Tag Archives: paris

Turning 30 And Reflecting Back On The Decade Behind Me

October 6, 2015

So I turned 30.

Turning 30

Hurrah!

And I wanted to write a little bit about it because being alive for three decades ain’t just no little piece of pie.

I wondered what kind of post I should write to commemorate the big 3-0. At first I toyed with the idea of writing a 30s themed beauty post like “30 Beauty Tips.” But the idea bored me.

Instead, I’d rather just write about what I’m really thinking.

Continue reading

Picnic By The Seine

10 Not So Touristy Things To Do In Paris (Part II)

June 15, 2013

This list includes places and activities that may be of interest for those who are looking for hidden gems in Paris.

Just to reiterate, this is by no means a comprehensive list. I don’t claim to be expert on all things in Paris. These are just a few of my own discoveries from the time that I’ve lived here.

Items 1-5 of this list can be found in Part I!

Now to continue with my list of 10 Not So Touristy Things In Paris

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6) Eat At One Of The Few Vegetarian Restaurants

Healthy and tasty vegetarian meals are another one of those things that are hard to find in Paris.

If you’re a vegetarian, eating in restaurants in Paris can be a little frustrating. Local bistros don’t offer many vegetable options, and their salads will often have some kind of meat in it.

Les Saveurs Veget'Halles

(Image taken from Saveurs Végét’Halles’ website)

I recommend Saveurs Végét’Halles mainly because I haven’t been to too many other vegetarian restaurants in Paris.

Ok, I’ve TRIED to go others. But I swear, every time, my efforts were always met with failure. Either the restaurant had shut down or their hours were really weird. And yes, I have been to others, but just because it’s vegetarian does not necessarily mean it’s healthy.

So for me, Saveurs Végét’Halles is my trusty vegetarian restaurant. They have a very good selection of healthy vegetarian as well as vegan dishes. I often get their steamed veggie plate with a side of lentils and a small portion of whole grains. Also, don’t forget to ask about their soupe du jour!

Saveurs Végét’Halles
Address: 41 Rue des Bourdonnais 75001 Paris
Tel: 01 40 41 93 95

7) Where To Drink Good Absinthe

I realize how ironic it is that my suggestion for eating at a healthy vegetarian restaurant is followed by a recommendation of where to drink good absinthe…

But life must be lived!

Drinking Absinthe(Image taken from L’Express)

One excellent address for drinking absinthe in Paris is La Fée Verte, which means ‘The Green Fairy’. Don’t worry, I don’t think the absinthe here is as potent as the name might suggest.

La Fée Verte is where I got to experience for the first the peculiar process that’s involved in drinking absinthe.

I’ll do my best to describe it. First, you are given a spoon with a cube of sugar, which you must place over the glass. Then you use a contraption which may have been invented during the age of alchemy. It has multiple spigots coming out of it which allow you to slowly drip water down onto the sugar cube. And when I say slowly, I mean drop by drop.

As the water mixes with the absinthe, the liquor begins to change colors, often becoming white and cloudy. You can select from a menu of different kinds of absinthe and each one has its own special taste.

La Fée Verte
Address: 108 rue de la Roquette 75011 Paris
Tel: 08 99 10 66 84

8) Rifle Through A Vide-Grenier. Or Better Yet, Sell Off Your Old Things.

I love garage sales! I really do! And spring and fall are the seasons of the brocantes/vide-greniers, when people empty their apartment of things they no longer need.

You can find A LOT of good stuff during one of these vide-greniers. And professional antique-hunters are usually around and on the lookout for collectibles.

Paris Brocante

It’s usually organized as a neighborhood-wide event, so only residents in that neighborhood are allowed to sell during a vide-grenier. Consider yourself as having graduated from tourist status if you manage to sell off your old things during one of these vide-greniers 😉

Also, be aware that certain districts and neighborhoods tend to have better stuff. The best vide-grenier I’ve seen was the one near Fille du Calvaire, in the 3rd and 11th arrondissement.

To find out when and where vide-greniers are taking place, you can go here (the site is in french but you can figure it out).

9) Explore The Passages

There are many overlooked passages in Paris. These are long, narrow, enclosed hallways tucked in-between buildings. And they are usually covered with tall glass roofs.

Many passages are shopping arcades, filled with tiny, unique artisanal boutiques.

Passages Of Paris

Some people would point out that this one belongs in the list of “touristy things to do.” But on the contrary, I think the passages are not as obvious as other tourist attractions.

There is an element of mystery and exploration that I attach to passages. First of all, they are not easy to spot. And when you do find them, they are often quiet and empty. And you always feel like you’re the only living soul around.

10) Have A Picnic By The River

As the weather gets warmer, it is quite common to see Parisians sitting by the river banks with a blanket spread out and a bottle of wine.

It’s a marvelous (and cheap) way to hang out with friends. Everyone will usually bring something to the picnic. Bread, cheeses, dried meats and olives are standard fare. Sometimes someone will be inclined to bring a whole roasted chicken, a pot of ratatouille and even some oysters if they’re feeling fancy.

Picnic By The Seine

My absolute favorite part about picnicking by the river is waving to the boats of tourists that float by. It’s quite fun to see how many of them will wave back to you.

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That’s it! Hope you’ve found something in this list that tickles your fancy.

