Rooksana Hossenally

Correspondent

  • Paris, France, Europe

Rooksana Hossenally is a correspondent who lives in Paris and covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. She is also a freelance writer for The New York Times and British Airways Highlife Magazine. Her adventures have led her on a 40-hour train journey across India, up a mountainside with a punctured tire in Oman and waking up at a local’s house in the middle of Monument Valley, but when she isn’t off exploring the world, she’s scouring Paris for the best it has to offer. Her work has appeared in the International Herald Tribune, Dazed, AMagazine.com.au, The Huffington Post and MSNTravel, among other publications.

  • On May 19, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What are the five best things to do with kids in Paris?

    While Paris' charms will probably appeal more to adults, there are several activities that will make it a fun trip for the little ones too.

    1. Exploring Egyptian tombs and mummies at the Louvre. The iconic museum has an impressive collection of artefacts from civilisations that developed in the Nile Valley from the late prehistoric era (c. 4000 BC) to the fourth century AD. The main draw is the funerary art room, which contains a rich collection of mummy portraits, which is bound to keep you as well as the kids in complete awe!

    2. La Géode 3D cinéma is a large mirror-finished sphere in the park of La Villette in north-eastern Paris. Located inside the impressive modular Cité des Sciences (the science museum), the Géode is halfway between sculpture and monument; the enormous silver sphere looks like it belongs in a sci-fi movie rather than in picturesque Paris. Worth seeing at the moment are wildlife films Under the Sea, Born to be Wild and Arctic. (Note: some of the films are in English with French subtitles and some are in French).

    3. The Foire du Trône is a lively funfair that takes place every year from March to May in the scenic Bois de Vincennes; a park southeast of the city. The star fair rides include the Star Flyer and the Power Max, but for something a little less adrenaline wrenching, there is also a Ferris wheel and the usual fair ground games. This year the fair will run through 26 May.

    4. An evening at the Cirque d'Hiver (which translates as 'winter circus' although it runs all year around) is a surreal experience taking you right back to a time before videogames and the internet filled most of the kids’ days. And not only is the show an experience to remember but the oversized circus tent setting is also spectacular. A show lasts about two and a half hours and includes some of the most talented acrobats, trapeze artists, tigers, dogs, horses and clowns presented by the ringmaster Monsieur Loyal.

    5. If the term ‘Greennovation’ arouses your curiosity, then this festival’s for you. We Love Green is one of the most wholesome events in the city, with music from some of the biggest names, a beautiful setting in the Parc de Bagatelle (one of the city's many gardens), and, as its name suggests, 100 per cent green values. This year the festival will run from 14-16 September and the line up includes C2C, Norah Jones and James Blake. There are also lots of workshops and activities centred on the environment for kids of all ages.
  • On May 18, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What is the best new restaurant in Paris?

    How would you fancy giving a helping hand to those in need just by tucking into a famous French chef's recipe? At MANGER (24 rue Keller, Paris 11th), the brand new upmarket associative restaurant, when you order the prix fixe 'dîner des chefs' (chefs' dinner), 10 per cent of the price you pay goes towards training people who have been excluded from the job market.

    After three years of hard graft, Thierry Monassier, the Paris-based restaurant consultant, sees his dream become a reality. In 2010, Thierry created the association ‘Toques et Partage’, which lies at the heart of MANGER. Together with Ferdinand, his right-hand man, Thierry recruits candidates who have the potential to work in the restaurant business but who either haven’t had the opportunity to learn a trade, or who have been living on the streets. With 10 places to fill at the restaurant, Thierry gives successful candidates a two-year training contract, which will lead to a permanent position or which will give them the edge to get a job elsewhere “There are 85,000 jobs to fill in restaurants in Paris, so there is plenty of opportunity out there but very few training schemes that are accessible to people who for some reason or other can't get on the job ladder” says Thierry.

    Unlike any other associative project of the sort, MANGER doesn’t just have a worthwhile cause at heart, but the restaurant itself is a remarkable feat. Marie Deroudilhe, acclaimed for her work at Alain Ducasse’s latest restaurants, designed the space, which used to be a Franprix supermarket.
    The result should have been cold and clinical, but instead feels like a homely conservatory. The sky light above a tree planted indoors gives plenty of natural light, significantly lifting the overall mood of the place.

    The reigns in the kitchen are held by the cool, calm and collected young globetrotting chef, William, who whisks up a mean feast laced with international influences picked up on his travels across the world. He uses fresh produce sourced as close to home as possible and makes sure every dish is magnificently presented.

