Paris Personality

Early in 2013 my matra became “be memorable.” It was inspired by a plethora of lack luster e-holiday greetings where nine times out of ten I couldn’t help but think to myself that their typical emails were more memorable and engaging. In an era where we’re inundated with information, even great work can be lost. But this 2013 Holiday Greeting from Havas Worldwide Paris is an example of doing it right. I wasn’t even on their holiday email list, but what they created was not only memorable, it was engaging and fun, and it made it’s way to me because of that (thanks, Lauren Lou for knowing I’d love this). Also, for the record, I’m not trying to suggest you have to have a giant budget to be memorable, just do something a little different.

The other awesome thing this video does is magically capture the personality of Paris neighborhoods through typography and simple, yet highly effective illustrations and animations – all in black and white. They’re spot on with their choices. I love too, if you listen closely, you’ll hear how the sound plays off the word and image to strengthen the concept. A must see, and it only becomes stronger as you notice new details each time you watch.

Bravo to the team at Havas Worldwide Paris for a memorable holiday card for any time of the year! The video was produced by Flying V (QUAD) – you can view more of their work here.

// Originally discovered on Golem13. //

P.S. Just a reminder that I’m teaching Map Making on Skillshare in Feburary. Sign up now, it’s going to be a ton of fun! (No design skills required).

Tour de France: Paris by Arrondissement

20 arrondissements and 19 guest bloggers later the ‘Tour’ de France, Paris edition has come to a close – for now. All my guest bloggers did such an awesome job sharing their neighborhoods, I wanted to put them all in one easy to find place, and create a giant resource, whether you’re looking for some weekend inspiration or a new Paris read. Mille mercis to everyone for their great work! Bon week-end à tous!

The last 2 digits of Parisian zip codes refer to the arrondissement or district. There are 20 total. The arrondissement appears at the top of street signs, making it quite easy to find your way around the city. Click on the zipcodes below. Happy exploring!

75001 – by Melissa, an American expat working in France and author of Prête-moi Paris.

75002 – by Velib fanatic Emma Bentley who is making good use of her studies in order to live in France.

75003 – by Kasia Dietz who is designing fabulous bags when not off exploring Europe.

75004 – by Franco-American photographer Kali Vermès of Grow Little, who creates beautiful plant worlds.

75005 – by Italian filmmaker Elena Rossini.

75006 – by Jenny Sundel who decided 33 would be her ‘Jesus Year‘ and moved to Paris.

75007 – by SF creative couple Jordan and Paul Ferney who moved their family to Paris for the year for a new adventure.

75008 – by Sharon Graber, aka Scout Paris.

75009 – by yours truly, Prêt à Voyager, a look at the neighborhood I call home.

75010 – by Brit Adam Roberts, author of Invisible Paris, an insider’s look at the city, the architecture and happenings.

75011 – by Lost in Cheeseland‘s Lindsey Tramuta, an American expat who knows this city like the back of her hands.

75012 – by French textile/product designer, Sarah Caniot of Ma Mamie Hippie.

75013 – by Elena Rossini, filmmaker, feminist, founder of No Country for Young Women and creator of The Illusionists.

75014 – by photobooth obsessed urban explorer Meg Gagnard of De Quelle Planète Est-tu?

75015 – by cocktail crazed Forest of 52 Martinis.

75016 – by Jane who runs La Cuisine Paris cooking school.

75017 – by Cat of Sugar Daze, who brings cupcake joy to all expats in France.

75018 – by Brit Kim Laidlaw Adrey, hot spot scout and author of I Heart Paris [update: now known as Unlock Paris].

75019 – by Paris by Mouth‘s founding editor & food tour guide, Meg Zimbeck.

75020 – by American expat writer Sion of Paris (Im)Perfect who shares the real side of this city.

Quick reference:
, 75002, 75003,75004, 75005, 75006, 75007, 75008, 75009, 75010, 75011, 75012, 75013, 75014, 75015, 75016, 75017, 75018, 75019, 75020

Tour de France: Paris, 19ème – Meg Zimbeck

More and more I find myself frequenting the 19ème arrondissement (75019), whether to take advantage of the upper end of the canal, go to the cinema, hang out in Buttes Chaumont, or to check out the latest at the contemporary art center/ former funerary hall, 104. However, after Meg Zimbeck‘s look at the 19th in today’s Tour de France, there’s still so much more I have yet to discover. Also, as summer is upon us, this clearly is the arrondissement for festivals. Meg also happens to be the founding editor of Paris by Mouth, a fabulous resource for all things food in Paris!

