Tag Archives: Paris

Parc des Buttes Chaumont

16 Nov

Whether or not this park, tucked away quietly in the 19th arrondissement, resembles a balding mountain is irrelevant.

Relevant: wearing your woolliest jacket and leatheriest gloves so that you’re warm enough to skedaddle along the mountainside trails like the billy goat gruff you are.

The Parc des Buttes Chaumont is not as central as that park in New York but it’s also not overrun with bike-taxi drivers and ice cream vendors. Mais non. The Buttes is the real deal – right down to its artificial stalactites and caves.

After all, when you’re converting an abandoned quarry into a park, what’s wrong with throwing in a well-placed grotto?

Skip the lake that doesn’t freeze and head straight to Rosa Bonheur: one of the most underrated eating/funhavens in Paris named after one of the only painters to have officially been given permission to wear pants.

High five to Napoleon III for coming up with the whole quarry-to-park idea. And to the scruffy waitress for drizzling honey so liberally on the chèvre. And to the DJ for his god-awful-wonderful 80’s mix after dark. And to the Parisians for not caring about cutting loose on the dancefloor for once.

And especially to whoever made the rosé labels look so pretty.

Parc des Buttes Chaumont
19e Arrondissement  75019 Paris
http://butteschaumont.free.fr/

Second image from Sprawling Places

Sugarplum Cake Shop

11 Nov

Fact: slow yodeling makes me faint. Actually, being crammed in an underground bar listening to melancholic cowboys sing so slowly they might STOP makes me faint. As in, keel over and black out.

I suspect it’s because I have an attention span that’s about as long as a slice of triple-layer strawberry vanilla cream cake – but not quite as high.

Ok enough with the segues. Let’s talk about Sugarplum Cake Shop.

It’s on Rue de Cardinal Lemoine – conveniently close to the Place de la Contrescapes should you fancy a pression in Orwell’s hood after tea time. And it’s manned by ‘Sugarplums’ who create heart-stopping deliciousness and friendly natter in equal measure.

If the Alice in Wonderland-esque wedding cake displays won’t lure you in, maybe the thought of free wifi, free filter coffee refills and these lathers of frosting will?

Sure the Peanut Butter Yummy Things are tasty, but it’s Sugarplum’s good old fashioned cheer that makes it so appealing.  You know… The fifty centimes discount because the cake was sliced a bit wonkily. The stacks of dog-eared recipe books lying on the communal table. The noisy greetings to the exchange students as they wander through the door in a fug of subjunctive conjugations.

A counter piled high with giant muffins, creamy cupcakes, hearty pumpkin pie slices and a custom-made cheesecake means this is not a place for the faint-hearted.

But the good news? There’s not a slowdeler in sight.

Sugarplum Coffee Shop
68 rue du Cardinal Lemoine

75005 Paris
www.sugarplumcakeshop.com/

Top image from Break Into Paris
Bottom image from Hello It’s Valentine

Musée Rodin

7 Nov

Some days your knees get so cold in Paris that all you want to do is huddle next to a heater and eat salted caramels that get stuck in your teeth.

Other days, there’s free entrance to nearly all the museums in the city and you just need to layer up and get busy.


Even if you don’t have legwarmers and your coat has a button missing, you should definitely go find the Musée Rodin. You won’t regret it. (Unlike buying legwarmers.)

Do you know that the museum building is actually called Hôtel Biron? Do you know that a peruke is a wig? Do you know that a guy called Abraham Peyrenc de Moras made a killing from perukes, and that Hôtel Biron was built for him? TO BE HIS HOUSE ACTUALLY?


Just his townhouse. Whatever.

These days, the parquet in the Hôtel Biron is in need of a solid polish and the ceilings in need of a lick of Antique White USA, but this is understandable given it’s the only national museum in France that does not benefit from a public grant by the State. True story.

Three other things that are true:

1. Rodin was handy with the graphite.

2. You can walk right around nearly all the sculptures to take in every finger nail and perfect vein.

3. You should probably go easy on the salted caramels.

All images from Musée Rodin except the first one. That was me.

L’Arbre à Cannelle

2 Nov

In a city where the most prestigious and talked-about award of the year is for the best baguette, where people forge whole careers sculpting with sugar, and where companies ENFORCE two hour lunch breaks, it seems petty to take issue with anything even remotely food-related.

But despite my penchant for Pastis en terrasse, my fondness for bistros, and my affinity for a three course meal, lately I’ve been hankering for something a bit more low-key: the humble cafe.

Entrez:  L’Arbre à Cannelle.

Just around the corner from the toddler-strewn Jardin des Plantes, L’Arbre à Cannelle is a haven of blonde wood, heavy tea pots and, ah oui, cake.

L’Arbre CALLS itself a salon de thé, but a curious absence of patisseries and a chalkboard full of smoothie suggestions gives it the aroma of a full-blown, meet-your-mum-for-a-quick-coffee-and-a-chat kinda place.

By all reports the food here is hot-to-trot, but the café gourmand offering is worth the trip alone. France’s answer to high tea, a café gourmand is, typically, a cheerful congregation of sweet treats and an espresso, all on the one lavish plate.

At L’Arbre though, the café gourmand pairs a not-too-smooshy berry crumble with a warm slab of chocolate “brownie”, drizzles them both with thick crème anglaise and tops it all off with a piping hot allongée.

It’s not French and it’s not fancy, but for an autumnal sunset snack, c’est parfait.


L’Arbre à Cannelle
14, rue Linné – 75005 PARIS
http://www.larbreacannelle.fr

First image courtesy of L’Arbre à Cannelle