Monday, July 23, 2012


I had worried that Paris was no longer mine. Not in the way it was when I was going there (this is my 85th post here about Paris) regularly: being greeted like an old friend by the gardien, taking the laundry to the Pressing, watering the pelargoniums, buying my favourite yoghurts, stopping for an apero and ambling around in the neighbourhood of the Haut Marais as if we belonged to each other. My last few visits had been different. Not bad, just different. I felt like a visitor again rather than a regular. And I always gravitated back to the old haunts of the old 'hood, whichever other arrondissement I tried to inhabit.
Lunch at L'Office with lovely Erica
This time I found myself staying in Montmartre - above Pigalle and below Abbesses. It's an area I was not that familiar with. I'd always avoided it because of the touristy bits around the Sacre Coeur - I would make a special trip occasionally to visit APC Surplus and bemoan its location there. I suppose I considered Montmartre an anodyne version of Paris, that had lost its edge long ago and was picturesque but held no surprises.

But surprise surprise. Thanks in no small part to the top floor apartment I stayed in with the panoramic views of the WHOLE of Paris (as I keep telling everyone) and the instructions I was given on where to find the good cheese, wine, bread and coffee places (and the lovely neighbours!) I found a good little neighbourhood beat there. Cat in the courtyard, ambling down rue Lepic, bonjours all round from the shopkeepers. I was like flippin' Amelie for a moment there. I still gave Sacre Coeur a wide berth, but I found some lovely streets to wander and some places I liked a lot, both there and in the 9th down the hill. I know you can't really say you "found" anything in Montmartre - it's all been seen and done and the paths are well trodden - it reminds me a lot of Notting Hill, including having had an extremely popular film set there that cemented its ubiquitousness on the tourist trail.

But I wasn't homesick for the 3rd while I was there. I went there twice to meet friends and felt quite happy going back; up the hill to watch the light of the Eiffel tower sweep across Paris and past the window. In the bedroom I could open one eye from bed and see across to Montparnasse, my eye landing on a different landmark each time. From the kitchen I could see Sacre Coeur up the hill and from the living room everything across to La Defense, then to the left the top of the Eiffel tower and the Pantheon. It was like being in the sky. I was pretty into that view.

So that was good. Here is a small list of addresses in the 18th and 9th.

Le Grenier à Pain (Abbesses)
38 rue des Abbesses, 75018
Fougasse. Is all I'm saying. The head baker won the 2010 Gran Prix de la Baguette for best baguette in Paris. I don't know about that, just get the fougasse.

The fromagerie in rue Lepic, 75018.
Can't remember the name - it might just be Fromagerie Lepic - but it's opposite the Cafe des Deux Moulins made famous in Amelie. Unfortunately that cafe now has huge posters of Amelie everywhere and is frequented mostly by tourists. The coffee there is mediocre. So go to...

Kooka Boora
62 rue des Martyrs, 75009
Okay this is exactly like an Antipodean stylee cafe in London or Berlin and everyone has their laptops out. It's not Parisian at all, and their flat white (there is no way to say flat white with a French accent I discovered) was kind of like a latte, but wow, all the attractive people walking past with their extremely attractive dogs was what sold me on this place. Extremely good people (and dog) watching.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I ♡ ROMA...

{Here's} a link to my latest post for Fathom on how to roam like a Roman, you know, when in Rome.

And below are some snaps I took at the Porta Portese flea market that I didn't post before.

Baci xx

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I had dinner at Nanashi in the haut Marais with lovelies Tiffany and Mia - it was so yummy, kind of like Rose Bakery (the chef is ex-Rose) but Japanese-y. That's my official review. I had a bento box with fish and a glass of Vouvray. It was perfect on a rainy night and of course, Clemence Poesy was there, stalking me as usual. (It cannot be coincidence!)

I think I have a vague memory of someone telling me Nanashi might open in London, or it could be wishful thinking. In any case, they should, and do it soon. I'm hungry.

Saturday, July 07, 2012


You can read my first London events post for HiP Parison non-Olympic things to do in July, over here. They're mostly of the open-air variety - ha. As they say, "There's no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing." 

Sunday, July 01, 2012


Back in March, I took the first photo below on my Canon AE-1 during my last lunch in Venice at L'Arco. Then probably somewhere between Marco Polo and Gatwick this happened. Eventually I got the camera fixed and set to using up the film here and there over the past month or so. I wasn't sure if the film was ok, and couldn't remember what type was in there. By the time I came to develop the film I couldn't imagine what was on it, apart from the last shot of my neighbour's poppies that I took the other day. The poppies are over now, but for a little while at least, the spot at the end of our gardens was an enchanted poppy forest.

The below pictures have no particular theme,  except welcome back AE-1, my old friend...