Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Paris Part III: Activities

Hello my dears and welcome to my third and unfortunately last part of my Paris tips. During the last seven months you had the chance to see what I have been doing around here which is why I dedicate today’s post to the best activities in Paris. We all know Champs Elysées and Eiffel Tower – it is now time for other great events!

Heures Heureuses: Luckily I am reading the metro newspaper in the morning where I found this great event. For one week, selected restaurants offer little aperitifs in the early evening for a super reasonable price at 2€ (and 2€ for a matching wine). Instead of boring crisps or nuts, the places provide extra class food that inspired me a lot. I also took it as a great opportunity to discover new restaurants in the city that are now part of my best choices list. Related post here

Château de Vincennes

Chasse aux trésors: If the Heures Heureuses are the way to explore the culinary places of Paris, the Chasse aux trésors definitely covers the historical ones. Every year thousands of Parisians take part in this adventure, making you stop at places that you easily oversee in your daily rush and appreciating the beauty and the rich cultural heritage of Paris. I usually choose a personal lesser known district in order to get to know the whole of Paris. 

Chasse aux trésors in the 6th district

Andros Matin: Andros is the brand in France when it comes to fruits compotes. In June they want to motivate Paris to do sports and organize a sports event for everyone and for free. During four weeks they offer free Yoga, Body Combat, Pilates and Zumba classes in a variety of parks and finish the whole event with a big encounter with a delicious Andros breakfast. Related post here

Color Run and Nike We Own The Night Run: Both runs aren’t particular for Paris; nevertheless I want to mention them. The Color Run is a an easy 5km run with the main purpose to get coloured from head to toe. For the We Own The Night Nike Run, I think that Paris is one of the best location as the night turns Paris into this very mystical yet beautiful and luminous atmosphere. Ready? Steady? Go!

No title needed

Culture Time: As I don’t understand modern art, I prefer exhibitions of older artworks. I generally prefer the Musée d’Orsay to the Louvre, I love the ambiances in the Grand and Petit Palais (especially during fashion week) and as well in the Orangerie, I lately discovered the Musée de la Mode and as someone speaking four languages, I think that the interactive Mundolingua language museum is a secret treasure. When I am in castle mood, I either take a little escape to pretty Versailles and its enormous garden or bike to the closely located Chateau de Vincennes. When I need holidays in the city, the mosque in the 5th district beams me instantly to the Orient. I could actually go on forever since Paris offers you a lot culture-wise. Those were my favourites but I think that everyone should be able to find his cultural satisfaction. 

Pompous Versailles Castle

International Pillow Fight Day and Free Cone Day: I will mark these days red in my calendar since I had so much fun with both of them. Even if my parents don’t understand the purpose of a pillow fight flashmob, I felt as if I was 5 years old again, laughing, screaming and wildly throwing my pillow around. I didn’t pay with my life, for sure. I am not sure if would prefer to sacrifice my life for free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, but I am certainly not afraid of queuing one hour in order to get my beloved Dough Cookie. Such experiences turn Paris to a fun place par excellence.

Rooftop climbing: Having grown up in the mountains, the view from the top of something is really important to me. This is probably also the reason why I lived next to the only existent “mountain” in Paris – the Montmartre. The view early in the morning when there are no tourists represents a great start into the day. Other great views: The top of Printemps or Galaries Lafayette (with proper toilets in the 5th floor), the Montparnasse Bar (not the platform as the lift price is as expensive as a good cocktail in the bar), the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Buttes Chaumont Park, the Promenade Plantée and so much more. 

Buttes Chaumont Park

Sports: As a fanatic for sports, Paris is certainly not heaven on earth. There are little parks in the city and in general, Parisian girls prefer dieting and consider metro walks as enough physical education (admittedly, metro stairs are fat burners). Yet, I opted for more. First thing I did was skipping the metro and attacking the wild jungle of biking around Paris. Then I couldn’t resist running and either went to the Bois de Boulogne (a little outside but with spaaace) or climbed the Montmartre hill early in the morning before work. Once temperature rose, I went to the Josephine Baker swimming pool, the only one outside and perfectly located on the Seine River. And finally, it was never too late for a little match on the tennis courts in Jardin Luxembourg. You see, Paris is moving!

