Last Sunday I attended, assisted and feasted at a grand brunch for 25, with David Lebovitz as the guest of honor. The hostess was Laurel of 13-a baker’s dozen, one of my favorite lunch spots in Saint Germain, with home cooked specialties. Also, my first choice for coffee and dessert (specifically Laurel’s famous carrot cake). This too is one of the locales where I hold my bag painting workshops.
Friends uniting over food and conversation. An ideal Sunday.
I’ve met David on several occasions and couldn’t wait to read My Paris Kitchen.
What could be better than tasting recipes from David’s new book?
Have I mentioned the carrot cake?
Melissa of Prête-Moi Paris and I took photos and helped to make everyone feel at home, and of course we dined like queens! I’m already looking forward to the next brunch… at David’s?
It’s true that to be truly happy we must appreciate not only who we are and what we have but also where we are. This means to make the most of wherever we call home. There are several places close to my heart, but these last 5 years, it’s Paris that I am lucky to call my home. With all it’s flaws and imperfections (those who have lived here know what I’m talking about), but much like a person, no place is perfect. There are certainly days in which I miss the chaos of New York City, or the calm of Westhampton Beach, but there is certainly no place as beautiful as Paris. And I have seen a lot.
A few days ago, I took a walk along the Seine.
It is here that I often find myself on early evenings.
I had a rendezvous with my Italian, but kept walking and walking…
Captivated by the light on this late summer evening.
And this is when it occurred to me exactly how lucky I am.
When I was a kid, Montauk was home to fisherman, a place where surfers would congregate to ride the waves and locals would take day trips. It was a tourist destination with it’s mysterious lighthouse, even for those of us who grew up on the east end. When I brought my Italian there five years ago, this was the place he found most charming and authentic. A sleepy village just steps away from gorgeous sandy beaches, considered to many ‘The End’. There was nothing chic about it, until now. But it’s not simply Brooklyn’s hipsters who discovered this surfer haven, it’s Manhattan’s social elite too, who have made this their summer home, thus creating Montauk into a surfer chic enclave. (Cap Ferret, where we recently spent a summer holiday, is often called the ‘Montauk of France’.)
Just after Labor Day we drove the length of the island, eager to see the village’s evolution.
What we found were designer boutiques and chic hotels, seemingly abandoned after a full season.
Montauk was left to the locals once more, just as I had remembered it.
The once trendy but now tranquil Surf Lodge was an ideal spot to enjoy an end of summer sunset.
As much as I love New York from afar, there’s something uniquely magical about the city from above, as it appears to rise forever into the sky, and you rise with it. During these days of meetings and mingling with friends, I tried to catch a glimpse of day turning into night from as many roof decks as possible. As I discover others, I have a few that shall always remain my favorites.
The Peninsula Hotel sun terrace sits on the 21st and 22nd floors with a view of the regal St Regis.
Here I spent a humid New York day high above the bustle of the city, swimming and lounging in the sun, following a dynamic yoga class. Paradise found in midtown!
Soho House New York is not only a chic members only address, but the place to be seen. A haven for creatives, the perfect spot to meet a work friend and catch up on the goings on of the NYC ad scene.
A60 bar located on the 13th floor of 60 Thompson has stunning sunset views to compliment your cocktail. Where better to meet with a girlfriend who just flew in from LA?
I may never have my fill of looking at New York’s skyline from afar or from above. Until next time…
As anyone who reads my blog knows, I love New York. It’s the city I called home for many years, and still do. And it’s where I became who I am. When I return now, after living in Paris for 5 years (hard to believe!), I often find the city chaotic and cold, from the inside. It lacks the charm and class of Paris, in which you can walk the streets and lose yourself in it’s beauty. Certainly the energy and dynamism of New York makes up for anything it lacks. The skyline of NYC is unlike any in the world. And now, with the Freedom Tower standing tall, the city truly stands alone.
When I arrived to NYC I was invited on a Circle Line tour with fellow travel bloggers.
I very happily felt like a tourist and enjoyed the views as night fell upon the city that never sleeps.
It was upon this vessel that I met Kirsten, a travel photographer & Stephen, who runs walking tours.
And is was here, with lady liberty aglow, that my love for this urban jungle was felt most deeply.
Once a New Yorker, always, whether near or far.
In mid-August my Italian and I decided to do like the Parisians, leave Paris to the tourists, and venture south. I had heard a lot about the unpretentious charm of France’s Cap Ferret, and was eager to discover it for myself. It has been likened to Montauk, the most unspoilt part of the Hamptons, where I grew up. Our first stop was lunch in a rainy but elegant Bordeaux. I know little of this city, this being my second visit, but look forward to becoming better acquainted in the future.
