Salut! My name is Rio Jorolan. I created this site not only as an ode to my favorite city in the world, but to explore a curiosity of mine — what do other Parisphiles like me actually love about the city? I’ve met so many with the same kind of almost-irrational admiration or devotion and have always wondered what they experienced in the city to make them love it thaaaat much. It’s amazing, really, that one city — the same Paris — can create sooooo many different experiences, perspectives, awakenings and versions of falling in love that I, too, fall in love again with every story I hear. My goal is to present them all here. For you to discover the most magical places, corners and moments. For you to get a glimpse of Paris. And maybe, for you to fall in love with it too.
What do I do?
I am a writer, designer and I absolutely looooooooove Paris. So much so that right after leaving my stint at an advertising agency, I fulfilled my dream of living in the city.
When did I fall in love with Paris?
It was in 1998. I was in high school and all I wanted to do was be online and chat. My parents though had other plans – bring my sister and I on a one-month affair with Paris and the rest of France. All I knew about Paris then was the Eiffel Tower and to be honest, it didn’t excite me much to go. All that changed when the city finally unfolded before my eyes. Oh my god, it was love at first. LOVE. I had tears in my eyes on the flight home.
What do I love most about it?
Everything but I especially love being able to just walk around from the Left Bank to the Right and back, stumbling upon the prettiest things along the way – a quaint cafe, the Jardin du Luxembourg (my favorite park in Paris), countless vintage shops, the whiff coming from the boulangeries and patisseries, the always-cool Parisians themselves, hearing that magnificent French every step of the way and just being surrounded with all things Parisian.
Arrondissement/street/store that I love?
This will sound touristy but the sixieme (6th) arrondissement will always have a place in my heart. That’s where I lived, in a tiny flat (which I found through Lodgis) on rue du Cherche-Midi. I love it because everything is there – a short walk to the Seine, to Notre Dame, to the super tourist magnet but charming nonetheless Cafe de Flore and Les Deux Magots, to L’Entrecot (yup that slab of steak with the secret sauce and unlimited fries), to Shakespeare and Co., to Laduree, to Pierre Herme too, to the Jardin du Luxembourg, to Poilane (yummmm on my street), to La Grande Epicerie (MY HEAVEN) just behind my street right where Le Bon Marché (another gem) is, L’Epi Dupin which was two blocks away from me and an absolute foodie find (thanks to my fellow francophile Reg), Amorino (where I get my favorite frozen yogurt) and my favorite supermarkets Carrefour and Monoprix.
Biases aside, I love Le Marais for obvious reasons – quirky shops and resto finds.
Absolute favorite thing that I love to do in Paris?
People-watch, photograph, look for gigs, discover an art exhibit, walk, eat and walk some more! Having me-time in Paris is the best thing ever.
Where do I love to eat?
My ultimate favorite is not even French – Chez Marianne. Oh my god, I can eat there every single day. But then I’d look like their food already so every week was my ritual. Monoprix’s daily offerings are also my staple in Paris – I love their chicken wrap. THE BEST CHICKEN WRAP EVER. No matter how cold it gets, I never mind walking all the way to the nearest Monoprix just for my fix.
What do I love to do at night?
On weeknights, dinner with friends at some restaurant one of us discovered (or currently craving) then probably wine. La Palette is a good place for that after-dinner thing. Or if you want to get drunk (fast!) on a pint of beer for just 10 euros, head on over to Mazet in the Odeon area. On weekends, some friends usually invite over to their flat for wine and cheese (yessss, how French), then sometimes head off to a quirky lounge like Andy Wahloo or if in a dancing mood, clubs like Showcase. Was lucky enough to catch Telepopmusik there!
Then, Of course, I dreamily gaze at the Eiffel sparkling from wherever I am and pinch myself to remind me that $#&*$&)Q*& I am really in Paris.
My most memorable moment in Paris?
Ended a night out at around 3am and Metro closes at 1am. So the obvious choice was? Nope, not the velib! But a cab! That was when I experienced how extremely difficult it was to find one in the city at that time!!!! We stayed at a bus stop on a really chilly night in a part of town we were not really very familiar with. Called all agencies possible. Two hours after, none! So we hopped on a bus, no idea where it was going (because the route looked too complicated to understand – especially at 5am), went round and round until we saw landmarks we knew and finally hopped off. And it didn’t end there. We still had to walk blocks and blocks of cobblestone just to get to the flat.
OH AND HOW COULD I EVER FORGET? Watching Phoenix live on my birthday at Le Zenith during a trip there in 2009, so cloooose to the stage. AAHHH. IT WAS THE BEST MOMENT EVER.
Finds that I love – fashion-wise, beauty-wise, food-wise, art-wise?
This YSL skirt I found at a vintage store for just 10 euros! And of course,Bioderma, I love you!
Food-wise, it’s hard to eat “healthy” in Paris – what with all the buttery goodness around – so I think God answered my prayers when I found a “bio” (their term for organic) vegan restaurant in the 5th arrondissement, Le Grenier de Notre Dame. Quaint spot tucked on a quiet street near the Notre Dame (obviously). I’m not sure if my meat-loving foodie friends I brought with me loved it as much as I did though! For sweets, Berthillon remains undefeated.
Artsy fartsy-wise, this Miro exhibit my family and I literally just stumbled upon on some street! MIRO! I also love my friend’s present to me during my birthday there in 2011 – access to FIAC, the annual art exhibit held at the Grand Palais. All the best galleries of the world are gathered there. Wow.
Le Carmen is also another favorite discovery. It’s not really in the safest part of Paris – Pigalle – but it is amazing. Hidden behind its unassuming facade is this 19th century mansion-turned-club full of legit cool Frenchies. Opulent, ornate and mysterious, as if discovering a secret club, I would brave Pigalle again just for it.
Museum I love?
Les Arts Decoratif. Decorative arts, oui! That’s where they have all the fashion exhibits like the ones about Hussein Chalayan (which was amazing) and Marc Jacobs. I also like the Rodin museum because some part of it is outdoor, an amazing garden punctuated with some of Rodin’s sculptures.
What else would I love to see and experience in Paris?
TOO MANY. It never stops. Because every time you are in Paris, it always feels like the first time.
To turn into a Parisian (legit enough to fool even actual Parisians), how should one act or dress? What makes a Parisian, Parisian?
From what I’ve observed, never look too made up. Don’t over-accessorize. Be chic without needing to scream it out. Be aloof at first (then warm up after a drink or two and show your fun, genial side). If all else fails, red lipstick always does the trick.
For snippets of my Paris and the rest of my world, follow @riojorolan on Instagram