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 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 La Durée, 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 La Durée 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 souvenirs to buy in Paris?

    Most visitors to the French capital head straight to La Durée, 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 La Durée 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 for me.

    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 souvenirs to buy in Paris?

    Most visitors to the French capital head straight to La Durée, 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 La Durée 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 for me.

    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 souvenirs to buy in Paris?

    Most visitors to the French capital head straight to La Durée, a gourmet macaroon salon de thé and boutique with its flagship venue on the Champs Elysées. In fact, you will most probably notice a lot of tourists proudly sporting signature La Durée 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 for me.

    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 souvenirs to buy in Paris?

    Most visitors to the French capital head straight to La Durée, a gourmet macaroon salon de thé and boutique with its flagship venue on the Champs Elysées. In fact, you will most probably notice a lot of tourists proudly sporting signature La Durée 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 for me.

    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 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 to 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 April 16, 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 to 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 that 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 April 11, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What are quirky local customs in Paris?

    There aren't really any "quirky local customs" as such in Paris, although there are a few things you can do to fit in better. 

    1) When you enter a shop of any kind, be it a newsagent's or an exclusive boutique, the shop assistant must be greeted with a 'Bonjour!' and upon leaving the shop, do not forget to thank the assistant even if you haven't had any contact with them whatsoever with a 'Merci, au revoir!'. 

    2) Like in the rest of France, people who meet for the first time (or the nth time) greet one another with a kiss on each cheek. In Paris, it's the traditional two kisses, although the number of kisses does vary throughout the country - for example, in some regions of the south, greetings can go up to four kisses.

    3) Eat bread with anything (even pasta). It's a wonder how Parisians remain so slim when a basket of sliced baguette is served with absolutely every meal; however, if you want to feel like a local, make sure that your pace of baguette-indulging requires you to ask for a refill at least once throughout the one meal.

    4) Expect bad service. Don't take it personally if your waitor hardly looks at you while taking your order or whenever he so much as approaches your table. Don't expect waitors to stop what they are doing to serve you either (especially if they are having a fairly enjoyable conversation with a fellow waitor), and expect to be ignored several times before your waitor takes any notice when you call him over. There is no formal explanation for this sort of behaviour - but it's their way or the highway I'm afraid! That said, there are exceptions to the rule - thankfully.

    5) Leave Paris as soon as you can. The way you know that you are a genuine Parisian, is when you love to hate the city - any excuse becomes good enough to escape. Most Parisians will indeed disappear beyond the suburbs at weekends either to a holiday home or to visit friends and family. Most people tend to leave from Thursday evening to late on Sunday, and the most Parisian of the lot will even push it until Monday morning. 

    6) The ubiquitous "apéro" is basically an excuse to drink without necessarily eating. The custom is originally an apéritif in the form of a glass of something (be it an alcoholic beverage or not) preceding a meal; however, the custom has, it seems, adjusted to fast-living and has transformed itself into a toned-down version of binge-drinking. If you are invited to an apéro, bring a bottle of good red to ensure you fit in - and have something to eat beforehand if you don't want to end up with an early hangover. Sometimes you will be invited to an 'apéro dinatoire', which is basically a few hors d'oeuvres thrown in. Apéros can take place anytime after 4pm, can last well until after the last metro and can be on any day of the week.  
  • On April 11, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What are quirky local customs in Paris?

    There aren't really any "quirky local customs" as such in Paris, although there are a few things you can do to fit in better. 

    1) When you enter a shop of any kind, be it a newsagent's or an exclusive boutique, the shop assistant must be greeted with a 'Bonjour!' and upon leaving the shop, do not forget to thank the assistant even if you haven't had any contact with them whatsoever with a 'Merci, au revoir!'. 

    2) Like in the rest of France, people who meet for the first time (or the nth time) greet one another with a kiss on each cheek. In Paris, it's the traditional two kisses, although the number of kisses does vary throughout the country - for example, in some regions of the south, greetings can go up to four kisses.

    3) Eat bread with anything (even pasta). It's a wonder how Parisians remain so slim when a basket of sliced baguette is served with absolutely every meal; however, if you want to feel like a local, make sure that your pace of baguette-indulging requires you to ask for a refill at least once throughout the one meal.

    4) Expect bad service. Don't take it personally if your waitor hardly looks at you while taking your order or whenever he so much as approaches your table. Don't expect waitors to stop what they are doing to serve you either (especially if they are having a fairly enjoyable conversation with a fellow waitor), and expect to be ignored several times before your waitor takes any notice when you call him over. There is no formal explanation for this sort of behaviour - but it's their way or the highway I'm afraid! That said, there are exceptions to the rule - thankfully.

    5) Leave Paris as soon as you can. The way you know that you are a genuine Parisian, is when you love to hate the city - any excuse becomes good enough to escape. Most Parisians will indeed disappear beyond the suburbs at weekends either to a holiday home or to visit friends and family. Most people tend to leave from Thursday evening to late on Sunday, and the most Parisian of the lot will even push it until Monday morning. 

    6) The ubiquitous "apéro" is basically an excuse to drink without necessarily eating. The custom is originally an apéritif in the form of a glass of something (be it an alcoholic beverage or not) preceding a meal; however, the custom has, it seems, adjusted to fast-living and has transformed itself into a toned-down version of binge-drinking. If you are invited to an apéro, bring a bottle of good red to ensure you fit in - and have something to eat beforehand if you don't want to end up with an early hangover. Sometimes you will be invited to an 'apéro dinatoire', which is basically a few hors d'oeuvres thrown in. Apéros can take place anytime after 4pm, can last well until after the last metro and can be on any day of the week.  
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