Habitat 1964

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

As I said in my post yesterday, I had a pretty packed weekend. Besides all the places I managed to fit in on Saturday, on Sunday, after recovering from a friend's birthday party, we also drove up to Marche aux puces de Saint-Ouen in the north of Paris. Saint-Ouen is home to the city's biggest flea market (also the largest in the world) with antiques stalls and furniture sellers, as well as Habitat's new vintage space, Habitat 1964 (77-81 Rue de Rosiers). Bringing together a collection of some of its signature designs dating back to the 1964, it's a homage to what Habitat is good at: furniture and homeware. It's not cheap, like most of the things on offer in the marche aux puces, but you could easily spend a couple of hours wandering around and perusing the designs, which we did. And when you start to get a bit peckish, there's a cute cafe run by Tartes Klugar with cakes, quiches and hotdogs on offer, so you can make an afternoon of it. 

Marche des Enfants Rouges

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

It's bracingly cold in Paris right now; what I call hot water bottle weather, but I'm not going to let that stop me getting out and about, and trying to see as much as possible in this beautiful city. It's safe to say I packed in a lot this weekend. I'm trying to make the most of my time here and do as much as I can on days off. Of course the casualty of this is that I wake on Monday morning feeling like I've been hit by a train. (But it was all worth it.) 

Friday I had dinner with Harry and her friends. Now getting invited for dinner is always nice, but it's even better when that friend is a food writer. She served up the most delicious carrot soup I think I've ever had and a warming chicken pie - the epitome of comfort food. (Thanks again Harry!)

Saturday I had a coffee with the lovely Lauren who blogs at Folies du Bonheur at another new cafe serving up great coffee (vivre le coffee revolution!). Fondation Cafe is cute, cosy, the coffee's great (so is the tea and the oatmeal & chocolate cookies) and Chris who owns the place is very friendly (he's Aussie after all). We chatted about the current topic du jour,  about how hipsters are ruining Paris, sparked by a recent New York Times article that is doing the rounds. Ridiculous right? Since when did the word 'hipster' become such a dirty word? Anyway you can read it here.

I then met the boy and we wandered into le Marche des Enfants Rouges, just off Rue de Bretagne (no 39) that dates back to the 1600s and is Paris' oldest covered market. By far one of the best markets in le Marais and Paris for that matter, it's undercover too, so perfect for when it rains or is bitingly cold out, which it was. You can find everything here - there's the obligatory veg, bread, fish and flower stalls, but also a few cafes, a wine bar and a restaurant. For a proper sit down meal head to L'Estaminet - we had the most delicious plate of melt in the mouth lamb here at the beginning of the year. There are also a few street food stalls offering various different world foods. We went for the Moroccan stall, which is on your second left as you walk in, and opted for a tagine, which at €10.50 for agneau (lamb) mixed with prunes, apricots, almonds, veg and cous cous served in a decent sized terracotta dish, is incredibly reasonable. Make sure you get a glass of mint tea too - that'll help with the cold. They do have undercover seating, but there's no heating so dress warm. 

What's your favourite market in Paris? 

(photography by Marissa Cox)

Paris in Pictures: Place de la Republique

Friday, 15 November 2013

I didn't look at London in the same way as I do with Paris. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of beautiful buildings, monuments, gardens and pretty streets in London, but there's something about Paris' unique beauty that invites you to look at the city a little differently. To the point where everything becomes an opportunity for a photo.

Another place I found myself admiring a few weeks ago was the Place de la Republique. Until recently the area surrounding it was admittedly a bit of a mess; graffiti, people sleeping rough on the street and roadworks, while the authorities were pedestrianising some of the streets. But the statue in the centre of the square celebrating the first, second and third Republics of France always remained rather beautiful. 

I'll be doing more wandering around Paris this weekend, snapping away and taking in the sights of the city.

Happy weekends friends!

Places & Spaces: Bicycle Store

Thursday, 14 November 2013

I spotted this cool cycling shop, Bicycle Store (17 Boulevard du Temple) near the Marais the other week, on one of my many walks around Paris and thought today the perfect day to post about it. The window painted with white and blue raindrops, which beautifully contrasts the eye-popping fluorescent orange and yellow rain coats, caught my eye, as well as the pristine white bikes lined up outside like soldiers. Inside they sell everything from bike accessories to clothes to see you through bad weather.

