Category Archives: French Life

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, 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”

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

    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,

  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.


  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.


  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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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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62 Responses to Monoprix: The Parisians’ favorite store

  1. Monop is always my first destination in France! I head straight for the skincare aisle and stock up. Love just browsing in there…

    I’ve bookmarked this to make a point to visit le stylo d’or when we’re in Paris this summer. (We’ll be there for les soldes, which should be interesting.

    Thanks for sharing these.

    • You’re welcome, Susan. Life would be drab, indeed, without Monoprix! 🙂 One thing I have always loved getting there is “l’eau micellaire” my favorite make-up remover. They have several brands, including Barbara Gould. They make very affordable alternatives to my favorite brand, Caudalie, which is a lot pricier. I can’t understand, for the life of me, why “l’eau micellaire” has only just popped up on the shelves at my local Target over the last few months, after all these years. Now I see it everywhere. Ah, marketing…

    • I just returned from Paris on Labor Day and I miss the Monoprix!! Wow, definitely my favorite store! I was visiting with my son & daughter in law who are living in Paris and my first day the took me to Monoprix and I was hooked! To say they carry clothing along with food does not give enough credit to the high quality of all items found there! Give me a Monoprix!

      • This is my main method of traveling! I windup buying a few really cool and inexpensive pieces of luggage there, and then I give them away when I get home. All my nieces have cool, trendy luggage from Paris and London. At the very least, it makes one leg of the journey super easy.

  2. We were very lucky to discover the Monoprix 2 blocks from our apartment in the Le Marais. I loved all the new things to try there and while I was trying to speak French, the checker was delighted to try to speak English! We shopped there several times during our stay. We love to explore grocery stores when we travel to new places!

    • I am like you Stephany. I have always enjoyed visiting grocery stores when I travel. I remember my first visit to an American-size supermarket, Kroger’s I believe, over thirty years ago. I could not believe the size of the cereal aisle. This was before cereal became popular for breakfast in France as well. 😉 Are you referring to le Monoprix located on la rue de Rivoli, near St Paul? If that’s the one, I used to go several times a week as a grad school student. My university was right around the corner. Memories…

  3. LOVE the Monoprix in Chartres, where I’ve gone a number of times. I helped facilitate pilgrimage groups. We used to have receptions catered at a high end hotel until we realized that what was in Monoprix was better, and far less expensive. I bought a pair of socks there and I wish I had bought more than several. They were all time favorites and I never found anything even close. I love the clear photigraphs of the dairy shelves… All those yaourts… (Is this a word where the circonflexe would be removed? I always forget, so just as well we don’t need to remember any more).

  4. I love your blogs–always wonderful memories of France. I invite you to check out my website,; my love for France shows up as helping English speakers overcome their difficulties in sounding French. I would love to have your feedback. Merci

  5. For some reason, I just saw this post. I love it. Monoprix was one of my husband’s favorite stores in France (well, mine also). We would walk there every evening for a bottle of wine. I wanted to buy everything. I also loved the Buci News. They were so kind there. I saw something in the window I wanted to buy for a friend, and the clerk couldn’t find it in the store, so he climbed into the window to get it for me. I love the postcards from Paris. Oh my, I could go on and on. I always love your posts and your facebook posts! Thank you! Jane

  6. Bonjour,
    Felicitations pour votre blog qui fait honneur à la “french way of life”.
    Le concept Monoprix est à mon avis, un des meilleurs endroits pour trouver des produits divers, de qualité et à prix corrects. Tout specialement les produits alimentaires sous label “Monoprix Gourmet”.
    Une valeur sûre.
    Bonne journée !

  7. I have just discovered our local Monoprix, despite having lived in France for years! I have parked outside it many times and always walked straight past, that was until our 15 year old daughter told me I must go in, she had been introduced to the store by a friend. I loved it! What a find, the last time I remember going in a Monoprix was in Paris some 20 years ago!

    • Bonjour Susan. I bet the Monoprix you visited is very different from the one you saw in Paris 20 years ago. This was just about the time the chain changed their image and started becoming “trendy.” Glad you have one nearby. Their stores are not the cheapest, but they are so convenient; and so fun, n’est-ce-pas?

