Paris

Realizing that it has been exactly one year since I put nearly all of my belongings into a storage unit in Los Angeles, and packed the rest to take on a plane to Paris, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic.  Here are some photos that never got any face time before.

© Sarah Milstein 2014

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Je T’aime, Paris

Him: You speak really good English for an Italian.

Me: (I laughed.)  Thank you, but I’m American.

. . .

Him: You know the “ulk”?

Me: Huh?

Him: You know, the “ulk”?  (He puffs out his chest.)

Me: What? Ohhh, you mean the hulk.

Him: Yes, the “ulk.”

And so went many of my conversations.  I love how I would say something in French and nobody would understand me, and I’d repeat it one octave lower and suddenly people knew exactly what I was trying to say.  I’ve realized it’s the same in reverse.

Two nights before I left Paris, I was talking to a guy from Corsica and he asked me what I liked about France.  Here’s the long answer I couldn’t come up with on the spot.

Je t’aime, Paris.*  I love your cheese, especially the compté.  I love that I can sit in a café for literally hours and nobody will ask me to leave.  Plop me in any park, and I’m happy.  The Luxembourg, Bois des Vincennes, the Tuilleries.

French sounds so f**king sexy, even if you’re describing a medical ailment.  Paris is designed for the romantic hypochondriac.  Find me a street without a pharmacy on it.

Everyone is in love here.  Even if it is just for one night.

I could eat pain au chocolat everyday.  In fact, I basically did.  I love that whatever part of my baguette I didn’t eat, I could use as a baseball bat within 24-36 hours.

I love that people are present and not on their phones texting.  I like that all the tables face the street.  I love the vélib’ and the metro.  I like that the streets don’t go straight and sometimes I didn’t end up where I was trying to go.  But Paris, you keep me on my toes.

Maybe I do wear rose-colored glasses, but I’m not taking them off.

*So maybe I didn’t answer his question about France, but I love Paris and Corsica and all the other cities I’ve visited.

Loustic, Paris

I wrote about Café Loustic a while back when I first discovered it, and subsequently became a bit of a regular since it was so good.  It didn’t hurt that it was just around the corner from my apartment.  (I actually think the coffee is better than at the nearby, The Broken Arm.)

Even though the temperatures are dropping in Paris, if you like iced lattes (“latte glacé”), this is the place to go.  I won’t give away Channa’s secret, but they are pretty delicious.

Café Loustic, 40 rue Chapon, 75003 Paris, France.

© Sarah Milstein 2013

Taittinger, Reims

Champagne for days at the Taittinger Champagne House. According to the guide, there are over 3 million bottles currently being stored in Taittinger’s caves in Reims.  Apparently there is another 10 or so million bottles of Taittinger champagne being stored elsewhere.

Who knew it was being stockpiled?

© Sarah Milstein 2013

Paris Favorites

My friend just moved to Paris and I sent her an email with a parsed down version of the below list of my “favorites.”  I figured, maybe you’d be interested too.  Anything I should add?

Favorite Café Crème:

  • Loustic – 40 rue Chapon, 75003 Paris (Le Marais)
  • 10 Belles – 10 Rue de la Grange aux Belles, 75010 Paris (Canal St. Martin)

Favorite Parks:

  • Tuilleries
  • Bois de Vincennes
  • Butte Chaumont
  • Luxembourg (St. Germain)
  • Place de Vosges (Le Marais)

Favorite “Trendy” and/or Pricey Places to Eat:

  • Le Perchoir (sunset dinner) – 14 rue Crespin du Gast, 75011 Paris (Oberkampf)
  • Derrier (dinner) – 69 Rue des Gravilliers, 75003 Paris (Le Marais)
  • Le Taxi Jaune (dinner) – 13, rue Chapon, 75003 Paris (Le Marais)
  • Café Charlot (for brunch, late night, afternoon, really, anytime) – 38 Rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris (Le Marais)
  • Rose Café (for brunch, lunch) – 30 rue Debelleyme, 75003 Paris (Le Marais)
  • Fish Club (for dinner) – 58 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 75001 Paris

Favorite Places to Wander:

  • Le Marais
  • St. Germain
  • Canal St. Martin

Favorite Paris Blogs/Guides:

Favorite Markets:

  • Bastille Marché – Metro: Bastille.  I usually go on Sundays.  This is where I discovered my favorite cheese and practiced most of my French! (Haricot verts, s’il vous plaît?)
  • Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen – Avenue de la Porte de Clignancourt, 75018, Paris

