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“Goodbye Tall Latté, Hello Café Crème”

By the time you read this, I’ll be happily transplanted back in Paris after a whirlwind week in New York with only one purpose in mind: to get my daughter installed in her new apartment in the West Village.

Thanks to all of you readers, we learned a lot about New York: How to best get to IKEA (take the free ferry from Pier 11 direct to IKEA in Brooklyn every 20 minutes, which we did successfully), who really has the best croissants in New York (according to “Brad” who wrote:

( X ) I care about croissants.
( ) I look high and low to find the best.
( X ) I know the Patisserie Claude.
( ) I don’t know the Patisserie Claude.
( ) but I soon will. Thanks for the tip.
( ) The best can be found at: LaFayette French Pastry, 24 Greenwich Avenue between 10th and 11th Streets
( ) I don’t care about croissants.
( X ) Comments
I love croissants. I particularly enjoy them with butter, strawberry jam, and a soft-boiled egg, 3 and 1/2 minutes. Oh…and a good strong cup of coffee seasoned with French Vanilla.)…

and that one can love New York and Paris for very different reasons.

As we trekked all over Manhattan in search of sofas, furnishings and housewares, the decision to become a “Greenwich Villager” was confirmed by visiting the other districts of Manhattan that don’t feel quite as ‘human-scale’ or as much like Le Marais, where my offspring spent most of her formative years. The narrow streets and little independent merchants of the Village are reminiscent of our own little neighborhood (around rue de Bretagne) that’s becoming too chic for ‘its own britches.’

One of the things we noticed when looking for furnishings is how different the styles are. While European appliances are notoriously complicated to operate (one must have a PhD to operate a washing machine), the designs are more contemporary. Furnishings have the same differences — even in New York where you would expect tastes to be quite sophisticated, styles are largely traditional and classic. We were looking for black and gray upholstery, almost impossible to find compared to the tans and browns.

I suppose that when one is drowning in history that anything contemporary is refreshing, but for those who have little history on which to rely, a classic environment can feel somehow stable and reassuring. Still we managed to find everything for a new apartment one can dream of, with the exception of just the perfect coffee table, and shockingly, IKEA was a disappointment, coming home with only a bit of lighting for the bathroom under our arms.

There is as much French spoken on the streets of New York as there is English in Paris, not to mention lots of other languages and dialects in English. The Europeans are clearly taking advantage of their strong euro, however waning at the moment. In case you haven’t been paying attention, the dollar has gained in strength considerably, now boasting of about $1.35 to the euro. It hasn’t been this strong (or the euros so weak against it) since mid 2007. Now’s your chance to take advantage of it in reverse!

(To learn more, visit our partner currency specialist, HIFX.)

A week may not seem like long to be away from Paris, but in some ways it feels like an eternity. In just a few hours, Starbucks will be a thing of the past as I settle in for a Café Crème at the Cafe du Marché and a delicious croissant from the corner “boulangerie.”

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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P.S. Be sure to mark your calendars for next Tuesday, October 14th at La Pierre du Marais to join us for our monthly Après Midi gathering and to help celebrate my birthday! Visit parlerparis.com/apresmidi.html for more information.

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