Where to catch the lights of Christmas in Paris

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The City of Light has turned on it’s Christmas magic. Luminous arches, multi-colored bulbs, incandescent flames and sparkling projections of light deck out the avenues of the French capital.

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Here’s where to find them:

Illuminations de Noël du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré
rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, 8th arr.
Métro Pont-Neuf ou Louvre-Rivoli

Illuminations on the Champs-Elysées
Metro: Etoile
the 200 plane trees along the Champs-Elysées are decorated with light rings and sparkling Christmas lights.

Avenue Montaigne
Metro: Alma Marceau | RER: Pont de l’Alma
Thousands come to Avenue Montaigne at Christmas to kiss under the mistletoe.

Place Vendôme
Metro: Place Vendôme
Place Vendôme, rue de la Paix, rue de Castiglione, rue Saint-Honoré and rue des Capucines are some of the outstanding streets and squares in Paris’ 1er arrondissement.

Forum des Halles
Metro: Les Halles | RER: Châtelet Les Halles
Miguel Chevalier, an avant-gardist in digital art, has created a virtual reality work featuring snowflakes which turn, open out, and change shape on contact with the public.

Montmartre – Upper district
Metro: Anvers (Line 2), Abbesses (Line 12)
Follow the stairs to the top of the village and enjoy the lights of the plaza.

Bercy Village
Metro: Cour Saint-Emilion | Bus: 24, 64, 109, 111
Bercy’s paved streets, which date back to the Middle Ages, are decorated with neon tubes mounted on aluminum structures creating a ceiling of stars and snowflakes illuminating the village in a star-spangled sky.

Most of the lights are turned off after January 5. If time is a factor, consider taking one of the open-top double decker bus tours.

One more thing, remember to put No Worries Paris on your Christmas Wish List.

Truffles, Caviar, Fois Gras: Gourmandise De Luxe for the holidays

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Delivering the goods: Maison de la Truffe with two locations in Paris. This establishment has been sharing the black diamond of French gastronomy with the most delicate palates in the world since 1932. Don’t know much about this unappetizing looking earthnut?  In short truffles are a kind of subterranean fungi, a mushroom that grows underground. Most commonly found in Europe, Asia, North American, and North Africa, truffles tend to grow in forested areas around the base of trees. They are still traditionally hunted by pigs, but more and more dogs are being recruited for the job as they can be trained to not eat the little prizes.

Even more about truffles: http://maison-de-la-truffe.com/en/contemplez.php.

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In 1978, Guy Monier, a chef by trade, took over the house and pursued its development by creating a tasting area and transforming it into a luxury food shop and restaurant. Today, the family business has become a key location for truffle enthusiasts and amateur gourmets wishing to discover a variety of quality products.

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LA MAISON DE LA TRUFFE, 19 Place de la Madeleine, 8th arr., +33 1 42 65 53 22, open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. boutique and tasting

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LA TRUFFE MARBEUF, 14 rue Marbeuf, 8th arr., +33 1 53 57 41 00, restaurant and boutique

Selections from their main course menu: 

Tagliatelles à la truffe brumale, 29,00 €
Risotto aux langoustines et truffe brumale, 29,00 €
Bar poêlé, sauce aux perles de truffes et tagliatelles de légumes, 29,00 €
Filet de boeuf Rossini, sauce aux truffes, 55,00 €

from a reviewer:  “Good food, spacious tables, quiet clientele and great service. When you enter the restaurant and take a deep breath, there is no doubt what is the main kitchen’s ingredient. The truffle smell is so powerful. Truffles are displayed everywhere in beautiful black and white pictures witnessing the comings and goings of very professional servers.”

If you’re looking for a unique Parisian experience and have the urge to splurge, wander on by for a taste or make a reservation for lunch or dinner. Can’t make it to Paris this year? Maison makes it very easy to order online: e-shop: http://www.gourmandisedeluxe.com/nos-produits-maison-de-la-truffe.htm

Grand Palais: Paris has largest indoor ice rink

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No snow yet but ice skating is ON right now in Paris. The incredible setting is the Grand Palais. For 15 euros (adults) and 10 euros (children 3 to 12) you can strap on skates which are included in the price and glide around under the fanciful glass roof. Musical animations plus light show at night, hot drinks, catering points and at night it turns into a dance floor.  Who can ask for anything more.

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Le Grand Palais des Glaces – Avenue Winston churchill – 75008
Metro 1 and 13 Champs-Élysées – Clemenceau

http://www.legrandpalaisdesglaces.com/fr

Crème Brûlée: recipe for a decadent French dessert

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creme_brulee4Unexpected company? Whip this up with simple ingredients that you most likely have in your cuisine. Here’s one of my favorite recipes that can be prepared in less than half an hour. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).

La Crème

6 egg yolks

6 tablespoons white sugar, divided

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups heavy cream

Beat egg yolks, 4 tablespoons white sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl until thick and creamy. Pour cream into a saucepan and stir over low heat until it almost comes to boil. Remove the cream from heat immediately. Stir cream into the egg yolk mixture very SLOWLY; beat until combined. Pour cream mixture into the top pan of a double boiler. Stir over simmering water until mixture lightly coats the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes.

Remove mixture from heat immediately and pour into a shallow heat-proof dish or 6 ovenproof ramekins. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

The Topping

Preheat oven to broil.
In a small bowl combine remaining 2 tablespoons white sugar and brown sugar. Sift this mixture evenly over custard. Place dish under broiler until sugar melts, about 2 minutes. Watch carefully so as not to burn. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Refrigerate until custard is set again.

creme-bruleeSome Parisian restaurants where this custard dish is exceptional.