Go to Stores for Necessities

  • BHV (stands for Bazaar Hôtel de Ville) – 34 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 Paris.  This store is like Bloomingdale’s, Barnes & Noble, an electronics store, and hardware store wrapped into one.  You can find anything from leather and fabrics, art supplies, and kitchen wares, to the latest trends from Iro, Kooples, and Chanel.
  • Monoprix – These are everywhere.  Good place for groceries and toiletries.  You can also buy clothes and other things.  It seems to be the French equivalent of Target.
  • FNAC – Galerie commerciale Forum des Halles, 1-7 Rue Pierre Lescot, 75001 Paris ‎(but there are lots of these in Paris).  Good place for electronics.  I left my adapter in Corsica and seriously went to 4 places to find one before finding one here.
Must have foods:
  • Tuks (not even French, but a delicious cracker).  I have a song and dance that goes with these.  They are just that good.
  • Compté cheese (my fav!)
  • Pain au chocolat
  • Baguettes (obviously)
  • Falafel from L’as du Falafel – 34 Rue des Rosiers  75004 Paris (Le Marais)
  • Empanadas from Clasico Argentino – 56, Rue de Saintonge, 75003 Paris (Le Marais)
  • Ice cream from Berthillon – 31 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île  75004 Paris (but you can find this ice cream in a lot of restaurants).  I can vouch for the moka, chocolat noir, abricot, and framboise.
  • Moules-frites
  • Foie gras (sorry, California)
  • Any and all wine (rosé is big here)
  • Yogurt – for some reason it is much better here than in the US.  Try weird flavors.  I liked the fig and rhubarb.
Shopping:
(Basically anywhere.  This is Paris.)
  • Rue Vieille-du-Temple (Le Marais)
  • Rue de Poitou (Le Marais)
  • St. Germain
  • Montmarte
For Overpriced (but Fun) Cocktails:
  • Experimental Cocktail Club – 37 Rue Saint-Sauveur, 75002 Paris
  • Little Red Door – 60 Rue Charlot 75003 Paris (Le Marais)
  • Candelaria – 52 Rue de Saintonge  75003 Paris (Le Marais).  They also have great tacos, but good luck finding a spot unless you go early!  (The bar is through a secret door at the back.)

Miscellaneous:

  • Detergent – Ariel.  I was an idiot and was using Soupline for 2 months before realizing I was washing my clothes with a fabric softener.  Good job, me.
  • Skin care products – Nuxe.  I went to buy lotion and after staring for what felt like 20 minutes ended up with makeup remover.  The pharmacist steered me in the right direction.  I love this line of lotions and skin care products – they are all “sans paraben.”

Favorite bookstores:

© Sarah Milstein 2013

Porto Vecchio, Corsica

We spent the bulk of our time exploring (okay fine, laying out on) various beaches in Porto Vecchio.  Seeing as the beaches are all blurring together for me, and I think Janine summed them up awesomely (yes, that’s a word) on her blog, I think you should check out her posts: here, here, and here.  But I will leave you with some photographs, obviously.

Plage de Tamaricciu and Plage d’Asciaghju.  These are connected and have several beach bars/restaurants connecting the two.  I ordered a Heineken at one and received the smallest beer I’ve ever seen.

Golfe de Santa Giulia.  There was a lot of woodsy debris on the sand, leaving a small strip for the beach.  However, the water was very clear and warm.

Cala Rossa.  This was our favorite beach–we came here twice.  For one, the beach itself has more room to spread out.  Also, the water gets deep-ish relatively quickly so you can swim and there are less naked toddlers running around.  This could be a pro or a con depending on whether you have kids.

The restaurant 37.2, which is on the beach, was great–good food and amazing location.  Also, the beer is a normal size.  However, I got chased down the beach for stealing a Magnum only to explain that I paid for it.  Word to the wise, if I were to steal your ice cream, I probably would not do it in a red hat.  Just sayin’.

© Sarah Milstein 2013

GR20, Corsica

I was thinking that we would do some hiking in Corsica other than our accidental hike in Bonifacio.  One quick search on Google* would have told me that the GR20 is not some path for sissies–it’s a 180 km trek beginning in Calenzana, which “traverses Corsica diagonally from north to south,” and ends in Conca, and is recommended as a 15-day hike.**

We decided to check it out, so we drove from Porto Vecchio to Conca in Sainte-Lucie de Port-Vecchio.  Really, this was a short drive (13 miles), but with the traffic, it probably took over an hour.  But we got to see things like this.

Once we got to Conca, we saw a sign for the GR20 and parked.  As it turns out, there were about 10 forks in the road after that sign, none of which were labeled with which direction the trail began. (Answer: Pick the path towards Radicali.)

We walked up each road to the end before finding the entrance (featured above).  In the heat, I was dying before we even found the trail.  Which by the way, was pretty awesome.  However, I can’t imagine doing the other 179 km of it, at least in that heat!

*Actually, I met two guys on the RER heading to the airport who told me this, since they had just done the trek a few days prior.  Who needs Google when there are cute strangers?

**For those who are curious, this website lays out everything you need to know about the GR20.

© Sarah Milstein 2013

Le Mur des Je T’aime, Paris

Je T'aime

Le Mur des “Je T’aime” is a wall in Montmarte with “over 311 written declarations [of I love you] in 250 different languages.”  I overheard a tour guide telling her devoted clan that it was only 52 languages.  I suppose eavesdropping does not guarantee accurate information.

© Sarah Milstein 2013