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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… à Tartes Kluger!  For the past two weeks I’ve been learning the ropes at the lovely Tartes Kluger.  I want to welcome you as warmly as they’ve welcomed me.

Catherine Kluger, a former lawyer, opened her shop in 2009 to rave reviews.  After all, who doesn’t love a good tarte?

Every day I walk through the winding streets of the Marais to work with Mikael and Hotman (NB:  yes, this is his real name.)  And every day, they both find patient ways to explain to me how their recipes work. Read the rest of this entry »

Even if you don’t really speak French, one word you’ll get to know very quickly during the month of August in Paris is fermé.    As the temperatures creep up, everyone leaves town.  So I decided to do the same.

My good friend Alissa just moved to Toulouse for a French adventure and, more importantly, to start her post-doc at the university.  Toulouse is about 5 hours south of Paris and it’s known as “the pink city” for all of its brick architecture…

It’s a charming city, but we noticed that there were also a lot of fermé signs there.  So we decided to take a little road trip to Aix En Provence.  Along the way we stopped in the ancient city of Carcassonne.

If you’ve ever imagined life as a knight, a princess, or if you’re simply a fan of medieval history then you must plan a visit to this magnificent city on a hill that dates back to the 5th century.

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I knew that moving to Paris would post certain challenges: speaking a new language, assimilating into a new culture, etc.  But one thing I didn’t anticipate, until I landed on French soil, was that I would have to find all new people to keep me well-coiffed.

When I began my search on the internet, I was very scared.  I was reading lots of disastrous stories.  So for the next “blonde” who moves to Paris I thought I’d share with you my stylist discoveries along with a few other of my secrets de beauté: Read the rest of this entry »