Café Chat with Yasmin Zeinab from Sundays in Paris
Sundays are for lounging around and meeting friends over a long brunch of pancakes, eggs hollandaise, mimosas, and Bloody Marys. That was how I spent almost every Sunday in New York. But 9 years ago when I came to Paris as a student, the chances of finding a good brunch or lunch on a Sunday were pretty dismal. Things have slowly started to change in the last 4 years with the rise of coffee culture and new restaurants opening up that offer great brunch menus. However you still need to do a little internet research to come up with options before heading out to meet friends. This is how I came upon the wonderful Instagram account and website Sundays in Paris. I was excited to find an account that is 100% devoted to beautiful imagery and information that can fill my Sundays for the rest of the year. I was so inspired that I reached out to meet the brains behind this genius account.
Yasmin Zeinab is a beautiful tall Aussie lawyer who splits her time between Paris and Australia working, writing, and managing Sundays in Paris. Snapping a million coffee and food pics to rack up followers is not her style. Personal notoriety and becoming an influencers is not as interesting to her as doing what she loves and creating a community space that is helpful to others who love Sundays and food as much as she does. She likes to get to know the owners of the places she visits because their stories interest her. Yasmin says almost all of her friends in Paris and contributing photographers are people she met at cafes or emailed because she liked their work on Instagram or a blog.
We met for a coffee one morning at Fondation Cafe in the Marais, where of course she was on a first name basis with the owner who seemed like an old friend of hers. And within 10 minutes I too felt like I was chatting with a sweet and inspiring old friend with a rather contagious smile. (P.S. Read on for a chance to win a free copy of the Sundays in Paris City Guide.)
How did Sundays in Paris come to life? And why Sundays? Mondays here are also kind of dead, no?
Before moving to Paris I was based in Lyon where Sundays are quiet, Lyon being a small city with not a lot happening on Sunday. I grew up in Australia where there’s a weekend brunch culture so when I moved to Paris I was excited to be able to go out for coffee and brunch on Sunday with so much more on offer in comparison to Lyon. It became a running joke that I was the expert on things to do on Sunday in Paris where, I will say, doesn’t compare with cities like London and New York. A friend suggested the name to me, he said “Why don’t you start a website called sundaysinparis it has a nice ring to it…” and that’s how it all started. First as an Instagram account, then a website, and now a published City Guide.
It’s true that in Paris Mondays are far more dead than Sundays so maybe someone should start a guide called Mondays in Paris!
Do you think Paris will get into the Sunday brunch thing?
The brunch scene in Paris is slowly developing, more and more restaurants are starting to turn their mind to brunch menus. For a long time the concept of brunch in Paris was limited but in recent years it has started to take off. There are few people in the business really leading the way and setting the standard for brunch in Paris. The top brunch spots are either expat-owned or owned by French people who have spent time outside of France.The brunch culture in Paris is largely fuelled by expats but in recent years the cafes and restaurants are starting to fill up with Parisians.
It’s always inspiring to meet expats like you that have managed to make new friends, start businesses or projects, and really create and carve out a life and community here. Can you share what that the experience has been like for you? And also give us a few tips.
My experience as an expat in Paris has been absolutely amazing. I have been so fortunate in the things that I have been able to do since moving here and the people I have met along the way. It hasn’t been without hard work and I definitely think there is an element of luck.
Find something that interests you and go out of your way to meet people who are interested in the same thing. For me that was coffee, I spent a long time touring around the city drinking coffee alone and over time the people in the cafes sitting next to me became my friends. The community that surrounds speciality coffee in Paris is wonderful and one that I’m so fortunate to have become a part of through Sundays in Paris.
First the social media platforms and site, and now a book! How exciting! Tell us about your new city guide.
I know, sometimes I think this is all a dream! Well in a nutshell, the Sundays in Paris City Guide features the best places to drink, eat, and explore in Paris. In the guide I share my love for Paris through beautiful imagery and words. The guide has been a labour of love and a collaborative effort. Many people have come together to make it possible. It’s been a project two years in the making. I don’t think there’s a café or brunch spot in Paris that I haven’t tried. If a place serves good coffee or a brunch I’ve been there!
The issue that I have with city guides is that they are often too broad so the Sundays in Paris City Guide aims to be more selective than the likes of a Lonely Planet without being heavily curated. I think we sit in a happy medium. The book contains 60 places to visit in Paris including cafes, brunch spots, dinner venues, and bars so it’s still quite comprehensive. The idea is that once you’ve got the guide there isn’t much more information that you need.
What would your perfect Sunday in Paris look like? Where would you go, places you would visit, what would you eat?
Ah this is a difficult question. First things first, for coffee my favourite place is Boot Café because it’s so different and charming. It’s housed in an old cobbler’s shop. A perfect Sunday in Paris starts there followed by shopping at the Bastille markets for some fresh produce. Then brunch, depending on what I feel like I would go to Holybelly for pancakes, Rachel’s for fried chicken waffles, or Buvette or Rose Bakery for something a little healthier.
5 Family Friendly Spots for Sunday Brunch?
1. . Bespoke can cater for a bigger group. They have larger tables and the staff are super friendly.
2. Paperboy is quite good for families given the range of options on their menu including kids options.
3. Ellsworth has a more refined menu but is good for families as you can book in advance whereas most brunch spots don’t take reservations, which makes it hard to plan.
3 Perfect Cafes to have alone time with a good book, your computer (wifi of course) and no toys or little people screaming or making a mess.
1.Craft Café is great for anyone with a laptop – it’s a freelancer’s dream, fast wifi, endless powerpoints!
2.Loustic is also great to work from.
3.Radiodays is a great place to enjoy your book with a cup of coffee.
And follow on Instagram: @sundaysinparis
GIVEAWAY: We are giving away a free copy of the new Sundays in Paris City Guide. It’s pretty simple to enter.
1. Head over to Instagram and follow @manna_paris and @sundaysinparis (if you aren’t already following)
2. Tag a friend on the @manna_paris acct and share your favorite Sunday cafe or brunch spot in your city!
Rules and conditions: Open to all participants internationally. Contest starts Friday, May 13, 2016 at 12:30 pm and ends Sunday, May 15, 2016 at midnight Paris time.