Joyeaux Noel Tout le Monde!

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Wishing readers of Oui Always Have Paris — and all Francophiles everywhere — a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for a happy New Year. Joyeux Noel et Bonne Annee!

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 →

Love Truffles? You’ll Adore Maison de la Truffe

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It’s that wonderful, pungent time of year when fresh truffles are available throughout France. The odorous—but delicious—fungi that grows underground near the roots of trees chiefly in woodland areas (and are traditionally found with the aid or trained pigs or dogs) is abundant during the late fall and early winter. And these rare—and very expensive—are available in shavings, slices and even occasionally whole at high-end markets throughout France. But one of the best places to stock up on the smelly delicacy—and one where you can buy truffle-flavored products at any time of the year—is Maison de la Truffe (House of Truffles), a small shop with an adjacent truffle-themed restaurant located directly on the Place de la Madeleine on the Right Bank. Continue Reading →

Getting Into the Holiday Spirit at Disneyland Paris

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A terrific way to celebrate Christmas while in Paris is a special trip to Disneyland Paris. OK, let’s get this out of the way from the get-go. In no way would I recommend a first-time tourist to the City of Light to take an entire day out of a typically jam-packed schedule to visit the Disney theme park. But, I also know that there are Disney fanatics out there (and I count myself among you!) that place a high priority on visiting Disneyland parks, particularly those outside the U.S. so as to see a “new” perspective on all things Disney. And there are many Americans who make a beeline to Disneyland and/or Disney World each holiday season simply to see the parks decorated from top to bottom for the holidays. Disneyland Paris is a veritable winter wonderland this time of year. Continue Reading →

Celebrating Christmas in Paris with a Buche de Noel

Homemade Buche

A traditional Christmas dessert served in France is the Buche de Noel, or yule log. Nearly every patisserie in the City of Light offers up their own version of this delicious rolled cake, with some of the most elaborate—and most pricey—coming from such celebrated pastry chefs, chocolatiers and patisseries as Pierre Herme, Laurent Duchene, Christophe Roussel, Jean-Paul Hevin, Dalloyau, Laduree and many more. Continue Reading →

My Christmas Decorations That Celebrate Paris

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For lovers of both Paris and Christmas, there are many shops in the City of Light that sell Parisian holiday ornaments and decorations–including Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, many souvenir shops and two wonderful boutiques–Il Etait Une Fois… at 6 Rue Ferdinand Duval in the Marais and Christmas a Paris at 7 Rue de Conde on the Left Bank. And while I’ve bought decor from all of these stores, I was craving something more–something bigger than just a few Paris ornaments for my tree. Here’s what I came up with … Continue Reading →