Photos by Ketevan Giorgadze IG: @katie.one
Perched at the top of the steps of Montmartre is the Australian restaurant Hardware Société bringing it’s Melbourne flair for brunching to a space decorated by black and white tiles, marble top tables and colorful golden rimmed coffee cups – a blogger’s dream café.
Though I can’t say I enjoyed the climb up the stairs (it’s next to the Sacre Coeur Basilica), the quiet neighborhood was an oasis in the typically polluted streets of Paris.
I went up with my friend Katie (whose photos I shared) and ordered from the tempting menu. A flat white, a plate of roasted mushroom with poached eggs on a bed of cheese and toast, an egg casserole (fries mixed with chorizo and eggs) and a raspberry pastry. It’s worth climbing the stairway to heaven!
It’s officially Paris Fashion Week so I took advantage and poked through showrooms between rue Saint-Honoré and Le Marais to hunt for some serious labels. I discovered Officina del Poggio.
The luxury leather handbag brand is based in Italy and designed by Allison Nicole Hoeltzel, a Texan native with a passion for minimal design and of course, quality leather. In her take on leather craftsmanship, she opts for durability – doing away with synthetic linings in order to make timeless pieces that withstand aging. I’m a fan of the “Bauletto” bags from her prefall collection, but check out her broad selection of satchels, totes and more Officina del Poggio.
Lily of the Valley, not the scented poisonous blooms but the tea room by Temple is a romantic’s fantasy. Run by a married couple, Paul and Pauline, their decor transports you to an Alice in Wonderland tea in the garden atmosphere. The ceiling is covered with lush greenery and flowers hanging low, the porcelain tea cups and even the tiny pink floral details of the sofa pillows give a fairy tale feel.
I stopped by for Earl Grey tea and a chocolate chip cookie which was gracefully brought to my table by Paul in a silver platter. The Parisian born owner evidently cares for aesthetics – pâtisserie books and candles decorate the shelves. Even the seemingly fading floor pattern is vogue. (The owners seem to have a knack for everything adorable, after all their marriage proposal was on an air balloon.) If you’d like the chance to be whisked away on a daydreaming cloud for a moment of your day, stop by for afternoon tea.
Find it: Rue Dupetit-Thouars, 75003 Paris
Breakfast of croissants and a warm cup of coffee at Café de Flore, this is how to spend the morning when in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Sitting on these wooden chairs, reading a book in the morning light, projects a peaceful aura among the raucous of incoming tourists. There’s a chirping going on from the right corner of the restaurant – a parakeet. The waiters of this historic place – once the hangout of philosophers like Sartre – actually allowed an old man to bring in his parakeet and it’s perched on his shoulder singing to the content of a toddler in the table next to it.
The Rive Gauche is known for being more laid back, and I assume the more eccentric folk linger here. It’s got none of the hectic stress of the East of Paris, and that’s why it’s perfectly fine for a bird to be in the restaurant. I don’t mind even if the coffee is expensive, and it’s swarmed by tourists. Café de Flore takes you back to the old Paris – rich with the charm of the past.
Find it: 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris
My version of shopping in Paris is different from that of Miami – where I just put up with one giant department store like Nordstrom or Macy’s. In Paris, I wander through each boutique, and one designer I found and am fond of is Barbara Rihl!
Located in Le Marais next to Karl Lagerfeld’s boutique, Barbara Rihl is a Parisian girl’s toy store. Cute chic girl illustrations make me fall in love with their pouches, bags and notebooks every season. When in the neighborhood, I wander into one of Paris’ best boulangeries –Au Petit Versailles du Marais. It’s received multiple awards for it’s baguette traditional, and I eat every single type of viennoiserie when I’m here.
Find it: 25 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75004 Paris
Valentine’s Day is another ordinary day in the city of love. There are candle light dinners every night, wine, couples cuddling and flowers in every nook and cranny every day of the year. As per usual, I stopped by Rue de Lévis – a small bustling street selling fruits, vegetables, meats, baked goods and my favorite tulips. My valentine got me a bouquet of pink roses and we got ourselves a baguette and cheeses for a nice brunch. Everyday has the possibility for sweetness. Spread l’amour tous les jours.
They say Paris is better in the rain, perhaps those who say this find themselves with nowhere to be, like I found myself today. No errands, no schedule, blissfully watching the downpour over the Louvre pyramids in a sort of gray silent peace… Naturally I shared the view in a hallway with hundreds of other awestruck tourists. Seeing Paris this way through the eyes of other dreamers rekindles that enchanting effect – like the first time I saw the city.
I shared a little video about Paris in the rain with the most beautiful lyrics.
Oh eclairs. That vanilla cream filling gushing out of a choux-doughed pastry, topped with pecan crunch? Oui! Of course, I had to have three.
I stopped by Bourse metro station at the Fabrique Eclair de Genie and picked out strawberry, lemon tart and pecan flavors. Not a big fan of eclairs, but these always surprise me with their subtle and decadent taste. They’re as good as they look. Plus, this gave me an idea. I had no clue what to get my friends for Valentine’s Day, but maybe personalized eclairs would be a good present no?
Find it: 35 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris