It’s been a while, I know. A long while, I think. The last I spoke with you, I told you that I was planning on making changes and wanted to make ParisienSalon.com something different. And then I disappeared, and ParisienSalon.com sat gathering dust, like an abandoned (yet utterly fabulous) Parisian apartment—the one in desperate need of a complete renovation.
To be honest with you, that was the story of my life at the time. I just got stuck in my life, unable to move forward … on anything. But with my fiftieth birthday looming on the horizon, I’ve been shaking things up a bit. In October, I moved from the apartment I lived in for fifteen years, into a bigger, newer, happier apartment a little outside the city. That got things moving forward again, albeit slowly.
In the fifteen months since my last post, I’ve been asked—far more frequently than I would have ever expected—what I was going to do with ParisienSalon.com. And to be honest, I had absolutely no answer to offer. I just didn’t know what I wanted to do with the site. I only knew it had to change and become something else, and while I couldn’t imagine ever “killing” it, I did consider selling it. But since I couldn’t imagine doing that, I got stuck on what ParisienSalon.com needed to become … and I wasn’t ready to think about that.
Now I am…and here’s what I know: ParisienSalon.com cannot be about life IN Paris. I don’t live there, after all, and there are so many wonderful sites that do a much better job at providing those particular insights. So ParisienSalon.com has to be about the ideal of Paris: the appreciation of life, art, culture, travel, and love. And since that’s something I can speak to during my own personal “year of transformation,” I feel I finally have something to offer again.
If you’ve spent any time here, you’ll have noticed the new logo in the header. That’s just the beginning of the evolution. I have nothing specific planned other than a little rearranging, but we’ll see what happens as we move along. I hope you’ll stick around … and please feel free to offer your feedback along the way.
Ever since I decided to take sole responsibility for writing the content of ParisienSalon, life has conspired to make that a difficult task for me. There have been technical glitches, bouts with the flu, crazy deadlines and whatnot. So, yes, I’ve been missing in action, and missing in Paris since December. Je suis desolé. (more…)
I started writing this post over the weekend, after reading Sherry Long’s Dog Trots Globe To Paris & Provence, a story about Sherry’s trip to Paris and Provence with her husband and dog. In fact, the whole book is written from the point of view of Chula, the Long’s 9-year old Sheltie.
I never finished writing this post over the weekend because Ella, my 9-year old Yorkie, got sick. Again. (At Christmas, she was hit with hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, which is as horrid and bloody as it sounds.) So I spent the last few days at the vet, or nursing my suddenly and uncharacteristically needy pup.
I believe the literary gods call that “irony.”
Ms. Ella is the kind of dog you would expect to be a canine jetsetter. She would, in theory, fit under the seat of any aircraft, and is the perfect (if not trendy) fashion accessory.
I can’t even begin to picture Ella on an airplane, crammed under the seat and whimpering the whole nine hours to Paris (and more than ten back to Miami). She wants to be a part of the action too much. Given her delicate digestive system, I’m not sure what gastrointestinal disaster would result from the trauma of the trip. And I’m not sure there is enough Xanax/Valium out there to keep both her and me calm for that sort of voyage.
That said, were Ella to be a traveling kind of canine, Paris—indeed all of France—would offer her the kind of welcome reserved for foreign dignitaries and royalty. Or as Chula the Sheltie said in Dog Trots Globe, “The French have the right respect for dogs…” You’re far more likely to see a dog sitting at a table inside a restaurant than you are a child.
Chula’s adventures were drool-worthy, for dog or human. She spent days wandering the streets of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, and exploring the villages of Provence. She (and her biped companions) discovered the dog-friendly spots in Paris, and the few spots—museums, and gardens—that said interdit to les chiens.
But Chula did get to go to a vernissage at an art gallery on the Île Saint-Louis, for American expat photographer Meredith Mullins, and ride a carrousel at the base of the Eiffel Tower. Lucky dog!
The only way Ella will ever make it to Paris is aboard a private jet, so if anyone out there would like to loan me one, we’re ready to go. In the meantime, Miami is, in many ways, similar to Paris in its attitudes toward dogs. While you’ll never see one inside a restaurant, you’ll find the dog to human ratio at many outdoor tables practically 2:1. Dogs are more likely to get a bowl of water delivered to them before waiters even take drink orders for the rest of the table.
Ella has been to Nordstrom on more than a few occasions…she even received a lovely note from one of our salesgirls. I wonder if that would happen at Bon Marché.
