Sunday December 8, 2013
Chocolate ganaches flavored with Guinness beer? Realistic polar bears carved in pure cocoa? Nutty, fruity concoctions called "mendiants" (meaning "beggar", inexplicably) and a couture stiletto heel made of chocolate? It's all in this short but delicious travel video, which takes you on a whirl through the workshops and boutiques of some of Paris' cream-of-the-crop chocolate makers.
Image: Paris chocolate maestro Patrick Roger at his chocolate workshop south of Paris. ©2010 Courtney Traub.
Sunday December 8, 2013
Late last month, Parisians were given a major mood booster in the midst of the late-autumn dark and rain: the city came back to life with light and holiday-inspired cheer. From the Champs-Elysées to Saint-Germain-des-Prés (yes, it rhymes), major thoroughfares around the city were trimmed and adorned in the festive holiday spirit that December in Paris represents so well. And if you're planning to be in town on or around the 25th, Christmas in Paris can be a memorable and relaxed experience, provided you plan well by following our tips for a stress-free Noel. For those of you celebrating Hannukah, several festive events are planned at the Kehilat Gesher center in Paris, and menorah lightings make the city even brighter this month.
Pictured: A Christmas market in Paris in 2011. Jacob Kleinman/Licensed to About.com.
Thursday December 5, 2013
Readers often ask me whether they should consider giving the Paris bike rental scheme, Velib', a chance. I usually tell them that it's a great option for experienced urban cyclists who feel totally confident in their capacities to react to unwieldy behavior from cars and pedestrians, or for those who want to take a spin on bike trails in the vast city parks known as the Bois de Vincennes or Bois de Boulogne. Otherwise, I tend to advise against it as a means of getting around. Consider a bike tour with trained professionals if you really want to get on two wheels to see the city (see our review of one very good one by reading further). And if you nonetheless decide to give the Velib' a whirl on your next trip, make sure to learn about how it all works and read my notes on safety ahead of time by consulting-- and bookmarking for future reference-- the complete guide below.
More Practical Paris Features:
Image credit: LWY/Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons License.
Wednesday December 4, 2013
No visit to Paris would be complete without visiting a few of the city's many beautiful-- or just weird and wonderful-- cathedrals, churches and basilicas. From the commanding splendor of the twelfth-century Notre Dame Cathedral to the thousands of panels of sublime stained glass adorning the nearby Sainte-Chapelle (pictured), or the astounding and legendary effigies of French kings and queens resting at the Basilique de St-Denis, reserving time to visit Paris' most stunning cathedrals and churches is definitely recommended, particularly in the winter months when blustery conditions make outdoor activities less appealing.
Image credit: 2010 Courtney Traub/Licensed to About.com.