I hope you enjoyed my little review. Don't hesitate to post comment if you are interested in more things I should share.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Back to summer

I thought that this picture was quite ironic regarding today's topic. 
Good morning!

Wow. Wow. And wow. One of the most incredible weeks of my life lies behind me. Those of you who follow me on Instagram know what I am talking about: Iceland. Not only our airway company was called WOW, but every hike, every view, every meal was simply wow.
As I first must select the best pictures out of my 1000 photo stock and digest the breathtaking impressions, a detailed post will follow within the next week. Yet, while I was walking on my own through the Icelandic wilderness, some summer resolutions came to my mind.
  1. Going on a tour around Lake Geneva. Whether it might be by bike or by car, it has been 5 years that I have missed this option.
  2. Remembering my great trip to South-East Asia thanks to this delicious Thai curry recipe.
  3. Choosing my favourite images of my immense photo stock in order to make a collage for my room in university.
  4. Compiling a short list of universities/ business schools that I apply for my master's degree.
  5. Exploring Spain in a total new way. Instead of hotel resorts on the Canary Islands or other major touristic places, it is time to discover Spain's real treasures.
  6. Visiting the Aiguille de Midi in the French Alps. With two friends stopping by in August this touristic adventure shouldn't be a leftover anymore, should it?
  7. Preparing this summer cocktail for a little cocktail party on our terrace.
  8. After having tasted home made bread every single day in Iceland, I came to the conclusion to bake some different kinds myself from now on. Do you know some nice recipes?
  9. Subscribing for a class at Coursera in order to broaden my horizon. I plan to choose a non-business topic.
  10. Updating my iPhone with friends' current addresses. Every time I send postcards I must scroll through ancient Whatsapp messages in which we once exchanged them. For best friends this procedure takes hours and is simply too annoying with all the trips I do. Moreover, as I have lots of friends who frequently change their addresses, I am planning to design a lovely online version - I keep you updated.
With these ideas I leave you for today as I have to bring my Dad to his train. My last three Parisian days have eventually come and I will make use of them the best possible way, not  without another part of my tips missing (check out one and two). Have a great Sunday and splendid start into the week!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Paris Part II: Favourite Streets

Rue des Martyrs

After having shown you my favourite food and drink places last week, we today continue with part II. It is all about my favourite streets in Paris. In fact, there is no better than walking around this beautiful city and discover new places, new scents, new people, new buildings, new ambiances. Come with me on a little walk through these particular streets and imagine yourself passing by the boutiques and restaurants while avoiding dog poop on the sidewalk (well yes, this is Paris as well).

Rue des Martyrs
It is probably my absolute favourite street in Paris. How often do I take detours just in order to walk along this narrow slightly uphill street in the 9ème. On one hand you have colourful fruit stalls, fresh delivered fish or at least three fromageries (cheese stores), on the other you find exquisite stores such as the Chambre aux Confitures, a Swedish sweets store (you know my obsession for this country), specialities from Southern France or little cafes that invite to sit down for a while. Actually, you could replace your weekly shopping in the supermarket by just buying everything you need here: butchers expose their fresh meat in the windows, bakeries shine with facades from the 19th century... yes, I sometimes feel like taken aback in time.

Rue Daguerre
What the Rue des Martyrs is for me in Northern Paris, is the Rue Daguerre in the South: A pedestrian street in which you can find everything that you need for your dinner. Fresh fruits, screaming vegetable traders and little delicatessen stores with products from all over the world. In between you have lovely restaurants and cafes that offer a large choice of international dishes.

The Bercy Village

Bercy Village
Bercy used to be independent from Paris until the 19th century and served as storage place for all the wine barrels that arrived from Southern France along the Seine River. Those times are over now but yet, the old storage houses have been keeping their charm. I hardly can describe the mix you find in the street today: there is a fnac mega store, decoration boutiques, galleries, a pet food store and some pretty cool Parisian designers. Not to forget the different kinds of bistros, from Burger places, to Tapas bars, to typical French cuisine – let’s say that the Bercy Village is a huge melting pot. My favourite bar is inside the incredible Quicksilver store as surf boards are rotating above you while having a mojito. Afterwards I like having dinner at Chai 33 before grabbing a typical New York Cheesecake at Factory & Co.

