Where is spring in Paris?

Ladurée strawberries

Where is spring in Paris? I am asking this as cold rain is pouring on the first day of May. The weather of the past few days makes you hesitant to shed your winter coat. It even snowed in France last week. So how can we make sure spring is present in our everyday lives as it ought to be by now?


Spring for me reveals itself first and foremost in nature, with flowers blooming and birds happily chirping about. Which is why I fled to the flower market on the Ile de la Cité a few weeks ago when the weather was really dreary. Located a minute away from Notre-Dame-de-Paris, the lush alleys bordered by all sorts of plants and flowers will make you forget that you are in the middle of a bustling city. On Sundays, the experience is even stronger as the market welcomes birds that sing their heart out.






To be honest, I first realized it was supposed to be spring in Paris when I noticed this box in a Ladurée window a couple of months ago.

Ladurée box

The gourmet stores have managed to bring us welcomed touches of sunshine: desserts made with spring fruits and decorated with flowers can only cheer you up.

Ladurée framboise fraises

Pierre Hermé


Fauchon éclair

To create a warm atmosphere in my apartment, I favor an old trick of the trade: candles with floral or green fragrances such as Diptyque’s spring selection or Cire Trudon’s Prolétaire. There is nothing more heart-warming though than sniffing a spring-like scent that you love on your wrist. For me, that would be my old favorite Chanel N°19 with notes of iris, moss and white flowers. I also splurged on Guerlain’s L’Heure de Nuit: when I tried this new perfume with bergamot, orange blossom, iris, jasmine, rose, and musk, I had to have it.


And what should we wear? I’m not sure I’d recommend the light summer clothes sold in stores for nowadays, as I would not want you to catch pneumonia. I find it easier to play on accessories: a silk Hermès scarf tied around a sparkly Vanessa Bruno bag can easily cheer up any look. The same goes for pastel and bright nail polish: French natural brand Kure Bazaar has great new colors for this season.


Kure Bazaar vernis bleu

And lastly, because art is the solution to many things, I love to get lost in the paintings of Impressionists to believe that I am actually walking in Giverny. These pictures of Monet’s water lilies were taken at Musée Marmottan, but I’d suggest you’d rather go to the breathtaking Musée de l’Orangerie to admire them.


Musée Marmottan Claude Monet 2 tableaux


Has spring really set in where you live? What are your favorite things about this season?

La Manufacture du Chocolat Alain Ducasse in Paris

Ducasse chocolat boite

I am savoring a box of exquisite chocolates as I’m typing this post. Star chef Alain Ducasse opened his first chocolate boutique ever in Paris last week, and as a choco-addict of course I had to visit and come back home with a little souvenir.


The boutique is located near Place de la Bastille, quite an unusual area for a luxury gourmet shop. Actually, all the chocolates are made in a factory in the same building, meaning there were many constraints in terms of space. And La Manufacture du Chocolat is a mere 10-minute walk away from Le Marais.

Ducasse chocolat manufacture

One has to know about the boutique to get there: no sign in the street indicates that it is located in a cute courtyard. The chocolate factory with its big burlap bags full of cocoa beans and machinery is the first thing you see, recalling that La Manufacture du Chocolat Alain Ducasse is all about craftsmanship. As for the boutique itself, it is not a secret place anymore: it was crammed with people to the point that it was hard to get around.

Ducasse chocolat boutique

The chocolate bars (75 grams for 6 €) were the most popular but I decided to go for more diversity and treated myself to a “discovery box” at 28 €.

Ducasse chocolat boite decouverte

The box itself is surprisingly simple yet elegant. Compared to Les Marquis de Ladurée which I tried 2 weeks ago, the Ducasse chocolates are more refined and conventional in taste. The perfumes of the ganaches and pralines are also much more subdued. By visiting La Manufacture du Chocolat Alain Ducasse, you will discover chocolate in its diversity of origins (Peru, Venezuela, Madagascar…) coming straight from the neighboring factory with a purely artisanal production process.  Les Marquis de Ladurée chocolates are the pretty box that you give to someone as a present whereas Ducasse chocolates would be those you serve with coffee on a silver tray. Speaking of which, La Manufacture du Chocolat supplies Ducasse’s restaurants in France, Monaco and London.

My favorite? The peanut praline (maybe because I miss the peanut butter brownies from Whole Foods…)

Ducasse chocolats

Now that I’ve tried Ducasse chocolates, I dream of dining at his restaurant at the Eiffel Tower, the Jules Verne, especially after reading the reviews of my friends Lani and Milla. What is your latest culinary find or desire?

La Manufacture du chocolat Alain Ducasse 40 rue de la Roquette Paris (métro Bastille)

Ducasse chocolat sac

Si je déguste des chocolats exquis en écrivant ce billet, c’est que j’ai visité la toute nouvelle chocolaterie Ducasse ouverte depuis mercredi. C’est la première fois que le chef multi-étoilé ouvre une boutique de ce type, d’où la grande curiosité médiatique et l’affluence de clients curieux comme moi dès ce premier weekend.

La chocolaterie est située à Bastille, lieu étonnant pour une boutique gastronomique même si on est à 10 minutes du Marais. C’est que la manufacture attenante, où tous les chocolats sont produits, posait de nombreuses contraintes en termes d’espace. Très discrète, sans enseigne sur la rue, la chocolaterie est nichée au fond d’une jolie cour. On aperçoit d’abord à travers la vitre la manufacture avec ses sacs de fèves et ses grosses machines avant de pousser la porte de la boutique. Celle-ci s’est révélée fort étroite vue le nombre de clients au point où c’en était désagréable ; à voir si ce n’est qu’un effet passager dû à la nouveauté.

Les tablettes de 75 gr. pour 6 € étaient populaires mais comme je voulais un peu de diversité dans les goûts j’ai opté pour la boite découverte à 28 €. Côté packaging, Ducasse a misé sur une sobriété industrielle mais élégante avec une simple boite en carton. Comparé aux Marquis de Ladurée testé il y a 2 semaines, ces chocolats sont beaucoup plus fins et conventionnels en termes de goûts, les parfums des ganaches et pralines étant parfois à peine perceptibles. Chez Ducasse on cherche d’abord à faire découvrir le chocolat dans sa variété d’origines (Pérou, Venezuela, Madagascar…) avec une fabrication artisanale purement maison. Les Marquis de Ladurée, c’est la boite de chocolat qu’on offre en cadeau pour faire plaisir alors que chez Ducasse, c’est le chocolat que l’on sert avec le café sur un plateau en argent. D’ailleurs, la chocolaterie fournit les restaurants Ducasse de France, Londres et Monaco. Mes préférés ? Les pralinés à l’ancienne à la noix de coco et ceux à la cacahuète qui m’ont donné l’impression de déguster un peanut butter de luxe.

Sacré Ducasse ! Je rêve toujours de dîner à son restaurant de la Tour Eiffel, le Jules Verne, depuis que j’ai lu les critiques de mes amies Lani et Milla. Et vous, quelle est votre envie ou découverte culinaire du moment ?

La Manufacture du chocolat Alain Ducasse 40 rue de la Roquette Paris (métro Bastille)