Tag Archives: Paris

Soldes: The best time to shop in Paris

 

img_0245-copy

The French sales period, SOLDES, is the BEST time to shop in Paris. Like many things in France, the timing of the biannual sales are regulated by the state. For 2017, the sales periods in Paris are: winter  11th of January until the 21st of February and in summer the 28th of June to the 8th of August (the dates can vary slightly in different regions of France).

During the sales period, products can be marked down 3 times: 1er démarque, 2eme démarque and 3eme démarque.  Each time, the cost of goods can be reduced to up to 70% in the third mark down.

imgp0504-copy

 

As a tourist, the best areas to shop would be the Champs Elysées, Rue de Rivoli in the Marais, les grands magasins/ department stores (such as Printemps & Galeries Lafayette) and, my personal favourite, Rue de Saint Honoré in the 1st arrondissement. These areas have a mix of shops with French brands, chain stores, luxury brands and boutiques.

I’ve been lucky enough to be in town during the summer and winter soldes, and the bargains are amazing.  Living in the southern hemisphere is a bonus as I’m able to shop for the upcoming season!  Only con is that the shops are absolutely packed, not just with people, but with shelves and shelves of products.

img_1460edit-copyMy top tips are:

  • Be prepared.
    • Do have a look online to see what to look for.
    • Check for the shop’s opening and closing times.
    • Give yourself enough time (ie don’t be in a rush, there are piles of stuff to search through!).
    • Make sure you have your ID in case of checks in store for your credit card, as well as for the DETAXE (tax refund scheme) paperwork.
  • If you find what you are looking for, take it!
    • If you can’t find it in the store, try looking online to see if another store has it in stock, or if available online, to purchase.
  • Be efficient: lines to the changing rooms are long so make sure you take in whatever you can.
  • Dress comfortably:  flats shoes and an easy outfit to change in and out of are helpful!
  • Make sure you have enough luggage/luggage allowance to fit all your purchases 😃

 

soldesedit
Soldes By Joy Loves Paris.    Brush lettering by hand, edited with Adobe software.

For more information for dates of Soldes periods around France see: Le portail de l’Économie et des Finances

For more shopping ideas: Paris Info Site officiel de l’Office du Tourisme et des Congrès

Bonne chance! (Good luck!)

Logo_Project

JLP

 

 

Minuit Moins 7

minuitmoins7
Minuit Moins 7 By JoyLovesParis. Watercolour

If your classic red soles are in need of some love, Minuit Moins 7 is the place to go. Situated in the quaint Galerie Véro-Dodat in Paris’ 1st arrondissement, it is known as the offical cobbler to Christian Louboutin. Their services include the replacement and repair of the famed red soles and shoes, including the installation of the CL signature rubber red soles.

minuitmoins74Galerie Véro-Dodat joins Rue Croix des Petits Champs and Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau and is close to the Louvre and Palais Royale.  Inside it is quiet and picturesque, with architecture that takes you back to the 1800s. There are a few of these galeries (indoor passageways) in Paris, each with their own feel and boutiques.  I had visited this galerie a few times before, as our usual accommodation is situated close by, and each time I’ve been in awe of the ambience of the arcade. The flagship Christian Louboutin store is conveniently found next door to the Cordonnerie.

minuitmoins73

I have, for some time, been wanting to get rubber soles put onto my pair of Loubi’s to prolong the usage of my beloved shoes, as well as to add grip.  I had purchased my 100mm glitter Pigalles here in Sydney, and was recommended a local cobbler to carry out this service for me.  But alas, I had much preferred to go to the source, so made sure I brought along my glittery pair to be repaired when I left for Paris.

The gentleman who served me spoke English and assisted me with my desired service.  The turnaround time was a month, and as I was unfortunately not staying in Paris for the duration, requested they be sent to me in Sydney.

minuitmoins72

They arrived a week or two after the date quoted, but when they did, I was delighted to see they were packaged well and the soles just as I had imagined.

I would highly recommend their service, whether you are in Paris or elsewhere (as you can send your shoes to them for repair).  They have also opened a shop in London, which provides the same services.  Do contact them for more information on their services, your Red Soles (and you!) will be grateful you did!