For more Paris and France related posts, visit my Paris Mon Amour series.

Le cafeotheque paris

10 Not So Touristy Things To Do In Paris (Part I)

June 11, 2013

10 days left! 9 days left!

This is me counting down the days left before I leave Paris. Aaaaahh! I’m not freaking out, I’m not freaking out…

Today, I would like to offer some insights into Paris, which I think will be most useful for people who are looking for hidden gems in Paris.

This list will be comprised of lesser known locales and digs which I’ve discovered during my time here, as well as some leisurely activities which Parisians are known to partake in.

1) Favorite place to have a REAL cup of coffee.

Paris has a great café culture and a terrible coffee culture.

If you’re a true coffee lover, finding truly good coffee in Paris is not that easy. Parisians don’t care too much about the quality of their coffee, or where it came from or how fresh it is (for goodness sakes, they even think Nespresso is good).

This really surprised me at first. But things are changing now. Slowly. Very slowly. There have been more and more coffee shops popping up over the years that cater more to serious coffee drinkers.

Le cafeotheque paris

If you’re looking for a good coffee shop, I recommend Le Caféothèque (near Hotel de Ville).

This is supposedly where the coffee revolution in Paris began seven years ago. It was opened by Gloria Montenegro, a former Ambassador of Guatemala, and considered to be the doyenne of ‘coffeology.’

le cafeotheque

(Images from Le Caféothèque’s website and facebook page)

Le Caféothèque feels more like the college town coffee shop that I’m used to in the US.

It has a great selection of coffee, mainly from Central and South America. And a few from Africa. I also really like the cozy environment in which you can enjoy your coffee, as well as musical performances. You can also take some classes here on how to make good coffee.

For more places to find good coffee, check out Time Out‘s list of The Best Coffee in Paris.

2) Visit your local market on market day.

Market day is a long running tradition in Paris. And every arrondissement, from the 1st to the 20th, has a market that comes alive only once or twice a week.

Market Day Paris

During market day, certain streets are blocked off and become filled with market stands and throngs of market-goers.

Going to a market day is a dynamic way to get a feel for the local neighborhood. And also, it’s an incredibly cheap way to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables for the week.

Fish at a Parisian market

You’ll also find plenty of fresh seafood, fresh meats, cheeses, jams and a whole assortment of artisanal goods.

There are stands that bring in local produce from surrounding areas, as well as entire markets dedicated to organic produce.

For information on your local market’s where and when: visit the Mairie de Paris’ website and find a complete schedule.

3) Visit the Peniches by the Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand.

Peniches are the long, flat boats that are always found docked along the banks of the Seine river.

Sometimes, they serve as the private residence of a few rich and very lucky people. Other times, they actually serve as restaurants, bars or even music venues.

You can find several of these kinds of peniches near the Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand.

Peniches in Paris

It’s a little out of the way from the center of Paris. But it’s a fantastic place to go if you want to get away from the noisy crowds of tourists.

The vibe is chill and the restaurants cook up delicious dishes at enticing prices.

Peniches in Paris

Right next to the peniches are open air restaurants that provide lounge style seating.

After the sun has set and you’ve finished your food and drinks, you can saunter up to one of the concert peniches, like Le Petit Bain, and check out if any good music is playing that night.

To get there: take Metro line 14 to the Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand stop. Then walk towards the river.

4) Eat good Mexican food.

We have friends here from California who scoff at the idea that there could possibly be any decent mexican food in Paris.

But I’ve found three that are my favorite! And I’m telling you, they are seriously legit…

Itacate Mexican Restaurant In Paris

(Image from Itacate website)

Itacate doesn’t load their tacos with layers of garnish. And I like that because it actually allows you to really savor the flavors of the meat. Their corn tortilla chips are made fresh and their guacamole are made with real avocados.

El Guacamole Mexican Restaurant In Paris

(Image from El Guacamole website)

El Guacamole is my favorite out of all my favorites. Mainly because they have the best menu deals! Apart from the delicious mexican food and tasty margaritas, they also have the best guacamole in town (you can probably guess that from their name).

Candelaria Mexican Restaurant In Paris

Candelaria is the most creative and the most sought after Mexican restaurant in all of Paris. There is always a line of people trailing out the door. And because it’s such a tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant, you’ll probably end up being turned away. But when you do finally luck out at trying their food… don’t be surprised if you catch yourself moaning!

5) Drink good beer.

In France, wine has always been the beloved favorite while beer has just been relegated to the corner as the ugly step-child.

But then, some genius finally figured out that for the french to love and accept beer, it has to be given the same gourmand treatment as wine. Meaning that beer must be served in small quantities, in fancy glasses and paired with food.

My favorite place to drink beer in Paris is La Fine Mousse in the Oberkampf area.

la fine mousse paris

La Fine Mousse serves up quite an impressive array of artisanal beers, which have either been brewed locally or have been picked with great care from the international beer front.

La Fine Mousse Paris

(Images by Diane Yoon of Diane Abroad in My Paris: Week 9)

Also, take note: ordering the meat and cheese plate at La Fine Mousse is a quick way to gain a gourmand’s appreciation for beer.

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This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but hopefully you’ve discovered one or two things that pique your interest.

Coming Up: Part II of 10 Not So Touristy Things To Do In Paris!

Also check out the Paris Mon Amour series for more Paris and France related posts.