Forest Collins takes cocktails seriously … but always with a twist. This American expat in Paris, known as 52 Martinis, sets off each Wednesday evening to a new destination in the French capital in search of the perfect cocktail, often with some of her blog’s followers, and then writes about it. Other nights, she’s learning the art of the cocktail and sharing it all with her readers.
Still, Forest knows that there’s more to Paris than her delicious quest, and revels in her life in this European city. So we’re thrilled that she’s shared some of her Paris favorites with ParisienSalon.
The backside of Montmartre and the area just beside it along rue de Clignacourt. Just steps from the perpetually touristy Sacré Coeur, it has a very different – more local – feel. The shops, restaurants, bars and cafes are colorful and varied and it’s an interesting detour from the typical postcard Paris stops.
I’m a fickle diner, so my favorite French changes regularly depending on my mood, the season and the company. But at the moment I’m loving Chateaubriand for the tasting menu with the wine pairing.
I’m a huge fan of Lebanese food. If I don’t feel like heading into the Marais, I’ll stick closer to home with Mont Libon near Batignolles. Although there’s a nicer sit down restaurant, I usually get mine to go. And, their baklava is some of the best I’ve found in Paris that reminds you that it doesn’t have to be a sickly sweet, goopy, sloppy mess.
I like to squeeze up to the counter at Aki (11 Rue Sainte-Anne, 1st arrondissement, Tel: 01 42 97 54 27) and watch the cooks work while tucking into an order of okonomiyaki.
G Detou is a worthwhile stop for visitors wanting to pick up some French chocolate in bulk, sweet little jars of preserved fruit for gifts or a bag of tarbais beans to recreate a cassoulet back home. But, as a local, I’m often drawn to the crowded, colorful shelves of Izrael Epicerie du Monde to pick up imported foods that are nearly impossible to find elsewhere in Paris (plus they have some really interesting imported spirits!)
I’ve only been to Galeries Lafayette a handful of times and once to the Bon Marche for the food section. I don’t do a lot of department stores. Does Monoprix count as a department store? I like to stare at their brightly colored plastic picnic stuff and fantasize about big barbecues.
Maybe not technically a boutique, but when I want to do some fun browsing, I head over to antique store, la Cynge Rose. Her well-priced selection is a great place to find unusual gifts like antique dessert forks or absinthe spoons.
I love shopping for myself, but I have a weird penchant for shopping for men’s’ shirts and cufflinks. I find Cotton Doux one of the most whimsical shops for shirts. I love the silly bright colors and patterns and go gaga over the massive racks of crazy prints.
Oops…one I definitely can’t answer. That’s tougher than the department store question. I once spent a month playing all of my CD’s in alphabetical order and my friends kept coming over and complaining “what are you playing?!” Yet I never budged from my weirdly OCD way of playing music that month. My musical tastes are too weird and random to recommend anything as far as venues.
Pierre Hermé for the macarons!
I really want to say the “right” answer which would be something like Marcel, which I only just visited recently. They’ve got a nice range of healthy goodies to yummy eggs and bacon. But, in all honesty, if I actually get out of my place for breakfast I’m usually having an Irish fry up at Corcoran’s or a croissant and tea at any corner cafe by my house.
Promenade Plantée. It’s relaxed and varied. You walk the elevated part, but you pass cool and calm parks. It might get a bit busy in the summer, but it’s a great way to view Paris’ architecture from an elevated perspective or find a quiet little nook for a bit of downtime.
There are so many ways to indulge here. But, for me indulgence is a cheeky afternoon martini in one of Paris’ swank 4 stars like George V, Meurice, Royal Monceau, the Ritz or Park Hyatt. There’s something really decadent about being the only customer in a swish hotel bar just after – or before -(gasp!) lunch.
A train ride out to Reims for some bubbly!