Should anyone come through with that private jet (hint, hint), Sherry Long offers all the tips I’d need to get through the bureaucracy of bringing Ella into France.
Want to win a copy of Dog Trots Globe? I’m giving away one copy of this fun book to a random reader. All you need to do is leave a comment below, and I’ll select one winner on Sunday (January 20th). Enter your comment below.
Right around the time that I re-imagined what I wanted ParisienSalon.com to be, a publisher sent me a copy of Jennifer L. Scott’s “Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris.”
The timing couldn’t be better. After all, ParisienSalon.com was now all about enjoying life like a Parisian, and who better to share her tips on how to do so than the editor of The Daily Connoisseur. Ms. Scott has been talking about the art of fine living since starting her blog in 2008.
I devoured Lessons from Madame Chic, eager to master the art of la vie Parisienne. The 20 lessons are covered in three parts: diet and exercise, style and beauty, and how to live well. None of the lessons offered here are revolutionary. On the contrary, it’s their utter, beautiful simplicity that makes them so easy to bring into your life on a daily basis. But don’t mistake this tome as a beauty book, despite chapters on how to wear makeup, always making oneself look presentable, and cultivating a ten-item wardrobe.
No, the heart and soul of this book is to give yourself permission to savor life. It’s about treating yourself well and not depriving yourself of true quality. And this, I think, is the ideal of life in Paris.
We Americans have a saying: stop and smell the roses. It’s a reminder to slow down life and take a moment to actually enjoy it. That’s all well and good, but la vie Parisian requires no reminders. If we live each and every day savoring the moment, then we’ve achieved the lifestyle that we so envy in the French.
Paris apartments are small. Some are très, très small. That means tiny refrigerators and a lack of closet space that would send most American women into a heightened state of panic. But look at the trade-off. Parisians buy their food fresh almost every day, instead of relying on processed products cluttering their shelves. They don’t consume, consume, consume … something we Americans tend to do without noticing what we’re consuming. And they cultivate a sense of style admired (and envied) around the world without stuffing their wardrobe with every single piece of clothing they see in a magazine, or hording a collection of shoes that would have Imelda Marcos salivating with envy. They simply buy high quality staples that never go out of style, and manage to get endless looks by simply mixing, matching and accessorizing.
I used to think I had to move to Paris to live my life like they do, but as Ms. Scott shows in her book of 20 lessons, I can live like a Parisian no matter where I am. Even in Miami.
Want to win a copy of Lessons from Madam Chic? We’re giving away one copy of this wonderful book to a random reader. All you need to do is leave a comment below, and I’ll select one winner on Sunday (January 13th). Enter your comment below.
A few years ago, when I began to venture deeper into the “real Paris,” I decided to stay in one of the vacation apartments offered by Gail Boisclair of Perfectly Paris. Located on the Rue des Lévis in the 17th arrondissement, it was as far off the tourist track as I had ever ventured.
It was love at first sight.
There are many market streets in Paris—rue Mouffetard, rue Montorgueil, and rue Cler come immediately to mind—but most tourists (and many Parisians) have little experience with rue des Lévis. Located right off the Villiers metro (lines #2 and #3), rue des Lévis has it all: fromageries, boulangeries, patissieries, chocolatiers, wine shops, butchers, cafés, brasseries, supermarkets (Monoprix) and tea shops. The produce vendors (there are three) sell fruits and vegetables that look as if they were just plucked from the soil or the tree.
Arnaud Delmontel has one of his three boulangerie/patisseries on the rue des Lévis and, after much taste testing over the years, I’ve concluded that his macarons are among my favorite in Paris. His breads are equally mouthwatering, even winning the Grand Prix de la Baguette de Tradition Française de la Ville de Paris in 2007.
The pedestrian-only portion of rue de Lévis (cars are permitted only for residents and vendors) is also home to non-food shops. There’s a bookstore, jewelers, housewares, florists, fabrics, shoes, perfumeries, and the foodless version of Monoprix. Further down the rue, there are quite a few boutiques catering to children, a Benetton and a few women’s clothing shops.
I have, in the past, claimed my favorite time of the year in Paris to be in November, and living on rue de Lévis around the American Thanksgiving holidays feeds a very specific food ritual that blooms only then. In the evening, after stepping off the metro, I’ll stop at Arnaud Delmontel for my baguette. If I’m in a particularly chocolately mood, I’ll walk down the rue to yet another patissierie for a chocolate éclair. I’ll grab a half dozen clementines at the corner produce market and, if I’m dining in, pick up the Cuisse de Canard Confite from Picard. A delicious evening awaits at home!