  8. I enjoyed your post on Monoprix. I also used to like the Prisunic (owned by Le Printemps stores,) which were a lot like the Monoprix, then Monoprix bought them out. I have been in so many Monoprix in Paris – I like the one on the Champs-Elysees, and the one near Ternes, about the one near le Square du Temple or Republique? And the one near St Paul when we rented a studio there. I will also go often to the one in the street between Les Galeries Lafayette and Le Printemps – they have a good selection. I like to buy “gants de toilette” which I call “mains.” I have never gotten used to American wash cloths and can’t use them to wash – I always carry my gants de toilette.

  9. Oh Man! I can taste the yogurts! I was in a Monoprix 2 years ago. Nice pictures. It’s time for me to go back to S. France. I’m so over do!! I have (kind of) a French post up. You should check it out V. =)

  10. You know, this wonderful article begs the question, how do I get big stuff home, to the U.S. ?
    I’ve done research, asked French friends, read online and looked at the FedEx website, but no real answer.
    La Poste used to have a fixed price box to pack and mail home, but no longer I think.
    What about the rug, the beautiful piece of furniture, and so forth, I can’t live without, but will not go on the plane ? Help please… I just need to find a Fed Ex in France ? Most of my “finds” are in rural France anyway, and the seller doesn’t ship.

    • I feel your pain, Gary. The good news: La Poste still sells the fixed priced box to pack and mail home. My family uses this to send me care packages on a regular basis. The bad news: Only small items fit inside it. I have no idea how to ship rugs and bigger things to France. I am guessing antique sellers do, however, since most of their clients ship back to the US. I would approach an antique seller specializing in French items here in the US and ask them how they bring the goodies over here. Sorry, not much help, but I have learned to live without “big” French items because of shipping costs over the last 20 years. Merci de votre visite !

  11. Ah oui! Monoprix is always the first outing when arriving in France. A great selection of cheeses, wines and familiar delicacies to get us through the first two days of jet-lag. Ne pas oublier La Carte!

  12. When I was going to school in Paris, many years ago, I became homesick as Thanksgiving approached. I was determined to find all the items I needed to make an authentic T-day meal. In my local Monoprix (which featured a loudspeaker with the sound of car brakes squealing and an excited voice saying, “Freins–sur les prix!!!”) I found cranberries which, wonder of wonders, had been imported from the USA. Not only that, they were from my hometown–Wilmington, MA. I was in heaven and have shopped at Monoprix during every subsequent visit to Paris. I make a pilgrimage to the one in St. Germain des Prés. Two days ago I wore a lovely shirt I bought there during my last visit. You can only imagine how delighted I am to have read your article. In your honor, tomorrow I am going to wear a pair of sox I also bought there, so I can walk around all day feeling very Parisian. Mille fois merci!

    • Bienvenue Michaël. What a wonderful message! So glad you once found a small piece of “home” at Monoprix. It truly is a special place. Thank you for wearing your French socks in my honor. I am flattered 🙂 Bon weekend!

  13. I leave for Paris, again, in the next couple of weeks and cannot wait to go to Monoprix again. Thank you for the wonderful reminder. By chance do you remember where you took the picture with the mason jar and Eiffel tower? My niece is obsessed with Paris and I would love to find that to bring back for her.

    • Bonjour Rachel. The photo was taken in a side street near la Place des Ternes, in the 17th arrondissement. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the street. I am certain you can find similar items all over Paris, especially as we get closer to the Holiday season. Bon voyage!

  14. I will be going to Paris in 2 weeks and I will be sure to drop in and take a look around. Sounds like my kind of store.

  15. Which is the best/biggest Monoprix to visit in Paris that has clothing and homewares? All the Monoprix we have been to have only had food.

    • Thank you for your visit Rachel. If the Monoprix you visited only had food, they must have been “Monop” stores (There are more of them, and they are typically smaller, catering to the needs of travelers in train stations for example, or working professionals.) There is a large Monoprix store on the Champs-Elysées you can visit, and most neighborhoods have similar versions, even if not all are created equal. Rue St Antoine near le Marais is also a good one. Bonne chance!

      • We went to a Monoprix today about 600m from Muse D’Orsay that was beautiful, two stories, and had only food and toiletries. We were disappointed. We will try the one on the Champs-Elysee tomorrow, but will it be more expensive there? When I lived here as a missionary in 2000, Monoprix was not like this at all.

