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© Institut de France – Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris

Having recently seen Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” and re-lived the magical rich layers of culture that Paris possesses, I decided right then that I was going to wake up from my daily grind and end my “cultural education” hiatus. When on my way to work the following day I saw the poster for the current Caillebotte exhibit, I said to myself, “Okay, Daniella, let’s start here.”

The Caillebotte exhibit is currently on display at what was unexpectedly the most magnificent hôtel particulier I have seen. Dating back to 1875, it was the demeure of Edouard André and his wife Nélie Jacquemart. The couple was passionate about art, and thus the museum now houses one the most ravishing private collections of art in Paris. While I originally went to see the Caillebotte exhibit, I ended up spending most of my time exploring the hotel and the private collection than the exihibit itself.

@ Parisbestlodge

The Jacquemart-André museum bings to life the luxury and lifestyle of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and includes an extaordinary staircase designed by Henri Parent, the biggest rival of Charles Garnier, architect of the Opera Garnier. Wandering throught the rooms, and spending time in the courtyards or café, you forget that you are in the heart of Paris, and a five minute walk from the famous Champs-Elysées. You tend to feel a bit like Cinderella, and can just imagine a carriage pulling up and picking you up to go to the next ball.

While I do highly recommend the Caillebotte exhibit to those interested in impressionist art and its juxtaposition against photography, a new technology at the time, the museum itself is worth a visit any day of the week, special exhibit or not. It is definitely my new favorite museum in Paris!!

To get a little taste of the extravagance, here is link to the museum photo galleries:

Musée Jacquemart-André

158, bd Haussmann

75008 Paris

Tél. : 01 45 62 11 59


Sésame, 51, quai de Valmy, 75010, Paris

So as I mentioned in my last post, a lazy Sunday isn’t complete without a deliciously late brunch. A brunch where I can sit outside (preferably on a sunny “terrasse”) and watch life go by as I sip a café crème. The Canal St.Martin is perfect for this preferred activity of mine, and since I have become rather routine about it, I have sampled a great number of restaurants along the canal that are MUST TRYS if you haven’t done so already…

Sésame – A very cute but small restaurant that serves a proper brunch with all the bells and whistles. Eggs, toast with different kinds of spreading options like jams, honey, and nutella, salads, smoothies, great coffee all for the great price of about 20 euros.  The hippie-like ambiance comes with the meal. Bonus: All fresh produce is organic!!

51, quai de Valmy, 75010, Paris

Canal St. Martin

Chez Prune – Grunge-like atmosphere à la Brooklyn before it got all hipster. Lots of tables outside for people watching, and the food is solid French brunch fare. Stops serving at 2pm so make sure to go before the kitchen closes.

36, rue Beaurepaire, 7501,0 Paris

La Marine – They have a killer goat cheese salad, but they are also know for their fish and seafood, hence their name “La Marine.” Their spacious interior is nice as it makes it easier to get a table on weekends when it is the most busy. It has the old French bistro thing going on, but for the prices (which are reasonably) you get a great meal overlooking the canal.

55, bis quai de Valmy, 75010, Paris

L’Atmosphère – Small bistro with outside tables that are splashed with sunlight and the glimmering reflections off the canal’s murky waters. Right next to the charming Antoine and Lili shops, it serves some delicious French dishes, but doesn’t necessarily have that traditional brunch of eggs, bacon and potatoes etc.

49, rue Lucien Sampaix, 75010, Paris

And last but not least….

Les Enfants Perdus,

Les Enfants Perdus – I HEART this place. Both a bar and a restaurant, they have a sweet courtyard in the back that is great for an afternoon beer or enjoying a late brunch. The place is a bit hidden, so when you go in, you really feel like you’ve discovered a kind of secret garden (with alcohol and food!). They are happy to let you linger over a Mariage Frères tea, and they have an selection of magazines and books you can browse through.

Food, well I will have to let the menu speak for itself. Click here to review it. It is hands down delicious! A wee bit pricey, but worth it. Whether it is a filet de Bar with provencal butter and fresh veggies, or braised lamb with honey and cumin and a broccoli gratin with almonds, everything is done just right and with a unique twist you won’t soon forget! My official Grisette rating is three Yums up!!

9, rue des Récollets, 75010, Paris

Rue Beaurepaire in the 10th arrondissement

Oh lazy Sundays… the kind of days where you just want to stroll in the streets, eat a late brunch, and well do a little shopping. A little retail therapy  to cheer you up from some back to work blues…pourquoi pas?

