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April 23, 2014

Spa Report: L'Institut Guerlain

Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (, and also writes a popular insider's blog

Luxury doesn’t get any more luxurious than at the newly opened Guerlain Spa on the Champs Elysees

We were recently given an extensive almost 90 minute tour by the head publicist of Guerlain which included the fascinating history of the brand. 

spa guerlain

We started at the top floor of the three-story complex, where the spa is. The spa was first opened in 1939, with original interiors and furniture by Jean-Michel Frank and Diego Giacometti. New York based architect Peter Marino, who took three years to redesign the space from top to bottom, faithfully used authentic reproductions of the Jean-Michel Frank designs throughout the spa. Spa guests are ushered into a serene waiting room with a hanging orchid garden and cushy sofas, and served coffee or Guerlain’s own private label tea while awaiting their treatments. 

RELATED: The Booming Paris Hotel Scene

spa guerlainSpa treatments are custom designed and every client is given a private consultation with a highly trained spa specialist to determine their treatment by asking a series of questions. Over 300 types of massages and beauty treatments are offered including Body Listening Ritual, The “Guerlain Massage”, and the Imperial Relaxing Ritual, where you are enveloped in the Eau de Cologne Imperiale. Nine treatment rooms are sumptuously appointed with Opera Fantastico style marble sink consoles, tufted club chairs, and crisp white linens and down comforters on the spa beds. 

The second floor is designated for fragrances and the centerpiece is a dazzling multi-tiered display of Guerlain’s top fragrances. There are also individual vitrines containing some of the brand’s historic fragrances including Shalimar, L’Heure Bleue, and Eau de Cologne Impériale. We learned Guerlain began as soap makers and in 1828, chemist Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain opened his first boutique at 42 rue de Rivoli, now the Meurice Hotel. Five generations later, Guerlain has created over 850 fragrances. 

The ground floor focuses on cosmetics and has the original marble counters from 1828 along with sleek, modern day displays that include Guerlain’s newest bestselling fragrance La Petite Robe Noir

spa guerlain

To complete the experience, chef Guy Martin of the famed Le Grand Vefour restaurant has setup a decadent pastry counter along with a tearoom and full service restaurant on the lower level. 

What a way to spend an afternoon. 

L’Institut Guerlain, 68 Champs-Elysees
68 Ave. Champs Elysees, 75008

Posted in: France , spa travel

March 20, 2014

Top Paris Museum Shows for Spring 2014

Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (, and also writes a popular insider's blog

Spring 2014 is shaping up to be a blockbuster for exhilarating museum exhibitions. Fashion, photography, videos, and old masters are well represented and below we have listed some of our top picks.

robert mapplethorpeRobert Mapplethorpe 

Controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe died of AIDS in 1989 but thanks to his foundation, his work has thrived in recent years with worldwide exhibitions. The Grand Palais is presenting over 200 works from the 1970s to 1989 including nudes, flowers, and portraits in the stark black and white style Mapplethorpe became famous for. 

March 26 to July 13 4014 
Grand Palais 
3, avenue du Général Eisenhower 75008
Open every day except Tuesday 
10AM to 10PM, 10AM to 8PM Sunday & Monday

Bill Viola 

One of the pioneers of the modern art video, Bill Viola, is having a retrospective of his groundbreaking videos and moving paintings, with works from 1977 till today. Themes express life, death, and transfiguration.

Till July 21, 2014 
Grand Palais 
3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower, 75008
Metro: Champs Elysees-Clemenceau 
Open every day except Tuesday 
10AM to 10PM, 10AM to 8PM Sunday & Monday

van gogh exhibition

Van Gogh / Artaud: The Man Suicided by Society

In a more cerebral look at Van Gogh’s work, Van Gogh / Artaud The Man Driven to Suicide by Society is an eye opening commentary by the late avant garde theatre director and playwright Antonin Artaud. Based on the writings of Artaud from 1947, the exhibit analyzes Van Gogh’s descent into madness along with 55 of his paintings. 

