Romance in Paris

Hello – Emily here!  Whether single or in a relationship, I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day. My favorite color is pink, it reminds me my birthday is around the corner and if nothing else, chocolates and champagne will soon be on sale.  I was single on Valentine’s Day every year until I turned 29, however I never felt alone and I never failed to celebrate in my…

Hello – Emily here! 

Whether single or in a relationship, I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day. My favorite color is pink, it reminds me my birthday is around the corner and if nothing else, chocolates and champagne will soon be on sale.  I was single on Valentine’s Day every year until I turned 29, however I never felt alone and I never failed to celebrate in my own small way, usually with pink champagne and heart-shaped Neufchatel cheese

The first year I was in a relationship on February 14th, instead of a romantic dinner-a-deux I decided to spread the love and organized (and cooked) a pop-up dinner for 47 guests. It was a huge success, measured by the flurry of new relationships which started that night, in a utilitarian warehouse in East London. My boyfriend on the other hand was no help, though; he got drunk and threw little potatoes at the guests as they left. 

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A socially distanced Christmas in France

Hello, Emily here – ready to celebrate the holidays! We were supposed to be spending this Christmas on the beach in Australia (where I am originally from) but with travel not possible, we’ll be spending it at home in Paris. Holiday traditions in France are so different from Australia (the weather for a start – it was 39ºC/102ºF in Brisbane the last time we spent the holidays…

Hello, Emily here – ready to celebrate the holidays! We were supposed to be spending this Christmas on the beach in Australia (where I am originally from) but with travel not possible, we’ll be spending it at home in Paris. Holiday traditions in France are so different from Australia (the weather for a start – it was 39ºC/102ºF in Brisbane the last time we spent the holidays there) and I’ve had a wonderful time discovering French holiday customs over the past few years. The food, the wine, the decorations, the language. Oh, and did I mention the food?!

This year we’re in semi-lockdown and with most of the activities on my Things to do in Paris at Christmas list off-limits it’s the perfect time to finally try all those creative projects that I never get around to. The Christmas carols are on repeat, we are staying home en famille (with our family), counting our blessings, and beginning to get festive.

Last weekend I simmered some spiced vin-chaud (mulled wine) while we decorated our Sapin de Noël (Christmas tree). The smell of cardamom, cloves and oranges wafted through the apartment as we unpacked our decorations, each one holding sentimental memories. I added some new ones to represent our 2020; a paintbrush and wrench, to remind us that we did a full renovation, during a pandemic, while I was heavily pregnant, and a personalized ornament for our baby girl who we welcomed in July (mid-renovation – it was a lot!). My daughter and I picked the biggest tree we could find and now it sits, quietly dropping its needles on the floor, by our window so the neighbors can enjoy it as well. We are taking bets on who will attack it first – the toddler or Noisette, our dog.

We’ve cracked open the chocolate advent calendars and light an advent candle in the evenings. Each year I also print out a selection of photos of especially funny and memorable moments from the year, my daughter decorates some envelopes they go into and at breakfast my husband opens them day-by-day. They hang along a strand of tinsel until at least the end of January and then we bundle them all up and they go into a memory box, along with the ones from previous years. 

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Holiday Gift Guide: Bringing France to You and Others

Hello, Emily here, from day 29 of the 2nd confinement (lockdown) in France. I never thought you could miss the city you live in, but I miss Paris. Physically she remains present and although stores are allowed to reopen tomorrow, restaurants will remain closed, the streets are quiet and the soul of the city is sleeping. The old Latin motto of Paris is ‘Fluctuat nec mergitur’…

Hello, Emily here, from day 29 of the 2nd confinement (lockdown) in France.

I never thought you could miss the city you live in, but I miss Paris. Physically she remains present and although stores are allowed to reopen tomorrow, restaurants will remain closed, the streets are quiet and the soul of the city is sleeping. The old Latin motto of Paris is ‘Fluctuat nec mergitur’ which roughly translates to ‘tossed by the waves but never sunk’ and wow, has 2020 done some tossing. 

During the second lockdown we have been restricted to a 1km (about half a mile) radius from our homes with a permission slip needed (that you fill out yourself) to go out for essentials (food, medical appointments, etc.) or to exercise. While my little radius included some of my favorite places, most of the city has been decidedly off-limits. 

Over the past 4 weeks we made the most of our allocated hour of ‘exercise’ each day in the nearby Jardin Du Luxembourg, letting the dog do her daily investigating, and letting our kids play in the fresh air. When possible, I also enjoyed a solo walk along the banks of the Seine, whose calm current reminded me that the history of France is filled with challenges that have been overcome. 

I never realized how much of the city I took for granted – perhaps a fitting metaphor for 2020? A quick stop at my local terrace for a coffee or chilled glass of wine, and a quiet exchange with the impeccably dressed waiter. The cultural institutions, who remain shuttered, their beauty and history waiting patiently to be frequented once again (although you can visit many online like the Louvre, Versailles, Centre Pompidou or the Musée d’Orsay). And the small boutiques and independent bookstores that I visit as much for the conversation with the owners as the books. But most of all, I am excited to return to the specialty food shops spread all over town, which were beyond my 1km ‘border.’  Continue Reading Holiday Gift Guide: Bringing France to You and Others...

Lockdown in Paris – plus some easy recipes for kids

Hello, Emily here. We are now on day 27 of official lock-down in Paris and day 32 since we decided to stay home with the kids. With other cities and countries also implementing stricter social distancing measures, I thought I would share our routine, favorite recipes and ways to pass the time, and hopefully pick up some ideas from you in the comments below! –Emily…

Hello, Emily here. We are now on day 27 of official lock-down in Paris and day 32 since we decided to stay home with the kids. With other cities and countries also implementing stricter social distancing measures, I thought I would share our routine, favorite recipes and ways to pass the time, and hopefully pick up some ideas from you in the comments below!

Emily

Lockdown in Paris – plus some easy recipes for kids

With a one-year-old, an eleven-year-old and a dog (not to mention I am also 6-months pregnant, which is wonderful, but can be overwhelming even during the very best of times!) in a Parisian-sized apartment, we had to quickly adapt to keep things manageable. I am self-employed so am working hard to keep my clients for as long as possible while supervising cyber-school and an Evel Knievel-like mini daredevil, who has just learned to walk. My husband Jérémy is also working from home but at a much more structured 9am-7pm job that is continuing as “normally” as possible. Renovations were scheduled to start on an extension to our apartment next week, to accommodate our rapidly growing family, but they are now on hold indefinitely as we try to figure out how best to welcome our upcoming baby with our current living situation. 

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10 tips for a tasty weekend in Biarritz 

Biarritz had been on my travel bucket list for as long as I can remember. In my 20s, working the office grind in London and going for days without seeing any discernible sunshine in winter, I dreamt of buying a van and moving there to surf the endless waves and drink Ricard (pastis) around a beach bonfire. Instead I stayed in my safe job and…

Biarritz had been on my travel bucket list for as long as I can remember. In my 20s, working the office grind in London and going for days without seeing any discernible sunshine in winter, I dreamt of buying a van and moving there to surf the endless waves and drink Ricard (pastis) around a beach bonfire. Instead I stayed in my safe job and displayed the surfboard my friend left behind our sofa in the living room (being Australian by birth, it is a shame that I cannot actually surf).

When I finally got around to visiting the ship had well and truly sailed on the camper-van fantasy, however it was still very easy to embrace the surf town vibe that Biarritz offers. Built on the Atlantic coast with a view to the Pyrénées, in the French Basque countryside, it is around 35 kilometres (22 miles) from the border with Spain. There’s a vibrant food scene and the town is a mix of high-low with luxurious boutiques (there is a Hermès boutique just behind the seafront) and chic homeware stores next to surf rental outlets and oyster shacks.

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Behind the Scenes in Paris – Journees du Patrimoine

Hello – it’s Emily. For those of you that haven’t heard of me, I normally help David behind the scenes with some things on the blog. As a Paris local, I wanted to share with you a very special weekend that my family and I look forward to each year. I hope that you will get the chance to experience it too! -Emily Journees du…

Hello – it’s Emily. For those of you that haven’t heard of me, I normally help David behind the scenes with some things on the blog. As a Paris local, I wanted to share with you a very special weekend that my family and I look forward to each year. I hope that you will get the chance to experience it too!

-Emily


Journees du Patrimoine 21-22nd September 2019

As a city that welcomes nearly 18 million visitors every year, Paris clearly has a lot to offer. With over 2000 monuments and more than 200 museums, there is always something to explore. But Paris also has many places where history is made and art and culture are celebrated, that simply cannot accommodate visitors.

Behind the beautiful doors across the city there are many secrets, gardens, passageways, and places of great interest are normally inaccessible to visitors. However, as the French take their heritage very seriously and in the spirit of liberté, égalite, fraternité (liberty, equality, brotherhood), once a year, doors across Paris swing open to let you in, behind the scenes, for a closer view of the beauty and history inside some of the most famous buildings in the world. 

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10 Things to Do With Kids in Paris

If you’ve gotten a response via email from someone else, it may have been from Emily, who has been helping me keep up with things on the blog, including all the newfangled tech stuff that eludes me. Emily is married, with children, and lives in Paris. Because I get a number of requests about kid-friendly activities in Paris, I asked her to offer up with…

If you’ve gotten a response via email from someone else, it may have been from Emily, who has been helping me keep up with things on the blog, including all the newfangled tech stuff that eludes me. Emily is married, with children, and lives in Paris. Because I get a number of requests about kid-friendly activities in Paris, I asked her to offer up with her 10 favorite things to do with kids in Paris, including bonus tips on dining out with the little ones.

-David


10 Fun Things to Do with Kids in Paris 

With an 11-year-old daughter and a new 6-month-old son, I was worried that I would have a hard time finding activities to suit the whole family.  Happily, while Parisiens have a reputation for indifference, they delight in babies. French people (almost) universally love babies, so they are welcome nearly everywhere in Paris. Below is a list of activities that we have enjoyed recently together as a family, and I hope you will enjoy them too.  

(Words to the wise: While Paris is baby-friendly, the city streets, sidewalks, and compact cafés aren’t always stroller friendly. When in doubt, check the website or call before you go.)

1. Jardin du Luxembourg

The Jardin du Luxembourg is a treasure, with so many things to discover.  At first glance there is the obvious: a newly renovated playground, swings, a carousel and the round pond where you can rent a classic model sailboat.  If you look a little closer you will find a theatre with a daily puppet show, balloon sellers, a fairy floss stand, pony rides and a place to feed ducks in the shade at La Fontaine Médicis. There are hidden beehives (the honey is exclusively sold one day per year), a pétanque terrain where you can watch older men battle it out daily and even a miniature statue of Liberty hidden in the greenery. You can also enjoy lunch outside while the kids explore at La Table du Luxembourg.

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