French Life

France is a lot more than old buildings, food and wine, bérets and accordion music. Look beyond stereotypes, and discover the real France through the eyes of a native.

When you travel in France, you eat at least three times a day. Even if you rent an apartment and cook at home, you still enjoy a few meals out. You have already heard about French dining etiquette. Does the world need another article on the topic? Pourquoi pas, if it actually comes from a French…

However hard I tried, when I sat down in front my keyboard this week, I just could not write about the Eiffel Tower, macarons, or the latest hipster coffee shop in Paris. Many lives (including mine) have been changed forever over the last ten days. Surely, everything has been said about the terrorist attacks in France. Is one…

Our family will remember 2014 as the year of downsizing. Junior and I left our home and neighborhood, and moved into a spacious apartment (by European standards,) in the center of our suburban American town. Even if memories remain, many possessions ended up at Goodwill or Value Village. New pieces, furniture mostly, were acquired along the…

You are in France. What do you do when a native says the following to you: – On prend l’apéritif? or, slightly more familiar: – Vous venez chez moi ce soir pour l’apéro? What if you just received an invitation reading: – Retrouvez-nous mardi soir pour un apéritif dinatoire, 19H00. Apéritif. Apéro. A time-tested tradition in la…

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

This week, a funny list has been making the rounds online, and as luck would have it, it was in French. Dommage. Loosely translated, it said: Things that scare Parisians. I wanted my readers to be able to enjoy it too, so I have prepared a free translation. You’re welcome! Do not miss the original story, here:…

I worry about France. I really do.   I browsed the web today, and learned a few fascinating facts.    There was some sad news , like the kidnapping and murder of two French journalists by Al-[$#%&@]-Quaida in Mali.    There was some depressing news: Brittany (Western France) was hit harshly by the recession, and…

  Ecole Maternelle (nursery school,) on Paris’ Left Bank…   This week, Junior and his friends returned to school. C’est la rentrée, as the French say.    A few days ago, I was watching the French news on TV5. “Le Journal” is a dinnertime tradition in many French households. For me, it is a daily ritual…