Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Charles Aznavour Formidable

Courtesy of Youtube

Pigalle & Le Moulin Rouge

Keep the children at home, remind the husband of his marriage vows, and practice saying voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir (or not!). Pigalle is the quartier chaud, in other words, the red light district of the city of Paris. It is situated in the 18th arrondissement (the shady side) and its tacky neon lights is the total cliché of the sex industry. The crowd in the area is a mix of the night people, its original habitants, and tourists.

Prostitution is not illegal in France. However, it IS illegal to work for a pimp or to solicit your services in the streets. Flashing private parts isn't allowed either, thank god. However, if a man happens to buy a bottle or two of champagne in your seedy club, and you just happen to drag him over to the private room with your skirt down, well, that will be simply considered "guest relations".

In the middle of it all, lies the infamous Moulin Rouge. Tickets for the show if I'm not mistaken costs €80 pp, that includes 2 drinks. Dinner + show costs from €150-€180 (depending on the dinner you choose). I was at first enthralled by the costumes and feathers and the whole set up, but after 15 minutes or so, it became harder and harder to be impressed. The women (of which maybe 20% are French) are constantly topless, the songs pretty lame, and in general it is very catered to tourists. The crowd varies from families with very young children, and groups of curious old men probably from countries where showing your boobs in public will end up in a death sentence. I say don't waste your money. Take your pictures in front of the theater, make sure your bags are zipped and get the hell out of the area.

If you are looking for a cabaret show that is worth that much money, go checkout Lido.

Metro: Pigalle, Anvers
Photos by Yamil Gonzalez

Monday, December 6, 2010

La Crêperie Bretonne

Crêpes are almost synonymous to France for many people. When tourists think of crêpes, they think of stands next to the Notre Dame where they get their fix with nutella, bananas, and strawberries. What people aren't aware of, is that crêpes are more than just snacks in the western region of France. They make up full meals, with savory crêpes filled with meat, veggies, even seafood, and dessert crêpes that are out of the world!

The Montparnasse area is Paris is where you will find streets lined with crêperies. The reason being, the Montparnasse train station services trains that go to the western region of France. Over the years, many Bretons (people from Brittany) have settled in this area, hence the abundance of crêperies in Montparnasse.

One of our favorites is La Crêperie Bretonne. We stumbled across this crêperie when our ex-favorite made us wait too long. It was a blessing in disguise, as this little family run restaurant is great, and even accepts debit cards (many don't). You may have to stand a little in line regardless if it happens to be a warm summer day. People flock crêperies because they offer great meals at a little price. A simple crêpe should cost no more than €5,00 and other specialty crêpes no more than €11,00.

If you happen to take my advice and come here (you should!) do order for dessert a caramel beurre salé (if you have a sweet tooth) or the crêpe with cream of speculoos. You will not regret it!

La Crêperie Bretonne
56 Rue Montparnasse, 75014 Paris

Photos by Yamil Gonzalez

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Miss France 2011

Miss France 2011 was elected yesterday night, and the reign was passed to 19 year old Mademoiselle Laury Thilleman, Miss Brittany. For once J and I were excited and proud of our new miss, since she comes from the same region of J's family. Her answers were intellectual, her beauty natural, and her allure so dignified. For everyone's information, unlike many countries in the world, candidates of Miss France are NOT allowed to have any sort of plastic surgery. I am not usually into beauty contests, but am a believer and supporter of natural beauty, if such contests must exist....

Photos from Google Images

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's Christmas Time Again!

Its freezing out and the streets are covered in snow (and eventually slush), but best of all Christmas decorations has started! *Squeal*!!!

The dome of Galeries Lafayette

A window display at Printemps

The Champs Elysées

Place Vendôme

Photos by Me
Last 2 Photos by Yamil Gonzalez

Monday, November 29, 2010

Le Paname (Fondue Restaurant)

