January 31, 2015

An Elegant Afternoon Tea at La Galerie

As a belated Christmas present, my husband and I took my parents out for afternoon tea. Since their visit to Paris was a special occasion, it was only fitting that it be celebrated properly.

Tea time at the George V has a wonderful reputation, and after experiencing it firsthand, I can without a doubt give my seal of approval for their presentation.

Entrance to La Galerie, Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
From 3-6pm each day, guests are whisked into the lap of luxury. Every detail is seen to, making customer enjoyment a priority.

Upon stepping into La Galerie, ornate tapestries and chandeliers are a feast for the eyes. Plush couches with freshly fluffed pillows invite you to leave your worries at the door and relax for a while.

La Galerie, Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
Tea is served to your liking, allowing you to test it beforehand like a fine wine. A 3-tiered platter full of fresh sandwiches, scones and pastries is brought out to let you leisurely dine. 

Tea time at La Galerie, Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
Jams and honey at La Galerie, Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
Tea time desserts at La Galerie, Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
 Each time our tea ran low, our delicate china cups were neatly refilled. The table was kept immaculate until the moment we received the bill.

Extra attention to my husband’s birthday also came as a surprise. When he received a special cake and rendition of “Happy Birthday” from the pianist, he couldn’t believe his eyes. 

Birthday surprise at La Galerie, Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
10 out of 10 for this elegant afternoon. I hope to find a reason to return again very soon.

La Galerie
Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
31, avenue George V
75008 Paris 

January 29, 2015

Warm Winter Dining at Au Père Lapin

Very often, the best restaurants are not those located on a bustling city corner, but the ones carefully tucked away into unassuming alleyways, quiet streets and quirky nooks and crannies.

One of my favorite dinner spots lies just outside Paris, in the suburb of Suresnes. From the street, Au Père Lapin tends to blend in, but if you take a quick walk down their candlelit stone path, you’ll be in for a great meal.

Pathway leading to Au Père Lapin, Suresnes, France

Although a bit off the beaten track, this restaurant is no secret. Word has gotten out, and reservations are usually needed. In winter, the main dining room is homey and welcoming, warmed by a fire. In summer, an outdoor terrace boasts a great view of the Eiffel Tower.

Au Père Lapin, Suresnes, France
Our most recent visit with my parents gave us a wonderful taste of this season’s menu. Hearty, classic dishes were modernly revisited.

Apéritif began with purple potato chips and zesty olives. We then split an appetizer, Assiette de Jambon Ibérique Bellata, served with crusty baguette and butter. 

Apéritif at Au Père Lapin, Suresnes, France
Assiette de Jambon Ibérique Bellata at Au Père Lapin, Suresnes, France
Stylish bread basket at Au Père Lapin, Suresnes, France

For our main dishes, we all tried to select something different. We ended up with three diverse plates, which were beautifully presented and very filling.
  • Suprême de volaille jaune fermière, Pommes grenailles confites et sauce foie gras 
  • Tourte de lapin au foie gras, Sauce aux morilles et bouquet de mesclun 
  • Magret de canard du Lot rôti, Darphin de légumes et sauce dolce-forte 

Magret de canard at Au Père Lapin, Suresnes, France

Suprême de volaille at Au Père Lapin, Suresnes, France

We were genuinely impressed by each of the plats we tasted, and although very full, made dessert an obligation. My parents were relatively reasonable, each ordering a café gourmand. I chose Choux “maison” façon Paris-Brest, and my husband Crème brulée saveur chocolat noir.

Café gourmand at Au Père Lapin, Suresnes, France
Choux “maison” façon Paris-Brest at Au Père Lapin, Suresnes, France
Crème brulée saveur chocolat noir at Au Père Lapin, Suresnes, France

As always, the atmosphere, food and service were top notch. I look forward to seeing what's in store for their menu over the upcoming months.

Au Père Lapin
10 rue du Calvaire/186 Boulevard Washington
92150 Suresnes

Reservation advised
English menu available upon request

January 28, 2015

Chocolate Paradise: Un Dimanche à Paris

For those who know me, it’s no secret that I’m quite the chocolate addict. And based on my long love affair with cocoa, it’s no surprise that Un Dimanche à Paris (aka chocolate heaven) has been on my “to visit” list.

