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The Perfect French Playlist for Springtime in Paris

Learning French with a Parisienne's favorite French music

Lisa Czarina Michaud

When I’m asked how I learned French quickly as an adult, I tend to slide the credit over to my move to Paris. However, the truth is, my first year in Paris was spent primarily speaking English with other expatriates I crossed paths with, or conversing with newly acquired French friends whose English majorly trumped my fledgling French.

While living in the city certainly expanded my vocabulary, truly improving my French took effort beyond embarrassing myself at parties and studying text books; I immersed myself into French pop culture by way of music.

I’ve compiled an edit of my favorite French songs that helped me make sense of this gorgeous language, and had me tapping my feet at the same time. I invite you to bop along with the selection, which I assure you will be a fabulous accoutrement to the burgeoning spring season.

Learning French with a Parisienne's favorite French music

Rebecca Plotnick

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Posted in Parisian Living | 4 Comments »

Halloween in Paris: Cemeteries, Catacombs, and Ghostly Itineraries in the City of Light

Montparnasse Cemetery graves, cachecacheMontparnasse Cemetery, cachecache

Temperatures are dropping as fast as the gold-stained leaves that crunch beneath our feet, filling the air with the fragrance of autumn. Sedate men selling warm chestnuts balance their shopping cart roasters at metro entrances. Fall has fallen on Paris and with Halloween just around the corner, it is the ideal season to explore the city’s darker side.

Pere Lachaise, CpaKmoi

Père Lachaise Cemetery, CpaKmoi

The Catacombs are a macabre storage depot 20 meters below street level; a maze of femurs, ribs, and skulls are arranged, stacked, and aligned, evoking an exhibition of Art Naïve. The aging bones of 15th century literary luminaries Rabelais and Jean de la Fontaine entwine with 18th century revolutionaries Robespierre and Danton, sitting among the remains of six million other Parisians, all of them originally buried in city cemeteries that were reclaimed as land for the living.

Catacombs, Rachel Alter

Catacombs, Rachel Alter

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Posted in Parisian Living | No Comments »

France’s Foot Fetish: The Cult of Repetto French Ballet Slippers

repetto-parisatelier.blogspot.comparisatelier.blogspot.com

When it comes to footwear, there is one word that sends fashionistas around the globe swooning: Repetto. The brand is a well-kept secret that Parisians have known about since the first pair was created in 1947, but (as usual) the rest of us are just catching on. Frankly, I’m not the type to squeal over a pair of shoes—or so I thought, until I had a Repetto-related epiphany that made me realize what all the fuss was about.

Repettorepetto.com

The brand’s cult status dates back to the 1950s, when Rosa Repetto created an iconic ballet flat for sultry French actress Brigitte Bardot. In the 1970s, Serge Gainsbourg got on board, and the rest was history. Though the company still creates actual dance shoes, many of their styles have been co-opted by those who simply want to prance around the streets in them (myself included). Today, most self-respecting Parisiennes have at least one pair in their closets. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 8 Comments »

Cemeteries of Paris: Where the French Lay Their Heads

croix-horizPere Lachaise  – didiergauducheau.com

Text by Simone Blaser

It has to be said.  There is only a smattering of spots in Paris that have attracted the crème de la crème of French society as steadily and as constantly as the Parisian cemeteries. Cimetière Montmartre, Montparnasse, and Père Lachaise all boast a “who’s who” of French history.

How different it feels to be in a French cemetery!  None of the sterility, none of the rows neat like lines of crops, less of the impending doom of the American graveyard.  In Paris, cemeteries are like outdoor museums filled with the sculpture-graves of the wealthy and important, myriad unknowns, and of course, intellectual artistic superstars.
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Posted in Parisian Living | 2 Comments »