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Friday
May232014

Newsletter #141: May 20, 2014

In this Issue:

* Exclusive New Tours
* Beer & Booze in Paris
* Private Boat Rentals
* Paris Haiku
* Gourmet Food Delivered
* Starting a Company in France
* Paris Dining Notes
* Friday Night Fun Run
* Stylish Liquid Smoke
* Paris Finally Gets a Dog Park
* Paris for Parents Website
* Advance Copies of Naughty Paris
* Paris Tourism Stats for 2013
* Secrets of Paris News & Calendar

 

 

In case you’re new or confused, the Secrets of Paris Newsletter has been a monthly newsletter since 1999, but since this year is our 15th anniversary, I’ve decided to do two newsletters each month. As usual, half of the tips are written for newcomers and visitors, and the other half are more useful for Paris residents. If you’ve been forwarded this newsletter and would like to receive it directly in your email, just sign up here. 

* Exclusive New Tours *
Things have been very busy behind the scenes here at the Secrets of Paris. The next newsletter I’ll be announcing a limited edition of new tours that I’ll be offering exclusively as part of a special crowd-funding campaign I’m busily organizing. So if you’re coming to Paris within the next 12 months and are looking for something different and fun, be sure to stay tuned for newsletter #142, which will be out sometime over the next two weeks.

* Beer & Booze in Paris *
I’ve written about the new artisan beer shops in Paris in Newsletter #129, and have been quite happy that I can now easily find my favorite American and Belgian beers in Paris. Flush with their new popularity, there’s now a special festival for craft and artisan beers, La Paris Beer Week #1 (despite the Franglais title, the site is in French), taking place in brasseries, bars, and beer shops around Paris from May 24 through June 1st. There will be degustations, soirées gastronomiques, and even an amateur beer-making contest. I’m quite excited about the beer and wine pairing class at my local shop, Biérocratie. For the low-down in English, the foodie site Paris by Mouth has aGuide to Paris Beer Week.

If you’re more of a whiskey aficionado than a beer fan, the blended whiskey maker Grant’s is hosting a pop-up “espace éphémère” near the Montorgueil district, L’Atelier Blendologie by Grant’s (44 rue de Turbigo, 2nd). It’s a “universe of blended whiskeys, from creation to tasting”, with five workshops and one master class, from May 20th until June 8th, open noon-7:30pm, with private parties 8:30-11:30pm. You can sign up for free for either the ateliers or the private parties on their FB page.

Finally, for those of you who are more interested in sipping rosé, Paris by the Glass andThe Chamber (private cocktail club) have teamed up for a Private Rosé Tasting, class, and pairing on June 14th, limited space, €25 for members, €45 for non-members.

* Private Boat Rentals *
Let’s all say it: Seine river cruises aren’t that romantic. Why? In the immortal words of Sartre, “Hell is others.” But now with Marin d'Eau Douce you can rent your own little boat to zoom (okay, gently glide) around the Bassin de la Villette, the Canal de l’Ourcq or the trendy canal Saint Martin (you can’t actually take them onto the Seine, too small). There are three different sizes for 5, 7 or 11 passengers max, starting at €40/hour for the small boat to €280/full day for the largest boat. You don’t need any special permit to drive these small motor boats, but the website does give you a breakdown of the rules of navigation of the canals and the locks, in French, so a bit of familiarity with the language will be helpful! They also provide cool optional add-ons like picnic baskets, aperitif baskets, and pétanque balls.  

* Paris Haiku *
Haiku is very addictive, especially when paired with gorgeous photos of Paris. Check out Anna Eklund-Cheong’s Paris-inspired poems on Paris Haiku, with images of Paris by her photographer son, Eric. If you want to try it yourself, she also has a few tips about how to write haiku.

* Gourmet Food Delivered *
If you’re a fan of ELLE à Table (the most fashionable food magazine in France, of course), you can now order their limited edition 15th anniversary box of gourmet foods from the (unfortunately-named) company Eat Your Box. It’s €30 including delivery in France, and is valued at €57. The website has other monthly food boxes to order, some more interesting than others. One of the items in this month’s box caught my eye: camembert aroma for cooking (make your sauce taste cheesy without any cheese?).

Despite the seemingly endless rain here in Paris, we have had a few picnic-worthy spring days, and surely more are to come. If you’re too busy to get to the market yourself, the Épicerie Générale will deliver one right to you, anywhere in Paris, by scooter (you can also pick it up in their shop at 43 Rue de Verneuil, 7th). They have a half dozen different baskets for two people; from €42-€62 (or the deluxe choice for €198 with caviar). Reserve them in the morning for early evening delivery, by phone at 01 42 60 51 78.
* Starting a Company in France *
If you’re thinking of starting a business in France, Katya Puyraud of EuroStart Enterprises has created a small guide to the basics of getting started, The Mountain Guide to French Business (named because “Trying to open a company in France for an expat can be as daunting as climbing a mountain”).

* Paris Dining Notes *
When Alec Lobrano’s article 7 New Restaurants Parisians Don’t Want You to Know About came out in NYMag.com last week, I quickly booked a table at Caillebottebefore it was too late. I had been meaning to stop by after hearing good things from several friends. It’s in the 9th, near many of the other “unpretentious” dining hotspots of the moment, so there’s no need to dress up, but unless you’re lucky enough to get the one tiny table near the front window for two, be prepared to be very close to the people dining next to you. The service was friendly and attentive, and the food was fine. But the highlight was by far the chocolate mousse. My French date laughed when I chose the most “predictable” dessert on the menu, but both of us practically licked the bowl, afterwards. It had crunchy bits in it, lightly praline, unlike the version with black olives David Lebovitz wrote about on his visit.

