January 20, 2012

Day 16 : Charming Corner Bakery + Yummy Goodness > Fashion "Research"!

Bonjour from rainy Paris! Unfortunately the weather has turned gray here on the other side of the Atlantic, but glad to say that didn't stopped Yasuyo and I from venturing out :-) Joining us on our little adventure this time was her friend Danni visiting all the way from New York! (ah, how I miss the Big Apple...) Anyway, after two weeks in Paris, Miss Y and I were getting a little tired of the usually touristy shopping meccas (Le Bon Marché, GL, and Printemps) and really wanted to discover more of the "local" fashion scene in Paris. Thankfully, Charline, a new study group buddy from class, suggested that we check out a few streets in the 10e arrondissement, rue Beaurepaire and rue de Marseille. Well, Charline didn't disppoint us...

In many ways, the scene reminded me a lot of the boutiques on Mulberry Street and Elizabeth Street of Nolita in New York. Rue Beaurepaire and rue de Marseille were peppered with a couple of vintage stores, a cool gift shop and a handful and awesome Parisian up-and-coming designers. Notable mentions include a great Cashmere/knitwear store, Marie-Sixtine, and hip young brand, Des Petits Hauts. Though, oddly enough, my favorite find of the day ended up being nothing fashion related at all! Instead, while strolling on way back to the Metro, we also stumbled upon this gem tucked away on a street corner of Rue Yves Toudic... Du Pain et Des Idées

Du Pain et Des Idées | 10e arrondissement

At first, Du Pain et Des Idées looked liked your typical charming little corner bakery in Paris, though we found it quite odd that was a long queue out the door at almost 7pm...? Could it seriously be that good? 

January 19, 2012

Day 15 : Auchan = France's answer to Wal-Mart!

Admittedly, I was starting to get a little homesick earlier today. It's fun being in Paris exploring all the different neighborhoods and checking out all the cool restaurants and shops I've been reading about the past few months. However, with everything that the city has to offer, truthfully, there are just some things I can't seem to find in Paris that I really miss from the States...

What could that be, you ask? Well, sad as it may sound, but the shopping mecca that is Wal-Mart (or any one-stop-shop for that matter...).  Yes, that's right. Unfortunately my local Franprix (or even the huge Casino I discovered down the road last week) just isn't cutting it anymore. I miss the luxury of having endless aisles of cereals, cheese, breads, etc. to choose from. Even more, I miss not having to pay an arm and a leg for my favorite Tropicana jus d'orange. Plus, let's face it--sometimes it would be nice to get all your shopping done in one place, rather than always having to navigate your way through the maze of the Paris Metro map (without your Google Maps!) to run errands :-(. I know, I really shouldn't complain. I'm in Paris.

Thankfully, just in time to cure my homesickness, Yasuyo and I decided to go mobile-shopping after class today and checked out the local mall in Cergy, where we came across the greatest thing ever... Auchan! O.M.G. It was like I had died and gone to food shopping heaven!!

Auchan | Cergy, France

For my all my non-Frenchmen (or non-European) friends, I can only describe it to you as France's answer to Wal-Mart!  Not only can you do your entire week's of grocery shopping here, but they sell pretty much everything else you could possibly think of... clothes, kitchen appliances, books, house products. You name it, they have it. EVERYTHING. and not just that--you also have an endless selection products to choose from :-p Ah, thank you Auchan! and France, I love you again :-)

"Am I really still in France?!" | Never-ending aisles @ Auchan

"Pinch me! Again, am I really still in France?!" | Produce department @ Auchan

Genius! Okay, Auchan beats Wal-Mart now. and whoever thought of this needs a raise! | The Jetsons-style escalators @ Auchan

January 18, 2012

Day 14 : This will blow your mind... It really does take "Just 1"!

WARNING: What I am about to write below may be too much information for your ears to handle (or not), but I felt it was too important (and too amazing) not to share...

Yes, I'll repeat again--please forgive me. I like to keep things real on this blog, and I will not think it below myself to write about toilet paper because let's face it--TP is a necessity of life. Well, at least it should be in my book. Anyway, lately all of the brilliant things I've discovered in France seem to be found at my local supermarché, and once again today, I've stumbled upon pure brilliance avec Lotus Just 1 toilet paper!

