Monday, February 26, 2018

The 10 Best Terraces in Paris

It's Terrace Season in Paris

A friend of mine recently moved to Paris. Seeing her fabulous pictures on Instagram and reading her insightful blog entries has brought back so many memories of the wonderful three years I spent living in the City of Light. Recently, she posted a photo of my favorite terrace, and I was overcome with nostalgia. How I long to relive those glorious days!

On other Instagram feeds, I see green returning to the city’s famous square trees, buds popping throughout the public gardens, and luscious ivy crawling the stone walls. I can’t help but remember all the sunny days I sat on the terraces of Paris – alone, or with friends, or with family – looking out at the world as it passed me by.

Wine and Chocolate Always Go Together on the Paris Terrace

I’m not embarrassed to say I was a bit of a terrace slut during my years in Paris. I made my way around every arrondissement, sipping champagne, rosé, beer, cocktails, and espressos. I acquired some favorite haunts, of course.

Here are my Top Ten Terraces in Paris. I hope you will find them and enjoy them as I once did. If you do, please tag me in your Instagram photos @shazzle99. For more useful information on traveling to Paris, click here.

Pour un Café:

2 Place de la Contrescarpe
75005 Paris, France
+33 1 43 26 51 26

Café Delmas is the perfect mix of old and new. Yesterday, Papa Ernest enjoyed his coffees here while he contemplated literature. Today, students from the nearby Sorbonne congregate for cocktails. Located in the Latin Quarter on an ancient cobblestone square, this charming terrace anchors the Rue Mouffetard, one of the oldest market streets in Paris. Come early and enjoy the terrace with an espresso, a croissant, and your favorite book. When you leave, look for the placards marking Hemingway’s apartments, one around the block to the left, and the other around the block to the right.

Espresso at Café Delmas in the Latin Quarter of Paris

40 rue Cler
75007 Paris, France
+33 1 47 05 00 53

Café Central is a lovely place to relax on the terrace with a café crème. If you visit during a sunny afternoon, enjoy people-watching over your bol de glace (Berthillon!). Here, the youthful waiters are dressed in classic black suspenders, but don’t be fooled. They are trés hip, sporting modern hairstyles and slinging their English like a weapon, they will entertain you while they hustle. Café Central lives up to its name as the central point on the famous Rue Cler. Bring your camera, because this charismatic street is lined with amazing shops and a bird’s eye view of the Eiffel Tower.

There's Never a Bad View of the Eiffel Tower

Pour un Verre de Rosé:

2 Rue de l’Abreuvoir
75018 Paris, France
+33 1 42 64 49 62

Can there be a more fitting place to drink rosé than a café painted entirely pink? It’s rumored Picasso hatched the idea for its colorful façade, and I don’t doubt it. Located on a quiet cobblestone street in Montmartre, La Maison Rose is almost entirely terrace, owning two sides of the tiny pavement with metal tables and chairs. Claim your spot on a sunny afternoon to enjoy a glass of rosé while jealous tourists meander past.

La Maison Rose in Montmartre

8 Place Victor Hugo
75116 Paris, France
+33 1 53 64 24 00

Snag a table for two on the partially-enclosed terrace during lunch on a Sunday, and I promise you won’t be disappointed. Located in the posh 16th Arrondissement, Le Scossa entertains local families for afternoon “supper” along with discreet visitors (like Bono!), who prefer to nibble a la carte. The Fois Gras is my favorite in the city – or at least the one I’ve ordered most frequently – and the Omelette Bio au Compté will melt in your mouth. You can’t go wrong with an American style cheeseburger, but be prepared to pay for it. While you’re at it, order the whole damn bottle of rosé, because trust me on this.

The Fois Gras on the Enclosed Terrace at Le Scossa is TO DIE FOR!

25 Place des Vosges
75003 Paris, France
+33 1 48 87 94 07

The Place des Vosges is certainly one of the most gorgeous squares in all of Paris. On sunny days, the entire population of the Marais seems to congregate here to enjoy the fresh air. While there are several cafés along the perimeter of the park, Carette is one of the classiest and most popular. Sit back, be pampered, and watch the world go by.

