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Welcome 2 France Newsletter January 2010
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If you're coming to Paris this month, pack your comfortable shoes and prepare to shop. It's the time of the twice-annual official sales, when just about every store offers low prices. Look for the "Soldes" signs that indicate sales.





January Newsletter Highlights

· Kitchen Shops near Les Halles
· Shoe Shopping in Paris
· Navigating Paris by Arrondisement
· Restaurant Le Buisson d'Ardent
· Little Finds on a Street near Pompidou Centre
· Calendar of Events for January
· Looking Ahead to February




This Month's Featured Apartments

Champs Elysées-Wagram
This one bedroom, one bath apartment near the Arc de Triomphe sleeps up to four people. The living room is graced with exposed beams and a fireplace, and the bathroom is designed with contemporary fixtures.

Montparnasse-Le Dome
Two couples or a family will enjoy this two bedroom one bath apartment in Montparnasse, convenient to cafés and shopping and with easy connections to other sections of Paris. The building has a literary history; it's where Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald met.

Vendome 1
In the first arrondisement, close to the Louvre, rue St. Honoré and the Palais Royale, this elegant one bedroom apartment features stunning modern design accepted by bright splashes of color.




Kitchen Shops near Les Halles
You can find kitchen shops all over Paris, but some of the largest and most well-known are located not far from each other near Les Halles in the first arrondisement. It's not surprising that you'll find the cookware shops here; for centuries, Les Halles was the site of the wholesale markets that fed Paris. The markets date from medieval times, when merchants brought their wares into the city to sell here. The distinctive iron and glass buildings of Les Halles were constructed in the mid-19th century, and the area became known as "the belly of Paris."

By the early 1970s, Les Halles was seen as a dirty and noisy blot on the Paris landscape. In a fit of modernization, the city moved the wholesale market to the suburb of Rungis and replaced the food markets with an indoor mall that's never really worked well. While the chefs of the city now go out beyond the Périphérique for their pre-dawn purchasing, they can still buy their equipment in the Les Halles area. The most convenient Metro to reach all these shops is Chatelet-Les Halles.

E. Dehillerin
For many years, if you wanted to buy copper pots or anything special for cooking, you headed right to E. Dehillerin. Since 1820, this family-owned store has supplied professional chefs and avid home cooks with knives, pastry molds, pots and tableware and obscure utensils you didn't even know existed. Julia Child bought her copper pots here; they now reside in the Smithsonian Institution.

I'm not sure when the store was last remodeled - if ever - but the aisles are narrow, the shelves are stacked high, and the wooden floors are worn. Sales reps in green work coats stand near the entrance, but don't expect them to rush to help you. They're much more likely to be filling a commercial order. Instead, most of us prowl through the poorly-lit crowded spaces until we throw up our hands and ask for help in finding that special item we've been searching for. It's a bit like stepping back in time at least a few decades. But make no mistake, Dehillerin probably has what you need - as long as it's not electric.
18 - 20, rue Coquilliere (web: e-dehillerin.fr)
Open Monday from 9am to 12:30pm and from 2 - 6pm, Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm. Closed Sunday.


Mora
Just a few blocks away, several other stores cluster near each other on rue Montmartre. Mora has been in existence even longer than Dehillerin - since 1814. But they've updated through the years, and moved from their original location, so the shop is contemporary in design, even if the aisles are still so narrow you have to negotiate with other shoppers to move through.

Here you'll find, in addition to the professional-level pots, pans and molds, a specialty in pastry equipment for the working chef. They've got lots more, including madoline slicers, cutlery, cocktail mixers, bread and ice cream makers and glassware. On a recent visit, we found their stock to be broad but not deep; they've got everything, but not necessarily every version you might like.
13, rue Montmartre (web: mora.fr)
Open Monday - Friday from 9am - 6:15pm, Saturday 10am - 1pm and 1:45 - 6:30pm. Closed Sunday.

