Marais Mansions: 18th Century Hotel de Rohan

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Another of the gorgeous 300-year-old mansions in Paris’s Marais district is the massive Hotel de Rohan, officially named the Hotel de Rohan Strasbourg as it was built in 1705 for the bishop of Strasbourg, Francois-Armand-August de Rohan-Soubise. This 18th century mansion was designed by architect Pierre Alexis-Delamair as the sister to the nearby Hotel de Soubise estate, Today, both manors are owned by the French government, and serve as the location for France’s national archives and the Musee de l’Histoire de France. Continue Reading →

G. Detou: A Must-Stop Shop for Pastry Chefs

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Paris is heaven for both amateur and professional patissiers (pastry chefs and bakers). Not only are there numerous world-class pastry shops (patisseries) to try, but there are several culinary supply stores that are simply unsurpassed in their collections of baking equipment and supplies. For pastry chefs looking for the highest-quality or the most unusual ingredients, the boutique of choice is G. Detou. The shop’s name is a homonym for the French term “I have everything”—j’ai de tout. And the place does seem to have it all. If you can’t find it here, you won’t be able to find it in all of Paris. Continue Reading →

An Easter Visit to the Dazzling Sainte Chapelle

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It’s Easter weekend in Paris—called Paques in French. And visitors to the City of Light can enhance their appreciation of the role of Catholicism in the history of Paris through all of the fine art and architecture that can be seen via the city’s 125-plus churches. One of the very best of these—and a must-see destination for first-time visitors—is the dazzling Sainte Chapelle, located just a few blocks from its more famous cousin, Notre Dame. Continue Reading →

Saint Gilles Garden Offers Total Serenity

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One of my favorite green spaces in the Marais is the tranquil Jardin Saint Gilles Grand Veneur-Pauline Roland, a roughly 1,000-square-meter park that is among the most secluded spots in the City of Light, mostly because the park is nearly impossible to find. The garden, particularly enjoyable in late spring when the hundreds of pink, red and white rose bushes and covered trellises are in full bloom, is tucked into a hidden courtyard between several large stone buildings, including the Hotel Grand Veneur mansion built in 1637 for the captain of the king’s huntsmen. Continue Reading →

Poilane: One of Paris’s Finest Boulangeries

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Asking a group of Parisians where to find the best bread in the city is like throwing a match onto a pile of dynamite. Let’s just say nearly everyone in the City of Light has a very strong opinion as to which boulangerie is the best. What most can agree on, however, is that one of the most well-known and iconic boulangeries in Paris is the shop in the Saint German des Pres neighborhood made world famous by the late bread maker Lionel Poilane—aptly and simply named Poilane. Continue Reading →

Where Do You Go in Paris When It’s Hot? Berthillon!

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It’s hot here in SoCal this week — hotter even than the worst days of last summer. And that has me thinking of my favorite place in Paris to cool off – the famed Berthillon ice cream emporium. The products here are all natural – no chemicals, artificial sweeteners or stabilizers – and are shipped to restaurants throughout the region. But the real treat is visiting the shop on the Ile Saint Louis. The ice creamery offers up to 30 flavors per day, and can be had in cones, cups or – if you visit the tea room next door – delectable sundaes! Continue Reading →