Les Destinations

French Girl in Seattle likes it better on the road and takes you to her favorite destinations, in and out of France.

The day I met my Parisian elevator My Parisian elevator and I met in March, when I visited the elegant red brick building, built in 1936, I came to call home. Two weeks earlier (I was still in Seattle then,) my father had told me he may have found a studio for rent located on…

An Emperor’s dream Le Village de Charonne and other Paris villages almost disappeared when Napoleon III, who had a grand vision for the French capital, annexed suburbs around Paris. These communities had until then led peaceful, pastoral lives outside the old city walls, the Enceinte des Fermiers Généraux (the Farmers General wall.) Baron Haussmann (in…

12th arrondissement hideway Heatwave 2.0 has come and gone, leaving Paris and the rest of the country exhausted. Like millions of Europeans, we all did our best to cope (with the exception of Brittany, that remained in the balmy mid-70s and became the envy of France.) I stuck it out in my top-floor studio under…

Heat wave, glorious heat wave! It’s been a hot July, one of the hottest ever recorded. This month, I toured around France for two weeks with a group of brave travelers: We never got a break, and the heat wave was our daily companion from Paris to the Loire Valley, in Lyon, Annecy and the…

Au revoir, Junior! Junior, my 19-year old, flew home to Seattle yesterday. He spent his last night in Paris at his grandmother’s house. We decided to meet at Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport (“Roissy,” as the French call that marvel of 1970s urban design,) to send him off on Monday morning. I could have splurged…

Le village d’Auteuil, a historic village inside Paris Life was peaceful in the old commune of Auteuil west of Paris, until Baron Haussmann and his employer Napoleon III decided to overhaul the French capital and turn it into one of Europe’s grandest cities. By 1860, Paris was incorporating Auteuil and several other suburban areas including…

Tired of the crowds and traffic when visiting Paris? Looking for a change of pace and a taste of Parisian life that does not involve lining up at a major museum or landmark? Bienvenue to the 15th arrondissement, one of the largest and most densely populated areas in the French capital. A favorite section of…

L’Ile de la Cité is, in many ways, a condensed version of Paris: It offers magnificent architecture, eye-catching perspectives, atmospheric streets and bridges. Like the rest of the French capital, it is a combination of history and elegance, and in sections, tacky touristy eateries and shops. It is crowded and loud, yet, at certain times…

Ile Saint Louis, Ile de la Cité: the only two natural islands of Paris. The legend says the story of Paris started there, on the largest one, l’Ile de la Cité, more than 2000 years ago. From that secure location, local fishermen pushed away invaders successfully, until a powerful leader with dreams of grandeur named…

I once lived in the 11th arrondissement before it became trendy. My first place was a 270 sq. foot studio I rented rue Alexandre Dumas, for almost two years. It was cramped, dark and damp (the only window faced north.) It had no proper kitchen. Like an afterthought,  a two-burner electric cooktop, small sink, and…