{Image above: The Mouzaïa quarter just east of the Parc des Buttes Chaumont. Mouzaïa is a collection of charming flowering alleys (each one is called a “villa”) and countrified bungalows within a neighborhood that’s dominated by towering apartment blocks.}

{Mouzaia is sweet and bucolic, but it’s an anomaly. This shot of the rue Crimée, taken as it climbs toward the Place des Fêtes, is more typical of the modern architecture you’ll find in the 19th.}

{This shot captures the post-industrial nature of the 19th. It’s an incinerator in the process of being dismantled, and in the background you can see the Canal de l’Ourcq. This Canal used to be used to dispose of waste from the nearby slaughterhouse, but that slaughterhouse has been transformed into the Parc de la Villette and the Canal has become an area for biking and picnics.}

{The Villette Sonique music festival takes place in the Parc de la Villette each year in May. There are three music venues within this massive park, in addition to the open air concerts that take place in the summer.}

{The same park hosts the Cinema en Plein Air festival every summer – a series of free outdoor movies that attracts hundreds of film- and picnic-loving people from all corners of Paris. The festival opened this week and will run until August 11th.}

{This very simple pleasure (a box of Camembert from milk master Jean-Yves Bordier, warmed until gooey and served with bread and salad) can be found at O Divin, an unassuming wine bar on a small street behind the Parc des Buttes Chaumont. They have a wonderfully calm terrasse in summer and a great selection of natural wines (35, rue des Annelets). For something a little more special, I love Le Chapeau Melon.}

{Both of these photos were taken along the Bassin de la Villette during the summer. There are hundreds of young people who gather along the water during the warm months to picnic and play boules (pétanque). You can bring your own, or borrow balls from Bar Ourcq, a fun place that also sells beer in plastic cups to go (68, quai de la Loire).}
{Paris Plages sets up a northern outpost of its annual urban beach party along these same waters, and you can find sand, palm trees, lounge chairs and a stage for dancing here every summer.}
{The biggest market in the neighborhood is held at Place des Fêtes every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.}

{There’s a fair amount of graffiti in the 19th, much of it quirky and irreverent.}

{In contrast to the neighborhoods where I work (giving food tours), the neighborhood where I live is a lot younger, hipper, scruffier, and easy-going. I think this photo captures that.}

{I love to read and have a drink at 25° Est, a cafe overlooking the place de Stalingrad. The upper terrasse is flooded with sun (and people) during the later afternoons, and prices are easy.}

{There’s really no shopping in the 19th to brag about, so I’ll beg to substitute my favorite park – the Parc des Buttes Chaumont. It’s the city’s largest, wildest and hilliest park. I probably spend more time here than any other place in Paris. It’s a haven for joggers, readers, picnickers, sunbathers and, ever since the opening of the Rosa Bonheur [below] cafe at the top of the park, hipsters.}

{Installation in Buttes Chaumont during Nuit Blanche.}

Thanks, Meg!
Guest post by Meg Zimbeck / Paris by Mouth.
@megzimbeck @parisbymouth on Twitter.

Tour de France: Paris, 1ère – Prête-moi-Paris

{ed. note: does anyone else see the Eiffel Tower in this coffee?}

The 1st arrondisement (75001) is the central hub to Paris, and is the start of the nautilus shell that wraps around to create the 20 different districts. Home to the more upscale Louvre, Tuillerie Gardens, Palais Royale Gardens (one of my favorites lately), concept shop Colette, and Angelina’s famous hot chocolate, it also contrast with the Chatelet and Les Halles (currently under a major renovation) where masses of people enter the city through the RER commuter lines. Today’s edition of the ‘Tour de France‘ with Melissa Ladd of Prête-Moi Paris tours us around the 1st. Melissa’s blog looks at everything from food to fashion and what’s happening in Paris, and today she shows us around the neighborhood she visits every day for work.
From Melissa:
The Saint Opportune / Châtelet quarter is full of EVERY kind of people : tourists, pickpockets, hoodlums, mall rats from the Les Halles area, chic ladies who live on the Rue Sainte Honoré, shop keepers, business people who work in the offices on Rue de Rivoli, artists, theater goers, people in transit… it is the central hub of Paris, with the beating heart of the Châtelet les Halles metro and RER station. There is so much shopping in that area, the kind that draws a younger crowd like H&M and Zara.

