French Culture

When I fly home every year, friends ask: “What is your favorite Parisian store?” Dur, dur. Tough call. There are so many wonderful boutiques and department stores in Paris, it would be impossible to choose just one. One problem, when shopping in France, is that sales are a biannual event by law. It may be hard to find…

Not all Holidays are created equal. On February 2, France celebrates a Catholic holiday, la Chandeleur (Candlemas.) This is a favorite one. For most French people, here is an opportunity to sample savory or sweet versions of the famous crêpes, (a national treasure, hailing from the beautiful Brittany region, la Bretagne.) It is also time to indulge in fortune…

“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…

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…

“Paris is expensive!” “Did you know many restaurants in Paris serve frozen, reheated food?” Ah, Paris. So many Michelin-starred restaurants, so little cash. So many neighborhood bistros. So little time. What to do? Here is French Girl in Seattle’s guide to successful Paris picnics. Picnics may seem like the easiest, most affordable way of sustaining oneself while enjoying…

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…

What happens when French expats return to Paris on vacation? First, they spend quality time with their relatives, if they are around. Then, they play a game. The name? “Let’s delve into French rituals with unbridled abandon.” The players? This French girl, and, I suspect, many other French expats. The rules? Easy to follow. Read…

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…