Archive for 31 December 2009

More on the Marais

Writing on the potential for dinner in the Marais reminded me of some of my favorite stops in that neighborhood.

First, I strongly urge you to visit the Musée Carnavalet, the former hôtel particulier of famed 17th c. letter writer extraordinare the Marquise de Sévigné. Not only do you get a feel for the aristocratic lifestyle of that era, it’s also one of the city’s best museums of the revolution.

The lovely Place des Vosges was built in the early 1600s by Henri IV as a model for further city planning, to provide established merchants, court officers and upper-middle class Parisians a comfortable, elegant home. Today the lower levels are filled with cafés, wine shops, gift stores, etc. One of Grace’s favorite restaurants in tucked into one corner of the Place (19 Places des Vosges)…ask her to tell you the story about Ma Bourgogne some time!

For a different kind of culture, stop into Merci, a three-story shop run by the former owners of ultra-luxe children’s brand Bonpoint. It’s the latest hot-spot “lifestyle” destination, all more or less inspired by Colette, but what makes Merci different is that all profits from its mix of home goods, fashion, giftware and more are earmarked from a Madagascar-based women’s charity.

And in my mind, no trip to the Marais would be complete without a stop at Entrée des Fournisseurs, one of the best shops in the city for buttons, ribbon, trims and more. The fact that’s it’s located in a charming little courtyard off the bustle of rue des Francs Bourgeois only adds to the allure. Although, unlike many Marais shops, EdF is not open on Sundays, on the plus side, they do web orders and overseas shipping, so if you absolutely can’t make up your mind, you can also order later…

Now I have ribbon shops on my mind, so I’ll list a few others, not in the Marais, but worth noting on your agendas…

La Droguerie at 9 rue du Jour near Les Halles is famed for its enormous selection of both new and vintage ribbons, buttons and trimmings. They also have a concession at Le Bon Marché, way up on the top floor, so stop in the wonderful LBM foodhall for a snack first!

I think there’s a Mokubo ribbon shop somewhere around here also, but I can’t find an address for it in my files…Also note, rue du Jour is a great street for jewelry findings, beads, chains, etc.

UltraMod is open only during the week and is actually two related shops. One is true haberdashery supply shop, which sells to Givenchy, Lanvin and Jean Paul Gaultier among others. The second shop is a more retail oriented, but still overwhelming in the number of buttons, ribbons, embroidery threads and more. And the name is incredibly deceiving, as the ambience of the shops is very vintage, with wood shelving and work tables, a big ol’ cast iron cash register and more. 3 and 4 rue de Choiseul, in the 2nd.

31 December 2009 at 1:44 pm 1 comment

Sunday Best

While Paris is known for great food, finding a good meal on a Sunday, when most shops and restaurants are closed, can sometimes be a bit tough. Here’s a short list of recommendations in and around our neighborhood.

Bistro Christophe, a small, simply decorated place where the owner/chef is truly passionate about what he puts on the table. 8, rue Descartes in the 5th.

Fógon specializes in Spanish food, perhaps a welcome break from all-French, all-the-time meals. 45 Quai des Grand Augustins, 6th.

Au Coin des Gourmets is a bit of IndoChina in Paris, but this is isn’t gloopy sweet&sour pork in a white cardboard box! 5, rue Dante, 5th.

Ambassade d’Auvergne features the hearty, homey fare of this western mountain region, including the aligot, a whipped potato specialty with the tasty addition of cheese curds and garlic. 22 rue du Grenier-St. Lazare, 3rd.

La Père Claude on the other side (from us) of the Champs de Mars is an ideal spot for the classic Sunday French dinner of roast chicken. 51 av, de la Motte-Picquet, 15th.

Le Rôtisserie du Beaujolais is another great roast chicken option, and a bit closer to the hotel at 19 quai de la Tournelle, 5th.

Fish la Boissonerie is a fun, lively spot so so close to the hotel at 69, rue de Seine, 6th.

As Deb mentioned in our webinar, one neighborhood that does mostly remain open on Sundays is the Marias, likely because of its long history as the “Jewish Quartier” now mostly occupied by trendy boutiques and hotels. Instead of listing the many options, I’ve linked to an article that came out right after my last visit to Paris listing eight different options in the area, but many more can be found.

And finally, when all else fails, there are plenty of basic bistros where a light dinner of omelet et salade with a glass of wine all tastes perfectly fine.

Bon Appétit!

31 December 2009 at 12:30 pm Leave a comment


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