Till July 6 2014
Musee d’Orsay
1, rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 75007
Open 9:30AM to 6PM, except Tuesday, Thursday till 9PM

Henri Cartier Bresson Retrospective

One of the founding fathers of photojournalism, Henri Cartier-Bresson was one of the most prolific and greatest photogrpahers of the 20th century. With over 500 works, the new Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibit will be one of the largest ever mounted of the legendary photographer. Spanning over spans over 70 years of Bresson’s illustrious career, the exhibit includes his series from New York and work for Magnum plus his drawings, paintings and films. 
February 12 to June 9 
Centre Pompidou 
19 rue de Beaubourg, 75004 
Metro: Hotel de Ville or Rambuteau 
Open daily 11AM to 9PM, except Tuesday, Thursday till 11PM

dries van notenDries Van Noten Inspirations

Dries Van Noten, the celebrated Belgian designer of over 25 years, is having his first museum show. More than a retrospective of past clothing collections, the exhibition reveals the inner world of his creative process showing the different inspirational components that lead to his designs. An assemblage of films, photos, paintings, memorabilia, and souvenirs having influenced Van Noten are along side the highlights of his collections and include names such as Bronzino, Kees Van Dongen, Yves Klein, Victor Vasarely, Francis Bacon, Elizabeth Peyton and Damien Hirst plus films like Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and Jane Campion’s The Piano

Till August 31, 2014 
Musée des Arts Decoratifs
107 rue de Rivoli, 75001


Papier Glace

The pages of fashion publications VogueGlamourVanity Fair and W show how Conde Nast magazines dictated fashion and style for the modern woman more than any other publications in the 20th century. A new show of 150 diverse and iconic images from legendary photographers include Edward Steichen, George Hoyningen-Huene, Horst P. Horst, Cecil Beaton, Erwin Blumenfeld, Avedon and Irving Penn followed by latter 20th century cult fashion photographers Guy Bourdin, William Klein, David Bailey, Helmut Newton, Bruce Weber, Peter Lindbergh, Steven Meisel, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin

Till May 25 2014 
Palais Galliera 
10 Ave. Pierre 1er Serbie, 75016 
Metro: Alma-Marceau
Open Tuesday to Sunday 10AM to 6PM, Thursday till 9PM


February 18, 2014

An Inside Look at The Shangri-La Paris

Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (, and also writes a popular insider's blog

The Shangri-La Hotel chain has recently expanded its properties to include European capitals with openings in Rome, Istanbul, and later this year London

The Shangri-La Paris, which opened in 2011, is richly steeped in history. It was built as a private palace for Prince Roland Bonaparte, an explorer, geographer, and botanist and the grandson of Lucien Bonaparte, the younger brother of Napoleon Bonaparte. The varied period architectural style includes Louis XIV, Empire, and Greco-Roman style with carvings and sculptures by Steiner and Houguenade, who worked on the Tulieries Palace and the Louvre.

shangri-la paris lobby

The building changed hands over the years and the last occupant was the French government who left it in less than desirable condition. Head architect Richard Martinet and interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon lead the painstaking renovation and restoration of the 215,000- square foot structure which took over four years to complete. 

RELATED: New Paris Cocktail Bars and Lounges

The renovation has paid off in spades, as the Shangri-La is one of the most sumptuous hotels in Paris. Set on a tranquil street off of Place d’Iena, it's still close to major attractions and a few minutes walk from Place Trocadero and the Champs Elysees.

shangri-la paris guestroom

The 101 rooms and 36 suites are a chic mix of Empire style and luxury minimalist. As always with Shangri-La Hotels there is an Asian accent to the décor. Sixty percent of the suites have breathtaking views of the Eiffel Tower. Three Signature suites are for the more discerning clientele. The largest suite, the Imperiale, is a sprawling 2800 foot jewel with 16 foot ceilings and was the former private apartment of Prince Roland and the only room listed with the Historic Monuments Society of France. Other features include a private study, a private kitchen with an optional serving staff and dining area that can accommodate up to 8 guests. The Shangri-La suite on the top floor features a blend of contemporary and classic French furnishings The 1100 ft. terrace has sweeping views of the most iconic Paris sites including Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, and of course the Eiffel Tower. 

shangri-la paris piano

In a culinary feat, the Shangri-La can boast two Michelin starred restaurants. L’Abeille (The bee), received two Michelin stars after opening in 2011. Chef Philippe Labé perfects his essential cuisine style with elevating classic French dishes to an art form. The intimate 40-guest dining room is tastefully appointed in neutral shades of gray, taupe, and silver overlooks the romantic hotel garden facing out to the Seine. Shang Palace is the traditional Cantonese inspired restaurant with chef Frank Xu, a Shenzen native at the helm turning out some of best Chinese food in Paris, with a Michelin star to prove it. 