La Bovida
This is the Paris outlet of a chain of professional chef's stores throughout France. It's a relative newcomer among these kitchen outlets; it was founded in 1921. You walk into a high bright atrium; a ring of shining aluminum pots hangs above your head.

The store extends over three levels, with an enormous inventory of serving dishes for catering. It's a much larger store than Mora. La Bovida is well-known for carrying a line of spices by the kilo, in addition to everything for the table.
36, rue Montmartre (web: labovida.com)
Open Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 6:30pm, Saturday 10am - 6pm, closed Sunday.

A. Simon
Simon has two separate stores next to each other, each with its own entrance. One store is large and well-lit and features supplies for professional hotels and restaurants, as well as table linens and china patterns for the table. The other shop is pastry-chef heaven - a narrow space crammed with everything a pastry cook might ever think of needing. Like the other cooking stores, this one has been an institution in Paris for over a century, since 1884.
48 and 52, rue Montmartre (web: simon-a.com)
Open Monday from 1:30 - 6:30pm, Tuesday - Friday from 9 - 6:30pm, Saturday from 9:30am - 6:30pm. Closed Sunday.

G. Detou

Right around the corner from the cookware shops is G. Detou. The name, pronounced in French, sounds like "J'ai de tout," or "I have everything." The store doesn't sell equipment; it's the source for any obscure ingredients you might need to cook with. They're stocked with all kinds of chocolates, both chocolate bars for eating and big sacks for cooking. Nuts, artisanal honeys, many varieties of mustard, preserved fruits and spices line the shelves.

Even if you're not cooking in your apartment or packing specialty items home for gifts (or for yourself), you can get foie gras, sardines and other gourmet snacks here.
58, rue Tiquetonne
Open Monday - Saturday, 8:30am - 6:30pm. Closed Sunday.


Shoe Shopping in Paris
In the 7th arrondisement, not too far from the Bon Marché department store, is a cluster of shoe stores on rue de Grenelle. These aren't just any shoe stores; here's where you'll find some of the most iconic (and expensive) brands, most of them located between rue de Saint-Peres and boulevard Raspail.

You can start with the red-soled wonders made by Christian Louboutin and worn by celebrities everywhere. Among the other brands you'll find are the fantasies of Bruno Frisoni, London's L.K. Bennett, Iris for a wide choice of premium labels, Moss, Guiseppe Zanotti, Tod's and Prada. You get the idea. Men's shoe stores include Jean-Baptiste Rautureau for wild styles and Sergio Rossi.

If you're mad about fashionable shoes, you'll definitely make a trip during the January sales to the new shoe department at Galeries Lafayette. They've recently expanded to make it the largest shoe department in the world - 32,000 square feet of shoe paradise, offering 1500 brands. And if you need your old shoes spruced up, they've got a shoe repair service on site. Galeries Lafayette is at 40 boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondisement.

Shoe fashionistas are also talking about the new less-costly line by the stylish Jimmy Choo at H&M. The collection includes men's and women's clothes, shoes, bags and accessories. You'll find them all at 120, rue de Rivoli in the 1st.


Navigating Paris by Arrondisement
When I first started coming to Paris, I found the whole idea of the arrondisements confusing. Finally a friend pointed out that these 20 areas of Paris are arranged like a snail, beginning with the lst on the Seine. Numbers 1 - 8 contain most of the museums and tourist attractions. As you go further out (but still within the Périphérique, the circular highway around Paris), you'll find more residential neighborhoods. There's a helpful map in the Apartments section of the Welcome2France website.

The more often I come to Paris, the more I find myself exploring different arrondisements. I've also discovered that the buses are a terrific way to get around the city. To use the buses effectively, I suggest you buy a Navigo pass, a "smart card" sold at Metro stations. You pay €5 for the card and then €17.20 a week for unlimited use of Metro and buses in Zones 1 and 2, which includes most of the arrondisements. (Note that the Navigo passes can be purchased only for Monday - Sunday use, but that schedule probably syncs well with your apartment rental.) With a Navigo, you can hope on and off of buses quickly.


