Category Archives: French Culture

Trending in Paris: French Girl in Seattle reports

Trending in Paris: French Girl in Seattle reports

I am back, after twelve fast-paced, fun-filled, memorable days in Paris. A few nights ago, I lay wide awake in my own bed, five hours before I had to return to the office. I decided to fight jet lag like a champ, by browsing through several hundred photos from the trip saved on my laptop. This nocturnal Paris trip inspired this story, and the realization that when Paris is concerned, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose (the more it changes, the more it’s the same thing.) What’s trending in Paris in April 2018? Overall, what was trending in Paris in April 2017, and more than likely , what was trending earlier too. Illustration.

(Still) trending in Paris: les terrasses de café (café terraces)

Like Parisians, they come in all shapes and sizes. Even if they are empty early in the morning, they fill in quickly, especially on sunny days. It does not matter if it is cold or raining outside. Many are covered or equipped with gas heaters, and comfortable year round. trending in Paris trending in Paris

trending in Paris

Why are they so popular, when sitting there often means inhaling second-hand smoke from the table next door, and paying more for drinks? Les cafés are the best place to socialize, to people-watch, and a natural extension to Parisians’ diminutive living quarters. It does not not matter that coffee quality is hit and miss, or that soda does not come with free refills and could bankrupt you. In Paris (and other parts of France,) it is a well-known fact life is best lived en terrasse.

(Still) trending in Paris: Les bords de Seine (the Seine riverbanks)

Ah, la Seine! The French capital’s lifeline remains one of her most iconic landmarks. She continues to inspire, and most Parisian strolls lead back to her.

trending in Paris

trending in Paris

(Still) trending in Paris: l’apéro (apéritif)

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere,” they say in other parts of the world. Parisians reply: “On prend l’apéro?L’apéritif remains a beloved ritual. It can be simple, your beverage of choice accompanied by a few slices of saucisson or cheese, a handful of peanuts or small crackers. It can be more elaborate. Lately, cafés have been offering dishes “a la plancha,” tapas-style, just like in Spain or the Mediterranean region. Charcuterie and cheese remain popular options.

trending in Paris
Happy Hours (les Heures Heureuses)

trending in Paris

(Still) trending in Paris: the Coffee Revolution

Forget old-fashioned cafés where le petit noir (a cup of bitter espresso) is best enjoyed au zinc (at the counter) with other regulars.

trending in Paris

In the much-touted “New Paris,” small, specialty coffee-shops, mostly run by Americans or Australians (or former French expats) have popped up all over the city, especially in the trendy parts of the Right Bank (10th and 11th arrondissements.) They pride themselves on serving top-quality, fair-trade, freshly-roasted coffee and talk about their selection du jour like a vigneron bordelais discusses his favorite wine vintage. One visits for the coffee experience, the Wifi, but not for the size of the room or the {non-existent} terrace. Tip for foreign visitors: These are the coffee shops you should visit if you are homesick and want to meet other English speakers.

trending in Paris
Café Oberkampf

trending in Paris

{Still} trending in Paris: the Americanization of France

Franglais (French: [fʁɑ̃ɡlɛ]; also Frenglish /ˈfrɛŋɡlɪʃ/) is a French portmanteau word referring initially to the pretentious overuse of English words by Francophones, and subsequently to the macaronic mixture of the French (français) and English (anglais) languages. (Wikipedia.)

Franglais has been an integral part of French life for many years, in ads, in magazines, and in the street. Le Fooding (paper or online version,) is one of the most trusted restaurant guides in France. It has become so big the famed Michelin guide has recently acquired shares in the company! Many French entrepreneurs meet daily in co-working spaces found in major French cities, to create and collaborate with like-minded people. In French restaurants, especially in Paris, the rumor has it le hamburger has been such un best-seller it has now replaced the traditional jambon-beurre sandwich in French hearts. One thing is true at least: Le am-ba-ga can be spotted on most menus, from gastronomic restaurants to more humble eateries.

trending in paris
Spotted in le Métro: an ad for lafourchette.com, the online restaurant reservation system

Let’s not forget France’s fascination with MacDo! Don’t les Français realize MacDo is singlehandedly responsible for Manny the woolly mammoth’s extinction? I was able to catch a very rare sighting of an exhausted Manny seeking refuge at le Jardin des Plantes, only to spot MacDo over his right shoulder, seductively calling his name! Run, Manny, run!

Trending in Paris

In recent years, a former French expat has come home to introduce Parisians to texas-style barbecue. As long as diners are allowed to use forks and knives, he should do just fine.

Are bagels going to replace the traditional baguette? Has le hamburger dethroned French fast food? Not so fast, Ronald McDonald: On a recent stroll at la place des Vosges on a glorious spring afternoon, among the many picnic afficionados sprawled out on welcoming grassy areas, I spotted a majority of jambon-beurre sandwiches and its famous cousin, le poulet-crudités, There were a few galettes complètes (savory crepes) too. Yet, not a hamburger in sight.

trending in Paris

 

{still} trending in Paris: walking

Parisians walk everywhere. Many foreign visitors are shocked to see they lose weight while vacationing in the French capital even if they enjoy generous meals, plentiful wine, and their daily guilty pleasure: une pâtisserie. In recent years, much ado has been made about the art of la flânerie, an alleged Parisian specialty many people (who can’t survive without their car at home and will go out of their way to park right outside the buildings they are visiting) are happy to adopt as soon as they arrive in the French capital. It is Paris’s blessing and curse: The most mundane event happening in her streets is instantly embellished by the enduring “Paris mystique.” Meanwhile, Parisians seem oblivious to visitors’ and photographers’ fascinated stares. They are in a hurry and walk fast, to work, or to an appointment they are late for; later in the day, or during the weekend, they slow down and stroll, taking in the scenery.

