Monaco is insane with the amount of conspicuous displays of wealth. Buckarooken had a conference to go to in Monaco which explains why I tagged along. We partied in Karl Lagerfield’s old house, drank copious amounts of champagne and I spent the days recovering at the beach club. Not a bad way to start a vacation.
After a few days we flew to Paris where we had rented an apartment for our visit. Paris is huge. The scale of things was what made the biggest impression on me. I mean New York is big, but in Paris, everything is so much larger in real life than I could have imagined. It’s a beautiful city. My poor french (or rather my shy reluctance to try to speak french) didn’t hurt much as I found so many helpful shopkeepers and restaurant staff. We stayed in the lovely neighborhood of Montmartre (not far from the tourist strip near Moulin Rouge). I was lucky to visit with some internet friends while in Paris- my instagram friend Ignazioparis, and the lovely Julie Guittard from flickr. Mostly what we did while in Paris was walk and eat (and drink champagne) and walk and eat some more.
I visited every 4th wave coffee shop that I could find in Paris. The traditional Paris “cafe” is lovely of course but as I am in the midst of designing a coffee shop here in Calgary, I was much more interested in the new style coffee houses and of course in finding the perfect latte. (though I usually drank cappuccino as only a couple shops make North American style latte).
Coffee houses that I liked-
I also checked out a few dedicated gluten free restaurants and cafe’s. Paris is NOT on the gluten free trend so you will need to really go out of your way is you are looking for gluten free treats.
Best gluten free treats- Helmut Newcake! They make a nice lunch and light dinner as well. I had The MOST amazing gluten free chocolate eclair there. I would fly back just to have another. All sorts of baked goods as well. French style. Highly recommend.
Best Gluten Free meal- NoGlu ! a beautiful little restaurant, you are served amazing high end french food by a very talented chef in a completely gluten free environment. I ate Magret de Canard/ Puree de coing with champignons – and a delicious chocolate pear cake for dessert. Highly recommend.
Best Health food lunch- Pousse Pousse . While not strictly Gluten free, The restaurant had no difficulty accommodating me as much of the menu is naturally gluten free. This was my favorite meal in Paris. I started with a lovely pumpkin soup, had an amazing vegetarian gluten free shepherds pie (far too elegant to really be called that), and the best half baked chocolate cake ever. I loved it. Buckarooken enjoyed his meal a great deal as well (which is funny as his initial reaction upon looking at the menu was- “kill me now”). I strongly recommend a visit to Pousse Pousse.
Best authentic French bistro meal- Cafe Burq. The chef had no difficulty with my request for a gluten free meal and it was frankly a full-on french delight. The restaurant was already offering a lovely quinoa appetizer and the chef simple replaced any offending items in my main with safe choices. The service was lovely and the restaurant was lively. It was an added bonus that they were just a block away from my rented apartment.
Keep in mind, traditional Parisian seating times usually begin at 8:00 pm. If you want to eat earlier you will need to sit in a bar or cafe somewhere.
Shopping- I didn’t shop much. Paris is not cheap and I assure you Monaco is even less affordable. I did visit a few memorable shops though and I will share them with you.
Books- ARTAZART. My new favorite bookstore in the world. Photography, type, design, art. Everything good and everything exciting. Beautiful store where you can actually look at the books before purchasing (they wrap the covers not the pages). I bought a wonderful photography book about the artist Elina Brotherus
Design and Decor- rose BUNKER. cool & recycled. A fun shop with all sorts of things you want to take home with you immediately.
Design and Decor- KIDIMO ! I have been wanting to visit this shop since I first saw an article on them in Marie Claire Maison a couple years back. Luckily (due to my new best friend at rose BUNKER) I was able to secure an appointment and visit the shop. I bought a couple of things. I wanted more.
Check out my instagram feed for more photos from Paris and Monaco