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Corsica: France’s Little Corner of Paradise

Corsica: the (not-so) hidden gem of France. It’s that droplet in the Mediterranean, the little spot on the map that’s always got better weather than you.  It’s a small island spattered with tiny coastal towns, separated by mountains with winding roads so narrow, a pair of mountain goats would have to walk single-file.  My girlfriend’s people come from there, so we decided to take a trip to discover this place, these people, and if possible, avoid any mild-mannered political arson that might come our way.

Now, to imagine a Corsican, take a French person who talks like an Italian and spends all day at the beach, et voila!  Corsican identity is fierce.  You can’t find a store, street, or product that doesn’t bear the proud Corsican flag.  Corsicans admit they’re known for being a bit lazy, but certainly not lacking in ambition.  A common postcard has a Corsican flag running up the Eiffel Tower with the motto: “yes, we can”.

As you could assume from the place that brought us Napoleon (the dude, not the dessert treat), Corsicans are tough.  You’ve never seen so many serious faces relaxing at the beach.  There’s also quite a bit of mafia down here.  The term ‘vendetta’ was basically started in Corsica – or Sicily; there’s actually a pretty serious vendetta going on about who really started it.  On the flip side, Corsicans are a genuinely welcoming people – all you need to win their affection is to share their appreciation of their homeland. Continue Reading »

Posted in Travel | 18 Comments »

Finding Love in Paris: How This American Guy Got his French Gal

Charlie Almond met a French girl two years ago at his housewarming party back in the states. Now he’s living in Paris and trying to sort the rest out. Here he shares a couple tips to help the average Joe pull one on the Jean-Pierres…

Finding love with a French woman – make sure she’s smiling before you set off after her though (Dave Bloom)

I try to fight it, but I sometimes feel like having a Parisian girlfriend has turned me into a bit of a cliché.  Really though, it’s not my fault.  Parisian girls are cute.  Something about the way the corners of their mouths curl up when they speak French drives me wild.  It’s an inviting half-smile even if they’re talking about how much they hate Belgians.  So when one fell into my lap, the chase was inevitable.  Now that I’m here, what have I learned?

Parisian guys are the reason why I could get a Parisian girl. Sorry messieurs, but when you look like the pilot cast for a European Jersey Shore, you’re not going to bag a classy Parisian lady.  Yes, your chest hair is nice and you can carry on a conversation about hair products, but that’s not enough. Parisiennes do not like competing with their men over who’s prettier, especially if that also means fighting for shelf space in the bathroom.

Romantic evenings in Paris often start with wine, end in a blur… (Dave Bloom)

What Americans bring to the table. Let’s face it: if you’re spending time abroad, you’re probably not too stereotypical.  You’re adventurous, worldly, and probably just fashionable enough to please a discerning French eye (on your good days). To the benefit of our oft-stuffy counterparts and despite our prudish national reputation, Americans are also more open and jovial socially.  What’s more? We’re funny, and we all know humor goes a long way in defeating the rich, successful, over-groomed square in hand-to-hand combat. Right? Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 19 Comments »