OCCUPATION: Travel Agent, Voyageurs du Monde
MY STYLE: Casual chic, a bit of “rural” as I spend a lot of time in the countryside or abroad. My favorite brands are Gerard Darel and Les Petites. And Aigle for rubber boots!
I LOVE PARIS BECAUSE: You can escape easily! Normandy and Burgundy are two hours away by car and about three and a half by train. Depending on the weather, you can ski or relax by the beach.
Le Café qui Parle
This Montmartre restaurant offers high-class food in a friendly, laidback environment. The dinner menu offers heavy-hitting dishes of steak, risotto, and vegetable pasta, while the weekend brunch buffet consists of lighter fare. Both are très bon! After dropping the kids off at school, Emilie Patou likes to spend some alone time at Le Café qui Parle, reading the paper while enjoying the fresh orange juice and homemade jams.
Place du Tertre
The heart of Montmartre is admittedly touristy, but worth a look after hiking up the steps for the view from the beautiful Basilique du Sacré Coeur. Amateur portrait artists now fill the square where Picasso and Maurice Utrillo once walked, but you can still get a taste of established genius at the Espace Dalí, just steps away. Sometimes even the locals are in the mood for a little faux charm. “My quarier is great for walking around at night. The kids don’t have school on Wednesday mornings, so on Tuesday nights, we play the perfect tourists by going to Montmartre and buying ice creams for the whole family!” says Emilie Patou.
Parc de Bagatelle
Thanks to a bet made with Marie Antoinette, the Comte d’Artois built the “folly” of Bagatelle in two months. Or rather, he employed hundreds of men to work day and night to do it for him, resulting in the little chateau and Chinese style popular at the time. Since then, the park has undergone various changes. At the hand of landscape architect Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier, it gained a rose garden that remains a highlight to this day. “The rose garden, orangerie, and pavillons d’époque are great for romantic parents, and the kids will love running after peacocks. There are also delicious crêpes at the kiosk,” says Emilie Patou.
In Paris, a good cheese shop is not hard to find, but this pungent paradise is a cut above. Look for the awning adorned with the shop’s logo of a mouse, a heart, and a slice of Swiss. Inside, you’ll find a range of delicious cheeses, including brugère, an unpasteurized chèvre from France’s Cantal region. Fromagerie Lepic has found a way not to take itself too seriously while remaining seriously French—cheese in the shape of the Eiffel Tower is available!
Marchés aux Puces
This legendary flea market got its start centuries ago, when men would sell goods they had found in garbages around town. These entrepreneurs were called “pêcheurs de lune,” or “fishermen of the moon” (count on the French to find romance even in seedy circumstances!). Today, the wares are decidedly classier, or at least cleaner, but the “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” mentality lives on every Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. “You never know what sort of antique you’ll discover. For kids, there are interesting old toys from the ’60s,” says Emilie Patou. The market is actually made up of a series of smaller markets, each with its own feel. Serpette is a favorite for furniture, paintings, and mirrors. Pickpockets are common, but there’s really no need to carry a lot of cash, because many of the dealers accept credit cards.