Why not? Well first off most shops are closed on Sunday in Paris, as well as in most of France. Then, should you be looking to get food around 1pm or later, it also gets difficult as most Parisian restaurants aren’t too keen on serving  late into the afternoon. All in all, it kind of  ruins the whole lazy Sunday I look forward to at the end of my week… until I discovered RUE BEAUREPAIRE.

Rue Beaurepaire in the 10th arrondissement is glorious little Sunday haven I escape to now that the sun is shining bright and spring has arrived. Branching off from Place de la Republique and winding down to the canal St. Martin, this street has it all. Whether is a trendy shop (THAT IS OPEN) or a cool  neighborhood bistro to grab some brunch, the charm and relaxed atmosphere is everything I am craving on a Sunday. And did I mention that it isn’t hardly as crowded as the Marais, and that beautiful bobo chic peeps are everywhere?

Here is a short list of the places open for business on Sunday:

American Apparel – great for trendy basics and old-school vintage redone with a modern edge.

10, rue Beaurepaire, 75010, Paris

Bazar Ethnique – has a great selection of clothing and accessories that are made of organic fabrics and materials. Distributes brands such as Lola Bon’Heure

25, rue Beaurepaire, 75010, Paris

Bel Air - 22, rue Beaurepaire, 75010

Bel Air Not the Fresh Prince, just Bel Air. A hip and stylish joint that echoes the LA/Santa Monica fashion I grow up on. Bel Air makes some killer leather bags and satchels, and doesn’t completely empty your wallet!

22, rue Beaurepaire, 75010, Paris

Boutique Liza Korn – Liza Korn is a stylist who styles to the likes of Vogue and now has her own boutique. She mixes soft romantic themse likes Liberty with a harder rocker flair.

19, rue Beaurepaire, 75010, Paris

Cotélac – a very chic shop that resembles a mix of Zara, Maje, Sandro rolled in one. Very bobo, very French.

30, rue Beaurepaire, 75010, Paris

Ekyog – ORGANIC, ethically produced and great ! Women’s and Children’s fashion

33, rue Beaurepaire, 75010, Paris

Liza Korn - 19, rue Beaurepaire, 75010

Frivoli – vintage and gently used clothing and accessories, features brands such as Gucci, YSL, and more.

26 Rue Beaurepaire, 75010, Paris

Ikks – Fun mix of wearable casual chic clothes, lots of leather, silk, and cotton. This season has a nice splash of floral tops and dresses. (this goes for men and women, minus the floral dresses)

34, rue Beaurepaire, 75010,Paris

The Kooples – You’ve probably seen the ads with the hot (or not) couples, wearing mostly somber outfits that give off a punk/rock vibe. Pieces contain lace, studs, skulls, leopard print, and many shades of black! You get a free cloth bag with purchase, you’ve probably seen a handful of women toting their lunch and other miscellaneous items inside…

32, rue Beaurepaire, 75010, Paris

Renhsen – Great selection of ultra-flattering  jeans, and very stylish accessories!

22, rue Beaurepaire, 75010, Paris

Canal St. Martin, just off rue Beaurepaire

As this posting got a bit long, my brunch short list will be the next blog posting, so stay tuned !!

Being an expat in Paris has its advantages, and well, also its disadvantages…just like any other place you find yourself in far away from home.  While strolling through museums, drinking coffee on a terrace, or picnicking on the Champs de Mars is all great fun, there are times when as a foreigner in Paris, you feel like you just don’t fit in.

Going on two years in Paris now, I can’t help but sometimes feel a bit homesick for, well, my own people! Whether you are looking to meet new friends from your place of origin, networking, or just a moment to indulge in some good ol’ fashioned nostalgia, seeking out the folks from your alma mater might be the way to go!!

I joined the Columbia Alumni Club of France not too long after arriving in Paris. Much to my delight, the club had a slew of activities lined up through which I was able to join an entirely new (and what I found to be a very large) community of Americans living and working in Paris. Club events range anywhere from happy hours to museum visits, lectures, Thanksgiving dinners, and more!

Getting together with other Americans from time to time is refreshing, and oftentimes, I have found that that we all run into similar problems and issues when it comes to living in France. Listening to how they deal with the various obstacles of expat life is inspiring and comforting.