{Still} trending in Paris: le trench, le parapluie, les tennis

In order to brave Paris’s fickle weather, especially in April, modern-day Parisians stick to what they know and trust: a good trench coat, an umbrella, and comfortable shoes made for walking.

trending in Paris
Les basiques (basics) are still in

When you walk as much as Parisians do, you need the right footwear. Don’t trust everything lifestyle bloggers tell you: Not all Parisian women spend their days on stiletto heels or ballet flats. Christian Louboutin shoes look best in a window display… or on a pretty woman sitting at a café terrace. They prove disappointing performers on the French capital’s iconic pavés (cobblestones.) For many years now, both men and women in Paris have adopted les tennis, or les baskets. American sneaker brands score big, especially among the younger crowd. More mature customers (including seniors) will stick to basic colors (black, navy, beige.) When they indulge in a whimsical pair (a light pink, silver, or sparkles,) sneakers must match the rest of the outfit, or at the very least the coat or jacket. We are in Paris, after all, not at the local gym! You will find French-style sneakers everywhere. Elegant brands like Inès de la Fressange or JB Martin Paris feature at least a few pairs in each of their seasonal collections.

trending in Paris
La Parisienne’s essentials

There is another reason les Parisiennes choose comfort over high heels: Like many women around the world, they walk the streets while staring at their smart phone screens and can’t take the risk of spraining an ankle. This continues when they ride the Metro. Fewer and fewer Parisians read books (or work) there. Everyone is too busy texting and reading French Girl in Seattle‘s latest blogpost on their telephone screen. Et oui, hélas, smart phones, too, are still trending in Paris…

A bientôt. 

trending in Paris
A French Girl, her umbrella, her trenchcoat, and her “tennis.” (Photo C. Redor)

Text and photos by French Girl in Seattle. Please do not use without permission.

18 Responses to Trending in Paris: French Girl in Seattle reports

  1. Loved the blog! I am so glad, despite some changes, that Paris remains much the same. When I get to travel there, I want to see all the things I have read and about. Great photos! Thank for sharing.🗼

  2. Eh oui, tout est correct. Absolument! Spot on!
    I listened to your interview on the Earful Tower the other week. Loved it!
    …..and in reference to this show,
    bises from one Brigitte to one Véronique 😉

    • Bises back at you, ma chère Brigitte. Glad you enjoyed the Earful Tower podcast and agreed with my comments. As I mentioned that day, compliments coming from fellow French natives are particularly sweet to my ears. A bientôt.

  3. Great report, Veronique! It was lovely to see your chat with French Frye in Paris and to hear your discussion with Earful Tower. You are as charming to see and listen to as your posts are to read.

    Thank you!!!

  4. Very nice post, really gives you a taste of what feels like to stroll about Paris.

    I’m ambivalent about the franglais… makes me sad to hear so much English in France, and makes it hard for anglophones to learn the language if francophones are too quick to use English with them. That said, I have si peu d’occasions de parler français aux États-Unis and feel it comes across as snobbish when I try… whereas I feel mournful that my country is so monolingual and ethnocentric, it’s dangerous and sadly limiting….

    • Thank you for sharing your photos of Paris. Enjoyed reading about their lifestyle. Hopefully someday in the future, want to fly out to Paris and sit at more than one of those beautiful cafes!!

    • Merci Susan. This is a complicated issue indeed. The French go a bit overboard with le franglais in my humble opinion. I recently read an issue of the French Elle magazine that had me in stitches because the editor obviously went out of her way to use franglais to sound “cool.” Never a perfect world, n’est-ce-pas?

  5. Merci. Je ne suis pas allée à Paris l’année dernière et l’année d’avant je suis juste passée en coup de vent. Je vois que je n’ai pas vu venir la tendance “hamburger”.

    Cette année j’ai prévu de passer une dizaine de jours à Paris.
    Je vais essayer de ne pas être trop timide et de faire des “live” pour partager un peu Paris avec mes étudiants (je suis un French tutor/coach).

    Je ne maîtrise pas assez l’anglais pour écrire de bons blogs comme les vôtres alors je m’abstiendrai.
    Et je continuerai à lire les vôtres.

    Merci beaucoup pour vos blogs et votre page FB.

    • Merci beaucoup de votre visite et de vos commentaires Catherine. Je n’ai pas été assez courageuse (et ai manqué de temps) pour me lancer dans les “Live Videos” pendant cette visite. Je vous admire de l’envisager! Si vous voulez voir un maitre en la matière, je vous conseille les visites guidées informelles organisées tous les samedis matin sur Facebook par mon ami Corey Frye, sur A French Frye in Paris. Si vous n’avez pas encore regardé le “café chat” pendant lequel Corey et moi avons répondu en direct à des questions sur Paris, je vous le recommande. Vous trouverez le lien Youtube sur la page FB de French Girl in Seattle. A bientôt.

  6. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même choses.
    It is good that some things in Paris are immutable. It’s also good that other things evolve, that the place isn’t some kind of giant museum. The balance of ancient and cutting-edge, of tradition and trendiness, are what make Paris so tantalizing.

  7. Bravo 👏 I absolutely loved reading this blog! One of my favorites!! It was an update to Paris for me. You have it down pat on what’s trending in Paris for sure. I was there with you…such a fun and enlightening blog. I’m a vegetarian but when I did eat meat..the jambon beure was much better than hamburger. It’s all about the bread 🥖 for me. Peace french girl. xo

    • Sorry, I’m so franglais. I have nobody to practice french with. My mom goes right to English because we don’t have time to blab long on FaceTime. C’est dommage pour moi. Ciao!

      • Merci Sandy. You need to return to Paris yourself and see if you can uncover trends I may have missed there! I know you are more familiar with southern France, and “la province” often rolls differently from the French capital (but not always!)

