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Newsletter #22: March 2002

vintage Paris photo


  • From the Home Office
  • The Future of French Jazz
  • Tati Does it All!
  • The Ideal Parisian Bistrot
  • New Laws Give Renters A Fair Deal
  • See & Be Seen Scene
  • Sweet Brunch
  • Last Season’s Designer Clothes
  • Healthy Fast Food
  • Save a Few Euro

* From the Home Office *

I can always tell how early people start planning their summer vacations to Paris, because my inbox fills up with questions (which, admittedly, is much nicer than the junk mail that usually fills it). I’ve got a lot of good questions this month, and some real stumpers, too (below). I spent a few hours roaming around my Paris links looking for some of the answers, but I think there always comes a time when you just have to ask an actual human who lives here. Since Paris is such a popular place, there are many, many people out there who want to help visitors and new residents enjoy their time in Paris. It’s just finding them that’s the hard part. There are over 150 links at the Secrets of Paris site at Suite101.com, but I have about 500 more in my own files, so don’t be shy about asking for help. If I don’t know the answer myself, I probably can give you a few links to someone that does! -H

* The Future of French Jazz *

Have plans for Friday night? You do now! I’m no expert on jazz, but I was a musician for many years (a percussionist, to be exact), and I know when I hear something fantastic. If you’re looking for a very interesting evening out, I highly recommend you check out “La Femelle du Taureau – Qui Jouit!” this coming Friday, March 8. Before the name confuses you, it may help to now that the keyboardist’s name is Vincent Taurelle. (make sense?) I met Vincent at a sushi take-out place in Paris, a Paris Conservatoire grad who likes to stir things up a bit. Okay, a lot. They’re already known in Paris, so expect a good crowd. The concert takes place in an artists’ squat called Les Falaises. Entertainment guaranteed if you can find the way in! The rest of the group is: Vincent Taeger is on drums, Ludovic Bruni on guitar, and special guest Remi Sciuto on saxaphone. The concert starts at 22h/10pm, entrance is 4Euros.
Les Falaises
27 rue Germain Pilon, 18th arr.
Metro Abesses or Pigalle
Tel: 01-46-06-31-93

* Tati Does It All! *

Tati, that pink-gingham dollar shop extraordinaire, not only does bazaars, weddings, eyewear (Tati Optic) and jewelry (Tati Or), they also do vacation. “Partez du Bon Prix”, as you’d expect (as long as they don’t do their own airline). Check out the Tati Vacances deals on travel from Paris at their website: http://www.tati.fr

* The Ideal Parisian Bistro *

After you’ve done the top five that are in every Fodor’s and Lonely Planet guide, perhaps you’d like to know which bistros are popular with the French themselves. If you can wing a bit of French, I recommend you pick up the “Petit Lebey 2002 des Bistrots Parisiens”. They review both the traditional and the modern, rating them on everything from the friendliness to the décor. Here are two freebies for you, from the top of the list (award list, that is):
– Ze Kitchen Galerie (modern bistrot), 4 rue des Grands-Augustins, 6th arr, metro St. Michél.
– L’Avenue (classic, sure bet), 4 ave Montaigne, 8th arr, metro Alma Marceau or Franklin Roosevelt.

* New Laws Give Renters A Fair Deal *

Living in a hovel and paying dearly for it? You may be able to take your landlord to court if he/she doesn’t make improvements. New laws passed last month require the following conditions: suitable heating in safe working order, safe drinking water on tap, kitchen facilities must have a cooking point and hot and cold running water, properties with more than one room must have inside WC and shower or bath with hot and cold running water, there must be safe and ample electric supply, and there must be a minimum of 9 square meters of floor space and 2.2 meters high ceilings (20 cubic meters total). The fact that they had to make these laws means people were actually living without running water or heat. If you think you have a problem, refer to the “Loi SRU” at your local Mairie.

* See & Be Seen Scene *

Could be the change in weather that makes us suddenly want to go out and *frimer* in our new Spring wardrobe. Here’s the latest crop of hip places to test drive your Liberty print dresses and candy-colored accessories. Be sure to book tables in advance, especially while the fashionistas are still in town for the Fall Collections. For lunch, Stresa Trattoria: 1 rue Chambiges, 8th arr., 01 47 23 51 62. Aperitifs at Nirvana Lounge: 3 ave Matignon, 8th arr., 01 53 89 18 91. Late dining at the Palais de Tokyo: 13 ave President Wilson, 16th arr., 01 47 23 38 86. Cocktails at the Bar de l’Hotel Plaza Athénée: 25 ave montaigne, 8th arr., 01 53 67 66 00. Power shopping at Jey, the clothing and lifestyle boutique: 38-38 bis ave Georges V, 8th arr., 01 53 57 67 07. If you’re not broke yet, caviar in a gorgeous Art Deco restaurant, Prunier: 16 ave Victor-hugo, 16th arr., 01 44 17 35 85.

* Sweet Brunch *

Formerly a chocolate factory, Les Cakes de Bertrand is a salon du thé and sweet shop that would make Willy Wonka jealous. Bon bons, sweet and savory cakes, kitsch chocolates, and Sunday Brunch! Take the kids (or leave them home, more for you!)
Les Cakes de Bertrand
7 rue Bourdaloue, 9th arr., 1 40 16 16 28, Metro Notre-Dame-de-Lor

* Last Season’s Designer Clothes *

But who cares when they’re 40-70% off the regular price? And how many people do you know who can tell the difference between this year’s and last year’s Spring Collections? I thought so. This particular shop has a good selection, and the tags are intact (it’s not a dégriff’ shop). Check their website for directions.
Annexe des Createurs
19, rue Godot de Mauroy, 9th arr., Metro Opéra, Auber, Madeleine

* Healthy Fast Food *

Even if all the French ARE skinny, it doesn’t mean Nutella crepes are good for you. Try soups, toasted sandwiches and desserts like carrot cake and sugar-free “crème aux fruits”. All in a décor right out of Wallpaper Magazine. Wheatgrass shakes and organic grain juices mean this isn’t just a copy of Lina’s. Eat in or take out, for picnics in the park! (ah well, we can hope it doesn’t rain, eh?) Full menus (with drink and dessert) for €16.
Le Cojean
4-6 rue de Sèze, 9th arr., 01 40 06 08 80
Monday-Saturday 8am-6pm.

* Save a Few Euro *

Nothing worse than buying something the week after the price gets hiked up. If you’re planning a trip to Paris this summer, save on museum passes by buying them now (they’re good all year). According to GotoParis.net, the prices go up in April. You can buy them direct from their website, in English (and in dollars). Check out their web site for more info on this and other tours of Paris by boat and bus.

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