Posts Tagged ‘Maison de thé’

Escape from London: a few ideas for Paris

Ah, Paris, always a feast for the heart and the palate…

* Wander through the 9th arrondissement. Not the most touristic and yet, such an atmospheric place -  lots of bistrots, patisseries, independent shops and delis. A little village, a slower pace of life and you will even glimpse Montmartre.

* Stop by at the Cakes de Bertrand boutique. Nothing to do with the pastry but you will melt for the adorable vintage inspired jewels. You cannot walk by and not get one.

* Marvel at the beautiful jam collection at La chambre aux confitures. Summer tastes of fruit filled with sun and juices, floral fragrances such as raspberry and rose and even chocolate conconctions to die for. The cacao-Morello cherry is to be enjoyed straight with a spoon…

* On the Champs-Elysées, ignore Sephora. Go next door – number 68 – instead:  Guerlain is a temple of beauty indeed -  every bottle, every detail looks fit for the most gorgeous of boudoirs.

* Look out for street art, especially the refined drawings by Fred Le Chevalier, very poetic.

* A must stop for cake lovers : Un dimanche à Paris. This patisserie serves the best hot chocolate in town -  velvety and rich. The boutique is filled with amazing creations like fennel or rosemary in chocolate, raspberry and tarragon tartlets… Look at this succulent pistachio and red fruit cream puff – silkiness of the cream against the tangy tastes of the coulis and a heart of fresh fruit compote…

* At Sabre, fall for the collection of spoons (like I did).

* Rather than yet another guide, buy this sketchbook -  Paris as we love it, defying time.

* In the marché Saint-Germain, have a look at the Flanders cheesemonger. The names sound as little poems. Rovethym, Cabri aux épices, Figue rose…

* If you are passionate for tea, you will marvel at Jugetsudo. The shop offers a magical collection of tepots and high quality leaves and also serves perfect cups of Matcha, Gyokuro, Hojicha with a macaron, sweet or chocolate of your choice. A little expensive, from 12 to 15€, but the peaceful atmosphere and the perfection of the brew are so very worth it.

* Even if this is way over your budget step in the Hermès shop (17 rue de Sèvres). The atmosphere is very magical indeed and the staff will not pressure you with questiosn nor funny looks, on the contrary. The architecture at the heart of the building is splendid – fascinating huts of curved, braided wood, playing on transparency and illuminated from inside by a warm light.

* Resist, not resist? There always is a little treasure to be found at the Bon Marché

Escape from London: a few ideas for Paris

* Have lunch at Tch’a (6, Rue Pont de Lodi, 75006 Tel: 0033 1 43 29 61 31), one of the rare tea houses in Paris. Soothing Asian music, air sweet with incense – such a different world from the Parisian street. A 19€ menu is served at lunch time – simple but tastes are concentrated, vegetables melt in the mouth. All teas have poetic names that tell of faraway countries, such as Dragon of Fujian. Served in tiny clay teapots that contain just enough to fill your cup, they are also brought with an enamel thermos of boiling water so that you can brew an infinite quantity. So velvety and relaxing you will burn your tastebuds by wanting the next sip too quickly!

* Keep your eyes open for the galerie Perrotin. RJ is showing a retrospective there till Jan 07, 2012 -  portraits of extatic of wrinkled faces on buildings, trains, anywhere in the world. Their gaze touches a cord deep in you, leaving you incredibly moved. If patience is one of your skills join the queue for the (free) photo taking sessions and you will get one of yours as a poster.

* Of course, we regard the usual souvenirs as kitsch. But those lavender sachets are stilll sure to make your friends smile in pure pleasure. It’s the Paris touch.

* Stop at Bonton (several shops through Paris) -  you will wish you were a child again. Your purchases will be wrapped in adorable  starred fabric bags.

* Tip your hats to lovers featured on rich cast iron doors. Look out for those in Le Marais particularly.

* No matter what you are looking for -  you are sure to fill your bags at Merci. Beautiful wooden cutlery, sublime Annick Goutal fragrances with a simplified design so less expensive than in the usual shops (hoorray!), gorgeous home decoration, adorable paper goods. You will not have enough hands to carrry everything -  better come with a fiancé, really. The café in the basement offers a wide selection of cakes and free wifi – always handy!

* Take your adventurers to be (whether little or big ones) to have a look at the toy soldiers of the Soldats d’Antan. Always brings a total fascination and childhood dreams.

* If you love craft, stop by at La Petite Manufacture. They have regular workshops where you can experiment with ceramic, kirigami, sewing… I’m afraid it is all in French though so that will depend on your level in froggie language. They also do kids sessions and birthday parties.

* Close to Notre Dame, Place Louis Lépine is a small flower market all week long. On Sundays, birds join in and it becomes ever so cheerful with chips and tweets. You will want to open the doors and caress them all. The stall also sell all kind of grain and shaped cages. I have not seen a child not falling in love with this place.

* Go to the rue Mouffetard on a Sunday morning and just sit at the terrasse of a café. This is a market day in the street and such a mix. People eating their way through a croissant, grand-mothers wearing their best clothes, cheeks pink with the chilled air and maybe a bit of blush, a gentlemen indulging in a selection of cheese… Aromas of roast chicken and herb potatoes mix with the ones of just-out-of-the-oven baguettes. This is not about filling the fridge for the week but for little pleasure -  the Sunday cream cake all wrapped up and ribonned whether it is for the family or yourself. A couple of perfect apples and a handful of chestnuts -  who know, little patches of colpurs, little slices of life. Meeting an old friend in the street, the crowd flowing around you, stones in a river, breaking through, two universes mingling. Music being played in the street, people stopping by and smiling.

* Brunch at Caramelle (6 Rue de l’Arbalète  75005 Paris, tel 0033 1 43 36 60 79). Wooden touches, festive, charming smiles of the waitresses, such a happy feeling, a family home. For 18€ only, there will be bread and homemade jams, salmon and roasted vegetables, a silky yummy soup, waffle with sweet chantilly cream and marshmallows, greek yogurt and fruit coulis dusted with speculoos. And of course, a farmer’s apple juice and a hot drink, tea, coffee, mulled wine in the winter. The menu will change from one week to another but the atmosphere remains as enthusiastic and welcoming.

* Don’t forget to walk along the Seine, as characters do in movies and books. The city mirrors its many lights, firing the water, bridges look about to tell you stories and legends. A little magic.


This Week End in London

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