The French National Library

Avenue de la France
Even if the name speaks for a very very French atmosphere, I think there is no street that is more untypical for Paris. The Avenue de la France is the street I go to when I want to feel as if I was in an American business district. It is wide, high buildings cast clouds over the sidewalk and the coffee shop culture emphasizes this feeling. As a lover of healthy food, I absolutely love the EXKI green take away place. For now, there is also the only H&M in Paris I could find that has an H&M Home section. And of course, the National French Library with its four immense towers is another reason to come – and to study.

No better than a fresh cake at Factory & Co.

Rue Saint Dominique
Stretching from the Champs de Mars to the St. Germain quarter, the Rue Saint Dominique is a great shopping street if you want to avoid all the hustle on Rue Rivoli or other famous shopping places. You have all the French designers you need (The Kooples, ba&sh,..), again nice coffee places - Starbucks and Bar du Central for instance - and eventually little boutiques that are truly particular for this street. My personal favourite is the NKO Cashmere Boutique.

The Quicksilver store in Bercy Village

Rue des Dames
When my friends and I want to grab a drink and don't know where to go, Rue de Dames is ALWAYS an option. Direction Place de Clichy you find great bars with young people, as for example the BB Tapas Bar, Les Caves Populaires (N° 22) or the Lucien La Chance. Further down you have little boutiques with individual styles, as well as my favourite Vietnamese place I love Bo-Bun. Don't miss the little artist passage Geffroy-Didelot with all its little artist's workshops. 

Sunday, 20 July 2014


Happy Sunday!

Due to another rush of posts this week I want to keep this one quite short. Having already announced last week that I was back in Normandy again, I don't want to miss sharing these beautiful pictures with you. Although the weather was slightly bad, the village I spent my week was entirely picturesque and charming. Our daily activity consisted of sleeping in until noon, followed by long breakfasts afterwards. At one point of the day we told us to move and went out for a walk, took a bike or went even swimming (16°C water temperature!). All in all a pretty relaxing week that relieved me from all the hustle in Paris and made my mind free for upcoming projects.

Have a great day and a perfect start into this new week!

So tidy!
Gee, this couch!
Church at the coast
Charming garden

Friday, 18 July 2014

Paris Part I: Food and Drinks


Let me take you on a culinary adventure today. Having traveled a lot, there is a crucial point that can turn your trip into a good or (hopefully not) bad one: The choice of the good restaurant. As Paris is full of touristic restaurant traps, I now want to show you my favourite places for food and drinks, from French Cuisine to absolute hip places around town. (I also compiled a short list a few years ago that is still valid but must be enlarged after 6 months trying all kinds of hideouts). 

L'Heure Gourmande

French Cuisine
Since we are in France, let's begin with the obvious. It is a must to go to a typical French brasserie for me every once in a while and I typically go for Chez Chartrier, a great place in the 9ème with low prices and delicious food that consequently lead to long queues in front of the restaurant as no reservations are taken. Another great brasserie is the Comptoir de l'Arc near the Arc de Triomphe. My apartment was situated just above the Perroquet Vert, a gastronomical highlight as their dishes always come with a little twist. In my opinion a perfect dinner place, especially because it is mainly frequented by locals. Another must is fish: French people love sea food and this time a rather exquisite restaurant in the posh 16ème is my favourite - the Chasse Marée. Finally I want to recommend two parts of the French cuisine that are not to be missed: Tartes (best at L'Heure Gourmande) and Crêpes (either at night a one of the thousand stalls or in the Rue de Montparnasse where there is one Crêperie next to the other).   