Logo_Project
JLP

minuitmoins75


Minuit Moins 7

Website

Paris

10 Passage Véro-Dodat
75001 Paris
Tel : +33(0)1 42 21 15 47

London 

163-165 Whitecross Street
LONDON EC1Y8JT
Tel : +44(0)207 6082330

So Frenchy So Chic In the Park Sydney 2016

IMG_6391

Last week I attended So Frenchy So Chic in the Park in Sydney.  And it was everything I had hoped for and more.

We were weary about the weather (as it had been raining constantly days before) but it had cleared up to an overcast, yet warm day.  The venue was gorgeous at St John’s Park on the grounds of the University of Sydney.

IMG_6425
The grounds at St John’s Park, University of Sydney By JoyLovesParis

I had packed us a quintessentially French picnic of charcuterie (which included a pork and pistachio terrine, Serrano Jamon, Comté, Roquefort, and Camembert cheeses, and cornichons), a baguette and a picnic blanket.  Alcohol had to be purchased on site. We polished off two bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon and a Lillet Wine cocktail each (so refreshing!).  There was a line of food stalls at the venue and included a Crêperie, Raclette stand and macaron stand for those who chose to buy.  Simmone Logue hampers could also be pre-ordered for those who were extra organised.

I had my hair braided by a stylist at The Braid Bar after a little bit of a wait (although not as long as the neighbouring flower garlands stand).

There was a touching tribute to those affected by the tragic events in Paris with a minute silence, as well as a wall of condolences for other atrocities.

When the bands started, the mood lifted, bodies swayed, wine glasses waved.  The atmosphere felt very Parisian. You could certainly feel the joie de vivre in the air.  It took me back to a time when I sat in the Jardin des Tuileries at dusk with friends, cheese, wine and a baguette.

This year’s featured acts were Hindi Zahra, Brigitte, Lou Doillon, and Soviet Suprem with a DJ playing between performances. Seeing the bands play live brought an extra dimension to the music I had heard on the CDs I described in my previous article Frenchie Finds: So Frenchy So Chic 2016.

The concept of So Frenchy So Chic is to give Australia a taste of French music and culture, it most definitely succeeded in doing that.  Definitely something to add to your summer calendar, whether you are a francophile or not, as a lovely day out.

IMG_6407
By JoyLovesParis

For more information on future events, check out the So Frenchy So Chic Website.

I’m looking forward to blogging much more Parisian and French inspiration this year.

À plus tard!

JLP xx

La Tour Eiffel: You never forget the first time…

IMGP2109 3
©JoyLovesParis

When thinking about going to Paris for the first time, many dream of the beautiful boulevardes, the famous museums, the cafés, and of course, getting your first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.  It’s probably the most recognisable landmark in the world and is often seen on screen, in print and is replicated in many forms (it’s an essential Paris-lover / Francophile accessory!).

©JoyLovesParis
©JoyLovesParis

Once you finally arrive, it’s a surreal feeling. Dreaming about being somewhere for so long then finally getting there is an amazing experience.  You first seek out the Eiffel Tower. Virtually anywhere you are in Paris, you just have to look up to see it. The first time you see her will likely be memorable.  It’s then when you know that you have finally made it.

©JoyLovesParis
©JoyLovesParis

I still remember the very first time I saw her. I was 24 and travelled to Europe for the very first time, solo. I chose a special fare that landed in Paris then a Eurostar trip to London a few hours later.  I took a taxi from Charles de Gaulle to Gare Du Nord and remember seeing her.  She was peeking out through buildings as we entered the outskirts of the city. My heart almost leapt out of my chest, and I felt the biggest smile form on my face. I fell in love that day.

227663_5732980201_4637_n
My first trip to Paris in 2005

If you have a memorable story to tell of your “first time”,  please share in the comments below.

À la prochaine!

JLP

Je suis Paris. Nous sommes Paris.

I was heartbroken, along with the rest of the world, when I heard the sad news that the city I love, the city that has inspired this blog, has had to suffer through another painful experience. In these unfortunate times however, the power of the human spirit is evident.  Grief has brought about kindness in many. The outpouring of love and support for Parisians and the French has been incredible. Last night, I had an event in the CBD and was able to witness Sydney’s show of solidarity at the Town hall and Opera House.

My heart and prayers are with those affected in Paris, as well as with all others around the world who have to deal with similar unfortunate occurrences.

