Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Smiths Bakery

Métro: Mabillon (Line 10)
Address: 12 rue Buci, 75006 Paris
Hours: everyday from 9:30 am to Midnight
Cost: Lunch Special 9,50 euros (Sandwich + dessert + drink)

You know I have a huge sweet tooth. I could savour sweets all day but I am super picky: it has to be good. Delicious on the eyes, delicious in the mouth! I love the Smiths Bakery for that reason. The atmosphere is cozy and intimate. It's the type of decor that you can see featured on the best magazines. You almost want to move in and make it your personal living room.

And did I mention it was good? I ordered the spéculoos cheesecake. It was yummy. Too bad it was 4:00 pm  otherwise I would have ordered their lunch special because their sandwiches and quiches looked amazing. Super affordable, really good products, amazing atmosphere. Yep I'm going to move in! I hope they don't mind. :)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


As you walk the streets of Paris you will see a lot of signs for " Hôtel Particulier". You will start drooling on the magnificence of the place and probably wonder how much it will cost you to spend the night. But you will find no vacancy at these hotels because they are not hotels. Hôtel particulier is just an expression for aristocratic residency. There is about 400 aristocratic residences left in Paris out of the 2 000 originals. Most of them are now museums or government property.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Place Igor Stravinsky

Métro: Rambuteau (Line 11) or Chatelet (Line 14 or 1)
Address: Place Igor Stravinsky, 75004 Paris

Right on the side of Pompidou, you can enjoy the sun at the Place Igor Stravinsky (famous Russian composer). The fountain Stravinsky created by Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle is full of life and definitely original with its 16 sculptures which represent Stravinsky's work like the Bird of fire or Love. You can also admire a gigantic mural representing Dali as well as street art. I love the mood of this place. It's lively and the perfect spot for people watching.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Passage des Panoramas

Métro: Bourse (Line 3) or Grands Boulevards (Line 8 or 9)
Address: Passage des Panoramas, 75002 Paris
Access: 10 rue Saint Marc, 75002
              11 Boulevard Montmartre, 75002
Hours: Everyday from 6:00 am to 12:00 am

Inspired by Oriental engravings, this passage way was designed to resemble a souk. The idea was to allow Parisians to shop without the drawbacks of bad weather and provide a sense of luxury since at that time, Paris did not have sidewalks or a sewer system. It opened in 1799 and took its name after two rotundas representing landscapes from different cities called panoramique. Sadly they were destroyed in 1831.

This passageway truly has the feel of a souk. There's different styles and it is a bit overcrowded. But I love the stamp collecting shops. It's actually one of the main spots for philately in Paris.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Passage de la Trinité

Métro: Réaumur Sébastopol (Line 3 or 4)
Address: Passage de la Trinité, 75002 Paris
Access: 164 rue Saint Denis, 75002 Paris
              21 rue de Palestro, 75002 Paris

I have to say that this passage way is bewitching. I absolutely adore the red doors and the little graffiti of the two chickens. I just want to same tiling work in my future driveway. It just has a lot of charm.

Now the story behind the name of this street is super interesting. It was named after the hospital of the Trinity which was founded in 1202. At that time it was located outside the ramparts of Paris and would welcome pilgrims that would arrive after the curfew. Later it also became a theater and an orphanage. Unfortunately, it was destroyed during the Revolution and small houses were built instead.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris

Métro: Porte d'Orléans (Line 4)
RER B: Cité Universitaire
Address: 61 boulevard Jourdan, 75014 Paris

I have to say that from time to time, there is someone in the French Government with a bright idea. (I can say that because I am French and American) well, at least someone did in1920. It was André Honnorat, former Ministre de l'Instruction Publique (Minister in charge of the Education reforms). In a post WWI Europe, he thought it would be a good idea to start an International Student Housing Project in an effort to bring peace among nations. And more than that, he got each complex to be sponsored and financed by rich industrials. Genius! 

Mind you though, every country gets its own style of Housing complex. So you'll find everything but French architecture. Yep it's Campus Housing! It's cool, huh? I know mine did not look anything like that either. Lucky them! You don't need a passport anymore to enjoy all the different styles and cultures of the World. Best time to go though is in the summer because it's quiet since there is no school. You get to feel young again walking on campus (yep it's a 2 digits number since I was a Freshman).

My personal favorites:
  • Foundation Deutsch de la Meurthe (which was the first one to be build and was named after its sponsor)
  • House of South-East Asia

  • Foundation Rosa Abreu de Grancher
  • House of Brazil (designed by LeCorbusier)
  • House of Japon
  • House of Marocco
  • House of Sweden
  • House of Spain

By WWII, 19 housing complexes were up and in use. In their center, dominating the scene by its grandeur, the International House (above) was partially funded by the Rockefeller. After the war, construction continued and 17 new houses were built between 1948 and 1969. 5 600 students reside on the International Student Housing Campus with more than 140 different nationalities (2009). More than 200 000 students stayed there in the last 80 years. I say yeah to diversity! I can tell you that as you walk by, it sure smells good under the windows of the kitchen.

Now I have not been inside the buildings, I did not know if I was allowed to go in or not, so maybe it's really lame inside but as far as outside is concerned, I had a blast and took soooo many pictures. It was tough to make a selection. So enjoy, and if you're dead, cross the street and enjoy the lawn of the Park Montsouris for a quick nap!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Square Montsouris

Métro: Porte d'Orléans (Line 4)
Tramway 3a: Montsouris (closest one)
RER B: Cité Universitaire
Address: Rue du Square Montsouris, 75014 Paris

Without surprise, this private road takes its name after her neighbor, the Park Montsouris which is right across the street. Even though, it is private property, it is open to the public to enjoy. And that's good news since it was build between 1920 and 1930, and not much has changed since. You will have a hard time believing that you are indeed in Paris. Well to be quite honest, the 14th district was only created in 1860 and annexed to Paris. At that time, it was mostly fields and farmers which explains the reason why it kept a little countryside atmosphere.

A few artists made it their home like Ozenfant, Roger Bissière, Nicolas Wacker or the architect Gilles Buisson who designed his own house (Number 40) Le Corbusier also designed the house of the corner (Number 51) in 1922. All the houses are in an Art Nouveau style or Art Déco. Anyway, you put it, it's art!

Number 51 Designed by LeCorbusier

Léda and her Swann by Claude Bouscau

I just really enjoyed this little street. You want to set up your little café table and get a baguette and some cheese, enjoy some music and celebrate the sweet pace of life that this place has to offer. A must see!

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