        As for the use of franglais, that’s ok with moi. “When in Paris, do as Parisians do…” and all that… A bientôt!

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Favorite French songs about Paris

Next best thing to being in Paris? Watching movies set in Paris. Reading books about Paris. Listening to other people’s stories about Paris. Or, if all else fails, listening to favorite French songs about Paris on Youtube. This list is not exhaustive. There are many contenders! The City of Light has inspired artists depuis toujours (forever.)…

26 Responses to Favorite French songs about Paris

  1. Music is incredibly evocative, of time and place and emotional states, so here’s my left-field nomination: Michelle by Paul McCartney (& Lennon). I know, it’s not directly about Paris and has only a few lines of French in it (but the lines you remember!) but for me at least there is something powerfully evocative of Paris about it.

    First, is the period it was inspired by and released into, ie. the 60s counter-culture; here’s Macca on it (via Wiki):
    The words and style of “Michelle” have their origins in the popularity of French Left Bank culture during McCartney’s Liverpool days. McCartney had gone to a party of art students where a student with a goatee and a striped T-shirt was singing a French song.

    …we’d tag along to these parties, and it was at the time of people like Juliette Greco, the French bohemian thing… So I used to pretend to be French, and I had this song that turned out later to be ‘Michelle’. It was just an instrumental, but years later John said: ‘You remember that thing you wrote about the French?’ I said: ‘Yeah.’ He said: ‘That wasn’t a bad song, that. You should do that, y’know.’

    McCartney continues to favour it in concerts, particularly in any Francophone place; bien sur he sang it in Washington DC with Michelle Obama sitting in the front row. The song has been covered by innumerable performers including Nina Simone, an honorary Frenchwoman!
    It won the Grammy for best song in 1967, which leads to ..

    Second, it was used by Ettore Scola for his “Paris ’68” segment in his 1983 “Le Bal” which was an extraordinary film without dialogue (shot like a silent movie but with music) that tracked the fifty-year story of French society by way of a ballroom in Paris. IIRC the version didn’t use lyrics and was a solo performance on saxophone while the riots were occurring just outside the ballroom’s basement windows. There were dozens if not hundreds of songs one could have chosen to represent “the 60s” but they chose this one.

    Most people find the movie to be powerfully evocative, and for me of Paris (even though the movie is entirely set in the ballroom) because I was living in Paris when I saw it not long after its first release (and again several more times over the years). It is also one of those movies that benefit from being seen in a theatre–back then there often was one of those small cinemas showing it somewhere in Paris.

    Michelle, ma belle
    Sont les mots qui vont très bien ensemble
    Très bien ensemble

    • Trust “Aussie-on-Ile-St-Louis” to always leave thoughtful, informative comments! I, too, enjoy Mc Cartney’s “Michelle.” Incidentally, I recently connected with another Aussie while in Paris: Oliver Gee, the creator of the entertaining “The Earful Tower” podcast. I don’t know if you have had a chance to listen to the episode we recorded at his 20th arrondissement studio last week. It was quite fun! A bientôt.

  2. Many old favorites and a couple that are new to me, so thanks for those!
    Aux Champs Elysée is a karaoke favorite. I don’t think I’ve been to a wedding or community dinner where it wasn’t played, and everybody sang along.

    • I am finally replying to you, after my whirlwind Paris trip. Thank you for stopping by once again. I am certain that living in southern France as you do, you must have heard that Joe Dassin tune quite often at family celebrations! A bientôt.

  3. If you search for “French love songs” on Youtube, you come up with several different mixes of them. The best is over 100 songs starting with Dernier Danse by Indila, followed by Stromae, and going through a lot of songs from the sixties and Julio Iglesias. “French Afro Pop” also yields a couple of nice collections. ZAZ has a mix too but unfortunately, it reapeats a lot.

    • Bienvenue Rebecca. You are right: French songs are popular out there. I do like that Indila song and almost added it, but I had to make some choices; or the list would have gone on for ever. Stromae is also a favorite of mine. I once wrotet e an article about him on the FGIS blog. Have you read it? Merci de votre visite, et à bientôt.

    • Merci Jeanne. I have just returned from Paris. What a great trip that was! I hope you could follow me on Instagram or Facebook, but if not, keep an eye out for upcoming posts here on the blog, or in social media. A bientôt!

  4. Madame Veronique,

    What a beautiful photo of Balzac’s house! And what a coincidence! Right now I’m reading a delicious book called “Balzac’s Omelette”, translated from French. I also see in the photo the Turkish flag, flying from its embassy, in what used to be the magnificent home of the Princess of Lamballe.

    And I like all your songs! Thanks to YouTube I could also find my old favorites:

    Tino Rossi – “Le plus beau tango du monde”

    http://youtu.be/nnOuoI09GAM

    and our own USA born, Eddie Constantine, singing “Si si si” – He was like a son to the immortal Edith Piaf.

    http://youtu.be/TsJvIAch-zQ

    These songs take me back to the Paris of my youth. Maybe they’re not about Paris…but they’re French after all?

    Have a safe trip home. I can imagine the excitement!

    Thank you,
    Maria

  5. Thank you for these wonderful songs. I will listen as I fly from here to there this Thursday. We are in Nice the first two weeks, so if you are in the area let us meet up if time permits.

    • Bonjour DiAnn. I hope you enjoyed Nice. Another FGIS reader, Dave, has been in Nice the last two weeks and told me the weather had been pretty rough for the area. Hopefully Paris will treat you better now. It looks like spring has finally arrived in the French capital, looking at the beautiful Cherry blossoms I spotted this week. Maybe we will meet in Europe one of these days…

      • Yes, Nice is having some Spring weather while we are here but we role with it and enjoy the city nonetheless. I have already made some forever friends here and will be back for an even longer stay next time.