What I like about this area is how it modernizes in the crowds and people it attracts yet holds steadfast to the past with it’s older architecture and streets, like the Tour Saint Jaques that was finally restored and uncovered from ten years of scaffolding, like the rue de la Ferronnerie where people place flowers every year on the anniversary of the death of king Henry the 4th, who was assassinated on May 14th 1610, or the old cobble stone Place Sainte Opportune and the several hundred year old buildings that circle it. Modern life and old Paris meet here in this central spot and they coexist happily in a charming chaotic way that I like.

Most people that have come to Paris have passed through this quarter… whether it’s under ground in the metro station or above ground. And from this place, you can get to almost anywhere in the city in about 30 minutes or less. It’s the heart of Paris!

{Entrance to artist squat at 59 rue de Rivoli – free and open to the public when the door is open [ed. note: don’t forget to look up to see what crazy installation is covering the façade today; right: work on the street by one of the artists, seen throughout the city}
{Art nouveau metro entrances at Chatelet}
{Saint Opportune / Chatelet}
{a “memorable” shop window with dead rats in Chatelet [ed. note: always entertaining to show visitors in town!]; right: gerbils in pet shop along Quai de la Megisserie}

{Practice flyover in anticipation of Bastille Day}

Worth checking out in the 1st:

  • The gardens below the Tour Saint Jaques for chilling out.
  • Théatre de Châtelet
  • The rotating createurs store on rue Sainte Opportune for fun interesting fashion that’s not made in china.
  • The bagel place Fast, at Place Sainte Opportune for a good bagel sandwich or wrap that reminds me of home… (beware of the teenage girl/boy gang of pickpockets that hang out there… it’s the meeting spot).
  • Beho at 8 Place Sainte Opportune for it’s awesome happy hour prices. The restaurant/café/bar on the corner of rue des Halles and rue des Bourdonnais
  • Carpe Diem is kitch-chic with their décor, and great chill out attitude and their good food that doesn’t cost a fortune.

Thanks, Melissa!
Guest post by Prête-Moi Paris.
@PreteMoiParis on Twitter

Tour de France: Paris, 15ème – 52 Martinis

The 15ème arrondissement (75015) is one that I don’t often frequent, but for no particular reason. I love the large open space of the modern Parc André Citroën or Parc Georges Brassens (which feels like it’s full of locals), a stroll along Rue du Commerce or a meal at Le Dernier Metro. For today’s edition of the ‘Tour de France,’ Forest of 52 Martinis (she explores a different cocktail bar in Paris every Wednesday!) shows us around the 15th, where she goes for work every day.

P.S. Happy 14 Juillet! I can’t believe I’ve been doing this so long – I started my blog on Bastille Day 2007!

Image above: The metro line 6 crosses the 15eme and its multiple above ground stations allow passengers brief glances down onto daily street life as well as an escape from the dark underground rides.

In the 15th you’ll find a mix of lovely older bits with practical and new. The more modern UNESCO annex sits just across the street from these beautiful old balconies.

While there are plenty of standard cafes in the area I like to slip into this quirky little place on rue Copreaux with its walls crammed with books and chatty owner who passes out philosophical pamphlets as well as oranges. It’s also a Vietnamese resto which pulls in the cheap and cheerful noodle seekers at lunch time.

Le Troquet is a busy, unassuming Basque restaurant which packs in a solid lunch and dinner crowd. Soups and charcuteries are always a good choice.

