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Under the Table: Dining with a Dog in Paris

HiP Paris Blog explores dining with dogs in Paris

Among the many surprises awaiting Americans dining in France is the near-universal acceptability of dogs in restaurants.

A restaurant I used to frequent on rue de Trevise was staffed by a smiley black-and-white Labrador. He made the rounds amid the tables during service – never begging, merely enjoying the occasional caress from a regular. Having worked in numerous restaurants in the USA, where dogs were banned, I was mildly scandalized on my first visit. The Labrador wasn’t bothering anyone, of course. My sympathy was rather for the dog, who seemed forever at risk of getting tripped-over. I can’t help but feel that restaurant service is complicated enough without the addition of panting canine landmines.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 2 Comments »

Top Chien: Learning to Love a Dog in Paris

Owning a Dog in Paris, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Nick Harris

Nick Harris

I’m what you might call a reluctant dog owner. I didn’t grow up in a house of happy canines; never longed for one of my own. I know, I know, a dog is Man’s Best Friend.

Owning a Dog in Paris, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Jeff Westo, Katchooo

Jeff Weston & Katchooo

But all that face licking, barking and pesky fur on the furniture? Not to mention the shoes that would be mistaken for chew toys. It wasn’t for me. A dog would cramp my style, limit our freedom. And worse, he could get sick or injured and break everybody’s heart. No, I could enjoy other people’s dogs, just not my own.

Alas, my husband and two kids had other ideas. And so they began a doggie campaign. They promised to train him and take him on long walks. They’d feed him, bathe him, even pick up les crottes. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 4 Comments »

Fighting the Pounds: The Perils of Jogging in Paris

Jogging along a Paris bridge (Kevin Bongart)

As a very keen runner, I realized that Paris – with its pavement café culture and lax attitude towards dogs’ toilet habits – might not be the ideal place to train. However, little did I know the numerous obstacles I would have to overcome each time I pulled on my trainers and switched on my iPod.

The tourists: map-reading, awestruck or, worse still, love-struck, they tend to look at the sky, the ground, into each other’s eyes or up at elegant Haussmannian buildings. However, they are rather less aware of what’s going right next to them (i.e. me charging past) and happily straddle the pavement two or three abreast.

The cars: do not expect them to stop willingly. Ever. The art of a good Parisian runner is judging if, with a little acceleration, you can whiz by before the lights change and the engines rev back into action.  For a Brit accustomed to polite codes of roadway courtesy and to giving cheery waves as cars patiently wait, I admit that this was initially quite a shock.

Dodging city life, jogging along the Seine (D’Alk)

The bikes: Equally unwilling (or unable) to stop, but doubly dangerous as often manned by:

A) Unsteady, inexperienced Parisians whose idea of physical exercise is a gentle Sunday stroll to the boulangerie for fresh croissants.

B) Tourists.  Having read the above, imagine the chaos when they haul themselves on to a heavy, unwieldy and highly unsexy Vélib (hire-and-drop bikes dotted at strategic points around the city). Don’t be misled by quaint wicker baskets and slim steel frames that adorn postcards and appear in films like Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain!

Philippe Charles

The beggars: Do they really think I carry around loose change in my skin-tight running trousers? Apparently so.

The dogs: They rule supreme in Paris. I’ve even heard that there are more dogs than children in the city. I digress. I have learned to steer clear of all canine specimen after various incidents involving barking, biting (well, some very close calls) and being tripped up by leashes as unconcerned owners look on nonchalantly as if to say, “Bon, if you will insist on donning that ridiculous running outfit and puffing around in a rather ungainly manner, you can’t expect to not get caught in a couple sticky situations…” Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 14 Comments »

Life in Italy vs. Life in France: part 1.

Cappuccino ItalyPhotos Erica Berman – cappuccino Genova

I’m back in Paris after 2 months of learning Italian in Genoa, Italy. The cool Paris weather is a shock after the heat of Italy, but I’m excited to be home.

Naturally, I can’t help comparing the (Genovese) Italians to the (Parisian) French with whom I have cohabited for almost 18 years. Little differences and similarities between the daily life in both countries are entertaining, endearing and often surprising.

Italians and dogsDoggy love Italian style

Things I have noticed: Life in Italy vs France

  • You will be scoffed at in both countries for ordering a cappuccino in the afternoon. Mind you, I do it anyway. How gauche is that?
  • Both Italians and French cut lines with zeal. Little old Italian ladies are surprisingly cunning. Be alert!
  • Taxis in both cities can, and will, try to rip you, the foreigner, off even if you speak the language. Be aware.
  • Both Italians and French love their doggies and bring them in trains, restaurants and just about everywhere they can physically go. In both countries you will see many a person out and about deep in conversation with Fido. Continue Reading »

Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Parisian Living | 34 Comments »