Eating & Exploring Paris

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Temple-marche-fish
strawberries

We're back for a few days now and trying to detox by holding off sweets for at least a week. I caved in after 48 hours.  Pffffftttttt........ 10 days flew past in a blink of an eye. I know I've said it before but I'm beyond grateful for the friendships that have developed from the blogging community. I've been to Paris 7 times before but our experience was enriched by the people we'd met, namely, Anne and Carin. Traveling has opened my eyes and mind to new cultures and ideas but when memories of places start to fade and details are forgotten, the warmth and the hospitality that I'd experienced from various individuals leave an indelible mark on my life.

The last time I made it to the Marché des Enfants-Rouge (the oldest covered market in Paris), it was closed. The place was practically heaving when we got there. We managed to get a small crate of strawberries but later, I was told by a Marais local that the creperie and Japanese stalls are absolutely incredible. Never mind......next time.


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In the midst of the chaos that surrounded Place de la République and various road blocks, it was a relief to find a calm oasis within the historic Temple which is only a few minutes walk away. Families sat on the benches while the kids ran around inside the confines of the fenced playground which was in fact, a large sand pit. Lil L dived right in and joined the hordes of little cherubs running around while I sat back, people watched and surreptitiously (and unsuccessfully) tried to pap chic Parisians (the things I do in the name of blogging).


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We'd set out to search for a particular restaurant that specialized in Lyonnais cuisine. If we were truly smart, we would've called and made a booking. Hence, we would've known that it was closed for lunch on Saturdays. D'oh! So I had another "brilliant" idea - that is, to wander into the small and narrow lanes because most of the best eating places are cleverly tucked away from high foot traffic streets.

We literally stumbled upon L'ilot, a compact seafood restaurant which looked more like a relaxed café. The customers, mostly locals were perched on tall stools, dining alfresco, sipping wine and slurping oysters. Lil L was the most adventurous out of the 3 of us. To the owner's delight, she worked her way through the plate of sea snails, oysters and smoked salmon pate with gusto. The fish soup was unbelievably good. We shared the cafe gourmand dessert and I had to stop them from licking the plates. Yes, it was THAT good. AND very very affordable.


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I've been dying to try Jacques Genin chocolates for sometime. But even for a glutton like me, it was nearly impossible to eat continuously without a break. So I guess I'll just have to make yet another trip across the channel again.


OOTD
IRO-sandals
Outfit: Rick Owens leather jacket, Isabel Marant x H&M sweatshirt, Zara boyfriend jeans, Repetto flats, Chanel sunglasses and Chanel WOC.


Lil L and I shared a slightly larger than a cabin sized 4 wheel trolley suitcase. I know we'll be navigating through the Underground maze and the equally challenging Metro once we've crossed the pond so I knew we had to pack light. I like clothes but I love eating more. Hence, loose fitting garments....... (you can tell where my priorities lie).


dinner

3 adults and 1 child polished the entire tray of dessert as well as the crate of strawberries in one seating. "I guess you want me to hold this up by the window?" asked Anne. You see? That's the beauty of hanging out with a foodie and blogger. They know exactly what to do without being told...... And if you ever wonder why Parisians can splurge on patisseries several days a week and never EVER diet yet they're so slim...... ask Anne (she biked 45 minutes to meet us at our apartment and 45 minutes back again). Anne, thank you again for your wonderful company.


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Initially, Carin suggested we meet for coffee at Telescope, the hip cafe near Opera so that I can easily hop on the train to the godforsaken Disney park (where parents suffer various forms of torture because we love our kids). By 11.30, we were thinking about lunch......so I procrastinated and decided lunch was of utmost importance particularly if I had to gird my loins for the onslaught in Disneyland. Both Carin and the incredibly chic Parisian who sat at the next table insisted we have to eat at the newly opened Kunitoraya branch a few steps away from the cafe. The tempura was lipsmackingly scrumptious. So was the udon in the lightly flavored dashi miso soup.

Despite the non-stop-all-day gorge fest - I mean uncountable cakes/macarons/chocolate/crepes as well as anything and everything smothered in salted caramel that had passed through these lips of mine........ I have not put on a single pound. Incredible. I don't suppose I could count my kind of "walking" as a form of exercise because our short strolls are punctuated with copious cups of espresso and yes, whatever patisserie we happened to stumble upon.

Marché Les Enfants-Rouge
9 rue de Beauce
75003 Paris
Metro: Filles du Calvaire, Temple, Arts et Métiers or Saint-Sébastien Froissart


L'ilot
4 rue de Corderie
75003 Paris


Jacques Genin
133 rue de Turenne
75003 Paris
Metro: Filles du Calvaire, Oberkampf, République or Temple


Kunitoraya 2
5 rue Villedo
75001 Paris
Metro: Pyramides




Street style in Paris

Friday, 18 April 2014
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The Parisian chic has been romanticized and analyzed by hordes of Francophiles, including yours truly for decades. The funny thing is.....when you compliment a Parisian on her outfit, as I've done,  she is genuinely surprised. "Oh, this is nothing special, "  "My style is actually quite boring"  Call it je ne sais quoi or maybe effortlessly chic because it's hard to pinpoint what made these ladies and gentlemen chic. Or is it dressing with an air of nonchalance but with an eye for detail? Let's not forget the men who also look incredibly dapper but never contrived.

Sure, this is a gross generalization because Parisians from certain arrondissements are more dressed up than others. That's pretty obvious if you spend a lot of time in the metro and trekking to various lesser popular areas of Paris.