  6. J’habite en France – Michel Sardou
    Michelle – Gerard Lenorman
    L’important c’est la rose – Gilbert Bécaud
    Il n’y a plus d’autre – Juliette Gréco et Guy Béart
    Pour toi – Mireille Mathieu

    • Bonjour Melinda. Some great classics here, even if they are not specifically about Paris. “J’habite en France” was a very funny (i.e. sarcastic) song about my countrymen. Did you know Michel Sardou officially retired this week when he gave his last Live performance?

  7. Dear French Girl,
    I can see from recent comments you are making that you will be moving back to France soon. I wish you weren’t as I enjoy having you here in the Seattle area, and all the posts you write about that sort of touch on French life that happens here. We haven’t met, and yet it makes me happy that you are here and I will be sad when you go. Weird, huh? Even though I will still be able to read your blog and Insta if you are doing it in France…
    Thanks for what you do!
    Sheila in Port Townsend

    • Bonjour Sheila from Port Townsend (what a lovely place you live in! I used to visit on a regular basis…) I would not worry too much about my relocating to Europe. It’s been my plan for many years and yet, you see, I am still here, blogging from Seattle, or at least the Seattle area. It will be a while before I am able to move my life back to Europe, hopefully France. In the meantime, you will still have me around. As a side note, I am touched by your message. Thank you. I appreciate your support. Keep following FGIS! The next step – as soon as I can get it done in spite of my busy work schedule – is a brand-new website. I hope you enjoy it and send me some feedback when I release it later this spring. A bientôt.

      • I hope you still use the watercolor doggie in beret w/space needle somewhere. It’s the cutest thing ever!
        In fact, please have notecards printed with this pic on front. They’d sell like hotcakes!
        Sheila in Port Townsend

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Happy birthday, French Girl in Seattle!

Happy birthday, French Girl in Seattle!

French Girl in Seattle: The beginnings Happy Birthday, French Girl in Seattle! You have just turned 7. You were born in Paris, during a very cold winter when snow fell – and stuck – in the French capital’s streets, making sightseeing challenging and time spent indoors irresistible. You started as a blog meant to help…

37 Responses to Happy birthday, French Girl in Seattle!

    • Escape, travel , beautiful art, good food … loved France since my three years of French class in high school in the 70’s, I love your pictures and explanations of French life

  1. Congratulations, Veronique. Looking forward to your new site. Nothing creative is coming to me so I will just wait to see the winner’s creation.

    Jennie

  2. I’m so glad you find time to do this. I look forward to every blog or Facebook post. Travel in France has enriched our lives. Your words have made that travel more meaningful. But, I also enjoy your take on life here. It’s great to see American life from a different perspective. You’ve hooked my wife on Oui yogurt, and you’ve encouraged us to find an authentic croissant in the US. (Karen Donatelli’s In Asheville — we’re going there in about 30 minutes. ????) Happy anniversary to FGIS.

  3. I truly enjoy your international perspective and look forward to your blog posts. I am French heritage but don’t get to visit often.

  4. I look forward to your posts. They bring back memories of past trips and hopes of a return in the future. In the meantime, I’ll sip some Sancerre…

  5. I’m not great at creative taglines, but I really feel like you are my direct lifeline to France and Paris, and the French language. I am a francophile living in the Seattle area. Receiving a post or blog from you always brightens my day. My next big trip is 2 weeks in Paris in October 2018, and I am in the midst of planning for the trip now. Your travel tips, French language tips, day trip ideas, etc. are SO helpful. Thank you for all you do, Veronique!

  6. Bon anniversaire! I love FGIS it makes me feel that France is not quite so far away. I love your stories and the new format with emphasis on the blog rather than Facebook. I look forward to all your posts and stories.

  7. Merci, I’m happy to meet you today for the first time as I’m interested in: “Integrating the French Way of Living”. I’m delighted to learn more.

  8. I’ve been thinking about your request for a new tagliine but can’t improve on what you have. Instead I tend to think your main tag (ie. French Girl in Seattle) is perhaps part of the issue: it doesn’t suggest the blog is going to be about France rather than your experiences in Seattle. Now, of course I am not suggesting you change it since it is now well established and your USP. The only thing that comes to mind is a modification, very tentatively something like:

    “French Girl in Seattle… Dreaming of France”. or ” FGiS… Still Dreams of France”; or “Dreaming of France by French Girl in Seattle”. (all as title rather than subtitle). It clarifies what the blog is about, and of course importantly makes it more successful in google searches (your current subtitle works but it may be omitted in many listings? or in returns in google searches which may not quite attract your intended audience?).

    …………………
    Re the caption to the pic above of you “By the Seine river”: mon dieu, that is not just any old location next to the river. It’s the Ile Saint Louis, just about the greatest location in the known universe 🙂

    • OK, plagiarising a bit from Eric Mitchell’s suggestion, how about:

      “Exploring France with French Girl in Seattle”

      This just about captures everything you want:
      1. KISS (Keep it simple, stupid).
      2. Continuity with your current tag FGiS.
      3. Highlights the exploring France angle (versus implied exploring Seattle!).
      4. Comforts Americans that it will be from a partly-Americanised POV (I don’t necessarily approve but hey we all understand that, love ’em or hate ’em, Americans are a big chunk of the (English speaking, kinda) 85 million who visit France each year. We Aussies–or Kiwis or Canadians etc–just don’t compete .. numerically.)
      5. Nevertheless is a French expert, ie. native.

  9. Congratulations on this anniversary, Veronique. How about French Girl in Seattle…France: Exotique..Unique..Veronique. ? Best of luck in this new year!

  10. Bonjour Véronique ! Je trouve tes aventures racontées sur ton blog toujours attirantes, surtout au sujet de tes explorations en France. Donc, pour un tagline nouveau, je proposerai : 1) Explore France with a French Native ; 2) Adventures in France with a French Native ; 3) France From an Insider’s View.