It's been raining on and off all morning, and after an aborted mission to work due to a broken down train and no other way to get where I was going, I walked back home through the cold drizzle and was reminded to dig out these photos. I was also lamenting to bike enthusiast, Anna Brones from Foodie Underground on Tuesday how much I missed my bike, which is sadly rotting away in a friend's garden back in London. I know I should have brought it over on the Eurostar, but as is the case in Paris, there's no space to keep it in our flat and as Anna pointed out to me, a lot of bikes are stolen. Our building isn't the most secure, so locking it up in the courtyard wouldn't be a great idea. 

Luckily in Paris we do have a brilliant bike service, the Velib, which on clearer days is a brilliant way to see the city and the best way to get around when it's not raining. 

Do you regularly ride the Velib in Paris or do you have your own bike? 

Photography by Marissa Cox.

Beating the rain in Brussels

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Chocolate colours at Pierre Marcolini

Musical Instruments Museum cafe
The Statue Garden

Brussels is a brilliant city and I'm sticking to my guns on this one. Despite the rain, and it does rain a lot there, so don't forget a sturdy umbrella or a coat with a hood, it's a great place to wander around and sightsee. After arriving on the train from Paris, which takes just 1hr 3omins, I headed straight for the centre to find Coffee Company. This is a cosy cafe and the sandwiches are also pretty cheap, considering it's so close to la Grand Place. If you're lucky enough to grab an armchair it's a good place to come and read a book over a cup of tea when the weather outside is being unpredictable. 

One thing you must do in Brussels before anything else is go to the Grand Place. It's by far one of the most beautiful squares in the world and you can easily spend a good hour here, taking snaps of the baroque buildings. I arrived just in time to hear classical music being belting out of the town hall. It's an incredible sound and the acoustics are perfect, so much so that you can't really figure out where the music is coming from as it reverberates around the space. On your way out, don't forget to peek into the windows of the various chocolate shops lining the square, oh and get a waffle (or two) from the numerous kiosks. 

There aren't many good guides to Brussels on the internet, so here's mine:

+ For a great view over a mug of chocolat chaud, head up to the Musical Instruments Museum. Unless you're really into the history of musical instruments, climb the stairs (you might want to take the lift as there are quite a few) up to the top floor where there's a restaurant/cafe with big windows overlooking the city. On a sunny day you can stand outside on the balcony and snap away. 

+ Wile away a few hours over a pint of Belgium beer in the art deco bar, Monk. They also host live jazz on various nights and there's a restaurant at the back.

+ Head to Fin de Siecle for dinner. They serve up huge, American style portions, at reasonable prices. Don't be put off by the queue, the food and the atmosphere are worth it, and you can order a drink while you wait. 

+ If you've got a bit more cash to spend, go to La Quincaillerie for dinner. It's a beautiful old hardware shop turned restaurant that could be straight out of a Harry Potter film, with a dark glossy wooden interior, a giant old clock that stares at you as you walk in and a sweeping central stairway leading up to the second floor. 

+ On Sunday have lunch at Cafe La Brocante (it's right next to Brussels' biggest flea market or broconte) for a hearty, filling plates of beef stew, lasagne or Stoemp of the day (national Belgium dish that consists of mash with veg and usually served with sausages) and live jazz. 

+ For breakfast, such as soft boiled eggs and bread rolls, head to Pistolet. This contemporary cafe is named after the traditional little round Belgium bun. 

+ Have brunch at Gaudron. This is a lovely bakery, but there's also a canteen style cafe at the back with white tiles and vintage chairs. 

+ Coffee, cake and shopping at L'Atelier En Ville. Located on one of Brussels furniture streets, just off the square that hosts the main brocante, this is a huge warehouse space selling industrial furniture and designer clothing that's also great for a bit of window shopping if you don't feel like blowing your budget.

+ Peruse the chocolate counter at Pierre Marcolini - designer chocolate heaven.

+ Chocolat chaud at Wittamer. Wittamer is the official supplier of the Court of Belgium and they have a grand cafe above the shop. Drinks are a little more pricey here, but they come with a couple of chocolates so it's worth it.

Photography by Marissa Cox.

Bon weekend!

Friday, 8 November 2013

I'm a big believer in going on adventures, however small. Moving to Paris was obviously a big adventure, but I also try to go to two new places a year - this year I went to Istanbul and Budapest and I love weekends away. Although I've already been, I'm off to Brussels tomorrow for the weekend - home of waffles and chocolate - and I can't wait. I've been to the Belgium capital a couple of times already, but it's a good place to go from Paris - easy to get to, it only takes an hour and a half by train and the first time I went, I was surprised by how much I liked it, so am always keen to go back. 

