Author Archives: Lia

Acting Like a Local | Tips for Tourists in Paris

So, you have decided to take a vacation to Paris. Your plane tickets are purchased, your hotel or apartment is booked and you have a rough itinerary sketched out. All that’s left is to finalize some plans and get your stuff packed. To help you with that and make sure your trip runs as smoothly as possible, here are some of our tips!

How to look like a tourist (photo: Lingoistics)

How to look like a tourist (photo: Lingoistics)

Plan in Advance

Buy your tickets ahead of time: Tickets for places like the Eiffel Tower, boat tours and Giverny are sometimes cheaper (but definitely more convenient) if you book ahead of time. All of these tickets can be purchased online before you take your trip. Skip the lines at the Musée d’Orsay, Louvre and other popular destinations by buying tickets online ahead of time. If you plan on going to a lot of museums, buy a Paris Museum Pass for 2, 4 or 6 days. It is accepted at a variety of places around Paris and will help save you money.

Make reservations in advance: Although wandering around Paris and stumbling into a local brasserie is a great way to get a taste of local life, if you are a foodie there are probably some must-try restaurants on your list. For the more in-demand restaurants, reservations are necessary and should be made far in advance of your arrival. Luckily, a lot of places like Frenchie have started to take online reservations.

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Day Trips Around Paris

Anyone who lives in Paris will tell you that they love it but that sometimes they need an escape from the crowds, noise and pollution for a little bit. It is not always possible to take a weekend, or longer, away from life in the city but there are a variety of wonderful places right outside the city to escape for a day. If you need a break from the hectic city life or if you are a tourist looking to see beyond Paris, here are 4 of our favorite places to check out.



Just a 45 minute train ride outside of the city, this château has all the beauty and glory of Versailles with less people. One of the largest royal palaces in France, it still retains a lot of the furniture that was added by Napoleon I, including the last surviving furnished throne room. Fontainebleau is known not only for its luxurious furnishings but also for the surrounding acres of gardens. There is a sculpted French garden, similar to those of Versailles but on a smaller scale, as well as a wild, English garden full of winding paths to walk. The gardens and chateau will take up a good portion of your day, but if you have some extra time, be sure to check out the town as well. There is a little shopping area with stores similar to those in Paris but a lot less crowded.

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The Smiths | A little bit of England in the heart of Saint-Germain

Parisians have always been obsessed with American food, which is obvious from the abundance of cupcakes, donuts, McDonald’s and stores that specialize in American goodies. But judging from the positive response given to the opening of The Smiths Bakery, they have not forgotten their neighbors across the pond either.

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The Smiths offers an interesting mix of French and British/Anglophone treats. Like most boulangeries, they serve a variety of sweet and savory foods. If you stop by for lunch, check out their sandwiches which range from a Croque Monsieur to a hamburger. They even have bagels! They offer a lunch menu for under 10 euros with one of these sandwiches included.

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What to Wear in Paris | Spring 2013

The weather is finally starting to cooperate and feel more like spring! As you shed your winter coat in favor of spring clothes, here are some trends to keep in mind to feel ever fashionable walking around Paris.

Colors and Patterns

When you think of spring, normally you think of soothing pastels. Once again these are definitely in style, with mints and pinks being the colors to go for.

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Gardening in Paris

Though the weather might not look it, it is officially spring. All across the city, plants are starting to pop up in gardens and trees are beginning to bud. The perfect way to bring that spring spirit home is by planting your own flowers! Though most of us are not fortunate enough to have a garden to plant bright, colorful flowers in, there are other ways to bring touches of spring plants into your life. You can get creative with potted plants on your balcony or hanging planters on the exterior railings of windows. Or spread the spring cheer throughout your apartment with some indoor plants.