    Amitiés !

  11. Congratulations Happy Anniversary….I keep coming back because you write about the place I love. France. You share so many wonderful places that I keep putting on my to do list. Keep doing what your doing xx

  12. Congratulations Happy Anniversary….I keep coming back because you write about the place I love. France. You share so many wonderful places that I keep putting on my to do list. Keep doing what your doing xx

  13. Bonjour, Véronique! I’ve been reading your blog through Facebook links, having discovered you through Eric Tenin’s Paris Daily Photo (RIP PDP…) and will now access through my WordPress account.
    I think your blog is one of the best I’ve seen and I do have a couple of ideas for the tagline.
    “Sharing all things French.”
    Or to be a bit more emotional, “Sharing my passion for France.”
    Of course everyone loves the “monuments” of France but it is lovely to find someone else who seeks out the real life beyond. Merci beaucoup and I wish you many more happy years of blogging!

  14. Tag line: A French Girl in Seattle can explain.

    Loved seeing you on Corey’s Cafe Chats today. So much fun to watch. Thanks.

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46 Responses to A French family reunion in the Perigord

  1. Merci!! C’etait merveilleux! J’aime beaucoup les photos. Ma famille me manque, et j’ai besoin d’alle les rejoinder en Provence. Je vous remercie. Celia m’a render heureuse at Trieste!! ????

    • Je comprends Michelle. Il est très difficile parfois, d’être éloigné de sa famille, surtout pendant des périodes prolongées. J’ai eu la chance de pouvoir rentrer en France chaque année depuis mon installation aux Etats-Unis il y a plus de 20 ans. Mes parents sont aussi venus me rendre visite pendant longtemps. A vous souhaitant de retourner bientôt en Provence, mes amitiés.

  2. Your photos are gorgeous. They really capture not only this region but also the essence of France’s quaint everyday beauty.

  3. Just lovely. How wonderful that your extended family not only keeps in touch but also gets together.
    Based on your earlier post about Sarlat, which was the final coup de pouce on top of everything else I had read, we were going to stop in Sarlat on our way home from the holidays. But Carmen interfered. We could barely see the road, and wandering around a village was out of the question in the déluge. I can’t wait to get back, and I definitely want to see Lascaux, too!

  4. LOVED the pictures. One side of our family lives in France In Charente-Maritime and we treasure our times together there.

    And you live in beautiful Seattle – best of both worlds I would say. I lived near Tacoma for several years – ahhhh when that Mountain shows her face – breathtaking.

    Again loved the pictures.

    Suz

  5. This post brought tears to my eyes – what a lovely family and what a lovely reunion! The tears came because I ache for at least a part-time life in the French countryside. Good food, great friends, beautiful architecture – the freedom to walk and talk through quiet streets and to explore the countryside and learn more about my beloved France – ah! Someday for me, I hope.

  6. Merci, merci, c’est un beau cadeau-partage, cet article, French Girl , pour moi qui aime tant Sarlat, la Vezere, et le Perigord en general. Chanceuse de pouvoir renouer le contact une fois par an. Merci, et bravo ♥

    • Avec plaisir, Lise. Je me rends en France tous les ans, mais je ne peux pas assister à ces réunions de famille la plupart du temps. C’est pour ça que celle-ci était très spéciale, et il était hors de question de la manquer, puisque nous avons célébré les 80 ans de mon papa.

  7. While we all know how wonderful Paris is, I have a very special place in my heart for the Southwest of France. I spent several sommers in Bordeaux and have memories that will last a lifetime. I have visited the caves and they are amazing . Oh and the quote by Michel Sardou who ismy favorite french singer . I really enjoyed your family reunion and look forward to more of your adventures ..

  8. Loved this. I’ve traveled a bit in France (Provence, Bordeaux) on several trips — and have been to Paris a few times (renting an apartment there twice). Don’t know when I’ll be back but at my age (80), think it would be wise to plan something this year.

  9. Beautiful photos, beautiful family! You are blessed. Thank you for sharing this wonderful occasion. I enjoyed every minute! Andi

  10. You keep writing. I keep reading! I may have to stay more than the two months in France to see it all. I want to see everything and go everywhere. I am so looking forward to April when my husband and I travel to France (mostly). The people, the places and the adventures we will enjoy for sure.

  11. Bonjour Veronique! Geeze I had no idea you had gone to this part of France! Finally getting back to your roots girl! 😉 It was super nice to see this. It touched my heart. I felt that family reunion. It’s been too long for me. You represented a typical french gathering perfectly. Love that and I miss those times. After my french grandmother died – it broke up the family. The inheritance etc…So I play diplomat and go to cousins to cousins to say hi. But that gets expensive. Especially now with the government shut down! How will I travel? =( xox Sandy

    • Bonsoir Sandy. Great to see you here again! I know you have enjoyed some of these French gatherings too over the years. I am a big proponent of staying connected with one’s roots, in spite of time, distance, family feuds… or government shut downs. Keep visiting la Belle France!

  12. comme c’est sympathique and heart warming to watch the beautiful pictures of your family reunion!!! you made me want to go back to my roots in Metz, but its just not the same since my parents passed away. I will see my baby brother this summer and he will come visit us in Arizona in the fall with his wife. We do what we can. I moved in the US 38 years ago and i feel french and american at the same time, a leg in each country and my heart in the middle….not always easy,, but doing my best, on day at a time, and one voyage at a time too! Your blog is full of such helpful infos like babacar, that I did not know. Thank you for sharing the knowledge et les petits trucs.
    Amicalement, Nicole

    • Thank you so much for your message Nicole. It means a lot. I appreciate all of my readers’ comments, but those coming from expats who live away from France, like myself, are even more special. One day at a time… Bonne année !

