The Parisian Doughnut


There is no shortage of sweets and pastries here in Paris. Macarons, eclairs, caramel au beurre salé, crème Chantilly and so much more, are staples of French culture and culinary traditions. But now that the coffee scene in Paris is thriving, there is nothing more perfect for my American palate than a decadent doughnut to pair with that perfect cup of coffee!

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Doughmade’s Strawberry-Rhubarb (photo: Instagram)

Luckily for me and my sweet tooth, a few fabulous Americans have tapped the doughnut market and have recently started selling their doughy creations throughout the city. Amanda of Boneshaker Paris and Alex of Doughmade have both partnered with some of Paris’ best coffee Continue reading

Secrets of Paris


Paris is one of the most beautiful, elegant, and charming cities in the world. We may be biased, of course, but I’m sure there are many who will agree. Everyday you can discover a new bistro, coffee shop, or boutique as you meander down the small streets and loose yourself in the city of light. You may feel as though you know this city like the back of your hand after living here for a few years, but there is always something new to learn about Paris!

We’ve spent some time gathering our favourite anecdotes and secrets about Paris that are unknown to many. We love how the city continues to surprise, so allow us to share some of our little know favourite facts with you.

 

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1. Did you know that the area of Monparnasse is named after Mount Parnassus from Greek mythology? Parnassus mountain is where the Muses lived and for this reason was associated with many of the arts such as poetry and music, and learning. The many literature students who recited poetry in the streets on Montparnasse adopted the name, “(le) Mont Parnasse”.

 

2. Back in 1910 when construction of the Paris metro was taking place, engineers had to freeze the Seine river along 64 meters between Saint Michel and the river. The lengths that were taken to dig a tunnel underground for the metro to pass through are really quite astonishing!

 

3. Some of you may be aware of this one, but we still can’t believe that up until 2012 there was only ONE stop sign in the whole of Paris. This sign was situated at the exit of a building company in the wealthy 16th arrondissement. Paris only has one rule when it comes to traffic and that is to give way to the right.

 

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Photo courtesy of The Local France

 

4. The Judgement of Paris – a wine tasting show down between California and France in 1976 which saw California coming out on top! France losing to the United States at wine? Unthinkable. But you can be sure that the French were not happy about this at all, so much so that the reporter covering the event at the time was blacklisted for reporting it!

 

5. Paris has several nicknames, namely the City of Light. Why, we ask ourselves? Surprisingly it has nothing to do with the power used to illuminate the Eiffel Tower every night or the streetlights. The light actually refers to the intellectuals and the high-concentration of writers, artists and academics that have always been drawn to the city, therefore making Paris full of lights in all sorts. We liked that one too.

 

6. Jim Haynes, the one and only man in Paris who hosts dinner parties for strangers and welcomes everyone and anyone on a weekly basis to his humble abode in the 14th. If you’re in need of some company and want to try something new, then register here for his next dinner party.

 

7. King Henry IV commissioned the Royal Pavillion in the Place des Vosges and wanted all 36 buildings in the square to take on the exact same design. Due to the King’s demands, the square’s architecture is completely symmetrical and harmonious, with each facade, roof and corner measuring up to the EXACT same numbers. No wonder the Place des Vosges is so pleasing to the eyes.

 

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8. In 2004 authorities discovered a fully functioning movie theater in the Parisian catacombs, located below the 16th arrondissement. The theater was equipped with a fully functioning restaurant, stocked bar, and projecting equipment. When the police returned 3 days later to see where the power was coming from, the phone and electricity lines had been cut and a note was lying in the middle of the floor: “Do not try to find us.”

 

9. We’ve all experienced dog poop on the streets of Paris, in the beautiful gardens, and, most annoyingly, on the soles of our shoes! Here are the facts : over 300,000 dogs live in Paris which accounts for more than 20 tonnes of crottes de chien, which adds up to 1 kilo of poop every 5 seconds. WOW.

 

10. Have you heard about the Paris Syndrome? I know it’s hard to believe but the physical, psychological, depression-like symptoms that first time visitors to Paris experience when they realise Paris isn’t what they imagine it to be, is actually a real syndrome. Annually, Paris experiences nearly 20 cases of mental break downs from Japanese tourists who cannot come to the terms with the reality of Paris!

 

11. Due to the similarities between Arabs and Jews in traditions, culture, and everyday habits, the Grande Mosque of Paris offered a helping hand by giving shelter to the Jews during the Holocaust and gave them Muslim identity certificates in order to help them avoid arrest and deportation.

 

12. There are precisely 9,067 open terraces in the whole of Paris. That’s a whole lot of eating and drinking outside! If you wanted to visit each terrace for a glass of vin, it would take you 29.8 years to get through them all. And that’s just the ones that are open now!

