Monthly Archives: September 2014

10 reasons Seattle is better than Paris

10 reasons Seattle is better than Paris

Seattle Body Art 
Seattle vs. Paris. The Emerald City vs. the City of Light. They have a lot of things in common these two, and not always good ones. Under *areas for improvement,* I could list their notoriously unpredictable, and depressing weather; traffic; parking; or the cost of living (as anyone trying to invest in real estate in King County, WA, or in downtown Paris can attest.) 
A lot is said, and written about Paris every day, in the social media, or in the press. Seattle may be a popular city, but many don’t know much about it outside of the United States. Because I have lived and worked in both cities, I thought it’d be fun to compare them (as much as one can compare cities with populations of 2.2 million and 650,000+)
The results are in: Seattle wins. Here are 10 reasons why Seattle is better than Paris.
#1: Seattle is a natural beauty. 
Paris may have world-renowned architecture, gardens, and urban landscape, it can’t rival the Pacific Northwest’s outdoor life and majestic scenery. Everywhere you look, there are mountains, and water. From Mount Rainier (an ancient volcano,) to the Cascades or the Olympic mountain ranges; from the Puget Sound (an inlet of the Pacific Ocean,) to fresh water lakes, Lake Union, or Lake Washington, Seattle is the tree-hugger and outdoorsy type’s paradise. Montmartre is a hill, not a mountain, and can you reach the slopes from Paris in less than 45 minutes? Mais non
Mount Rainier, the beloved local peak 
The Puget Sound 
# 2 Commuting is a lot more pleasant in Seattle than in Paris




# 3: Seattle watches better

Parisians, people-watching is not a sport! In Seattle, watching sports has been elevated to an art form. From kid sports (a major weekend activity,) to college or professional teams, Seahawks, Mariners or Sounders; on TV or at the local state-of-the art stadiums, Seattleites’ favorite pastime is watching sports. 

Seahawks fans have a name “The 12th Man”

# 4: Had Hemingway known about Seattle’s coffee culture, he would have never emigrated to Paris’ Left Bank

This is the land of Starbucks. Need I say more? Here, coffee making takes time, creativity and craft. Baristas are smarter than software engineers. They have to, to understand local customers’ challenging orders. “Can I get a triple, decaf, non-fat, tall moka latte, without the chocolate… but with some whip on top?” — After such an order, you hope most people remember to say “please.”

The original Starbucks store at Pike Place Market
The perfect café Latte (a local favorite)

# 5: Forget macarons, pains au chocolat and tarte Tatin: Seattle does sweets better!

Molly Moons all organic, all local, all “green” ice cream has longer lines than the Ile St LouisBerthillon. That’s proof, right?


Forget fancy French pastries when you visit the Puyallup Fair – don’t bother pronouncing it, just follow your GPS there – and sample a Funnel cake!

Yum. No doggie bag necessary, I am sure!

# 6: Seattle rules at salmon breeding/protecting/catching/cooking

Ever tried fishing in the Seine river? All you will catch is an old Louboutin shoe, the occasional [ugly tourist] corpse, and millions of silly little keys left behind by visitors after they hooked their love locks to Parisian bridges.

Well… In Seattle, you catch the most fabulous salmon. King Salmon, Sockeye, Coho, the list never ends. Salmon is on every menu in the Emerald City (except in coffee shops, because they have figured out that salmon lattes do not taste as good as pumpkin lattes.) Seattleites love salmon so much they built a fish ladder where local kids and their parents can watch the brave fish struggling against the current on their way in and out of town. 

Budding environmentalists wishing salmon “Bon Voyage” at the Fish Ladder 
Flying salmon (it does exist, in Seattle) is a big attraction at Pike Place Market!

#7: Forget Paris-Plages. Seattle has a real sand beach!

The first settlers landed in West Seattle, on Alki Beach. The rumour has it it was pouring down that day. Not to worry. They were a tough bunch. Today, only locals, tourists, and pirates, visit the beach. If only the Puget Sound was not so darn cold, we could almost swim there!

Alki Beach
Pirates landing on Alki Beach during SeaFair. Arrrgghhh!

#8: Parisians are too uptight. Seattleites are more relaxed.

It is not known who introduced flannel to Seattle. Doomed artist Kurt Cobain? Vampire covens tucked away on the Olympic Peninsula? No matter. Seattleites fight the constant dampness with fleece, and weatherproof clothing brands such as The North Face or Columbia. Forget Parisles Galeries Lafayette or le Bon Marché! Locals shop at R.E.I., major purveyor of everything Northwest. 

REI: Temple of Northwest Style

#9: Paris dwells too much on the past. Seattle looks ahead.

