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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 »

Paris in Love: A Q&A (and Giveaway!) with Author Eloisa James

Today we’re all about the Paris book love. Amy Thomas interviews bestselling author Eloisa James on her latest book, Paris in Love, a memoir of a year spent in Paris enjoying the good life. For a chance to win a copy of the book, leave us a note in the comments below! We’ll pick one lucky reader at random on May 31. ** Update: the contest is now closed. Thank you for commenting! **

Making Magique

’Tis the season for books about Paris. There are new non-fiction titles (Dreaming in French, French Kids Eat Everything), photography tomes (Paris in Color), cookbooks (La Petite Cuisine à Paris) and a slew of memoirs including Paris, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down, A Family in Paris and the one I just devoured on my recent trip to the City of Light: Paris in Love by Eloisa James.

Having lived in Paris for nearly two years and written my own memoir, I’ve been giddily burning through these titles, alternately living vicariously, laughing out loud in empathy, and tearing up at the memories. Eloisa’s memoir was no different. A mélange of personal thoughts, family anecdotes, historic and cultural references, practical facts and general observations, delivered in a fun, self-deprecating voice, in short spurts of prose lifted largely from her Facebook and Twitter accounts, it’s hard not to fall for the lovely writer, her Italian husband, her two moody teens or her chubby Chihuahua, Milo.

Olof Grind

Partly what makes Eloisa so irresistible is her lack of pretense. A writing professor and best-selling author of romance novels (don’t miss the giveaway below!) who underwent a mastectomy to treat breast cancer, she sold her home, took a sabbatical from work and moved her family to the ninth arrondissement. During her year devoted to enjoying life’s everyday pleasures, she becomes hyperaware of seductive details everywhere, from the “dreamy dark pink” of a tote bag to Sacré-Coeur’s basilica covered by rows of “creamy scallops” to Paris mornings that are “moody, cool and empty.” It’s a book that reminds you of the best things about Paris: the kindness of strangers, those poignant feelings of magic and melancholy, and that food can fix things. Now back in the States, Eloisa took the time to respond to some questions, just for HiP.

Carin Olsson

Of all the places in the world you could have taken a sabbatical, why did you choose Paris?
I have always loved Paris. Growing up on a farm in Minnesota, I had a black-and-white etching of the city on my wall, and I lived in Paris during my junior year abroad. After being treated for cancer, when I realized that I wanted to run away from my normal life, Paris was an easy choice: I love the chocolate, the light on the Seine, the time — or rather, the lovely way that Parisians savor their days rather than dashing through them. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 164 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 »

Dog-Friendly Paris: Doggy Etiquette in the City of Lights

JTKoss

I submitted my graduate school application to study in Paris around the same time as I adopted a dog back home in California. The timing was intentional, of course. I had naive daydreams of sitting outside at a sunny café in a striped shirt and ballet flats, sipping a glass of wine with my dog, Lucas, people-watching with me from the seat next to mine.

Let me just mention that, although it worked out for me in the end, I would not recommend this kind of logic. The hassle of the dog’s paperwork (on top of mine), the stress and cost of his place on my flight and the limitations he imposed on the already difficult apartment search are serious considerations that should not be overlooked if you are considering bring your pup with you to Paris.

That said, I don’t regret it at all. Although I have spent several years in France over the course of my life and considered myself fairly familiar with many French cultural quirks, having my dog here has allowed me to explore a whole new set of myths and clichés.

Alain Ollier

The first question on my mind was where exactly nos amis les chiens are welcome and where they are not. It’s not one I could find a useful answer to before I got here since the most common stereotype people have about the French and their dogs is that they bring them everywhere. Like most stereotypes this is both true and untrue so I’d like to share my experiences…

Metro

It took me months to gather the courage to take my dog on the metro. He is considered rather large by Paris standards, too large to fit in the metro’s mandatory 45 cm-long enclosed bag. Until one day I saw a full-size Labrador on my commute to school; my dog has been taking the metro twice a day to work with my boyfriend ever since. It is basically the same deal for the RER and other regional trains, though leashes are allowed and you’re supposed to buy a reduced price ticket for your dog. Buses, however, are the only form of public transit where it seems like people really do follow the official rules – I’ve only seen very little dogs and always in shoulder bags.

Justine’s Dog Lucas (Justine Robinett)

Restaurants

In the states I never dared to ask at a restaurant if I could bring my dog anywhere but an outdoor seating area. In France, I’ve learned to assume we’re both welcome and to walk straight in no questions asked. In a year and a half, I’ve only been stopped a couple of times with a polite “Excusez-moi, Madame…” Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 23 Comments »

Dog Days, all year long in Paris!

FiFiPhoto Alain Ollier – rue de Bretagne, Paris 3eme

The dog days of summer 2009 may well be over in Paris, but our furry French friends are here to stay. The French love their doggies, and remain one of the countries with the highest per capita dog population in the world. A recent jaunt around the city unearthed Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 5 Comments »