February 7th, 2013
High fashion indie shops congregate in the Marais alongside to-the-trade fashion, great art, and, like everywhere in Paris, hot girls on bikes! A tour:
Stop for delicious (and affordable) café alongé (Americano) and pain au chocolat at Christain LeCroix’s favourite neighbourhood spot, Le Sancerre. If you have kids, let them run wild in the gated park across the street. 87 Rue des Archives, Paris.
Pick up the best bedding, table linens, Japanese stationery, and maybe even a Vanessa Bruno coat at the famous 3-storey lifestyle store, Merci. Look for special collaborations with the likes of Maison Martin Margiela (trompe d’oeil door, pictured). The adjoining restaurant is known for its healthy fare. 111 Boul., Beaumarché, Paris, www.merci-merci.com
Designer children’s clothes like you have never seen (baby Chloé!) are up to 60 per cent off at the clearance outlet of Fifi de Vem. 17 Rue de Turenne, Paris.
The Lebanese couscous counter at the lively food market dating back to 1615, Marché Des Enfants Rouge is known city-wide. Great for a refueling pitstop at the end of a fun day. 39 Rue de Bretagne, Paris.
Open till 7:30 pm, the flagship store for Isabel Marant does inventory every two hours. Watch the chauffeurs crowding the street waiting for their charges doing serious credit card damage inside. Pale blue leather leggings anyone? 47 Rue de Saintonge, www.isabelmarant.tm.fr
Just a block away is the hush-hush tequila bar housed in the back of the teensy taqueria that everyone is talking about, Candelaria. You mean you went all the way to Paris for cheap Mexican food? We sure did. 52 Rue de Saintonge, Paris, www.candelariaparis.com
December 3rd, 2010
While you would love to dress your children in Parisian frocks everyday, that might cut too far into your own clothing budget.
But thankfully for us, there's Emilie. A French native who worked in lingerie in Paris, she is importing impecible pre-loved French baby clothes (think Petit Bateau and Jacadi) sourced by her mother in markets around Lyon as well as designer samples at 40 per cent off. Specializing in small sizes (i.e. before they are old enough to walk and wreck their clothes), the styles are classic, high quality, often organic, and in mint condition.
A Lili Gaufrette silk/cashmere cardi for $21? A Petit Bateau sailor striped sweater for $15? Et voila.
Beautiful bébé, and beautiful mama!
Shop the store www.apricotculotte.com
January 5th, 2010
We’ve never been terribly fond of math, but culture math is another story. For instance: New Year + cold weather = cool new music.
And the recent record we’ve got on repeat is our girl crush Charlotte Gainsbourg’s latest, IRM. Written and produced by Beck, the album is decidedly more alt than her last, and here Beck’s electronic eclecticism and quirky percussion lends itself well to Charlotte’s breathy vocals. Case in point, the title track, short for "Imagerie par résonance magnétique," which we know as MRI in English, incorporates Charlotte’s crooning over the pulsating sounds of a medical machine and drumbeats. It sounds weird, but it works.
The rest of the rhythms that fuse French and English, including a cover of the French Canadian Jean-Pierre Ferland’s song “Le chat du café des artistes,” are par excellence.
$16.99 at HMV, www.hmv.ca
September 24th, 2009
Paris is best enjoyed one neighbourhood at a time, so we settled in the charming pedestrian area of Montorgueil, once painted by Monet, for a week of pâtisseries, bistros and boutiques.
You won’t find many hotels in this quaint Parisian quarter, so opt for the cute and cozy Carroussel rental apartment and its quirky mix of old and new. Up above, old wooden beams, down below, new hardwood floors and a cherry red kitchen that stows a handy washer/dryer. The spot is so quiet, you might be fooled into thinking you’re living outside city limits. €91 per night for seven nights, through Paris Hideaways, http://studio.provaction.com
Your morning ritual must include pain au chocolat from the best bakery on the main market street, La Maison Stohrer (pictured), est. 1730. Its pastries are so good, you’ll seriously consider mortgaging your home to have the pâtissier FedEx you a dozen every day. 51, Rue Montorgueil, Paris, +33 01 04 13 01 61, www.stohrer.fr
The area is brimming with trendy bars inhabited by Paris' young and restless, so make it your aim to stumble into a different establishment every night. At the simply named 2éme Arrt, you find good drinks, tasty tapas and a friendly owner who’ll join your table and chat you up. 49, Rue Montmartre, Paris, +33 01 40 26 75 51.
Down rue Montmartre and its side streets, you’ll find French favourites Cotélac and Zadig & Voltaire. But for those with a shoe fetish, step into 58m for gorgeous soles by French designers Avril Gau, Sartore and Michel Vivien, and soft, sumptuous bags by Jerome Dreyfuss. 58, rue Montmartre, Paris, +33 01 40 26 61 01, www.58m.fr
July 14th, 2009
Last Bastille Day, we dabbled in French culture (read: merlot and a Marion Cotillard movie marathon). This Bastille Day, we’re plunging in with trip-planning to Paris that will have us seeing the city more like locals and less like touristes.
The key to living more like a Parisian—if only for a week—is living in a Parisian pad. For the price of a hotel, and sometimes less, you can procure an apartment that provides a kitchen to cook your market finds in and a washing machine that lets you pack lighter. No sketchy Craigslist communiqué required with sites like Cobblestay, which offers a shortlist of the chicest flats, and Paris Hideaway—managed by an ex-Montrealer—that boasts broader, budget-conscious finds.
That and a brush-up on our en français and we’re practically ex-pats.
June 16th, 2008
Imagine a line of 100 per cent organic skincare, made in France with water from Haute Provence (we’ve always wanted to write that) and potent ingredients like lavender, rosemary and cold-pressed olive oil that repair your cells while you sleep.
Vancouver-based Bioethique Organic is just that—and more. Brushed silver packaging holds genius summer products like leave-in hair conditioning mist ($32) with Mallow for strength.
But the real question is: Will it make us look like Carla Bruni?
If so, we’re sold!