Category Archives: America The Beautiful

Long weekend in Boston: A pictorial tour

Long weekend in Boston: A pictorial tour

Welcome to Boston. City of the future. Cradle of American history. Hotbed of innovation, bastion of tradition (…) Boston has so many facets that discovering it can entertain visitors for days on end. It dazzles with renowned museums, great shopping, lush gardens and parks, and vibrant public spaces. (…) The easiest way to fall in love with Boston is to explore it on foot.”

Top 10 Boston, Eyewitness Travel.

Last week, I returned to Boston for the first time in 30 years. Boston is often listed as one of the most European cities outside of Europe. I agree. I realized the opening words in the Eyewitness Travel guide I had brought along apply to Boston, but also to Paris, London, or Barcelona, all favorite European grandes dames. The mix between the old and the new, the rich historical background, the cobblestone streets, the compactness of the downtown area, the high walkability factor, not to mention the efficient public transportation system, made me feel at home right away. I love to travel alone, but was lucky to have an enthusiastic sidekick with me this time, a friend and colleague who shares my love of urban environments (best discovered on foot,) history, good food and wine. We were in town for our company’s annual conference, but we flew in early (Who else could convince this French Girl, who never sleeps on airplanes to book a red-eye flight?) For a long weekend, we walked; explored; enjoyed fabulous meals; stayed out of the rain when we could; and had a jolly good time.

Two friends toast a great city, a great meal… and Cognac.

I loved Boston when I first visited thirty years ago as a Tour Director for a leading company in global education. I remember walking for hours in the city that summer, with a group of French teenagers I took around the East Coast. We traveled from Maine all the way down to Mississippi and Louisiana. It was a great trip, full of exciting discoveries, but I never forgot “the City on a Hill.” Last week, Boston and I finally got re-acquainted, and we hit it off right away. Here are some of the highlights of the visit. It included – bien sûr – a meal (or two) at a local French restaurant. My friend Jessica, the blogger behind A la Prochaine, a Boston-based publication, had sent me a generous list of some of her favorite “French-flavored” haunts. My travel companion is a bit of a foodie, and he selected several great spots for us as well. French Girl in Seattle readers, who were following the trip on Facebook, provided other excellent recommendations. Merci à tous!

Bon appétit, Boston!

From the French Bistro Ma Maison, where I enjoyed two delicious meals, to Tatte Bakery in Beacon Hill, the Salty Pig, and Porto and its Mediterranean fare, we did not hit a single bad note.

Escargots — because we can.
Moules-Frites, with a generous serving of baguette to…


Sancerre has officially become my favorite white wine
La sélection du jour chez Tatte Bakery, Beacon Hill
Brunch #enterrasse – Quelle chance!
Charcuterie and cheese platter chez Salty Pig pushed down with…
French wines were a theme during the weekend: My friend is nice like that!
Going Italian in the North End, as Paul Revere looks on
Cannoli chez Mike’s Pastry (where the Sunday afternoon lines compete with Paris-based Berthillon’s)

Boston: Rues et quartiers

Affluent, historic, and residential Beacon Hill
Beacon Hill
Beacon Hill
Beacon Hill
Quincy Market, the historic marketplace, near Faneuil Hall
Inside Quincy Market
Just like in Paris: “Distracting” architectural details
Inside the Old North Church, North End, the oldest standing church in Boston
The Old Granary Burying Ground, founded in 1620
Famous (and not so famous) Boston patriots lie here, like Paul Revere
A reminder that life was precious and often short, 200 years ago

Boston: All great cities have at least one great park!

The Massachusetts State House and the Boston Common
Parkman Bandstand (1912) is said to be modeled on Versailles’ Temple d’Amour.
The elegant Public Garden, the US’s first botanical garden

George Washington

Like many {european} grandes dames, Boston, Massachusetts, has it all. Best of all, the city is compact enough that one can truly enjoy its essence in just a few days. Boston had me at “Hello,” but nowhere was I more impressed than during my afternoon visit at a local landmark, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. This amazing building, and the unique art collections it showcases, is the result of a woman’s vision, taste, and great personal fortune. Words don’t do it justice, but maybe a few photos will. The building itself, known as Fenway Court when it was still Ms Gardner’s residence, is remarkable. The magnificent Courtyard and its lush landscaping, maintained by an army of gardeners year round, will take your breath away, even if the art does not. A must-see in Boston, and a fitting conclusion to this long blogpost. I hope you have enjoyed your visit as much as I did mine.

