Baguettes at Eric Kayser. Photo via parisbymouth.com.
Apparently the whole of New York respects and pays homage to Paris the way we Francophiles do, or they are doing a great job of pretending. While amazing French restos this side of the pond aren’t a new thing—Balthazar, Le Bernardin and Benoit come to mind—the macaron craze has hit New York hard. Ladurée, Financier and Bisous Ciao are some of the suggestions Amy Thomas gives in her darling book Paris My Sweet. But the passion for Paris in New York doesn’t stop there. Real French bread is coming to town! Shall we all say a prayer? I’ve been waiting for a decent baguette in NYC for 20-plus years. Finally someone listened.
Eric Kayser, one of the most important bakers in Paris, has decided we’ve waited long enough. He is known for his seeded flûtes with sesame and poppy and his baguette Monge, but I’m sure that just entering the shop and ordering a plain French baguette will transport me back to Paris in an instant (if it’s anything like his locations in Paris). Hot buttery croissants—I’m going there ASAP, but if you’ve already visited the shop, please report back with your review on our Facebook page.
Macarons at Ladurée.
A way to stay connected to all the Francophile places and experiences in NYC is to check out the website New York in French. Fabrice Jaumont, a Frenchman who works for the French embassy, heads up this user-friendly site in his free time, letting users post their events and their finds so you’ll always be in the know.
Beyond the big names like YSL, Chloé and the like, newer, younger designers like Isabel Marant and Zadig & Voltaire have come to our shores. Both have that distinct Parisian bobo look (hip bohemian): Zadig & Voltaire goes for a rocker Parisian chic, while Isabel Marant offers very slightly more adult wares.
If you want to shop a bunch of French brands, head to Boutique Ludivine, either uptown or downtown. Open since 2005, Ludivine brings you Vanessa Bruno, Carven, Jérôme Dreyfuss and more.
Isabel Marant. Photo by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. Published in Vanity Fair, January 2011.
In home decor, Les Toiles du Soleil has brought Basque-style linens our way, so you, too, can get your Brooklyn patio cushions covered in colorful stripes to Frenchify your gritty outdoor space. Or just a pair of the shop’s espadrilles can liven up my day.
Have you heard about the luscious creams and skin products that Caudalie produces? The daughter of the owner of Château Smith Haut Lafitte, not far from Bordeaux, was an early creator of the concept of vinotherapy, in which grape skins and seeds—the by-products of wine making—are used to create sweet-smelling and good-for-you products. While the first Caudalie spa was established at the vineyard, there’s now one in New York, at the Plaza hotel, where you, too, can enjoy a wine-fused treatment. Once you buy one of the creams, you’ll come back begging for more, as the scent is intoxicating and addictive.
Frédéric Malle perfume.
For some of the sweetest Parisian scents around, check out Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle. Frédéric Malle perfumes have been around since 2000 when Malle, the grandson of Christian Dior Parfums founder Serge Heftler, created his first boutique in Paris. Now, thankfully, he’s opened his own store right on Madison Avenue, where you can test out Le Parfum de Thérèse and Angéliques sous la Pluie or the Girls’ Guide favorite, Portrait of a Lady. The Madison Avenue space, with art deco touches, was designed by French architect Patrick Naggar.
While organic wines and wine bars have entered the lexicon of New Yorkers, the full-fledged craze that you find in Paris for them has not. That said, it’s still pretty tough to get into the tiny Ten Bells on Broome Street, which serves organic, natural and biodynamic wines and small bites, as does Black Mountain Winehouse and Thirst Bar à Vin, both in Brooklyn.
The Ten Bells. Photo: Time Out Magazine.
With so many options for satisfying your Francophilia in New York, one could create a completely Parisian weekend itinerary in which all meals, excursions and shopping would be 100 percent French-approved—and you’ll even have time to relax at the spa at the end of the day.
Paris in NY Checklist/Related Links
Try the fruits de mer platters, just like those in Paris or Brittany!
The very best fish restaurant in NY for many, many years now.
By Alain Ducasse. Expect perfect bistro food and homemade charcuterie.
Finally the iconic macaron shop is in NY!
Opened by New Yorkers but feels like France.
Creativity in a small sweet package.
Paris My Sweet
A sweet read by a former GG2P writer.
Not for those low-carb days. Watch the video “Eric Kayser: How to Recognize a Good Baguette.”
Girls’ Guide to Paris Facebook page
New York in French
Informative website with a calendar of NY events for Francophiles.
The darling of Paris.
Zadig & Voltaire
Paris chic with some California cool and a dash of rock and ’n’ roll added in.
If I could be outfitted here from head to toe, I’d be happy.
Les Toiles du Soleil
Basque stripes galore.
Sniff and adore.
Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle
A bounteous selection of luxurious perfumes.
The Ten Bells
Tiny natural wine bar on the Lower East Side.
Black Mountain Winehouse
Brooklyn-bound + cozy fireplace = perfect for frosty fall nights.
Thirst Bar à Vin
Simple, honest food and natural wine.
Editor’s note: Did you know that your GG2P Travel Club card can be used in New York, too, at Flûte for une coupe de champagne? While you can of course use it to shop in France, you can also use it online wherever you are—just visit the Online Shopping section of the GG2P Travel Club partners page and receive 10 to 15 percent off all purchases. The card will pay for itself in no time!