Rosé is perfect on the Terrace at Carette

Jardin des Tuileries
75001 Paris, France
+33 1 42 61 22 14

While the Tuileries Gardens are a bit of a tourist destination, the locals also can’t keep away from this entirely outdoor café on hot, sunny days. There is nothing better than perching here with a glass of rosé (on ice, s’il vous plait!) and eavesdropping on your neighbors, who are visiting Paris from every corner of the earth. Of course, it may take some time before you scope out an empty table, but it’s well worth it for the beautiful views of the famous fountains, colorful flowers, and square trees in this majestic park.

Pour un Verre de Vin Rouge:

Le Bonaparte
42 Rue Bonaparte
75006 Paris, France
+33 1 43 26 42 81

Tell me, is there a single Francophile who hasn’t fantasized about sipping wine on the famous terrace of Les Deux Magots? Unless you’re ready to empty your wallet and you love surrounding yourself with tourists, I’m here to say: Skip it. Do visit the ancient Place Saint-Germain des Prés, of course! Snap your photos of the storied café honoring two maggots, pop into the oldest church in Paris, and then take a cue from the locals. Secure your spot on the terrace at Le Bonaparte. From here, you can absorb the entire square, eavesdrop on French gossip, and feel like a boss when your check comes. Me? I’ll order a nice glass of red wine and bask in the sun for as long as possible before a local gives me the boot.

Wine and Cheese is perfect for the Terrace

Pour un Coup de Champagne:

4 Rue des Petits Champs
75002 Paris, France
+33 1 49 27 00 50

This stunning café is ideally located at the entrance of the Gallery Vivienne, one of the most historic and beautiful covered passageways in Paris. Many photographers have used its charming sidewalk terrace to capture the love between newly married and engaged couples, because it simply oozes romance. To linger here with a bottle of champagne epitomizes everything burning and passionate and lustful about Paris. Be sure to bring a lover.

Gallery Vivienne

1 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe
75004 Paris, France
+33 1 42 78 31 64

Chez Julien was founded in 1780. It is registered as a historical monument in France. It flanks one of the most spectacular cobblestone streets in all of Paris. And yet, I had walked past it for years – assuming it was ripe with tourists – before one day after my husband and I had flâneured a dozen miles and needed to rest our feet. We landed here on the terrace of Chez Julien, where we ordered a bottle of champagne. Our waitress graced us with a magnificent presentation, all silent popping and label showing and towel wiping and ice bucket maneuvering, and before we knew it, we had bubblied our afternoon away. Thus became a weekend tradition on the loveliest of days. We’ve brought guests here as well, because we simply couldn’t keep it to ourselves. The experience is quintessentially French: slow, romantic, and beautiful.

Chez Julien

Pour une Bière:

72 Rue Lamarck
75018 Paris, France
+33 1 42 62 01 62

To me, a seat on the terrace of Le Refuge provides one of the most iconic views of Paris. Sit back and enjoy your beer while commuters stream in and out of the Lamarck-Cauaincourt Metro station across the street. Surround yourself with locals, knowing the tourists don’t often find this backside of Montmartre. Then (discreetly) point your camera lens at the splendid pedestrian staircases above and below you. You can easily waste away an afternoon at Le Refuge… and I have!

If you are thinking of visiting Paris this year, this link provides lots of good deals and information.

The View from the Terrace at Le Refuge

Have I missed your favorite terrace? There are over 12,000 food establishments in Paris. If you have a suggestion for an unforgettable terrace, may I ask you to indulge my FOMO and leave it in the comments below? Cheers, Mes Amies!

Coca Cola in a traditional glass bottle is also a popular drink on the terraces of Paris!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Overcome Writer’s Block: 5 No-Bullshit Steps toward Writing Today

So yeah, first I need to share and celebrate: I’m published.


