NOTHING COMPARES TO XMAS IN PARIS
Bonjour Parismarais readers,
C‘est la crise! So what? Will you stop living and enjoying life? 2009 may be shaping up to be a bad year in the financial markets, but there are still many things you can do to have fun at decent prices, if not in December, then in January for sure. So instead of investing in the stock market, we have a much better idea: invest in pleasure and in your own well-being, by creating good memories you’ll keep for a lifetime and that will give you happiness forever. If you don’t trust your bankers anymore, trust Parisians to keep you happy—and have the best Xmas ever!
The exchange rate is very good right now for many visitors from outside the Euro zone. That’s one more reason to visit us now. We have selected some of our favorite great value picks for shopping, eating and staying in the Marais district this December.
You can also save when you book now for your trip to Paris next month to shop for spectacular bargains at the Winter Sales, starting January 5, 2009.
BUY THE BEST AGENDA YOU CAN FIND
DISCOVER THE “I A D” - International Art Diary
To get yours now write to:
1 boulevard du Roi, 78000 Versailles France
Tel: + 33 (0)1 39 51 78 18
TAKE A MAKE-UP CLASS TO LOOK FABULOUS FOR XMAS
ENJOY A HAMMAM or MASSAGE IN A BEAUTIFUL SPA
Hammam and body-scrubs, ayurvedic massages, a flower bath with ylang ylang from Mauritius, warm spice herb applications from Thailand, sweet massages from Bali, underwater massages, plus the famous chocolate flavored massage to delight your body and soul.
The world’s most precious spa rituals have found their home in a relaxing, timeless Indian décor, on the northern side of Le Marais. Experience a new level of total relaxation at India Spa.
TATTOO YOU WITH A PARISIAN TOUCH
TURN YOUR BATHROOM INTO A “WELL-BEING BOUDOIR”
You’ll find everything you need to relax, take care of yourself, and look and feel beautiful – traditional vintage perfumes from Creeds, barber shop tools, body creams, towels, designer robes and pajamas, scented candles and mineral salts.
Visit Bains Plus today…and take the first step to rediscovering your personal well-being and the caring traditions of yesterday.
51 rue des Francs-Bourgeois, 75004 Paris (corner rue Vieille du Temple)
Tel: 01 48 87 83 07
Fax: 01 48 87 19 12
Metro: Saint-Paul or Hôtel de Ville
Tuesday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday and Sunday 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
MAKE YOUR HOME LOOK LIKE PARADISE
GO BACK TO 18TH CENTURY
Le Boudoir et Sa Philosophie
Carla works with manufacturers and craftsmen who make copies of 18th century art, and sells both antiques and re-creations of classical necessities. Made to order paintings and portraits of your favorite dog, in an 18th century spirit, are but one of the many possibilities of artwork she can create for you. Open the door and step into a baroque exploration of intimate Parisian life.
Le Boudoir et Sa Philosophie
Tuesday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.
BECOME QUEEN OF FRANCE FOR FIVE MINUTES
There is no better place better for candles, soaps and other cosmetics.
You can visit the exquisite Marie Antoinette at 5, Rue d'Ormesson, opposite the picturesque Place du Marché Sainte Catherine in the 4th Arrondissement of Paris. Antonio will be there to greet you and show you the secrets that his shop has to offer.
ENJOY THE SEXIEST XMAS YOU' VE EVER HAD
Raidd Bar is unique for its style, ambiance and crowd. Each day, from 5 p.m. on, it offers the most friendly open air terrace you'll find in le Marais, with all drinks at happy hour prices. How about treating yourself to a glass of champagne...and getting a second glass for free! The bartenders are probably the sexiest in Paris—they have dream bodies and great attitudes...a winning combination!
Starting at 11 p.m. there is lots of action, including shows under the shower—everyone is welcome to watch and dream. You can even bring your girlfriends if they dare to pass through the doors.
Downstairs in the lounge bar the atmosphere is more cozy with its red velvet decor and comfy sofas, the perfect place to chat with Mister Right or Mister Sexy.
In all of Paris, there is truly nothing quite like Raidd. Once you've been here, you'll love it! For daily details about who the live DJ is and who is under the shower, visit the web site. For Xmas eve, Tonia, queen of Parisian nights will be Mother Xmas and entertain you. Plus, there will be a lottery and many great prizes to win.
23 rue du Temple, 75004 Paris
ENJOY GOURMET RESTAURANTS FOR LESS THAN 50€
MOST ARE OPEN FOR XMAS AND NEW YEAR’S, FEATURING SPECIAL HOLIDAY MENUS. TAKE YOUR PICK AND MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS NOW!