Constantly in the shadow the Eiffel Tower but unable to claim it as its own, I sometimes wonder if the 15eme feels like it’s under the watchful eye of an older sibling which ensures it neither verges into more edgy hipster territory nor succumbs to the airs and graces of neighboring 16th.
Thanks, Forest!
Guest post by 52 Martinis.
@52martinis on Twitter

Tour de France: Paris, 8ème – Scout Paris

{A vision in red—the Hôtel Plaza Athénée on Avenue Montaigne}

When I first moved to Paris in 2001, the 8ème arrondissement (75008) was my home. Two days into my stay, I was already the freak running along the Champs Elysées (no Frenchie would EVER do that), but I love exploring Paris by foot and running speeds up the process and makes 1-way streets 2-way, and it’s pretty easy to beat traffic. For today’s ‘Tour de France,’ I asked my classmate Sharon Graber, aka Scout Paris, to explore the 8th. While it’s not a neighborhood she was familiar with, with the name “Scout Paris,” I had to put her to the test and see what she could come up with. For me the 8th screams the opening of Midnight in Paris…

{Arc de Triumph; right: door on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré}

From Sharon:
It was a gorgeous Saturday afternoon when I set out to explore the 8th arrondissement. I wasn’t too familiar with the 8th, but I quickly became enchanted with it. The pretty streets and iconic monuments that fill this area will make you fall immediately in love with Paris—if you haven’t already. For those who appreciate luxury brands, 5-star hotels, grand architecture, and window-shopping, this Arrondissement is a little slice of heaven.

{Walk along the Champs Elysée; right: Louis Vuitton on the corner of George V and the Champs-Elysees}

The most famous street in Paris is the ChampsÉlysées. Today, it is lined with chain stores and pricey cafes, but the view of the Arc de Triomphe is something everyone should see in person. And, you shouldn’t stop there. The iconic monument that was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 is worth visiting up-close. As I stood under the arc, I was amazed by its beauty and architectural details. If you have the time, wait on line to walk to the top of the Arc for impressive views of the city. Avenue Montaigne and Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré are home to a wide range of luxury brands including Christian Louboutin, Chanel, Fendi, Harry Winston, and Christian Dior. Even if you can’t afford to shop these brands, just the window-shopping alone is an experience. On the walk down Rue du Fabuourg Saint-Honoré, you will find yourself approaching Rue Royale. The street has views of Place de la Concorde and La Madeleine—a striking example of neoclassical architecture and one of the prettiest churches in Paris.

{Face is on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré; right: La Madeleine on rue Royale.}

While I was there I planned a visit to the Petit Palais, which happens to be one of my favorite museums in Paris. Not only does it house an impressive permanent art collection, it features a charming circular courtyard that is filled with beautiful flowers during the spring and summer. The opulent interior is also quite stunning. The museum has a charming café and the admission is free to view the permanent collection of paintings, sculpture and decorative arts.

{Inside the Petit Palais; right: Guerlain on the Champs-Elysees}

{Reserve a table at L’Avenue on Avenue Montaigne—a chic spot for people-watching and fine cuisine.}

{One of my first visits in Paris included a trip to the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel George V. The hotel’s signature floral displays are awe-inspiring and so imaginative. Don’t forget to take a peak inside the hotel’s courtyard.}

{I love French pastries and macarons, so I planned a visit to Laduree on rue Royale. [two images above]}

{Le Paradis du Fruit [2 above images], 47 avenue George V – The restaurant has the best chocolate fondue platters and a pretty expansive menu of salads and sandwiches. Ideal for lunch}

Worth checking out in the 8th:

  • Laduree, 16, rue Royale or 75 Avenue des Champs-Elysees
  • L’Avenue, 41 avenue Montaigne
  • Cojean Mathurins, 64, rue des Mathurins
  • Hôtel Plaza Athénée, 25 Avenue Montaigne
  • Le Petit Palais, Avenue Winston Churchill
  • George V, 31 avenue George V

Thanks, Sharon!
Guest post by Scout Paris.
@sharongraber on Twitter

Tour de France: Paris, 16ème – Jane of La Cuisine Paris

{the little Thimble size version of the Eiffel tower is from my balcony….can I advertise the place as ‘views of Eiffel Tower’?}

While Jane of La Cuisine Paris spends the majority of her life in the 4th where her cooking school is, today she gives us a “Tour de France” of the 16ème where she rests her head at night. Much to my surprise the 16th is large enough to have two postal codes: 75016 and 75116 (the last 2 digits of the zip code designate the arrondissement). While Jane describes the 16th as a ‘poo riddled neighborhood inhabited by those of ‘a certain age’, today she gives us a look inside the ‘cent’ (75116) side of the quartier, showcasing its charms.

