PARIS PICKS : North Marais restos

I’m often asked by friends, fans and clients what my favorite restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels, etc are in the City of Lights. Thus I decided to begin a new series,  Paris Picks, where I’ll be highlighting my top five in food, fashion and beyond, beginning with restaurants in and around my North Marais neighborhood. Bon appétit!

Season

Season, one of my favorite new addresses in Paris comes from the team behind Cafe Crème and is located just across the street from this local haunt. With a daily 12 lunch special and an array of salads (including spinach & kale Ceasar), it’s the perfect place to stop for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They also serve fresh juices.

Season // 1 Rue Charles-François Dupuis 75003 // 01 42 71 52 97

For a night out at a beautiful venue featuring a small seasonal menu, there’s no place quite like Les Chouettes. Be sure to try one of their creative cocktails at their second floor bar. You can read more about it here.

Les Chouettes // 32 rue de Picardie 75003 // 01 44 61 73 21

Located directly across the street from the Picasso Museum, and with the loveliest dining view (ask for a second floor window seat), Glou is the perfect gourmet lunch or dinner stop while shopping in the neighborhood. I’m particularly a fan of their ever changing prix-fixe lunch menu at 17 or 21.

Glou // 101 Rue Vieille du Temple 75003 // 01 42 74 44 32

Modern French gastronomy can be savoured at Pramil, an intimate restaurant located in the ever expanding North Marais. Opened opened nine years ago by chef Alain Pramil (a charming man who makes sure your experience is a good one), he offers a prix-fixe dinner menu for 33€ and an extensive wine list.

Pramil // 9 rue Vertbois 75003 // 01 42 72 03 60

Just north of the Haut Marais sits Chameleon, a restaurant that my Italian and I discovered in its earliest days, which has quickly become a go-to spot. Its minimal decor a direct contrast to its complex taste combinations. I recommend the seasonal 35€ menu including entrée, plat & dessert.

Chameleon // 70 Rue René Boulanger 75010 // 01 42 08 99 41

Mont Saint-Michel

Last week I decided it was time to venture to Brittany. Having heard so much about the charming walled port city of Saint-Malo, I boarded the train headed west, and three hours later was welcomed by gray skies and sea. And so began my scenic sojourn in the land of crêpes, cider, oysters from neighboring Cancale, and rising tides.

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The historically independent Saint-Malo, known in the past for privateering (a privateer was often considered a pirate), is still referred to as “cité corsaire”. During World War II 80% of the city was destroyed and rebuilt between 1948-1960. With few tourists in sight, I was happy to explore this walled hideaway. But what I was most eager to discover was Mont Saint-Michel in nearby Normandy. As soon as the sun rose, that’s where I headed.

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At first sight of Mont Saint-Michel I was in complete awe. This wonder of the Western world truly takes your breath away. How did this Abbey come to be, perched atop a rock? At the request of the Archangel Michel, Aubert, Bishop of Avranches built and consecrated a small church on the 16th October 709. In 966 a community of Benedictines settled on the rock at the request of the Duke of Normandy and the pre-Romanesque church was built before the year one thousand. Here is more history and information about Mont Saint-Michel.

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Join me in this scenic journey as I climb up the steps leading to this UNESCO world heritage site.

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The views from the top are simply stunning! Where does sky end and sea begin?

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Not to mention what lies on the inside.

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I will certainly return, and next time stay the night. I hear it’s particularly stunning at sunset…

living a language

Place des Vosges

I decided not to make resolutions this year but I did make intentions. You can’t break intentions, can you? One of them is to improve my French. I’ve been living in Paris for over 6 years, and of course I speak the language. On a daily basis I speak French with my manufacturer, fabric suppliers, yoga teachers, travel industry professionals, friends… and even my Italian on occasion. I get by perfectly well. But I want to improve. My goal is to speak French with the fluency with which I speak Polish, a language I learned as a child. (Thanks Mom!) After mastering French I plan to conquer Italian, which I’ve already started speaking, finding it much easier to understand and learn, already knowing French. In my efforts to speak like a Parisian, I’ve discovered an online course that has been helping me more than the many methods I’ve tried in the past. (And I’ve tried many!) Here’s a little taste…

