The City of Light in the City of Angels
When taking a dip in the pacific on a Sunday afternoon in the Malibu colony where we were staying we felt a long way from Paris. But if you are homesick for France you can find enough Francophile haunts in Los Angeles to assuage your desires.
First stop should be the Little Door, the Parisian style brasserie that oozes romance on it’s exterior patio. Billed as French with a Moroccan twist, a new outpost opens this month in Santa Monica to augment their existing West Hollywood location. Save room for dessert, their macarons and pastries are the real thing.
For a step up on the serious chef realm, head to Trois Mecs voted the best new restaurant in Los Angeles by LA Weekly last year. Chef Ludo Lefebvre who worked under the likes of Pierre Gagnaire and Alain Passard sells tickets to his nightly foodie event instead of reservations for $75 (tip and water included but not alcohol). If you are not up for the event, you can head next door to his no reservations Petite Trois for classic French dishes such as moules frites, beef tartar and croque monsieur in a casual setting, stools or standing only. They have no phone number, you’ll have to just show up.
Looking for wine? Head to Du Vin and talk to René the owner who runs the only true French focused wine shop in Southern California. And considering the prices of California vintages these days, you’ll probably end up saving money when you order up a case from Du Vin, the favorite of the who’s who in Hollywood. They also have a fairly decent on-line catalog.
Now that you’ve loosed up a bit with your wine, head to the Alliance Française de Los Angeles or AFDELA for their art and wine event on October 20th or their book club event with the biggest best selling author in France, Marc Levy on Oct 14th. Marc is the John Grisham of France and has appeared on the gg2p radio show.
If you envision your own children becoming bi-lingual you can send them to the Lycée Français de Los Angeles, the French school in West Los Angeles. If you desire to become a proper French chef head to the Cordon Bleu culinary academy or just take a weekend workshop such as a taste of French Bistro to hone your home cooking skills.
Les Duverger Macarons are often voted the best in LA. Headed up by pastry chef Claire Becker who hails from Paris, her pastry shop is located in Chinatown (yes I also thought that odd) and Oxnard up the coast. H er colorful macarons are the closest thing to Ladurée you can get west of the Mississippi. Lavender, salted caramel and coffee are favorites.
For French décor fans, plan a stop in at Indigo Seas, the boutique owned by Lynn von Kersting who is also co-owner of the Ivy. Half of the reason the Ivy restaurant on Robertson became so terribly famous back in the 80’s is thanks to their inviting décor as well as the pack of celebrities that frequented the place.
With a strong credit line on your visa or master card you too can get her unique look, which I have coined, France meets Italy at the beach and in color. While Lynn herself is not strictly French as are the rest of the entrepreneurs mentioned here, she stocks her shop with vintage and newer finds from her yearly trips to Italy, France and Morocco that you’ll find hard to resist.
Up the coast in the canyons of Malibu you’ll find Charme d’Antan for cement, pottery and French architectural pieces for inside and outside the house.
Finally if you are in town in October, check out the French music festival Ooh La La that tours the US kicking off Oct 11th in LA and then heading up to SF over to NYC ending in London later in the month. You see headliners such as Lou Doillon (Charlotte Gainbourg’s sister) and the band Au Revoir Simone, both French female wunderkind.
Lycée Français de Los Angeles