Tuesday, 26 November 2013

{Fondue au Chocolat}

Close friends & family - frankly, anyone I meet - will know that I'm quite the fan of chocolate. The guy made of chocolate in that Lynx ad? My perfect man. Last weekend I wandered down the Champs Elysées Christmas Market, practically drooling at the selection of chocolate on display. 

However, it must be said that the chocolate there had nothing on my latest find. I wish I didn't have to give my secret away, but it's too good not to share! The other weekend, I stumbled upon Les Fondues au Chocolat in Saint-Germain. This is the sight that greets you upon entering the boutique...

So. Much. Chocolate. The very lovely lady - who told me her shop was the only one in France to exclusively sell chocolate fondue - served us taste after taste of the good stuff. She sure does know her combinations too; pairing the best combos of fruit & biscuit with the perfect chocolate flavour. We remained at the tasting station for us long as possible, until the chocolate actually spilled out of my mouth and down my scarf - and then I deemed it time to move on. 

Ceramic pots upon pots line the walls of the little shop, with every possible chocolate flavour you can imagine. Apparently there are around thirty different ones, I've got my eyes on Chocolate Orange, Praline & Raspberry for my next visit. OKAY fine I've got my eyes on all of them. Here's a list of just a few..

We made our choice (Crushed Almonds) and promised to be back.. I think from my chocolate-stained face the lady knew I wouldn't let her down. Back home, we set up our little pot of heaven in a bain-marie for 10-15 minutes while we chopped up some fresh fruit from the market. It was just divine, a touch of luxury in my little Parisian studio...

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Sunday, 24 November 2013

{Cocktails in Saint Germain}

For Kaat's last night in Paris, we wanted to do something special. So we picked up some champagne (OK fine, sparkling wine) and other goodies, and had a little pre-night out picnic chez moi while we got ready. We hopped on the metro full of fizz, headed for Saint Germain...

You can't see in this photo, but Kaat was wearing the most amazing sequin leggings, from H&M I believe. They were a grand success; all night she had people coming up and complimenting her disco ball pants. Little magpies...

My Parisienne friend Clementine had given us the scoop on the best bars in Saint-Germain for 'cocktails and cute boys,' but before we got there we were stopped in our tracks by this amazing 'Cupcatier'. Hvae you been to Cupcakes et Macarons? It's the smallest cupcake shop in Paris (next to Mabillon metro stop), as the lady behind the counter proudly told us. And boy is it tiny, just the beginning of a hallway really. I'm told what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in delicious cupcakes. Plus, it's open to 1am at the weekends, for a post-cocktail sugar hit! Oh Paris, things like this are why I love you.

If you're heading out for cocktails in Saint-Germain I recommend cruising the Rue du Seine. Our first stop was La Bar du Marché, a buzzing café/bar serving up beautifully-served cocktails by men in dungarees. Make sure to grab a seat outside for the best atmosphere and views. This is a real local hangout which makes it perfect for people-watching - Saint-Germain is the 'Parisienne' playground.

Our next stop was Café La Palette, just a small stumble walk up the road from La Bar du Marché. Here the service wasn't as good, as it was extremely busy, but they made up for it in other ways. We ordered our cocktails, but it had now hit midnight and we were feeling peckish. Glancing around at the other tables we spotted this mouth-watering charcuterie platter and we just had to have it. Everyone knows meat is the best accompaniment to cocktails, right? It definitely lived up to all expectations.

After our midnight 'snack' we headed to Nuba, a rooftop club on the other side of Paris to my humble abode. Sadly, although the location was beautiful (with a view over the Seine) - the club was pretty much empty. I'm told it's buzzing in the summer, so we may have to wait til then. Still, we had a perfect night of cocktails & meat in Saint-Germain, so we jumped in a taxi home without hesitation. Our driver took us all the way along the river, which meant incredible views and lots of squealing at famous monuments. A fabulous end to a fabulous weekend.

