“People can either be over-the-top romantic about Paris, or they think life is ridiculous here,” says David Lebovitz. “I try to strike a middle ground.” Lebovitz, an American, worked for 13 years in the pastry department at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, then moved to Paris to launch a second career as a writer, blogger, and occasional culinary tour guide. The author of six self-referential cookbooks, Lebovitz most recently published The Sweet Life in Paris, a collection of recipes and stories about life in his adopted city.
During a day off from my tour of duty with Arnaud Delmontel (read “Time to Rise“), I wandered through Paris with Lebovitz to pick up some foodie tips. We met at Du Pain et des Idées (34 Rue Yves Toudic, 10th arrondissement, 33/(0) 1-42- 40-44-52), an artisan boulangerie founded by Christophe Vasseur, a fashion executive turned baker.
For bread, Lebovitz’s other favorite boulangeries include Eric Kayser (85 Boulevard Malesherbes, 8th arrondissement, 33/(0) 1-45-22-70-30; plus other locations around Paris) and La Boulangerie par Véronique Mauclerc (83 Rue de Crimée, 19th arrondissement, 33/(0) 1-42-40-64-55).
As we walked and talked, Lebovitz insisted we stop for an afternoon snack of chouquettes, palm-size cream puffs covered with sugar and baked until brown. We picked up 10 of them, studded with chocolate chips, at the pâtisserie Aux Péchés Normands (9 Rue du Faubourg du Temple, 10th arrondissement, 33/(0) 1-42-08-47-73).
When I asked Lebovitz about the most pleasing pastry he’s had lately, he mentioned Alsatian kugelhopf, a semisweet confection somewhere between a cake and a bread, spiked with rum and almonds. It’s available at Vandermeersch (278 Avenue Daumesnil, 12th arrondissement, 33/(0) 1-43-47-21-66). “The only problem is that they just make them on weekends, so I have to wait all week to get one,” he said. And his favorite morning pastry? The bostock, a disk of light almond cake topped with crackly almonds, which Lebovitz picks up at Ladurée (75 Avenue des Champs-Elysées, 8th arrondissement, 33/(0) 1-40-75-08-75).
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
Les Champs Elysees
This grand avenue in Paris was named Les Champs Elysees in 1694. Until the early 19th century, it led through open country. Today, it is within the center of this beautiful city.
The Champs Elysees leads from the Place de ls Concorde up to the Arc de Triomphe.This photo was taken from the top of the Arc de Triomphe and the view looks down the avenue to the Place de la Concord.
Paris celebrates big events on Les Champs. The most notable was the celebration at the end of World War II. The New Year's Eve party is held up and down the avenue and all major events are held there as well.
This famous street's sidewalks are lined with huge trees, luxury shops, theaters, night clubs, and little cafes.
Since this broad avenue is one of Paris' top tourist attractions, I had to get out and stroll the Champs Elysees. Shopping was a real adventure since the elegant shops are top quality and very luxurious. I did a lot of window shopping.
This day would not be complete without a stop at an outdoor cafe for some lunch. While relaxing, I enjoyed people watching. Everyone seemed pleasantly happy.
The weather was perfect - a balmy day with bright sunshine. I listened to the city sounds of cars and buses passing, people chatting, and birds singing in the trees overhead.
Spending Bastille Day in Paris means a firsthand opportunity to experience the unbridled national pride that has brought together French people of all generations in wild celebration. It's a moment of unequivocal patriotism displayed across the city and there are a number of ways to take part, to wit: watch the large-scale military parade that begins at the Arc de Triomphe, travels down the Champs-Elysées and ends at the Place de la Concorde where the French Président gives a special speech; hit up the Fireman's Ball, which begins on the evening of the 13th and is as fun and festive as it sounds - partying with the pompiers in their fire stations; catch the firework show at the Eiffel Tower - grab a spot among thousands on the Champ de Mars, the large open greenspace that stretches from the Eiffel Tower to the Ecole Militaire or watch it from a high-altitude in the dining room of Le Ciel de Paris (http://www.afar.com/highlights/the-best-view-in-paris?context=keyword&context_id=le+ciel).
