Paris Plage — Beach Vacation on the Seine

paris plage 2013Parisians wear bathing suits, children play in sandboxes, and adults read steamy novels while relaxing on lawn chairs on a sandy beach.  No, this is not in Normandy, but on the Seine just across from the Île-de-la-Cité.  Paris Plage brings the beach to Paris on the Seine River, making a great venue to relax and let the children play on a “beach” just a skip away from the Louvre and Notre Dame.  From July 7-September 2, the beaches of the Seine in Paris are the place to be. Read More »

Paris Summer Sale (Soldes)

soldesParis only has two sanctioned sales during the year — in January just after the Christmas break and in July just before the August holiday.  The summer sale is in full swing through August 7, with many stores now in their second and third markdown.  Unlike sales in the U.S., stores are open mostly during normal hours, except have extended days open on a few Sundays.  While it seems impossible, French law only allows sales during this time period, otherwise stores must get permission from the police to hold discounted sales outside this time period.  The theory behind this is that this protects the small mom and pop shops from heavy discounting by the major giants, like Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, but, in reality, this is a way to preserve price protection and state sanctioned price parity among retailers. Read More »

Bastille Day (July 14th)

 

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Photograph by Hélène Loiré: http://aparisouailleurs.canalblog.com/

Celebrations for Le Quartorze de Juillet (14th of July), also commonly known as Bastille Day or La Fête Nationale, mark one of the major party events in Paris for the year.  It commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison and the French revolt against Louis XVI and the French monarchy.  These events ultimately led to years of “terror” with Marie-Antoinette, King Louis XVI, and Read More »

Christian Constant’s Les Cocottes Arc de Triomphe — Another Triumph

les cocottesChristian Constant’s deuxieme Les Cocottes at the Sofitel Hotel near the Arc De Triomphe provides another triumph of his inventive cuisine.  Sleek in design, with expert wait staff and a smart wine menu to complement his cuisine, Les Cocottes is one of the better values in Paris for what it provides.  No dish will disappoint.  With staple classics like his Cesar Ritz salad (best caesar salad in the world), foie gras and deviled eggs for starters and, when in season, his fabulous cassoulet, every dish is thoughtfully presented and plat is masterfully cooked — usually in a cocottes.   And, to top it off, my favorite dessert, millefeuille, is simply superb. Read More »

Printemps à Paris (Spring in Paris)

Trees are sprouting leaves, flowers are in bloom, sparrows sing wake-up melodies at dawn, and morning rain cleans the narrow cobble stone streets. It is spring in Paris. With spring sun giving a shimmer of warmth and sunlight from the dull, grey days of winter, people are donning sunglasses, hitting the cafés, and sitting outside on the terraces to take it all in. Children (and adults) tend to skip, not walk, and smile a little more as the sun now pierces through the clouds beating down on them. The jardins are now a venue for a pique-nique lunch, or afternoon snack. Read More »

Easter In Paris

servantPâques (Easter and Passover) in Paris is all about chocolate, easter eggs, and fun activities for children.  Windows of chocolate shops are lined with ornate chocolate eggs, some the size of American footballs, for sale (and eating) during the holiday.  Themes for this year are traditional, with ornate chocolates made in the shapes of hens, rabbits and birds nests.  Top chocolate shops, including Maison du Chocolate, Lenôtre , Pierre Herme, A La Mere de Famille, Jean Paul Hevin, Hediard, ServantDebauve & Gallais, all have different creations, with ornate eggs, chocolate bears, chocolate chickens and other hand-crafted chocolate pieces that are available only during Easter. Read More »