  13. je viens de e lire en essayant de traduire et suis ravie de voir combien de personnes aiment tes articles qui dé peignent si bien la France c’est un régal!!tu ferais une super journaliste!!!! bravo ,ma fille bises mom

  14. I think it’s magnificent that you have started your blog and we can also follow you through social media. Showing us such beautiful places and talking about all things French, really rewards us who cannot otherwise know this insider information on beautiful France and Paris. And of course seeing about a real French family. Merci for this opportunity! I hope one day to be able to go visit all those great places.

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Trader Joe’s best French desserts

Trader Joe’s best French desserts

Every year, in France’s Provence, locals celebrate the Holidays with the traditional “12 desserts,” a selection of dried fruits, nuts, fresh fruit, cakes and sweet little nothings, an age-long Christian tradition (the 12 desserts symbolizing Jesus’s apostles.) These desserts are best enjoyed during le Réveillon de Noël, (Christmas Eve,) at the end of a copious…

29 Responses to Trader Joe’s best French desserts

  1. Glad you are finding tastes of home in Seattle. The thing I wish I could get in France is good Mexican corn tortillas. Everything else I can make from scratch, but the industrial corn tortillas on offer at the supermarket are a pale ghost of what you find at a real tortilleria.
    Bonnes fêtes et, surtout, bonne santé!

  2. We have a Trader Joe’s just down the street, so I have tried almost all of these wonderful treats. We always get a tin of their Sipping Chocolate . We sip it by the fireplace and pretend we are in Paris! Have a wonderful Holiday Season, and can’t wait to see what is n store for us in 2018!

  3. Tray Joe’s is the greatest!!! Tee hee—Bonaparte feels the same way about cannelés that you do macaron! I’m makeup by Meringue mushrooms to dit on the Bûche de Noël and I’ve made the puffs for profiteroles. I’ll hav this take a drive down ti get the frozen croissants ! Joyeux Noel to yo Véronique and all the best for 2018!!!

  4. That’s it! I’m writing Trader Jacque to come set up shop in my dusty southwest town inNew Mexico. We have a Target and Chipotle…why not? Merci! They just need one next to chipotles and I’m set! Lol

  5. I always go there to get this stuff, read the ingredients and the salt, sugar and fat content snd walk out empty handed. Does anyone else have this problem?

  6. Awesome post,Véronique…very helpful! Trader Joe’s is less than a few minutes drive away from home…I’ll be right back! 🙂

    Merry Christmas!

  7. Thanks for the tips on Trader Joe’s desserts! I had no idea they make caneles, I have never tried them and will see if I can find them at my TJs. Have a very Merry Christmas!

  8. We have a Trader Joe’s, a little inconvient for me, but you have convinced me! What better time than les fêtes to try some delicious new treats?

  9. Great article… We have bought many of TJ’s pastries for our Alliance Française board meetings in Atlanta, Georgia. They are fabulous and taste homemade – well almost!

    I will have to try the cannelés next time.

  10. We enjoyed the tartes aux fruits. Ingredients lists don’t lie so I was really impressed to see raspberries listed as the first ingredient! The tart was chock full of berries, including redcurrents which I love but can’t seem to find this side of the Atlantic (except dried)… blame it on a marvelous dessert I once had at the cafe in the garden at Versailles… anyway, the tart also has real butter and real sugar, no fake ingredients! Thank you for providing me the excuse to trek on over to Trader Jacques. My teenage daughters has a blast. They loved the pain au lait – sweet like the Hawaiian rolls they like, but I have to give a shout out to the Pain Pauline. Certainly a play on Pain Poilâne, and it does a respectable job – hearty whole wheat and sour like you’d expect from San Francisco. Now if Trader Jacques could import some amazing French yogurt in 2018… *sigh*

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Chez Gaston (Batignolles, Part 2)

Chez Gaston (Batignolles, Part 2)

A few days ago, I took you along as I explored one of Paris’ most charming neighborhoods, les Batignolles. The area offers an eclectic mix of eateries from traditional bistros and cafés, to hip restaurants and bars popular with the younger crowd, including Bobos (bourgeois bohemians) who have discovered the neighborhood in recent years. There are established businesses and newer, trendier places.…

11 Responses to Chez Gaston (Batignolles, Part 2)

  1. Hoping to visit your suggestion when visiting France in 2018. Thank you for sharing & yes, I hope it doesnʻt change before I go there.

  2. What a pleasure to admire those delicious photos!
    Especially that first one: you look “divina” as we say in my country and…having dinner with the proverbial Mr. Darcy, no less! 🙂

    As for the food I see, it looks delicious of course, but…very familiar…They are part of the French-British heritage in the culture of the countries that belong to the Rio de la Plata basin.

    Your narrative is impeccable, as usual. Thank you so much, Madame Veronique.
    Maria

    P.S.
    I’d like to share with you this little piece of music called “Le Cygne”, written by a compatriot of yours, the revered Romantic era composer, Camille Saint-Saëns.
    Monsieur Camille wrote the melody especifically for violoncello, with accompaniment for one or two pianos.

    Many musicians have produced arrangements for the keyboard of this sublime piece: Lucien Garban, Leopold Godowsky and Alexander Siloti among others.
    I chose Godowsky’s version because Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff liked it best.

    Camille Saint-Saëns-Le Cygne

    http://youtu.be/Cw_yDcwzuHo

    played by Wibi Soerjadi, born March 2, 1970 in Leiden, Netherlands.

    Last but not least, what an adorable couple make your “mamita” and your “papito”.