P.S. La Cuisine Paris is great for locals or visitors passing through the city. Click here for the latest course offerings.

{A typical line out the boulangerie in the evening}


{Looking up}


{One of the largest Synagogue in Paris…it is like a fortress}

{In most places (if it is important to you), you can enjoy the Tour Eiffel…one of the best views I think being at Place de Mexico. [right:] There are random things that occur in the 16th, like the ‘Restaurant Russe’…that has not been renovated in years, just down from the chic and heavily trafficked ‘Coffee Parisien’}

{The 16th (my end of it), really has two heads in one where the past and the present sit side by side. A lot is to be said about the inhabitants of a neighborhood that has 7 pharmacies within a 2 minute walking distance (yes this is the case, I counted), amongst and nestled between shoe stores with heels high enough to make a nose bleed, and property agencies showing listings from 2MM onwards (who can buy those anyway?).}

{The streets of the 16th never disappoint}

{English in Paris… Is there really such a thing?}


Observations from the 16th:

  • There are always people around the 16th no matter what the time of day – most those of ‘a certain age’ and those that do not work.
  • From a plus point of view in the 16th, once you have become of ‘a certain age’, you seem acquire the right to poke people with your cane – it is just accepted and understood.
  • You have the Bois de Boulogne…which arguably has something to offer everyone…and I mean that literally depending on the hour.

Thanks, Jane!
Guest post by Jane of La Cuisine Paris cooking school.
(Don’t miss my friend Jenni‘s macaroon or croissant classes she teaches at La Cuisine Paris!)

Tour de France: Paris, 13ème – Elena Rossini

The day I discovered Butte-aux-Cailles, a small village tucked in the 13th arrondissement (75013), was a magical day. Off the beaten path for tourists, it’s definitely a spot for locals – especially at my favorite restaurant, Chez Gladine. But as Elena Rossini gives us an insider look at the arrondissement she calls home (don’t miss her other feature on the 5th in the Tour de France series), I’m realizing there is much more of this neighborhood I need to explore. It definitely has a different look and feel to much of Paris with an international flavor from a dose of a French village (Butte aux Cailles), American modern (Bibliotheque François Mitterand), and Asian metropolis (Avenue d’Ivry). Even along the quais of the Seine there is a sense of space and openness…

p.s. Elena’s documentary The Illusionists has raised over $17,000 so far. There only 25 days left in the Kickstarter campaign, so click here to help support this amazing project and make sure it gets funded!

{[top 2 images] Buttes-aux-Cailles}

{Bibliotheque François Mitterand}

{Bibliotheque François Mitterand}

{Bibliotheque François Mitterand}




{Bubble tea, Chinatown}


Worth checking out in the 13th:

Thanks, Elena!
Guest post by filmmaker Elena Rossini.
Click HERE to support The Illusionists on Kickstarter.

Tour de France: Paris, 12ème – Ma Mamie Hippie

As the official Tour de France is in full force, our Tour de France, Paris edition, is starting to wind down (see all features here). Today I’m so happy have French textile and home designer Sarah Caniot of Ma Mamie Hippie to give us a tour around the arrondissement she calls home – the 12ème (75012). She was sweet enough to write in French and English, so I love that it’s a bi-lingual look at her neighborhood through the eye of a true local. Clearly food plays a big role in how she sees the city!

From Sarah:
We live in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, between Gare de Lyon and Nation. Every Saturday morning, we will do our shopping at the market Aligre, two steps from home.

Nous habitons dans le 12ème arrondissement de Paris, entre Gare de Lyon et Nation. Tout les Samedis matin, nous allons faire nos emplettes au Marché Aligre, à deux pas de chez nous.
After our little shopping of fruits and vegetables, we like to go for a coffee in a bar that is always crowded around the corner from the market (it’s a café / tabac that is opposite the flower market).

