December 18, 2009

Cartes d'Art - Setting the Record for How Long I Can Spend in a Shop

I love Saint Germain. No, not Boulevard Saint Germain so much, with all those frou-frou shops. I love the area more down toward Saint Sulpice where everything is gloriously charming.

I don’t even remember how it happened, but a couple of years ago I came across this wonderful little shop in the 6ème called Cartes d’Art and now I’m ashamed to admit how much I spend on cards there. But I don’t even have to buy anything to feel good in this shop. It satisfies the writer in me; it makes me want to write, whether it’s a note to a friend, an observation in the metro, or a diary entry.

That is because they sell more than just their own darling signature post cards. They also sell their very own lines of notepads and notebooks splattered with all the cutest French characters and sayings you could imagine. It’s enough to make me buy a new cahier every time I see the latest designs – even if I haven’t filled the last one! The shop carries other lines of cards too, just not in their entirety. It is clear, though, that the buyers look for cards with similar charm to that of Cartes d’Art because I cannot stress how super mignons they all are! If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend this little shop on this quiet but charming street.

9 rue du Dragon
75006 Paris

December 1, 2009

Café Charlot, rue de Bretagne

So there is this charming little café nestled in the heart of the Marais that I just can’t get enough of. I first discovered the place when I lived just a couple of blocks away and would pass a corner space under construction every day. Being a lover, as we’ve already established, of all things food (well, almost), I was excited when I saw that the space was possibly going to be a new neighborhood boulangerie, as the sign over the corner entrance was one of those wonderful old Boulangerie signs. Day after day, I watched the progress, every day hoping that it would open before I was set to move away.

When I eventually realized that it was not in fact going to be a Boulangerie but rather a café, I can’t say I was disappointed. Tant mieux if it was going to be a place for me to pop down for a tasty dinner or just a drink with a friend! I finally had the chance to make my inaugural visit one day when my friend and I had spent the morning at Carreau du Temple looking for famous people attending Stella McCartney’s fashion show. Exhausted after chasing Anna Wintour et al, we found we needed a French breakfast, so at my suggestion we headed to Café Charlot. That first time I finally made it inside after all those months of anticipation, I was mesmerized by its ambiance. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not the Plaza Athenée or something. The attraction of it for me is that it’s just that: me… the precise way I would design a café, with its white subway tiles all over, fan light fixtures, and beautiful yet understated bar. I had a delicious croissant with possibly the best hot chocolate I have ever had. It was like a melted candy bar very much reminiscent of Angelina’s hot chocolate l’Africain only better.

Photo by M. Zimbeck

In subsequent trips to Café Charlot, I have taken a slightly less indulgent hot drink. The first time I ordered it, I was pleasantly surprised when my order of mint tea came out in a traditional Moroccan tea pot with traditional tea cozy and, of course, real mint leaves. As if I needed one more reason to love this place.

Photo by MuFoo
Café Charlot is a great place to get breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or just to take a drink. If you’re in need of a place to work, you can always take your laptop and take advantage of their free WiFi. Enjoy!

Café Charlot
38, rue de Bretagne 
75004 Paris 
Tél.: 01 44 54 03 30
Metro: St. Sebastien Froissart – République – Arts et Métiers
Open daily from 7am to 2am