Let's talk about hair. It never looked done or overly polished. Messy buns or ponytails are common. Whew! Because I still can't style my hair, even at this age. For a country that introduced many of the skincare and make up brands to the rest of the world, they're very light-handed when it comes to plying on cosmetics. Black or grey skinny jeans are infinitely popular amongst the younger population but the older generation are bolder with their choice of outfits. There's usually something eye-catching whether it's a particular accessory, shoes or lipstick they're wearing.

Colored pants are popular amongst the men. I've seen various shades of the rainbow paired with denim or tailored jackets and sometimes sporting a beautifully folded pocket square. I was scouring the internet to find outfits paired with sensible shoes (as you probably know by now....I still haven't learned to balance my bodyweight on heels). Trendy sneakers, brogues, ballet flats and ankle boots are common footwear gracing the streets of Paris. In fact, it's so rare that I see a woman strutting pass in high heels and when one did, I stared. And stared......

I had the best intentions to approach Parisians for street style photos but screaming arrête while chasing after them like a paparazzo would've scared every poor albeit chic soul away. I turned to skulking around, sitting at cafes and making sure I was facing the street, loitering outside the boutiques...... Utterly mad. Anyway....I abandoned the idea after day 2 when I started scaring my own child and friend.

Charlotte Olympia Cosmic Collection

Thursday, 17 April 2014
Charlotte Olympia Chinese Zodiac 2
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         Charlotte Olympia Year of Ox suede flats

I don't follow the western horoscope too closely but I've been known to read the traits of Chinese zodiac animals out loud to my friends on many occasions. Say what you like - I'm a sucker for Chinese horoscope. Most of those descriptions ring true. To my friends and I, anyway. Trust the ever creative Charlotte Olympia to create a new Eastern Cosmic range which I'm completely in love with. The embroidered Chinese character pertaining to the different zodiac animal adds a special touch to each pair of flats.

I'm very taken with the color of my zodiac animal (the Ox). Since the husband rarely knows what to buy for me..........I believe a pair of these Charlotte Olympia flats will do me just fine. The rest of the collection is available at Net-a-Porter.

pssssst......if you're not convinced, go ahead and check out your zodiac animal here. Let me know what you think.


Paris: Exploring St Germain des Pres

Wednesday, 16 April 2014
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Despite having immigrated to the U.K more than 5 years ago, I'm still in awe of the fact that I can get to Paris within a few hours. On a train. Without ever leaving the ground (not counting going through the underwater tunnel). I don't have to save for years just to take two 14 hour bum numbing flights (I literally couldn't feel my ass after the long flights) with an additional 8 hour layover. The jet lag was unbelievable after crossing a couple of time zones.

I apologize for flooding the blog with umpteen posts about Paris. I went a little trigger happy with both the camera and smartphone and ended up with backlogs of photos, all waiting to be edited. Most of the popular French food and fashion have made their way across the channel in the previous years. They're more accessible and are readily available online so there wasn't an urgency to seek out yet another obscure Isabel Marant piece.

Our refusal to shop has had a rather adverse effect on our weight. Josephine, Lil L and I ate. And ate. And ate...........

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Next stop - Little Breizh (Breizh is the Breton word for Brittany) is a charming but small creperie, tucked away in a narrow cobbled lane in St-Germaine-des-Pres. They offer a 2 course crepe meal for just under €10 or a fancier version with smoked salmon for €14.80, served with either pressed apple juice or cider from a small artisanal farm. The place fills up pretty quickly during lunch time. The ham and cheese with egg crepe was so so but the creamed spinach that Josephine ordered was sensational. Biting into the salted caramel crepe was like tasting manna for the very first time. It was THAT good.

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I'm sure the staff at Un Dimanche a Paris thought we were bloody mad tourists. We walked in and sniffed the air like a bloodhound. We nearly passed out in ecstasy at the sight of the beautifully crafted patisserie and chocolate. Alas, we were so full that we simply couldn't stuff a single mouthful of food down our throat. We promised ourselves that we HAVE to make it back to this incredible restaurant/patisserie/chocolatier on our next trip back to Paris.



ba&sh
Minnie-mouse
OOTD
Outfit: Rick Owens leather jacket (similar), Petit Bateau breton (take 1 to 2 sizes up) , The Kooples sweat pants, Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandouliere 35cm and New Balance 420 sneakers

This time around, I came to Paris prepared for a week long gorge fest. I brought along sweat pants and boyfriend jeans because skinny jeans would've been a torture after scarfing down a meal followed by a visit to a patisserie and a chocolatier...... As for Lil L....her current fashion statement is a pair of Minnie Mouse ears that she insists on wearing everywhere. The large mouse ears drew many chuckles from the locals.

I wished I had popped into Ba&sh because I would've loved to check out this beautiful anglaise broderie top

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Speaking of a chocolatier..... Patrick Roger. Master Chocolatier. Undeniably gooooood. We were offered one chocolate after another to sample. I had to say no after my second because I was already waddling about like a duck having eaten a month's worth of sweets in less than 3 days. We staggered out the store clutching a small bag of chocolates. The smartly dressed gentleman behind the counter patiently explained how the chocolates were made (my goodness, are they works of art!). Amazingly, they now ship internationally!

Un Dimanche a Paris
4-6-8 Cour du Commerce Saint André
Saint-Germain-dres-Pres
Metro: Odéon

Little Breizh
11 rue Grégoire de Tours
Saint-Germain-des-Pres
Metro: Saint-Germain-des-Pres or Odéon

Patrick Roger  (they have stores in Madeleine, Faubourg etc)
108 Boulevard Saint-Germain
Metro: Odéon


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