In my hometown in New England, we always had an event in mid-December called the « Christmas Stroll ». It was a a time for the residents and those of neighboring towns to come and enjoy together the Christmas ambiance that was always so well exemplified in the decorations. The town (a village really) had a tiny little central « place » that housed the tall Christmas tree and the crèche de noël, and all the black and white façades of the boutiques on Main Street were spruced up with fir greens and red bows with pretty little white lights to accentuate the falling snowflakes that always arrived just in time. The shops opened late for the Christmas stroll and served or sold their best and most festive holiday wares. It was a place to run into your old school teacher, or meet up with past classmates, see old high school pals or towns people that you know and recognize for years.
While that may never happen to me ever in Paris, I did get to experience a different, perhaps more glamorous type of Christmas stroll and although there was no small town charm or reminiscing, there was plenty of holiday cheer and happiness shared between me and a darling friend who was enjoying it all for the first time. I couldn’t have felt a warmer Christmas glow if I had been at the foot of that New England village Christmas Christmas tree. Read more →
I love hot chocolate. Sadly I am unable to go out and have it in Paris, as it is always, ALWAYS made with milk. And although lactose intolerance has finally reached the shelves of the local super markets, it has not and probably will never reach the café tables and counter of the many charming Salons de thé. And that is ok, since I have a living room decorated like a vintage café, and I can make my own chocolat chaud at home! Read more →
Chéri and I stumbled upon this little tea room one evening as we wandered around the Île Saint Louis. It drew us in with its warm colors and promises of chocolat chaud à l’ancienne (old fashioned hot chocolate), and the neatly arranged cakes and cookies on the counter top.
This place is everything a hot chocolate and cake shop should be, warm and friendly! There is a piano on one side of the room and two other little cubby spaces where tables are set, which allow customers a little more of a « homey » space.
I also enjoyed how the kitchen was visible at the back of the boutique and was the perfect place to make an old fashioned hot chocolate, with tiling on the walls and a window that opens out on to a lovely little courtyard, and a smiling lady busy over the stove. Kinda makes you want to move right in!
And as I discovered on our way out, they have storybook reading events for kids on Wednesdays! From 5 years old and up. Wednesday November 23rd, is Pierre et le Loup, one of my all time favorite childrens’ stories. And in December there will be Christmas tales… I wish I had a kid to bring!
This place should be a great little stop for warmth and cheer all winter long!
La Charlotte de l’Îsle
24 rue Saint Louis en îsle, 75004 Paris