When I first started blogging à Paris many, many moons ago, I updated weekly with a list of “The Top 10 Things I love this week…” See: the Leffler archives here (stop laughing. Blogging wasn’t as cool in 2004 when I began my adventures.) In honor of a new year (if you haven’t wished me Happy Birthday yet, it’s never too late, merci very much…) I thought I’d bring it back.
I just spent a month in Paris and, while I love returning to a place that never seems to change, the City of Lights has indeed lightened up in many ways.
Voilà some of my favorite blasts from le past and new très green and très chic discoveries in my favorite French city. Check out part one here.
- Ba&Sh… &RL
I love this French fashion brand shaking things up with their inspiring messages, colorful clothing and très chic style. While I love pretty much everything in la boutique, my favorite items include their ephemeral “Strong Enough” t-shirt in support of breast cancer awareness month, and a great reminder for anyone going through a tough time. All proceeds from the shirts go to “Le cancer du sein: Parlons-en!” a French association that means “Breast cancer: Let’s talk about it!” A great initiative.
I also love this “Warm me up” sweater – the perfect item to battle a NYC winter …in style !
- Three Seven Us
Three Seven Us is très antique-chic ! This unique company is the epitome of green & glam décor. All of the pieces are recycled, handmade and inspired by the travels of the company’s founders Caroline Petit and Jonas Mason, an amazing Franco-American power couple extraordinaire. Their collection, like them, is a mix of the rugged Midwest and European flair. I adore their colorful vintage tables and supercool signs like the “The Sky’s the Limit” or “I’m Sorry for what I said when I was hungry.” One day, they will design my entire apartment / huge chateau, stay tuned… In the meantime, their Paris pop-up is over for now, but you can check them out here:
- Detox Delight
Let me start off by saying that I hate beaucoup the word “detox.” It’s come to be synonymous with drinking nothing but juice for days, fitting into one’s wedding dress or losing a few pounds before a red carpet appearance or simply eschewing all things fun from one’s life in the name of a quick fix post-holiday debauchery or pre-summer bikini season. It’s the most overused word so far this century (“Kardashian,” “kale” and “clean” also not far behind).
That said, I love everything about the idea of a detox. In sum, “detox” is short for “detoxification” or “a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances.” Sounds great and green to me. So great and green, in fact, that I am more in favor of mini daily detoxes than going wild with the intox then following up with extreme detox. A detox should indeed also be delightful. A true detox rids the body of “toxic or unhealthy substances,” but also toxic or unhealthy feelings, habits, thoughts and – yes, sorry to say – people. Being hungry, in a bad mood all day and resentful of the fact that you are sipping liquid kale while your colleagues and friends are enjoying delicious food at lunchtime is counterproductive. Enter…Detox Delight! In fact, I’d already entered into the world of Detox Delight. They were part of my GREEN CHIC corner at the Cannes Film Festival years ago and I’d tried their juices when they first launched in France. I admittedly found them to be a bit on the sweet side and also not organic and very basic. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they’ve since had a très green, glam & gourmande makeover. All of their juices are cold-pressed and organic and their not-just-juice cleanses are packed with meals that strike a nice balance between healthy and detox-friendly, but also tasty. I love the fact that, unlike many detox programs out there, theirs are filled with both raw and cooked, easy-to-digest foods. The ingredients are so “green”, the packaging is very “glam” and the flavor combinations are “gourmande”! They also do a great job of blending esoteric ingredients like the latest superfoods with more basic foods so as not to surprise and scare off amateur taste buds or digestive systems. All of the meals are vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free. You can opt for juice-only cleanses bien sûr, but I vote for their juice and soup option or their “stay liquid till lunch” or even a “juice and double soup” for this change of season to gradually easy the body into the cooler temperatures. Some recent meals include winter veggies roasted in the oven with orange-marinated quinoa, spices, almonds and cranberries, a kale, avocado and cashew cream wrap or a gorgeous salad with Goji berries and a creamy green sauce. Oh and, breaking news – they are opening an eat-in location in Paris this month. Stay tuned !
