Category Archives: Travel

Paris Guide Nikki Rappaport

Paris Guide

Hello from the dead! JK. I’m resurrecting this space as a judgement-free place to write whatever the hell I want this year. I’ve been agonizing over whether to start something new, and maybe I still will, but for now, I still have this space and I can fill it with all the ideas in my head.

I often get asked for my favorite places in Paris and I just spent another week there in November, so I have a few new things to add. Time to update that list and have a home for it all. These are places I would visit or have visited again. Enjoy!

Breakfast at Neighbours in Paris

Coffee & Breakfast

Fragments – This is my favorite coffee shop for many reasons and stop here at lease once every trip. I love the location and the cozy vibes inside. Food is lovely too.

Neighbours – This bright and cheery space has terrazzo walls star tiles on the floor. The tables have colored pencils. And you’ll belly up to kind strangers at the shared tables. Coffee is from a UK roaster and their crumpets (with avocado!) can’t be missed.

Telescope – Go here for a quiet oasis and a good cup after a walk through the Tuileries and Palace Royal.

Ten Bells – Nice little coffee shop on the other side of Canal St. Martin.

Café Oberkamf – Get the green shakshuka!

Holybelly 5 – The hype is real here. Enjoy the fluffy pancakes and happy staff. Get here early (maybe make it your first stop when you arrive & before you can check into your place)

Echo – The bacon is unreal at this hip shop in Sentier.

Sweet Things

Du Pain et des Idées – The chocolate pistachio snail pastry lives up to the hype. You should buy at least two.

Circus Bakery – A cinnamon roll is must, their breads are great.

Popelini – Mini eclairs that are just heavenly. Loved the passionfruit and hazelnut flavors.

Croissants – Here’s my rule for croissants: they’re good mostly everywhere in Paris. Get them often. Doesn’t matter where. Pass a bakery, buy a croissant. You won’t be disappointed.

Pain Pain – Great bakery. Grab something and head up to Montmartre.

Mokonuts – Known for their chocolate chip cookie but also stay for lunch if you can!

Restaurants

I love a good mix of planning dinners but also stumbling upon things. Book a few dinners but also leave room for spontaneity and just popping into a bistro for steak frites.

Frenchie Bar a Vins – I had one of the best meals of my life here. Not just because the food is impeccable – savory and also fun – but because the service is wonderful and happy and the vibe is just great. Because it’s communal tables and no reservations, it’s a very friendly place where you’re bound to chat with people and the world feels charming and small. also, I love Frenchie to Go across the street – the beet Reuben is a great sandwich.

Coinstot Vino – Rowdy little wine tucked away in a passage. Racines is also nearby and highly recommended.

Au Passage – Interesting meal, many great chefs have graduated from here.

Ellsworth – Everyone talks about their fried chicken, and it really is great. I’d recommend booking this with a group of people. My meal was great but wasn’t the best solo dining experience.

Bistrot Paul Bert – A classic French bistro experience but without the fuss. Order dessert.

Ober Mamma/Big Love – I know these restaurants can be overhyped but honestly I love a lot about them. The food is excellent. The mood is so happy and fun. They are very accommodating. Big Love has gluten free pizzas (perfect for my friends) and also my favorite truffle pasta from Ober Mamma.

Le Comptoir – Fave spot in St. Germain to sit outside with great wine and cheese (and escargot!)

Richer – Wonderful interesting food and lovely atmosphere.

Wine & Cocktails

Le Barav – I love this wine bar and how people spill out into the streets to drink. If you want a bottle you go over to their wine shop next door and pick it out. Had some great natural wines here.

Le Mary Celeste – Corner spot with great wine & oysters, and good vibes.

A few others: Déviant, CopperBay, Night Flight, Experimental Cocktail Club

Things to Do/Places to Go

First of all, Paris is my favorite walking city. While the metro is great, I rarely take it because I love walking everywhere. So wear sneakers (bundle up if it’s cold) and walk!

Museums – Picasso, Rodin, l’Orangerie, d’Orsay, Centre Pompidou

Neighborhoods/Areas – Rue Monteguiel, marche les enfants rouges, Rue de Bretagne, walk along canal St. Martin, Jardin du Luxembourg

La Cuisine Paris – If you have time, book one of the many intimate cooking classes here. The instructors are wonderful and you’ll learn a lot about french food – and can bring it home with you!

Bon Marché & Le Grand Epicerie – elegant department store and grocery store, fun to wander around and look at all the things you can’t afford.

Shopping

There’s shopping everywhere in Paris and I certainly won’t be your guide for that, but a few shoutouts to some favorites I’d love to visit again:

Make My Lemonade, Des Petits Hauts, Medecine Douce, Super Shop, Slow Galerie, E. Dehillerin, Papier Tigre, Madeline & Gustave

Where To Stay

Hotels – The Hoxton (hispster, beautiful, fun), Hôtel Fabric (small, boutique, great location), Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal (elegant and more expensive, but I think I found a great rate)

Airbnb – Would recommend this one again.

Bonnes vacannces!

Portland, Maine

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Portland Maine – Eastern Promendade

From a New Years post about resolutions: See the world. It’s time to go exploring. It’s a great feeling to realize you’re accomplishing little goals set months ago. Last weekend I escaped the humidity and wacky DC weather and went to Portland, Maine with Jenna and Tammy.