Although it’s located in one of the outer arrondissments, life in this part of the 17th feels centrally located. A ten-minute stroll up Rue Legendre takes me to the Square des Batignolles and the charming streets of that neighborhood. After a ten-minute walk in the other direction down Rue Legendre, I’ll find myself at Parc Monceau (my favorite parc in Paris).
The #3 metro line takes me directly to my beloved NoMa (the North Marais) via the Arts et Métiers metro stop, and to Opéra, from where I make a beeline to Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. I can transfer to the #12 line (to hit Bon Marché), the #4 line (bonjour St. Germain and the Luxembourg quartier) or the #8 line (and visit the 7th arrondissement). The #2 line takes me directly to Pigalle and Montmartre, and to Pere Lachaise, or to the #1 line that runs through the center of Paris (from the Arch de Triomphe down to Bastille).
Of course, meeting friends (including Gail, Thierry and John) at neighborhood restaurants makes me feel like a local (one of the waiters at Dome knows to bring me my coupe de Champagne right away). And acting like a local is truly the best way to experience Paris.
All photos © 2012 by Linda Donahue. All rights reserved. Photos may not be used in any medium without the expressed written permission of the photographer. Photos may be purchased at The Fine Print [Studio].
You may have noticed that I’ve been away for a while. Please also note that I said “I” rather than “we.”
In the four years since I launched ParisienSalon.com, I positioned the site as an online magazine, not a blog. I also frequently referred to “we” when talking about the site, as if I had a whole staff helping behind the scenes.
I’ve already admitted that ParisienSalon is just me, Linda Donahue. I’ve had contributors and contractors to help me build the site, but the only person posting, marketing, chatting, editing, etc., has been moi.
When I took a break from ParisienSalon.com, back in the spring, it was to recharge my batteries. It took a lot longer to recharge than I thought it would. A large part of that was because I didn’t know what I wanted ParisienSalon.com to be anymore. When I birthed the site, I was adamant that it be something possessing journalistic qualities and refused to call it a blog. I wanted it to be objective and neutral. Clearly it worked, because the site garnered a wonderful, loyal audience.
But it stopped working for me. Somewhere along the line, ParisienSalon.com became more of an obligation and less of a passion. That’s when I had to take a step back.
Over the last few months, I’ve thought quite a bit about what I wanted the site to become. It looked good, but it was missing something. I finally realized what that missing something was: my voice. So, that was the first step in re-imagining what ParisienSalon.com could be.
I also started to think about what would keep me interested in the site…not as a writer or editor, but as a reader. I travel frequently to Paris, but do I want to read about Paris all the time? No, I don’t. But I, as a reader, would be interested in learning how to bring a little bit of Paris into my life back in the U.S. And that was my ah-ha moment.
ParisienSalon.com is no longer just about the city of Paris. It’s about living the Parisian life. I know that’s what I intended back when I launched the site, but I seem to have forgotten it as I tried to make a name for the site.
So, I’m back. ParisienSalon.com is back. And I’m back in Paris, meeting up with people who know what it means to live a Parisian life. My plan is to introduce them to you over the next year and let them offer their expertise. People like John Agee, a jewelry designer/boutique owner on rue Jacob, or Cécile Hasroyen, a brilliant stylist and personal shopper. I’ll have experts on cooking and entertaining—Diane Anthonissen, for instance—and wine. I plan to introduce you to artists, photographers, interior designers, romance experts and more, all with the intention of bringing Paris into your everyday lives and homes. This is my salon, and I will bring you the best and most brilliant Parisians (natural or adopted), a la Gertrude Stein. Of course, I’ll still share some of the things you can only see or do in Paris, but from a more personal perspective.
I hope you’ll stick around for this and like what I have planned for ParisienSalon.com. The look of the site won’t change, but some of the organization of it will. And you’ll still be able to create your own little suitcase of interesting features to reference later.
Let me know what you think in the comments below, and if you have any suggestions on how to bring you more of what you want from ParisienSalon.com.
Story and Photos by Richard Nahem, Eye Prefer Paris Correspondent
I received a generous gift certificate from my friends to Les Bains du Marais for the hammam, a massage, and manicure. Looking forward to some R & R, if only for a few hours, I made my appointment on Friday afternoon just in time to unwind from a long and hectic week. (more…)
When you’re looking for the best hidden shopping streets in Paris, one of the places you’re unlikely to start your search is just a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower. Yet, just across the Champ de Mars gardens on the border of the 7th and 15th arrondissement, is a charming neighborhood where you’ll find the narrow rue du Commerce. The street is chock full of boutiques for a truly Parisian shopping experience—sans the traffic and tourists. (more…)
Story by Tory Hoen, Haven in Paris Correspondent. Photos by Dave Bloom.