The Café Suédois

When the sun comes out in Paris, I have the urge to sit outside, enjoying a good meal while being blessed by the sun. In the Marais, I typically go for the Café Suédois, a simple cafe with Scandinavian touch. I also love to hide on the terraces of the Café A or the Bistro des Dames. And when I don't know what I want to have for lunch, I love to stroll through the alleys of the Marché des Enfants Rouges that instantly inspires me to try something totally new and exotic on the provided benches. While I recommend the Chalet des Iles for special occasions and larger budget, the Crous Place (Port de la Gare, near Pont Tolbiac) next to the Seine is a real secret - 2€ for a glass of wine (besides, the whole quay invites you for a relaxing after work). If you like to have a little entertainment while eating, L’été en pente douce at Montmartre or L'Entrepot in the 14ème are really nice. And don't miss the Qinoa dishes at L'Entrepot - ahhhhhhhh!

The Pesto Burger at La Karambole

Not only I am foreigner in Paris, but many exotic places offer great food that take you around the world. The Eiffel Tower and the Trocadoro is a quite expensive area which is why I was really happy when I found the Frog XVI, a micro-brewery on Avenue Kleber. One of my favourite districts is the Marais quarter that is also known as the Jewish part of Paris. No question, but Jewish food is a must at L'As du Fallafel, even if the queue is very long. And what if the the queue is really too long? Would you mind having a really good American hot dog at La Mosaique? Or you could walk a little further until you reach the Flag Café with its simple and low budget dishes with the view at the Bastille roundabout. There is also Montmartre with the Italian Oggi or the local tip Sens Uniques... Eventually I am a huge fan of "La Bonbonniere" - a restaurant group with great places all over Paris: Le Clan des Jules, Le Barbe à Papa, Les Fils à Maman, Le Club des 5, Les Athlètes or the Prairie du Petit Resto


Hot places
As a fan of little restaurants that have a small menu this section is truly fun: Let's start with the créateur de pizza at Colonna where the Parisian Pizza is not only the simplest but also the most surprising. In the same neighbourhood, people meet at the Strobi in order to eat steak with sherry sauce or at the Karambole for excellent burgers (go for the Pesto one!). The Dépanneur at Pigalle is known for its Tacos and always a good start for a night, so is La Fourmis only a couple of streets further. In the Marais, I hardly can pass by the delicious salads at Pick Clops. If I do, you certainly will find me in the courtyard of the BHV Marais Men: A little open space with waffles, burgers and drinks. With friends I highly recommend the Ouh là là! Cantine St Martin because there is no better than sharing takes with your beloved ones. And if you look for a nice spot for fantastic desserts, try the Pain Quotidien in Rue des Martyrs. 

Maison du Chou 

We end this little list with desserts (of course!). I have already mentioned my love for Crêpes that you can find at many stalls. Nevertheless I have found my favourite take-away in the 6ème: Crêperie St. Germain (33 Rue Saint-André des Arts). Macarons are another French specialty that some cannot resist. Rather than going for the classical and very expensive Ladurée, I found a great alternative at Paul bakeries (everywhere in the city). Speaking of bakeries, you can always find a little treat in them. Though, be careful when it comes to the Baguette! My nearby bakery was the Chez Anthony (10, rue des dames) that provided the perfect baguette as it was not too crunchy from the outside and really smooth from the inside - this is how I like it the most! I also discovered a new obsession: Chous (= puffs). Popelini in the Northern part and La Maison du Chou in the South are my places to go to in order to satisfy my need. 

Extra tip
Check out La Fourchette for reservations as they often have special offers when you use their system. Parisians do so in order to pay 30 to 50% less!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014


I have seen a lot of impressive fireworks in my life. Starting with the millennium fireworks in Dubai in 2000, the closing ceremony of Disneyland Paris to the Geneva fire works in mid-August, I simply love when the sky is being illuminated. Yesterday I had the chance to witness another spectacular show which was in honour of the Bastille Day. Whether it is the stunning scenery with a "burning" Eiffel Tower or the kids' eyes that were fascinated by such a beautiful event, the fireworks was only the highlight of two days of happiness and joie de vivre in Paris.