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Tuesday, 19 November 2013


Last weekend I ventured home to England for a long, glorious weekend of catch-ups and cups of tea. One of the most exciting parts, though, was that I was finally due an upgrade to an I-Phone! I've been deprived of one since the start of my contract, when myself and some friends charmed our way onto Centre Court at Wimbledon and managed to catch Heather Watson play. Well, I got so excited I dropped my brand-new (back then) I-Phone 4 on the floor and smashed it... making the free tennis tickets altogether less satisfying. Anyway, the best thing about being reunited with Apple? Instagram.

One evening, Ian & I decided to visit the much talked about Meat Liquor, just off Bond Street. Serendipitously, it was their Birthday that day - so if you brought along a helium balloon for each diner then you got half off the bill, result! While the cocktails were delicious & my simple bacon burger was to die for, we agreed that the cheese fries, Philly cheese steak & spicy wings were distinctly below average. Lesson learnt - the places with the most hype aren't always the best!

London was looking beautifully wrapped up in its Christmas lights, but I barely had a moment to blink before I was back in Paris - and greeted by a rare blue sky! On the photo below I'm using the Beautiful Mess app, which is just dreamy. Do join me over on Instagram, I'm @LotMill. 

The only downside to all this new I-Phone excitement? I had already purchased this beautiful case from Rifle Paper Co in the US in anticipation. Imagine my disappointment on discovering that the I-Phone 5 has been discontinued, so my only choices were the 5s and 5c! I went with the 5c (the cheaper option), but sadly this means my new phone doesn't fit in my lovely case. It does however fit all the 5 or 5s, so I am looking to sell it to one lucky lady (or feminine man). 

Although there is no packaging (I literally ripped the parcel open in excitement) the case is in perfect condition. All I've done is try it on my phone, you know, just in case. I paid $45.55 including shipping, which translates to roughly £28 or €34. I'm selling the case for £22 or €26, including shipping to France or UK (more for other countries). If you're interested, leave a comment below or send me an email at charlottemiller90@hotmail.com!

Ps. This weekend I had a German friend visiting and she bought me this beautiful Christmas candle, so I couldn't resist making a little Instagram video. Then we watched It's A Wonderful Life. 'Tis the Season!

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Friday, 15 November 2013

{Weekend Reading}

Over the summer I interned at Beach Tomato, part of super cool luxury travel agency Black Tomato, based in Shoreditch. I highly recommend you check out Beach Tomato's website & social pages - packed full of daydream-worthy beach photos and articles. Every weekday at 1pm they post a 'Lunch Break Love'; a stunning beachy image which will have you reaching for your flip-flops. Just try & hold back on booking the next available flight to somewhere sunny! Actually, don't - you deserve a break. We all do!

Image taken from the Beach Tomato site
Whilst I was interning there, I wrote some articles on the beautiful British Virgin Islands as part of Beach Tomato's campaign #BetheVI. I'd love it if you checked out some of my writing - there's 7 things you didn't know about the BVI, 5 ways to bring the BVI to your Friday night, and our favourite things about the islands to name a few. 

In other news, I stumbled upon this video by Edward Sharpe's lead singer Alex Ebert and it's been on repeat ever since. 

When I'm not listening to the beautiful song 'Truth', I'm watching that baby video. Have you seen it? What an old soul.

Have a fabulous weekend everyone! 

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Thursday, 14 November 2013

{Twinkie Breakfasts}

A short but sweet post, but I just had to tell you that my league table of Paris brunches has got a new contender, and she's looking like a winner. While Coutume may serve up a deliciously gourmet breakfast, if you're looking for hearty, hangover-curing fry-ups then you simply must head to Twinkie Breakfasts in the 2nd. 

In one of my latest posts I may have vowed to never again queue at Angelina, no matter how thick & delicious their hot chocolate is, but different rules apply with Twinkie. While Angelina's queue is home to many a tourist looking quite sheepish that they are willing to wait a whole hour for a cup of something sweet, the people who flock to Twinkie are generally young'uns who have heard rumours of the incredibly fresh juice and heartwarming (and bottomless) cups of tea. 