Day Is Done” has been selected for the Fall 2017 issue of the literary journal, The Gravity of the Thing. I am absolutely psyched. But of course I am! Please take a few moments to read it, and feel free to allot your thoughts here on my blog. That would be awesome. (Disclaimer: This story is dark. I mean midnight black. You’ve been warned.)

If you follow my blog, you know my greatest challenge is getting published. I celebrate my rejection letters despite the utterly horrible way they make me feel because it means I am writing. I’m following my creative dreams and putting myself out there for the world to devour. It’s frightening. It’s sometimes depressing. And it’s really fucking difficult.

To get published, a writer needs to create material, and that requires battling Writer’s Block. That’s what we’re talking about today, because I’ve suffered this frustrating ailment right along with you, and the pain is real. I don’t care what those extremely successful, rolling-in-dough, best-selling authors tell you about the “myth” of Writer’s Block. Nuh-uh. You and I both know that shit is legit.

What causes Writer’s Block? Well, it’s different for everyone, I think. For me, it’s fear. I don’t know what scares me so much, but the fear cripples my abilities, and I will do anything, literally anything, before sitting down to write. While eating and exercise are my go-to replacement activities, I’ll frequently read. I guess I’m OK with that, but only because it feels like a valid excuse. Which it’s not.

Most recently, I’ve been listening to podcasts. Have you downloaded S-Town? Now that jawn is worth your time.

Anyway, with NanoWriMo quickly approaching, I thought this might be a good time to share my thoughts on overcoming Writer’s Block. Hence, a listicle. I hope some of this helps.

1. Remind yourself that you’re a writer, and not someone who simply talks about being a writer. Imagine the next time someone asks you what you do for a living, and answer them, “I’m a writer.” They will ask you what you have written, and where they can find your work. You’ll need answers. This is urgent. So urgent. Emergency.

2. Force yourself to write 500 words, five days a week. I can’t tell you how few words this really is. Who cares if the verbiage is crap? This task is like lubricant for your mind. Once you sit down to complete this, the words start coming, and suddenly you’ve finished half of a short story, or a chapter of your novel, or an entire blog post. Just do it.

3. Change your environment. Yes, habits are good, but sometimes, they are bad. If you tell yourself you will write at your kitchen table five mornings a week, and you place your computer there, and set your coffee next to your computer, and eat a bowl of oatmeal, and stalk your favorite author on Instagram, or watch another You Tube video about outlining, you have created a bad habit. You are not writing. This lack of progress begets more lack of progress, and soon, it’s what you’re doing every single morning instead of writing, and then you become afraid to write, and oh come on! You feel me, people. I know you feel me. So today, go somewhere else to write. My favorite place is the library because it’s the least distracting. But coffee shops are good too, and on a beautiful afternoon, a shady spot beneath a tree is glorious.

4. Upgrade your squad. Plant yourself in the same environment with other writers. Join a critique group or a writing group. Attend readings and workshops. Make a small effort to talk with other writers, and hold yourself accountable to one another. Find groups on, and at your local bookstore or library. Writing is a solitary endeavor. The loneliness is sometimes the very quality that coaxes your most creative thoughts to the surface. Having said that, writers are human, and like all productive humans, we need a support system. To avoid Writer’s Block, embrace the community.

5. Create deadlines. Or set word goals. Join NanoWriMo. Etcetera. Just create a sense of time and urgency, and you will have no other choice than to get the work done. Think about this. If you commit yourself to writing 2,500 words per week, that’s 10,000 words a month, or a full-length novel in six months.

Now, I’m actually headed to a little writer’s workshop, and it’s 8:45 AM, and I’ve already written 850 words. See how easy that was? If you have other tips for avoiding or overcoming Writer’s Block, please share them in the comments here. I need help in this area as much as any writer, and I love hearing your advice. I’m not participating in NanoWriMo this year, but if you are, I’m rooting for you! I sincerely can’t wait to see all of the 2017 success stories.