    • Dear Maria. Merci de votre visite. I have been blogging now, on and off, for over 6 years. I know my blogger friends would agree readers like you are a rare breed online today. They take the time to visit; read and appreciate the narrative; and leave thoughtful and informative comments. I am listening to le Cygne as I type this. I was not familiar with Godowsky’s version. Thank you for sharing it. What a beautiful piece! You are correct, my “mamita” and “papito” are, indeed, adorable. I treasure the time spent with them during my too short visits. You are incorrect, however, about the gentleman pictured at the beginning of the story. He is, of course, the famous Peter Olson, and like everyone who has been lucky enough to explore Paris with him, knows, the most gracious guide (and dinner companion.) Peter is not, however, Mr Darcy. Mr Darcy, you see, remains the Holy Grail, the shining and unattainable light many women – including this French Girl – can only dream about. It is my hope that Elizabeth Bennett will get distracted and look away for a few minutes one day, just long enough for me to finally approach Mr Darcy and make him my own. L’espoir fait vivre, n’est-ce-pas? Bonne année, Maria. I hope you return soon.

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We miss you, Abbé Pierre!

We miss you, Abbé Pierre!

This article was originally published in 2011. It has been updated – and shared – during the Holidays every year since. I wrote this story to honor one of the most popular men who ever lived in France. That man was not a monarch, a president, or even a celebrity, quite the opposite, in fact. He…

16 Responses to We miss you, Abbé Pierre!

  1. Thank you for such a beautiful story on Christmas Eve of a remarkable and loving man who lived a life of giving. He was a true inspiration.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  2. v this is one of my favorite posts…so inspirational-a call to action a call to love-how one person can make a difference– at this time of year (and always really) I find myself truly inspired by the stories such as these-a drop in the comprehensible ocean of human kind-but each drop can and does make a difference this is what matters in life-when all is said and done!

  3. Très émouvanteretranscription de la vie et de l’oeuvre de cet hommee ‘si humble mais sigrand dans son amour pour les pauvres et les démunis qui,s’il existe aura été reçu au paradisà bras ouverts:

  4. Ah l’Abbé Pierre, c’était un être exceptionnel. I am pleased that you shared his life with your readers.

    I hope that 2017 will be a great year for you with joy and happiness.

  5. I just found your post and am fortunate to begin with the life story of L’Abbe’ Pierre. It was a very inspirational read. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to learn a little of the life of an exceptional French citizen. I look forward to reading your upcoming stories. Happy and safe 2017! Del Lancaster

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Family stroll in Paris

Family stroll in Paris

When this former Parisian, now a tourist, visits the French capital, there is little pressure to hit landmarks, museums, or famous parks. It is all about taking a family stroll downtown, and getting reacquainted with my parents and my brother’s family while savoring favorite locations. Paris, always a willing partner and a generous host, provides the…

11 Responses to Family stroll in Paris

  1. Loved this article and I, too, love the 14th. And I loved Philippe Noiret. One of his last roles was performing “Love Letters” in Paris with Anouk Aimee. I was so lucky to have seen them there.

  2. I love experiencing areas of Paris which are fairly new to me through your pictures and comments. Thank you so much for your wonderful posts! I hope I can go back to Paris soon. I will never tire of going there!

  3. I love this post so much! I lived in the 13th arrondisement, and I used to stroll through the 14th all the time. This brought back so many wonderful memories and feelings. While I definitely ventured to the touristy areas, my friends and I always ate and socialized in the 13th and 14th. It really IS the truest flavor of Paris! 🙂

    • The 14th is a treat! There’s musée Bourdelle also and a great oyster cabane right near Tour Montparnasse. Which isn’t so bad when you’re too close to really see it…
      Thanks for a lovely blog!

  4. Merci…I see the Frenchman’s love for Gainsbourg and Birkin…and your son junior has grown into a handsome young man…You intrigue with tales of the 14th…sounds like exactly what I am looking for on my trip…

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17 Responses to French markets: a thriving tradition in Lyon

  1. Still my favourite place to shop for produce, at the market. Despite having lived in France for years, the excitement of the market has never waned, it is now a part of my general routine!

    • I love les Maras des Bois. They are so tasty, just sweet enough. Baguettes and Mara des Bois? Sounds like a good French lunch to me (had I been around, I would have come over with some saucisson too. You need those proteins. ;-))

  2. It would be hard to say what my one favorite thing is about France, but the French market would for sure be in my top 5, maybe even top 3. Do you have a favorite? I like all of them in Paris, but esp Blvd Raspail and also Richard Lenoir. The ones in Provence are wonderful, too, such as Vaison de la Romaine, Ile sur la Sorgue, etc. I would love to go to Lyon and see the city and the markets.

    • Bonsoir Harriett. I used to live near le Marché d’Aligre in Paris, so I would have to say that is my favorite one. I lived in Vincennes as well with my family, and loved the market there. That’s the beauty of France: There are good markets, large or small, everywhere. A bientôt à Seattle! 🙂

  3. Après ce bel aperçu de Lyon ,il ne reste qu’une envie ,celle de prendre le train pour en faire la visite .

    Merci Véronique pour cette escapade .

  4. I would truly love to buy this beautiful produce. You are correct that here we don’t get the opportunity. Not only are there not markets, but there is no place to put it. Things are too spread out here and inconvenient. How I would love this! Great post. Thank you much!

    • Merci de votre visite Debra. To be fair, there are markets in the US: Pike Place Market in Seattle, of course, which is always fun (but touristy and crowded,) and in New York City, the {covered} Chelsea market. The atmosphere and vibe are different, though. Still, I’ll gladly visit a market wherever I go.

  5. Votre pique-nique est parfait! The last two trips to France have been marked by the purchase of Opinel knives. The first in Strasbourg, the second, after a little bit of searching, in Avignon. Since we make-do with only carry-on luggage for our trips to Europe, we haven’t been able to pack a knives for our “picnic kit” and have had to purchase them on arrival. The Opinel knives are perfect. The ones we have bought fold up into their handles for easy transport, and are always ready to cut up the perfect cheese, baguette, or fruit (ou même le poulet rôti !). Since we have had to buy new ones each trip, they have been great souvenirs for loved ones back home.