The next best thing since sliced bread! | Lotus Just 1 toilet paper

I really wish I could mail you all a roll of this amazing TP! Sadly I cannot, which makes me wonder why I have not seen anything like this in the States??

Without divulging too much detail, I can confirm that indeed it does take just one sheet to get the job done. How you ask? Well, upon closer inspection of the product (yes, I like to take a scientific approach to my research), it turns out that each sheet of Just 1 toilet paper actually seems to be made up of five tinier pieces that have essentially been fused together on the ends! The toilet paper itself is actually very thick and soft--very similar in texture to a Viva paper towel, hence its super absorbent power.

Since I cannot mail you all a roll to try out for yourselves (and since I doubt I'll find anything better in the States), I am super tempted to stock up and stuff one of my luggages full of these Just 1 TPs when I fly back home. You think I'm kidding, but I am not--I am dead serious. I've never raved about TP before, so you can take more word--it. will. seriously. blow. your. mind.

As for all of you non-believers out there, well as silly as it sounds, I've actually decided to send some "sample" sheets to a lucky few of you, so be on the look out... :-p  Haha that's right. Some very special TP could be coming your way!

January 17, 2012

Day 13 : Mastering the Art of French Cooking

What a fabulous night it was! After two weeks in France, I'm happy to say I'm finally all settled in my new apartment here in my Paris (both stovetop and laundry machine are now working!). To celebrate the occasion and unwind from my three-hour french class earlier today, I decided to invite Mademoiselle (Mlle) Y over for a good old-fashion girls' night sleepover :-)

Of course being in Paris, we had to do it the french way. Stopped by the supermarché after school to pick up a lovely bottle of wine, plus a few ingredients so I could whip up a few nibbles and finally put my kitchen to good use...

Voilà! Are you impressed with my culinary skills? ;-)

Aperitifs I made whipped up Girl's Night In... ;-) | Insalata Caprese & Hummus served on edible spoons

January 16, 2012

Day 12 : "The Red Carpet" treatment... in Paris!

I love Paris. Why? A million reasons. The list keeps growing each day I'm here, and today reason No. 346 is my latest find: The Red Carpet insoles!

Luxury Insoles (shown in noir) | The Red Carpet Paris

Ever since my old uni days in Scotland (where I had no choice but to walk over a mile to class everyday!), I've gotten in the habit of walking everywhere rather than taking public transportation. I've discovered it's a great way to really get to know each new city I visit. Here on the streets of Paris, though, I must admit my feet are getting quite a beating, as well as my poor old favorite Tod's ballerina dees that I'm literally wearing to death... :-(

Thankfully, the shoe gods have come to my rescue! 

January 15, 2012

Day 11 : "I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

I thought I had seen it all here in Paris when I stumbled across the window display of hanging dead rats last weekend. Well, apparently, it seems not...

I woke up early this morning thinking I would head over to Galeries Lafayette with Yasuyo to check out more French Sales today and run some errands. However, once I stepped out onto the high street, I was soon enough reminded that it's Sunday. No one works on Sundays (i.e. all stores closed--even my local Franprix!).

Anyway, while walking back home, I was, yet again, caught off guard when I spotted this outside a pharmacy in my neighborhood:

"Pardon-moi. Est-ce que vous avez du change pour cinq billets?" | Durex vending machine on a street corner in Passy

Umm... Wow. Is that what I think it is?! Shouldn't this be inside a night club? and not on the streets of a quiet part of Paris?

For all of my non-Parisian friends, you'll be relieve to know that I do NOT live in the red-light district of Paris. In fact, as I've been told by my classmates, my neighborhood is suppose to be one of the nicest, safest residential parts of this city (think Chelsea in London or maybe UE or UW in New York). As you can imagine, I was quite confused by the sight of this and even did a double-take before collecting photographic evidence.

I'm not sure what to make of it... All I can say is that I definitely must be in the "City of Love"--that or maybe this is the French way of advocating birth control?