How Sweet It Is
You could pass right by Sadaharu Aoki's new cupcake-size pâtisserie near the Jardin du Luxembourg, but Parisians lured by his seductive and surprising pastries are having no trouble finding their way here. Sadaharu, born in Tokyo, puts a gentle Japanese spin on the classics he spent most of the past 13 years perfecting at Paris' venerable Jean Millet Pâtisserie. In his contribution to the vogue for tea-flavored sweets that has swept the city—Pierre Hermé did a triple-layered dessert-in-a-glass with it this spring; Fauchon has a Darjeeling tart; Peltier has a tea-flavored chocolate candy—Sadaharu puts matcha, the powdered green-tea leaf used in Japanese tea ceremonies, into delicate mille-feuilles and odd-looking but delicious green-glazed éclairs. Black sesame seeds, another ingredient from home, lend their textural interest and toasty flavor to ice cream and pastries like macarons with crackly, eggshell-thin crusts. Other specialties: the sumptuous Brooklyn cheesecake and rec chocolat, a fashionably thin chocolate-almond cake layered with light chocolate mousse and topped with a graceful, dark-as-midnight chocolate wave. At 35 Rue de Vaugirard; 33-1-45-44-48-90.
Greenspan is the author of "Paris Sweets: Great Desserts from the City's Best Pastry Shops," just published by Broadway Books.
The perfect place to watch fashion-conscious parents parade their utterly chic toddlers is the Tuileries on a Sunday afternoon. Now a new French line of haute-couture children's clothing provides a few stylish pieces to take home with you. Manomia's special-occasion dresses and coats, casual sweaters and blouses, are inspired by traditional costumes from all over the world. The flowing Yelek dress (from $540) re-creates an Egyptian caftan in exquisite hand-painted silk; the Kaftan coat (from $245) resurrects an intricate ancient Middle Eastern needlework technique; the Cosaque shirt (from $85) renders a Russian classic in embroidered cotton. While the pieces emphasize design, luxurious materials, and superb craftsmanship (they are handmade in an Italian atelier), "they are not created for baby models," says designer Bernadette Villard. "They're supposed to be stylish, but above all, comfortable and fun for the child." Most of the collection is available for children from infants to age six. By appointment (call 33-6-08-74-24-54; www.manomia.com). Select items at Le Bon Marché, 24 Rue de Sèvres; 33-1-44-39-80-00.
A Room of One's Own
A 16th-century townhouse in the elegant Marais quarter opened its very private doors to guests last year as a word-of-mouth unnamed bed-and-breakfast. The decor, orchestrated by designer Christophe Gollut, is extravagant and richly atmospheric: Bevilacqua silk-upholstered walls, 17th- and 18th-century stone fireplaces lifted from Loire Valley châteaux, painted doors from a Venetian palace, a curved Moorish doorway. Everywhere you look, there's an antique, a luxurious textile, a silver frame. Of the three guest rooms, the Elephant Room is particularly beautiful, with a lush, elephant-motif azure fabric covering the walls and an ornate 17th-century fourposter as centerpiece. The top-floor Celadon Room has more light than the others, or indeed the rest of the house, which is kept fairly dark, as the owner feels is more in keeping with the decor. The street—the Rue de Montmorency—is not one of the Marais' most charming, though that has the virtue of making it quieter and less trafficked than its neighbors. And while a private house doesn't provide the services one expects of a hotel, the owner, who is in residence, is very accommodating. Rooms, $325. Call 33-6-16-13-39-90; email@example.com.