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La vie est belle – french spots in New York City

Have you been to Paris? Have you been somewhere in France? Europe is unique, you can not deny it it, and France is full of beautiful places. The French capital is one of the most visited cities in the world, with its charming streets and its beautiful architecture. Paris was one of the cities I dreamed of visiting – and I’ve had the opportunity to be there twice. I don’t think I would live there –  I must be used to the hectic lifestyle of New York. But the other day, after an episode of Sex and the City, I found myself wondering how Big Apple has several French spots – cafes, restaurants, shops, and so on. I’ve listed some of them and added a few more suggestions made by my friend Juliana, who has lived a long time in Paris and is now is living here in New York. That is, she has knowledge of the facts of the two cities and helped me in this curatorship. Thank you, Ju!

First, I could not start this post without mentioning Ladurée! The house is specialized in macarons – a typical sweet from France. In New York, the brand has two locations. One in Soho (398 West Broadway) and one in the Upper East Side (864 Madison Avenue). The SoHo location also has a restaurant – and, in the warmer months, they open a garden. The decor is just a whim.

Mille-Feuille Bakery is owned by Olivier Dessyn and his wife. He was a Software Engineer in Paris with a passion for food. His love for cooking, especially for baking, was getting stronger by the day. Eventually, he decided to get professionally trained at one of the best Parisian hotels, the Ritz Hotel. Olivier fell in love with New York City during a vacation here, moved from Paris, and opened this humble shop in Greenwich Village. The bakery offers traditional French goodies —macarons, cheese brioche and chocolate sables ($2.50)—but the real standout is the croissant. Locations: 552 Laguardia Pl / 2175 Broadway.

Le District is a French gastronomic market that is located inside Brookfield Place and has restaurants, cafes, creperie … An environment that provides an interesting dining experience. Also, you can buy some products there (bread, condiments …). At the entrance, the section with cookies and candies already fills the eyes – it is La Cure Gourmande, a chain from southern France, which has 6 locations in Paris as well as being distributed by France. 200 Vesey St.

Perhaps you’ve heard about Amorino chain – the brand belongs to Italian people, but it is French, manufactured in Orly, and the first store was in Paris, Ile-de-Saint-Louis. They offer delicious ice cream and the highlight is the cones, served in a flower shape. 4 locations in Manhattan: 60 University Pl / 162 8th Ave / 414 Amsterdam Ave / 721 8th Ave.

Diptyque is a French perfumery. In addition to perfumes, the brand has luxury scented candles (super famous), home fragrances, and a body care line. Diptyque has been around since 1961 and their fragrances are nothing obvious. The perfumes are available in a huge variety – eau de toilette, Eau de parfum, solid parfum, roll-ons. Indeed, a shop that provides at least an interesting olfactory experience. There are 5 stores in New York: Grand Central Terminal 1/377 Bleecker Street / 971 Madison Avenue / 31 Prince Street / 10 Columbus Circle, # 112.

At French consulate, you will find Albertine Library, which is a bookshop dedicated to francophone authors. The place sells books in French and English. For those who speak French or are studying the language, it is certainly a good place! In addition, the library promotes very interesting events – you can check the schedule here. Address: 972 Fifth Avenue (at 79th Street).

The Arch located in Washington Square Park is made of marble and was built in 1892 to celebrate the centenary of George Washington as president of the United States in 1789 and marks the end of Fifth Avenue. Its design was inspired by the Arc de Triomphe, which is in Paris.

Opened in 1948, The Paris Theatre is one of the oldest art houses in the United States. The 586-seat theater started out showing French movies and it still shows French movies and foreign movies. Check the schedule here4 W. 58th St.

The French Institute Alliance Française’s mission is to create and offer New Yorkers innovative and unique programs in education and the arts that explore the evolving diversity and richness of French cultures. Movies, wine tastings, and, of course, french classes. To check out more details, click here.  22 East 60th Street.

Sezane is a French brand that I’m obsessed with. The clothes are made with fabrics like silk, cashmere and wool. In addition to clothes, there are also shoes and accessories. Items are produced in countries such as Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, and Brazil. The brand’s mission is: to offer the most beautiful designs at a fair price. Sézane was the first French fashion brand to launch itself 100% online. As for the clothes, the style is super classic, with elegant and timeless pieces – I mean, it is a French brand! Address: 254 Elizabeth St.

La Grande Boucherie is a French restaurant located in Midtown NYC – but it is more than that… the decor, the environment, the music… everything will make you feel like you are in Paris. It is like a Parisian square in the middle of the city! The menu includes classic and delicious French dishes plus a huge wine menu and also some craft cocktails. It is such a special place! Address: 145 W 53rd St

Last but not least, let’s talk about Little Paris! You know that there are a lot of neighborhoods in NYC that celebrate and bring together businesses from other countries, right? Little Italy, Chinatown, and Astoria are just some examples. This year, in order to showcase NYC’s own enclave of French culture, a group of French business owners decided to “create” Little Paris – located on Centre Street in Nolita/SoHo (between Broome & Grand St.). Here are some of the businesses you will find there:

  • Coucou – French Classes! They offer a wide variety of classes and workshops for adult students of all levels of French proficiency. Address: 253 Centre Street.
  • Maman – a famous French bakery and cafe, with some locations in the city. The decor is so charming and the food is delicious. You will find a variety of pastries –  like croissants – and brunch and lunch options. Address: 239 Center Street.
  • La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels – this wine bar has a French-dominant wine list besides a menu featuring Mediterranean small plates. Address: 249 Centre St.

Do you like these suggestions? What are other French spots you recommend in NYC?

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