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

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

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

La Patache & Le Perchoir, Paris

After walking to Canal St. Martin the other day to check out a restaurant I read about on this awesome blog, I was bummed, but not surprised, to see that it was closed for August.  I’ve started to accept the fact that regardless whether a restaurant has a website, it does not mention whether it is closed in August, on said website.  It just lists its normal business hours.  Sigh.

So, I was left to my own devices and after wandering a bit, peaked through the window of La Patache (Rue de Lancry, 75010) and saw three women eating roasted chicken and potatoes.  Done.  I ordered the same and it was delicious.  Actually, the potatoes were pretty heavenly.

Saturday, my friend scored a reservation at Le Perchoir (Rue Crespin du Gast, 75011).  The rooftop bar reminded me a little of High at Hotel Erwin in Venice, California.  Only, instead of the Pacific Ocean, there are panoramic views of Paris, freshly sliced charcuterie, absinthe, abundant wine, and an amazing restaurant just one floor down.  The only option is a prix fixe, which comprised of 8 dishes, each possibly better than the previous (sea bass sashimi, ahi tuna, roasted eggplant, veal, roasted potatoes, tomato provençal, cantalope soup, and a berry variation of mille-feuille).  However, if you ask my friend, the tuna was the best.  It did come atop a giant potato chip like thing.

© Sarah Milstein 2013

Le Marché des Enfants Rouges, Paris

Le Marché des Enfants Rouges

I found open places to eat in Paris!  Le Marché des Enfants Rouges in Le Marais, which is the oldest market in Paris (notwithstanding several renovations), appears to be staying open for August–well, at least some of the vendors.  The Moroccan restaurant inside is always packed and a safe bet.  The Italian restaurant looks good, but avoid their gâteau.  Possibly the worst slice of cake I’ve had.  The Lebanese food looks good, as well, however, I can’t vouch for it.

Also, I just found myself on Rue Tiquetonne and was happy to see tons of open restaurants and cafés.  Le Titi Qui Tonne, on this street, is still open.  I ate there a while back and was pleased with the canard, and the waiter always waves when I walk by now.

© Sarah Milstein 2013

Angelina, Paris

Angelina

Was it worth the hype?  Maybe?  It was good.  But kind of just tasted like my mom’s hot fudge melted just enough to make it drinkable.  You’d think you’d be wired after all that sugar, but I felt more like sleeping.

© Sarah Milstein 2013

Bois de Vincennes, Paris

It seems that 90 percent of Paris has shut down, and the rest is under construction.  All my usual cafés and coffee shops have closed for August.  There is a man yelling, “Alice, your mommy and daddy are here!” in an American accent outside my window.  And, I think I’ve heard more Spanish, English, Italian, and German today, than French.

Nevertheless, the parks remain open!   Yesterday, I laid in the grass in the Bois de Vincennes, which looks and feels like a flat version of the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont.  However, there are more birds (at least of the non-pigeon variety), horses, and boats to rent at the Bois.  I hear if you come at certain times, you might also find ladies of the night.  That is, if you’re into that sort of thing.

© Sarah Milstein 2013