Auberge Nicolas Flamel
For a gastronomic detour, try the tasting menu with five different dishes paired with the appropriate wines. Some of our favorite dishes are spice duck foie gras on upside-down crusty potatoes, filet of beef with wild mushrooms and gratin dauphinois. For the piece de la résistance try the flourless chocolate heart-shaped cake explosion in a mini cocotte with violet sorbet or a farandole of selected desserts. Just reading the menu is a pleasure for the senses. And the menu changes with the seasons.
Food & Beverage
Start with a Camembert salad with smoked anchovy filets or shredded crab in an asparagus and citron vinaigrette followed by chopped duck breast topped with a fried egg, green beans and new potatoes, or perhaps a Salers filet of beef prepared a la Rossini with pomme grenaille and mushrooms. Finish off with a red-fruit millefeuille. To discover the best menu on offer at Le Pamphlet, opt for the surprise dégustation at 65€ for the entire table: a gastronomic journey though regional French cooking revisited by chef Alain Carrère. As for the wines, you’ll be enchanted as well. Chardonnay du Languedoc at 28€, Chablis 2005 at 45€, Crozes-Hermitage 2006 at 40€, Saint-Estèphe Château de Pez 2003 at 85€… Start off with a glass of Roederer Rosé Champagne at only15€.
Des Gars dans la Cuisine...
“Des Gars” literally means two guys and is a play on words meaning “damage.” The guys would be the chefs, Jean-Jacques Delaval and Gil Rosinha. But there’s no damage here; instead their sure hands will win over your taste buds, and the waiters’ warm smiles will make you feel welcome. Go for the lunch formula: two dishes for 14€. Unbeatable! Sunday Brunch runs from 22€ to 24€, with a health food choice that is guilt-free. Top wines at reasonable prices like Le Mercurey AOC Bouchard, Le Marquis Saint-Estèphe, le Petit Chablis AOC Domaine Louis Moreau are also on the menu... all for only about 30€.
Philippo, the chef, gives everyone a warm welcome. The menu’s playful quality mixes a diversity of styles, genres and recipes. It’s all pleasing to the palate and not hard on your wallet. Snails in a flaky pastry crust with hazelnut 11€, Warmed Scallops Emincé14€, Veal Cutlet in a creamy Saint-Marcelin 18€, Red Mullet in a buttery vanilla sauce 17€, Maison Jouanault cheese platter 8,50€, Iced Nougat with raspberry sauce or a choco-mint dream dessert 9€. From the cellars: Menetou Salon 24€, Pouilly Fumé 34€, Medoc Château Bellegrave 2005 at 18€ and for a big celebration, Aloxe Corton 2004 at 83€. Go for an inspirational and enjoyable meal! Evening gastronomic menu with four courses at 35€, exceptional lunch menu at 15,90€.
LAST MINUTE HOTEL DEALS
Still haven’t planned your January sales week in Paris? Now is the perfect time to book and enjoy low season prices.
You can get 20% off the regular prices for most hotel and apartment rentals until December 28, and up to 30% off in January. Don’t wait—book now and ask for your discount at our selected hotels.
Hotel Bastille Speria*** offers you exceptional prices for weekend stays this month, until December 28.
Most of the Parismarais selected hotels offer special deals for Christmas, so treat yourself this holiday season.
Best Hotels in Le Marais
4 star category
5 star category
Centrally located luxury hotels at discounted prices around le Marais
SELECTED PRIVATE SHORT TERM RENTALS FROM 500€ PER WEEK
What a great deal! You can now rent a luxurious 4 star standard studio located in the north Marais…at only 500€ per week in January and February (based upon availability)
Book now and save on the exchange rate!
FORGET THE METRO, AT LEAST FOR A DAY
Ride in luxury and style from the airport to your hotel or apartment. AAmerican Limousine service offers you upscale, reliable service in exclusive top-range car models such as the Hummer Limousine that I’ve tried myself…amazing!
From any Paris train station to your destination, their bilingual drivers offer you professional and courteous service, as well as complete privacy and discretion for your personal or business travel. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Check http://www.aamericanlimousines.com or phone from Paris: 0 139 350 999
REDISCOVER VICTOR HUGO WiTH THIRZA VALLOIS
Jeanne Calment, France's senoir citizen, who died in 1997 aged 122, remembered Victor Hugo's funeral as a major landmark of her youth. The writer had died on May 22nd, 1885 providing the authorities with a golden opportunity to cash in on the immense popularity of their staunch supporter and turned this into the greatest funerary pageant ever staged in Paris, greater than Voltaire's, greater even than Napoleon's. On the days leading up to the funeral Victor Hugo's coffin was placed beneath his beloved Arc de Triomphe, converted for the occasion into a colossal catafalque, dramatically draped in black. On June 1st, all of Paris accompanied the great man on his last journey, two million Parisians forming two silent "hedgerows" all the way between the Arc de Triomphe and the Panthéon, along the Champs-ElysÈes, Place and Pont de la Concorde, the Boulevards St Germain and St Michel, and finally up rue Soufflot to the Panthéon, where thousands of wreaths had been laid. Imagine the humble hearse (le corbillard des pauvres), according to Hugo's wishes, drawn slowly by three horses past all of Paris to the sound of Chopin's Funeral March and the accompanying stomping of hooves on the pavings.