        • Bonjour Elsa. Monoprix stores in Paris (and in the rest of France) come in all shapes and sizes. After a while, you recognize the best ones. Prices should not be vastly different from one store to the next since they advertise through the same channels. Like its old competitor Prisunic, Monoprix has been around since the 1930s and has evolved over time. It is now owned by the Casino group. Ever since the years 2000+, the positioning has been more high-end, with the addition of organic food products, and items appealing to a more Bobo (Bourgeois-Bohème) – or touristy – clientèle. You are correct in pointing out prices used to be lower. Things were different in the 1980s when I lived in Paris.

  16. Is it possible to ship things from Paris home if I want to buy souvenirs but don’t have the luggage space? Any advice helps!

    Also, on another topic, if my hotel in Paris offers laundry services, is this a good way to save on packing space? (Wear the outfits twice on a two week trip?)

    • Hello Melanie. You can purchase a pre-paid Colissimo box from the French post office. The largest size can fit up to 7kg and will cost under $50. As for doing laundry in a hotel, sure, why not? It’s expensive, but so is flying to Europe, right? 😉

  17. Bonjour,

    I just found your site because I googled Monoprix, looking for those wonderful Knorr and Maggi dry soup mixes they sell. I always buy a bunch to bring home with me but have just had the last one tonight. Do you know how I might order them online?

    All I have found so far are those companies’ German soups–not the same as the French ones. Monoprix carries about 13-14 different veggie, mushroom, and Asian ones that are inexpensive (less than 3 Euros each) and taste wonderful and are simple to prepare (just add water).

    By the way, I too love Monoprix. I have gone to the one near the Mitterand national library, and the one on Etienne Marcel near the Rue Montorgueil. Both were larger two-story stores, where I have bought a couple of cashmere sweaters on sale, cotton scarf, nightie, socks, and cloth placemats, in addition to food.

  18. Thanks for good info. We basically have a 2 day layover in Paris with 2 teen girls and one whats to shop for clothes and accessories. I plan to let her shop and eat crepes to compensate for jet lag in exchange for going to musee d’ orsay and walking the city!

  19. Bonjour, I stayed in the 15th and there is a wonderful Monoprix when you get off metro at La Motte-Picquet – Grenelle. Love that store. Will be in Paris June, July and August. Just checked and there is one near the apartment. Love your site and videos. Makes me feel I’m in Paris when I’m in Florida.

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These funny French sayings

These funny French sayings

“On peut dîner plus tard? Je n’aime pas manger avec les poules,” my US-born teenager sometimes says to me around 7:00pm. Can we have dinner later Mom? I’d rather not eat with the hens. If you don’t know the French saying “se coucher avec les poules,” (to go to bed with the hens; to go to bed early,) you…

13 Responses to These funny French sayings

  1. I just ordered the premium package. Thank you for this opportunity to easily teach my students some interesting and useful French!

  2. Thanks for the great tip Mme French Girl. And for the discount! I will have to brush up on my slang before my trip to Nice in April.

  3. Vero, I am so horrified and saddened about the attacks in Paris, it is so sickening. I hope all your friends and family in Paris are okay. My thoughts are with you.

  4. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your friends and family in France during this horrible time. Have a wonderful holiday season.

  5. Merci, Mademoiselle! All my Christmas gifts will come from France this year. My heart is there. like those of millions of Americans. Your culture inspires us, your people enchant us, your nation is our first ally and dear friend.

  6. This book is quite clever, and these are expressions that are, indeed, commonly used. I wonder if the young people still ask “Est-ce que je te demande si ta grand-mère fait du vélo?”, or is it less utilized and more for an older generation. I have been gone for so long!

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10 French kitchen must-haves

10 French kitchen must-haves

The French kitchen (especially its Provençal version,) is popular in the United States. I have often visited beautiful homes where imported le Jacquard Français tablecloths and dish towels or Laguiole knife sets, to name just a few, are proudly displayed, cherished souvenirs of trips to la Belle France. As I was working in my American apartment-size kitchen the other day, I…

17 Responses to 10 French kitchen must-haves

  1. I have rented a number of airbnb apts in either Lyon or Paris and have yet to find one with a kitchen like the one you describe! Ikea dishes and a few pots seem to be the standard equipment, unfortunately. However, if I were an owner, I might not want to let careless renters destoy my beloved set of Le Creuset.