Most Parisians use guidebooks arranged by arrondisement, all easily purchased at the newsstands around the city. It's also a good idea to pick up a Metro and bus map available at the cashier's window at most Metro stops. The website ratp.com will plan the best way for you to get from point to point; even though it's in French, it's fairly intuitive to use.

All the bus stops in the city have diagrams of where the buses go, so you can figure out how to get to the area you're headed for. Nicely, they also tell you how many minutes till the next bus. On my last trip to Paris, I was having knee problems, so the buses were a great convenience (no walking up and down stairs in the Metro), and you get to see the city as you ride.

You can tell which arrondisement an address is in by looking at its postal code. The last one or two digits tell you the arrondisement (for instance, 75001 is the lst, and 75016 is the 16th). Street names are posted on the buildings at each intersection, at about what we'd call the second story level, and they usually also indicate the arrondisement.

Here's what you can expect to find in each arrondisement:

lst: the Louvre, Palais Royale, the Tuileries gardens and Les Halles. This is the prime tourist area of Paris.

2nd: North of the first, this is mostly a business area. The Bourse, the Paris stock market, is found here.

3rd and 4th: the Marais, where you'll find lots of small shops and restaurants, plus the Shoah Memorial and Village Saint-Paul for antiques. The Ile St. Louis, a quiet enclave on an island in the Seine, is here, as is the Ile de la Cité with Notre Dame.

5th: the Latin Quarter, on the Left Bank of the Seine, known for the Sorbonne and student hangouts. Rue Mouffetard is a well-known food shopping street. The Jardin des Plantes and Institut du Monde Arabe are also in the 5th.

6th: Saint-Germain on the Left Bank, where you find lots of shopping and dining, including some of the most famous cafés like Les Deux Magots. The magnificent St. Sulpice church is here, and the beautiful Jardins du Luxembourg.

7th: An upscale residential area on the Left Bank which also features the Eiffel Tower, the Musée D'Orsay, the Invalides and the Rodin museum.

8th: A beautiful area which also has the Arc de Triomphe, the Madeleine, much of the Champs Elysées and the small but exquisite Parc Monceau...and some of the city's most exclusive shopping.

9th: In the lower ninth are the Opéra, and the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps department stores. At its northern edge you get into the seedier Pigalle section of Montmartre, although there are also lots of little shops and restaurants to enjoy.

10th: Canal St. Martin runs through the 10th. Once the location of tanneries and dye shops, it's now an artsy area with small shops and restaurants.

11th and 12th: The Bastille opera house is here, surrounded by many small shops and places to eat. The 12th borders the huge Bois de Vincennes.

13th - 15th: These Left Bank arrondisements are less visited by tourists (except for Montparnasse in the 14th). The 13th contains Paris' vibrant Chinatown.

16th: An upscale residential area which also contains the Musée Marmottan, the Palais de Tokyo and the Baccarat Museum. It borders the Bois de Boulogne.

17th: A mostly residential area of diverse neighborhoods, this arrondisement also contains the Palais de Congres, a big convention center.

18th: Montmartre, the section of Paris that feels most like a village. Unlike most of the city, it has steep hills. Great views from the church of Sacre Coeur.

19th and 2oth: These neighborhoods have long contained public housing and gritty shopping, but they're being re-discovered by the art scene in Paris. Here you'll find the Parc des Buttes Chaumont and Belleville, both with many ethnic restaurants.


Restaurant Le Buisson Ardent
When I want a good meal in Paris, I often turn to Alex Lobrano's book Hungry for Paris: a Guide to the City's 102 Best Restaurants. I wasn't disappointed with his recommendation for Le Buisson Ardent, a gastronomic bistro in the 5th, where I recently had dinner with a friend.

The restaurant is surprisingly small, with tables crowded together around the rim of a square room in the front; there's an even smaller room in the back. Two tables over, the owner was having dinner with friends, so we were able to see what they chose from the menu.

