Broken Biscuits

Julia Willard - Broken Biscuits Paris, bicycle Paris

Coucou, Everyone! Just had to share one of my favorite photos and its accompanying story…

A year ago, a friend of a friend told me she had a friend (are you following?) that I just had to meet, as she was about to move to Paris. Great, I thought, I love to meet others with a shared love for Paris. Patty and I agreed to meet in the neighborhood she had chosen to live in for the next 12 months: the 11th. Of the 20 arrondissements in Paris, a handful of them hold much less interest to me than others, and the 11th is one of them. I can’t say I know why this is, but something about it has never had much draw for me. I know there are many loyal onzième-ers out there, so please don’t be offended! Anyway, the good news is, Patty – even before moving to Paris – loved the 11th, so she was totally prepared to share her knowledge of the neighborhood with me.

We made plans for a morning date on what ended up being a rather wet day. I stopped over at her place near a charming small park, then we headed to the nearby and newly-opened Broken Biscuits. We chatted briefly with the two employees then ordered our goodies and settled into the front two seats. As you can see from the exterior photo, it’s a very small space, so we were lucky to get the best seats in the house.

Not too many people stopped in in the time we were sitting there, but the story that goes along with the shot of me in the window is one of my all-time favorite photo stories. You see, a woman with the red grocery cart walked up first, and parked her market purchases right out front. Seeing this, I interrupted Patty, and hopped outside to take a photo. What a cute shot, right? Within a couple of minutes, though, a man on this lovely blue bike parked it right in front, and perfectly, too. You see, it’s not leaning, it’s not locked up, it’s just perfectly positioned in front of the shop front.

At this point, Patty was 100% in on the impromptu photo shoot as well, and we knew we had to be quick about it because these customers would be served within minutes. We both jumped up and shot each other sitting poetically in the front window in what had been an already-darling scene, but the elements that came along just made it that much better.

Julia Willard, Julie Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Holland photography, waterlogue, tinrocket, Paris, colorful France, France photography
Pâtisseries and tea goodies
Julia Willard, Julie Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Holland photography, waterlogue, tinrocket, Paris, colorful France, France photography
Scones and hot tea

Julia Willard, Julie Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Holland photography, waterlogue, tinrocket, Paris, colorful France, France photography

Photo taken a year ago by Ms. Paris On a Dime

10 Passage Rochebrune, 75011 Paris
Wed-Fri 8:30am-7pm
Sat-Sun 11-7pm


Thankful Thursdays – Menu Diversity

Nanashi Paris, Paris Japanese food, bento Paris, Juli Willard, Falling Off Bicycles

Am I writing about food too much? Haha. Sometimes I just flip through my photos and find pictures of such memorable meals that I had to capture them for posterity. I have now been to Nanashi in Paris several times (sigh, why wasn’t it there when I lived around the corner from one in 2007?!), and it still stands out to me as one of the most fun healthy and fresh dining options in Paris. In my travel consulting work, I get asked about the best restaurants in Paris, usually by people who are expecting an epic meaty meal the French have mastered over centuries (or so they say). I have a list of places that I’ve heard about over the years or have been to with meat eaters, but otherwise I have to direct them elsewhere for guidance, as my main dining list is one of my favorite spots in Paris for fresh meals like the one above (and yes, Nanashi has non-veg meals, too). As I mention often, the culinary scene in Paris is breaking open to include more than just entrecôte or parmentier de confit de canard, and I for one welcome it with open arms.

Nanashi – Bento Parisien
57 rue Charlot
75003 Paris
Phone: 09 60 00 25 59

31 rue de Paradis
75010 Paris
Phone: 01 40 22 05 55

Thankful Thursdays – Meeting New People

Cafe Central Paris, Falling Off Bicycles, Patricia Parisienne Last year, as you all know by now, I had the wonderful opportunity to contribute to the book, My Paris Story: Living, Loving, and Leaping without a Net in the City of Light. Contributing to this book has afforded me many cool opportunities (and still is), including meeting some incredible women I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise. Our group of fascinating women includes ladies from all over the world with such diverse stories and backgrounds. Even with several mutual acquaintances, it wasn’t until this book came to be that I got to meet Mlle Tricia of the popular blog Patricia Parisienne. We finally set aside some time to chat and get to know one another better over a petit déj at Café Central on rue Cler last year. Here’s our picturesque breakfast, complete with fresh squeezed O.J., steeping tea, rich croissants, and lots of laughter.