Although the Panthéon was built at the time of Louis XV as the new abbey church of Saint Geneviève, it was turned into a national mausoleum during the French Revolution. During the shaky 19th century, it kept swinging between these two functions according to the regime in place, mirroring the ongoing struggle between church and state in post-revolutionary France. When it was finally reinstated as a Panthéon, the authorities chose to leave the cross atop its dome, in all likelihood for the sake of national appeasement.Victor Hugo's timely death came as a godsend to the new Republic, who was in need of an emblematic tenant for the Panthéon's reinauguration. Faithful to his ideals, the writer bequeathed 40,000 francs to the poor and refused a religious service, although he did insist that he believed in God.
Victor Hugo did not enjoy the same popularity in 1848. Resented for his early allegiance to Louis-Philippe, the crowds tried to set fire to his home on Place des Vosges (now his museum), which he cautiously left, never to return. In December 1851 it was his life that was in danger, having voiced his hostility to Napoleon III's self-proclaimed Second Empire. This time round he had to go into exile, most of which he spent on the Channel Island of Guernsey, where he wrote Les Misérables, a gigantic fresco of an ailing and beloved Paris between the years 1815 and 1833, a Paris he knew stone by stone, inch by inch, and with which he was in osmosis. Sprinkled with autobiographical reminiscenses - his childhood at the Feuillantines by the Luxembourg Gardens, his daughter's wedding at the church of St-Paul in the Marais, as painful to his heart as Cosette's wedding is to Valjean - Les Misérables can also be read as a record of pre-Haussmannian Paris, somewhat like the photos of Old Paris by his contemporary Charles Marville. The novel can even be used as a walking guidebook through that slice of history. Should you choose to do so, and venture into the 13th arrondissement, head for the one-time Cabaret de la Mère Grégoire, now the wonderful Basque restaurant l'Auberge Etchegorry, where little has changed since the days when Victor Hugo frequented it on Sundays with his friends. Above all, Les Misérables can be read as Hugo's love affair with Paris, the true hero of the novel, the Paris he yearned after during his 19-year exile.
An activist on all fronts, Victor Hugo was opposed to Napoléon III on political grounds and likewise to Haussmann's urban project. His poem Les Années Funestes (The Fateful Years), sent out from his exile in Brussels, was a protest against the destruction of the medieval city and the broad, functional arteries that replaced it. Similarly, The Hunchback of Notre Dame was written in 1832 to secure the preservation of the threatened cathedral. However, Hugo was not always in good faith: The rue de Rivoli, which he damned in an expression he coined, "It's stupid like the rue de Rivoli", was in fact laid out by the first Napoléon, the one he admired. Napoléon III, whom Hugo disparaged in a pamphlet as "Napoléon le Petit" , only completed the artery.
Haussmann's urban renewal did not stop with the Empire's demise, to which bear witness the dates of construction carved on many of the city's façades. Towards the end of his life, Victor Hugo became the Chairman of the Society for the Preservation of Old Paris, pursuing the struggle he had started at the time of Haussmann. Although he failed to save his childhood's "chères et tendres" Feuillantines, the one-time leafy convent in the Latin Quarter, he did rescue what had survived of the Roman amphitheatre, now known as Les ArËnes de Lutèce, also in the 5th arrondissement. On 27 July 1883, only two years before his death, he sent out the following open letter:
"Mr President, it is not possible that Paris, the city of the future, should renounce the living proof that it was the city of the past. The past leads on to the future. The arena is the ancient mark of a great city. It is a unique monument. The municipal authorities that would destroy it would destroy themselves."
Spare a thought for Victor Hugo as you stroll through this delightful nook of Paris.
Read more in Thirza Vallois's Around and About Paris series - (volume 1 - From the Dawn of Times to thee Eiffel Tower).
Around and About Paris, (volume 1, 2 and 3) is published by Iliad Books, UK - Romantic Paris is published by Interlink, US and Arris Books, UK.
For more information and to order Thirza Vallois's Around and About Paris and Romantic Paris, go to www.thirzavallois.com
THE MARAIS’ BEST ADDRESSES ELECTION
Last month our readers voted for the best addresses in le Marais, and we received a huge response! Many of the addresses you elected were also some of our favorites. So here’s the list of the most nominated in each category.
Bars and Clubs
Decoration and Design Shops
Gourmet Shops and Wine Dealers
Real Estate Agencies
Guided Tours and Sightseeing
The PARISMARAIS team wishes you a fabulous Christmas!
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