Rude Parisians? Not If You Make a Bit of Effort!

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My fellow bloggers at Paris Attitude have put together a helpful list of tips for travelers to Paris. But there are a few other sage pieces of advice that Americans should keep in mind so that we don’t perpetuate the stereotype of arrogant tourists and so we will smooth our interactions with waiters, shop clerks and fellow pedestrians so that we will never experience that cliche of the rude Parisian. Continue Reading →

Paris’s Passages: The World’s First Malls

shopping "passage"

Did you know that Paris was home to what are considered the first shopping malls? Called “passages,” these covered streets and courtyards (usually just one long thoroughfare, but sometimes consisting of several intersecting passages) first cropped up in Paris in the late 1700s and spread like wildfire in the early to mid-1800s. Continue Reading →

Pampered Pooches at Moustaches in the Marais

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No one pampers their pets more than gay men and lesbians, and Paris’s LGBT animal lovers make a beeline for Moustaches, a large dog- and cat-specific emporium offering everything imaginable to spoil Fido or Fluffy. Sure, the boutique carries the basics, but with more than 3,000 items available, you’ll find plenty of fun merchandise—including hundreds of toys—that make fantastic gifts for your furry family members. Continue Reading →

Paris’s Oldest Candy Store: A la Mere de Famille

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Some of the best chocolatiers in the world live in and operate out of Paris, including such renowned chocolate makers as Christian Constant, Michel Cluziel, Pierre Herme, Jean-Paul Hevin and Patrick Roger, to name just a few. But in addition to the shops operated by these sultans of sweets, there’s another chocolate emporium that is highly regarded by Parisians and well worth a visit by any tourist to the City of Light—the A la Mere de Famille chain of boutiques. Specifically, the Rue du Faubourg-Montmatre outlet in the 9th Arrondissement, which is the oldest chocolate shop in Paris, founded in 1761. Yes, this charming and enormously photogenic shop, both inside and out, has been open for 254 years. Continue Reading →

Lafayette Gourmet: An Epicurean Delight

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There are countless Parisian destinations that provide the highest-quality French food items and cooking products—even for us amateur home chefs—including G. Detou, Hediard, Fauchon, La Grande Epicerie de Paris at Le Bon Marche and scores of smaller specialty shops and boutiques throughout the City of Light. But one epicurean destination I keep returning to time and time again is Lafayette Gourmet, the high-end food hall operated by the venerable Galeries Lafayette department store on the Boulevard Haussmann. And it’s because Continue Reading →

UPDATE: A L’Etoile d’Or to Reopen Nov. 3!

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UPDATE: After a gas explosion destroyed her candy shop A l’Etoile d’Or in February 2014, it was reported that shop owner Denise Acabo had thrown in the towel and would not be reopening the boutique that drew visitors from around the world. But multiple reports out just today say that Acabo is stocking her shelves for a Nov. 3 reopening! This is a most welcome development for scores of candy fans throughout Paris–and indeed the entire world–who regularly visited Acabo’s renowned shop. If you’ve never been, definitely make a special trip to A l’Etoile d’Or at 30 Rue Fontaine in the 9th Arrondissement (Metro: Blanche/Pigalle). Continue Reading →

Mora: Everything a Pastry Chef Could Desire

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Paris is a top destination for cooks of all stripes, from amateurs looking to improve the dishes they serve to family and friends right up to professional chefs seeking top-notch instruction and unparalleled kitchen experience. There’s a Parisian destination that’s a favorite among bakers and pastry chefs—Mora, a culinary supply store founded in 1814. This large shop in the Les Halles district is crammed top to bottom with more than 5,000 items (all of which also can be purchased online) to meet just about every culinary need. And many Parisians and tourists do, indeed, head to Mora for all of their cooking needs. But Mora is absolute heaven on earth for pastry chefs and bread makers, offering more specialty items for these cooks than any other shop in the City of Light—and quite possibly in the entire world. Continue Reading →

Rue Cler: A Perfect Parisian Shopping Street

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Americans love one-stop shopping—a large grocery emporium where one can stock up on all of the foodstuffs needed for several days. And while supermarkets are becoming more popular in Paris, the City of Light’s residents tend to prefer “one-street shopping”—essentially visiting a street or small section of their neighborhood where they can find a variety of different food shops, including boulangerie for bread, a patisserie for desserts, a fromagerie for eggs and cheese, a boucherie for meat and so on. One of the best is Rue Cler in the 7th Arrondissement. Continue Reading →

Tea Time? Head to Mariage Freres in the Marais

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Most people naturally associate tea with England, where indulging in afternoon tea is practically a national pastime. But the tea trade also became a vital part of France’s economy and part of its aristocratic culture in the mid-17th century when entrepreneurs and explorers began to seek out and import exotic foreign goods, including teas. One of the best-known tea emporiums in France—Mariage Freres—has its roots in this global exploration. Brothers (freres, in French) Nicholas and Pierre Mariage became experts in the tea trade in the mid-1600s, and passed that knowledge on to successive generations of Mariages. Today, the family operates more than 30 tea shops and salons (including sales counters in luxury department stores) around the world, including it’s flagship emporium in Paris’s Marais district that is the perfect setting for a delicious dessert and a spot of tea. Continue Reading →

Don’t Miss Fragonard for Fantastic French Fragrances

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Perfume is big business in France. The nation emerged as a global perfume hub during the Renaissance and by the 18th century, aromatic plants and flowers were cultivated specifically for the perfume industry, particularly in the south of France. As such, it comes as no surprise that one of France’s best-known modern perfumeries—Fragonard—was launched in Grasse, a French Riviera town known as the world capital of perfume that lies just north of Cannes. Best of all, visitors to the City of Light can tour the company’s perfume museum and buy Fragonard scents at seven Paris boutiques. Continue Reading →