If you’re looking for somewhere a bit different to go for dinner or drinks, look no further than Polpo, a seafood brasserie.
This bar-restaurant is in fact a 600m2 barge on the banks of the Seine in the Parisian suburb of Levallois-Perret. You might have to walk along the side of a busy road to get to the place, but once inside, the relaxed vibe makes you feel as though you are on holiday.
Food options include oysters, lobster and mussels (I had the fish and chips, since I’m a Brit), although there are pasta and steak options available if seafood doesn’t float your boat. Dessert is delectable–I had a chocolate mousse to die for.
When it comes to drinks, I’d recommend going for Happy Hour, from 5-8pm, when a spritz is €5.
47 quai Charles Pasqua
92300 Levallois Perret
Metro Pont de Levallois (Line 3)
This weekend in Paris was the 33rd edition of Journées Européenes du patrimoine (European Heritage Days), where sites open to the public across the capital included ministries, embassies and Hôtel Matignon, the official residence of the French Prime Minister.
Being a bit of a fashionista, I opted to visit the new head offices of French group Kering, which owns brands including Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci and Alexander McQueen.
Located at 40 rue de Sèvres in Paris’ 7th arrondissement, the new head offices of Kering and Balenciaga is the site of the former Hôpital Laennec and is classified as a ‘monument historique’.
In the chapel there was a contemporary art exhibition from the Pinault Collection, while in the Balenciaga showroom some iconic pieces from the fashion designer were on display.
We also got to peek at the office waiting area, which was as luxurious as you might expect.
All in all, a great visit that made me want to indulge in a bit of retail therapy-lucky then, that the Le Bon Marché department store is just up the road!
As much as I love Paris, it’s sometimes nice to get out of the city, so that’s what we did today, on what turned out to be a suitably sunny Saturday.
We decided to head to Parc de Sceaux, which straddles the communes of Sceaux and Antony in Hauts-de-Seine and is about 20 minutes from Paris on the RER B.
Popular with runners and picnickers, Parc de Sceaux is particularly nice at this time of year because its blossoming cherry trees. Tomorrow, 17th April, is the fête de cerisiers en fleur, a Japanese festival to celebrate their flowering. Everyone packs a picnic, and can participate in a dance workshop in the afternoon, which sounds like a pretty fun way to spend a Sunday.
This week is Paris cocktail week, which means that from January 23 – 30, you can participate in cocktail-making masterclasses and sample some delicious cocktails at a discount in a selection of bars across the French capital. So if you’ve ever fancied sipping a cocktail at the bar at Le Bristol or the Hyatt, now is the time.
Once you download your free pass from the website, all you have to do is choose your bar – each one offers one discounted cocktail, so make sure it’s something that takes your fancy.
I opted to sample a vodka-based concoction at The Buddha Bar, called Bon Bison de Paris, which was absolutely fabulous and definitely a step up from my usual happy hour mojito.
I suspect, given that it’s only Monday, I will have sampled a few more cocktails before the week is out.
French fashion magazine Elle is celebrating 70 years and almost 3,700 issues with an exhibition on the Champs-élysées in Paris of some of its most amusing, emotional and iconic covers.
Some 159 covers are on display, providing a retrospective of fashion across the decades. With cover stars including Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell sporting designs from the likes of Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel and Thierry Mugler, it’s a definite must-see for fans of fashion.
August in Paris is hot, hot hot. And when temperatures just keep rising, it’s the perfect excuse to indulge in ice cream. Probably the only time, in fact, when eating two ice creams in one day feels entirely justified.
And Paris is not short of ice cream options. You don’t have to walk far along the banks of the Seine to come across an ice cream truck or a pop-up cafe selling a multitude of flavours.
Then there’s Amorino and Berthillon, and the chocolate shops that roll out their ice cream carts – Jeff de Bruges is a particular favourite of mine for the mint choc-chip ice cream.
Although sometimes, an ice cream on its own just won’t cut it, which is how I discovered the fabulous cookies glacés from cookie purveyor La Fabrique Cookies.
Wandering down Rue de Lévis in the 17th arrondissement on the hunt for an ice cream, I was spoilt for choice yet distracted by the idea of cookies. Should I get a cookie and an ice cream? Could I? Particularly when I’d had cake for breakfast that morning.
And then I found the answer: ice cream sandwiched between two cookies, for the bargain price of 3 euros. I went for the salted caramel cookie and lemon ice cream option. With the exception of the first bite when I thought I might actually lose a tooth (top tip, wait until the frozen cookie softens a bit), it was every bit as fabulous as the sales girl assured me it would be. Highly recommended.
La Fabrique Cookies, 25 Rue de Lévis 75017.
No matter how good you think your French is, you will always make mistakes, misunderstand what you read or hear, and say the wrong things. Probably more often than you would like.
A survey of my fellow expats told me I’m not alone on this one. Here are some of my favourites.
“I was reading L’Étranger by Camus and I couldn’t figure out why some random guy kept asking the protagonist if he wanted to open la bière when the latter’s mother had just keeled over. Then it eventually transpired that la bière is another word for ‘coffin’. But I figured that as it’s supposed to be an absurdist novel, it was being just that.”
“In a restaurant, I tried to convey the idea that I don’t like fizzy drinks. I’m still not entirely sure what I did say, but I think I mispronounced bubbles as balls – cue many shocked faces and much hilarity from not only my table, but the one next to us, too.”
“I told a friend’s housemate I was making a hachis parmentier (kind of like a shepherd’s pie for us Brits), promising that it would be so good, he’d want to eat all of it. Except I mispronounced it as haschich. So obviously he was thrilled at the idea of an enormous marijuana pie. And no, my humble meat and potato dish didn’t live up to his expectations”
“It turns out that there is no feminine form of ‘chiots’ – puppies. Because ‘chiottes’ is actually a slang word for toilets. And not a very nice one at that. You can imagine what kind of reaction ‘J’adore les chiottes” gets when in refined company….”
What’s your worst faux pas? Don’t be shy now…