The health club, located in the Prince’s former stable has a generous sized 50 x 20 ft. pool, fitness room, and facial and body treatments by Carita

Shangri La Paris
10 Ave. d’Iena, 75016 
(33) 1 53 67 19 98

Posted in: France , luxury hotels

January 16, 2014

New Paris Cocktail Bars and Lounges

Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (, and also writes a popular insider's blog

A new crop of intimate cocktail bars and lounges has opened in Paris in the last 12 months. Here are some of our new favorites. 

rayeClub RaYé

Once a staple of Paris nightlife, most piano bars have closed in the last decade because of new nightlife trends.  Going against the grain, New York interior designer Kein Cross, now living in Paris part time, has opened Club RaYé, a cocktail and piano bar. Located in on an almost deserted side street in the 2nd arrondissement, Kein desired to bring old fashioned glamour back to the club scene in Paris and it has the feel of an Art Deco set from an Astaire and Rogers film. Kein has been obsessed with wide black and white stripes since he was a kid and generously uses them as the motif for the club. The focal point of the room is the white lacquered grand piano, with a mirrored wall and ceiling behind it, so no matter where you are sitting in the room you can view the piano player. Signature cocktails, some harkening back to yesteryear, include Pisco Sours, Mint Juleps, Daiquiris, Grasshoppers, and classic Martinis. London-based chef Simon Bannon prepares a small plates menu including dishes like arancini (fried rice balls), delicate rolatini (eggplant leaves stuffed with cheese), blinis with smoked salmon, and deviled eggs. 

mary celeste

Le Mary Celeste 

After successfully opening the hipster bar Glass, ex-New Yorkers Adam Tsou and Josh Fontaine along with Colombian Carina Soto Velasquez have followed it up with Le Mary Celeste. The name is based on a legend about a merchant ship from 1872 with 1,701 barrels of grain alcohol that sunk en route from New York to Genoa. The bi-level space has seating for 40 plus on one level and an open kitchen with additional seating on the lower floor and is located in the trendy Northern Marais area. 

RELATED: Paris Photography Museums

Le Mary Celeste offers good selection of micro brewery beers with some from Brooklyn on tap, an impressive wine list, and custom cocktails by Carlos, the revered mixologist who was lured from L’Hotel after six years. The not so slick, homey style bar also serves tacos, fresh oysters, and Chinese buns. A DJ spins retro 80s tunes.



Lockwood is a new concept bar, a coffee bar during the day and at night grows up to be an aperitifs and cocktail bar. Brulerie Belleville coffee and light food including croissants and tartines for breakfast and salads, soups, and sandwiches at lunch is served in on the main level in an appealing setting of wood paneling, brick floors, and bar stools. Come early evening the downstairs has an intimate setting with stone caves with low chairs and small tables. Aperitifs include Aperol Spritze, Campari Orange, Americano, and Paloma. Graduates to the more sophisticated cocktails the menu include The Whet Appetite, a mix of tequila, cucumber, and a dash of Tabasco, Zacapa, a blend of rum, apple and cinnamon sugar, orange and angostura bitters, and Whiskey Pomme, an interesting combo of Buffalo Trace and apple juice. 

RELATED: A Quick Guide to Types of Parisian Eating Establishments

Club RaYé

26 rue Dussoubs, 75002

Le Mary Celeste 
1 rue de Commines, 75003

73 rue Aboukir, 75002

Posted in: France , Restaurants

December 18, 2013

Christmas in Paris 2013

Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (, and also writes a popular insider's blog

Once again, Paris has pulled out all the stops to celebrate Christmas in 2013. The wide boulevards are decked out with sparkling light displays, the department stores have decorated their windows to delight all ages, Christmas markets abound, and the Hotel de Ville/City Hall has installed the annual skating rink. 

galeries lafayette

At Printemps, Prada is the star of the windows with their sumptuous handbags and shoes. Next door at Galeries Lafayette it’s about time with the windows devoted to festive watches and timepieces. Hermes, the king of luxury, goes more understated in their holiday window display with cacti and succulent plants with rich accessories in muted shades of pink, gray, yellow, and beige. On Place de la Madeleine at Fauchon, the upscale food purveyor, are towers of their delectable goodies of jars of foie gras and tins with cookies and biscuits along with sky-high macaron and mini-éclair trees. 