The diversity of careers and passions of the members of the Columbia Alumni Club of France make going to events always worth while as I always come out learning something new, and meeting someone new! After two years of attending various events, I have recently invested myself more by becoming a board member. (That is how much I like it!)

So really, don’t be shy!!  Whether you are thinking about moving to France, are already settled in France, or are looking for new friends or professional contacts in France,  seeking out the alumni club/network of your respective university can really be a great resource and opportunity to get all your questions answered!!

Should you be a Columbia alumnus, check our club website here: or join us on Facebook.

Hitting kiosks today is the new pocket size Madame Figaro, a widely read women’s magazine supplement to the French newspaper Le Figaro, much like the T Magazine is to the New York Times. After seeing the success of recent almost tabloid-esque magazines such as Grazia and Be, Madame Figaro has decided to downsize literally the size of its magazine in order to most likely save on production costs and put itself in a better position to compete. Starting at 1 euro, and eventually going up to the regular price of 1,30 euros, the new miniature Madame Figaro has picked a perfect time to launch…smack dab in the middle of Paris Fashion Week.

While magazine sales are suffering for the most part in other countries, notably the U.S., magazines, especially small cheap ones, are still going strong in France. For example, Elle magazine has actually increased sales over the past five years, whereas other magazines have had to pull their shutters. Time will tell whether the move to create a pocket size Madame Figaro will render the magazine more competitive…for the moment it seems like a desperate measure to cut costs and appeal to France’s slimming wallets. Especially when they say something as cutesy/cheesy as “Madame Figaro pocket – Le style à prix mini.” It’s like saying “Payless – Dress for Less” for a magazine…

Salon International de l’Agriculture 2011. Just the word agriculture sounds terribly boring, not to mention this year’s very unsexy advertising poster with a giant cow named “Candy” on it. People mocked my Saturday salon plans. Yet, despite of it all, I just couldn’t pass up the promise of delicious eats and drinks, France’s finest farm animals, and scoping out the lieu of Sarkozy’s famous “casse-toi, pauvre con” episode.

The look "Alsacien" is always a staple on the catwalks of the Salon Int'l de l'Agriculture

Being the fashionista and foodie that I am, I headed straight to Pavillion 7, the French food court as I dubbed it, where the UNESCO heritage gastronomie was laid out in abundance. Hundreds of stands offered free samples of cheeses, charcuterie, chocolate, nougat, beer, wine, and regional specialities from almost every region in France. My goal was to sample away to my hearts delight while snapping the hilarious “agri-couture” around me.

Six hours later…mission accomplished as la Grisette emerges from the salon completely saturated with food/wine and a set of ridiculous photos.

These "cardinals" definitely nailed this year's fur-lined everything trend...

All in all, it was definitely an experience, an enjoyable one at that, so don’t miss it this year!!

And should you want to make a dinner of it – as some booths are full on restaurants, be sure to go on Friday, February 25th, as the Salon is open until 11pm!




Salon International de l’Agriculture 2011

Going on from the 19-27 of February 2011

Porte de Versailles from 9-19h

Don’t miss the rest of the Salon’s top looks!! No sarcasm here… =)

The modest pilgrim look was taken up by men and women alike.

This takes buzz cut to a whole new level...or shall we say buzz butt?

Uni-suit anyone? A cow is truly the best accessory here...

And yes she did. The jelly sandal. Amongst manure and hay. The biggest fashion faux-pas of the salon!

Plage de Santa Giulia

After having spent a little over a year so far in France, one of the most culturally widespread obsessions I have observed so far has to be “les vacances.” Suffice to say, I can recall memories of discussing summer vacations with random strangers as early as March. With every employee entitled to 5 weeks of vacation, it didn’t take much to convert me to the French system. This summer, I was determined to join the club, and discover one of the most popular french vacation destinations, “La Corse.”

Having already spent several vacations in the south of France (Nice, Monaco, the Camargue etc) , I was preparing myself for gorgeous coastlines cluttered with extravagant villas. Someone was very pleasantly surprised.

Les Aiguilles de Bavella

Corsica, with its history of terrorism and strong sense of Corsican identity, was a world away from la promenade des anglais. My boyfriend was happy to inform me upon arrival in Ajaccio that a gas station had been blown up the day before (in Ajaccio) by those manifesting their separatist inclinations. A nice warm welcome, eh?

And yet despite what I had heard (that Corsicans poopoo mainland frenchies), I was greeted by very sweet locals in Propriano, Tizzano, Bonifacio and Porto Vecchio, and I was completely enveloped in a preserved savage beauty on every part of the island I visited.

