Within just two years, La Maison du Chou’s signature tiny sweet treats have become real Parisian must-eats. Put it down to Midwest-born Emma Gilkeson Bureau, who with husband Jean Bureau, have injected some much-needed good humour and light heartedness into Paris’ classic patisserie scene.
Profession: Manager of La Maison du Chou
Neighbourhood: 9th arrondissement
Although you were born in Wichita, which typically Parisian habits have you adopted? I drop my son off at the neighbourhood school and then head to Kooka Bora café, to get a chai latte and catch up on Instagram, news and emails.
Kooka Boora, 57 rue charlot, 75003 Paris.
Do you have any Parisian spots that make you happy? The Jardins des Tuileries, especially with my son. We go to have fun jumping on the trampolines!
When you go abroad what do you miss about Paris? I usually miss walking and the sight of all the Haussmanian buildings with their very recognizable uniform doorways and balconies. I also miss seeing all the familiar faces in my neighbourhood, not to mention the places that I know and I am familiar with. I have to admit though that I certainly I don’t miss the rude waiters or taxi drivers!
Which fragrances evoke Paris for you? For me it’s the smell of the corner boulangerie, a strong espresso or even a few familiar fragrances (like Dyptique for me). The smell of the metro is something I am not fond of.
Which three places define Paris to you? Place Maubert where I met my husband for the first time. Galerie Vivienne for its beautiful ceiling and shops. And Place Fürstenberg. My husband took me there one autumn evening while we were dating -- long before we ever thought we’d have a shop there. I still go back to that night when I first walked up to
Where do you go in the city to recharge your batteries? I I love to just get lost in the Marais or wander through Printemps or Le Bon Marché.
Do you have a favourite neighbourhood walk? It’s become a bit of a ritual: I head down Rue des Martyrs, then find Rue Lafayette to catch a glimpse of the roof of the Opéra. Then after taking in the view, I head towards the Seine on Rue Richelieu or Rue Sainte Anne, before ending up in the Jardin du Palais Royal or Tuileries.
What typically French gift do you like to give to foreigners? Macaroons.
What makes you happy? When I pick my son up from school and he tells me all about the latest school gossip or what he’s done in school. It’s so different from what I experienced in the US that it gives me more insight into the French culture.
Do you have a feel-good motto? “Trust the universe.”
Happiness is… The last time I was with my whole family on the beach in Mexico.
Which movies make you smile? Anything as long as it’s Disney, we watch a lot of Disney with my son at the moment.
Name three energizing songs Anything by Beyoncé, Luis Miguel’s Ahora Tu Puedes Marcher and Nina Simone’s My Baby Just Cares For Me.
What gets you out of bed on difficult mornings? Instagram and a good cup of tea is the perfect combination!
How do you unwind and de-stress? I head out of the house with my headphones on and sometimes take a street I have never been down, it’s the perfect escape.
How do you beat the blues? I go to yoga class or if I don’t have time I do some stretches at home.
When did you last get the giggles? It was after some fun chat during a girls’ night.
What’s your favourite French dish? I love my husband’s blanquette de veau stew, as long as he’s made it.
What do you cook for your friends and family? I try to recreate my grandmother’s guacamole, or play sous chef to my husband when we make his blanquette recipe or a lasagna.
What recipes give you an energy boost? I love cold-pressed juice and anything with lots of fruit and veggies.
Do you follow any particular diets? I allow myself anything, I just pay attention to the portion sizes.
Any favourite sweet treats? There are too many to choose from, but anything with chocolate or a lemon tart!
If Paris was a patisserie which one would it be? A Paris-Brest
If Parisian women were a flavour what would it be? Sweet with a pinch of acidity.
In what way is La Maison du Chou typically Parisian? Cream puffs are a typical French pastry, but they weren’t getting much attention, so we started La Maison du Chou to bring new life into to a French classic -- this time with a light textured, cream. For the boutique, we wanted to transport our clients into a different Parisian era, yet all while maintaining a very simple aesthetic.
What does Place Fürstenberg mean to you? We found the location on Place Fürstenberg and knew we couldn’t pass it up. It’s a real Parisian hidden gem, right in the middle of a bustling neighbourhood. Once you get to know the surroundings, it still has a small village feel. We’ve been embraced by the neighbours, we truly feel part of a special place.
What French beauty habits have you adopted I use a spring water spritz as a great wake-me-up. It gives me a fresh start the day. I also can’t live without my red lipstick, it’s such a versatile colour that takes you from day to night -- it’s never a miss.
Do you have any Parisian icons?Inès de la Fressange just has that easy, classic style that every girl kills for. I also love Léa Seydoux, she has an effortless look and seems like a Parisian girl you could strike up a conversation with in a café.
What do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror? “Hurry up… we’re late for school !!”
What’s your must-have beauty product for a night out in Paris? Red lipstick, its the perfect way to bring just enough attention to my smile.
Name a classic Parisian beauty trick I think a red lip is so classic that it completes any Parisian look. The right shade of red can go far.
How would you define female beauty? Female beauty comes from so many different things -- all rolled into one. I love seeing a woman walking down the street with just the right amount of confidence, she knows her value and won’t accept anything less. I also love noticing women’s unique differences: hands, lips, eyes, or even ears can be so sexy! We each have them we just have to find a way to show them off.
Where do you go for a beauty treat? I love getting my feet massaged and I could have it done for hours. I go to Color of Culture for a pedicure session.
Color of Culture, 40 rue des Martyrs, 75009 Paris.
How would you describe the typical Paris girl? My vision of a parisienne is a girl who can roll out of bed and with one simple little act, whether it be putting on tennis shoes or heels or wearing her hair up or down, she looks like she's ready to tackle the world. Someone who has her coffee before starting the day.
In what ways do you feel very Parisian? I feel like a Parisian when I go about my daily neighbourhood activities, dropping my son off at school, running into other parents, getting a coffee or greeting the street sellers. I also love knowing the bus system.
Name three things that make you smile My son’s artwork, scented candles and a fresh bouquet of flowers.
What are your favourite addresses in the city?
Colette, 213 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris and
Merci, 111 boulevard Beaumarchais 75003 Paris.
To de-stress: The Six Senses Spa, 3 Rue de Castiglione, 75001 Paris.
For a coffee or a cocktail:
KB Cafe, 53 Avenue Trudaine, 75009 Paris,
Le Telescope, 5 Rue Villedo, 75001 Paris,
Le Mansart, 1 Rue Mansart, 75009 Paris or
Glass, 7 Rue Frochot, 75009 Paris.
For lunch with friends:
La Maison Mère, 4 Rue de Navarin, 75009 Paris,
Buvette, 28 Rue Henry Monnier, 75009 Paris or
Nanashi, 6 Rue de Tournon, 75006 Paris.
For home décor: Flea markets.
Photos: Hannah & Joël