 

Learning a language should be fun, which is why Frantastique proves to be so successful. Each lesson is short, humorous, and personalized to the student’s level. To share my love of the French language with you, and to better prepare for your next trip to Paris, here’s a month free with Frantastique. I’ll be learning along with you, so feel free to let me know how you’re doing. Enjoy living a language & good luck, or should I say bonne chance!

co-working cafés

I know many of my readers, like myself, are entrepreneurs, or perhaps dream to be. To assist you in your journey while in Paris, I share my favorite co-working cafés in the city of lights. You can find this article online at Bonjour Paris, and read other features that I wrote about Paris, here. See you at a co-working café…

Anticafé Beaubourg 1

With a growing number of Parisiens and expatriates leaning towards the entrepreneurial life, it’s no wonder co-working spaces are on the rise in Paris. The first opened its doors in the Sentier in 2008 and has evolved into what is now Numa, a start-up acceleration co-working space. Le Loft, a former rope factory boasting 620m² of space, is a co-working incubator also located in what was once called Silicon Sentier. In recent years, over a dozen have followed suit, catered to a community of business-minded creatives who seek a space to work other than their often cramped quarters. As one such entrepreneur, I well understand the importance of an environment where productivity trumps distraction. An alternative to corner cafés, in the past favored by greats like Hemingway, these relaxed professional spaces provide the ideal environment for solo work or a business meeting, some even offering private conference rooms. Where better to create your office and connect with like-minds, than in a comfortable café offering unlimited wifi and café crèmes?

Nuage Cafe 1 (Photo-Romain Reglade Design-Cardinale & Rogeon Architects)

Here are a few of my favorites, where you can often find me designing or writing, thriving in the energy of fellow creatives. Did I mention they all excel in coffee?

Nuage Café

The latest to open in the Latin Quarter is Nuage Café, in recent years a church and once the high school of Cyrano de Bergerac. You might even find his desk in the eclectic workspace. Nuage, meaning cloud, is true to its name, a tranquil lofty duplex featuring various shared and private work environments. Books are strewn throughout the space, hidden even in the stairwell. In-house services include ordering a coffee via your laptop. By registering your seat online, a professional network is created among those sharing the space. A discreet way of connecting. Soon lunch will be offered so you never need to leave your cloud.

Photos: Romain Reglade / Design: Cardinale Rogeon Architects

14, rue des Carmes 75005
Monday-Friday 9am – 9pm / Saturday-Sunday 12 – 8pm
4€/hour, 16€/day
coffee by Coutume


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Steps away from Canal Saint-Martin sits Craft, a minimally designed and highly efficient space that has welcomed international clientele for over three years. The unique concept behind this co-working café is the even exchange of food and drink for work time. The 3€ per hour fee can be used for an assortment of local tastes including pastries, sandwiches, coffee and fresh juices, providing the ideal spot for a working lunch. With soft music and the sounds and smells of coffee grinding in the background, it’s easy to feel at home in this intimate space.

24 rue des Vinaigriers 75010
Monday-Saturday 9am – 7pm / Sunday 10am – 7pm
3€/hour
coffee by Lomi


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The creative energy of Anticafé is immediately felt upon stepping into this animated space; upbeat music streams through the air, ever-changing artwork fills the walls, board games line the shelves. The lower level reveals a cozy cave in which to hide away or conduct a meeting. Lunch is not offered but there’s plenty in the way of snacks and beverages, including freshly squeezed juices. The first to open in 2013 sits in the shadows of Centre Pompidou, and already two more locations have opened in Paris and one in Rome. Where next?

79 rue Quincampoix 75003
10 rue Richelieu 75001
59 rue Nationale Paris 75013
Monday-Friday 9am – 10:30pm / Saturday-Sunday 10am – 9:30pm
4€/hour
coffee by Caron


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Five months ago Hubsy joined the café co-working culture. Located across the street from Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris’ 3rd arrondissement, it’s the perfect spot to work solo while enjoying street scenes and museum views. The lower level provides a private meeting room which can be booked in advance, or you can opt to lounge more casually in the upstairs balcony. Snacks are plentiful and the owners take great pride in their coffee, Pfaff having been awarded best French coffee roaster in 2014 by the French Coffee Committee.