It all started Sunday afternoon when I came back from Normandy (a post will follow during the week). Barely arrived, I straightly went to the Hippodrome Longchamps in order to attend their Summer Garden Party. The event's schedule consisted of horse races, broadcasting the World Cup final on a large screen, fireworks and finally a live performance of Bob Sinclar. Being of German nationality, the final was the main reason for me to attend the party and during the nerv-wrecking final I lost at least 3 pounds due to 120 minutes of anxiety. Eventually, the Mannschaft reached their goal and Germany itself transformed into a huge party whereas we continued the night with fireworks and Bob Sinclar...

... Until the next morning, when I had to get up at 7.30 AM to continue my festivity marathon. The 14 July 1789, the French lower class stormed the Parisian prison Bastille and raised THE revolution in the country. Nowadays this day is dedicated to be the French national day that is celebrated with a pompous military procession along the grand Avenue de Champs-Elysees. Being a rather small person, I stood on a flower pot for 4 hours to watch the hundreds of soldiers, tanks, cavalries and even the President that marched in front of zillions of spectators. Though, I consider it to be a one in a lifetime experience because it is no fun to get up at 7.30 on a bank holiday. 

P.S.: A huge thank you to this great police man who told me to get down of my flower pot at one time of the procession as the owning store complained about us standing on their bushes: "Would you please get off this flower pot now?" - "But otherwise I won't see anything" - "Well, then get off so that I fulfilled my duty and when I am around the corner, get on it again". Hilarious.

Vive la France!
Military Flight Show
Longchamp Garden Party and World Cup Final

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Deauville or the St.Tropez of Northern France

When I get up in the morning and first sun rays are shining onto my nose, I start my day with a super feeling. I enjoy opening the windows and inhaling the fresh air - stop! Fresh air in Paris is unfortunately rare and when I know that I will spend inside the office building, my positive energy quickly transforms into discontentment. Hence, I was overwhelmed by the weekend that I spent with some friends a week ago. We went to Deauville in the French department of Normandy, only a 2 hour train ride away. Eureka! Why have I found this place only now?
Together with my friends I spent an impeccable weekend in Northern France and guess, I am even back today!
  • Boat: What would be a seaside visit without a boat? Since I love boats and the wind in my hair, we decided to skip the ordinary hotel/apartment story but went for a boat. Xavier’s boat met exactly out expectations as it is only a stone throw away from the pier and the beach, yet easily reachable from the station. Admittedly, we felt even a little decadent having our champagne aperitif before going out for dinner or sun bathing on the deck.
  • Restaurant: Deauville is the St. Tropez of Northern France. Lots of rich Parisian families have their country houses in the surroundings which is why prices are comparable to Paris itself. You find amazing fish restaurants along the ocean side and typical French “brasseries” in the charming city centre. Due to the hot weather we often enjoyed light summer salads on the boat, accompanied by baguette and cheese. Nevertheless, mussels are always a must for me when I am near the ocean: we found the Yacht Café in the centre of Deauville where we had excellent dinner and lovely waiters that even changed the menu propositions for us.
    We also tried the Restaurant Il Parasole for pizzas. It was okay but I wouldn't go there another time. Just in case you know a good pizza place in Deauville, let me know.
  • Activities: When you are lucky and weather is good in Normandy (and not stormy, windy or rainy as usual), the main activity is beach and walking along the pier. Or take a bike and explore the seaside. On weekends you often have horse polo that is certainly a once in a life experience. When you are less lucky with the weather, you can play in the casino or spend money in one the cute boutiques along the main road – a lot of typical Parisian brands have their stores here.
  • Early birds: It is absolutely worth to get up at 6AM to capture the stunning sun rise. After only few hours of sleep the beauty of the empty beach and the first sun rays above the hill gave me so much energy that I took photos for two entire hours. 
Do you have any places to not be missed in Deauville? Share them here!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Summer Sales

Bag (COACH) - Perfect for my Canon EOS 550D

Remember when I told you that I only would go shopping twice a year from now on? Well, I couldn't stick to this plan to 100%, though I only bought three pieces in six months. So when the first sales signs were out in the shopping windows, I was in the shops. This time: a new bag, new shoes, shorts, shirts, dresses. All the things that turn a girl happy.