    The lunch menu is divided according to the way of cooking the ingredients (grilled on Tuesdays, roasted on Wednesdays, steamed on Thursdays, and so on). In the evenings, the ‘dîner des chefs’ is the highlight on the menu, with recipes created especially for MANGER and donated by some of the country’s top chefs, including Trama, Alléno and Hache. Ten per cent of the price for the prix fixe menu (55 euros) goes to the association for the rehabilitation training contracts.

    Thierry is overjoyed with the result although too humble to say so, he prefers to focus on the aspects he still wants to develop, but the glint in his eye as he watches diners revelling in the experience, is evidence enough of his satisfaction at seeing his dream finally come together.

    MANGER – 24 rue Keller, Paris 11, +33 (0)1 43 38 69 15 – www.manger-leresto.com. Open Tuesday-Saturday (12:00-2:30pm and 7:30-10:30pm). Booking in the evenings is mandatory.
  • On May 18, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What is the best way to see Paris in one day?

    When Woody Allen’s 'Midnight in Paris' was released in 2011, it reignited our dreams of experiencing that notorious romance Paris is renowned for, from dusk till dawn. Since February last year, transporting visitors around Paris through the small hours of the morning is precisely what Benoît Légeret has been doing onboard his blue bus (+33 (0)6 63 807 061; www.lebusbleu.fr).

    Tours of major cities by bus is not a new concept, but touring Paris onboard an original blue vintage 1950s Galion 2168 Renault bus is. Sitting on the slightly raised seats of the bus gives passengers a different perspective of Paris, especially with the vintage interiors and music to match. Also, with a maximum of nine people onboard at any one time (including the driver and the guide), the experience is  a much more intimate one than visiting Paris in a large group or on a double-decker bus.

    On the strike of midnight, the blue bus drives along the River Seine, from Concorde to Notre Dame and back again. Jostling along Paris’s cobbled streets, exploring the capital by moonlight for an hour reveals the magic so many films have tried to capture.

    Tours can also be taken by day. There is a choice of three daytime itineraries: the half-hour tour takes passengers from Opéra, to the Trocadero via various sites including the Louvre and the Champs Élysées. For the hour-long itinerary, travellers must add on the following landmarks: the Eiffel Tower, Invalides, the Grand Palais, Place de la Concorde, Madeleine and Place Vendôme. For visitors who have already seen the major Paris sites, there is a half-hour tour around Pigalle, formerly Paris’ red light district, up to Montmartre and the Sacré Coeur.

    Although the itineraries are clearly marked out on the website, changes can be made at the time of booking. Day tours start at 18 euro per person, while ‘Midnight in Paris’ starts at 39 euro per person. Prices depend on group sizes and tour duration.
  • On May 18, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    When is the best time to visit Paris?

    Visitors planning a trip to Paris can rest assured about there being no wrong time to visit the city - Paris has something to offer regardless of the time of year.

    My personal favourite time to visit is June, because the days warm up and stretch on until after 9:00pm meaning you can pack in a lot more on your trip. The city is green and flowers bloom all over. More importantly though, there is a very distinct atmosphere; a general feeling of happiness and renewed energy that the darker winter months have drained almost dry floats in the air. June is the time when Parisians are still in the city (most tend to go away for the holidays in August) so visitors can still get a taste for the local ambience - bar terraces spill over with groups of lively locals after work, the Champs de Mars next to the Eiffel Tower is full of people lazing on the grass, glass of wine in hand, the canals are lined with people having picnics, playing instruments, and often taking part in a game of bowls (especially in the 19th arrondissement), La Villette's outdoor cinema is up and running, the city's péniches, ('barges' in English), adorned like floating gardens, are out on the water, and the temporary bars and deck chairs along the quai de Bercy, prime hang out spot for the locals in the evenings, are set up and thriving.

    Another way of planning a visit to Paris is by looking up at what events are on beforehand - there is always something going on and the events are usually excellent, no matter your interests. The city does however have a penchant for all things art-related so have a look at the exhibitions and festivals that are on because they will allow you to get under Paris' skin for a few days as opposed to just bouncing from one monument to the next with your eyes buried in a guidebook.
  • On May 16, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    When is the best time to visit Paris?

    Visitors planning a trip to Paris can rest assured about there being no wrong time to visit the city - Paris has something to offer regardless of the time of year.

