Friday, March 07, 2014


Last week I was invited to a bloggers brunch preview at Viola.
80 rue Lemercier 75017
Viola is an Italian bistro in the Batignolle area.It was the first time I'd eaten Italian food since moving to Paris.
I'd forgotten how deliciously satisfying it is...
When I moved into my new place the proprietor proudly showed me the combo microwave (in lieu of an oven - supposedly it grills and nukes but does neither one very well) and he said to me,
"You can make pizza in this!"
Inwardly I sniffed...I don't make pizza. 
Tarte tatin yes. Pizza no!
After eating this heavenly hunk of lush lasagna I'm not so sure...
If you have been to Italy, you will instantly recognize this as 'Macedonia di fruita'.
Just the best fruit salad IN THE WORLD!
If you have not been to Italy, it's worth going just for the macedonia. 
Forget the Leaning Tower of Pisa and  Sistine Chapel. THIS is it!
Of course all the bloggers were shooting up a storm...
I was enthralled by the adorable cups and saucers.
It turns out the bistro's owner, Charles Teboul, a Roman, is using only cups and saucers that belonged to his Mama.
Her name of course is Viola, also the name of the bistro
Do go for an exceptional weekend brunch.
You won't be disappointed and it will be a refreshing change from quiche Lorraine for goodness sake!
Speaking of having brunch, this morning I decided to indulge at the new Hugo and Victor tea salon in Printemps.
With a stack of subscription envelopes waiting to be addressed it seemed only fitting to do it in an elegant environment non?
I must share a few secrets about La Poste with you dear PBers.
Did you know France, with all it's marvelous advancements, still does not have self-stick stamps?
Yes it's true sadly. And they provide you with an old sponge thing that belongs in the flea marché in my opinion. Then the stamps do not stick very well. What's more and this is VITAL INFORMATION for all travelers to France, if you dream of sending home letters/post cards with gorgeous stamps on it

There is just ONE very so-so looking stamp that has the correct amount of postage on it for overseas 20gr envelopes (.98€). All the beautifully-designed stamps are for usage INSIDE France only. This is taking chauvinism to a new level if you ask me, which no one is. 
Yes, it's true you could buy a pretty stamp and then add to it the other homely stamps to reach the requisite .98€ but this is quite tiresome when you have lots to send out. 
And of rant.
It's all part of choosing to live in a new country I suppose. One must accept. It isn't all Roquefort fromage you know...
By the way there are still a few watercolor scraps waiting to go out with available monthly sketch subscriptions on Etsy dear PBers ;))
Bon WeekEnd a tous!


Merisi said...

Voilà, Viola! ;-)
From the looks of it and your description, this sounds like a great Roman outpost in France!

"Did you know France, with all it's marvelous advancements, still does not have self-stick stamps?"
Here you had me in stitches, Carol! I would have never thought of this as a shortcoming must be due to living too many years in Vienna by now. What you do, carry a glue stick, problem solved. Think of how much more environmentally friendly these old-fashiuoned stamps are, and often also prettier.

Parisbreakfasts said...

I always said you were a genius
And you've proven it again !

Pascale said...

I am sorry but in FRance, we have also self-stick stamps (called "timbres autocollants).
The choice is not so wide, but you have th range of Marianne stamps and other beautiful stamps, sold in small book stamps

you can select them with the sticking mode.


Parisbreakfasts said...

THANK YOU Pascale!
They told me no way at La Poste
You just made my day ;))

La Table De Nana said...

Viola.. I love that name because we have the sweetest,,coolest.. prettiest.. smartest 13 yr old Italian girl on our street and her name is Viola..Italy every summer..has the coolest glasses:) Oh she is just a star in all our eyes:)..Great mom too:)
Love the cups and who they belong to..
Our stamps are usually very blah.
Self stick..but blah..I did get some a few months ago by..Marie Louise gay.."Stella" stamps..
Your bundle looks wonderful.

Karen in VA (was CT) said...

.. Oh yes, the Paris post office couldn't understand why I wanted "special" stamps ... pretty/different?