64 Blvd. Haussmann, 75009 

Galeries Lafayette
40 Blvd. Haussmann, 75009 

24 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 

24 -26 Placed e la Madeleine, 75008 


Two of the best Christmas markets in Paris are the Christmas Village on the Champs Elysees with over 200 chalets selling holiday gifts and crafts, mulled hot wine, toys, jewelry, food and Christmas ornaments, and in front of the St. Germain church is a smaller market Village du Père Noël.

If you can’t make it to the white slopes of Gstaad this season, try Saint Germain des Neiges, a ski station with snow, chalets, and info about ski holidays in France. 

musee des arts forainA very special treat is the limited holiday opening of Musee des Arts Forains, a museum dedicated to antique carnival rides and circus artifacts with wonderful old carousels, rides, and extravagant circus and showgirl costumes. 

December 26 to January 5 
53, avenue des Terroirs de France, 75012
Metro: Cour Saint Emilion

A short journey one hour outside of Paris in the countryside is Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte, a 17th century palace themed on Versailles. Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte celebrates the holidays with a magical Christmas décor, chimney fires in every room, and Christmas tunes playing. The façade and gardens of the chateau are lit with festive colored lights and there is also an enchanting Pinocchio show for the children. 

Everyday from December 21 to January 5 (closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day) from 10:30am-6pm.

December 03, 2013

Just Back: Thailand (VIDEO)

We've been hearing lately that luxury travel is all about experiences, and stories to come home with, right? Well, a few weeks ago I waded in murky water, climbed atop an elephant and gave it a bath. It wasn't quite the five-star spa experience you might qualify as luxury. But it was a once-in-a-lifetime moment, which is pretty exclusive, if I do say so myself.

For years Southeast Asia has had my name all over it. I'm not sure why, but something about the jungles, ocean, street food, people, temples…okay I guess I do know why. Anyway, last January I told myself I was going to Thailand in 2013 to try and escape the gritty, sometimes oppressive, energy of NYC that I have come to know and love. Leave my phone off, ignore the calendar and e-mails. Just say screw it all and go.

RELATED: Thailand Launches First-Ever TV Campaign in the U.S. (VIDEO)

It's true that luxury travel is all about the experiences you have, combined with over-the-top accommodations. No place captured that essence more perfectly than Six Senses Hideaway Yao Noi. Tucked on an island off the coast of Phuket, this enclave of luxury villas sets the standard for exclusive, VIP travel.

We flew into Phuket after a frenetic day in Bangkok visiting temples and outdoor markets, drinking beers riverside, and dining on onthe Chef's Tasting Menu at Metropolitan by COMO. (One of the most amazing meals from all of my travels, by the way.) It was going to be hard for Six Senses' to top that.

Let's start with the villas: Our two-bedroom villa had two separate sleeping spaces, a private pool, outdoor shower, indoor shower with its own hammam, and deep soaking tub.

Then there was the food: Each meal was prepared with local ingredients, whether from Thailand as a whole, the resort's backyard of Yao Noi, or within the resort's own gardens. (In fact, Six Senses Yao Noi is working on a zero-waste initiative. Eco luxury is the name of the game.)

But it's Six Senses' experiences that make it so far and beyond any other luxury product, solely because of the fact that they want to immerse you in the culture. To start, we were taken on a three-hour bike ride of the island. Let me preface this by saying I really hate biking. With an unbridled passion. But maybe I was drunk on Six Senses, or "Six Sensitized," because I had a blast, and I even want to continue to do physical challenges on my vacations. Who is this new Meagan Drillinger?