    My personal favourite time to visit is June, because the days warm up and stretch on until after 9:00pm meaning you can pack in a lot more on your trip. The city is green and flowers bloom all over. More importantly though, there is a very distinct atmosphere in the city; there is a general feeling of happiness and renewed energy that the darker winter months have drained almost dry. June is the time when Parisians are still in the city (as most tend to go away for the summer holidays in August) so visitors can still get a taste for the local ambience - bar terraces spill over with lively locals after work, the Champs de Mars next to the Eiffel Tower is full of people lazing on the grass glass of wine in hand, the canals are lined with people having picnics, playing various instruments, and often taking part in a game of bowls (especially in the 19th arrondissement), La Villette's outdoor cinema is up and running, the city's péniches, ('barges' in English), adorned like floating gardens, are out on the water, and the temporary bars and deck chairs along the quai de Bercy, prime hang out spot for the locals in the evenings, are all set up and thriving.

    Another way of planning a visit to Paris is by looking up at what events are on beforehand - there is always something on and the events are usually excellent, no matter your specific interest. The city does however have a penchant for all things art-related so have a look at the exhibitions and festivals that are on because they will allow you to get under Paris' skin for a few days as opposed to just bouncing from one monument to the next with your eyes buried in a guidebook.
  • On May 15, 2013

    This weekend in Paris, explore museums by the moonlight! http://bit.ly/13kZ7k7

  • On May 8, 2013
  • On May 3, 2013
  • On April 16, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What are the best souvenirs to buy in Paris?

    Most visitors to the French capital head straight to LaDurée, a gourmet salon de thé and boutique renowned for its luxury macaroons and with its flagship venue on the Champs Elysées. In fact, you will most probably notice a lot of tourists proudly sporting signature LaDurée pistachio-green paper bags all over town. And while macaroons are delicious, they probably won’t make the best souvenir if you are travelling far as they are very fragile and unless you want a box of crumbs when you get home, it’s probably wiser to go with something else.

    Paris is actually a great place to buy high-quality luxury teas. There are several brands to choose from but I would go with Dammann Frères due to their meticulous way of choosing their teas. Established since 1692, the maison is extremely well respected for its choice of teas that are sourced right in the countries of origin – the brand’s biggest hit however, is its selection of delicate hand-picked white teas. The maison’s first flush has in fact arrived earlier this month (April), so if you fancy having a taste of the tea of the emperors, you can wander to one of three boutiques (Place des Vosges, Bercy Village and rue Mouffetard). White tea aficionados can also order online.

    Séverine Slater, the Dammann tea tasting expert for Asia and Africa, actually travels far and wide to find the world’s most sumptuous and rarest teas – in fact, when she explains the various tastes and virtues of white teas to customers, upon tasting her favourite teas, she seems transported elsewhere for a moment; her eyes light up and a slight smile appears on her lips as she takes in the earthy flavours and aromas of the teas.

    While most white teas come from the Fujian province in China, the two that I prefer are the Himalaya Shangri-La from Nepal and the Kinihira d’Argent from Rwanda. Original, bold and flavoursome, these teas are very different to the selection on offer, which to my amateur palate taste a little too earthy.

    Subtle in their flavours, the experts at Dammann will explain that white tea isn’t one to indulge in with or after dishes with strong flavours as it can take away from the tea’s delicate taste. White tea is to be enjoyed first thing in the morning or a few hours after a meal to get the full impact.

    I like to visit the Place des Vosges boutique in the third arrondissement; with its arches and original 17th-century beamed ceilings it’s a real experience. Surrounded by luxury teas in black signature Dammann tins, which are neatly arranged on display cabinets, where you will also find all sorts of top tea gadgetry like miniature hour-glass kits to measure infusion time as well as various types of infusers and tea pots, this is a real haven for tea aficionados. Regardless of who you are buying for, Dammann Frères offers a little bit of the world neatly wrapped up in a bit of that historical luxurious Parisian charm, which is a winning formula for Paris fans every time!
  • On April 16, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What are the best bars in Paris?

    Julien Ferret Paris has so many bars to try, each one more original than the other, as well as its staple bistro de quartier, where you can get a decent glass of wine at pretty much any time of the day (or night).

    However, for something a little below-the-radar and a bit more unpolished head to the trendy Le Comptoir Général (80 quai de Jemmapes, 75010) on the Canal Saint-Martin. Across the canal from Chez Prune take the blue double doors that lead to a small courtyard and to the entrance of this curious brick-à-brack bar with an African twist.

    The crumbling walls are split with climbers reaching up to the ceiling, where you’ll find the library (sponsored by Oxfam). The bar’s main draw is its original shabby-chic interiors put together with mainly reclaimed bits and bobs. The signature cocktail here is the Secousse, which is made with Bissap juice (Senegal) and is one to try without doubt. A tip: get there early if you want a chance to get in.