Old Bridges. Gallo-Roman ruins. Time to dust things off, Paris: Urban planning in Seattle includes flexibility, and a willingness to move with the times. Out with the old, in with the new! Heck, after a devastating fire in the 19th century, the original city of Seattle had to be raised up by a couple of floors once it was discovered the city had been built on tidelands, and toilets often backed up at high tide! Not to worry. As explained in the fascinating Seattle Underground tour, the whole city was rebuilt, and elevated. It’s amazing to visit Seattle’s underground passageways today and realize those old tunnels, and windows, were once at street level! 

Seattle’s Underground Tour: A must-see local attraction

Today, the urban-planning tradition à la Seattle endures. People are getting tired of this eye-sore known as the Alaskan Viaduct? Let’s tear it down and reclaim Seattle’s waterfront. The 520 bridge is unsafe? Let’s raise funds and build a new bridge. 

Seattle’s answer to Paris’ la Tour Montparnasse: The Alaskan viaduct
The soon-to-be replaced 520 Evergreen Bridge
(Would you look at the gorgeous weather?)


#10: Seattleites are quirkier

They are a liberal bunch. They are pretty accepting of other people’s quirky ways (unless said other people are conservatives.) They will do anything to save the planet. They are strangely attached to a bunch of interesting characters and places…

Paris thinks Love Locks are a problem:


Paris is lucky not to have to deal with Seattle’s Gum Wall:


Somewhere in Seattle, there is giant troll, tucked away under a bridge. He is friendly and often poses for photos. (I personally believe he is just hiding from the rain, and like most Seattleites, hates using an umbrella.) 


In the same neighborhood, one can see a giant space rocket that points at the sky but never really goes anywhere. And a giant statue of Lenin, that is allegedly for sale, but nobody except Bill Gates could afford it, and besides, everyone has too much fun hanging out with old Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov.

Lenin and his friends

Well, in case you are not convinced yet that Seattle is better than Paris, consider this: Paris has the Eiffel Tower, but Seattle has the Space Needle. Even if they were both built to celebrate World Fairs, Elvis Presley only visited one of them and even shot a movie there. 

That’s Elvis, and the Space Needle! 

In fact, some say Elvis has never left the building.

A bientôt.

Photo credits: 
Wikipedia Commons, unless otherwise noted 
— French Girl in Seattle

35 Responses to 10 reasons Seattle is better than Paris

  1. I love Seattle….lived there in my teens, and the moved to Nothern Ca. Then then settle in Southern Ca.
    I so miss Seattle, would move back in a minute. But I do lové France as well, Seattle feels like home.

    Wonderful post.



  2. Really fun reading that, Veronique…to me what’s best about Seattle is the “Sleepless” film and the WA islands…. Did you know that San Francisco (where I lived for 20 years) is a Paris sister city? I’d have trouble choosing which is best considering those two…love both. Cheers!

  3. V I couldn’t wait to read this post-It was so entertaining as well as educational-I have never heard of the underground passages before-that is so cool. I have never been to your neck of the woods-I like the outdoors but am definitely a city girl who loves her coffee…I would love to spend some time discovering this part of the US. As ALWAYS a great post-You are so good at what you do here-love being a reader of yours-as you know! Have a wonderful week-I am recovering from having all the windows replaced in our home-now its the put back time-ugh-henceforth the lag in reading/commenting-till next time

    • Bonjour g, and many thanks for the compliments. I know you like it here, because you are one of my most faithful readers – I believe you found me during my first blogging trip, in Paris, December 2010! Wow. How time flies. You will definitely have to come out here one day. It is truly a beautiful area, and thank goodness – since I do not care for snow or rainy weather – we have all these wonderful coffee shops, the flying salmon, and the Troll. The troll is really cool. Straight out of a Harry Potter book! Take care, Philadelphia friend.

  4. Ah, this makes me miss Seattle all the more. I keep wadding in the nostalgia of the two great years we lived in Redmond. And what’s more, I embraced the rains too! 🙂

  5. What a wonderful post, ma grande. As you know, Monsieur Dan was stationed in nearby Tacomah during his military service many, many moons ago, and we have visited Seattle many times, mostly for the fabulous Wagner “Ring Cycle” operas that they perform that I will stack up against any we have seen, and we have seen more than a dozen complete Cycles all over the world. Pike Street Market is just a joy, and I have such fond memories of a wonderful lunch w/you. Hopefully soon again???? Or in NY???

    All that said, however, Paris will always be my first love. It holds my heart. Just ask Monsieur Dan. His love affair w/Paris was a coup de foudre and he is still a faithful lover.

    Gros bisous, M-T

  6. I would compare Seattle — which I have only visited, but many times — to Rouen or Caen, but not to Paris. Even San Francisco, where I lved for more than 15 years, is a ville de province compared to Paris, with its long history and international status. De beaucoup de points de vue, Paris est le centre du monde.