It would almost seem a travel promotion to issue fabulous overseas stamps .... but it's all part of learning a new culture.

Yes, Italian food sounds wonderful ever so often in Paris, good to know about this.

Cheers for a good weekend.

Karen in VA

Karen in VA (was CT) said...

... YAY YAY .... I just subscribed .... can't wait to get my first envelope ....

very excited

Karen in VA

Karen in VA (was CT) said...

Carol ... have you seen these? I see them on eBay occasionally.

telas mosquiteiras said...

Telas Mosquiteiras
ED Telas Mosquiteiras
Replicas de Relogios

french cravings said...

Voila! Your stamp troubles have been solved! ;)

Looks like a lovely place for brunch... x Katie

365 Dresses said...

LOL, I warned you that La Poste employees don't always impart correct information. Someone once told me that in Italy it is very difficult to get anything other than Italian food, but in Paris? Many different kinds, Italian, Cuban, Mexican Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and many more. The lasagna looks great, but we have a special place on rue Gregoire de Tours for lasagna. Best in the world, in our opinion.

Jeanette, Mistress of Longears said...

I will pitch a tent at the mailbox!!

Unknown said...

Ah, but at least you have the Isle St. Louis Poste near chez vous! Trés convenient....Thank you for all of your lovely blog posts. I will subscribe to show my support.

Parisbreakfasts said...

Thank you Carroll!
Te Ile St.L Poste never has any's just for show. A facade ;)

Jeanie said...

I just added this one to the Paris Next Time notebook! And ordered your letters for six months! Yay!

Cathy Huer said...

hiya Carol, I've lived in France for 10 years and I always send postcards or snail mail with a mix of stamps (red marianne one's and sticker arty ones) to Australia, sometimes you also have to ask for 'plus jollis' stamps (it also depends on the line of people behind you)...i probably pay a little more than the advertised price, but I love sending arty things... 'Hema' shop has cheap decorative paper and rubber stamps for decorating..(they have a shops in Paris, i've been to the one at St Lazare, down stairs), i saw some lovely Braque stamps at the post office last visit...

JudyMac said...

Thanks for the info on "Viola"; I'll put it on my list for October. I must add my petite rant re the lack of interesting French postage stamps for postcards, which are high on my travel list and friends look forward to. Last trip I was greatly disappointed in the stamps available for postcards. In the USA, except for our "Flag" stamp, our "beautiful" stamps are referred to as Commemorative stamps and I always use them on my mail going anywhere, particularly overseas. I've even used the First Class Mail stamp on postcards when I want to use one that really stands out or has a special meaning.

Kiki said...

Carol, I SO (bold capital letters!) agree with the unbeauty of French stamps. Also, the employees of our post offices are often downright rude and not in the least interested in you as a Customer.
One sold me a BUNCH of stamps for mail abroad two days before they upped the price without ever mentioning that they would cost more.... AND pointed out to me that 'you really write a lot' (I must be the only left-over Customer to actually buy stamps and not the pre-stamped envelopes they also sell....)

So I had to go back and buy 13x the extra cents for those, 7x for USA etc etc... And I had to get them at the machine because - of course - nobody sells those truly unhelpful amounts in actual stamps.
I often think I'm the only person left in France who's ACTUALLY writing lots of REAL letters, cards.

But I have a good one for you:
Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there. (Josh Billings)

When I wanna spoil my friends abroad, I buy beautiful Swiss stamps and have them mailed from Switzerland when I'm visiting! Works a treat but not helpful for time-sensitive stuff....

The VIOLA sounds absolutely delightful - I LOVE EVERYTHING ITALIAN (except their Government but then I don't like many governments anywhere...). I hope to visit this authentic place sometimes.

Parisbreakfasts said...

What postal stories you have to tell Kiki!
There's a book here.
there are some post offices in Paris who are actually helpful like La Poste in la LOUVRE - open every day of the week. The Main post office at rue de Louvre seem very willing to assist.
And my old PO in the 19th were sweethearts.
It's all about location, location, location.
But I'm not leaving the Ile St.-Louis to return to the 19th !!!