    Another bar that also gets jam-packed no matter what night of the week it is, is Candelaria (52 rue de Saintonge, Paris 75003). Located in the Marais, the place looks like a small Mexican taco bar but walk in all the way to the back and push the non-descript door. On the other side of the door is a crowded yet cosy bar with several little nooks with sofas where punters can sit and enjoy a drink. Again, if you want a table make sure you get there before 7:30pm.

    For something a little more formal, head to the Hotel Raphael’s smart Salon Bleu (17 avenue Kléber, Paris 75116), which is an ideal little haven for catching up over a Bombay Sapphire or two.
  • On April 16, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What are the best bars in Paris?

    Julien Ferret Paris has so many bars to try, each one more original than the other, as well as its staple bistro de quartier, where you can get a decent glass of wine at pretty much any time of the day (or night).

    However, for something a little below-the-radar and a bit more unpolished head to the trendy Le Comptoir Général (80 quai de Jemmapes, 75010) on the Canal Saint-Martin. Across the canal from Chez Prune take the blue double doors that lead to a small courtyard and to the entrance of this curious brick-à-brack bar with an African twist.

    The crumbling walls are split with climbers reaching up to the ceiling, where you’ll find the library (sponsored by Oxfam). The bar’s main draw is its original shabby-chic interiors put together with mainly reclaimed bits and bobs. The signature cocktail here is the Secousse, which is made with Bissap juice (Senegal) and is one to try without doubt. A tip: get there early if you want a chance to get in.

    Another bar that also gets jam-packed no matter what night of the week it is, is Candelaria. Located in the Marais, the place looks like a small Mexican taco bar but walk in all the way to the back and push the non-descript door. On the other side of the door is a crowded yet cosy bar with several little nooks with sofas where punters can sit and enjoy a drink. Again, if you want a table make sure you get there before 7:30pm.

    For something a little more formal, head to the Hotel Raphael’s smart Salon Bleu, which is an ideal little haven for catching up over a Bombay Sapphire or two.
  • On April 16, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What are the best bars in Paris?

    Julien Ferret Paris has so many bars to try, each one more original than the other, as well as its staple bistro de quartier, where you can get a decent glass of wine at pretty much any time of the day (or night).

    However, for something a little below-the-radar and a bit more unpolished head to the trendy Le Comptoir Général (80 quai de Jemmapes, 75010) on the Canal Saint-Martin. Across the canal from Chez Prune take the blue double doors that lead to a small courtyard and to the entrance of this curious brick-à-brack bar with an African twist.

    The crumbling walls are split with climbers reaching up to the ceiling, where you’ll find the library (sponsored by Oxfam). The bar’s main draw is its original shabby-chic interiors put together with mainly reclaimed bits and bobs. The signature cocktail here is the Secousse, which is made with Bissap juice (Senegal) and is one to try without doubt. A tip: get there early if you want a chance to get in.

    Another bar that also gets jam-packed no matter what night of the week it is, is Candelaria. Located in the Marais, the place looks like a small Mexican taco bar but walk in all the way to the back and push the non-descript door. On the other side of the door is a crowded yet cosy bar with several little nooks with sofas where punters can sit and enjoy a drink. Again, if you want a table make sure you get there before 7:30pm.

    For something a little more formal, head to the Hotel Raphael’s smart Salon Bleu, which is an ideal little haven for catching up over a Bombay Sapphire or two.
  • On April 16, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What are the best attractions in Paris?

    Paris has an incredible wealth of things to see and do - so much so that Paris guide book writers have a field day practically every year. If however, your time in the city is limited and you have to pick just five things to do, then go with the following for an all-round impression of the city.

    1. The French might tell you that the Eiffel Tower is the most overrated attraction in Paris, but actually, even after having been to Paris at least once a year since birth and after five years of living here full-time, I still marvel at the grande dame in her glitzy bolero as she shimmies across the Paris skyline. The best spot to see the Eiffel Tower is from the Trocadero at around 10:00pm, when the lights go on.

    2. The Louvre is another big one not to miss, even if you only have a spare couple of hours – however, the museum spans about twice the length of the Empire State Building if it were standing up, so for something a little more manageable you might want to try the Musée d’Orsay for an equally good – if not better – dose of 17-18th-century art.