The ambiance is warm, with red banquettes and green walls and frosted glass chandeliers. Murals of country scenes, dating from 1925, line the walls. The service too was warm - never intrusive, but certainly helpful. You can see the inspiration for the name in the pediment above the restaurant door - it translates to the Burning Bush, which in the Bible spoke to Moses. This building was once the site of the Abbey Saint-Victoire, destroyed during the French Revolution.

The price for dinner was right too -- €30 for the optional fixed price menu. This past July, the French government lowered the VAT tax on restaurant meals from 19.6% to 5.5%. Restaurants weren't obligated to pass on the savings to customers, but they have done so at Le Buisson d'Ardent. The fixed price formule was marked down from €32.



Every course looked as though it had been designed on the plate, with particular attention to shapes and colors. But the food we ate wasn't in the least pretentious; it was just delicious. My pork mignon came with a sweet turnip purée with hazelnut oil; I've never been a turnip fan, but I'd go back for that dish.

25, rue de Jussieu, Metro Jussieu
Open Monday - Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday dinner only. Closed Sunday.

Little Finds on a Street Near Centre Pompidou
One thing I love about Paris is that any street can suddenly surprise you with little treasures of surprising shops. On a recent visit, I found several artisanal stores all within the same block of one highly touristy street. They sat cheek-by-jowl with places that sold cheesy souvenirs, tee-shirts and several more unmentionable items.



Here we were on rue St. Martin in the 4th arrondisement, in the first block off the wide plaza in front of the art museum. 3b Bijoux at number 92 attracted us right away with its clean contemporary look. Whitewashed walls contrasted with the worn exposed beams in the ceiling.

The store has been here for 33 years, always selling contemporary handmade jewelry, all from the EU (well, they did have some stunning silk scarves from Japan). The striking pieces were made of silver, resin, fabric and paper. The owner, whose mother ran the place for years, is now working on a website.

My friend bought a long necklace on a thin sterling silver snakelike chain, studded at irregular intervals with coral-colored acrylic discs and white discs edged with gold leaf. It cost €122; the pieces are both affordable and memorable. (She wore the necklace nearly every day we were in Paris.)

Across the street is a more whimsical jewelry shop, completely different in feel. At Harraca, everything sparkles. Their rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets are made of powdered glass and acrylic resin in bright colors, using cobalt, silver, gold and madder - and they're all dotted with Swarovski crystals. There's a lot of glitter, but it's so artfully done that the designs work even for wearing every day. A friend has one of their white cuff bracelets, and she gets compliments on it constantly.

For jewelry with faux gems, Harraca isn't inexpensive; one bracelet we admired was €360. Every piece is made in the workroom behind the shop; we were able to meet the craftsman working at his bench.

Harraca has stores in Japan and Israel, but not in the United States. They're on the web at harraca-usa.com.

A few doors down, at number 61, is a tiny card shop, L'Ecritoire. It too has been there for over 30 years (web: ecritoire.fr). Among their goods are what the shop calls "enveloppes loufoques," or "crazy envelopes. These are small notecards in soft colors but unusual shapes: a triangle or hexagon, for instance. They're designed expressly for L'Ecritoire and made in France.

Besides the cards, notebooks, wax stamps and stickers, there were plenty of paper models of the major buildings of Paris. When I was younger, I loved putting together those models, and I was tempted to buy one again. They also offered pop-up cards that open to paper constructions of the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre and more. These cards were simple in their lines and colors, which made the intricate pop-ups even more surprising and delightful.

Finally, at 84, rue St. Martin is HB Henriot Faiencier, a brightly lit and inviting store of Breton Quimper. The region in Brittany has been producing pottery since the early 18th century. Over the decades, the various factories experienced alternating successes and declines; HB Henriot is the result of a merger between two competing firms in 1968.



Once again thriving, HB Henriot still produces the traditional design of the little man and woman wearing their traditional Breton costume, but now they also design contemporary patterns. The plates, vases, trays and figurines are displayed on white shelves against broad orange, navy and white-striped walls.