Tartiflette Savoyarde: A Christmas market favorite that will warm you up!
As winter falls on Paris, the Christmas markets begin to appear in nearly every neighborhood. There are plenty of artisanal goods to buy as well as seasonal specialities such as mulled wine and tartiflette-savoyarde, a dish typically served in the ski resorts as an after ski-snack. It will definitely warm you up as well as fill you up for hours!
Fancy Paris during the yuletide season? How about a stroll along the Champs-Elysees, in the evening when the holiday lights are all aglow. Christmas in the City of Lights is a bucket list must-do, for sure. Croissants, Baguettes, Bon bons...
Up until the 6th of January, you can revel in the gaiety of the Christmas market on this grand avenue. The market goes from the Champs-Elysées roundabout (Metro Champs Elysées-Clémenceau) to the Place de la Concorde (Metro Concorde). The largest of Paris' iconic Christmas markets, here you can buy anyting from mulled cider to hand-crafted toys.
If you're in France on the final Sunday of the annual Tour de France in July, do everything in your power to be on Champs Elysees to witness the heartbreak and heroics.
The cobblestone, the chase, the pageantry, the crashes- all reasons to make this final day of battle in the grueling, three week race of endurance, captivating.
As a spectator, it's a long day out there, but so worth it. Get there early to secure your viewing place along the grand avenue and make sure you have food, water and something to read packed as well.
When the caravan of marketing vehicles come through, that's your warning that the cyclists will arrive within the hour. They'll make several laps that include the Champs Elysees, but for me, the best time to capture the cyclists are after the trophies have been awarded. Each team will ride casually, together, up and down the Champs Elysees one more time. Their smiles show their relief that they've survived the world's toughest race and many of the cyclists stop to take photos with fans and high five the crowds along the way.
If you happen to have your bike with you and you're up early enough to make this happen- you can ride the stretch of the course from Place de la Concorde up to the Arc de Triomphe and back down- before they close the course! Your teeth will be rattling from the cobblestone and the crowd cheers you on as you go!
Go cheer those cyclists on and have the kind of day in Paris that is any sports fan's dream.
Champs-Élysées is noted as one of the most remarkable avenues in the world, spanning about 2 miles. And rightly so. It's loaded with luxury boutiques, cafés, theaters, specialty shops, museums, and historical sites. It's a place synonymous with high fashion, as any Parisian could tell you and remains as one of Paris' luxury commercial districts. The world-class journey down the avenue begins at the highly-acclaimed Arc de Triomphe and eases into the plush pavilions and leafy gardens on the sides. It's quite an impressive sight at night with an illuminating display of lights and floods of youngsters, fashionistas, Parisians, and tourists. The vibrant energy and vivacity of the area is enough to keep you there for hours and hours, even if it just to people-watch and adore the high levels of style that Parisians carry themselves with. A true haute spot.
Paris lives up to her reputation, staying just as romantic by night as she is throughout the day. The best way to take in the city sights after sunset is from the top of a Bateaux Mouches or in the back of a chauffeur driven Paris Authentic vintage Citroën, the artistically lit monuments passing before you as you indulge in a glass of champagne. After the ride, Le Bataclan, and La Cigale are historic concert venues staging contemporary live music from across the globe. L’Alimentation Générale and Le Batofar are smaller clubs with an intimate atmosphere. For upscale clubbing Le Baron and Madame attract the jet set crowd, while Club Silencio, designed by David Lynch and Wanderlust are the hottest new addresses in town.
Whether it is morning, noon or 3 am, this is a must see and do in Paris. There is nothing better than passing or even better stopping into the restaurants along the Champs Elysees. These are restaurants to see and be seen in. There are tables that face the streets so that you can really watch the people as they walk by or you can read your paper and sip on coffee, tea or wine, select your beverage of choice. It is a great place to just enjoy!
Laid out by the famous landscape architect André Le Nôtre during the reign of Louis XIV, the Champs-Élysées became in the next century a fashionable avenue, which it remains to this day. It runs from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe, a distance of a little more than a mile, taking you past the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais, the Théâtre Marigny and several restaurants, gardens and monuments. (Reminder: As in tourist areas the world over, watch for pickpockets.)