Les iles Lavezzi

The island was  a cornucopia of natural beauty that included crystal clear water, sandy beaches, imposing cliffs at it’s most southern tip, quaint mountain and beach towns, and a range of solid rock mountains with turquoise colored rivers flowing out of them.

An outdoorsman’s/woman’s paradise, one week was way to short to do the whole island. Not only do you need time to discover the flore and fauna, but there are also all kinds of sport activities available to do. Mainly water sports (scuba diving, snorkling, wakeboarding, waterskiing, wind surfing etc) but also horse-back riding, cycling, rock climbing, and running. In a seven days, I was only able to cover the entire southern region, leaving the north’s treasures for another trip!

Plage a Tizzano

And if the nature wasn’t good enough….let me just briefly recount the eats…

DIVINE goat cheese (taste between a great parmesan and a salty feta) otherwise known in Corsica as “tomme de brebis”

– Tangy Rosé wine (local of course)

– Sweet and perfectly ripe cataloupe

– Deliciously salty jambon ( a dried ham – see photo)

– And last but not least – amazing seafood of all kinds!

Good Eats!

Check out my photos of some Corsica goodness, and I added a wee map for those thinking of checking out the same sites!

Map of southern Corsica

Bonnes Vacances!!!

Trying to deal with these guys is a giant pain...

What the hell is a PACS and why did I get one…

After causing a minor scare on Facebook leading people to believe I was suddenly married, I thought I would take a moment here on my blog to explain just exactly what I have gotten myself into, and why…

In France, one would say “je me suis pacsé” meaning I am pacsed, with a boyfriend or girlfriend, partner, or roommate. However to those living outside of France, the term PACS is meaningless, and when explained as a civil union, becomes automatically interpreted as a marriage. It is most definitely not a marriage, but it closely resembles one in that a contract is signed and registered with a local court recognizing not a matrimonial union, but rather merely cohabitation between two people of differing or same sex.

The Perks:

Thus, for those who do not feel inclined to marry, or cannot legally marry, there is the PACS. With a PACS I can now work, travel, and live in France legally. Hooray!! I can also benefit from the free universal healthcare of the person I pacsed, and we only have to file one set of French taxes!! Double Hooray!! For foreigners looking to settle in France with someone special (who is French – that is the key to this), the PACS lets you do so in a “relatively easy” fashion if you know what you need to so to get one.

The Pain:

So the first thing is that the PACS is not advertised, or hardly advertised on official websites due to the fact that France is laying down the axe on immigrants and making it extremely difficult for foreigners to gain legal status in the country. So below I have included some links for anyone looking to get the gritty details of the PACS, but basically is requires a significant amount of paperwork (giant pain), translating official documents such as recent copies of birth certificates (costly), making appointments.

Lastly, as a foreigner, you must change your legal status in France to obtain the Carte vie privée et familiale – which enables you to stay in France without a visa and give you the right to work etc… This is what is really hard to find information about, and essentially, the PACS, as a marriage, gives you personal ties to France. Ties that according to the French constitution, you are not allowed to be deprived of or deported for that matter…  The catch is that you have to have lived at least one year together in order to qualify for it.

So voilà, there it is. PACS 101. Questions are welcome!

As you can see, I haven’t taken the plunge into the world of marriage yet, I’m just legalizing my tushe in France in the hopes of continuing ma petite vie parisienne!!

A bientôt!!

Thinking about signing that PACS

ok, now I am really signing it!

Striking farmers march from Paris's place de la Republique to Nation on April 27, 2010

Never mind drag racing, tractor racing down boulevard Voltaire in Paris’s 11th arrondissement is the new hottest sport! I’ve never seen tractors reach such speeds and careen down a boulevard like sports cars. These French farmers, as unhappy as they are vis-a-vis French and EU policy towards agriculture, are certainly having the time of their lives honking their horns, launching fireworks, and racing their tractors.

With the slogan “Sarkozy! L’agriculture doit-elle payer le prix?” – Sarkozy! Must agriculture pay the price? plastered on each monster tractor, the strike protests the drop in farmer’s salaries and the uncertainty of their future regarding EU regulation on agriculture. No less than 1,300 tractors and 5,000 farmers are currently marching defiantly down my street to protest their rights in what is a collapsing agricultural market…fireworks, whistles, sirens and all.

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