- Le potimarron
For some reason, French potimarrons* (*petite French pumpkins, aka red kuri squash) always make me think of a fairy tale. When I spot them at the market, I turn around to see if prince charming is approaching on a white horse and feel like I should put on a pink ball gown and a tiara to eat it. Sure, it’s a cliché of an outdated, anti-feminism Disney princess, but doesn’t it sound like fun ? I thought so. I have actually crossed paths with a wicked witch while picking out a potimarron, aka an old French lady scolding me, wondering why I am daydreaming instead of advancing in the queue so that she can stock up on her organic produce du jour. There are usually one or deux around. Don’t be scared. Just smile. It’s the mean French old lady equivalent of a poisonous apple – works every time. Anyway, whether or not you believe in magic (in a young girl’s heart) (how the music can free her whenever it starts) (are you singing yet?) French potimarron is la bombe. They don’t say this in French, but you get the idea. It’s my favorite Fall food (and please note that this is an incredible superlative since I am madly in love with Fall foods) and, for some reason, though red kuri squash are ubiquitous in the US too, French potimarron have that je ne sais quoi – like most French women, they’re just sexier, what can I say? My favorite way to eat them is “naked”, aka simply roasted with some coconut oil, salt and pepper and perhaps a sprinkle of cinnamon or pureed into a delectable, creamy soup (See: the “Cinderella soup” recipe in my book ) It’s great in both sweet and savory dishes – sautéed in curries, roasted then blended with miso and coconut milk for a healing bowl of love for your digestive system or added to muffins, cakes or granola. Let’s talk again in a few months when I am pumpkined out, but for now, bring on le potimarron !
I cried when I left Paris this trip. Sure, I was très triste to say adieu to friends and already missing the beautiful city of Lights, but to be honest, I can Skype with my friends, look at postcards of the city sights, but sadly cannot enjoy freshly baked bread daily here.* (*Please note, if I am mistaken and you know of a delicious, gluten-free, life-changing bread in the tri-state area, please tell me at once!) Confession: I traveled with a giant loaf of bread in my suitcase that is now being kept in its stateside pied-à-terre (namely, my freezer) so that I can raise a toast to it anytime. When this stock is emptied, I’m not quite sure how my life will go on. If you think I am joking, you clearly have not tried the wonder that is Chambelland bakery bread. Chambelland, founded by Nathaniel Doboin and Thomas Teffri-Chambelland, opened in 2014 in the lovely 11th arrondissement of Paris. The bakery-café looks ostensibly like any other in the city (and in Paris, there is a boulangerie on every street corner, bien sûr) but this one is 100% gluten-free. So gluten-free that they even have their own Moulin, or mill, in the south of France. Their sourdough breads are made of a mix of rice and buckwheat flour which together form a flaky crust, a chewy, fluffy middle and enough flavor to be good enough on its own, but not too much to upstage whatever ingredients one may smother them in (see: my green tartines for example)
Whether you are gluten-free or simply love delicious bread, it’s definitely worth a visit à Paris !
And in the meantime, American bakers I challenge you to make a gluten-free loaf that rivals this one. I believe in you. Un deux trois… GO!
PS Paris Autrement
Paris autrement literally means “Paris differently.” It’s an appropriate description of this apartment rental company with apartments all over the city. The team is accommodating and flexible, adapting to every customer, whether a tourist visiting for a quick weekend, a businessman in for an intense conference or, say, a trans-Atlantic gypsy planning last-minute month-long frenetic stays in Paris à la … me! I always recommend them to mes amis, so since we are BFFs* (*blog friends forever) I feel I should share with vous. Most of the apartments are in or around le Marais or the Etienne Marcel neighborhood, but they also have other spots. All of the apartements have wifi (pronounced wee-fee in French)(or, in my case, also in English whereby no one know what I am talking about), a stove and cooking utensils (many apartments also have ovens … a rare luxury in Paris) and little yet necessary things like hair dryers, toaster ovens (see: the wonders of French bread and my ode to its gluten-free variety above) and tea kettles. There’s something about feeling chez vous even when traveling and having an apartment vs staying in a hotel really allots for that “at home” ambiance. Each apartment is unique and they offer a nice range to accommodate different budgets and preferences. I’ve slept in several over the years so if you are interested in my personal recommendations, don’t hesitate to ask !
PS If you haven’t bought my book yet, it is of course LE SCANDALE ! Check it out here !