    • Point taken, Ken, but this French Girl – as mentioned in the blog title – lives in Seattle, and hails from Paris so I had to make it work 😉 And you are right, it is hard to compete with Paris, but so much is written about the French capital every day. It seemed like a fun idea to give Seattle a bit more attention, for once. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. This is so on time! I just finished purchasing my tickets for my trip to Alaska in mid August that includes a stop over in Seattle oh thanks so very much for such bunch of information and great pictures! I’m searching for information about ferry to Victoria then back to Seattle for two days then fly to Anchorage. I lived in Alaska for sixteen years and never vacationed in Seattle….heresy!
    Thanks again! I am a big fan of yours♡

    • Bonjour Luisa, and merci for the kind words. Look up the Victoria Clipper website for info about traveling from Seattle to Victoria. That’s a fun ferry trip, and pretty quick, too. Hope you enjoy your Alaskan trip. That is a very special part of the world! Bon weekend!

  8. ive lived in Seattle most of my life and have traveled to Paris many, many times. Seattle is an amazing city, but I don’t think it can hold a candle to Parisian public transportation, museums, parks, flea markets, multitudes of independent shops, architecture and access to so many other beautiful cities…..oh, and did I mention book shops? Merci beau coup for your wonderful posts.

    • Merci beaucoup Suzanne. As you can tell if you are following the French Girl in Seattle Facebook community, this post has created some (healthy) controversy this morning. I loved it! Seattle is a wonderful city, but I agree with you: Few cities compare with Paris. Irony is a beautiful thing, isn’t? 😉

  9. Great comparison of two great cities. You most definitely did Seattle justice. You are lucky to have lived in both places. I think the biggest difference between Seattle and Paris (and any other city in Europe) is age. Seattle is still a teenager while Paris is the grande dame. I love them both in different ways as clearly you do, too. Well done.

  10. “Ever tried fishing in the Seine river? All you will catch is an old Louboutin shoe, the occasional [ugly tourist] corpse, and millions of silly little keys left behind by visitors after they hooked their love locks to Parisian bridges.”

    I absolutely died laughing at this! So true! I think you have a legit argument. I’m looking forward to putting Seattle on my list of places to visit!

    Great post, as always!! 🙂

    • Merci Jessica. Glad you enjoyed my little story. I know there are ugly tourist corpses in the Seine river, as I pushed a couple down a bridge myself after they asked me for directions to le Pont des Arts and waved a “lovelock” under my nose. 😉

  11. Bonjour Veronique,
    Fun reading your article this morning. I am actually doing the opposite of you. I lived in Seattle for 11 years and am now on my 8th year in Paris. I also love both cities. I guess I could never say one is better than the other. I think Seattle was wonderful for raising a family and Paris is wonderful for raising young adults and definitely allows for more entertainment for my husband and I! I guess there is also a phenomenon of “The Grass is always Greener”!
    Enjoy your time in Seattle. You probably know many in the French community we were such good friends with when we lived there!

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Fromage is cheese in French

Fromage is cheese in French

It’s all Rick Steves‘ fault. Or should I say: It all happened thanks to Rick Steves?   On Saturday morning, I headed to Edmonds, WA, where I had reservations for a two-hour talk by Rick. Edmonds is his hometown, and the world headquarters of fast growing Rick Steves Europe. Rick has always lived and worked…

14 Responses to Fromage is cheese in French

  1. We save the cheese and wine nights for special occasions, mostly because the lightness of the wallet factor here in the US. Thankfully we have a good French bakery somewhat close, and when the occasion does arrive we splurge on a good baguette as well. Your post today seems to have created a special occasion to celebrate, wink, wink!

  2. Love the dinner you prepared. We are much the same when thinking Greece, France, Italy or Spain – pull out the dishware, then open the wine and have a taste of our travel memories . . .sadly, you hit the nail on the head about the cost of the cheeses.. .

  3. Wine. Butter. Cheese. Nothing wrong with that. What a perfect dinner, Veronique! I do love my fromage, wouldn’t mind a little for breakfast this morning. Glad you got to dine on a little bit of Paris.

    I’ve been sketching away on your project, playing with composition. As soon as I have a few favorites I’ll send them your way.

    Happy Monday! XO

  4. you know v I can get a bit word-ey when I converse here but tonight I am speechless because I am salivating at the photos of the scrumdelishious FEAST you prepared! chin chin as I raise my glass to yours!! AS ALWAYS A PURE DELIGHT!

    • My dear g, so glad you enjoyed my *scrumdelishious* photos (Right about now, JK Rowling is sorry she did not think of this word when she wrote the Harry Potter series…) — And I am raising my glass to yours in return. Santé, mon amie de Philadelphie!