I can already tell I’m going to get into trouble with this, but I’ve never been afraid to ruffle a few feathers (especially of the French variety), so here goes. As a female ex-pat, living in Paris is no guarantee that you’ll automatically become a local. If you’re not a Parisienne and you want to be, these are the rules.* (more…)
Story by Tory Hoen, HiP Paris Correspondent. Photos by Paris in Pink.
Casual shoppers, beware. The French sales are just around the corner and many a French fashionista is getting ready to pounce on items she has secretly coveted all Fall. In all honesty, though, the soldes are often the one moment of fashion folly many Parisiennes allow themselves. For decades, one market has proven remarkably resistant to passing trends: Paris. Despite jumping at the occasional fad (the Balmain-inspired shoulder pad, the hardware-adorned gladiator sandal), Parisian shoppers — both young and old — follow certain cardinal rules in their shopping habits, year-in and year-out. (more…)
Interview by Linda Donahue. All photos by Nichole Robertson.
Parisien Salon readers are already familiar with Nichole Robertson and her stunning Paris photographs. And the blogosphere has had its compass pointed to her blog, Little Brown Pen, for quite some time. The self-described “girl of many words and few exclamation points” is also a writer, married to Evan and currently dwells with him and their two sons in a charming New Jersey hamlet–when they’re not spending a few months a year in Paris.
Story by Richard Nahem, Eye Prefer Paris
Unlike the U.S with its price warring drug chains, France doesn’t have discount drugstores or even large drug chains for that matter.
However, City Pharma, in the 6th arr. near St. Germain, consistently offers 30-40% off of most popular brands. Stock up on your favorite French and European labels like Weleda, Biotherm, Roc, Caudalie, Phyto, Vichy, Bioderma, Roger et Gallet, Elancyl, and even American brands like Neutrogena and John Frieda. The tightly packed and well stocked shop has two floors, the first floor having mostly beauty and hair products, and the second floor having a prescription counter, homeopathic and herbal remedies, and Dr. Scholl’s foot care products.
I was there at about 7PM last night and it was teeming with upscale aggressive female shoppers who practically knocked me over with their baskets loaded with cosmetics, as though it was the last day on earth they would be able to buy face and thinning creams. Lines at the registers were 10 deep, so I didn’t bother to purchase anything but I will return.
26, rue du Four, 6th arr.
01 46 33 20 81
Open Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Metro: St. Sulpice,St. Germain, or Mabillon
Richard Nahem is a native New Yorker who now lives in Paris. A successful New York City event planner and producer of cultural events, he has worked with many celebrities including Sarah Jessica Parker, Whitney Houston, and Joan Rivers. After a teenage trip to Paris made him an instant Francophile, he visited the city frequently until he made it his home (in 2005).
With 25 years of rave reviews from friends and colleagues, Richard decided to take his own private tours of “his” Paris public. His goal for Eye Prefer Paris Tours is to provide fun, adventurous, and exciting tours of Paris for the independent-spirited traveler.
Introduction by Linda Donahue, Editor-in-Chief
I have never been what one would typically consider a foodie. My palate is far too finicky for this, geared more toward the enjoyment of simple food rather than complicated cuisine. And while I’ll admit to picking up the occasional issue of Gourmet or Bon Appetite in the past, it was only to salivate over the photographs that, despite my selective tastebuds, always looked so darned delicious to me. (more…)
While classical French cuisine will always have its place, today’s Parisian food scene is full of young innovators who aren’t afraid to mix things up. Rachel Khoo, one of Paris’ premiere “food creatives,” is doing just that. A graduate of London’s Saint Martins College of Art and Design and of Le Cordon Bleu’s patisserie school, Rachel combines her technical culinary training with her eye for style and aesthetics. (more…)
By Olivier Magny, Ô Chateau Correspondent
Inarguably, Paris has the best bread in the world. And for sure the best baguettes. (more…)
Story by Tory Hoen, Haven in Paris Correspondent
If you’ve spent even a small amount of time in Paris, you know that the macaron is ubiquitous. And in a city of fastidious eaters, it’s significant that a single dessert has managed to win the hearts and minds of so many. But the debate rages on: who produces the best macaron of all? While Dalloyau and Lenôtre both make a commendable run at it, everyone knows that there are only two real contenders.
