Monthly Archives: August 2013

Religious procession at Notre-Dame de Paris

If you are in Paris on August 14, the eve of the Virgin Mary’s Assumption into heaven, you may want to head toward Notre-Dame de Paris. An interesting procession takes place near this world-famous cathedral, and even if you are not Catholic (I am not), I strongly recommend participating in it. Notre-Dame de ParisI am not sure if the schedule is same every year, but this year the procession begun around 7.30 pm (there was a mass before). We arrived some ten minutes late, and the procession had begun. This meant that there were huge crowds of people. We begun running (hint: do not wear heels) toward the Left Bank, the southern side of the river, and turned toward Quai de la Tournelle.Assumption procession ParisI only had my pocket camera with me, and having thousands of people around me did not help to improve the photo quality. We tried to stay in front of the procession, and if your plan is to take photos, I recommend doing the same. Procession Notre DameIMG_4572Procession Notre DameProcession Notre DameThe evening was beautiful and the more we advanced, the more the sun light became colorful.Assumption of the Virgin Mary in ParisEventually, maybe after one hour, we reached Pont de Sully (Sully Bridge). A few steps later, there was a boat waiting for the procession (at Quai Saint-Bernard). Procession fluvialeProcession fluvialeAssumption of the Virgin MaryThe Virgin Mary statue was carried into the boat and the fluvial part of the procession was about to begun. This is when we left and repositioned ourselves on the Sully Bridge. It took quite a long time for the boat to embark. According to information we gathered from organizers and read on internet, the boat was going to go around the islands of Île Saint-Louis and Île de la Cité. Virgin Mary statueThese last photos were taken after the sun set but I think they provide you with a feeling of the fluvial procession. fluviale processionfluvial procession, ParisI was happy to observe this procession, and should you want to do the same in future, check these websites for information:

Notre-Dame: (the Cathedral also has a Facebook page)

Catholic church in Paris:

PS If you are on Facebook, do not forget to check out and like Pearlspotting ‘s fairly new page!

Food shopping around the Aligre market

This morning I visited some of my favorite food and wine spots in Paris.

The Aligre market in the 12th arrondissement is one of the most exciting and exotic markets of Paris. Street stalls sell very affordable fruits, vegetables, fish, cheese and flowers, and vendors’ shouting gives me a feeling of being in the Middle East or North Africa rather than in Paris. In addition to strolling along the street, I always stop by at Epicerie Sabah for salty, grilled almonds, spices, herbs, lentils and olives. This time I also stopped by Le Baron Rouge, which is a fantastic, charming wine bar, and one of the rare places in Paris where one can bring an empty bottle to be filled with one of the five wine choices stored in oak barrels (if you forgot your own bottle, they can rent you one for 50 cents). Following the recommendation, we bought red wine from Touraine.Le Marche d'Aligre products and Le Baron Rouge wineThe dinner is going to consist of different tapas: grilled paprika, olives, baba ghanoush (eggplant dip), chic pea, kale & cherry tomato salad, olives, charcuterie, melons, tomato & mozzarella, and the rest I have not decided yet! Bon appetit everyone!

Le Marche d’Aligre: Place Aligre, 75012 Paris ( Metro Ledru-Rollin

Epicerie Sabah: 30 Rue Aligre, 75012 Paris

Le Baron Rouge: 1 Rue Théophile Roussel, 75012 Paris


Wedding preparation part 2: dressing for the evening

I bought this petrol blue Azzaro dress for my own civil wedding in the 7th arrondissement of Paris nearly three years ago and now I will wear it for my brother’s civil wedding in Copenhagen. I did some adjustments to the dress today and apart from ironing that I will do upon arrival, it is ready to go! This is quite symbolic, because I will wear Jimmy Choo shoes with the dress, and those shoes I wore when I met my husband one Saturday night in Paris…. It is pleasant to wear clothes that bring happy memories!

Do you have any comments or suggestions for my “wedding look”? If you did not see it already, click here for the town hall dress Wedding preparation part 1: dressing for a civil weddingAzzaro dress

Wedding preparation part 1: dressing for a civil wedding

This weekend we will travel to Copenhagen for a wedding and it is time to dig into the wardrobe. I am thinking of wearing this outfit for the town hall. What do you reckon?

