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 →

E. Dehillerin: Copper Cookware And So Much More

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France is quite simply the center of the culinary universe. And the City of Light itself is home to world-class restaurants, top cooking schools, celebrity chefs and some of the finest culinary supplies stores on the planet. The very best of these renowned boutiques is E. Dehillerin. Founded in 1820, E. Dehillerin is ground zero for high-end culinary equipment, from dishes and serving utensils to cookware, knives and specialty tools, and draws in customers—both pros and amateur cooks—from all over the world, including current culinary superstars Robuchon, Paul Bocuse and Michel Troisgros, as well as the legendary Julia Child, who was a regular E. Dehillerin shopper for more than 50 years. And while there are thousands of products available, the shop’s signature items are its renowned copper cookware. Continue Reading →

Lucky Records: A Quirky Shop for Madonna Maniacs

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Madonna is set to release her 13th studio album, titled “Rebel Heart,” early next month. And possibly the very best place in the entire world to purchase the Material Girl’s newest CD is Lucky Records, a quirky, Madonna-centric shop in Paris’s Les Halles district that is Nirvana for fans of her Madgesty: Virtually every Madonna remix and international music release is available for purchase, as well as posters, magazines, calendars, concert videos and even her films on disc. If there’s a Madonna collectible out there, you’ll likely find it at Lucky Records. 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 →

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 →

Who is Chocolatier Extraordinaire Josephine Vannier?

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Paris is heaven for chocolate lovers, and there are many boutiques run by world-class chocolatiers in the City of Light that should not be missed by sweets connoisseurs—Christian Constant, Michel Cluziel, Pierre Herme, Jean-Paul Hevin and Patrick Roger, to name just a few. But one of my favorites is a Marais shop that is a bit of an enigma—Josephine Vanier on the Rue du Pas de la Mule just steps from the elegant Place des Vosges. It’s not the delicious confections or the gorgeous edible sculptures that are puzzling; it’s exactly who is the never-seen namesake of this fantastic chocolaterie? Continue Reading →

France Protects Booksellers from Amazon.com. Merci!

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While Amazon.com continues to put U.S. book stores out of business through its cut-rate prices and ruthless business tactics to destroy its competition, France has taken action to protect what it deems a vital part of the nation’s culture and heritage. A new law would ban Amazon from offering free shipping to all addresses in the nation, effectively eliminating one of the online seller’s biggest financial advantages. Government officials say the measure is needed to protect two key components of French culture–books and the proprietors that sell them. Continue Reading →