A bientôt.

Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1924,) by John Singer Sargent, Gothic Room
Isabella Stewart Gardner museum. The Gothic Room
The Cloister
The Courtyard: A masterpiece and a gardener’s dream

All photos by French Girl in Seattle

Please do not use without permission.

22 Responses to Long weekend in Boston: A pictorial tour

  1. Boston is one of my favorite cities. I have visited several times. There is much to see and do. And I love the history! Thank you for sharing your wonderful weekend trip and photos. I always enjoy your posts so much. This Boston trip photos provided me with familiar places I visited. So nice. Thanks again.

  2. I have never been to Boston but need to change that especially since I know I can navigate the city using public transportation. Great pictures!

    • Thank you Jeanne. Boston is extremely easy to navigate. The public transportation system seems pretty good, but I always give enthusiastic thumbs-up to a city that is mostly “walkable” i.e., to this French Girl, “civilized.”

  3. Loving this post, Veronique! C’est parfait!! I’m so happy you had a wonderful stay in Boston and enjoyed Ma Maison. I had a feeling you might like it there! 🙂

  4. I have been there too, 30 years ago…There was no Cabernet but I still remember the lobsters…
    Great pictures, Véronique!

  5. Cela donne effectivement envie de s’y rendre…. Pour manger. Je n’ai pas accès à ce type de délice dans mon bled au Tennessee
    Katrien. Bellaventure USA

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16 Responses to A French Christmas in the California desert

  1. Very different Veronique but soooo fabulous. Gosh your son is shooting up, looks like his love of photography is growing with him.. Best wishes for the new year.

    • Merci Grace. Yes, Junior is already taller than I am! He has loved photography for quite a while now and shoots with film only (and uses all his manual settings.) I am afraid I am neither as tall, or as proficient with a camera as he is 🙂 — Happy New Year!

  2. I’ve been away from blogland for a long time Veronique. Some friends recently were in Nice and their trip whetted my appetite to return to the beautiful city. Suddenly I remembered that it’s your favourite French city and I looked you up! I’m sorry to hear about your dramas this year. But you and your son look well. As does my old home town of Palm Springs.
    Lovely to catch up with you again. I shall try to visit more often. All the best for 2015 to you and your family. Maybe I’ll see you in Nice one day!

    • What a nice surprise this morning! Welcome back, Craig. I have thought about you when I saw you had stopped blogging and was wondering how you were. I am glad your friends talked you into visiting Nissa la Bella. Isn’t she a beauty? My love of that southern belle remains, but I have not visited in over a year, unfortunately (I was in Paris and Toulouse last summer.) Please do come back when you can. Old friends are always welcome here. I wish you and yours a very happy New Year!

  3. v this sounds like a lovely love filled Christmas! I adore Jr.’s hair longer such a handsome young man and you look like a teenager yourself-Palm springs(although not gay PARIS) seems to agree with you….

    • My dear g. Thank you very much! It was, indeed, a good Christmas in beautiful Palm Springs, and a welcome change of pace and scenery. I don’t know about looking like a teenager myself, but I will accept the compliment, gratefully. I hope you had a good, relaxing Christmas as well, and the East Coast climate is treating you well. Best wishes for a healthy, fun-filled, and rewarding 2015. I am personally looking forward to starting a brand-new year 😉

      • My dearest v I never pay an empty compliment and-I am glad you graciously and cheerfully accept that compliment as it is true ..inner age and spirit comes to the surface more than one may realize-I too am looking forward to a new year-one filled with happy moments and sweet times…our Christmas was very low key, thusly LOW STRESS! Our weather for the most part has been warmer than usual but a lot of grey and rainy days-this week brings a dip in temperatures-Yuck– just in time for the Mummers to strut down Broad Street – Here is to the NEW YEAR MY FRIEND -may all your heart’s dreams be realized and may love surround you peace follow you and joy always hold your hand—-with my best wishes always….