It’s a quick flight up from DC, but you’ll feel far and away. Our weekend was centered around food – no surprise there, it’s how I met these good friends. But there’s something great about traveling with people who all feel the same way about something. A second coffee shop to compare beans and baked goods? Absolutely. A third lobster roll? Duh. Naps before dinner? Of course.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Portland Maine – Eventide Oyster tunaCupcakes for Breakfast: Portland Maine – Oxbow beerCupcakes for Breakfast: Portland Maine – Eventide Oyster pork Cupcakes for Breakfast: Portland Maine – Lobster Roll at Eventide Cupcakes for Breakfast: Portland Maine

Places to go, things to eat in Portland, Maine

Eventide Oyster Co.– the four photos above are from this seriously special spot. We loved it somuch, we went back twice. Order: brown butter lobster rolls, fried chicken rolls with homemade buttermilk ranch, crispy pork, tuna tartare, fried oyster rolls with tartar sauce, giant homemade ice cream sandwiches.

Oxbow – local Portland brewery. I loved the Grizacca

Speckled Axe – cute coffee shop with the nicest people, wood roasted coffee, and killer cake doughnuts. I didn’t make it to Tandem Coffee, but would have liked to also.

Hugo’s – same (brilliant) owners as Eventide. Tasting menu. Pricey but fantastic, especially if you’re a seafood lover.

Piccolo – a charming little Italian restaurant. The cavatelli pasta with lamb neck ragu, eggplant, orange, and Pecorino was stellar – I want to put orange in all of my pastas now.

Eastern Promenade – loved our long walk along the water here, even on a cloudy morning. We didn’t go, but I heard great things about the Front Room restaurant nearby for brunch.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Portland Maine – Standard Baking Co

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Portland Maine – Becky's Diner Cupcakes for Breakfast: Portland Maine – East End Beach

Standard Baking Co. – fresh bread and baked goods from one of the best. Their cookbooks are fantastic too.

Portland Hunt & Alpine Club – great cocktail bar, cute dudes, awesome decor.

K. Colette – obsessed with this home decor shop downtown. It’s a must-visit for colorful bedding, beautiful gifts, and fun kitchen accessories.

Becky’s Diner – reminds me of NJ diners and summer vacations (Downeyflake on Nantucket) all at once. Perfect on a rainy day. Homemade hash and pancakes were seriously excellent. I wish we all had a Becky’s nearby.

Ok, and just one more lobster roll at Eventide, please.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Portland Maine – Eventide Oyster Co Cupcakes for Breakfast: Portland Maine – East End Beach

Fall Weekend in Vermont

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Fall weekend in Stowe Vermont

I don’t know what’s keeping me from blogging this week really, but I think it’s all good things. Next week I’ll have more to share.

In the meantime, I wanted to share some of my favorite photos from my trip to Stowe, Vermont. It was the best kind of trip with…. beautiful fall colors, fun outdoor activities, great girl talk, relaxing spa time, comfort food, fresh air, good wine.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Fall weekend in Stowe VermontCupcakes for Breakfast: Fall weekend in Stowe Vermont

A few highlights…TopNotch Resort was amazing. The service was spectacular and the views even more so. I’d stay there again in a heartbeat. Prohibition Pig was my favorite meal, even it was just for lunch. Delicious and interesting food + they serve Heady Topper. HT is a local IPA that’s a must-drink when in Vermont. I loved our walk around the Stowe Land Trust, maple lattes from Black Cap Coffee, and cider doughnuts from Cold Hollow. The Burlington Farmer’s Market is full of goodies and the views of Lake Champlain on a sunny day are stunning. Go in mid-October with girlfriends and you won’t be disappointed!

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Fall weekend in Stowe VermontCupcakes for Breakfast: Fall weekend in Stowe Vermont - lake Champlain Cupcakes for Breakfast: Fall weekend in Stowe Vermont - cider doughnuts Cupcakes for Breakfast: Fall weekend in Stowe Vermont - apple mill

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Fall weekend in Stowe Vermont - yellow leavesCupcakes for Breakfast: Fall weekend in Stowe Vermont

Paris Street; Rainy Day

Gustave Caillebotte Paris Street Rainy Day

This Gustave Caillebotte painting is one of my all time favorites. It shows a unglamorous side of my favorite city, but it’s still so magical. I love how you can feel the wetness. If you’re ever in Chicago, go visit this piece at the Art Institute…I could stand in front of it all day. 

Aside from the absence of cars and the top hats, Paris is just the same in the rain now as it was in 1877. It’s grey and wet, but you still feel the magic of the city. Les grands boulevards are actually that grand. Dirt and cigarettes get trapped in between the cobblestone, but it’s still Paris cobblestone and it has so much history. Rainy days were some of my favorite while living there. Maybe because I was outside no matter what every day. No retreating to a couch and a TV. I walked every arrondissement in the rain. Stopped for an espresso or a book store. Crossed bridges. Went through several cheap black umbrellas. Faced fears and learned it’s lovely to be alone.

Even if it’s raining the whole time, I’d go back right away. Paris is my favorite in the fall. In the rain. Allons-y.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Paris Street; Rainy Day

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Paris Street; Rainy Day Cupcakes for Breakfast: Paris Street; Rainy Day

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Paris Street; Rainy DayCupcakes for Breakfast: Paris Street; Rainy Day Cupcakes for Breakfast: Paris Street; Rainy Day

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Paris Street; Rainy DayCupcakes for Breakfast: Paris Street; Rainy Day

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Paris Street; Rainy DayCupcakes for Breakfast: Paris Street; Rainy Day

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