Archive for the ‘Places’ Category

Paris Apartment No.5

Paris Apartment No.5

This year our apartment was an adorable little loft with an alcove bedroom and rooftop views of le haut Marais.

Tucked away in a pre-Haussmann building on a narrow crooked street off Rue de Rivoli, the fifth floor walkup with steep spiral stairs had no elevators!

The suite was minimally and tastefully decorated, with pops of colour and bathed in natural light, it had all the amenities and comforts of home.

Paris Apartment No.5

On Sundays we’d awaken to the bells of the Church of the Blancs-Manteaux (white-coats) as the restaurants and cafes downstairs stir from the night’s revelry.

Downstairs was a boulangerie with amazingly chocolatey and buttery pain au chocolat and wonderful seeded loaves. Our charming little street was also home to France’s oldest teahouse.

Paris Apartment No.5
Paris Apartment No.5

We couldn’t have asked for a more centralized location, we were within walking distance of all our favourite spots and sights; museums, galleries, markets, bars, gardens and legendary cafés were just a skip and hop away.

I love the energy of the Marais; it’s quaint, eclectic and vibrant, and waking up with daylight streaming through the windows of our cosy place was glorious – it felt good to be part of the neighbourhood.

Paris Apartment No.5
Paris Apartment No.5 Paris Apartment No.5

It was the perfect little spot to sleep, eat and put up our feet after a long day traipsing the hilly curvy cobblestoned streets of Paris.

Paris Apartment No.5
Paris Apartment No.5

But wait, I have more photos!

Maple Beach, Point Roberts

Maple Beach, Point Roberts

I love, love our little trips to Point Roberts in the summer!

I’ve written about Point Roberts a few times before – an oddity of a community that belongs to the US but only accessible by land through Canada.

I think I’ve also mentioned how we go to Point Roberts every two months or so, we use a parcel receiving service there for retailers who don’t ship to Canada or charge ridiculous international shipping fees – which is ironic because these parcels pass through Canada first.

It’s usually just another mundane errand, even if it involves border-crossings and declarations.

Maple Beach, Point Roberts

Maple Beach, Point Roberts

The actual drive from downtown Vancouver is less than 40 minutes, but the line-ups at the border can sometimes make it seem like a tedious journey; one rainy Saturday back in April we waited for over an hour

So lately, we’ve taken to parking in Tsawwassen (the Canadian side) and crossing on foot – which I always find fascinating since one of the many peculiar things I wanted to do as a kid when I grew up, was walk to another country, I guess I can cross that one off my bucket list now.

Our other option in the summer has been to pack a snack or lunch, wait patiently to cross and then idle the time away on one of the wonderful beaches in Point Roberts.

Maple Beach, Point Roberts

I love that we get to make a beach day out of what is typically a mundane trip to pick up parcels.

We discovered Maple Beach last year, a lovely beach with such spectacular low tides you can walk the ocean floor or get a tiny island to yourself.

It feels like a little paradise, with its sweeping view of the ocean and Mount Baker; scenic, serene and relaxing.

It’s a wonderful spot to picnic in the summer, or to sit and take in a quiet moment.

Maple Beach, Point Roberts

Maple Beach, Point Roberts Maple Beach, Point Roberts

I love picnicking out here; we usually don’t bring much, sometimes jars of fruits; peaches and strawberries and cherries from the farmers’ market, drinks and a few other snacks – we nibble, read, nap and linger the time away.

We go for walks too…the neighbourhood is charming, almost as if you’ve stepped back a few decades in time; eclectic cottages and cabins, colourful with interesting nautical decorations.

Maple Beach, Point Roberts

Maple Beach, Point Roberts

Maple Beach, Point Roberts Maple Beach, Point Roberts
Maple Beach, Point Roberts
I’m certainly looking forward to our next trip to Maple Beach, Point Roberts.

Merci Shop, Paris

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I’m a dreamer; my mind is always wandering of to far off places I’d rather be… sundrenched fields of wild flowers and breezy huts shaded by mango trees. Sometimes I’d wish myself back to the memorable places I’ve loved, and moments when I’ve felt truly content.

I took a short trip to Portland this past weekend, a long scenic train ride that didn’t feel long at all.
I brought my laptop along, finally ready to tackle photos from my vacation last year Рand unearthed these photos of our final day browsing the enchanting Merci store and stealing a quick breakfast at the Used Book caf̩.

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Processing these pictures on the train amidst the spectacular landscapes of Pacific Northwest made for such a perfect moment – almost as if I was in two of my favourite places at once, and at that instant there was no need to dream.

I’d heard and read many good things about Merci and I knew I’d like it even before I set foot there.

From the café, we ate hot delicate scones slathered with thick smooth echire butter, and zesty fromage blanc with nuts and honey. And lots of café au lait

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And then we lingered, as one would in a store that carries a little bit of their favorite things, all delightful and covetable – understated and stylish clothes, functional and elegant furnishings and household wares, and dreamy eclectic products that you didn’t even know you needed.

