Welcoming in 2024
Happy New Year! It's considered bad luck in France to say so before January 1st, something that catches me off guard every winter as it feels like a common greeting to give at the end of December (is that just me or is this an American thing?). But now I'm in the clear!
Things will start coming back to life here in Paris as the holidays wrap and everyone returns to their routines. I spent a lot of time reflecting as the year closed, and will keep doing so for a bit longer as I tweak and prep for the what’s ahead. This has become a regular, if not quarterly, ritual for me, but there's something special about the turning of the calendar. Something external, definite.
In uprooting and starting my life over in Paris I lost a lot of the touch points that gave a sense of the regular passage of time. Working for myself has done me no favors on this front either. So the struggle to stop typing '2023' in the date lines by reflex and start putting '2024,' a habit that will take me almost all the way until 2025 to break, helps to remind me that we are in fact moving forward through time. All the more reason to take stock, be grateful for where I'm at, and adjust my approach. The last year was an uncertain one for me, full of experiments, changes, new systems, and plenty of humbling turns. But I stood on my own two feet, leaned into the pressure, and those lessons on their own leave me with a very good feeling for what's to come (or at least how I'll handle it).
So Happy New Year! Here's hoping yours is off to an even better start.
Paris According to Apollonia Poilâne
The Impossible Day
An impossible day with baker Apollonia Poilâne
While I am half French and half American, I identify as 100% Parisian.
But that feeling is most present when I head to London for the day to visit my bakery there…
Leaving on the first train out of town means I rise when most enjoy their last hours of sleep. I live on the left bank, and crossing the river on my bike is a moment I cherish during that commute, especially in those moments that night hands over the City of Light to a new day.
I rarely skip taking a picture of the quiet river, surrounded by sleepy buildings, empty streets, and the sun coloring the horizon in a unique way each time. In those moments, I feel a squeeze in my heart, and imagine what would happen if I missed the train to stay in Paris…
…And this is what I would do:
I would divert my route and head to Café de Flore, witnessing the last late nighters enjoying a bottle of champagne loudly while the early risers read their morning paper, the family dog off leash by their side.
Then, I would head to the Place Furstemberg nearby. My father deemed it one of the smallest and prettiest squares, or “places” of Paris. And it is a hidden gem: a simple square with a magnificent tree in the middle with a place to sit on the sidewalk, on the steps of the Institut Catho nearby, or against the tree to read a book (you choose the subject) waiting for the Musée Delacroix to open.
This 19th century artist’s atelier is hidden from view, due to the fact that it’s a small courtyard. A beautiful garden rewards visitors with contemporary artists’ works as an homage to Delacroix.
Then, crossing over the river for lunch, I would head to the Rue Sainte-Anne, where I would either have a quick udon or ramen at Kunitoraya or Udon Jubey, or indulge with friends at Juveniles for a wonderful French bistrot experience in the hands of Margot and Romain.
After a “marche digestive,” (a “digestive walk”), I would settle for an afternoon coffee at Partisan on rue de Turbigo, to sunbathe or social-bathe with either a house roasted coffee or a fashionable matcha.
After, hopping back on my bike, I would cycle to Rue des Martyrs for a selection of cheeses from Quatrehomme (one of several Paris locations) or all the way to Boulevard Berthier and Fromagerie de Courcelles. The cheeses accompany a selection of my breads, for a perfect finish to a dinner with “copains”, friends.
But before dinner, I would partake in “apéro” at the Le Mary Celeste in the Marais. Small plates and a glass of wine or a cocktail would be the perfect finish to my day of exploration.
Apollonia is a baker of hand-crafted, wood-fired bread. She is the third generation of bakers, managing the family bakeries out of Paris and London. Poilâne is a household name for quality bread that blends together time-proven and contemporary techniques. Apollonia lives in Paris. You can often find her navigating the small streets and hills of the city on her bike, a pastime she has loved ever since she was a child.
… into 2023.
2023 was a big year for our team and we want to share a few of the milestones we hit, and thank all of you for supporting Jay along the way!
Our first intern: This was a big jump, and a very exciting one for 2023. We put a call out for official internships, mostly to recent college grads in France looking for a stage to close our their degree. We were looking for someone in the film and editing industry, and landed the incredible Arianna. You might have noticed ever since Arianna came on board, we’ve been posting more reels, using Tiktok better, and just generally getting more short form content out to you so you can better prep for your Paris adventures. Plus, we were so thrilled with Arianna’s work, we decided to hire her, and we’re so glad that we did!
Business Coaching: Jay and Jeff have been taking a business coaching class with the incontournable Dan Martell over the last several months, and thanks to the knowledge gleaned and an incredible effort on their parts, we’ve been able to make these fantastic strides forward this year.
The TedX Talk: Jay was invited to present at the TedX event at the École Polytechnique, and you can actually watch his presentation here!
Paris in my Pocket - the online guide: Jeff the web magician created the beautiful parisinmypocket.com from Jay’s previously available PDF, making the long time dream of turning Paris in my Pocket into an online tool a reality. This website has all of Jay’s recommendations for each arrondissement, general Paris travel advice, articles and videos, events and more. And the best part? When you purchase the guide, you get access for life, and it’s always updated. When Jay finds a new incredible coffee shop, he’s able to get it online and into your pockets the same day.
Or, if you’re not sure yet, subscribe to this newsletter and you’ll get a welcome email with an excerpt from the guide: 7 pages on where to stay in Paris. (There’s a second freebie in their too, if you’re apartment hunting in the City if Light!)
The Podcast Tour: Jay has been featured on several travel podcasts this past year, and will continue into 2024. Check him out on Low Season Traveller, Winging it Travel, and Action Packed Travel to name a few!
20 in 20 Take Two: A huge project of this year was the revisitation of each arrondissement of Paris to give more recommendations and talk a little about why each area is unique. This was a massive undertaking and the videos were released from May to October.
… into 2024…
…A bright year ahead, with lots of exciting projects again both for Jay and for Paris in general. Here are a few things we’re looking forward to as 2024 unfolds, but don’t worry - we’ll remind you of all of these events as we go!
Custom Paris Itineraries by Jay: Yes, you’ve seen this on social media, and the great news is that you’ll see it again! We rolled out a few trial runs of offering custom 1- or 2-day itineraries built by Jay for you. These itineraries were launched in small groups, because of the extensive amount of work it takes to get them from Jay’s brain into your hands, and we fully intend to keep offering this product.
The Olympics: Okay, while this is partially exciting and partially intimidating, the Olympics will be held in Paris from to 26 July to the 11th of August, a relatively short time when you think about how much intense preparation has gone into readying Paris for the games. If you live here, you’re probably dreading some pieces - the influx of visitors, the traffic that’s bound to cause delays - while marrying that feeling with excitement of something so big happening in your own back yard.
The Marathon Pour Tous: If you don’t know, the city of Paris has also organized for a night marathon on the 10th of August, 2024. This will allow amateur and professional athletes alike run the same route as the Olympians!
June in Paris: In general, the month of June is always filled with warm weather, summer energy and fun events, such as the fête de la musique (21st June) and Paris Pride, date tba.
Bonne année to you all - what are you most looking forward to in 2024?