Its COLD outside. That's right peeps, this week will be at 0 and below the whole week! I woke up today with snow on the trees, the streets wet and everyone bundled up. Winter has officially arrived in Paris, so make sure you're well prepared if, for some weird reason, you are planning your trip here at this time of the year!
One good thing that comes out from the cold weather is the need to eat all the time! We had some friends over from NYC last week, and rain or snow or shine, we had to play our role as tour guides. The day we wanted to show them around Montmartre, we drove for a good 15 mins around the area to find a parking. We eventually found one right in front of this small and cozy fondue restaurant, Le Paname.
I thought that it was weird that a typical french restaurant was called Panama, but J explained to me that "Le Paname" is actually a slang name for Paris. Ah, that makes more sense. The restaurant also served other French classics like steak and fries, escargots, and french onion soup, but prides itself with its famous fondue Savoyarde and fondue Bourgignonn . The Savoyarde is a pot of cheese with which you dip your bread and sliced meat. The fondue Bourgignonn has no cheese, you will be served a plate of raw meat and a side of french fries, which you cook yourself with a pot of oil on your table. It comes with 3 different sauces.
The price for the fondue is €16 per person with a minimum order for 2 persons. We ended paying about €30 per person for our meal, which is very reasonable. Itwas a perfect meal after walking around on a cold cold day!

Metro: Abesses
First 2 photos by Yamil Gonzalez

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Valentino x Gap

OK, after the whole H&M frenzy, I received a tweet & bbm from my fashionista in KL informing me of this new collaboration. First thing I said was "I HATE GAP!" And yes, I hate Valentino x Gap as well. This deception and disappointment only continued after I was appalled by the Valentino autumn/winter 2011/11 collection. While the original collection remains classic, the bows, animal prints, lace and studs (or a combination of all! eeks!) did not tickle my fancy one bit!
And now, Valentino reaches towards the mass market with a collaboration with the Gap. Is it a marketing ploy? A desperate call for help? Thank god this collection will only be sold in specific stores across Europe. I loved the frills in the past haute couture collection. Now, that will be translated into frilled jeans and frilled cardigans (made with a jeans looking material). I just CAN'T!
What do you think?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Air Asia X Flies to Paris

Yes everyone, its official! I can now open my big mouth and announce to the world that Air Asia X now flies to the City of Lights.. Promotional prices starts at €99 one way, and a "normal" priced ticket up to €199 one way. Yes I know, CHEAP! Even though that means that now I may have to share my macarons with my Malaysian comrades, ohhh its fine I like spreading the love! And most importantly, I can now haul my friends from Europe and NYC (without burning holes in their pockets) to my beloved country, to experience the food and the shopping and the beautiful islands of Malaysia..
I've personally never been on a long haul Air Asia flight, but was told not to worry and that the seats are very comfortable. Just don't forget to have some cash with you to buy your food, and don't forget your eye masks and ear plugs! Feel free to drop a comment or questions on anything you would like to know about Paris and how to make your trip here a memorable one..
The launch of the KL-Orly flight was held today at Palais de Chaillot.

Photos by Me

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pont des Arts

The Pont des Arts is Paris's first metallic bridge, built between 1802 and 1804 by engineers Louis-Alexandre de Cessart and Jacques Dillon. During the summertime, this bridge is famous for its picnics by students, artists and lovers. Over the years, a tradition of putting locks on the chain linked fence developed. This lock symbolizes the love between 2 people. Lovers from all over the world come here to "lock" their love, then throw the key into the Seine, the symbol of eternal and undying love.
Its all so cliché mais très romantique!! J'adore..

Metro: Pont Neuf Photos by Me

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Montmartre is a beautiful area in the 18th arrondissement, and also one of the highest points in Paris. It is a hill that is 130 meters high, which gives you one of the best views of the city from above. The 18th arrondissement, you will see, has several faces. At the bottom of the hill lies the Pigalle neighborhood and its famous girls, where sex stores and clubs line up the streets. As you walk uphill, the price of apartments that are just one street apart can have a difference of €2,000 per square meter! As you get closer to the peak, you will find yourself in a beautiful residential area, where townhouses are covered in greenery and flowers, cafes are quaint and art seems to be the center of people's lives. Many films including Amélie and Sabrina featured this area of Paris.
At the top, the little streets hustle and bustle with commerce for the tourists. You will find here copies of vintage posters, postcards, and anything your heart desires to buy to bring back home as gifts. There are many crêperies, ice cream parlors and restaurants. Most of the restaurants here are overpriced for what they are, and not necessarily "authentic". You will also find many artists in the middle of the square who offer sketches and paintings.
Look up and you will see the stunning Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, a Roman Catholic Church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jeses. It is considered as a landmark, and can be seen all the way from the Centre de Pompidou in the heart of the city. In front of the basilic are steps that lead to one of the most breathtaking views of Paris. Have a seat on the steps and enjoy what you see!
Every time I have a friend or family visiting, this is one of the places where I absolutely make sure that they visit. It gets very busy up in the Sacré-Cœur area, but I always insist on the walk uphill. Without fail, everyone usually comments that it feels so "Paris", and that when they imagine Parisian lifestyle, this is it!

