Aux Deux Amis

Last night I met up with two of my favorite Paris bloggers – the awesome Amy Thomas of God, I Love Paris and the wonderful Erica of HiP Paris Blog.

Amy and I share the same feeling of being both blessed and cursed to have such strong affinities for New York and Paris. On the one hand, spoiled for riches to have intimate true love and knowledge of two incredible cities. On the other, heartache, because we’re forever torn between the two.

Amy moved back to New York in January and believes the decision the right one. She also said the adjustment has been difficult. From what I’ve heard, repatriation can be even more of a shock than first moving to a foreign country.

What did Thomas Wolfe say? You can’t go home again.

Well, you can, but you are different. Home feels different. Once an expat, the very notion of home becomes complicated. It’s no longer just a fixed location, but an evolving, fluid concept, one that changes how you interact with the world. It reaches right down to your very identity.

The lovely Erica seems to have figured out the whole juggling of multiple geographical loves. She runs the busy Haven in Paris apartment rental service and probably the most gorgeous group blog about Paris.

I hadn’t seen her in months, either, because she’s often between France, Italy, Brooklyn, and Maine. She skipped out on the gloomy Parisian winter for vistas further abroad.

We went to Aux Deux Amis on Oberkampf in the 11th and were a bit surprised by what we found. The place was packed with all sorts of hip types, the ambiance warm and divey. Everyone seemed to be a regular, the servers at complete ease. While I was waiting, several people waltzed back to wish someone in the kitchen happy birthday and our waiter was brought some cake by a client, just cuz.

There was no menu. Nothing written on a chalkboard, either. Our smiling waiter – all gap-toothed and charming lisp – came over with his small notepad, where the selections for the day were written. Many were already crossed out by 8:30.

It wasn’t the widest of choices, especially with some vegetarian palates to please. What we seem to have stumbled on was a place with French tapas – not something we’d run into before.

Well, ok, it wasn’t all French, as we ended up with tortillas and burrata, too, but the small plates were unexpected.

Though limited, the food was good. Tortillas (my fave of the bunch), pickled peppers, brandade, fresh sardines. As always with tapas, however, I was hungry again just an hour later.

Oh well. Next time we’ll order more.

Aux Deux Amis it was for the experience. I had a great catch-up with deux amies – good friends the most important aspect for me of making any place home.

Aux Deux Amis
45, r. Oberkampf, 75011
Tel: 01 58 30 38 13

(P.S. According to this review by Meg Zimbeck, Paris foodie expert, Aux Deux Amis is not always based around tapas; only when the chef is gone.)

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12 Responses to “Aux Deux Amis”


  1. 1 Sweet Freak April 23, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    It was awesome seeing you too, Sion. Here’s a proposition: next time I am in Paris, we will go back to Aux Deux Amis to sample a fuller menu; we will toast and give thanks because, by then, our books will be done; and, with Erica and other friends, we will further explore the idea of home and connection and alienation and love and fulfillment and… well, generally crack the complexities of a blessed-cursed expat life. Deal!? xo

  2. 3 Franck April 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Chaque kilomètre parcouru est toujours un leçon de relativité.

    presque Albert Einstein

  3. 4 Delana April 23, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Sion, I love your description of how the concept of home changes when you become an ex-pat. You hit it it dead on. Have a lovely weekend.

  4. 6 erica April 23, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    It was so great to see both of you last night and I am even more intrigued by Aux Deux Amis to hear it is not always Tapas. We must return! And thanks so much for the kind words on Haven in Paris and HiP Paris. It’s so worth all the hard work when I read your words. Merci Merci!!

    It is hard living in multiple places and never knowing where your real home is… but it is so rich and rewarding that it is worth it for now. A suivre . . . Erica

  5. 8 Lee Isbell April 23, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    The concept of home not only baffles expats, but even those forever in the US. At the time I went away to college, I’d lived only in two houses with my parents. Somewhere, during the college years and the lingering stayover in my college town for babies and starting my own family, my parents moved away, elsewhere, to the other end of California from where we’d lived. Up until then, going to see them was “going home.” I lost that sense of having a home to go to. I guess the appropriate response is home is where I am. (Or where my cats live.) That was fifty years ago. I’ve given up worrying about it.

    • 9 paris (im)perfect April 23, 2011 at 11:15 pm

      Hi Lee. Great point. Now that you’ve said this, I’m remembering an essay I wrote years ago in New York already talking about the slippery notion of home – long before Paris was ever on my horizon! There is something about being in such a different place culturally that adds something intriguing to the mix. It’s not something I worry about, but definitely something I feel :)

  6. 10 Paris Bobo January 11, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I am an expat myself, though not from NYC, and was very touched by this post. I was recently Aux Deux Amis as well, and loved it (still tapas). I would love to meet you all if you’re open to it! Cheers


  1. 1 HiP Paris Blog » Dining: Le Pantruche & Aux Deux Amis Are Paris’ Newest Scene-Stealers Trackback on May 13, 2011 at 12:10 pm

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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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