    Re your comment about wooden cheese boxes and the scarcity of poplar trees, it’s not just an issue of pretty packaging. The wood actually contributes to the taste of many cheeses – interesting article about the relation of spruce wood to the taste of le vacherin Mont d’Or at

    • Merci for sharing the article about the Vacherin Mont d’Or. Très intéressant. I certainly hope France continues to use poplars to store some of the best cheese. I have an adverse physical reaction to seeing cheese constantly wrapped in plastic in my corner of American suburbia. You can never smell it. Dommage.

  2. Ah, ah…we have several camembert cheese boites tacked to our wall as decoration–including a giant one about 18″ across that Miss Chef brought home from work years ago.

    My year in Paris, that caddy made me jealous of grey-haired grannies, as I wouldn’t spend the money on one. They were surprisingly expensive, as I recall.

    • Camembert boxes as wall decor? Pourquoi pas? (as long as you can get rid of the smell, of course!) I owned a caddie in Paris for a while. It was a fun one, and I remember getting one at the local “Dollar store,” so it was not too pricey. It came in handy on my Saturday morning trips to the local outdoor market in the 11th arrondissement. A bientôt!

  3. J’ai tout dans ma cuisine, sauf l’opinel. 😉
    You are absolutely right; nearly all of the items mentioned can be found in my kitchen. Love my caddie when I go to the market ; so convenient! And it’s not only the old ladies who use it; lots of younger people do too.
    I inherited my flame Creuset from my Mum and it’ll most likely be handed down to my daughter after me.
    Duralex glasses, especially the narrow bottom one, scream school or company cantine! They are everywhere!

    One word of caution concerning le savon de Marseille. There has been a scandal last year when it came to light that most savon de Marseille sold on Marché de Provence are actually produced in China and not in Provence.
    Astérix was probably away fighting for another brand. 🙂

  4. Comment faire de la bonne cuisine française ?il suffit de suivre le guide de votre blog pour les outils ….mais comment s’y prendre ? C’est tout l’art de nos grands-mères passé de main en main !

  5. Love my Le Creuset dutch oven! Also have a small skillet from them that is probably 35 (?) years old now, still cooking like a champ.

    We inherited my in-laws’ raclette maker (also with a few decades under its, er…belt), and it’s become our New Year’s Eve family tradition.

    Duralex glasses, check! Wine opener, check! Four for ten…pas mal?

  6. The “only upper body workout” statement was hilarious! Thank you so much for an entertaining read. I don’t have a Le Creuset yet but I am seriously thinking about getting one as I am seeing a lot of recipes that calls for its use. Thank you again!

  7. I brought my caddie in Paris last year for about 12 euros and I love it! Took it back on the train to st Malo and it has been an absolute god send getting my shopping home up the steep hill in Guernsey! I do get some strange looks though……

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58 Responses to French dining tips (Travel Tips Series)

  1. Though I will never be able to travel to France, I love reading your blog and learning about the culture! Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Thank you, this is appreciated-very much. There are so many places I would like to try. I need to just jump in and “do it”! Your description of the various steps will give me courage

  3. Love your tips…and your photos! We will be traveling to York, London and Paris mid-September so your tips for Paris are invaluable! We bought a couple of french language CD’s but not sure if taking a class is better….perhaps both! I will have 5 days in Paris so I’ve got to make good use of my time and we will be photographing as much as we can! Thanks so much for your lovely blog! Dj

  4. So much enjoy all of your posts and tips…I long to be back en la belle France…soon, I hope…merci tellement…

  5. Merci! Two questions: 1)does one wait to be seated at a café (whether inside or outside), or is the customer expected to find his/her own seat? 2)Is there such a thing as “un déca crème,” or “déca au lait”?

  6. Bonjour !
    Je vous suis déjà sur Facebook avec ma page “La Bourgogne de Nathalie”, aujourd’hui je suis ravie de m’abonner à votre blog ! Les photos sont belles et il donne envie. Je ne suis pas sûre d’avoir toujours le temps de le lire, mais c’est pas grave. C’est amusant de voir décrit des détails auxquels on ne fait plus attention mais tellement vrai !
    Très bon week end !