Yao Noi is home to only 4,000 people, all of whom live in seven villages scattered across the island. The bike ride took us through the villages, deep into the forests, past rubber tree plantations and out to a pier to watch the sunset. Our guide, Charif, is a native of Yao Noi and truly passionate about his home. The second day, Charif arranged a private island-hopping excursion with a picnic lunch on the beach. Tucked snuggly into our own wooden longtail boat, we spent the day darting between towering limestone cliffs, snorkeling among the reefs and dining on fresh fruit and rice on a quiet section of sand. The icing on the cake, however, was yoga at sunset, again on a private stretch of beach. Six Senses sent us out again on the water to a deserted island, where we set up yoga mats and truly found the meaning of getting in touch with nature as we saw the sun set in front of us and the moon rise behind us.

It is near impossible to not feel the vibe of Thailand after a stay at Six Senses. Even yours truly who is all about micromanaging, over-analyzing and number crunching was able to just let everything freaking go. Sleep without Tylenol PM? That's a thing?!

RELATED: Just Back From Mexico City

Now…about that elephant…

Our next stop was Chiang Mai, where we visited the Patara Elephant Farm. This Thai-owned elephant conservation focuses on health-care and survival of the dying breed of Asian elephants. The farm invites travelers to be a caregiver for a day, so we learned how to interact with our own personal elephants (forget a pony! Daddy, I want an elephant!), check its health, learn its temperament and how to bathe it.

A two-hour trek through the jungle atop our elephants led us to a watering hole in the middle of the forest. Here we led our elephants into the water, used our newly learned skills to have them crouch down, and climbed them to clean them properly. 

For all the sunset yogas, chefs tables and signature massages, nothing makes you feel more connected to a destination than this. It WILL change you. Even back in New York, I find myself going to yoga more frequently, taking deeper breaths and finding ways to let the small stuff roll off my back.

Don't worry…I still keep a very detailed calendar, and I will try and figure out what you REALLY mean by that e-mail you sent me…but I have returned to NYC with beautiful memories and sound sleep. If uninterrupted sleep in New York isn't a luxury, then I don't know what is. Want to see more?

Check out the video here!

Posted in: Thailand , Video

November 25, 2013

Paris Photography Museums

Paris is certainly one of the most photographed places in the world and has its lion’s share of iconic photographers including Brassai, Eugene Atget, and Henri Cartier Bresson. Photography museums abound and below is a list of our top picks. 

Jeu du Paume

Once known as the museum of Impressionist paintings with Monet’s, Van Gogh’s, Manets, and Degas, the Jeu de Paume was turned into a contemporary museum in 1991 when the paintings were moved to the Musee D’orsay in 1986. In 2004, the Jeu de Paume was made into a museum for post modern and modern photography and media including video presentations. 

Today, the Jeu du Paume is the premier space for photography exhibits in Paris and photographers Pierre et Gilles, William Kentridge, Martin Parr, Cindy Sherman, Martin Parr, and Ed Ruscha, among others, have hade major retrospectives. Current shows (November 2013) include exhibits on American photographer Erwin Blumenfeld and French photographer Natacha Nisic. 

1 Place de la Concorde, 75001
Open Wednesday 11AM to 7PM, Tuesday till 9PM

Maison Européenne de la Photographie

Located in a former private mansion from 1706 in the Marais area, Maison Européenne de la Photographie is a space dedicated to contemporary photography. The facility also has a library, auditorium, video room, and houses a photographic restoration and conservation workshop. Maison Européenne de la Photographie has over 20,000 photos and videos in its collection. World-renowned photographers Helmut Newton, Annie Lebovitz, William Klein, Larry Clark, Irving Penn, Alice Springs, Elliott Erwitt, Robert Frank, and Shirin Nestat have had exhibitions there in recent years. 

Current shows (November 2013) include a major retrospective of Brazilian photographer Sebastio Salgado and show by Costa Garvas. 

5/7 rue de Fourcy, 75004
Open Wednesday to Sunday 11AM to 8PM

Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation

One of the great groundbreaking photographers of the 20th century, Henri Cartier-Bresson is considered the father of photojournalism and early adopter of the 35 mm camera. 

In 2003, Cartier-Bresson’s wife and daughter established a foundation to preserve and share the legacy of his work and to encourage and support other photographers. The foundation organizes a competition where the winning photographer exhibits their work at the foundation plus a published catalogue. It also  features lectures and symposiums, and video presentations. The foundation has three new exhibitions a year. 

