Posts filed under my paris

My Paris | Cafe Loustic

The last time we moved to Paris for a few months for work, we found a great apartment to live in for the time right around from the Pompidou. Poor us, right? We had some great memories in that apartment: sunny weekend mornings cooking breakfast for all of our students, late nights working in the loft, making friends with the woman living in the apartment across from us and, over time, becoming a client of hers for shiatsu massages (I specialise in making the weirdest friendships, in case you were wondering), and so many days enjoying the natural light pouring through the windows that seem to be a part of the building code of all Parisian homes. 

It was a happy place for us, and we had some sweet memories as a family. In the mornings, Tyler & I would walk out the main door of the apartment onto the street and start our walk towards work. Luckily, right outside our door, was Cafe Loustic. A coffee shop that we thought was just a local gem, perfectly located out of our front door. Now that we have moved away, we see people and publications chatting about Cafe Loustic all the time, and we realise just how lucky we really were to have it so close by.


Especially on the days they had their donuts in. Oh man, I loved those things.

But anyway, the coffee is great. The location is fun and cute- just tucked onto a quiet, normal street (“our street!”), and the tiny little tables make it the perfect little date spot to start your day. In fact, you can watch our walk to work that I made and see us there in the morning! I love those little videos. They’re like time capsules of our lives and I’m so glad to have them.


So if/when you head to Paris, stop by Cafe Loustic for some REALLY GOOD coffee and one of our favourite places to start our day together in Paris. I recommend a messy top knot,  some drugstore red lipstick and a good oversized scarf to really set the scene.

CAFE LOUSTIC | 40 Rue Chapon, 75003 Paris | @cafeloustic

Find more of my favourite places to go in Paris in my Paris guide.

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy by Noah Darnell

Posted on March 7, 2019 and filed under paris, my paris.

My Paris | Peloton Coffee


There’s not much more to make me remember how much I love Paris than watching Midnight in Paris. If you haven’t seen it, you need to. Like right now. I’m serious. Stop reading this and go watch it. We’ll understand each other so much better if you’ve seen it.

So here I am- watching Owen Wilson stumble through the twenties in Paris with Fitzgerald and Hemingway- and it makes me miss the city so much. Maybe it’s just warmer weather that I’m seeing in the movie that makes it seem especially exotic on this frigid January night in London sitting by my draughty window, but none the less, I’m seeing Paris through rose-tinted glasses.

And so, let’s take a little wander through Paris. Right off the Seine, just off Ile Saint Louis, and into the Right Bank… there you’ll find one of my favourite coffee shops, Peloton. It’s co-owned by the nicest group of guys, and they serve up some delicious coffee. And some killer homemade chocolate chip cookies.


I mean, seriously, look at those gorgeous little beauties.


Even if it’s your first time in, the staff always makes you feel like you’re “in.” You’ll feel like a part of the fresh Paris scene that has cropped up over the City of Lights over the past few years, and all the while, sipping your cafe like Parisians have done for years. This isn’t the cafe you sat in with your parents when you came over in high school- this is the fresh face of the city that is taking over with hip coffee shops nestled nearby to classic corner bistros and bright and airy brunch spots alongside classic dark-paneled brasseries.


Peloton also offers bike tours that visitors to the city can join with local guides happily peddling your around the city. 


To be honest, the other reason that I love going to Peloton is because I can run over to Aux Merveilleux de Fred afterwards and get a loaf of their sugary-crusted brioche. Oh mama. It’s definitely one of my favourite streets in Paris.

PELOTON COFFEE | 17 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, 75004 Paris | @lepeletoncafe

Find more of my favourite places in Paris in my Paris guide!

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy by Noah Darnell

Posted on January 23, 2019 and filed under paris, my paris.

My Paris | Aux Merveilleux de Fred


I can’t go to Paris and not stop by for a loaf of warm brioche at Fred’s, or, as it’s officially called “Aux Merveilleux de Fred.” Now, what made me initially fall in love with this place was it’s incredible delicate- and remarkably inexpensive- “merveilleux.” Imagine if you will, meringue cookies, topped with the lightest flavoured fillings, and rolled in chocolate shavings and toasted nuts. Oh baby, they are so good.


BUT… their brioche is actually better.

There, I said it. But it’s true. One day, I turned my gaze in the shop from the jewellery-box like display of tiny cakes and watched the bakers pulling warm loaves of brioche out of the oven. Then I noticed smart French women waiting, not for the pastries, but requesting “les cramiques,” or the loaves of brioche. I quickly swapped lines- because you ALWAYS follow the lead of smartly dressed French women- and bought a loaf.


