I met Solène when I was a teenager. We were going to a very strict and old fashion kind of school, for girls only. To give you an idea, we were still wearing navy-blue aprons with our names embroidered on it at 11 years old. So I was complaining about that school but in fact I never met as many amazing friends than during those funny years. It seems that adversity strengthens relationships ;)
Solène became a fantastic woman, making you want to be a better person as soon as you spend some times with her. Always positive, never gossiping, and organizing with her husband the best parties ever. We have a lot of common tastes with Solène, she's enjoying life, good cheese, chacuterie and wine. By those cold days (I hope the last ones) Solène cooked for me a delicious and very tasty soup that was really comforting, and she's sharing the recipe with us.
You're one of the rare person I know to be a 100% Parisian, what do you enjoy most in the city ?
I love always being surprised and discovering new things and that is exactly what happens in Paris. Each neighborhood has its own particularities and you can never get bored of this city! It's the same for food. Of course I've always been used to good Parisian bistrots but Paris is also offering a lot of diversity with different kind of world food, and exotic restaurants. I love that mix.
You live in the 17th, close to Place St Ferdinand, can you say few words about this area of Paris ?
I feel like living in a village and that is what I love most. It seems that bakeries and cheese shops are here since ever and we're enjoying a real community life. As soon as the sun is here we go for a coffee or a lunch on place St Ferdinand, especially at “la Maison” with its nice terrasse. And of course I love the localisation of my appartment, very close to the Champs Elysées and the Avenue des Ternes where you can shop absolutely everything. Every morning when I go to work I feel so lucky to see Arc de Triomphe right in front of me before going down the subway. A good way to start the day!
What would be your favrite areas of Paris for a weekend stroll ?
I'm in love with le Marais and Montmartre where you can really feel the Histrory of Paris. The little streets and some shops or restaurants make you feel the real and authentic atmosphere of the city.
Which other region would you recommend to people that would like to discover something else than Paris ?
It's impossible for me to choose so I would say 2 regions: Jura and Périgord.
Jura for its beautiful lakes and mountains (it looks like a miniature version of Canada) and all its amazing specialities: morills, the best cheeses ever (Comté, Mont d'Or and Morbier) and some very specific wines (vin Jaune).
And Périgord for all those beautiful villages, so typically French. Some of them have been declared part of the most beautiful of the country, such as Rocamadour, Collonges-la-Rouge ou Saint-Cirq Lapopie. And of course there are also plenty of good products to discover such as cheese, duck or wine!
Solène's good tips in Paris :
L'entrecôte : Only one meal proposed, a great piece of meat with a secret and unique sauce. Perfect for good meat lovers. But not way to get a reservation so you need to wait or arrive early. Beleive me it's worth it!
A comforting sweet potatoes soup, perfect for cold or hard days !
Market check list for 4 people :
- 3 sweet potatoes
- 1 onion
- 25 cl of coconut milk
- 50 cl of water
Cut the onion in small cubes and cook it for 5 min on a medium heat with some olive oil. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes in cubes and add them to the onion. After 5 minutes cover with the coconut milk and water and let it cook for 20 minutes.
Check if the sweet potatoes are cooked (if so, you can introduce easily a knife into it) and blend it until you have a nice soup consistency.
Just before serving add some fresh coriander to the soup.