ever since I graduated from Ferrandi I’ve been exposed to all kinds of pastry experiences here in Paris:  from the grand Plaza Athenee to the charming Tartes Kluger.  And during this time, I’ve been able to examine French pastry culture and to think about what motivates me.

Did you know that, in 2010, the “gastronomic meal of the French” was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list?  French chefs, academics and politicians spent two years lobbying for the honor.  To me, this is concrete proof that if you are born in France you have an ingrained passion for and appreciation of great cuisine.

Pear Belle Helene at Berthillon

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Chocolate covered praline pops

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, then you know that I’ve written about chocolat more than once. And that’s because in Paris, chocolate is serious business.

Today Leilani and I went to the Salon du Chocolat, a convention dedicated entirely to chocolate. The fountains were flowing, the samples were bitter, the truffles were filled with champagne and the mousse from Chapon (http://www.chocolat-chapon.com/) was unbelievable.

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Amelie

Sabrina

Being an American woman in Paris–a vision that is purely romantic–poses real challenges in my everyday life.  I’m headstrong and I think I’m different than lot of French women.  At work they say I am mystique and I think it’s because they’ve never met someone like me before: someone who speaks her mind freely, who doesn’t always take into account politesse.

In the U.S. we have a tendency to idolize everything the French do:  the way they eat, the way they dress, the way they raise their children…  In recent years, titles like “French Women Don’t Get Fat” and “Bringing Up Bebe” have shot up bestseller lists as we try to understand what makes the French “better than us”… at everything!

While I wholeheartedly agree that the French do a lot of things well. I think we also need to take a step back and recognize that we’re selling ourselves short.  Americans have a lot to offer too.

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Erin and Ali popping bubbles at the Archives Nationales

Something magical happens every October in Paris: Nuit Blanche (http://nuitblanche.paris.fr/en).  It’s an event where cultural institutions stay open all night-long and host different kinds of art installations.  What made this night especially magical for me was that Erin and Ali arrived in Paris just in time to wander the streets and experience everything that Nuit Blanche had to offer.

We entered a swarm of bubbles at the National Archives.  A DJ playing for the entire city at the Pompideau Centre.

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So… I was thinking…  Actually, I’m always thinking.  My good friend Maggie calls it “being on the wheel.”  Sometimes my thinking is more like daydreaming.  I’m always making up stories in my head.  Other times it’s more about worrying.  Especially these days, I worry a lot.  What will I do when my time in Paris is over?  Do I even want it to end?  Where will I live?  Where will I work?  How will I survive without my daily baguette?

When I got home this evening I saw my friend, Brittany’s, latest blog post titled “I believe” (http://withbutterandlove.blogspot.fr/2012/10/i-believe.html#comment-form).  In it, she lists all the things she’s sure of, all of the things she believes.  I thought I’d take a page from Brittany’s blog and list all of  the things I believe in. Because, I think, when I see these things written down it will snap me back into the moment and put my wild brain to rest.

I believe...

…in taking risks.  Every risk I’ve taken has been worth it.

…in laughter.  Even when days are tough, a good laugh can rescue the worst mood.

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Ever since I moved to Paris, friends inevitably pose the question: “Do you feel pressure to look perfect every day when you walk out the door?”  Lucky for me , my answer is “no.”  I’ve come to accept my American-ness.  In fact, my Boston style seems to fit in here just fine.  Although Parisian women do look beautiful everyday- I think it’s because they rely on classic staples:  great pants, ballet flats, a nice shirt and a scarf.  They keep it simple- which, in itself, is great fashion advice.

However, I recently had a good excuse to do a little shopping:  my (very stylish) brother’s wedding…

Shopping excursion #1: Les Grands Magasins.  One of Paris’ shopping meccas is on Blvd Haussman.  Here you’ll find Galeries Lafayette (http://www.galerieslafayette.com/) and Printemps (http://departmentstoreparis.printemps.com/).  These stores carry many of the brands that you’ll find in Paris.  I had been eyeing the clean lines and 60s vibe of Tara Jarmon (http://www.tarajarmon.com/).  And after trying on a few options I settled on this simple and pretty dress…

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