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There are many locations around Paris to pick up any kind of plants you could want. Florist usually sell potted plants, though the selection varies based on the florist and the season. Some offer mostly indoor plants like orchids and fruit trees and others selling pansies and daffodils to plant in larger pots or hanging planters. And for those among us without green thumbs, there are always the beautiful bouquets of flowers for sale. Continue reading

Brunch in Paris | 3 Greats That Take Reservations

The traditionally American concept of Brunch took Paris by storm a couple of years ago and it seems to be a trend that is sticking around. Parisians are very serious about Le Brunch. Normally served on Sundays (though some places have started to offer Saturday brunch too), a Parisian brunch involves many courses and usually takes a couple leisurely hours. Most places do not take reservations for this weekly affair and as a result you may find yourself waiting in line for a table or being turned away at the door if you do not show up early enough. Happily, if you are like me and don’t like waiting in line anytime but especially when you are hungry, many places have started taking reservations. Here are our 3 picks, from an old favorite to a couple of new places sure to become brunch stand-byes.



The Belmont is a trendy restaurant that opened earlier this year in the Sentier area. The feel is retro and laid back, with the waiters joking around and occasionally dancing along with the old “Soul Train” episodes projected on the wall. A DJ plays music from the balcony of the first floor, mixing a range of songs from the 70s and 80s with some newer ones. Though their menu the rest of the time is very international, their brunch is very French. Priced at a very affordable 20 euros, you get a hot drink, juice, bread and pastries to start off, then continue with a choice of several egg dishes, or a bacon burger or Cesar salad for a more American twist. After brunch, check out their reasonably priced and creative house cocktails. The food is very tasty and the atmosphere is perfect for a brunch outing with a group of friends.

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Renting an Apartment in Paris

Paris is a very small and very densely populated city, creating an incredible demand for apartments. People seem to be willing to do just about everything and live just about anywhere in order to say they live in Paris, as is apparent from the recent story of a man who lived for 15 years in 1.56 square meters! Apartments go quickly when they are available so it is important to act fast. Be prepared with your completed dossier full of financial and personal information before you start looking so you can make an offer immediately on something you love.


But don’t despair if you are searching! This guide, complied with help from our friend Nelly Romary of Esprit Relocation, is designed to help you better understand the process and what you can get for your money.

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An Expat Life | Kristen, the Beauty Expert

For most people, living in France does not just mean eating croissants and drinking good wine every day. This blog post is a part of our series, An Expat Life, exploring what it is like for an expat to live and work in Paris. Through these profiles of expats who have made their lives here, we will show you the different opportunities that exist in France and the (many) struggles that go along with them.


People from all walks of life find their way to Paris for one reason or another. They piece together various jobs in order to stay in Paris and have a fulfilling life. One of those people is Kristen Gonzales, the latest addition to the Savoir Faire Paris team. We are constantly impressed by the way in which she has carved out her life here and is involved in so many different activities. She is a great example of someone who wants to be in Paris and will do anything to make her life here.

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An Expat Life | James, the International Ad Man

For most people, living in France does not just mean eating croissants and drinking good wine every day. This blog post is a part of our series, An Expat Life, exploring what it is like for an expat to live and work in Paris. Through these profiles of expats who have made their lives here, we will show you the different opportunities that exist in France and the (many) struggles that go along with them.


Of all the ways to come to France legally, getting sponsored by a company is by far one of the most difficult and lucrative options. Though the company is in charge of you paperwork, there are still many hurdles to jump through before they can get your visa. Yet for a lucky few, such as James Gebler, this is the way to make the dream of living in France a reality. James, who has been employed as a Conceptual Copywriter at the advertising agency BBDO since 2011, recently agreed to sit down and speak with me about his experiences.

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A Relaxing Retreat | Thémaé Spa

Living in Paris means having access to so many great things to do, including museums, restaurants and concerts. It can sometimes feel like I am constantly going, constantly surrounded by crowds of people. On top of that, the dreary winters can really bring me down.  Sometimes I just need to take a break from it all and recharge. A day at the spa is the perfect way to do that.

The front of the spa (photo by Thémaé Spa)

The front of the spa (photo by Thémaé Spa)

The SFP team loves checking out the various spas around the city! L’échappée (which our friend Kasia, of Kasia Dietz Handbags, recently wrote a great blog post about) and Thémaé are our go-to places. I recently needed a relaxing escape from everyday life, so I booked an appointment at Thémaé. Located in the 1st arrondissement, right around the corner from the Louvre, the entrance is unassuming and tucked between several retail locations. Only people in the know could guess that a serene space lies within.

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