City Insider: Meet Lou in Paris

A few weeks ago, I was featured on Lou’s brilliant blog. Lou is a British gal living in Paris, and her blog serves up a delicious slice of Parisian life. The photos are beautiful, her tone is personal, and her French adventures are just so darn charming. As I was headed to Paris myself last weekend, I decided to ask Lou some insider questions before the trip. And as they were so fantastic, I thought, why not share them with you here?! So as a preamble to my own Paris adventures, here are some lovely Paris tips from a lovely paris insider :)

Welcome to the blog Lou! Can you tell me about yourself, Paris, and your blog?

Hi Ali – thanks for having me on the blog. So, my name is Lou and I’m originally from the UK. I’ve been in Paris now for 5 years and my main reason for moving to Paris was to be with my boyfriend. I blog at www.lou-in-paris.com and originally started the blog over 2 years ago, for friends and family to keep track of my life on the other side of the Channel (like you right?) Over the past year I’ve made more effort to write for a wider audience and about things going on in the world that interest me, as well as the more personal stuff.

Do you have a favorite post on your blog readers should check out?

Well, I love all the “LouLou Meets” interviews, so I secretly hope that my readers enjoy those as much as I do, but in terms of my own writing I think I’d have to go with this one: Eat the Cake. I’m someone who has struggled to find a healthy relationship with food and I suffered for a long time from low self-esteem in relation to body image. I think this is something a lot of girls and women have to experience and I just wanted to put my opinion about the whole thing out there, now that I’ve come out of the other side. It was a rather personal post but I had lots of supportive messages from my female friends and on social media when it went up, which was the cherry on top of the (metaphorical and literal) cake. 

Lily of the Valley (1)

What is the best part of living in Paris?

On a purely superficial level, one advantage of living in Paris is the access to high-quality yet inexpensive wine and cheese as well as all the great bakeries selling delicious sweet treats. But everyone knows that already. As a resident of the city I think what I have come to appreciate most is the relationships you build with the Parisians themselves. Ironically, if you had asked me such a question 2 or 3 years ago, this would not have been my answer because making friends with real-life Parisians can sometimes take a lifetime : ) It works so differently to where I come from, and as I went to boarding school my closest friends are from all over the place. I also like how there’s less effort put into appearance: everyone looks put together and great but you don’t have to bother with high heels and a dressy dress if you don’t want but I think that’s a general European thing right?

What Paris tourist attraction would you avoid at all costs?

The Champs Elysées, no doubt about it. Especially at night, avoid avoid avoid. Nothing charming about it whatsoever.

What is your favorite cliche Paris tourist attraction?

Montmartre, that’s kind of cliché isn’t it because of the movie Amélie? Despite not being a religious person, I actually have a real soft spot for the Sacré-Coeur because every time I go in there and sit down I manage to have quite a spiritual experience. Despite the hoard of tourists, I close my eyes and spend some time thinking about the feelings I have been purposefully pushing to the back of my mind. Plus the streets of Montmartre are just so beautiful, twisting and turning downwards towards Pigalle, the sleazier sex district of Paris which is a world away from Montmartre. You can get a crêpe and a cider, or a hot chocolate in the winter no problem, therefore I’m happy to deal with all the street sellers, badgering you to paint your portrait or selling you some key-ring that you really do not need in your life! There’s also a great place called Soul Kitchen in the area, which is very cosy indeed should you need to escape the crowds for a short while : )la seine

I’ve never been out in Paris for drinks or dancing. If I’m only in town for one Saturday night, where do I HAVE to go?

Ooooo there are some great cocktail places, such as Candelaria (which was just placed 17th among the world’s top 50 bars), Moonshiner which you access via Italian restaurant Da Vito and Experimental Cocktail Club . Then if you want to go for a dance, take your pick from Favela Chic, Bus Palladium , Le Carmen or Silencio.

If I want a great meal in Paris, where I will sit side by side the locals, where should I go?

My hands down favourite restaurant in Paris is l’Epi Dupin, which a friend recommended to Jon and I a few years ago now. Their website is pretty rubbish but do not be put off by that. Call and make a reservation because the space and the wine list and the food is just excellent every time we go. You won’t get any young people in there because it has a set menu (38 euros for 3 courses) which creates a calmer ambiance whilst still having the hustle bustle that you expect a consistently busy restaurant to have. If you’re looking for somewhere a little more design, a little more hipster, try Derrière – they have a cute courtyard, delicious food and a cool inside space. Also, Chez Gladines, the one on rue des 5 diamants, the original. Cheap, mad busy, but amazing food from the Basque region. We’ve taken everyone there and it’s always been a success. pÇtit dejeuner

If you had a friend in town for 24 hours, what are the three things you would do with them?

