Thursday, June 27, 2013

La Défense Jazz Festival 2013

(Photo by J. Albertos via Vigoenfotos)

La Défense is not exactly the kind of place you'd expect to have a jazz festival. The sky-scraping mini-city just to the west of Paris is constructed of business buildings and is the home of some 1,500 corporate headquarters, making it Europe's biggest business district. However, each summer, La Défense holds a one-week music celebration dedicated to discovering new and favorite jazz musicians from all over the world.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cheap Eats: Gyoza Bar

I hesitate to share this cheap nosh with the world, because the place is so tiny and so cheap and so good. But that's also why I have to share it. Gyoza Bar in the 9e arrondissement seats about ten people and whips up the freshest, most savory and non-greasy gyoza dumplings I've ever had. Besides beer and sprout salad, it's the only thing on the menu, so it's pretty much guaranteed that the three chefs in front of you have this down. At 6€ for 8, it's the best deal around for a warm-up snack on a rainy day or a holdover bite before a night out.

For a more in-depth (fawning) review of Gyoza Bar, check out my article over at Girls' Guide to Paris.

Gyoza Bar
Métro: M8, M9 to Richelieu-Druot or Grands Boulevards

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Summer Soldes in Paris

For a Cheapskate like me, the Paris soldes are the most wonderful times of the year. Due to some kind of silly law, retailers are only allowed to have storewide sales twice a year. I know, I don't get it either, but their ridiculousness is our gain, as the relative rarity of the sales drives up competition and pushes retailers to get their end-of-season wares out the door. During this twice-yearly event, shops big (Hermés on rue St-Honoré) and small (Tuxedo in Montmartre) slash their prices in two or three rounds throughout five weeks in both winter and summer. It's the perfect time to stock up on French fashion and find some serious steals on both basics and splurges, depending on your outlook and bank account.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cheap Eats: Le Barbezingue

(Photo via Foodspotting)

When a fellow expat blogger wrote to me to tip me off about an all-you-can-eat buffet in Paris, I was wary but knew I had to try it. Turns out that Le Barbezingue, a charming little home-style bistro just a few bus stops away from the Chatillon Métro station, is delicious, generous and a great deal at just 22,50€ for an à volonté dinner. They even have a cheese cabinet to raid. And, I mean, all the desserts you can eat. What more can I say? Check out my full review over at Girls' Guide to Paris.

Le Barbezingue
14, Blvd de la Liberté, Châtillon (92320)
Métro: M13 to Chatillon, then take either Bus 295 (direction Velzy 2), Bus 194 (direction Lycée de Chatenay-M.) or  Bus195 (direction Robinson RER) to Paul Bert

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pro Tip: MyTable Online Restaurant Reservations

(Still from one of my favorite Seinfeld scenes)

So, I have been in Paris for well over a year now and though my language skills have vastly improved, there's one occasion on which I always, always panic: making reservations at a restaurant. All my French seems to fly right out the window as I'm hunched forward, eyes squeezed shut, trying very hard to listen and understand the host or hostess on the other end asking me simple questions, like, say, my name. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Garden at the Hôtel de Ville

(Photo by Audrey via Flickr)

The longer I live in Paris, the more I love the Hôtel de Ville. More specifically, the plaza of the Hôtel de Ville. It's a chameleon space, a blank canvas open to the whims and creativity of its organizers. In winter it's an ice-skating rink, in July it'll be a beach, last year there there were giant pillows in front of a screen playing the Olympics, and just last week they played the French Open alongside an actual tennis court.

Well, between the tennis and the upcoming beach, they will squeeze in a good month or so of "jardin éphémère," or temporary garden. Yes, this massive field of concrete facing the majestic city hall will be transformed into a green space, full of grass, flowers and other oxygen-making stuff of God. Looks like it will be beautiful!

Jardin Éphémère
Saturday, 15 June - Friday, 12 July
Hôtel de Ville
Métro: M1, M11 to Hôtel de Ville

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Play Me, I'm Yours Returns To Paris

After the success of last year's effort to install random pianos around the city, the part-community service, part-art installation, all-awesome project Play Me, I'm Yours returns for a second summer in Paris. As the brainchild of British artist Luke Jerram, forty beautifully, uniquely decorated pianos will be set up in public spaces all around Paris for three weeks starting this Friday. Anybody, from classically trained musicians to amateurs can sit down and tickle the ivories.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Paris Jazz Festival at Parc Floral

(Photo via Sortir à Paris)

The finest way to enjoy a jazz concert is en plein air. Beginning this weekend, the fifth annual Paris Jazz Festival gives you the wonderful, warm opportunity to do just that, with 31 concerts over 8 weekends at the enchanting Parc Floral on the east edge of Paris. From soul and blues to funk and Latin jazz, the two-month jazz-stravaganza will offer plenty of chances to discover and toe-tap your way across the jazz spectrum for just the price of a ticket into the park. Make a day of it, bring a picnic and enjoy the park before and after the shows. Hot picks: check out the Bastille Day "interactive ball" with New Orleans artist Trombone Shorty on 14 July, and be sure to see legend Hugh Masekela do his thang on 21 July. His "Grazing in the Grass" is the perfect summer anthem:


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