Paris vs. New York

People who adore New York say they love the energy, the creativity, the vibe. People love Paris for its timelessness, its beauty and elegance. Both cities are diverse and ever-changing. My list does not go to the core of Paris or New York – it is a list of first impressions alone.

The Tiniest of Paris Apartments

Eyes widen when I tell people that our Paris apartment is only 18 square metres. It feels larger, I tell them, especially in summer when the windows open up onto the 7m2 balcony. Actually, I like it. When you say you own a pied-à-terre in Paris, people make assumptions about wealth and privilege. I temper…

Paris Picks – Soma

Tucked away in a small street of the Haut Marais, Soma is a hidden gem dishing up Japanese fusion to experimental locals. From outside, this little restaurant looks undeniably inviting. The Head Chef takes centre stage, surrounded by diners at the bar. Small wooden tables fill what is left of the space, lining the exposed stone walls….

BBQ on the Balcony – More Simple Suppers

Since we got the flat, we’ve been um-ing and ah-ing over whether or not to get a BBQ for the terrace.  I thought it might get stolen. We might annoy the neighbours (drive them mad with jealousy) with the smells of chargrilling entrecôte. And we weren’t even sure if it is allowed, by the building or the…

How to Enjoy Your First Time in Paris

Google a weekend in Paris and you’ll get page after page of itineraries, top-10s, must-see’s and do-not-leave-Paris-without’s. Scrap those. Don’t exhaust yourself trying to see and do it all with a million other tourists for company. Go to Paris just to be there. Stroll its streets, sit in its cafes and soak up its atmosphere. You’ll be…

Paris Picks – Baffo

This tiny restaurant, tucked away on a small street just off Rue Rambuteau, offers uncomplicated, grown-up Italian dining. Head to Baffo for its intimate atmosphere, sophisticated home cooking and friendly service. Don’t be misled: although this neighbourhood restaurant is casual and welcoming, serving up instantly recognizable Italian staples, there isn’t a checkered tablecloth in sight….

Find That Real Christmas Feeling in Paris

Rumour has it that 150,000 lights make up the Christmas decorations on Champs-Élysées. Glitzy department stores compete for the most original window display. But to get that real Christmas feeling, skip the boulevards and head to the small streets of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, le Marais and Montmartre. There, independent shops deck their doorways with holly and pine….

Paris Picks – Le Bouquet des Archives

Le Bouquet des Archives is a quintessential neighbourhood bar where good quality plats du jour are hurried out to a devoted crowd of locals, workers and the odd stray tourist by efficient and friendly (well, as friendly as efficiency will allow) staff. As is typical of most local cafes in Paris, many who frequent this bustling bar are regulars. I…

Don’t be Scared of Going to Paris

These days, I often get asked if I feel safe in Paris. The city is on high terror alert but I force myself to think rationally. The attacks in Paris targeted our freedom and I sit firmly in the camp that believes that if we give in to fear, the terrorists have won. Of course I was…

Paris Weather – Expect the Unexpected

Paris can be freezing cold, scorching hot, and everything in-between. What I have learned is that the weather is never guaranteed. Expect it to feel colder than you think in winter and either hotter or colder than you would imagine in summer. Any season can produce an unexpected cold-spell, or an Indian heat-wave. One thing…

Paris Picks – Cafe Philippe

If you find yourself on Rue de Bretagne, looking for something a bit more tranquil, cross through Square du Temple and onto Rue Duepetit-Thouars where a string of restaurants crowd the pavement of an almost traffic-free street. Tempted by the small menu of inventive sounding homemade dishes, we chose Café Philippe as our lunch spot…