It's not a city that seems to gets a lot of good press, perhaps because the weather is so bad - worse than England, but the architecture is really beautiful, with inconsistent terraced buildings in darker brick or stone - very different to Paris' uniform 19th century Haussmann buildings, and especially the magnificent main square or 'Grand Place' with 17th century Baroque stuccoed buildings that look like they're out of a fairy tale. There's also a plethora of vintage shops, galleries, restaurants and cute cafes. I'll be popping up photos early next week so check back in with me then! What are you up to this weekend? 

Favourite French Blogs

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Since starting Rue Rodier I've discovered a multitude of blogs. Once I discover one, I look at the blogroll and discover another five and so on, as if the blogs were breeding - such is the nature of the internet. So being based in Paris I thought I'd pick a few of my favourite French blogs, which are a mix of food, photography, fashion and overall lifestyle and ones that I can get lost in for days...

First up is Mimi Thorisson of Manger, a recent find after a friend mentioned the blog to me over a bento box at Nanashi last week. When I got home I immediately Googled Mimi, dumbfounded that I hadn't heard about her before. Better late than never. Manger is beautifully laid out, simple in style with all the focus going on the photos of food. Mimi's a former journalist who recently moved to the Medoc with her family and blogs about her time there, cooking, baking, taking strolls in the idyllic countryside and meeting the locals. It helps that she's beautiful, has two equally adorable children and that her husband is a professional photographer - all the ingredients to make a perfect food blog. But even better than that, Mimi really knows how to cook, recording recipes of hearty French cooking that that'll make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, especially now that the weather's colder. 

Next is Paris in Four Months. I could spend hours (and admittedly have) scrolling through Swedish native, Carin Olsson's blog that she started a few years ago to document her move to Paris. When she's not shooting Nicole Warne from Gary Pepper Girl, clad in an array of colourful outfits in the Jardin de Tuileries or in the shadow of the Torre Eiffel, she's wandering around Paris, with her camera in hand capturing the city's beauty with a magical, pinky glow.

The vibrant colour-saturated photos on of Alix's blog, Cherry Blossom Girl, always brighten up a grey day - even the name is cheerful. And the formula is simple - photos of her dressed in different outfits, and shot in beautiful locations, against a backdrop of quirky monochrome illustrations.   

Not strictly French anymore as Garance Dore now lives in New York, but Garance's eponymous blog, is the original French blog, and one that inspired me to start my own. What makes her blog so special, to me anyway, is that despite becoming one of the world's most famous bloggers and collaborating with big name brands, Garance has managed to maintain the sweetness and down to earthness, as well as her signature style - a focus on illustration - that made her blog such a huge success in the first place. I also recently watched a couple of Google hangouts she hosted to answer career questions from students and aspiring creatives, which are incredibly inspiring. If you're in need of some (inspiration), I suggest you watch them here, here and here.

Which ones are your favourites?


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

On Saturday we finally headed over to Holybelly Cafe near Canal Saint Martin for some lunch, which was opened last month by former Market Lane barista, photographer and self-professed Croissant Smasher (yes, really!), Nico Alary, and ex Duchess of Spotswood chef,  Sarah Mouchot. We had to wait around 20 minutes for a table, as it seemed everyone else had the same idea. And once inside we could see why. Seemingly small from the outside, walk past the coffee bar and a few sets of diner-style booths, and Holybelly opens up into a large space at the back of the cafe with high ceilings and a huge table for communal eating. And with exposed brick walls, a wood panelled ceiling, which reminded me of Ariele Alasko's beautiful multi-panelled creations that she blogs about on Brooklyn to West, lightbulbs hanging from a copper industrial light fitting and plants dotted about, it didn't feel like we were in Paris anymore - more like Austin, Texas or LA perhaps. Either way it was warm and cosy, and beautifully designed. 

We ordered the grilled cheese sandwich and the lentils and sausage salad from the friendly staff who were speaking a mixture of French and English, meaning we did too. The dishes arrived well-presented and tasty, especially the lentil salad - the slices of sausage were delicious. They were perhaps a little on the pricey side at €12-14 when paired with a coffee - making lunch more of a weekend affair, but I can't wait to come back for more coffee. Holybelly serves up rich Belleville beans, like all the good Parisian cafes and advertises as such on a black board above the coffee bar usually found on old cinemas. I managed to get a few shots of the interiors, despite the amount of people congregating around the bar to pay and grabbed a sneaky snap of Nico on the way out. See you soon!

Love those cheerful yellow mugs
Co-founder Nico Alary

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