Chocolate dessert at Un Dimanche à Paris

Ironically on a Sunday (dimanche), we were able to get a table. We settled in amongst the modern décor and began perusing the mouth-watering menu. Although the selection was extensive, we had no trouble making a decision. We ordered gourmand formules, which included their signature hot chocolate and 4 dessert minis. 

Interior of Un Dimanche à Paris

Real hot chocolate at Un Dimanche à Paris

Mini desserts at Un Dimanche à Paris

The service was impeccable, and our taste buds certainly weren’t disappointed. The veritable chocolate was everything that dreams are made of, and the hazelnut cream puff, raspberry macaron, mango slice and chocolate cake were equally extraordinary.

Un Dimanche à Paris
4 Cours du Commerce Saint-André
75006 Paris
Reservation advised

January 27, 2015

Sunday in Saint-Germain-des-Prés

While visiting Paris, one of my parents’ requests was a tour around and near Saint-Germain-des-Prés. On a Sunday morning after breakfast, we cruised into town via Autolib’ and hopped out near the Panthéon. We made our way to the Jardin du Luxembourg by foot, and were greeted with a gloriously sunny (albeit cold) winter day.

After a quick walk around, we continued onward to l’église Saint-Sulpice, which we had somehow never visited. Unlike Notre Dame (the “pop star of churches”, as my dad likes to say), this lovely old church doesn’t draw as big of a crowd, but is certainly worth a trip. The pipe organ, golden pulpit and unfinished bell tower are only a few of its beautiful features.

Saint-Sulpice, Paris, France

Pulpit in Saint-Sulpice, Paris, France

As lunch time rolled around, we stopped at O’Neil for a quick bite to eat. Their flammekeuches and brewed on-site beer were the perfect afternoon treat.

Flams and beer at O'Neil, Paris, France

With stomachs full, we were ready to once again go out and face the cold. Next stop, l’église Saint-Germain-des-Prés, across from the famous Les Deux Magots. Making our way down the Boulevard Saint-Germain, we eventually arrived near Odéon, and ducked into the cobbled Cours du Commerce Saint-André. My mom and I had fun looking at all the olive oils and herbs at Première Pression Provence, before we decided to end our day.

Rue de Furstemberg, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris
We made one last sweet stop before heading home, that was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Stay tuned to find out where, review coming tomorrow!

January 26, 2015

A Whirlwind Week in Paris

Last week, I was thrilled to welcome my parents to Paris, hence the bout of radio silence. We spent a whirlwind few days of eating, drinking, relaxing, touring and just simply enjoying each other’s company. Although their schedules only allowed for a short stay, we had a memorable week together exploring the city.

Having already visited several times before, they had a pretty good idea of new places they wanted to try, and old favorites that were worth revisiting. My husband and I also had a few fun addresses up our sleeves. Highlights to come over the next few days!

January 14, 2015

Monday Night Dinner Chez Françoise

Monday evening after the reception at the Mairie du 7e, my husband and I decided to take advantage of being out on the town. It’s quite rare that we go to a restaurant on a weeknight, so it was a nice change when we ended up at Chez Françoise.

From the outside, Chez Françoise doesn’t really look like much. It’s part of the Aérogare des Invalides, in a seemingly not-so-chic spot. But don’t be afraid to step inside, there is much much more than meets the eye.

Upon entering, we were greeted by dim lighting, an antique style bar and live piano music. Once our coats had been taken, we were led behind a curtain to the main dining room, and seated in an inviting corner booth.

We leisurely perused the simple, yet refined French menu, as we nibbled on complimentary mini quiches, fresh bread and salted butter. My husband chose the Bavette de bœuf "Angus" poêlée, a staple on the menu, whereas I selected a daily special, Filet de boeuf cuit au sautoir, sauce au foie gras.
Filet de boeuf cuit au sautoir, sauce foie gras at Chez Françoise, Paris

Both meats came cooked to perfection, and their sides equally as well prepared. My foie gras sauce was delectable, and a choice that I would highly recommend.

Although having thoroughly enjoyed our meal, and already being more than comfortably full, we still couldn’t resist ordering a few desserts. My husband went for the Vacherin aux poires du chef Philippe and I tried the Millefeuille “éffeuillé” à la vanille de Madagascar. 

