The No. 1 Sandwich in France Is …

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Last year, a sandwich most of the world’s citizens associate with America was the most-consumed sandwich in France. Yes, hamburgers–or, as they call them in France, les burgers–topped the list of most-eaten sandwiches in the nation. For the first time ever, burgers edged what many consider to be the classic French on-the-run food–the iconic jambon beurre sandwich (ham and butter on a baguette). Continue Reading →

Viewing the Crown of Thorns at Notre Dame

The Crown of Thorns, inside its protective case

Gargoyles. The rose window. Victor Hugo’s hunchback. Flying buttresses. These are just a few of the countless reasons why Parisians and visitors to the City of Light visit and fall in love with Notre Dame de Paris, the stunning gothic cathedral that often is included with the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe as iconic symbols of Paris. But for Catholics, indeed for all Christians, the church also is host to one of the most important relics in all of Christendom—the Crown of Thorns, allegedly worn by Jesus during his crucifixion. And visitors to the cathedral can see this most holy of artifacts all day on Good Friday. Continue Reading →

A (Mostly) Forgotten Louvre-Area Church

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Visitors to Paris are, of course, familiar with most of the vicinity around the Louvre—the gorgeous, massive museum itself, the pristine Tuileries park to the west, the picturesque Seine to the south and the trendy Rue de Rivoli to the north. Note, the use of the word “most,” because even the savviest tourist typically misses the buildings just “behind” (to the east of) the renowned museum, and that’s a shame, because it’s home to one of the most beautiful and historic churches in all of Paris—Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois. Continue Reading →

Sole Meuniere, a Julia Child Favorite

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For many of us unfortunate to not have been born and bred in France, our first introduction to French cuisine was likely through quirky chef and cookbook author Julia Child, whose life in Paris is thoroughly chronicled in the wonderful book My Life in France. And what was Child’s first meal in Paris, one which would become one of her favorite French dishes? Sole meuniere. Continue Reading →

For Extreme Opulence, Visit the Opera Garnier

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If you want a glimpse of how Louis XVI may have lived, it’s not necessary to trek all the way to Versailles, the massive royal palace on the outskirts of Paris, a trip to which will take up an entire day of your visit to the City of Light. If you’re hoping to save some time and yet also experience over-the-top opulence and more gold leaf than Donald Trump’s infamous golden bathroom, head to Paris’s Palais Garnier. Typically called just the Opera Garnier, this gorgeous Beaux-Arts and Neo-Baroque palace was built on the border of the 2nd and 9th arrondissements in the late 19th century to host the renowned Paris Opera. And it’s perhaps even more spectacular than anything one might see at Louis’s former palace, even the oft-photographed Hall of Mirrors. Continue Reading →

Another French Holiday Cake – the Galette des Rois

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Visitors to Paris at this time of year—particularly those who pop into Parisian patisseries or even grocery stores like Franprix, Monoprix or Carrefour—will undoubtedly see a seasonal dessert for sale that is unique to Europe: Galette des Rois. Translated as the “Cake of Kings,” this circular (or, less often, rectangular) cake celebrates Epiphany, the Biblical story of the arrival of the three wise men /magi to the newly born Christ child. This holiday is celebrated on January 6 each year–12 days after Christmas, marking the end of the traditional “12 Days of Christmas” as immortalized in the classic holiday song). Continue Reading →

Turkey Day in Paris? Head to Thanksgiving

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Parisians don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Nope, there’s no turkey. No stuffing. No candied yams. No cranberry sauce. No pumpkin pie. No, Thanksgiving is very much an American holiday, and with the exception of a few restaurants catering to U.S. tourists that offer a Thanksgiving Day meal, the holiday is virtually ignored in the City of Light. So, what do expats do when they want to cook up a big Turkey Day feast with all the trimmings? Or those visitors to Paris who are lucky enough to be in a rental apartment and who wish to prepare a scaled-down version of the grand holiday dinner? Those in the know head to Thanksgiving, a delightfully quirky Marais shop specializing in American foodstuffs. Continue Reading →

Why You Should Opt for the Croissant au Beurre

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Breakfast in Paris? It’s time for a croissant, bien sur! But don’t make the mistake that many visitors to the City of Light make when popping into one of Paris’s many fantastic boulangeries/patisseries and simply ordering “un croissant.” You’ll more than likely end up with a product made with margarine. And considering one of the hallmarks of a good croissant is a rich, buttery flavor, who wants a mouthful of fakery? Continue Reading →

Visiting One of Paris’s Most Unusual Churches

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Eglise Saint-Merri is arguably the most unusual church in the City of Light. As much a cultural center, gallery and concert hall as it is a Catholic house of worship, Saint-Merri is unique in all of Paris in that visitors are as likely to visit for a myriad of other reasons as they are to attend Mass. Possibly even more so. Continue Reading →

Angelina: Coco Chanel’s Favorite Hot Chocolate

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Have you ever daydreamed of sipping hot chocolate and sampling pastries in Paris with the legendary fashion designer and glitterati mainstay Coco Chanel? While that’s a lovely but unattainable fantasy, we’ve got the next-best, real-world option: paying a visit to Angelina, a world-famous patisserie-tea room on the Rue de Rivoli that was a favorite haunt of Madame Chanel—and of Marcel Proust, Audrey Hepburn and virtually every luminary in the haute-couture fashion design world throughout the 20th century. You’ll become an instant fan, too! Continue Reading →