PS I know, the photo is not as good as it could be and the dress needs ironing… but apart from that, I like the look. And I love those Dior shoes (I bought them for my own wedding).Dior shoes

dressing for the civil wedding

Dress: Zara, Paris

Jacket: Theory, New York

Shoes: Dior, Paris

Abundance of Sicilian cherry tomatoes

All these Sicilian cherry tomatoes for 2€ at the Bastille market this afternoon. Any suggestions what to do with them? Please share your most delicious and original recipe with me! Sicilian cherry tomatoes

Balcony inspiration

There has been so much to do inside of the apartment, that we have entirely neglected our spacious, beautiful balcony. But this changed last weekend. We rented a car and bough different items, and this is how far we got in decoration:

balcony in Paris

Basil, lavander and ivies. An olive tree and bamboos are still to be purchased.

Naturally, a barbeque grill is missing too, and I cannot wait to have our first BBQ meal outside, served with rosé wine. I hope the summer is going to be long and hot in Paris!

PS Those tam tam stools come from Habitat (Montparnasse). The store has excellent liquidation sales going on for one more week, so if you are in Paris, go and check them out!

Link to the stools:




Special caviar delivery from Kiev to Paris, facilitated by Czech Airlines

Flights between Paris and Kiev became very familiar to me during the year I worked in Ukraine. I think I knew the timetables of Air France and Ukraine International Airlines by heart. Not only I accumulated a crazy amount of miles, but I also got involved in international trade. When I left Paris for Kiev, I brought French red wine with me (my colleague was a big fan of CrozesHermitage), and when I left Kiev for Paris, I carried Russian caviar in a hand bag.

So, when a friend from Kiev informed me last week that she will be flying to Paris and asked what she can bring to me, I knew the answer: икра! A Russian word for black caviar.osetrova caviar from RussiaYesterday evening I went to pick up my friend from the Air France bus station. She had asked an air hostess if it is ok to store the caviar in the airplane’s fridge, and they allowed her to do so. My precious cargo was cold upon arrival in Paris, which is why I hereby send special thanks to Czech Airlines for facilitating the good and safe delivery of 100g of osetrova caviar to me!

La Régalade Conservatoire: consistent “régalade style”

After Mandarin Oriental: when customer service goes that extra mile I took my husband to a fairly new restaurant called La Régalade Conservatoire. Out of four Régalades (three in Paris and one in St Tropez) I have been to two of them, so it was about the time to test this newest Parisian addition.

The menu is extremely reasonably priced: 35€ for a three-course meal. I reckon it is one of the best deals in Paris for sophisticated gourmet cuisine. pork terrine and cornichonsAccording to the “régalade style”, you always start with country-style terrine (pork, though) and cornichons. The waiter leaves the pots in front of you, and you go on snacking as long as you desire, or as long as the starter arrives… sympa.

For the starters we had creamy squid and prawn risotto, and asparagus bouillon with foie gras (both starters come with pork (lardon) but it is possible to have them without). Delicious, light, easy to digest, tasty, interesting mixes… this says it all!Risotto crémeux à l’encre de seiche, gambas rôties ail/piment d’Espelette, émulsion de vache qui rit Bouillon crémeux d’asperges, dés de foie gras, lard croustillantFor the wine we had short-listed a few options (the wine list is VERY impressive!) and following the restaurant’s recommendation chose a bottle of Graves (AOC), Château Haut-Peyrous “Retour de Palombière” (2009), a fabulous merlot & cabernet melange for 30€. Once again, an excellent price-quality ratio I say!Graves Château Haut - Peyrous "Retour de Palombière 2009For the main course, we ordered tuna and roasted lamb. Since the starters had been soooo delicious, maybe I expected even more from the main courses. They were very good, but that “little bit of something extra” was maybe missing, especially in my lamb. Or was it that I considered the lamb dish to be too winter-like to be eaten in summer? Maybe vegetables instead of potatoes would have ameliorated my dish? tuna steaklamb We shared a mixed cheese platter and a Grand Marnier soufflé in the end. I loved the cheese, but by the time the soufflé came, I unfortunately had very little room left in the stomach…mixed cheese platterGrand Marnier souffleThere is something else that also cut my appetite a tiny bit. When I made the reservation on telephone, I had specifically asked if the restaurant has a habit of doing something for birthday guests. The person on telephone hesitated, so I quickly continued that a candle on my husband’s cake would be a lovely gesture. Apparently she noted it, but when the soufflé arrived, it had nothing on it… Well, this is just a minor detail but could be a more important detail to someone else I am sure.
and the bill comes...We got the bill (just over 100€) and returned to rainy streets of Paris. The dinner was pleasant and my husband happy about this surprise discovery, but something gave us a feeling that the next time we will just return to one of the other Régalades, La Régalade Saint-Honoré.