Millefeuille “éffeuillé” à la vanille de Madagascar at Chez Françoise, Paris

As our indulgent selection arrived at our table, I think I blushed 100 shades of red, when I layed eyes upon the monster-sized millefeuille that was practically the size of my head. Both desserts were decadent, although unfortunately we couldn’t finish the last bites. I’ve already made a note to self for next time, to skip the bread if I want to make it til the end of the night!

Chez Françoise
Aérogare des Invalides
75007 Paris
Reservation advised

January 13, 2015

New Year Wishes from the Mairie du 7e

Each January, Rachida Dati, mayor of Paris' 7th arrondissement, invites locals to City Hall to share her well wishes for the new year. Held last night, the annual reception drew quite a crowd. Dati welcomed guests with a speech, including a moment of silence for the victims of Paris’ recent tragedies. In light of the current atmosphere in France, upholding the yearly tradition was an opportunity to show that we must, and will, continue moving forward.

As Dati concluded, guests mingled over champagne and canapés throughout the mairie’s exquisite halls. It was a lovely evening, enjoyed by all.

Cocktail reception at the Mairie du 7e, Paris

Exquisite ceiling at the Mairie du 7e, Paris

Entrance of the Mairie du 7e, Paris
Guests at the Mairie du 7e, Paris
View from the stairs at the Mairie du 7e, Paris
Marianne at the Mairie du 7e, Paris

January 10, 2015

Authentic Foie Gras on the Île Saint-Louis

France is world renowned for its gastronomic excellence, and although not fond of escargots or cuisses de grenouille, there is one traditional French dish that I cannot get enough of: foie gras. 

Once apprehensive about this controversial delicacy, I now appreciate a rich slice for special occasions and holidays. When looking for just the right foie gras for an extraordinary meal, I head to my favorite specialist, Lafitte, on the Île Saint-Louis. 

Lafitte shop on the Ile Saint-Louis, Paris

Founded in Montaut, France in 1920, Lafitte is synonymous with quality. Ducks are sourced from local producers within a 40km radius, raised over 102 days minimum, and nourished with non-GMO products.

Lafitte Paté Landais, Paris

If you’d like to give their range a try, I suggest the Bloc de Foie Gras de Canard et de Pain d'Epices Mi-Cuit, served on a fresh baguette, with Chutney de Figues and a sweet Sauternes wine.

Île Saint-Louis
8 rue Jean du Bellay
75004 Paris

January 3, 2015

A Swimmingly Good Time at Hermès

Paris certainly has no shortage of amazing concept stores, and my favorite belongs to one of France’s most iconic brands, Hermès. 

Iconic orange Hermès box

Since 2010, Hermès has graced the rue de Sèvres, with an impressive location spanning nearly 1,500 m². But apart from its gargantuan size and luxurious design, what makes this particular store so unique is that it was originally a pool, built in the 1930s. 

Once the beloved Piscine Lutetia, one can still get a glimpse at its Art Deco past in the form of bold mezzanines, balconies and colorful mosaics.

Blending the old with the new, modern wooden domes have taken the place of the former basin, where we now find elegantly displayed housewares, clothing, and of course, silk carrés.  

And for those in search of a mid-shopping break, their in-house tea room, Le Plongeoir, is a welcome spot for drinks and cake. 

Housewares at the Hermès store, rue de Sèvres, Paris

Overlooking the Hermès store, rue de Sèvres, Paris

17, rue de Sèvres
75006 Paris

January 2, 2015

Finally, a Macaron with 0 Calories!

This past Christmas, I received an adorable French inspired gift that I absolutely had to share.

My aunt has a real knack for finding the perfect presents, and surprised me with the cutest little macaron soaps that look and smell good enough to eat.

Based in Austin, Texas, Latika Body Essentials offers skincare and bath products that are all-natural, cruelty free and made in the USA. You can discover their full range of soaps and lip care here!

Latika Body Essentials French macaron soaps

January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

2015 is finally here, and it looks like it's off to a great start! Last night, Paris rang in the new year with an impressive light show and fireworks display at the Arc de Triomphe, which gathered 600,000 participants on the Champs-Elysées (See the video here).

Not being one for the cold, or crowds, my husband and I decided to stay cozy at home and watch the festivities on TV. Although a little less spectacular than being there live, our front row couch seat and bottle of champagne did just fine.

And with a reasonable celebration for the réveillon, this morning we were fresh as daisies to welcome 2015's magnificent sun.

Bonne année!

Sunrise over Paris, 1 January 2015