I took Kaat along, and we shared a milestone together - she tried her first cup of proper English tea (two sugars, a good amount of milk - in my humble opinion)! I must admit I was terribly nervous, it's not for everyone - but I think I converted her! It was one of my first cups since being in France (what is it with their lack of fresh milk?!) and such a wonderful feeling to get back into tea-drinking. 

Now to the important stuff.. the food. You can basically ignore most of the menu, as amazing as it looks, because the main players are the American, and the English breakfasts - the key difference being that the American comes with a pancake, whilst the English comes with sausage and beans. I found myself quite torn (being both American & English), and at the last minute blurted out 'L'Americain.' I lived to regret my decision (how can you choose anything over sausage and beans?!) - but hey, we all live and learn. Apart from this fatal error, the breakfast was to die for - and comes complete with freshly pressed juice and a bread basket. They really take care of you at Twinkie! I'll be back soon, and I'll be ordering the English with utter conviction.

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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

{The Wall of Love}

Have you been to the Wall of Love in Montmartre? People have mentioned it to me over the years but I'd never found it (OK I'd never looked properly, but still) so I just figured it didn't exist. And then last weekend, I was strolling the hills of Montmartre with Kaat and what looms into the view? The Wall of Love! What a beauty.

The Wall of Love is located in the centre of the Abbesses garden - or just follow the amorous couples who have gravitated towards it. On it, the phrase 'I Love You' is written more than one thousand times in 300 different languages. Also, here's a fun fact - the bursts of red are meant to represent a broken heart which the wall is trying to gather together. Cute! Frederic Baron, the artist behind this project, knocked on all the doors of the embassies in Paris to find out how to say I love you in as many languages as possible. Now that's dedication to love.

Here's me trying (and struggling) to find I Love You in English on the wall, after too many mojitos the night before. You'll notice I am actually wearing running trainers to cushion my poor feet after my first proper night out in Paris - more on that later and please don't judge me for my sartorial faux pas.

Hey, I found it!

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Monday, 11 November 2013

{Pizzeria D'Auteuil}

Everyone has a local pizza place right? Somewhere they can rely on for some quality crust and generous servings of cheese, when nothing but pizza will satisfy those tummy rumblings. But does Nicholas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni frequent your local Italian? Just me, then.

That's not to say that my new love, Pizzeria d'Auteuil is a snooty or expensive restaurant. Quite the opposite - it's a hearty, authentic, crowded joint full of families and friends. I mentioned it in a blog post when I first arrived in Paris, but back then I was just a drooling passer-by, face squished against the window in hunger. Now I'm a fully fledged member, having enjoyed both take-aways (their pizza hit the spots perfectly on a busy work day) and long evenings of wine & Italian food at the pizzeria.

My personal recommendations? A bottle of red wine, especially if it's cold and rainy outside. Mozzarella balls to start, served with a rocket salad - so of course they are super healthy. The carbonara linguine was one of the best carbonaras I've ever had, perfectly creamy and very good pizza:bacon ratio. Pizzas are anyone's game, all the ones I've tried have been delicious.

After my gastronomic tour of Southern Italy with my Neapolitan friends this summer, I'd consider myself a bit of a snob when it comes to Italian food - but the Pizzeria d'Auteuil doesn't disappoint. Hey, even France's ex-president agrees with me! If you can find any room left (I find there's often a space specially reserved for chocolate), make sure you get the chocolate ice cream sundae - I'd advise you to split it. Ice cream, hot fudge sauce and whipped cream - the perfect way to round up a meal, in my opinion. Just enjoy the waddle home!

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Sunday, 10 November 2013

{Weekend Reading}

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend! Here's a round-up of my favourite things on the web at the moment:

Lovers of Flight of the Conchords (and the NZ accent) need to see the charity single Brett & Jermaine made for Cure Kids NZ. Before they wrote the song, they interviewed school kids, and the results were hilarious and SO adorable...

Parisians, Wednesday brings the Miss Dior exhibition at the Grand Palais. See you there...

Also, Carin from Four Months in Paris recently treated us to the best sweets in Paris on my new favourite website Trotter Mag. I'm trying not to drool..