In one corner, we have the elegant and established Ladurée, which has been turning out sweet confections since 1862. And in the other corner, we have upstart Pierre Hermé, the enfant terrible of the dessert world who worked at Ladurée before setting out on his own. (Word on the street is that the “oppressive” traditions at Ladurée were preventing him from exploring the crazy flavor combinations for which he is now world famous). Naturally, we wanted to get in on the debate, so Sarah (another Hip Paris blogger) and I gathered some friends last week for a comprehensive taste test. Two boxes of macarons later, we reached a nearly unanimous verdict!
In the chocolate category, Pierre Hermé blew Ladurée out of the water. The flavor was far deeper, the texture smoother, the overall experience significantly more heavenly. Pistachio went pretty much the same way. But then we came to the most contentious category of all: caramel beurre salé(buttery salted caramel).
This flavor is no joke in France. You’ll see some variation of it on nearly every dessert menu in Paris. In other words, this category is make-or-break. Initially, Ladurée lured us, as the filling of their macaron has actual caramel in it. Nice touch, but we decided the overall effect was a bit too sugary.
In the end, Pierre Hermé pulled through yet again. His filling is more buttery than caramel-y, but the overall experience is balanced and, to my palate, quite other-worldly.
So there you have it! Pierre Hermé comes up big in every category. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not going to refuse a box of Ladurée macarons if one happens to show up on my doorstep. But in a macaron head-to-head, my money is on Hermé.
So readers, what do you think?
Pierre Hermé. 72 Rue Bonaparte, 6th arrondissement. Tel: 01 43 54 47 77. Metro: Sainte-Sulpice (Line 4) or Mabillon (Line 10).
Ladurée. 21 rue Bonaparte, 6th arrondissement. Tel: 01 44 07 64 87. Metro: Saint-Germain-des-Pres (Line 4). For Ladurée’s other Parisian addresses, click here.
Feeling ambitious? Try making your own macarons with David Lebovitz’s recipe.
Written by Tory Hoen for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris. Home page photo courtesy of du-sacre-au-sucre.blogspot.com.
Special report by Madelyn for Paris Perfect Apartments
I’m no Parisian fashion plate, but I love a bargain as much as the next person.My ‘copines’ or French friends have been telling me about two clothing stores for years, both located in the 16th arrondissement.It took me forever to visit, but what a discovery! Reciproque and Catherine Max are two of the best bargain fashion stores in Paris! (more…)
You’ve probably noticed that there has been a dearth of new content on ParisienSalon.com for the last few weeks … maybe even months. There have even been weeks where there has been no new content at all. So, maybe you’re wondering what is going on. (more…)
City life sometimes pushes you to get out and away from its hectic central pump; Parisian city life is no exception. Likewise, living in the city center and riding the city’s metro system on a regular basis can often make one wonder about what exactly lies at the end of each numbered line. Personally speaking, Line 1’s final Château de Vincennes stop has always dominated my metro riding daydreams. After all, it’s tempting to imagine a castle within a city girl’s reach. And one spring day as I finally ventured out to chase Line One, metro stop Château de Vincennes turned out to be a Parisian pot of gold waiting at its end. (more…)
Versailles attracts tourists like excited moths to a gilded flame and the Loire Valley, though completely enchanting, is a several hours drive from Paris. The Chantilly Château though, a 25 minute train ride from Paris, is equal parts accessible, uncrowded, and old-world folklore, making it a resplendent romp into France’s history of nobles, wars, and new republics. A place visited by mythic characters from French kings to Bond, James Bond, Chantilly Castle is a sharp snapshot of French history in a single take. (more…)
Thanks to swift transportation and uniform Haussmann design, it’s rather easy to forget the true size of the French capital. These five vantage points, though not a complete list, are perfect ways to see the city in its full size and glory. (more…)
Paris’ 5th arrondissement, otherwise known as the Latin Quartier, is rich with charm and history. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Mouffetard district. Saunter down the gentle slope of the montagne Saint-Geneviève to the Église Saint-Médard, passing the pretty Place de la Contrescarpe, and you’ll find yourself amidst perfectly picturesque surroundings with a charmingly tranquil atmosphere. Old houses, narrow alleyways, small courtyards, old signs, and babbling fountains all evoke the timeless history of this area, bustling with food shops and friendly bistros. (more…)
In 1635, King Louis XIII’s personal physical created a medicinal herb garden known as the Jardin du Rois. Five years later, it opened to the public and, in 1663, it was transformed into a sprawling complex dedicated to nature. (more…)