Three was impossible, the least I could manage was five, I hope that is OK! So . . . we would get up early to make the most of it and have brunch at Holybelly just by Canal Saint Martin. Nico and Sarah have created this really friendly place, with talented kitchen staff, adorable waiting staff who are very efficient, excellent coffee, yummy food and feel-good playlists. After brunch we’d go for a long walk somewhere, my current top choice would be rue Mouffetard in the 5th arrondissement, where you can stop in the lovely shops along the way  and go for some sweet mint tea at the Grand Mosquée de Paris. After walking, talking and shopping we’d need a glass (or two) of wine somewhere: my two top picks would be Septime la Cave on rue Charonne or La Buvette on rue Saint-Maur both of which stock organic wines. Next stop would be dinner at Le Dauphin, which is a fun place with pretty marble decor, more organic wines on the menu, friendly service and small sharing plates. Before seeing them onto their train their following morning, friend and I would head to Fondation Café for some avocado toast and amazing coffee. Be sure to say hello to Chris and his friendly team – they are so passionate about coffee and would be incredibly happy to have a chat with you about it.

Let’s talk about Sunday in Paris. Everything seems to be closed!! What is the typical French Sunday like?

This used to bug me in the beginning, until I discovered that actually a lot stays open in Paris yippee. Sure, some supermarkets in the centre close and all the shopping centres are closed, but that still leaves the markets, the cinema, the cafés, the bakeries, the yoga factories…I value it more these days because I feel like it encourages people to have a real weekend. We like brunch to be a big feature of our weekend, and if we’re organised we’ll get up a bit earlier and make a trip to our local farmer’s market.

What can a visitor do on Sunday in Paris?

You can start with coffee and something sweet or savoury at Ten Belles, or you could go have tea and macarons at Ladurée, you can visit the Jardin des Plantes, or the Grand Mosque of Paris. You can head to the Marais (the Jewish quarter), have falafel at l’As du Fallafel (Ali interjecting, I’ve done this before! :) and walk around as most of the stores there are open. You can browse the books at the beautiful Shakespeare and Co and admire the Notre Dame Cathedral afterwards. Maybe there’s an exhibition on at the Town Hall to you can check out. The city is your oyster, even on a Sunday : )

When it rains in Paris, where will we find you (if you’re not snuggled in bed under a duvet!)?

We have rather a nice big apartment, so if it’s raining I like to stay inside and drink tea, snuggle with Jon and watch movies with him. Other than that, you may find me in one of the city’s many coffee shops, reading or writing down ideas for blog posts. Or chatting with other blogger friends about their current projects.

If you were to take a day trip outside of Paris, where do you go?

In the spring or summer, I would definitely recommend a trip to Giverny, where you can visit the beautiful gardens and home of Monet. I’d love a little weekend in Normandy (I hope Jon is reading this!), or other parts of Normandy, so would suggest that too !

Any final words on life in the beautiful city of light??

Paris is a city that takes time to settle into. At first it can be lonely and perhaps a little frustrating, but that’s OK. Walk around as much as you can to explore all the city’s different neighbourhoods. I think one of my regrets is not discovering the city sooner. Also, there’s an extensive expat community in Paris – I’ve met a lot of people through Instagram and blogging – so if you want to meet other creative types the possibility is definitely there. Oh and go try something sweet from Du Pain et Des Idées.

Lou – thank you so much for all of the fantastic advice. I’m already dying to book another trip to Paris (and I think it would have to be three weeks to try everything on your list!) Thanks again doll :)

Blog friends, what do you think? Should I do more City Insider posts?

xx Ali

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “City Insider: Meet Lou in Paris

  1. Wonderful post on Parisian things, Ali!
    And not to mention, nice line up of places, Lou! I’m noting down some of your dinner recos for the future ;) BTW I’ve never been to Pain et des Idées! #parisianfail

    Like

    • thanks Meg! I just went to the Pain et des Idées website, and it’s the cutest thing ever! There’s a little bell that rings like when a door opens :) I didn’t manage to make it there either, so next time!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s