Photo by Carin Olsson

Of course I can't neglect my beautiful Britain (especially since I'm home for the weekend). If you haven't seen the John Lewis Christmas Ad, it's a real tear-jerker...

Have a great rest of weekend everyone! If you're in France, enjoy the lie-in/brunching tomorrow morning!
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Thursday, 7 November 2013

{Brunch at Merci}

When I ask friends or fellow bloggers for recommendations in Paris, the first word out of their mouths is: Merci. No, they're not thanking me for bringing light into their lives; Merci is a huge concept store in the 3rd (not far from Bastille/on the edge of Le Marais).  

This iconic car welcomes you into their courtyard, which is the entrance to the three loft-like floors of beautiful (if expensive) goods. The best bit? All proceeds go to charity. Merci, I'm loving your concept.

Although we strolled around the shop, oohing and aahing at the clothes & jewellery, our purses were already feeling fairly light after a weekend of shopping in Paris. So instead, we settled down in the cosy sofas at the Used Book Café (Merci has three different cafés) to hide from the miserable rain outside.  

What a great decision. The café is warm and cosy, with used books (which are also for sale) lining the walls in a mis-match fashion. That particular morning, I was sporting a wine-induced hangover from Aux 2 Fondues, but brunch at Merci was the perfect cure. Kaat went for soft-boiled eggs with dippy soldiers (childhood nostalgia included) and a fresh orange juice. I had my first(!) proper cup of tea since arriving in Paris, to go with my scones - I am British, after all! All delicious, and our waitress even provided a little carafe of mint-flavoured water - it's the little things!

As we tucked in to our delicious food my gaze fell upon the couple opposite us, who we were sharing a table with. They were decidedly glamorous as they read their newspapers and drank tiny coffées, and we declared the lady a real Parisienne beauty. She was fresh from yoga (judging by the mat rolled up by her feet, anyway), and was sporting a killer outfit. Kaat in particular was drooling over her checkered top - we imagined it to be from some extortionately priced designer store. 

Imagine our surprise then, when we were later shopping at Zara, and Kaat pounced upon the very top in question! She had to buy it - this was Parisienne serendipity. That's what I told her, anyway.

A big 'Merci' to the Used Book Store at Merci - we've already been back and I know it won't be my last time eating cake on the cosy sofas! Not when they provide such great people-watching material.

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Wednesday, 6 November 2013

{Aux 2 Fondues}

Kaat & I seem to have a penchant for French fondue joints. We enjoyed a couple of memorable nights in Montpellier's version, so it seemed only natural that we tested out Paris' Aux 2 Fondues on lrue des Trois-Frères in buzzing Montmartre. 

This place is a bit of an institution, having been around for 20 years. The menu is actually the same as in Montpellier; for €18.90 you get an apéritif, a huge meat or cheese fondue, wine in a baby bottle, and a dessert. For an extra €2.90 you can finish your meal in gluttonous style with a chocolate fondue. We stuck to the wine, this time.

The restaurant is covered in scribbles and doodles from previous patrons, so of course we had to add our mark!

The food is delicious but that's not the real selling point. This place is the craziest in the whole of Paris (I dare you to come up with someplace louder and happier). The tables are crammed together so that if you're sitting against the wall, you have to get up on the table and climb over just to go to the bathroom. This often results in wooping and hollering from various merry groups in the room. If you listen carefully to the loud buzzing emanating from the restaurant, you'll be able to pick out about 17 different accents - this is a real Erasmus favourite.

Being squished together means that you're practically forced to talk to your neighbour(s), which of course we did happily. We met some hilarious Spanish guys and one girl, and ended up partying with them til about 1am when the grumpy but adorable waiter managed to kick us out. We were also serenaded by a very camp man dressed up as a pirate (it was Halloween), who sang Christina's Beautiful

If you're ever feeling lonely in the City of Lights, head down to Aux 2 Fondues, I guarantee you'll make at least one new friend for the night! Just don't wear anything tight, or you'll burst out of it by the end of the evening..

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