Since 2005, HB Henriot has also produced a variety of necklaces and bracelets, some in ethnic designs and others quite contemporary, including ceramic hearts on silk cord. They're on the web at hb-henriot.com.



Note: all the times and fees we've quoted in this month's newsletter were accurate when we published, but things do change, so it's always a good idea to check before you go.



Sheila Campbell, Washington, DC Web: sheilacampbell.com

Do you have a favorite place in Paris you'd like to tell us about for the newsletter? We'd love to hear your suggestions. Just click on www.welcome2france.com/?suggest and give us your ideas.
(Please address all other inquiries to info@welcome2france.com.




Calendar of Events, January, 2010

Art

Through January 4
Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice
Musée du Louvre, Metro Musée du Louvre or Louvre Rivoli
€9
Web: louvre.fr

Through January 4
Renoir in the 20th Century
Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais
3, avenue du Général Eisenhower, Metro Champs Elysées Clemenceau or Franklin Roosevelt
€11
Web: grandpalais.fr

Through January 10, 2010
Deadline (Ideas of Mortality among International Artists)
Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
11, avenue du Président Wilson, Metro Alma Marceau or Iéna
€9
Web: mam.paris.fr

Through January 11, 2010
Bruegel, Memling, Van Eyck: the Brukenthal Collection
Musée Jacquemart André
158, Blvd Haussmann, Metro Miromesnil or St. Philippe du Roule
€10
Web: musee-jacquemart-andre.com

Through January 17, 2010
Chasing Napoleon
Palais de Tokyo
13, avenue du Président Wilson, Metro Alma Marceau or Iéna
€6
Web: palaisdetokyo.com

Through January 17
Federico Fellini
Jeu de Paume
1, place de la Concorde, Metro Concorde
€6
Web: jeudepaume.org

Through January 25, 2010
From Byzantine to Istanbul
Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais
3, avenue du Général Eisenhower, Metro Champs Elysées Clemenceau or Franklin Roosevelt
€11
Web: grandpalais.fr

Through February 1
VIA Design 3.0: Design Classics from the Past 30 Years
Centre Pompidou
Place Georges Pompidou, Metro Rambuteau, Hotel de Ville, Chatelet
€12
Web: centrepompidou.fr

Through February 4, 2010
Art Nouveau Revival
Musée D'Orsay
2, rue Bellechasse, Metro Assemblée Nationale or Solférino
€5,50 - 8,00
Web: musee-orsay.fr

Through February 7, 2010
The Dutch Golden Age
La Pinacothéque
28, place de la Madeleine, Metro Madeleine
€10
Web: pinacotheque.com

Through February 20
Fauves and Expressionists, from Van Dongen to Otto Dix: Masterpieces of the Von der Heyt
Musée Marmottan-Monet
2, rue Louis-Boilly, Metro La Muette
€9
Web: marmottan.com

Through February 28
Matisse and Rodin
Musée Rodin
79, rue de Varenne, Metro Varenne or Invalides
€10
Web: musee-rodin.fr

Through March 7
Isadora Duncan: A Living Sculpture
18, rue Antoine Bourdelle, Metro Faiguiére or Pasteur
€7
Web: bourdelle.paris.fr

Through March 8
Pierre Soulages Retrospective
Centre Pompidou
Place Georges Pompidou, Metro Rambuteau, Hotel de Ville, Chatelet
€12
Web: centrepompidou.fr

Through July 4
Brittany: Traveling in Color, Autochromes 1907 - 1929
Musée Albert Kahn
10-14 rue du Port, Boulogne-Billancourt, Metro: Boulogne-Porte de Saint-Cloud.
€1.50
Web: albert-kahn.fr


Exhibitions and Other Museums

Through January 3, 2010
The French Revolution, Hidden Treasures of the Musée Carnavalet
Musée Carnavalet
23, rue de Sévigné, Metro Saint Paul or Chemin Vert
€5
Web: carnavalet.fr

