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I Know I’m In Paris When…

Carin Olsson/Making Magique

Whenever I return to Paris, it always takes me a few days to get settled and realize that I am actually here. A while ago, Tory wrote a post on how she knows she’s in Paris, which inspired me to think about the signs that tell me I’ve arrived.

Carin Olsson

Everyone has their own Paris; a few special haunts and pleasures that always make returning to Paris feel like a wonderful indulgence. I’ll bet most regular visitors have certain things they always do and see as soon as they hit the ground. I arrived here a few days ago and like clockwork, these seven habits kicked in.

Making Magique
Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 17 Comments »

Les Parisiens: Rude? Sometimes. But Impolite? Never.

vince 42 & OZ Hohn Tekson

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.

…Damien…Wasson…

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?

To help decode yet another aspect of this French paradox, here’s a little cheat sheet to employ on your next visit. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 11 Comments »

My Paris for Your…? Dos & Don’ts For a Successful Home Exchange

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.

Paris (karigee)

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. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Travel | 7 Comments »

Paris Fashion: Our 15 Favorite Fall Items

D©Bloom

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. Continue Reading »

Posted in Fashion, Parisian Living | 1 Comment »

City of Love, Or City of Lonelyhearts? Every Relationship Has Two Sides

Making Magique

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.

Lost in Cheeseland

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.

fjludo

Every moment I basked in my City of Loooove romance was rudely followed by the memory of something I was missing from my solo days. It made me realize: no relationship is perfect. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 8 Comments »

Une Vie Parisienne in New York City

Paris (Oncle Tom)

Returning home to New York hit me with the biggest culture shock I’ve ever felt. Now, I’m no stranger to culture shock. My first notable quake occurred when I moved to Paris at the age of 18 with just a handful of French words at my disposal (croissant, café, cigarette…).

Paris (Lost In Cheeseland) & (Making Magique)

The move hit pretty high on the Richter scale, but eventually I assimilated as best I could, and my American friends who came to visit told me I seemed “French.” (For the record, the French always said I seemed “Swedish.”) Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 19 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 Sacre 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 »

Parisian Secrets: The Art of Shopping for Lingerie

Making Magique

Every true Parisienne has certain key items in her wardrobe: at least one beautifully printed scarf, a chic sac à main, a black cocktail dress and classic trench among them. But to most, the lingerie she wears under her carefully crafted ensemble is as central to her wardrobe as her Chanel mini sac.

The French affection for small stretchy pieces of lace — embroidered, embellished and often painfully uncomfortable — is apparent everywhere you go. From the ubiquitous soft lit advertisements featuring headless, amply endowed torsos to the city’s hundreds of boutiques devoted exclusively to under garments, visitors to Paris quickly realize that lingerie here is serious business.

Lunaticarus; Making Magique

Soon after arriving, I discovered my own lingerie drawer was in dire need of an overhaul. Faded cotton panties and functional athletic bras simply would not do in the City of Light.

I ventured out in search of my inner seductress, trying to imagine wearing a garter while keeping a straight face. With so many specialty boutiques to choose from – Aubade, Lise Charmel, Chantelle and many more – I made my first stop at Princess Tam Tam, a mid-range chain that does sexy as well as cute and sassy.

Making Magique

After poking through the racks and selecting some pretty pastels, a saleswoman approached to offer some assistance. I held my stack of panties and said I was ready to pay. “But where were the matching bras?” she asked, clearly horrified that I might buy the underwear alone. Buying a bra and panties that aren’t part of a set? Pas possible. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 7 Comments »