Le Verre Volé
67 Rue de Lancry, 75010
Phone:+33 1 48 03 17 34, www.leverrevole.fr/
Open:· 12:00 – 2:30 pm, 7:30 – 11:30 pm

L’Atelier Maitre Albert
1 Rue Maître Albert, 75005
Phone:+33 1 56 81 30 01, www.ateliermaitrealbert.com/
Open 12:00 – 2:30 pm, 6:30 pm – 1:00 am

Au Petit Marguery
9 Boulevard de Port-Royal, 75013
Phone:+33 1 43 31 58 59, www.petitmarguery-rivegauche.com/
Open today · 12:00 – 2:15 pm, 7:00 – 10:15 pm

Le Bistro de Breteuil
Address: 3 Place de Breteuil, 75007
Phone:+33 1 45 67 07 27, www.bistrocie.fr/
Open today · 12:00 – 3:00 pm, 7:00 – 11:00 pm

Le Dix-Vins
57 rue Falguière, 75015
01 43 20 91 77
Métro : Pasteur ou Montparnasse
http://www.ledixvins.fr

A la Biche au Bois
45, avenue Ledru-Rollin (12th), https://fr-fr.facebook.com/alabicheaubois

Hey, it’s Paris Fashion Monday

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parisfashionmondayKicking up our heels on a Monday. Paris fashion is always full of surprises. Take a look, buy the book (that’s all about walking around the city, catching the vibe).

ParisFashionMonday2We’re all about promoting our book here but I have to digress being a fashion photographer at heart.

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More cool places to visit around town coming up later this week. I promise.

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Paris’s Ban on Smoking: a new twist

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A one-year trial smoking ban in three playgrounds of the Parc de Montsouris has been initiated in Paris. Giant ashtrays have been installed at the entrances to the three play areas. The initiative is likely to be extended to other outdoor public spaces. The measure was introduced recently as part of a government-sponsored campaign to reduce the high number of smoking-related deaths in France, around 73,000. Those breaching the playground ban will be given formal warnings and fines will be introduced at a later stage.

Electronic cigarettes, which have become extremely popular in France, will most probably be banned in some public places next year according to the French Health Minister, Marisol Touraine.

Smoking is now technically banned in all inside public places in France, including cafes, restaurants, stations and museums. Next up: plain cigarette packaging will be introduced along with a ban on smoking in cars carrying children under 12.

Christmas is ON at Galeries Lafayette Paris

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the window displays will delight the kids:galerieslaf

Extraordinary dazzle and razzle at this quintissential department store. Here’s how they put it together:

Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann
40, Boulevard Haussmann
75009 PARIS

Lafayette Gourmet
35, Boulevard Haussmann
75009 PARIS
For further information, please contact +33 (0)1 40 23 52 67

Paris’s tiny hidden village: Cité Florale

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ruedescignesUne petite promenande in the Butte-aux-Cailles district, this quaint corner of Paris built around 1925, is hard to find but worth the effort. The beautiful street names match the charm of the village:  Rue des Glycines (wisteria), rue des Orchidées, rue des Iris, rue des Liserons, rue des Volubilis.

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Cross the Parc Montsouris and exit on the east side. Take rue Liard, then rue Auguste Lancon. After about 200m, take rue des Glycines on your right. Aaah, inhale, tiptoe down the cobbled streets, you’re suddenly in the French countryside. But please, don’t disturb the residents. With a bit of luck, one of the local residents’ cats will walk alongside you before going back to chase the butterflies.

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Paris itinerary planning in an instant

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no worries paris guide

You guessed it.  Get the book, start dreaming and make it happen. Amazon and Barnes and Noble carry it. Gift suggestion: make a Francophile happy at Christmas.

montmartre square

montmarte square Paris

Le weekend: Paris flea market treasure hunting

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Cards after lunch. The nonchalant merchants were more interested in their game than conducting business. Want to buy that painting – you’ll have to wait.

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Dare to haggle. Set limits on how much you want to spend.

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Paris Fle Market

photo album Puces Paris

A DIRECTORY:

Les Puces de Saint-Ouen (largest in the world)
48, rue Jules Vallès (Marché des Antiquaires) Saint-Ouen
(between the Porte de St-Ouen and Porte de Clignancourt, just outside 18th arrondissement. from the metro, follow the crowds to main shopping alleyways

Hours: Sat. – Mon., 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.,Sat. – Mon., 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., metro: Porte de Clignancourt (line 4), Porte de St-Ouen (line 13)

Marché aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves
avenue Georges Lafenestre & avenue Marc Sangnier, 75014

Hours: Weekends; avenue Marc Sangnier until 1 p.m.; avenue Georges Lafenestre all day. metro: Porte de Vanves (line 13)

Marché aux Puces de Montreuil
avenue de la Porte de Montreuil, 75020, Hours: Sat. – Mon., 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., metro: Porte de Montreuil (line 9)

Marché d’Aligre (includes indoor food market)
Place d’Aligre, 75012, Hours: Tues. – Sat., 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 to 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.. metro: Ledru Rollin

Marché du Livre Ancien et d’Occasion
Parc Georges Brassens, 104, rue Brancion, 75015
Between 60 and 80 bouquinistes (book dealers) gather every weekend underneath the former horse slaughterhouses of Vaugirard. Hours: Weekends, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
metro: Convention (line 12), Porte de Vanves (line 13); Bus: lines 48, 62, 89, 95

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