You could wander here and never tire, the displays are beautiful, alluring, they change with the season; artsy and cultural with a dash of whimsy – Ideal for browsing and garnering design inspiration even if priced a little out of range.

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And the staff; attentive and informed, with all sorts of tips – from cute gift ideas to suggestions to check out a chic optical store on rue de Turenne.

The store is a little bit like the city it inhabits, cozy, original and conceptually stimulating.

The Fiat 500 at the entrance is adorable, a theme of minimalist elegance and cheeriness carries throughout the store.

There’s also a unique philanthropy facet to this already awesome store, profits are used to ‘finance acts of human development’

~Hope you enjoy the pictures…

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Merci Shop, Paris
111 boulevard Beaumarchais
75003 Paris

Click through for more photos!

Tea in New York, Maison Kayser

Maison Kayser

The last few years has seen a spate of French bakeries in our little Pacific Northwest city, and it’s been fun exploring them.
A few have successfully gone on to open second locations, and I recently saw a sign for a third and possibly fourth location for one of my favourites, this made me think of Eric Kayser, and had me digging around for these photos.

One of the lovely things we did this past spring was pop into the new New York Maison Kayser boulangerie on the Upper East Side for tea.

We were super excited to see this Parisian chain finally make its way across the Atlantic.

Maison Kayser

When it comes to breads and pastries, Eric Kayser is a genius; some call him a ‘superstar baker’, his bakeries are renowned and worldwide, the website lists far-flung locations such as Kiev, Dakar, Seoul, Lisbon, Beirut and of course, Paris.

Plus, he invented his own liquid sourdough-starter leavening process, they do not use commercial yeast at the bakeries… genius!

Maison Kayser Maison Kayser, New York

It’s the boulangeries on Rue Montorgueil and Place Vendome that made me a fan – I had breakfasts there… some rushed, some unhurried, of tangy crusty chewy baguettes slathered in butter and jam, and for spontaneous picnics in the park, were those colourful tempting pastries and sweets.

I’ve been so enamoured with their pain aux céréales it inspired this version.

Maison Kayser, New York

Three more Maison Kaysers have opened in New York since our visit.

The UES location is pretty much identical to the others – open and bright with large glass display cases with rows of luscious and dreamy looking desserts, and beautiful striking breads, croissant, brioches and mini cakes.

The seating area for dining is plain and classic, and towards the back is a glassed-in working bakery, where we watched the breads bake on site.

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It was a nice break from running around the city; we had tea with our pistachio financiers, St. Honore cake, flakey buttery croissants and pain aux raisins and relaxed and caught up, and agreed that tea in the New York Maison Kayser is as delightful as its Paris location.

Our delicious tea from Palais des Thés perfectly rounded up our ‘little Paris in New York’ experience nicely.

My friend L. calls Maison Kayser a bread empire… “From Kiev to Kinshasa, this is classic empire building” he says.

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An Apartment in Le Marais

An Apartment in Le Marais

In the few years that I’ve been visiting Paris, I’ve always stayed in apartments; all of them in Le Marais…

There was the tiny ‘apartment’ with huge windows overlooking Rue des Lombards, its cobblestone streets always packed with revellers – it was a busy and noisy area but I loved it!

In a charming courtyard on a quieter part of Rue de Turenne was the bright duplex furnished with vintage suitcases.

We stayed on Rue de Jarente last year, in a quaint old ivy-covered building inside an adorable cobblestone and garden courtyard

An Apartment in Le Marais

We left things too late and almost didn’t get our Le Marais apartment this year, but our friend L. came through for us at the last minute… otherwise, this post would have been about a quaint studio on the Left Bank in the 7th with views of the Eiffel Tower and Champs de Mars – which I guess wouldn’t have been a bad thing, but I prefer ‘the marsh’.

I love Le Marais; it feels very much like my neighbourhood now, I know where to get good bread (Au Petit Versailles Du Marais), a nearby place with fallafel so incredible it’s perhaps the best in Paris, and it’s open till midnight – La’s du Fallafel (except for Saturdays and Jewish holidays).
And, I just found a vegan restaurant (Le Potager du Marais).

This year, we also discovered The Broken Arm for great coffee, and the popular Marche Les Enfant Rouges is always great for lunch in the neighbourhood (try the Morracan food stall).

An Apartment in Le Marais An Apartment in Le Marais

Our apartment this time was on a narrow curved street off of Rambuteau, secluded in a quiet open courtyard on the first floor of a stately 16th century building.

The suite had a bright and open layout with large glass doors and windows, cosy and delightfully furnished offering all the comforts and amenities of home.

I loved the colourful and vibrant accents, and how incredibly efficient these small Parisian apartments are.

And with its proximity to all my favourite places, it’s one of the best parts of my vacation and why I keep returning to Le Marais.

But wait, I have more photos!


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