Ever so thankful for new friends to add to my ever-growing expat family.

Petit Déj in Paris

IMG_4498As I plow through my summer reading list, much of which centers around Paris and its delectable goodies, I think back to some of my most memorable petit déj around Paris. I am not one to have a long list of must-hits in Paris. I tire of reading and hearing about the same spots. I prefer to wander about as I do so well and happen upon a breakfast spot. After all, there’s a lot you can gather about the yumminess of its breakfast offerings by how many people are congregated out front on any given morning. And thank goodness for those terraces… they’re better than online reviews in helping to determine if a place is worth my euros.

At my last apartment, right next to Canal Saint Martin, I took regular long morning walks in all directions. One of my favorite routes for when I didn’t mind being amidst the bustle of the city was through the haut Marais and around by Bastille. Usually I was dressed for a serious workout (😉), but on occasion I would put on sensible clothing au cas où there was a good reason to stop.

One of those “sensibly dressed” mornings I found myself unable to resist the temptation of that freshly baked bread scent. Only this time, not only was I sensibly dressed, I was also carrying a bit of money with me. Jackpot! I zeroed in on a rather nondescript place on rue Saint Antoine terrace dwellers were lingering over some sort of Eggs Benedict, it appeared. The care that looked to have gone into that was all that I needed; I found a cozy spot facing the busy street and waited for the server to arrive. Although it had been a fancy brunch dish that had lured me in, I am not one for frou frou breakfast dishes unless I know all the details of how it was made. It’s Paris anyway, who needs more than a croissant or a crêpe? Me, it turns out. Yep, I ordered not just a croissant, not just a crêpe, but both. And it was perfect.

Sweet Treat in Paris

macarons Paris

Back in 2012, a friend of mine let me stay in his very nice place on rue Gay Lussac for a few weeks, in the 5th arrondissement, where (at the time) I had spent very little time. If you’re not familiar with the street, perhaps knowing that it was just around the corner from the Luxembourg Gardens gives you a hint of its lovely location. Usually, my route to get home from a day out in Paris took me down Boulevard Saint Michel (which borders the Gardens), past Quick and other unfortunate fast food restaurants, then up rue Gay Lussac. Day after day, I would pass this modern looking pastry shop with dozens and dozens of colorful macarons sitting in the windows and display cases longing to be taken to a Parisian park and savored. Alas, I caved one day but limited myself to a mere half dozen. It was just enough for a sampling of the flavors and to get a sense of the quality. Now, I do not tout myself as a macaron connoisseur (though I have had my fair share over the years). If memory serves, the flavors I chose were: Mangue Passion, Praliné noisettes, Pistache grillotte, Caramel fleur de sel, Café, and Ganache chocolate Noir.

I was unfamiliar with this patissier at the time, and really haven’t heard much of Franck Kestener since, but I must say his macarons are on par with the best I have had anywhere in Paris. Crispy shells, moeulleux insides, and rich flavors. I recommend this place enthusiastically.

macarons Paris

7 r Gay Lussac
Tel: 01 43 26 40 91

Ouvert le dimanche et le lundi de 11H00 à 20H00
Mardi au Samedi de 10H00 à 20H00

Lili’s Brownies

Lili's Brownies Paris

A few years ago most likely during one of my Paris wanderings, I discovered rue du Dragon in the 6ème arrondissement. I’ve written about Cartes d’Art before, as it is the first shop I was charmed by on this short street, but I have since discovered other wonderful shops and restaurants within steps of the location of my first coup de cœur. Just down the street, closer to St. Sulpice, there is a charming little café with rather untraditional goodies. Lili’s Brownies specializes in flavored cakes of about a dozen flavors each day. You can buy a slice for around 2.50€ or you can purchase entire loaves. (DANGER!) The cakes are proper cakes and not any of these unfortunate French imitations. They are both dense and moist, and most importantly, they are delicious. My favorite is the orange cake with hardened chocolate glaze on it. It is so divine, that I always hesitate to try others, however yummy they may look. Be sure to pair your cake with one of their fresh fruit juices. Choices include: kiwi, mango, strawberry banana, orange, and more.