Current shows (November 2013) include Sergio Lorrain, Vagabondages.

2 Impasse Lebouis, 75014
Open Tuesday to Sunday 1PM to 6:30PM, Wednesday till 8:30PM, Saturday 11AM to 6:45PM

Posted in: France , Sight-seeing

May 01, 2013

Editor's Note: It’s Not Just About the Transaction

Vice President—Content/Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero

Vice President—Content/Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero

The lady who worked at Sears Optical wasn’t having any of it. She was done with the client who had just come in to pick up his new pair of eyeglasses. He’d tried them on and they worked fine. But then he began going on about why he needed the new glasses. His dog had chewed up his old pair. Chewed them up so badly there was hardly anything left of them. “Uh huh,” she said dismissively, standing up to give him that body language, “we’re done talking” signal. 

And why not? To her, the transaction was done. But he went on about the dog, about how he ate a lot of things but now it wouldn’t matter anymore if he ate his eyeglasses again because he’d just bought insurance for this new pair so they’d be covered if the dog devoured them, as long as he left a remnant he could bring in as proof.

RELATED: The Nuances of Customer Service

“Okay,” she said, cheerfully and a bit loudly. Finally, the guy looked up, embarrassed that he’d been going on and on.

I felt she was missing out on something. He was telling her a lot about himself, about the “why” of why he’d come to her place of business. He was giving her a glimpse into his life. If she’d spent just a few minutes, face to face with him, she could probably have sold him another pair of glasses, how about for those days when he took the dog out for hikes and didn’t need the $450 style he’d just purchased, but perhaps a back-up pair with plastic frames? At any rate, why would she not take the opportunity to converse with him? Selling someone some plastic apparatus to wear on their face is a pretty personal thing, after all and there’s no doubt he’d need another pair in at least a year’s time.

RELATED: Top Digital Marketing Tips

How about you? When your client completes a transaction with you, does their happiness about their purchase spur them to start speaking animatedly about what this trip really means to them? Are they finally telling you the “why” of the vacation when this is a conversation that you should have had before you swiped their credit card and sent them on their way? The more you listen to a client, the more insight you have into their world. And the good thing is, you can sell them more than a pair of glasses. You can take that meager travel package they asked for—after they saw it on the back page of the Sunday newspaper and—expand upon it so that it becomes their dream trip and they have memories to last for years. Is it their anniversary? Do they need pampering and wellness because they’ve been very ill? Do they want to reconnect with their daughter who has five kids and has just gotten divorced? (Surely there’s a future multi-generational Disney vacation in the future for this client).

You’re very busy. But when your client, sitting across from you, takes a deep breath and starts talking about their trip and all you can do is stare at them and wish they would leave so you can get on with it, think again. They’re giving you the opportunity to truly enhance the transaction, and the experience, and all you need to bring to the table is a bit of camaraderie and good listening skills. Be sure to get to this point before you’re ready to bid them adieu. Make them feel giddy and relieved that they’re there with you at the onset so you’ll have plenty of time to craft a perfect trip. Remember, it’s not just about the transaction, it’s the experience you’re selling them.

October 22, 2013

A Quick Guide to Types of Parisian Eating Establishments

Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (, and also writes a popular insider's blog

la jacobineVisitors to Paris are sometimes confused by the different kinds of eating establishments in the city and the hours and times they keep. Here is a simple guide to the different categories. 


The most common establishment, the leisurely café, is where most people linger while drinking coffee, tea, wine, and beer, and many now have cocktails and Happy Hour. Cafes are open all day and night serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner and the same menu is served throughout the day, with more casual fare of sandwiches, croques, omelets, and salads. Most cafes have sidewalk terraces, which open all year round, with heat lamps in winter. Cafe de Flore, Cafe de la Paix, Les Deux Magots, and Le Fouquet's are some of the most well known in the city. 


A brasserie is a restaurant that serves the same menu all day, sometimes with a few daily specials called the plat du Jour. The cuisine is classic French with dishes like charcuterie, plats de mer, steak tartare, onion soup, and confit de canard.  Brasserie means brewery and many serve a good selection of beer on tap. Some of the top Parisian brasseries include Brasserie Lipp, Bofinger, Vaudeville, and La Coupole.


