French Culture

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 terror 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…

  France, in the media: A depressed, immobile and arrogant nation, turned towards her once glorious past. France, in Air France‘s ambitious new advertising campaign (spring 2014:) Traditional yet modern, dynamic, and enjoying the finest things in life with panache and joie de vivre. It is unfortunate Air France made the headlines this Fall because of a…

“To be irreplaceable, one must always be different.”  Coco Chanel 1. Mille…what?  (Keep them talking.) Movie stars know the trick. Even if you don’t have a strong screen presence, adopt an exotic, even an unpronounceable name. It will get them talking, if nothing else. Millefeuille is one of the prettiest words in the French language, along…

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…