41 Rue Réaumur, 75003
Monday-Thursday 9am – 10pm / Friday 9am – 8pm / Saturday-Sunday 11am – 8pm
5€/first hour, 4€/each additional hour, 20€/day
coffee by Pfaff

Roman Holiday

The last time I was in Rome was the first time I was in Italy, 13 years ago. A good friend and I took a trip to visit this historic land. Little did either of us know that we would both marry Italian men years later. Foreshadowing? I had not been to Rome since, and those who read this blog know I travel to Italy quite often, so my Italian and I decided it was time to return to the roots of Italian history. Our Roman Holiday began in the charming neighborhood of Trastevere, with a view of the Tiber river. With only a few days to explore the city, and endless sights to fall back in love with, we hit the streets, guided by blue skies and our trusted Lonely Planet.

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Just steps away on the other side of the Tiber we found the sunlit and flower-filled Campo de’ Fiori and Piazza Navona, one of the most enchanting of Rome’s many squares. I immediately fell in love with the vibrant colors, illuminated by the sun, a stark contrast to the neutral tones of Paris. Kasia Dietz handbags Rome collection?

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From one majestic fountain to another, we stopped to admire them all. Just don’t drink the water they say…

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The Fountain of the Four Rivers, one of Bernini’s masterpieces, depicts Gods of the four great rivers in the four continents as  were then recognized by the Renaissance geographers, including the Nile in Africa, the Ganges in Asia, the Danube in Europe and the Río de la Plata in America.

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The Pantheon, a Greek adjective meaning “honor all Gods”, built and dedicated between A.D 118 and 125, is one of the most preserved and influential buildings in Rome. Not to mention majestic!

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Newly restored and sparkling, I was tempted to jump into the Trevi Fountain La Dolce Vita style. I resisted.

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On one of our exploratory walks, we climbed to the top of the Altar of the Fatherland, also known as National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II in honor of the first King of a unified Italy.

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The views from the top were impressive, to say the least. Rome glowed in the late afternoon sun. I swooned.

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One day was spent with friends, a Roman power couple you could say. Erica being a travel journalist and Rome expert, and Darius an archaeologist who digs on this very land. Who better to explore the Roman Forum with?

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Once the center of Roman public life, we tried to imagine the events that took place here many centuries ago.

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By chance, we gained access to sights that haven’t been made public yet. For my (and your) eyes only…

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We walked from the Roman Forum up 40 meters to Palatine Hill… Our expert guide Darius Arya leading the way.

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From there we saw the Colosseum, the largest amphitheater ever built. An engineering & architectural marvel.

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I stood for a while admiring the Colosseum before we went inside, in complete awe. To the right of it is the apartment from film La Grande Bellezza, not a bad view…

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Enamored with sculptor Bernini, we spent an afternoon at the Villa Borghese. I’ve learned to always look down.

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Our last stop was at Saint Peter’s Basilica which will leave even an atheist marveling at this Renaissance structure, both inside and out. Already, we couldn’t wait to return. Rome had captured our hearts.

Intention

sunset

My favorite day of the year is the first. Life is somehow reset and regardless of the good, bad or indifferent that found us in the days passed, there’s a lightness in the air, the promise of greatness ahead, a fresh start. This year, rather than make resolutions that only wait to be broken, I have chosen to live a life of intention.

I will continue to set goals and work towards them. Professionally speaking, my plans for Kasia Dietz handbags include more collaborations and private label projects, as well as collections of my own, inspired by life.  I will also continue to write, mostly about Paris and travel, and to work on my book. As Elizabeth Gilbert would say, creativity chooses us and we must find a way to make peace with it. “A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life.” I couldn’t agree more!

Above all else however, this year and for all years to follow, my intention it to truly live in the moment. To let go of past insecurities and future fears, to live more with my heart and less with my head, and to appreciate this wild and wondrous journey as it happens. This too, I wish for you. Happy new year!

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