Tea Time? Head to Mariage Freres in the Marais

Mariage Freres 6

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 →

E. Dehillerin: Copper Cookware And So Much More

E Dehillerin 6

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 →

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

G Detou 3

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 →

UPDATE: Thanksgiving Store in Paris Closes

Thanksgiving Shop on the Left Bank

With turkey day fast approaching, American expats in Paris and long-term visitors to the City of Light are beginning their searches for all the ingredients for the traditional Thanksgiving meal. And a Marais boutique named Thanksgiving is the only one-stop shop in all of Paris — perhaps even all of France — to purchase everything needed to cook turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, yams topped with marshmallows and, of course, pumpkin pie. Or, we should say was the only such shop in the City of Light. Shoppers will sadly find the unique boutique permanently shuttered. Continue Reading →

A Visit to the Delightful Rue Montorgueil Market Street

Montorguril

An extremely popular 2nd Arrondissement destination for both tourists and locals is the Rue Montorgueil market street, a five-block long lane between Rue Etienne Marcel and Rue Reaumur. Home to more than two dozen specialty food shops, cafes and bistros, including a patisserie founded nearly 280 years ago by the head pastry chef to king Louis XV, Rue Montorgueil is a real treat even if you’re just window shopping (called faire du leche-vitrines in French, which oddly translates to “window licking). Continue Reading →

Turkey Day in Paris? Head to Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2

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 →

Viaduc des Arts: Shopping Below an Elevated Park

Viaduc des Arts 3

Many visitors to Paris are familiar with the Coulee Verte Rene-Dumont, more commonly called the Promenade Plantee, a 4.7-kilometer long elevated park built atop a disused elevated railway line that runs roughly from the Place de la Bastille to the Bois de Vincennes on the eastern outskirts of the city. But equally recognizable—and even sometimes confused for the park above it—is the Viaduc des Arts, a rehabilitated arched bridge in the 12th Arrondissement that hoists only a small portion of the park, but is home to many ground-level shops, galleries and restaurants. And the shops—while typically pricey—are unique and well worth a visit. Continue Reading →

Le BHV: Parisians’ Preferred Department Store

BHV 14

There is no city in the world that offers better shopping than Paris. From charming little boutiques to immaculate florist shops to the most well-stocked pharmacies to the grandest department stores, Paris is nirvana for those whose motto is “I came, I saw, I did a little shopping.” Visitors to the City of Light tend to make a beeline for one of the city’s celebrated department stores, typically either Galeries Lafayette on the Right Bank or Le Bon Marche on the Left. But many Parisians prefer BHV Marais for it’s affordable prices, wide selection of merchandise and that fact that it is—and always has been—open on Sundays. Continue Reading →

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

Lexard Cafe 4

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 →