  5. Love RIck, too, lucky you! And your selections. Fortunately, we have an excellent baker from Brittany here on the Monterey Coast who makes the most delicious bread. Also loved seeing the vibrant red and the beautiful rock in your photos…! Looks very French!

  6. Dear Veronique

    It must have been delightful hearing Rick in person and then to rejoice in dining on your favourite food. You have made me hungry and now I must go and get some cheese.
    Great images.
    Helen xx

    • Thank you very much Helen. Always a treat to welcome you chez moi. Hope life is good in Florida. The rain is back in Seattle, which had to happen, sooner or later. We almost forgot what it felt like after this long, hot summer! Take care.

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26 Responses to Why France has been my favorite travel destination for 20 years

  1. I finally fulfilled my dream of visiting France two years ago ( after studying the French language for six years). It was everything I dreamed it would be… And more! I am sure I sounded like a caveman, but it was fun to “try” to speak French while I was there. Everyone I met was kind and patient with me (even if I was butchering their lovely language). From Normandy, to Paris, to Provence – I LOVED it all. I cannot wait to return someday (hopefully soon).

    • Bonjour Michelle. Thank you for stopping by. You did things in the right order: Learning about the culture and the language before visiting the country. As a result, you had a wonderful experience in France. You “hit” some classics on that first trip. Next time, venture out a bit and explore other areas. You will love it just as much, I promise.

  2. I recently discovered your blog and enjoy your insights ‘re French life. It’s a coincidence that I just returned from a trip to Nice which reminded me how nice France can be. I’ve tended to visit Italy more in recent years for all the reasons you cite but will definitely be back to France soon. Also enjoyed speaking french again.
    .Loved your photos Merci beaucoup.

    • Dear Anon. Thank you for your kind comment. I can see how many of the points I raised could apply to Italy and France. I need to spend more time in Italy myself, but la Belle France is forever tugging at my sleeve, pulling me in when I attempt to leave. Come back soon!

  3. This was the most tender of love letters to your homeland and ,I as so many others, could not agree more with each and every point! WELL SAI DEAR V and as ALWAYS well written well presented.

    • Dear g. How wonderful to hear from you again. You have been quiet lately, but I was hoping you were still visiting the blog or the Facebook page to check on me, as always. Thank you for the kind comments. A love letter to France. I guess that is what this story is. 🙂

    • yes I read and re-read- including comments- I can never get enough… just has been a busy and not in the good way, not bad either- just business errands etc barely time to breath and after sept it should calm down I AM HERE always love your postings-YOU ARE THE BEST!!

  4. Beautifully written – you really capture why I love it here so much!! Especially the enjoy every moment and savor the delicious fresh wonderful food!! It’s really such a wonderful life and even though the French have “their ways” and often tons of bureaucracy – one can overlook so much of that for all the reasons you state! Have a great week!

    • Merci beaucoup Jennifer. I am so happy you enjoy your life in France– granted you live in a beautiful area. I always appreciate your positive outlook on things. You and I know that, as an expat, it is easy to go to the “dark side” — maybe because criticism makes for better copy? 😉 Good for you for keeping a positive – and open-minded – outlook. Bonne semaine à Bordeaux.

  5. Hello Veronique

    It is curious how absence makes us appreciate the land of our birth. I can see how you would return to France in a heart beat. There is so much to see and do and even in one lifetime once cannot do it.
    Have a glorious week

    Helen x

    • My dear Helen: Thank you for stopping by today. I always enjoy your visits. You are right: It would take a lifetime to see all the beauty France has to offer – and all the quirks too – Darn. I am going to plan to spend a lot more time there over the next few years. 😉

  6. Dearest Véronique,
    Having just come home on a flight from Phoenix, AZ, where we made several trips throughout the state, this looooooooooooong post did make my eyes very tired.
    Lovely yes, I agree with all of it and mainly my online boutique clients mainly buy things made in France. Most of my things are purely French as the fabrics and everything is so unique. Sure there is a lot of fake French out there, made in China but the true connaisseur can easily tell the difference!
    Sending you hugs and you do look great by the way.

    • Merci beaucoup Mariette. Sorry the long post made your eyes tired. At least it did not put you to sleep. I would have felt bad otherwise 😉 Your store does offer a beautiful selection of fine French items. That is why you are so successful. A bientôt.

  7. Salut ma grande fille:je viens de lire tes reportages sur ton voyage en France et je comprends que toutes les personnes qui y sont allées soient d’accord avec toi car entre les photos et les commentaires on ait envie d’y aller!!! bravo ,ma grande et bisous de mom!!!!!!!!!

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