PS The restaurant is located inside a five-star L’Hôtel de NELL, which was designed by a famous architect and designer Jean-Michel Wilmotte.

La Régalade Conservatoire: 7 rue du Conservatoire, Paris 75009. Tel. +33 1 44 83 83 60

Le Fooding review:

Wine:  (we had a bottle of 2009 but this website has 2008 for sale)


Aux Deux Amis: if heaven was a tapas bar

I consider this weekend very successful: an important work phase completed, and two fantastic restaurants discovered!  On Friday we experienced L’Etoile: restaurant that makes you feel and look good! and yesterday night we enjoyed tapas at Aux Deux Amis.

As soon as I entered Aux Deux Amis, I sensed there is something very, very Parisian in this restaurant located on Rue Oberkampf. After few seconds I realized what it is: a subtle amount of Parisian attitude… Every other person seemed very conscious of his/her looks, the wine was tasted as if it contained gold flakes, and some characters would have put Hemingway into shadow by their artistic looks and behavior. We had a table in the corner, near the main door, facing the bar. Perfect for observation (and to be observed). Aux Deux AmisThe atmosphere was very bohemian chic, but the staff remained down-to-earth, friendly and helpful. They had no rosé wine, but we were offered to taste white wine from Bourgogne (Burgundy), which led to another moment of realization: this place is very, very serious about its wine. I had just tasted one of the best white wines ever: Saint-Veran Les Mandeliers, Domaine Arnaud Combier (2012). Aux Deux AmisWe ordered tapas: beef carpaccio, piquillos, burbot, bonite, mozzarella with coppa, and one other cheese of which I forgot the name. Each tapas was a match made in heaven.  Aux Deux AmisToward the end of the night the chef came out and emptied his glass of wine at the bar. It seemed everyone knows everyone. We learned there is a presence of fame –Aux Deux Amis was created by a former Chateaubriand.

The restaurant closes in one week, so hurry up if you are in Paris. Otherwise try again in September.

Meanwhile, check my new Facebook page!

Le Fooding review:

L’Etoile: restaurant that makes you feel and look good!

How do you recognize an excellent restaurant? From the fact that when you wake up the next morning, you have slept like a baby, and you feel and look as if you have just spent one week in a retreat. Without exaggeration, this is how I felt this morning after a very pleasant dinner at L’Etoile (former L’Etoile Rouge).L'Etoile, ParisWe were welcomed by la patronne, who offered us two glasses of rosé wine  because our table outside was not yet ready –a lovely, rare gesture in Paris, but most of all, the wine was not just any wine. It was excellent Pic Saint Loup from Languedoc. Menu, L'Etoile in ParisWe ordered two starters: a millefeuille of tomatoes & mozzarella, and a squid salad. Both were divine. IMG_5200 IMG_5202Based on the restaurant’s recommendation, we ordered a bottle of Le Côte de Provence Rosé Locus Ameno. Delicious.

For the main course I had grilled cod and my husband had rabbit. My cod had a lovely, very intense lemon taste and the rabbit came with a sauce that reminded us very much about mixes you find in the Indian cuisine. It had been a long time since I had such an intriguing culinary experience!  IMG_5206 IMG_5205I believe that the photos above speak for themselves. The presentation was artistic and beautiful, as you can see.

In the end we shared a dessert. I loved it, even if usually I am not a big dessert fan in France (my husband likes those heavy French-style cakes etc.). This blueberry mousse was great because it was light, reminding me of Finnish desserts. In fact, upon completing cooking classes, this is something my Dad made for us every single Sunday for quite a while!  blueberry mousseDuring our dinner, la patronne came to speak to us a few times, and she seemed to know many of the customers. In the end we even had a good talk with the chef, who came to our table. We learned he trained with a very famous Michelin-starred chef Joël Robuchon and in addition, he explained how important it is that the cooking follows the principle of four basic tastes: sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness (he shared some of his tricks on how to make winter tomatoes taste better…..).

In overall, the restaurant L’Etoile merits nearly ten points and we are sure to bring food lovers visiting Paris to this interesting pearl that I believe has a lot of future. Keep watching the name I say. They are already on, but I would not be surprised if more recognitions were on their way….

L’étoile:  75 rue Crozatier 75012 Paris . 01 53 17 02 44

Le Fooding article: