October 31, 2012
Since an early age, my mother tortured me by resisting my pleas for pre-packaged princess costumes in favor of handmade couture confections. Much of growing older is recognizing the tremendous sacrifices my parents have made to help me realize my dreams. One year in particular, no effort was spared to transform me into Catwoman for a few short hours. My mom locked herself away for the evening, applying decorative puffy paint stitches to my impeccable Catwoman costume until she sent me off to school the next morning, exhausted but not forgetting my parcel of orange Rice Krispie treats. Hereditarily, I have adopted the same do-or-die approach to the holidays. The festivities cannot begin without at least one all-nighter, a tearful breakdown, and a nail-biting countdown. Luckily, in France, holidays lack the high stakes of their commercial counterparts stateside. I can finally take a deep breath. But despite the tedious door codes which prohibit competitive trick-or-treating, Halloween is slowly infiltrating French culture…
October 29, 2012
There’s a reason why Paris is known as La Ville-Lumière, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the Eiffel Tower sparkling at night, as many people might think when they first hear Paris’ favorite nickname. Forget the architecture, the food, the culture and the fashion. The light alone would have us coming back for more…
In the morning, the early sunshine kisses the city and in the evening, Paris bathes in the warm setting sun. It’s truly breathtaking and it’s definitely worth making it out of bed in time for that extra-early morning coffee…
October 12, 2012
After several weeks in sunny California, Paris can feel like a bit of a shock. Everyone knows that Californians are preternaturally, well, sunny. Parisians? Not so much. But are Parisians as rude as their well-worn reputation? Although I hate to admit it, I’m tempted to say oui.
But here’s what I’ve learned: rudeness is in the eye of the beholder. After all, one woman’s nasty remark is another’s conversational norm. And while many Parisians might be described as rude, they are also — and often maddeningly — scrupulously polite. So what gives?
October 8, 2012
When I moved back to New York from Paris, I began to notice a trend. When people learned that I had lived in Paris, their first question (once they’d finished gasping with joy) was almost always: “So, are you totally fluent in French?”.
At first, I thought it was a test. People wanted to know if I had really lived in Paris. Because if I’d really done it right, then I would, of course, be totally fluent. But as time has passed and the question has continually been posed, I think it’s less of a test for me than it is some kind of self-assessment measure for the asker.
September 28, 2012
As I parked my Velib on a rare sunny afternoon in Paris, just steps from the Canal St Martin, I could already tell I was in for a treat. I made my way up charming rue de la Grange aux Belles to the narrow storefront of Ten Belles, snuggled next to a lush, overgrown plant store (le Bleuet Coquelicot). I highly suggest a peek inside… adorable!
Ten Belles, this brand new Paris coffee house is a collaboration of the team behind Le Bal Café and Frogfight organizer, and well known Paris barrista, Thomas Lehoux. It’s intimate ambiance and focus on refined and meticulously cared for coffee make it the perfect stop for coffee enthusiasts, even attracting other known Paris baristas on their days off. Ten Belles served up one of the best cappuccinos I have ever had in Paris, and the charming baristas make it all the sweeter.
September 26, 2012
At Colorova in Paris (Lost in Cheeseland)
I was born in London, and have lived here all my life apart from extended sojourns to other parts of Europe that are more conducive to joie de vivre, and, well, Paris. I can’t help but compare the two lifestyles and poor London always comes limping in at second place, looking all harassed with its suit creased and carrying a can of lager and a half-eaten burger.
Left: Paris, right: Wright Brothers Oyster & Porter House in London (Andrew Griffith & Laurabot_wrigh)
The aspect of quotidian life that gives me the most pleasure in Paris and that has the potential to have me hopping on the Eurostar to Paris from London on a whim is… lunch.
At Le Comptoir in Paris (pussnboots)
In Paris: At 1pm lock up the office, switch your phone off and go for a two and a half hour lunch with your colleagues at a charming local restaurant, dining from the three-course prix fixe menu. After a leisurely coffee and some more chitchat, pay the reasonably priced bill (probably with luncheon vouchers), and it’s back to the office well rested and energized for the rest of the day’s work. (Note: I did say stereotypical.)
September 24, 2012
Paris (Haven in Paris)
The idea seemed too good to pass up. I’d exchange my Paris flat for a place in San Francisco for two weeks to visit family. Two whole weeks! Rent-and-hotel bill free! And we’d do it in August when no one really wants to be in Paris, anyway. I’d heard stories about fabulous swaps that didn’t end in identity or home accessories theft. With a little luck and a few well-lit interior pics, I was sure it could work for us, too. And so my search was on.
After several near-commitments that folded at the eleventh hour (“I had no idea airfare would be that expensive…” and “Off to Rome instead. Sorry!”), we swapped for a sweet little house just over the Golden Gate Bridge. It sounded perfect: Three-bedrooms with a view of Mt. Tamalpais complete with a private dock on a small saltwater lagoon.
September 21, 2012
Fall is the absolute best season for style—agreed? During the summer, you’d rather just be naked, and come winter, you wish you could wear one of those sleeping-bag coats all day. Autumn provides a precious window in which you can strut your stuff while feeling cozy and comfortable. Here are some of our Paris-ready favorites from brands in France, the U.S. and the U.K. Happy hunting!
1. A.P.C. to the rescue yet again with fall sweater perfection.
September 19, 2012
I am a real foodie now. I have committed to buying locally and seasonally. So long sweet pineapples; see you sporadically. Most expats have their sentimental reasons that keep them in France. A perfect café crème, a favorite terrace, or unpasteurized cheese can easily outweigh all the persistence, courage, and patience it takes to build a life in Paris.
September 17, 2012
Paris is for lovers. Unless you’re single. Like I was for the nearly two years I lived there. It was always a jab to my heart, like a deliberate and personally directed taunt, to see couples canoodling in dark café corners, pressed intimately together along the quais of the Seine, or just shopping at an outdoor market on a Sunday afternoon. Oh lovers, how very nice for you.
Then a year after I left Paris, I returned. With a man. And indeed it was a different experience. But as happy and, oui, sometimes smug, as I felt during that week of amour, I also realized that the old adage is true: the grass is always greener.