Nous aimons, après avoir fait nos petites courses de fruits et légumes, nous poser prendre un café dans un bar toujours bondés de monde et qui se trouve autour du marché (c’est un café/tabac qui se trouve en face du marché aux fleurs extérieurs).
We have our traders that we regular: the exterior Bio stand, the interior Italian and poultry stand is a priority! Aligre market full of small stalls selling great products at cheap prices… We have friends who live far away from the 12th and come do their shopping here! The market is open every day except Monday from 8 to 13h until 14h on weekdays and weekends.

Nous avons nos petites habitudes de commerçants: à l’extérieur au Stand Bio, à l’intérieur Stand Italien et Volailles en priorité ! Le marché Aligre regorge de petits stands vendant de très bons produits à pas cher…nous avons des amis qui habitent à l’opposé du 12ème et qui viennent faire leur marché ici ! Le marché est ouvert tout les jours sauf le lundi de 8h à 13h en semaine et jusqu’à 14h le week-end.
Around the market, there are many shops open all week that we frequent: a wonderful BIO bakery: Moisan, a wine bar: Le Baron Rouge, a wine shop, a cafe that makes mint tea, a Grainerie that sells herbs, grain weight (pasta, rice) and dried fruit … We love the area because it is not something you find everywhere, a garden / greenhouse a little off from the market where all the members to the Aligre community can plant their flowers or grow their own vegetables!

Autour du marché, il y a plusieurs commerces ouvert toute la semaine auxquels nous allons souvent: une magnifique boulangerie BIO : MOISAN, un bar à vin: Le Baron Rouge, un caviste, un café qui fait du thé à la menthe, une Grainerie (en photo) qui vend des herbes aromatiques, et des céréales au poids (pâtes, riz) ainsi que des fruits séchés…nous adorons cet endroit car il n’en existe pas beaucoup, un jardin/Serre un peu plus excentré du marché où tout les adhérents à la commune libre d’Aligre peuvent planter leurs fleurs ou faire pousser leurs légumes !
The Art Deco door is on rue des Citeaux, close to the market.

La porte Art déco (en photo) se trouve rue des Citeaux, à deux pas du marché.
The portrait photograph is one of our favorite retailers, his name is Jean-Claude and runs a small restaurant called “Le Petit Quercy” in 114 Boulevard Diderot, a small place with few tables inside and outside …

Le portrait en photo est l’un de nos commerçants préférés, il s’appelle Jean-Claude et tient un petit restaurant qui s’appelle “Le Petit Quercy” au 114 Boulevard Diderot, c’est un tout petit endroit avec quelques tables en intérieur et extérieur…
We love it because he sells products from the southwest, either in the next grocery store or restaurant next door which can also be taken to go. All products are fresh and cut on the spot, for a foie gras sandwich, for example, or a plate of cold cuts whose quality is top! We all know that the boss as “habitués” [regulars], because we go once or twice a week, it’s our “canteen”!

Nous adorons cet endroit car ce sont des produits du Sud-Ouest qu’il y vend, que ce soit dans du côté épicerie ou du côté restauration à emporter ou surplace. Tout les produits sont frais et découpés à la minute comme pour un sandwich au fois gras par exemple ou pour une assiettes de charcuteries dont la qualité n’est plus à prouver ! Nous connaissons autant le patron que les habitués, car nous y allons une à deux fois par semaine, c’est notre “cantine” !

Thanks, Sarah!
Guest post by Ma Mamie Hippie (et le blog).
See Sarah’s super cute “sneak peek” on D*S.

Tour de France: Paris, 4ème – Kali Vermès

Today’s ‘Tour de France‘ takes us to the 4ème arrondissement (75004) which will always have a spot in my heart from the days of my photography class at Studio Vermès. Ten years later, it’s still a favorite place, and today I’m thrilled to have photographer / terriarium “creatrice” Kali Vermès (Philippe’s daughter) to show us around. Also known as the Marais, the 4th is a former swampland full of great shops and charming nooks (Le Petit Fer au Cheval is a personal favorite), and spreads down the the “îles” of Paris. While most of Kali’s time is spent in the eastern side of the city now, I love the way she’s captured the 4th – and the light!

Worth checking out in the 4th:

P.S. Don’t miss Kali on Boarding Pass!

Thanks, Kali!
Guest post by Grow Little / Kali Vermes
p.s.s Check out Kali’s terrariums in the latest Elle Decoration

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