Slip-ons (André) - Sandals (No Name)

There is too much offer - how do I choose the right things? 
On my first day, I blindly entered the boutiques. After a three hour marathon, I returned home empty-handed. I was literally shocked by the offer I faced. When I attacked the Sales the following days, I made up my mind and scribbled down a list of pieces I absolutely needed and pieces that are fashionable but not necessarily my priority. With this list in mind, I focused on the important items that lead to several positive effects: Less stress, less distractions (and with that more money in my pockets) and more time to actually enjoy shopping.

I spent far more than I wanted - how to manage the budget? 
As a lousy paid intern, my budget was pretty much restricted - I set a limit in advance. Except for one item (my COACH bag), I consequently stuck to it. It is important to set these borders because you quickly can end up with your whole salary spent on non rational purchases. Furthermore you weigh your investments are lot better: Do you want quality or quantity? Do you need 10 more tops are do you better spend the same amount on a pretty silk blouse? It is your decision!

Navy blue summer dress (ZARA)
V-Neck shirt - Top (both MUJI)

My size is not available anymore - what's the trick? 
Honestly, the trick is simple: first come, first serve. I generally try to get all the important things on my list during the first days, even if reductions are not as high as in second or third week and even if the stress level is crucial. But at least I am sure I have what I wanted. The weeks afterwards I check a couple of boutiques that correspond to my style - I might find a love item by coincidence that is well reduced. Another trick is to check out online stores that might have the desired size in stock.

People organize trips to shop in Paris - where are the best shops to benefit from Sales?
That highly depends what you are looking for. For shoes I recommend Rue de Rennes, Rue Faubourg Saint-Antoine or Avenue de Ternes. For brands like Mango or Zara, I prefer the So Ouest Shopping Center. And I definitely know that I avoid Rue de Rivoli as I prefer to be alive after three hours of shopping.
The jury is still out for the Boulevard Haussmann and its famous Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. Yes, it is crowded. But it is really convenient since most of the brands are located in a kilometre radius (lazy me!). As tourists are much more familiar with Lafayette, I prefer heading to Printemps - especially when I want a more expensive brand.
Eventually, online shops are not be forgotten. Although I prefer to rummage through offline stores, online shops are a great alternative, especially when you know your size and when exactly this size is not available in stores anymore.

Down jacket for my Iceland trip (Uniqlo)
Bermuda shorts (Uniqlo) - Fake leather skirt with zipper (ZARA)
Now it's time for the verdict - what do you think of my purchases? Having a look today at the pictures, I realize how I went for classic items and didn't dare anything exceptional. Well, this is my style - I just prefer the sporty classic look.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

When you circle the Arc de Triomphe

Happy Sunday!

It is a rainy day in Paris. And in a certain why the weather reflects my inner mood since another chapter has been closed on Friday: The end of my internship and speaking of that, the end of my time in Paris.

As a resume of my internship, I'd like to say that it was a really good one. Thanks to challenging and responsible tasks, I could enlarge my knowledge in finance, meet positive and negative challenges, work on my social capabilities and had to find solutions every time I faced a new subject. I also learned that I don't want to work in the sector of energy or turbines, but that finance is the area I want to continue my further studies in. Overall I rule off this experience in a positive way.

Luckily, I can benefit a little longer from Paris as I stay in the city for another two weeks in order to do those things that I couldn't manage before: museums, shopping, castles and friends. On my birthday on Thursday, I realized how lucky I am to have so many great friends. Once again I received hundreds of messages from all over the world and felt bad for every birthday I have zapped for the last months... I feel very blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing people.

And how could I worthy close such an important chapter that has intensively marked my life?
Besides parties, holidays are on the agenda. But eventually there is no better than circling the Arc de Triomphe when I went home by bike hast night. The lights, the pompous arch, the paves. Paris you are simply beautiful.

P.S. The colourful images result from a treasure hunt that the different city halls organized yesterday. As I am little familiar with the history of the 6th district, I chose the area around St. Sulpice and Jardin Luxembourg for this game.

Cute tea boxes I found on Rue de Rennes
An open book near St. Sulpice
Wall decoration
La Maison du Chou - Puff House 
Birthday burger and Friday night out at the Wanderlust
5 AM - 5 times around the Arc de Triomphe