June 25, 2013
Lily Heise doesn’t date; she stumbles clumsily into romantic mischief. Her latest book, Je T’aime Me Neither, chronicles her sometimes absurdly funny, often racy, always entertaining amorous adventures in Paris. In honor of the book’s release, we’re giving away a copy to one lucky reader today. To mark the occasion, Lily has compiled a list of her favorite romantic activities in Paris — although we’re sure you don’t need too much help finding romance in the City of Love. For your chance to win, see instructions at the bottom of the post. -Geneviève
While Paris makes for a wonderful romantic backdrop any time of year, there is something particularly special about the summer months. Perhaps it’s the long days or the short skirts, the champagne or the strawberries — whatever the reason, there is definitely increased romance energy during l’été.
… Something I’ve found out first-hand over the years. Strolling along the Seine into the setting sun is enough to pull heartstrings at any time of the year, but here are my favorite tips for the perfect summer je t’aiming.
Le Pique-nique – but where?
Picnicking might just be tied with pétanque as the official summer sport of les parisiens, though I think it would definitely win out for the romantics. While there are many excellent places to lay your blanket, the city’s various waterways provide fitting spots for varying degrees of heartbeats.
New amoureux will cherish the semi-privacy found on the pelouse of the Square Vert Galant, located at the western tip of Ile de la Cité, or they can escape the crowds piled on Pont des Arts by heading to the Solferino bridge. Long time lovers might prefer to lounge and people-watch under a shady corner of the Canal Saint Martin. Lonely hearts will enjoy the lively atmosphere of overflowing groups along the Canal de l’Ourcq or just upstream from Notre Dame on the Quai de la Tournelle. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 47 Comments »
June 11, 2013
When we decided to move to Paris, I knew parenting here would be different. Not only would the moms (and les petits enfants) be better dressed, they’d enjoy luxuries not known to their American counterparts like guaranteed, paid maternity leave and high quality, state-subsidized childcare.
The impact of these family benefits cannot be overstated. And yet, I was still surprised to discover just how different parenting is here on issues big and small.
Some of the differences shocked me (and not in a good way). There’s an iron-fist disciplinary style that makes little ones quake in their parents’ presence and a culture of yelling that left me drop-jawed. The word “non” (shunned, albeit somewhat absurdly, by some American friends) is central to French parenting. Many smoke openly in front of kids and don’t shy away from spanking to discourage unwanted behavior. Continue Reading »
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February 28, 2013
Leisure is one of the most sacred components of a well-lived Parisian life, which is why we thought it absolutely necessary to revisit the best ways to spend a Sunday in Paris. You can find part I, Tory’s list of favorite Sunday pastimes, here. -Geneviève
One of the many great things about living in Paris is the French approach to relaxation. Around here, it’s serious business. Everyday events that would strike most of us as de rigeur — traffic jams, inhospitable weather, waiting one’s turn in line — can cause mini-attacks of le stress for Parisians, thereby necessitating extended periods of repose. And when the traditional, lengthy French vacation isn’t close at hand, a Sunday in the city can be the next best thing.
Since many shops and restaurants are closed (although this is changing), Sundays offer a great excuse to slow down and just relax. But if you’re feeling energetic, there are still many great ways to fill your day. Here are some of our Sunday favorites.
Continue Reading »
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February 15, 2013
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.
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.
Posted in Parisian Living | 17 Comments »
November 16, 2012
During my recent visit to the U.S., my sister told everyone that I live in Paris just to marvel at their reactions.
“Just stick a dagger in my heart, why don’t you,” came the response from a cosmetics salesman. “I’d give anything to live in Paris…” It garnered me bonus points in San Francisco’s chic boutiques and even scored us a table at an impossible-to-book restaurant. “My sister’s just in from Paris… hoping you might have something for us at eight?” Pas de problème.
Every expat who lives here knows the feeling. Why? Because Paris is the culmination of our romantic dreams, the city upon which we project our fantasies of a life well lived. We’re the lucky ones who’ve somehow pulled it off. But how?
Continue Reading »
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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. Continue Reading »
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September 24, 2012
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. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living, Travel | 6 Comments »
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.
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 »
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September 13, 2012
On a rare afternoon off, I took a stroll in Paris and came upon 5 Octobre and Sophie, its adorable owner. She has wonderful gem of a boutique selling her handmade jewelry in the Marais. After hearing a little bit more about her unusual story, I’m so glad to share it with you here – Erica
How did decide to move from being a lawyer to making jewelry? Was the stop gradual or brutal?
It was a long process because I have been passionate about accessories since my childhood. I was already very creative, and the dream was ingrained very deeply – I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide I wanted to make jewelry. When I was 10 years old, I was already collecting beads and stones and turning them into jewelry for my friends.
I was also always a bit of an intellectual, so law satisfied that aspect of my personality, but it wasn’t creative enough. I traveled a lot as a lawyer; the time spent in transit allowed me to spend time dreaming about a new career that would fulfill a larger part of myself. My family is involved in fashion; my mother is a creative buyer for several stores she owns, so that helped me to envision a project that was both creative and professional.
Were your friends and family supportive of the change?
Everyone supports me (my husband first, my parents as well), but I knew the change of social status might not be as easy. Being a lawyer is quite well considered and I didn’t know if I would succeed in this new venture. Continue Reading »
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September 7, 2012
Collective grumbles and groans fill the Metro and all public places. Reacquainted with their suits and heels, there are no smiles behind those suntans. Kids arm themselves with freshly sharpened pencils and tall tales of les vacances. Vive la rentrée! Since Paris clears out in July and August, losing its habitants to warmer climates, the first week of September kicks off back to school and back to the grind. Knits, boots, and frowns automatically replace the brief bare-leg season in anticipation of Paris’ notorious grey months ahead. But before booking a one-way ticket back to the Côte d’Azur, rest assured : Paris comes out of hibernation and is reborn this time of year. And uncovering the joys of Paris in September can ease the pain of la rentrée.
Picnicking: Since summer hit Paris bizarrely late this year, I am optimistic that a few weeks of picnicking can be milked out of September. And the best part about a picnic in September? Since everyone is back in town, FRIENDS! Whether perched high on a hill overlooking Paris at the parc Buttes Chaumont or in a clearing deep in the woods at the Bois de Vincennes, the adventure begins with the guest list and the contents of the picnic basket.
Reuniting: September is also a time of rediscovery. Going back to my neighborhood green market and getting reacquainted with my favorite vendors is a pleasant reunion. And there is so much to catch up on: the weather, the cheese monger’s vacation in Corsica, the economics of figs, and finding inspiration in the lineup of fall produce.
Bread: Similarly, the boulangeries have reopened their doors! The doughy Monoprix supermarket imposter baguettes that subsidized our tomato salads this summer (affectionately dubbed crétin bread by my picky French other half) can be banished until next August. Instead of the summertime half-hour search for a baguette, now I all I need to do is choose from one of the three bakeries on my block. Continue Reading »
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