Je suis Paris. Nous sommes Paris.

Sydney Opera House Image Source: smh.com.au
Sydney Opera House Image Source: smh.com.au

The scent of Paris

Memories brought back by Chance. ©JoyLovesParis
Memories brought back by Chance. ©JoyLovesParis

On an impromptu two week trip to Paris in May 2012, I gave myself the challenge of packing minimally. It was a difficult task but one that I proudly conquered.  I’m usually one for options (for every mood, weather condition & occasion!) but this time I decided to choose wisely.

IMGP5329
Chanel Chance ©JoyLovesParis

Now it may seem like quite a simple thing, and I do tend to overthink things, but the choice of scent is important to me. I have always had a sensitive sense of smell so I try to surround myself with pleasant fragrances.  Scents can help create a certain mood, can tell you a lot about a personality, but more importantly can evoke memories.  I ended up taking Chanel Chance as my chosen perfume for the trip. It was a perfume given to me as a gift, and one that took me time to enjoy.  It was discovering the notes and layers of the scent that gained my appreciation for it.

Months after my trip, I recall wearing Chance again.  The fragrance brought back memories of those two weeks. The two warm humid days in Singapore. The smell of food at Borough markets on the weekend in London. The sunny spring morning walks along the Seine. The tulips in Giverny and the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. The Chanel sunglasses I had excitedly acquired at the boutique in Printemps. The gorgeous coq au vin I had at a nearby café.  A cool and windy trip on the Bateau Mouche. The time lost inside amongst books and history of Shakespeare and Co. And oh so many more memories.

I have since associated that perfume with Paris. To me, it is the scent of Paris.

People watching in Paris

©JoyLovesParis
©JoyLovesParis

People watching is a favourite Parisian past time. When you pass by cafés, you will notice the chairs turned out towards the street.  When inside a cafe, tables can be quite close to one another.  Sometimes you can’t help but eavesdrop on other conversations and watch people interacting. Using your imagination to add in the extra details can be quite entertaining.  Common etiquette dictates that it is rude to stare and to listen in on others’ conversations, but it doesn’t seem to be the case in Parisian culture.  I did not seem to notice being ‘observed’ the last time I was there, maybe Parisians practice subtlety in this aspect.

Angelina cafe Paris 4368
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Around the industrial revolution, flâneurs wandered aimlessly along the newly completed boulevards and arcades whilst observing life around them. Many writers and poets of the 19th century were known flâneurs, and were likely inspired by their observations. Defined by Oxford dictionary as “a man who saunters around observing society“, this is probably how the art of people watching began. (There is quite a bit more to the concept of the flâneur in the literary and philosophical sense, it is worth  looking into it further if it interests you.)

Café de Flore
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
I have to admit that I don’t mind a bit of people watching myself. Once observing strangers’ body language, I then make up a story to go with them (occasionally I confirm my story when I overhear some of the conversation…). It is quite amusing, I can see why Parisians enjoy it so much.

©JoyLovesParis
©JoyLovesParis

Le dîner en blanc

I was fortunate enough to be able to access highly sought-after tickets to this year’s event in Sydney, in late November. It has inspired this article on the event, which started in Paris, bien sûr.

51e92912b112c27a4d711e1b8b29d4cc-1372606072-1024x768
Image source : Dîner en Blanc Paris

Every June, thousands of people, fashionably dressed in white, crowd the streets of Paris armed with trolleys and baskets. They are headed to a secret location, to celebrate food, friendship and fun. Invitations to this event is limited to those who have previously attended and their guests.

There are some simple rules to follow at the event which stay true to the original concepts and keeps the event unique.  They include taking along one guest, a table, two chairs and picnic basket, to dress elegantly in white, and to leave nothing behind at the venue.  There are also a few traditions that occur at every Dîner en Blanc; the waving of white napkins to mark the start of le dîner and the lighting of the sparklers to open up the dance floor.

The very first event took place in Paris at the Bois de Bologne in 1988, when François Pasquier organised a gathering for friends and asked them to wear white to make locating each other easier. Since then, the Paris chapter has seen events held at spectacular venues such as the pyramid at the Louvre, Pont Alexandre III, Trocadéro and Palais Royale, to name a few!

