I’m not sure exactly how I came across Lindsey Tramuta on social media but I remember following her on Twitter way back in early 2011 and thinking how she was living a life similar to one I’d probably have lived had I moved to Paris 15 years later than I did. She and I had a lot of things in common – mostly that we were expats and had a deep love of and respect for France and, especially, Paris.
When I spent the summer of 2011 in Paris, teaching English and taking baking classes (one paid for the other, you see!), I reached out to Lindsey to see if she might want to meet up and I still remember our first meeting over one, then two coffees at Café Charlot in the 3ième. You never know how a social media “blind date” is going to go – I mean, will the person be exactly like you imagine they are? Are they the same person as their online persona (so often, people are not what I expect them to be!). Lindsey and I fell into comfortable “we’ve known each other for a long time, not 5 minutes” conversation that lasted hours. In Lindsey I recognised a determination and drive that were very familiar. I could see that, like me, she hadn’t had the easiest time adapting to her new life in Paris, especially in the very early days but that she had the will to stick it out and make a real go of things.
Even back then, I could see Lindsey was a talented writer and photographer with a really unique point of view and over the years, I watched as she ensconced herself firmly in Paris writing with a fresh perspective about a city with such an “internationally fetishized public image” and a tendency to “turn inward and[resist] change” that was slowly realising that “the Paris of yesteryear wasn’t enough anymore”. It’s been really fascinating watching Paris evolve through (social) media (Lindsey’s and others) and, as someone who arrived there in the mid 1990s, I have been thrilled to see the winds of change blowing through the city I love so much because back then, she was still most definitely the Paris of yesteryear, in need of a touch of “new”. Indeed, Paris has undergone such a huge transformation in the past decade, particularly, that I was not surprised when Lindsey announced she was writing a book all about this rebirth and rise of the creative class in her beloved adopted city.
In The New Paris, Lindsey writes about the individuals and businesses working to make their city better, to help move her beyond her mythical past and who “have already made great inroads into leading it beyond its assumed role as a time capsule”. Far from being stuck in the past, Paris now is a “dynamic, vibrant place bursting with energy and ideas, a city open to what the rest of the world has to offer it and far more cosmopolitan in attitude than ever before.” This new creative movement, in part fueled by the economic crisis (la crise) of 2008 has given birth to a whole new way of (approaching) life.
The book features a thorough look at the rapidly evolving worlds of food, wine, pastry, coffee, beer, fashion, and design (if you follow Lindsey on Instagram, many of these places will already be familiar to you, her feed is a veritable dynamic travel guide) and highlights places, ideas and people making their mark in Paris today with this new creative, entrepreneurial spirit.
Chapters include: Food & Dining, Coffee, Sweets, Libations, Shopping & Crafts and Places & Spaces and there’s a special section highlighting Lindsey’s favourites which could totally be the only “travel guide” you need for a trip to Paris (Lindsey’s recommendations have always been solid – from coffee to sweet treats, her ideas have fuelled (literally) a number of “research” sessions when I’ve been in Paris!).
To celebrate the publication of The New Paris, I asked Lindsey if she could give me an idea of a “Day in the Life” in her New Paris. Are you ready to take notes?
The Ispahan by Pierre Hermé — a bit exceptional, definitely not for everyday consumption!
Is there anywhere that serves “to go” coffee?
Yes! Most of the specialty coffee shops offer to-go cups and I recommend: Café Oberkampf, Café Loustic, Ten Belles/Ten Belles Bread, La Fontaine de Belleville, Télescope, Honor, O’Coffeeshop, Fringe Coffee, Boot Café (now with a second left bank location) or 5 Pailles (note: definitely check out Lindsey’s site for more coffee information if you’re a caffeine freak like me!)
Favourite place to sit and read the paper and enjoy morning coffee?
La Fontaine de Belleville – I snag a spot on the terrace and watch the day unfurl. It’s fantastic.
I love the brunches at Bespoke and Ellsworth which, though very different, have à la carte menus. I’m perpetually annoyed by these prix fixe brunches for upwards of 25€ that add in items that I could make at home and don’t require much overhead — old bread for tartine, jams, eggs, etc.
Favourite French cuisine for lunch on a budget?
I suppose it depends what “budget” means but I think Tannat and Le 52 Faubourg Saint-Denis offer excellent value. The quality is unbeatable at their prices.
Favourite spot for fancy lunch (for a celebration?)
It’s a bit rococo but I loved the experience at Le Clarance which is owned by Prince Robert of Luxembourg (long story!) and the Orangerie at the George V hotel is equally as exceptional.
Best fancy afternoon tea?
Le Dali at Le Meurice hotel — anywhere that serves Cédric Grolet’s pastry is a place I want to be (and it’s exclusively at Le Meurice so that makes the decision an easy one!). He’s tremendously talented.
Spot for a pre-dinner drink on Left Bank?
Tiger, a gin bar!
Restaurant for dinner that embodies “The New Paris” on the Left Bank?
Clover by Jean-François Piège
What non-conventional souvenir would you bring back from Paris for:
A food lover?
The best dark chocolate you can find (look at Alain Ducasse’s La Manufacture, Pierre Marcolini, Patrick Roger or La Maison du Chocolat, they have options that travel well and have a longer-shelf life than most other sweets.
Stationery or colorful notebooks and pens from Papier Tigre.
Have you packed your bags yet? I think everyone who has visited, will be visiting or who wants to visit Paris should own a copy of this book. Though it is packed with useful addresses for visitors curious to check out this new movement, The New Paris is so much more than a guide book. It’s a thoughtful history of the last couple of decades and a love letter to Lindsey’s adopted city. Charissa Fay’s stunning images make this a book at home on a coffee table, although you’ll want to do so much more than just flip through it and look at the photos. As Lindsey says in the introduction, “passion begets passion” and her love for the city is palpable. You’ll fall in love with Paris (all over again) reading this.
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Disclosure: I received a copy of “The New Paris” from Abrams for review purposes. I was not further compensated for writing this post and all opinions 100% my own. Full disclosure: Lindsey is a good friend but I wouldn’t write about something I didn’t totally love! I think everyone who has visited, will be visiting or who wants to visit Paris should own a copy of this book.