I also recently visited the newly-restored Bivouac Café of the Hotel Napoléon, a family-owned hotel near the Arc de Triomphe which just won its 5th star. They have Afternoon Tea service with organic teas from Pascal Hamour and pastries from Acide Macaron in Batignolles district. The plush interior is cozy, with plenty of space between the tables for privacy. When the weather is nice they set up a terrace lounge outside. Tea is served 3-6pm weekdays, count on about €25.If you’re feeling flush, the Suite Impériale has views of both the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe from the bed.


Last month a friend of mine who lives in the Faubourg St-Germain suggested we do sushi takeout for dinner. I didn’t think there was any decent sushi in that neighborhood, but Yuzu (33 rue de Bellechasse, 7th) is a lovely little Japanese restaurant with a sushi bar, dishes can be ordered to go. We were the only non-Asian clients that evening, with a group of regulars around the bar chatting with the chef while he prepared the meal. We sipped Japanese beers and were offered little amuses-bouches while waiting. The quality is certainly higher than your average “sushi” place (and I’ve visited many in Paris), with prices to match (about €35/person). I recommend booking a table – or a spot at the bar – for your next Japanese meal out (located in the diplomatic district, lunch is more crowded than dinner).
* Friday Night Fun Run *
After a very busy March on the run (I did the Paris half marathon, the NYC half marathon, and the Paris Eco-Trail 18k), I took off most of April and am now training with the Paris FreeRunners for the 10k L’Equipe de Paris on June 15th. The FreeRunners are the local running community organized by the French runner’s site, Runners.fr. The website is in French, but the owner and most of the members are also English-speaking. Every Friday night there’s a “Happy Friday Run” open to everyone, beginners or not, from the Pont Solferino (the pedestrian bridge between Orsay Museum and Tuileries) at 7pm. It’s a casual jog along the Berges de Seine to the Eiffel Tower (photo op!) and back, followed by wine and snacks and socializing nearby. In fact, the wine and socializing part seems to last longer than the run, this is a friendly group! Do feel free to come by and run with us, RSVP on the FB events page.


* Stylish Liquid Smoke *
It had to happen, right? Now that there are electronic cigarette shops on every corner of Paris, entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the new marketing opportunities.Thenancara is a hipster-friendly brand of “e-liquids of quality” for e-cigarettes, packaged in stylish bottles with minimalist labels. Made in France, they promise to “reveal the secrets of vivid taste and velvety indulgence in their mist”. Wow, with a sales pitch like that I might have to take up e-smoking. ;-)

* Paris Finally Gets a Dog Park *
After heavy lobbying by groups such asChiens en Ville, Paris now has a real dog park, Le Square Jacques Antoine, just off the Place Denfert-Rochereau in the 14th. It’s open 24/7, with special gates and chain-link fencing between the wrought-iron fencing to prevent escapes.You can let your dogs off leash, but you can’t bring in any toys, and of course you have to bring baggies to clean up. Unfortunately I happened to walk by on the one day when the City of Paris was trimming the huge plane trees in the square, so it was closed off, but I plan on returning with Pedro and Lena for a bit off off-leash socializing this summer. Photos to follow…

* Paris for Parents Website *
If you’re a parent in Paris always on the lookout for places that are kid-friendly, there’s now a website for you, Yes We Mum (yet another unfortunate French massacre of the English language), in French and English, with reviews and ratings of places by location, including shops, restaurants, playgrounds, and even doctors.  
* Special Advance Copies of Naughty Paris *
The second edition of the award-winning “Naughty Paris: A Lady’s Guide to the Sexy City” is finally off to the printer’s! Secrets of Paris subscribers will have the chance to get it directly from me as early as June through my special pre-launch “friends and supporters” campaign I’ll be kicking off in May with events, special discounts and a few surprises. If you want to make sure you don’t miss it, sign up for the Naughty Paris VIP list at the bottom of the official website: www.naughtyparis.com.
 
* Paris Tourism Stats for 2013 *
The official Paris tourism statistics for 2013 were released last week, with 29.3 million visitors, 12.1 million of them coming from outside France (about 41%). There were 15.6 million hotel nights booked, with Americans making up the largest clientele with 1.6 million of those reservations. They have estimated there were 18,601 short-let, furnished apartments rented last year, although those are just the ones that are declared. There were 72.1 million museum and monument visits, with the top six being Notre Dame Cathedral, Sacré Coeur Basilica, Musée du Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Centre Pompidou, and the Musée d’Orsay (in that order). Notre Dame got almost twice as many visitors as the Eiffel Tower, but since the churches are free to visit, and there’s no way to determine who is a “visitor” and who is actually there for mass, the results are understandably skewed. One of the fun stats: 20% of Americans and 21% of Australians reportedly came to Paris for the food. The Brits were the closest with 17%, but “gastronomy” was quite low on the list of reasons for coming by every other nationality (less than 5% of the Italians, no surprise).

 

This newsletter was emailed to subscribers on April 9th. If you'd like to get it directly in your email, sign up for a free subscription here

 

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Reader Comments (2)

Heather, I just wanted to write a quick note to compliment you on the quality of your newsletter. I find that a lot of the English-language blogs regurgitate the same locales, but you consistently mention names/places/events I haven't seen elsewhere. As someone who lives here, I really appreciate you doing the hard work to unearth them and that you consider residents as well as visitors. Brava! Lynn
May 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLynn
Thanks for reading, Lynn! :-)
May 24, 2014 | Registered CommenterHeather Stimmler
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