 

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Up Close and Personal With Kristin Lee Lewis | Paris International Fitness


A few weeks back we had the privilege of experiencing a personal training session in the Jardin des Tuileries with Kristin Lee Lewis, the founder of Paris International Fitness. The session was varied and fulfilling and left us feeling so great afterwards! The idea of being able to enjoy working out and being guided at the same time to make sure you’re achieving your optimal goals is that motivation we all need to continue with a balanced and active lifestyle.

Since our last blog post on Kristin, that dates back to just over 3 years ago, we were very keen to follow up with an updated post on Kristin’s company, detailing all of the fantastic services that she and her team offer, and delving deeper into Kristin’s inspirations and motivations.

 

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Photo courtesy of Paris International Fitness

 

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Boulangeries and Baguettes- What You Should Know


There are many inconveniences that come with moving to France. From the complicated, bureaucratic visa process, to the confusing health care system, to dealing with less than stellar customer service, it can sometimes seem like France is a never ending contradiction. But one of the things us expats continue to love and brag about to our friends back at home is the food. One bite of confit de canard or a mille-feuille and all your reservations about life in France just disappear. And be honest, when you head to your favorite boulangerie and walk home with a baguette in hand (ordered bien blanche, to be extra Parisian) you feel like you’re on the set of a cheesy Parisian RomCom, and you love it. So, for this week’s blog post, we’re going to tell you all about boulangeries and baguettes, and make your next visit feels extra special.

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SFP Picks | The Best of Bio in Paris


Have you noticed that as soon as a new trend hits the scene in Paris, it catches like wild fire and spreads all over the city? Admittedly, some trends are better than others but this organic, healthy eating, juice drinking, local produce, bio friendly way of life has really come to the forefront in Paris with organic-friendly places opening up everywhere.

Years ago, a french person would have found you alien-like if you told them you couldn’t eat dairy, gluten, or meat. Nowadays, we can count ourselves lucky, because not only are the options opening up for us but they’re fast becoming the “coolest” places to discover in the city today.  Check out a few of our favourite café’s where you can eat all things organic…

 

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Fit in Like a Local: 15 French Slang Words and Expressions You Won’t Find in Any Travel Dictionary


This is a guest post by the wonderful Brooke Neuman, a French editor at TakeLessons an online marketplace for local and online lessons. Since 2006, TakeLessons has been connecting knowledgeable teachers with eager students in any subject that comes to mind, from academic tutoring to culinary classes to computer skills to languages. We hope you learn a thing or two from her post and walk away feeling just a bit more French. C’est parti!


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Neighbourhood Guide |Cour des Petites-Écuries


As you’ve probably noticed, we’re starting to share more about our favourite little spots in Paris, as opposed to our favourite neighbourhoods. Every arrondissement has something great to offer, so it’s our mission to share with you some of our best finds and, hopefully, some new places to discover in the city.

 

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Cour des Petites Écuries is one of those spots that’s a great go-to all year round, but especially during the warmer months! The charming Parisian cobble-stone street courtyard is hidden between the trendy rue Paradis and rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, and is lined with buzzing bars and a delicious choice of restaurants. The best thing about this place is that you have everything you need, you can even do a mini bar crawl just in this courtyard , and you don’t need to move far on a night out! Having said that, we, of course, have our favourite places to go, so allow us to share these with you.

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SFP Presents: Widetrip


For this week’s blog post we’d like to introduce you to our newest partnership, Widetrip! Widetrip is a new hot site for walking tours with locals that are passionate about the city of Paris. Widetrip caters to all visitors eager to discover a different side of Paris with open and engaging tour guides. Meet real Parisians who are committed to their city and genuinely want to share their passion, expertise, and interests with you. Whether you’re interested in architecture, poetry, social economy, or urban legends, Widetrip has it all, available in French, English, and Spanish. Here’s SFP’s interview with Widetrip’s founders, Nicolas and Manon.

 

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Neighbourhood Guide | rue Saint-Sébastien


As there are only so many arrondissements we can write neighbourhood guides about, we decided to continue the theme, but more specifically with some of our favourite streets in Paris. Last month Samara started us off with the wonderful rue Henri Monnier in the 9ème. This week’s choice is rue Saint-Sébastien in the 11ème. For those of you who have ventured down this road, then you’ll understand why we’ve chosen to write about it. Spoilt for choice by cafes, boutiques, old record shops & delicious Asian cuisine, please allow us to take you on our favourite journey down rue Saint-Sébastien.

 

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Pets in Paris- An Update


Back by popular demand! We’re here with an update of our most popular blog post- Pets in Paris. How to care for a pet in Paris is one of the most common, yet under-publicized issues of expats moving here, so here is everything you need to know about travel, the laws, and life in Paris with your pooch!

 

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I’d like to apologize in advance for the extensive photos of my whippet, Jack. I find him adorable, I hope you do, too!

 

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