Metro: Anvers, Abbesses
Photos by AG

Monday, November 8, 2010

Père Lachaise Cemetery

Located on the eastern side of Paris in the residential 20th arrondissement, Pére Lachaise is the biggest cemetery in the city and one of the most famous in the world. Here lies the bodies of great painters, artists, writers, politicians, dancers, rock stars, and many more well known figures. The cemetery spreads over 118.6 acres and attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists annually.
Walking around Père Lachaise, I felt peaceful and not a little bit scared by the fact that I was in a cemetery. You know how scary graveyards are in Malaysia! The family catacombs were built in the style of Haussmanian architecture, at least to my eyes. They look like little apartments, the family name engraved proudly above the entrance. You will definitely need a map, especially if you are looking for a certain tomb. Maps are sold for €1 or €2 at the different entrances.

Metro: Père Lachaise, Gambetta
Photos by AG

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Homemade Macarons

Macarons are a BIG part of my life. Ever since J introduced me to Pierre Hermé, my life has turned around in a way that I never thought it'd turn to. I became a foodie. I never used to care about the quality of my food. I ate at Chilli's and had chinese takeout and was more than contented to have a red velvet cupcake from Dean and Deluca's. But now, ahem.. I have become difficult.
We attempted for the 3rd time to make macarons. This time around, we decided to make vanilla macarons with a vanilla and white chocolate ganache. Without exaggeration, we started preparing the egg whites 5 days ago, and spent a good 2 and a half hours the day of, only to wait 24hours before getting to taste them. Its a LOT of work. You must be crazy/super passionate/super bored to attempt it.
Some secrets of macaron making that we have learned include the following:

1) Egg whites must be separated 5days-a week before use. This allows them to liquify.
2) After forming the batter, it must be left to settle for 30 minutes before putting it in the oven.
3) A cooking thermometer is VITAL.
4) A Kitchen Aid is VITAL.

The batter of the macaron is made by mixing Italian meringue with almond powder, liquified egg whites, and powdered sugar. The ganache is made by mixing liquid fresh cream with 3 different vanilla sticks from 3 different countries and melted white chocolate. (TO DIE FOR) Everything else is just patience and art. Ours didn't turn out boutique-like perfect, but wow did they make my palettes happy! I think its time to take a real macaron making class, since most of the secrets of success are technical details. Whatever it is, all I can say is that Monsieur Hermé, you are SUCH a genius! I'm your biggest fan....

Photos By Me
Recipe by Pierre Hermé

Hotel Lotti

My father in law and his wife had the great of idea of checking out all the bars of the most luxurious hotels in Paris, and J & I were invited last night to join them in their crawl to Hotel Lotti. Located off my favorite square Place Vendôme, it stands proud among other shishi hotels on rue de Castiglione.
This charming little hotel of luxury is typical Paris, art and murals decorate the walls, an old school cube system for keeping the hotel keys, and charming staff who refer to 11 year old boys "Monsieur". Snacks at the bar include salads and burgers and are priced between €16-€30. The friendly ambience and super comfy sofas make you feel that you can just stay there the whole night.
Great spot if you want to have a quiet albeit chic night out, spend time with family, and if you appreciate a scrumptious, fat, juicy burger!

Photos By Me

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Le Salon du Chocolat 2010

Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, hot chocolate, brownies, cookies, marshmallows, orange flavored chocolate, chocolate shaped like vegetables, chocolate shaped like champagne bottles, chocolate handbags, chocolate dresses, chocolate fountains, EVERYTHING chocolate can be found at the Salon du Chocolat, in exhibition from October 28th until the first of November. It is a gourmande's playland, my eyes were wandering everywhere, and my excitement was at its peak. J & I threaded through the throngs of people, my annoyance of being in such a crowd was waived as each stand amazed me with something or another. This is the best way anyone can spend €12.50!

Photos By Me