Letter from Paris: December 13, 2023 News Digest

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Letter from Paris: December 13, 2023 News Digest

Krispy Kreme is taking the City of Light by storm. The opening of the brand’s first Paris store, located at the Westfield Forum des Halles in the center of the city, has brought long lines and a lot of hype. A New York Times article notes that “the arrival of Krispy Kreme in France is just the latest advance in a decades-long invasion by U.S. fast food in the land of Michelin chefs and long leisurely meals.” The North Carolina-based doughnut chain even imported its own assembly line from the US, where the hot fried dough is covering in icing. Yet, as reported by the New York Times, “new flavors were created to appeal to the French palate, including a fresher fruit taste for the apple doughnut and less sweetness to the strawberry frosting. One Frenchified version was loaded with gingerbread, a cookie often served with an espresso at cafes.”

The instant success of Krispy Kreme is a reflection of the French adoration for American pop culture. (Krispy Kreme often stars in TV series and Hollywood films.) And Paris “happens to be one of the biggest markets in Europe for major American fast-food chains, as evolving consumer habits, influenced by a more casual younger generation and social media, reshape the dining landscape.” Read the full article here.

But don’t worry. Parisian pâtisserie isn’t going anywhere. The city’s marvelous pastries — millefeuille, macarons and more — have never been more popular. In fact, the city of Paris awards its very own Grand Prix de la Pâtisserie, and the winners were recently announced. The theme this year? Sports, of course, because of next year’s Olympic Games. Raamin Samiyi from the Pâtisserie Momzy (1, rue Cherubini), won the grand prize for his “Opéra de plongeon.” Alongside the professional pastry chefs, young talents were also recognized with a new category for students. Baptiste Willot won with his La Pomod’Oro, a tart shaped like an Olympic medal. He wins a one-week internship at Maison Pierre Hermé.

Grand prix de la pâtisserie de Paris 2024. Photo credit: Josephine Brueder/ Ville de Paris

A Paris wedding went viral on TikTok, and now the groom is facing aggravated assault charges and a possible 25-year prison sentence. The photos were incredible — an article in Madame Figaro even called it “‘hallucinant” — since the young American couple privatized some of the most prestigious venues in the French capital. The Opera Garnier was festooned with flowers, invitees were welcomed to the Maison Chanel to make their own sur-mesure bags, the Chateau de Versailles staged a sumptuous dinner… and even Maroon 5 made an appearance.

As reported by NBC News, the bride— car dealership heiress Madelaine Brockway (26)— “hosted a four-day bachelorette party at luxury Utah desert resort Amangiri. According to videos posted to Instagram by wedding planner Rachel Birthisle, each night had a different theme, and culminated in a Marie Antoinette-themed dinner party on Halloween. Brockway dressed as the former Queen of France for the event. In the days before the wedding, the bride also invited her guests to make custom tweed pouches during a private party at Chanel’s Haute Couture Headquarters, lunch at the Eiffel Tower and a dress reveal at Dior. Each part of the event was documented in since-deleted TikTok videos posted to Brockway’s account.”

Train fans, rejoice! For the first time in nine years, a night train is now connecting Berlin and Paris. As reported by Kate Connolly in The Guardian, the service “plug[s] a significant gap in Europe’s increasingly comprehensive overnight rail timetable and giving a boost to travellers looking for a realistic alternative to flying. Widely viewed as a jewel in the crown of European rail travel, the service was cancelled in 2014 despite angry protests.”

Have you heard about the city’s project to plant “urban forests” in Paris? That’s right, the Hotel de Ville has an ambitious tree planting-scheme in order to reduce noise, tackle pollution, and fight global warming. The first is being planted this winter at the Place de Catalogne, situated near the Gare Montparnasse, with 478 trees. As reported by Reuters, “The roundabout – designed by the late Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill in the 1980s – had for decades been a busy thoroughfare for cars. In recent years it has been transformed into a Dutch-style, bicycle-friendly junction that is also the start of a ‘voie verte’ or greenway bike lane to the southern suburbs. ‘The temperatures one could feel in this little forest will be 4 degrees lower compared to what we could have outside it and so, it will be very pleasant,’ Hidalgo said. “There’s also some work on recycling rainwater, and here, too, we can recycle rainwater to be able to water, maintain, allow this urban forest to thrive. So it will really be pleasant.” The Paris City hall said 25,000 trees had already been planted last winter and in the past two years several Paris streets with schools have been closed to cars and turned into mini-parks.”

Place de Catalogne. Photo credit: Mbzt / Wikimedia Commons

Lead photo credit : Ad for Krispy Kreme in the Paris metro. Photo credit: Bonjour Paris

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