Through January 11
Gold of the Americas
Musée d'Histoire Naturelle (Galerie de Minéralogie)
36 rue Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, Metro Gare d'Austerlitz, Jussieu, Censier-Daubenton Daubenton
€8
Web: mnhn.fr

Through January 17, 2010
Louis Comfort Tiffany: Colors and Light
Musée du Luxembourg
19, rue de Vaugirard, Metro Saint Sulpice
€11
Web: museeduluxembourg.fr

Through January 24
City of Gods: The Art of Teotihuacan
Musée du Quai Branly
55 Quai Branly, Metro Alma-Marceau, Bir Hakeim, École Militaire
€8.50
Web: quaibranly.fr

Through January 31, 2010
Madeleine Vionnet - French fashion designer of the interwar years
Musée des Arts Décoratifs
107 -111, rue de Rivoli - 1st Arrondissement, Metro Palais Royale - Musée du Louvre
€6,50 - 8,00
Web: lesartsdecoratifs.fr

Through January 31, 2010
Brigitte Bardot, the Carefree Years
Musée des Années 30-Espace Landowski
28, avenue André Morizet, Boulogne-Billancourt, Métro: Marcel
Sembat or Boulogne Jean-Jaurès
€11
Web: expobrigittebardot.com

Through February 7
Louis XIV: The Man and the King
Chateau de Versailles
Avenue Rockefeller - Versailles, France
€15
Web: chateauversailles.fr

Through May 10
Always Faster: A History of France's Great Locomotives
Musée des Arts et Métiers
60, rue Réaumur, Metro Arts et Métiers or Réaumur-Sébastopol
€6.50
Web: arts-et-metiers.net

Through July 11
The Art of Being a Man: Male Costumes in Africa and Oceania
Musée Dapper
35 bis rue Paul Valéry, Metro Victor Hugo
€6
Web: dapper.com.fr


Music, Theater and Dance

January 5 - 9
Béjart Ballet Lausanne
Palais Garnier
Intersection of rues Scribe and Auber, Metro Opéra
€6 - 87
Web: operadeparis.fr

Through January 10
Le Quatuor, Zany musical comedians
Théâtre des Variétés
7, blvd Montmartre, Metro Grands Boulevards
€16 - €46
Web: theatre-des-varietes.fr

January 14 - 15
Riccardo Muti Conducts the Orchestre National de France
Théatre des Champs-Elysées
15, avenue Montaigne, Metro Alma-Marceau or Franklin Roosevelt
€8-€65
Web: theatrechampselysees.fr

Through January 17
We Want Miles: Jazz Face to Face with Its Legend
Cité de la Musique
221 avenue Jean Jaures, 19th, Metro Porte de Pantin
€10
Web: cite-musique.fr

Various dates January 14 - February 4
Massenet's Werther
Opéra Bastille
Place de la Bastille, Metro Bastille
€5 - 172
Web: operadeparis.fr


Other

Through January 3, 2010
Crimexpo - Interactive display of crime scene investigation
Cite des Sciences
30, avenue Corentin Celtou - 19th Arrondissement
€7,00 - 10,00; Under 7: Free
Web: cite-sciences.fr



A Look Ahead for February, 2010
Feb. 2 and other dates, John Neumeier's La Dame aux Camélias, Palais Garnier
Feb. 9 and 12, Handel's Julius Caesar with Cecilia Bartoli, Salle Pleyel
Feb. 11 and other dates, Verdi's Don Carlo, Opéra Bastille
Feb. 14, Paris Carnival, rue Le Vau
Feb. 27 - March 7, International Agricultural Show, Porte de Versailles


We highly appreciate our readers help in making this newsletter as interesting and helpful as possible.
If you have any comments or suggestions, they are quite welcome on our

Comments and Suggestions Page





Thank you for your interest and best regards,

The Welcome 2 France team

www.welcome2france.com
Tel. 1 (650) 267-4328
(free local call number in U.S. or Canada)














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