'I moved to Paris for the love of cakes and other French delicacies,' she says. 'I wanted to study patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu (which I did).' Of her current favourite hangouts in Paris, 'an old favourite of mine is Bob's juice bar in the 10th. It might not be typically Parisian with juices, bagels and other delicious healthy delicacies, but I always bump into a familiar face.'
What Rachel's reading right now:
'I wouldn't call it quite reading more deciphering a foreign language. I've just come back from Warsaw where I was promoting my new TV show and cookbook. I was given some lovely food and lifestyle magazines (Smak and Kukbuk).'
Rachel's recommended Paris reading:
GoGo Paris Guidebooks
A handy printed guide and a fabulous iPhone app (the London one is great too). If you’re looking for local haunts, the latest coffee spots, and quirky fashion boutiques, then GoGo Paris is your best bet. Also a good option for chic cocktail bar recommendations.
French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David
My Granny gave me her 1960s edition of this book, and I will always treasure it. My copy got a real work out when I first started studying patisserie in Paris. Even if you don’t use it as a regular reference in your kitchen, it provides a lovely nostalgic insight into the history of French food. And I’m a firm believer than it’s impossible to own too many French cooking books!
Paris, éternellement by Willy Ronis
I’ve always been drawn to photography books, and this book captures the essence of Paris from the 1930s to 2000 so beautifully. You can still recognise lots of places, although many parts of the city have been completely transformed over time. There’s even a photo of a street I used to live on (the street in 1948 looks nothing like it does today).
Stuff Parisians like by Olivier Magny
An indispensable (and witty) guide to life in Paris, and a pretty honest account of the Parisians themselves. Olivier Magny’s ‘Dessine-moi un Parisien’ (or ‘Stuff Parisians Like’) totally captures the idiosyncrasies of life in the French capital. Definitely worth a read if you’re an expat, or thinking of moving to Paris.
An easy-to-read and discreet map is a lifesaver when travelling (or even roaming around your own city). Parisian streets can be a real rabbit warren, so an up-to-date map book is essential. You’ll often spy a copy of the petite Paris Practique map book peeking out of a local’s handbag on the metro. It’s small, but the font is still easy to read. Using maps on your smart phone can really chew through your data roaming charges (and there are countless other delights to spend your money on in Paris, than an expensive phone bill!). It’s handy to rely on old school technology sometimes.