I brought it out to the street and sat down by Tyler. I looked at him and said something along the lines of, “I think this is about to blow us away. I just have a feeling about it.”

And the next thing you know, we took a bite of the warm bread and crunched down on the tiny sugar pearls that were candied over… and we blacked out with happiness. We ate the entire loaf in under thirty seconds- it was like a warm Krispy Kreme donut. Then we went in and bought a second loaf. I can’t remember if we ate the entire loaf then and there, too, but I’m not saying we didn’t.


This little chain is from Lille, but now there are a few locations in and around France, with a handful in Paris. Which makes it the absolute must-bring-back souvenir for us whenever one of us goes. Its always the last stop we make before the Eurostar- because the fresher the loaf, the happier the spouse.

Definitely don’t miss the chance to go. We like the location in the Marais- near the river, just a few minutes from the Saint Paul Metro station. Not only can you get a great treat, but you can also walk down to Peloton Coffee (about 50 yards away) and get a great coffee to drink with it. This is one of my very favourite place to go when I’m in Paris- whether I’m stopping to grab one for a snack on a quick day trip or lucky enough to pick up a loaf in the morning for breakfast during one of our longer stays.


Oh! And a very important note: I know the chocolate loaf looks like it would be better. But it’s really not. Time and time again, we have strayed- but those crunchy, perfect sugar pearls always win. Don’t be fooled to step up, when your true love is waiting right in front of you.

AUX MERVEILLEUX DE FRED | 24 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, Paris 75004 

Find more of my favourite places in Paris here or look at my travel guide.

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on October 3, 2018 and filed under my paris, paris, eat.

My Paris | A Private Tour of Versailles


You know that feeling you have when you're traveling and you stumble across some place new... there's a sense of excitement that pulses through you and, if you're like me, you feel like you need to start running, or finding the best restaurant or peeking into real estate offices to begin your new life here.

I love that feeling, and it wasn't until I found myself wandering through the city of Versailles last week that I felt it again for the first time in a long time. To my surprise, the feeling came back and I realised how long it had been since I felt this incredible feeling of the unknown. Most of the places we go to are familiar... like the feeling of seeing an old friend. It's a happy feeling, but a very comfortable feeling.

Anyway, I was in Versailles and we ended up walking 10 minutes past the Chateau and into the heart of town. There was a huge daily market and gorgeous cafes and streets. I couldn't believe I had been to this town so many times and, yet, actually had never seen the cute town here.

But I didn't realise the new view of Versailles had only just begun...



Okay, so there's a visit to Versailles and then there is THIS VISIT. I was traveling with a private group of clients and they jumped at the opportunity to splurge when I suggested this private tour of the king and queen's private apartments inside Versailles. I had never been on it before, but knew that a guided tour was a must- as the standard lines are just horrific; however, I had my socks officially knocked off by this incredible experience.


The tour consisted of a private tour through the closed doors of Versailles. We had a docent walk through with us and a second person who carried the ancient keys to unlock the doors and open the shutters inside these dark, closed-off rooms.

You're walked into Marie Antoinette's bedroom where she would hang out with her friends during the day getting dressed and relaxing in between court appearances, you see the bathroom of Louis XIV and the spot where he took his baths and had his face shaved every morning. You see the fluffy bed inside Madame du Barry's apartments... whee the king would come down to visit his beloved mistress. 

You sit in the private opera house to discuss details with the guide, you wander around hidden stair cases and dawdle through empty corridors. 

You are lead and given access to places that you can only imagine. Away from the hustle and formality of the state rooms where events were held, you get to wander through the quiet spaces where they actually lived the meaningful moments of their lives.


Meanwhile, we never saw another human during the entire two hour tour. We almost began to see the palace as our own... until it ended and found ourselves in the middle of the hoards of tourists. We quickly felt ruined by our incredibly posh beginning so rushed through to the gardens.

Oh man, what an experience. Definitely not the cheapest way to visit Versailles (the tour is €1000 and can include up to 20 guests); however, for a special occasion or a larger group it is an incredible opportunity to see Versailles in such a special way.


And if you don't get that butterfly-travel-excitment from this day out in Versailles, well, I don't know what to tell you. 


Looking for help on a day-trip to Versailles from Paris? I've made it easy in my Daytrip to Versailles post here. Find more of my Paris favourites in my travel guide to Paris.