    • Bonjour Sandra. I can only agree. The beautiful folding Opinel knife you see in the picnic photo has been traveling with me for over 25 years, not to mention the picnics, or work lunches here in the US. This is a great, traditional, made-to-last French product. I have never had to sharpen the blade, believe it or not! As you point out, what a great gift too. A bientôt.

  6. Great story and the accompanying photo’s only made my mouth water and my stomach rumble as I imagined eating such delicious food. When I lived on Whidbey Island I always loved the Summer Market there. Asian markets are different then the one’s in Europe I imagine.

  7. I want to try and figure out a way to grow strawberries here in Seattle as close to those delicious mara Des bois! In Paris I about died, they were incredible!

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Savoring Lyon’s food

Savoring Lyon’s food

You followed French Girl in Seattle around Lyon a few days ago. We looked at historic streets, buildings and churches, scenic riverbanks, and at least one world-class museum. Let’s be honest: We can’t talk about that magnificent French city without discussing Lyon’s food. Tout un programme. A long story. Lyon is said to be the French (even the…

15 Responses to Savoring Lyon’s food

  1. What fun you must have had finding the restaurant, wonderful! Everything sounded delicious. I’m looking forward to Part 2. As an aside, Marita and I booked our tours in Paris and Bordeaux. We are taking a 4.5 hr cooking class in Paris and we are so excited!

    • Merci Cherie. So happy Marita and you are returning to la Belle France soon. I know you will have a fabulous time, including at the cooking school in Paris. You will have to report back when you return. Enjoy Bordeaux too. Another beautiful French city to explore. Bon voyage!

  2. Finding a bouchon was confusing for us…most menus offered many of the same dishes which were unfamiliar even though I have spent a lot of time in France. But I think we found a gem, recommended by one of those lovely, warm and helpful people who worked at the desk of our small hotel. It is in la Presqu’Ile and I would recommend it but would love to know your thoughts if you go back. Another food related experience was the fabulous market! And a little restaurant serving only poulet de Bresse and decorated with chickens and roosters of all types everywhere you looked!
    http://www.bouchonlejura.fr/bouchonjura/

    • Bonjour Heather. I wonder if your “little gem” is not the place a local friend recommended to me during my stay. I never made it there, but I just looked at the restaurant’s website, and it seems the shoe fits. Will show it to her and report back to you. I see it does belong to the limited list of official “Bouchons” I mentioned. Ah, Lyon, so many restaurants, so little time…

  3. I gained five pounds (2.5 kilos?) in Lyon and never got rid of them. We ate and ate and ate and reveled in every second of it, from the simple bouchons to two-Michelin-starred restaurants (that was the limit of our budget, and 2 stars in Lyon already guarantee amazing amazing food).
    Your friend from Notre Maison gave good advice for choosing a restaurant in any city: limited options, not too many translations. Also, not too obvious. I’m thinking of a street in the heart of Brussels that’s lined with restaurants, most with covered (for the rain) outdoor seating and a maître d’hôtel who is more carnival barker, cajoling passing tourists. At the end of the same street is a severe building with one of the best restaurants in town. Nobody begging anyone to enter. No menu posted in 27 languages. Easy to walk right past.

    • Merci de votre visite. Gaining a few extra pounds in Lyon is an easy thing to do, I can see that. I was only saved by the impressive number of steps I took to explore once again as much of the city I could in two days, and by the other ways I sustained myself (more about that in Part 2,) the rest of the time. Good observation about restaurants in touristy cities. I have not been back to Brussels for a long time. Now I want to return 🙂 Bonne journée!

  4. If you don’t have the time to try them all… good local advice is clearly helpful… and an article like this one!
    I remember a visit to Lyon with the kids, when they were young. They were unfortunately not yet at the age to appreciate “les bouchons” (we had to lie a little about what they were really having on their plates), but I know that they have been back as adults … and have appreciated. It’s really special!!
    (I have been lucky enough also to make Bocuse and Troisgros… That’s also an experience, but different!!)

    • Dear Peter, I can see why you’d have to lie to kids about what’s in their plate if they are having local delicacies such as andouillette or gras double 😉 As for you, Bocuse and les Trois Gros: Only the best for Peter Olson…

      • You can still enjoy a Bocuse experience at the 2 star ( or toques) level- we dined at Brasserie Le Sud and it was terrific!

  5. Bonjour! This post is made my mouth water. I love how the restaurants support one another, such as when they couldn’t accommodate you, they took the time to recommend another great place for your to try. That’s a great indication of a quality establishment!

    I have never been to Lyon, but you’ve made me particularly interested in making it my next France excursion! 🙂

    • I highly encourage you to go to Lyon, Jessica, even if only to get away from big tourist crowds in other French cities like Paris. I loved how all these restaurants took food (and each other’s businesses) so seriously, and they did their best to save me from a fate worse than death: eating in a tourist joint with a menu translated in 5 languages! 😉

  6. I would say your sour evening turned into lemonade. I always try to eat early or very late when I travel to avoid the long waits for food. One must savor and enjoy your meal and France is a great place to do that. Although I have only been to the country once for a couple days, I managed to see Paris and Toulon in that time and take in the sites. Although as you said being a female traveler does tend to get you better service then being a young male. 🙂

    • Bonjour George! You are not kidding: I fully enjoy the perks of being a solo female traveler. I basically never have time to get bored in restaurants. Either the people at the table next door, or the waiter will invariably chat me up. Hope you get to return to la Belle France soon.

  7. Merci FG, exactement ce qu’il me fallait. Tant de choix, sans doute. Et en plus, ton blog me fait penser qu’il faut faire les réservations, bien que je sois tout seul. Je doute que j’aurai la même bonne chance que tu as eu. Encore merci !

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