Rather than head directly to this trendy enclave, we stopped in Arcachon for a few days. Just enough time to meet with friends and climb the highest sand dunes in all of Europe.
The Dune du Pilat measures 107 meters high and I felt rather accomplished reaching the top!
We spent the afternoon climbing, jumping, running… and sitting beneath the late summer sun.
Our next stop was Cap Ferret. We settled in with a plate of oysters, local wine, and a view.
The dominant mode of transport is by bike. And that is how we explored this little French paradise.
I could immediately understand why it was compared to Montauk with it’s chic yet relaxed vibe.
After many great meals including at the highly revered Chez Hortense, it was time to bid adieu.
Via boat and train we made our way back to Paris filled with sounds and tastes of the sea.
One reason I love when my mom comes to Paris to visit is that I get to spoil her. I spend months in preparation, planning all sorts of events, exhibitions, eating experiences, etc. This year I thought I’d surprise her with a mother/daughter high tea. Where better than at the Four Seasons George V?
Upon entering this ethereal setting, we were taken with Jeff Leatham’s stunning floral compositions.
My mom and I were in our element, both of us favoring sweet over savory.
We began our indulgent afternoon with one of Lucien Gautier’s fruitful masterpieces.
Is there anything better than French pastries with champagne to compliment?
How happy I was to spend such a memorable afternoon with my mom, and in such sweet splendor!
This past spring when my mom came to visit, I thought about where to bring her. Last year we had explored Chantilly, and while it would have been a lovely time of year to visit Giverny, I opted to be more creative and we ventured to Auvers-sur-Oise. This commune, only about 27 kilometers northwest of Paris, was once home to the Impressionists. More specifically, Paul Cézanne, Charles-François Daubigny, Camille Pissarro, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and, Vincent van Gogh.
This was a trip into Van Gogh’s life. It was incredible to be amidst the church that he once painted.
It is here that he rests alongside his brother Theo, who passed away only 6 months after Vincent.
The next stop was Château d’Auvers where we discovered a most insightful interactive journey into the lives of the Impressionists. A unique experience! Not to mention the breathtaking gardens…
As the sun was setting we walked the length of the estate, reflecting on years long gone.
It was time to bid farewell to Auvers-sur-Oise. Like the artists before us, we headed back to Paris.
Even before I moved to Paris I was always drawn to the rive droite, the right bank. That to me, is home. Everyone has a side, don’t they? When Habitat Parisien proposed that I experience life on the left bank (and in one of their gorgeous apartments with a stunning view) I didn’t think twice. Maybe this would turn me into a rive gauche girl?
My apartment was situated in Saint Germain, close to Pont Neuf. I climbed up to the terrace just as the sun was setting… What a view! Sacre Coeur in the distance, beneath a sky unlike any other.
I quickly made myself at home on rue Dauphine and contemplated never leaving this perfect perch.
Is there anything more magical than the Paris sky at twilight?
The next few days I spent evenings on my terrace, watching the sky change it’s hues, rosé in hand.
So how was life on the left bank? It certainly gave me a new appreciation of Paris as I explored a lesser known neighborhood and often felt much like a tourist. My affinity for the rive gauche grew, but deep down I’m still a rive droite girl.
In the last few years, the coffee scene in Paris has really changed, or might I say improved. No longer a need to rely on muddy watered down coffee at corner bistros for that caffeine fix. Trendy little cafes and eateries are opening up all around Paris, serving up some of the best café cremes around. The latest such spot to hit the North Marais is Folks and Sparrows. I was curious to experience this newcomer, along with Mardi, friend and fellow coffee drinker.
I arrived a little early and took interest in the design and details of the space. A carefully curated gourmet épicerie and lunch spot. Curious, I began speaking with the owner, a Brad Pitt look-alike. It turns out Franck lived in Brooklyn for 10 years, well versed in NY’s food culture as a manager at a trendy restaurant. Now it was time to open his own spot, lucky for us, back on his home turf.
We spoke about New York and Paris (of course), and how the café and restaurant culture in Paris has evolved over the years, due to the French traveling more and returning home with their creative visions. Inspired by the American dream, perhaps? Yes, anything is possible.
And how was the coffee? Both Mardi and I agreed that it was delicious! Some of the best I’ve had in Paris. And in such a cozy yet uniquely chic space. Well done, Franck! I’ll soon be back for lunch.
Folks and Sparrows: 14 rue Saint Sebastien (open 10-7 daily, closed Mondays)