    • Merci de votre visite, Nathalie. Je reconnais votre nom pour l’avoir vu sur ma page Facebook. En ce qui concerne le blog, vous n’aurez aucun mal à le suivre, car je n’ai plus trop le temps d’écrire depuis que j’ai changé de travail il y a deux mois. La page Facebook, en revanche, est mise à jour quotidiennement. A bientôt.

  7. What valuable tips we found here! My daughter Kathleen and I enjoyed our meals near Beauvais, where our meals included lively conversation and informal French lessons. We have much left to learn so we feel we must return!

  8. If is so refreshing to hear someone speak of French waiters and not end the sentence in swearwords. I spent part of my youth in Orleans and have returned to France many times. I am so tired of people telling me the French hate Americans. Too many Americans do not appreciate that eating should be an experience to be savored ( no pun intended). Many wait persons in this country will hover over your table, interrupt your meal to see if you are satisfied, refill your water and generally make pests of themselves to prove their efficiency. When I tell them a good French waiter will come to your table when you indicate a desire for further service, not before. One of my most pleasant experiences with my wife was a spring afternoon and wine with a cheese side on the Rue De Rennes that lasted two hours. Great people watching. We are looking forward to an upcoming visit to Bordeaux l’ete prochain.

    • Merci beaucoup James. I recently posted a couple of articles about French and American waiters on my Facebook page, and it was obvious most people felt very strongly about the differences in service. I do enjoy my French waiters, indifferent or attentive, and even the occasionally surly one (but that’s probably because I miss France, and Europe ;-))

  9. My ‘boyfriend’ and I are traveling to Paris, Montpelier, Perpignan and Barcelona in September. He sent me a link to this blog post and I am delighted to have your advice to ‘study’ before our visit. It is a first trip to France for both of us.

  10. Love your practical information.
    After an ill afted trip with an American pal who
    was let’s say not receptive to French culture, I may travel alone next time.
    I really love the culture and the cuisine!
    My french is not to great,but I can improve with practice.
    I want to know how to make friends in while France?
    Sometimes I do see when waiter or shop worker finds out Im American
    the attitude is somewhat mean(not all the time ofcourse)
    Any tips??

    • As a young man I lived in Orleans. I’ve returned to France on numerous occasions over the years. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard “the French hate us. French waiters are mean” I’ve found this not to be true. Yes, we’ve had our differences with the French government. Thats the government, not the people in general. I think the perception that waiters are mean is a mis-understanding. The French enjoy eating. They appreciate good food. There is an understanding in France that dining is a pleasure, it is an activity to be thoroughly enjoyed. The idea that you rush in and consume a meal in less than twenty minutes is a catastrophe. The typical waiter fully understands that dining is an experience. They do not constantly interupt your dining experience by refilling your water, emptying your ashtray, taking away empty plates or asking how your are enjoying the meal, or if you want anything else. They will wait and watch. When you indicate you want service, they will come. They are not mean, they are leaving you alone.

  11. Great blog!
    We’re excited, but feel helpless when communication is an issue.
    My tongue is all twisted now from practicing my very limited french.
    It would be a perfect trip if only we can take you!

    • Well, merci beaucoup. I would love to tag along and be your interpreter 🙂 You will be fine if you learn a few greetings and basic expressions. Many people in Paris and on the French Riviera speak English quite decently. What matters is to make them *feel* like speaking English to you. A friendly attitude and a respectful greeting usually do the trick.

  12. What a wonderful & thoughtful idea! Thank you. I hope to receive, by email now, all additional blogs from you. My goal is to head to France next year(2017) for an extended stay. What time of year do you find the weather to be most suitable for travelers use to desert climates? I am thinking perhaps April, May, June?

    • The weather can be unpredictable, like everywhere else in the world right now. June is the busiest month in Paris so plan ahead if you are staying in a hotel. Spring and fall tend to be popular, because there can be fewer crowds then; and the weather is more pleasant than in the summer or winter. Still, I have been hot in Paris in June; and other years, I had to wear my trench coat and run between raindrops. I truly believe there is no bad time to see Paris. For a first visit, I’d go for spring or fall. Happy planning!

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