I asked to take a photo of them, but they declined, saying “ce n’est pas possible”. Never mind that it is indeed “possible”, they are protective of their cakes, and frankly I don’t blame them.

Lili's Brownies Paris
Yummy fresh juices to choose from


Falling Off Bicycles
A dozen or so loaves to choose from

Falling Off Bicycles Paris

La Grande Mosquée

I’ve never been a coffee drinker, which thus far has kept me from getting sucked into the ever-growing coffee scene in Paris. I am, however, a big fan of tea and always on the lookout for new tea places to try. On a recent excursion with my friend Pam, we headed off after a lovely lunch at Café Pinson to the Jardin des Plantes, only to follow it up with a stop at the Grande Mosquée de Paris. I had heard about this place and put it on my list but had still not made it over there yet. We had a beautiful day, so we took seats outside in the beautiful courtyard. A proper mint tea is served for 2€ in a setting that evokes images of how I imagine Morocco to be with its splendid colors and stark whites. If only those traditional tea cups were about triple the size… 🙂

La Grande Mosquée de Paris

La Grande Mosquée








La Grande Mosquée de Paris

Halloween Treats in Paris

This post is a reblog from my other blog Intrepid Voyageuse.
Paris is amazing for the senses- every one of them. I can’t think of any other place I’ve ever been that is more of a hotspot of stimulation, whether it’s the honking cars, the scent of fresh pastries baking nearby, the metro trains screeching to a halt, a crusty piece of bread in hand, or the glistening lights of the city’s countless monuments. One thing I try to do being the eternal tourist that I am and therefore photographing all the time, is to capture what I see to then be able to share it with others. Wouldn’t it be grand if we could capture smells and feelings to share with others?
Halloween Treats Paris
Found: Halloween Treats in Paris!
Having the sweet tooth that I do, I think it only appropriate to talk sweets in this inaugural post. Taste buds rejoice upon entrance in France, as every mouthful of food consumed here seems a harmonious fusion of flavors not replicated elsewhere. As Halloween will soon be upon us, and my nostalgia for days of dressing up in custom costumes made by Mom creeps into my daily thoughts, what excitement you can imagine I felt when I saw a small but charming patisserie in the 12th arrondissement paying homage to one of America’s favorite holidays. Ghosts and jack-o-lanterns gracing one of France’s most famous art forms? I couldn’t believe it.
Halloween Treats Paris!

It’s true, they aren’t nearly as pretty as the traditional tartes and gateaux (see photo), but for the short life of the treat after purchase, it was a joyous melding of my two favorite worlds: home and Paris.

Halloween Treats in Paris!
Yum yum!!

Honoré Pâtissier
237 Rue de Charenton
75012 Paris
Tél : +33.(0)

Square Léopold Achille

When in Paris, it’s important to do as the Parisians do. One day this summer, I was fed up working inside and decided to go for a walk a little before lunchtime. I ended up getting so far away from home, that I couldn’t wait to return to eat lunch. I decided that lunch in a park was precisely what a Parisienne would do in such a situation, so I found the nearest boulangerie and headed to a park just across the street. I had never been to this parc, or more accurately, square, but it was a lovely little find in the Marais.

While the square itself is rather nondescript, it’s the people watching that’s the most fun. There’s always some interesting character walking through, feeding the pigeons, sleeping on a bench, or just sitting quietly eating lunch. It’s so nice – and even calming – to watch silently and wonder where these people have come from, and where they’ll head to next.