Le dîner en blanc events currently take place in many cities around the world, showcasing their landmarks and public spaces.  The first event in Sydney occurred in 2012 with the grounds of the Museum of Contemporary Art as its inaugural venue.

I’m looking forward to attending this all-white event and sharing my experiences.

For more information, visit Dîner en Blanc, Paris and click the links to find an event near you.

Les bouquinistes de la Seine

©JoyLovesParis
©JoyLovesParis

One of my favourite things to do in Paris, is to wander through the couple of hundred bouquiniste stalls along the Seine. Described by many as an “open-air bookshop”, they combine my love of books, antiques, bookshops and market stalls in such a picturesque way.

©JoyLovesParis
©JoyLovesParis

At these stalls, you will find a huge selection of French second-hand and vintage books, magazines, posters and souvenirs. You get a sense of nostalgia whilst looking through the vintage posters and the aged book spines from bygone eras.

Bain News Service, Book stalls, Paris
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Les bouquinistes on the Seine have been around for centuries and form a part of Paris’ literary history, tradition and landscape. What started out as a way of life for wandering merchants in the 17th century to sell used (salvaged) books along the Seine, the practice has evolved over time, through the revolution and the world wars. With such a history, it is no wonder that they gained UNESCO world heritage status in 1991.

©JoyLovesParis
©JoyLovesParis

Each stall consists of four boxes that are attached to the walls along the Seine. As local rules dictate, the exterior of each box has to be dark green in colour, and at least three of the boxes must contain books. These stalls are well regulated by the Paris city council, and are subject to regular inspections.  The bouquinistes are frequented by the locals (as the majority of material is in French), but the stall holders have had to adapt to the numerous amount of tourists by selling souvenirs – much to the dismay of the Parisians.  An interesting article I came across from The Guardian in 2008 describes the booksellers’ plight of needing to make a profit while trying to keep to the city council’s rules (and local opinion).

Bouquinistes boîtes fermées
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
You can find these booksellers on the Right Bank from Pont Marie to Quai du Louvre, and on the Left Bank, from Quai de la Tournelle to Quai Voltaire. They are open every day, with the exception of poor weather.

Stars indicate bouquiniste location areas. Map made using Google Maps.
Stars indicate bouquiniste location boundaries. Map made using Google Maps.

On past visits, I’ve bought a few children’s books at these stalls (a copy of Le Petit Prince and a few French Mister Men and Women stories). Each of them were carefully wrapped in cellophane and in pristine condition. On my next visit, I hope to find the perfect vintage print from the Babar series for my daughter’s room (I couldn’t decide on one the last time I was there).

Les bouquinistes are lovely to walk through, make sure you stop to admire (or even buy) the beautiful books!

©JoyLovesParis
Me wandering through the bouquiniste stalls ©JoyLovesParis

Useful links:

Les macarons: ma recette / my recipe

©JoyLovesParis
Macarons by JoyLovesParis ©JoyLovesParis

The macaron is such a simple looking dessert, consisting of two almond meringue cookies with a filled in centre.  Yet its looks are quite deceiving, as it takes a while to master, and a batch in itself takes a few hours (and a bit of patience) to put together.  It took me almost two years of practising every few months, to finally get the desired look, flavour and texture. I also did a macaron class at a culinary school in Paris where I gained a few tips before practising some more and finally getting it right. It is a bit of a process to get a recipe completed, but it is definitely worth it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In Paris, there are macarons in pâtisseries, Salons de thé (tea rooms), grand épiceries (large grocers) and even McDonald’s outlets.  As the French love to indulge, but usually only in small amounts, the macaron is the perfect size. Boutiques that specialise in macarons are also common, with a few well known ones being Ladurée, Pierre Hermé and Fauchon.

In Australia, the popularity of the macaron has increased within the last five years, so much so that Ladurée has opened two salons de thé in SydneyI, myself had run a little business that I had named Macaron Boutique for a year in 2012 dedicated to making these little treats. It was a lot of fun, but also a lot of work.

