France

Paris Lockdown: parameters Week 2 of le confinement (it always sounds so much better in French!) is wrapping up. My life, these days, is much smaller: Hours go by within a few blocks in a quiet, (too quiet) neighborhood in the French capital’s outskirts. I used to show tour groups and visitors around the city…

Paris as I live it Another week in Paris has just wrapped up. The French capital has been testing us all for the last few weeks during the longest public transportation strike the city has experienced in decades. The strike is also impacting other cities, other regions, but few depend on public transportation as much…

Lille, France, is trending “Crowned as the World Capital of Design 2020 for its advances in urban development, the once-struggling industrial city of Lille is on its way to enjoying optimized public spaces thanks to a slew of sustainable design initiatives. It’s also quickly becoming a cosmopolitan oasis with new galleries, museums, restaurants, and boutiques.” — Travel…

A walk in Montmartre: Of course, it’s a good idea! A walk in Montmartre, day or night, never disappoints, or does it? As one of the most visited, touristy areas in Paris, Montmartre gets a lot of bad press. Some guidebooks even discourage their readers from visiting because it is “out of the way,” “packed…

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…