A bistro is a small, intimate, neighborhood restaurant with simple food, usually with a single owner or chef-owned. Bistros are open at set times, usually 12PM to 2 or 2:30PM for lunch and 7:30PM to 10:30 or 11PM for dinner and most of the time closed either Sunday or Monday, or both. There’s an urban legend that how the bistro got its name is when Russian soldiers were at La Mere Catherine restaurant in Montmartre on Place du Tertre in 1812, their food was too slow in coming, so they yelled "Bistrot! Bistrot!” which means quickly in Russian. Some favorite bistros are Le Reminet, Chez Janou, L' Atelier d'Antan, and Chez Dumonet.

Salon de Thé

In category of it own, a salon de thé specializes in cakes and pastries along with tea and coffee. They are usually open from morning to early evening and sometimes serve light lunches and small dishes. Popular salon de thé's include Ladurée known for their mouth-watering macarons, Carette, Mariage Freres, which is inside a tea shop, and Angelinas, which is known for its legendary hot chocolate. 

Posted in: France , Restaurants

September 27, 2013

Paris Fall 2013 Cultural Events

Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (, and also writes a popular insider's blog


Paris has an exceptional multitude of cultural events happening this fall and below is a list of some not to be missed. 

Azzedine Alaia 
The celebrated but very private fashion designer Azzedine Alaia is having his first retrospective at the newly renovated fashion museum Palais Galliera. Seventy-four of Alaia’s most iconic garments are displayed spanning the early 1980s when he first started his own line up to the present and includes dresses and gowns worn by Naomi Campbell, Tina Turner, Grace Jones, and Rhianna. Considered more of a couturier than a designer, Alaia has strived to elevate the female form with his impeccable draping and tailoring.

Le Palais Galliera 
10 avenue Pierre Ier de Serbie, 75116
Open Tuesday to Sunday 10AM -6PM

Yousuf Karsh: Icons of the Twentieth Century

In his decades long career in the 20th century, Yousouf Karsh photographed some of the most important figures of his time, including politicians, movie stars, celebrities, artists, and dignitaries. Curator and Director of the Estate of the Yousuf Karsh, Jerry Fielder has put together over 70 photos of French and American luminaries, including many from Karsh’s Life and Paris Match magazine covers. Frank Lloyd Wright, Alfred Hitchcock, Grace Kelly, Christian Dior, Dwight Eisenhower, and Charles de Gaulle are among the striking portraits. 

October 16-January 26 
The Mona Bismarck American Center 
34 Ave. de New York, 75116
Open Tuesday to Sunday 11AM-6PM

A Shaded View on Fashion Film Festival 
Diane Pernet, the high priestess of international fashion bloggers and style icon in her own right, is launching the 6th edition of her popular film festival dedicated to fashion and beauty. Invited to show at the prestigious Pompidou Center, this year boasts a tribute to photographer filmmaker Larry Clark and also a series by fragrance creator Serge Lutens. Filmmakers and subjects include Bruce Weber, Ellen Von Unwerth, Vincent Gagliostro, Carter Peabody, Shirley Maclaine, Bettina Rhiems, Hussein Chalayan, mike Figgis, David Sims, and Chloe Sevigne. 

October 11,12,13 
Centre Pompidou, 75004

Chantecler Tango
The seductive world of Mora Goddy’s tango is back in Paris. After mounting successful shows in 2008 and 20011, she is back with her latest musical. Chantecler takes place in the Chantecler Café in Buenos Aires circa 1930s, where the bar’s famous patrons including musicians, dance to the tango beat. 

October 9 – November 3 
Theatre du Chatelet
1 Place du Chatelet, 75004


Desirs et Volupte 
From the Perez Simon Collection, comes a look back at the English painters who created risqué works under the 19th century reign of Queen Victoria. Artists Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Sir Frederic Leighton Edward Burne-Jones, Albert Moore, Albert Moore, Henry Payne, and Charles Edward Perugini, among others, dedicated themselves to decorative and poetic paintings with female nudes harkening back to the Pre-Raphaelites. 

Jacquemart-André Museum
158 Bd. Haussmann, 75008
Open every day 10AM-6PM, Monday & Saturday till 8:30PM

Posted in: France