    3. Wandering the narrow streets of the Marais is definitely not to miss, no matter how long you are in the city for. You won’t regret exploring this neighbourhood’s 13-17th century charms and its trendy luxury boutiques, bars, cafés and restaurants. Predominantly known as the ‘bobo’ (bohemian-bourgeois) neighbourhood par excellence, it is a great place to see some of the city’s best art, as well as the place to be seen on a Saturday afternoon.

    4. At this time of year, the weather is warming up, the sun stays out until late and trees are growing back their leaves. The ideal place to see the beating heart of Paris in summer is the Canal Saint-Martin (take the Faubourg du Temple at Républic and walk along the canal towards Jaurès). Lined by boutiques, bookshops, and some of the best restaurants and bars in Paris (Chez Prune and Comptoir Général for bars and Hôtel du Nord, Marcel and Le Cambodge for restaurants), everyone in search of some sun at the weekend gets up early to nab a spot along the canal for the day.

    5. A picnic on the River Seine right in the heart of Paris is also a must in the summer. Join the beer-drinking and guitar-playing crowds along the river banks. For the best view of Notre Dame, which is just across the water on the Ile de la Cité, an island on the Seine, set up on quai de la Tournelle – not only will this part of the river be quieter, but you will have a spectacular view of the back of the cathedral, which is adorned with large ghost-like statues of Jesus’ disciples stepping down on to the roof as though from the sky.
  • On April 16, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What are the best attractions in Paris?

    Paris has an incredible wealth of things to see and do - so much so that Paris guide book writers have a field day practically every year. If however, your time in the city is limited and you have to pick just five things to do, then go with the following for an all-round impression of the city.

    1. The French might tell you that the Eiffel Tower is the most overrated attraction in Paris, but actually, even after having been to Paris at least once a year since birth and after five years of living here full-time, I still marvel at the grande dame in her glitzy bolero as she shimmies across the Paris skyline. The best spot to see the Eiffel Tower is from the Trocadero at around 10:00pm, when the lights go on.

    2. The Louvre is another big one not to miss, even if you only have a spare couple of hours – however, the museum spans about twice the length of the Empire State Building if it were standing up, so for something a little more manageable you might want to try the Musée d’Orsay for an equally good – if not better – dose of 17-18th-century art.

    3. Wandering the narrow streets of the Marais is definitely not to miss, no matter how long you are in the city for. You won’t regret exploring this neighbourhood’s 13-17th century charms and its trendy luxury boutiques, bars, cafés and restaurants. Predominantly known as the ‘bobo’ (bohemian-bourgeois) neighbourhood par excellence, it is a great place to see some of the city’s best art, as well as the place to be seen on a Saturday afternoon.

    4. At this time of year, the weather is warming up, the sun stays out until late and trees are growing back their leaves. The ideal place to see the heart of Paris in summer is the Canal Saint-Martin (take the Faubourg du Temple at Républic and walk along the canal towards Jaurès). Lined by boutiques, bookshops, and some of the best restaurants and bars in Paris (Chez Prune and Comptoir Général for bars and Hôtel du Nord, Marcel and Le Cambodge for restaurants), everyone in search of some sun at the weekend gets up early to nab a spot along the canal for the day.

    5. A picnic on the River Seine right in the heart of Paris is also a must in the summer. Join the beer-drinking and guitar-playing crowds along the river banks. For the best view of Notre Dame, which is just across the water on the Ile de la Cité, an island on the Seine, set up on quai de la Tournelle – not only will this part of the river be quieter, but you will have a spectacular view of the back of the cathedral, which is adorned with large ghost-like statues of Jesus’ disciples stepping down on to the roof as though from the sky.
  • On April 16, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What’s new in Paris?

    There is plenty to keep us busy in Paris, especially in the run-up to summer, but what everyone’s talking about right now is ELECTRIC, the new cultural hub that has just opened in the rather non-descript neighbourhood around Porte de Versailles (15th arrondissement).

    Self-proclaimed “alternative cultural hub”, ELECTRIC comprises an impressive space of 1,000m² and a terrace boasting spectacular 360° views over Paris. The space itself has a cyber-forest theme created by French designer, Mathieu Lehanneur. Adorned with giant ebony tree trunks and equipped with top sound and video equipment for the events that will take place here, this new venue will host private events, like the Kavinsky launch party as well as in-house events open to the public such as concerts and parties, exhibitions and various other happenings – a food truck event as well as a pool party on the roof have been evoked although nothing has been confirmed for the moment.

    Located on the fourth floor of the Parc des Expositions (a large venue where a number of fairs take place), the unused space was discovered by a Paris-based duo, Damien (aka John Michael Ramirez) and Romain, who already organise a range of cultural events in Paris.