So from my experience, I would love to share with you a recipe to try, as well as a few tips.  This recipe is a combination of recipes I have tried and taken bits and pieces from to form my own.  It is based on the Italian meringue.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Macaron Recipe  Makes approximately 40 macarons (80 shells)

(Please note – I have converted the measurements into the imperial system so is approximate)

Ingredients:

  • Egg whites
    • 2 x 75g (2.6 oz) of egg whites
  • 200g (7 oz) Icing sugar
  • 200g (7 oz) Blanched almond meal
  • Food colouring
  • 200g (7 oz) Caster Sugar
  • 75ml (2.5 fl oz) Water

Equipment:

  • Sieve (not necessary, just ensure the icing sugar has no lumps)
  • Food processor (can do without though)
  • Sieve
  • Saucepan
  • Candy Thermometer
  • Electric Mixer
  • Piping bag and 11mm / 0.4″ nozzle
  • Baking trays and paper
  • Rubber spatula
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160˚C /320˚F.
  2. Separate the egg whites, 75g each into two bowls.
  3. Put the almond meal into a food processor for about a minute.
  4. Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl.
  5. Mix together the icing sugar and almond meal, then mix in the first bowl of 75g of egg whites, adding the food colouring to the desired colour. Set aside.
  6. On the stove, put the water and caster sugar together with thermometer onto medium heat, until the temperature reaches 118˚C/244 ˚F (while waiting, complete step 6), then take off the heat.
  7. Start beating the second bowl of egg whites with an electric mixer until you get soft peaks.
  8. Slowly pour the sugar syrup into the soft peaks of the egg whites while still beating. Keep beating for 10 minutes until the meringue cools.
  9. Using a spatula, carefully combine the Italian meringue with the almond mixture you prepared earlier. Be careful not to over beat the mixture. You need some air bubbles for the biscuits to rise, but also need to beat off a bit of the air so that you get uniform shells. The mixture should be smooth, but not too runny. This is the hardest part of the recipe, which takes the longest to get right, as you need to judge the amount of air in the mixture.
  10. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag that has the 11mm / 0.4″ nozzle attached.
  11. Pipe out 3-4cm / 1″-1.1″ (or any size or shape you wish!) rounds onto the baking paper.
  12. Leave aside for about 20 minutes or more to rest (add 10 minutes more on a humid day). They are ready when the shells do not stick to your finger when you touch them gently.
  13. Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes (or more depending on your oven), until the dome has risen. You know they are done when the shell is set hard (firm to touch) and the colour lightens.
  14. Leave to cool before removing from paper.
  15. Fill with desired filling – ganache, jam, buttercream, or anything else you desire – the choice is yours!

Tips:

  • Eggs whites should be at room temperature.  For best results, separate the egg whites a few days before and keep them in the fridge until the night before you will make the macarons.
  • Liquid food colouring gives a very light colour result, I found colouring in gel or paste form to give a more vibrant result.  You will need about a teaspoon, but can add more later (once you add the meringue, you’ll get a better idea of colour).
  • When mixing the almond mixture and the meringue, put a third of the meringue mixture in at a time, so that it loosens the mixture.
  • When piping out the circles onto the baking paper, set the nozzle perpendicular to the tray, half a centimetre from the tray. Squeeze the bag with enough pressure to get some mixture out. Squeeze until you get a circle big enough, stop squeezing, then swiftly pull the nozzle up and flick it to the side to detach the mixture from the nozzle. If the mixture is at the correct consistency, the peak should fall. Otherwise, you can use your finger to flatten it.
  • Before resting, tap the tray onto the table to help rise any air bubbles, and it may also help flatten any peaks (as long as the mixture is the right consistency).
  • I find it best to cook a tray at a time, but depending on your oven temperature (and your available time) you may wish to put in another tray.  You may find that the cookies on the edge may be lopsided and a little more coloured than those in the middle.
  • If the macarons do not come off the paper easily, and stick, they are not yet done.
  • Cracks appear on the shells if they have not rested adequately or if it is a humid day as the “skin” hasn’t formed properly.
  • Macarons are best consumed 24 hours after you make them. After filling them, refrigerate them and then leave them out (if you can!) to reach room temperature. They will store well in the fridge for up to 5-7 days. They can also be frozen for a few weeks and are best thawed out in the fridge for 24 hours before consuming.
  • No matter how they end up looking, they will still taste amazing, so enjoy, and keep practicing.

This is a complex recipe with many variables, so you can see how much work goes into making a batch. Please leave a comment or contact me for any questions. If you do try it out, I’d love to hear how you went!