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy


MY PARIS | Popelini


Before we got to Paris, my friend Stacy & I made a standing date for Friday afternoons. Our goal: was to spend a couple hours at the end of every work week exploring some of the sweetest places Paris has to offer. There's only so much time I have here- I want to max out my time!

Our first week here, we checked out Popelini- a cute Parisian bakery that specializes in gorgeous choux pastry filled with a variety of amazing cream flavours. The tiny shop isn't a place you'll be able to sit and stay, as there are no seats- so we got our boxes, arranged like a brightly colored jewelry box, and headed to my place.

After dinner, we pulled out our lovely boxes for dessert and all enjoyed a tasting of their amazing assortment.

My favorite was definitely (and surprisingly to me) the passion fruit. Other crowd favorites were the banoffee, salted caramel, citron, dark chocolate and coffee. Basically, the odds are in your favor that you'll order one that you love.

I'd recommend a box of these for a pretty afternoon in with friends or sitting along the Seine for a picnic with a crowd. They're not too small... but not too big where you need to make a big production of serving them. Eat them off a plate or out of your hand!

Popelini has two locations and (I learned the hard way on my way home from work today) are closed on Mondays: 

29 rue Debelleyne, 75003

44 rue des Martyrs, 75009


*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on March 14, 2016 and filed under eat, paris, pack your bags, my paris.

Three Times a Lady (HBD V!)

Today, Viola turns 3. What a girl. She's really smart, stunningly beautiful (in my biased opinion) and becoming a compassionate and caring girl. She often talks about how she once "was a little baby" and "is going to be a mommy soon." There are million little quirks that make her... her, but for some reason- I'll just write those down in my journal and in my heart. (And save you the gratuitous mom-ologue about how I think she is the best girl on the planet. You are welcome.)

So instead of the gushy stuff, I'll just cruise straight on to birthday festivities. As luck would have it, each February since Viola's birthday- we've been in France for work right on her birthday. This has paired up well and, simultaneously, set the bar extremely high for future years. As does the fact that we go to Disneyland, but we figure- its a good way to milk season passes that we use a bunch each year and it saves on birthday parties and gifts. Plus, it's so much fun!

Viola was so excited to wear her new Cinderella outfit on her birthday. She kept saying that everyone was going to think she was "Cinderella."

The day was great. Viola had a wonderful time. Harrison chummed around in his normal cheesey way as we scurried around the park. Tyler & I even got a bit of time to have some coffee while the kids both napped at the same time.

Obviously, she hated Disneyland. 

The RER ran slow and it took us forever to get home. By the time we got back to our (new! adorable!) apartment, I only had the energy to warm up some soup, slice up a baguette and toss it all on the table. We all just ate in a bit of a stupor after the long day we had just finished.

Afterwards, we sang "Happy Birthday!" to Viola and let her open up her presents.... which may or may not have been straws and plastic cutlery from IKEA. Hey, she's three, she got to go to Disney and she LOVED those forks.

It was a great day. I'm not sure the 23rd of February will ever pass where it won't feel like a BIG day. It's one of the best and worst days of my entire life. The juxtaposition of the days events of the girls birth are just so odd... but, we are really trying to make the day about celebrating Viola's birth. (Because-wow- what a great gift she is!) 


*Looking to travel to Disneyland Paris? Find my travel post about visiting the park here.

Since I get asked so often about Viola's clothes- I wanted to share this particular company that she wore today for her birthday: Courage & Kind. They make the sweetest clothes that are based off Disney movies. They feature small details from the movies that kids love, and parents can appreciate the clothes for their beautiful style and design. I'm such a big fan and they were really kind to send Viola a few pieces from their line for her birthday. Thank you so much!

*images original to aspiring kennedy



My Paris | L'Eclair De Genie

It was a long time coming before I could make it to the famous L'Eclair de Genie...Well, in retrospect to my entire life, I suppose. Once we got to Paris, we were there within 72 hours. Since then, we've been back, well....more times than I'd like to admit.

I love these pretty little things...and dream in the Vanille et Noix de Pecan. It's, by far, the best eclair I've ever tasted. And, hey, when you're in France, that's exactly what you want to have.

Flavors rotate out seasonally, but there are typically some classics that stick. Don't go for a cheap treat, as they are around €5 a piece for a gorgeous-yet-small eclair. Go for a taste of something truly special or a treat for someone that you really fancy.

It also makes a great dessert after a falafel from it's lovely neighbor, L'As du Falafel.

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For more of my Paris recommendations, check here.


*photography by Noah Darnell

Posted on March 24, 2014 and filed under "Paris", "dessert", "le marais", "noah darnell", paris, eat, france, my paris.