  4. As usual, you capture the essence and beauty of a city and make one feel they are taking a mini trip there. I’m glad you had such a wonderful time. Happy new year!

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26 Responses to New Yorkers and Parisians: So different, yet so alike…

  1. My impression is that the French code of politesse is different from that found in American cities…Our French teacher taught us, when we go to France, to say: “Bonjour, excusez-moi, je ne veux pas vous déranger, mais où est…?” Or at the very least, “Excusez-moi, monsieur, madame….” I think the American way is to efficiently, directly just launch the question. I think both cultures value the use of “thank you.” “Bocheball”, above, is rude & mean by any standard of etiquette…and I must say, rush hour in the metro in any big city is stressful!

    • Thank you for your input. You made a good point: Codes in the US and France are very different. Many visitors have learned the lesson the hard way when they approach a French shopkeeper and ask a question without saying “Bonjour” first. All they usually get instead of an answer is: “BONJOUR, Madame/Monsieur !” — Always fun to watch, especially since it happens among the French too. La politesse, Madame, la politesse! 🙂

  2. V- ONE OF YOUR BEST!!! LOVED IT-AND SO TRUE ON EACH POINT- Love of one’s city can often blind us in so many ways-after all there is no place like home but when experiencing a new city- kindness politeness and empathy can go a long way much like a smile being universal! this goes for both the visitor and the resident!-Have a wonderful week!

  3. Dearest Véronique,
    Loved the most the sign about ‘La Politesse’; it indeed pays off big for being polite all the time. I’ve witnessed this too often in foreign countries where people got literally ripped off for lack of politeness!
    Guess this does apply to each city you travel to. Loved the Frog’s advice for not wearing the t-shirt I Love New York; that acts like a target board!
    Enjoy your week ahead.

  4. Le Bobo (celui qui n’achète pas sa baguette chez le boulanger mais du pain complet dans sa “Biocoop”, ne prends pas le métro mais circule à vélo, bois du thé vert et passe ses vacances sous une yourte) est une espèce en voie de disparition, maintenant place au “Bomo” (bourgeois moche) qui refuse les modes et les codes esthétiques : La revanche du moche

    • Quelle bonne histoire, Alain, merci. Je n’avais pas encore entendu parler du “Bomo” dans ma campagne américaine reculée. Le site internet est excellent lui aussi. N’hésitez pas à partager d’autres observations. Je suis preneuse ! Bonne journée !

  5. Excellent analysis. My experience in Paris is that if you stand on a street corner with an open map, after only a few minutes, a Parisian will stop to offer directions… and often in English.

  6. Very funny and, well, true! Since I am looking forward to being a tourist in Paris in about a week, I’m take all Jean’s advice very seriously! Have a lovely week, Veronique. XOXO

  7. Eternel débat entre touristes et indigènes, degrés de politesse reçus ou perçus, modes de vie différents..
    On est toujours le touriste de quelqu’un à un moment ou à un autre de sa vie.
    Alors , faisons simple ,et restons tous ouverts et courtois.
    Et entre NY et Paris, je choisis Londres ! ;o)
    Bises et bonne semaine!
    PS le café à 2,5 euros, même avec la politesse, c’est sacrément cher!

    • Très juste, Marie, très juste. Entre New York et Paris, surtout pour vivre, je choisirais probablement Londres moi aussi, au moins pour un moment. Pour le tourisme, alors une des trois. Elles ont chacune un charme et un intérêt bien particulier!
      Et tu as raison pour le prix du café: Pas donné, donné, mais il faut bien amortir le coût du beau panneau émaillé. 🙂 Bisous

  8. I love the sign about the coffee (cheaper if you are polite), well even with the polite Australians, coffee costs an arm and a leg here! ($5 upwards). I have visited both cities, but Paris is my favourite, even though I can’t say I found the French that polite, certainly no one came to my rescue when I was stranded in an underground station when there was something wrong with the train, and I spoke to various people in English and they just mumbled and ran off in various directions….of course in the end I got on a bus, but got off on the wrong station and missed my flight! I keep on telling myself I need to re-learn French!

  9. Bonne Année, Véronique. A little belated but I’ve been away again (escaping the UK storms!). Wishing you happiness, good health and success in 2014. Happy Birthday to your blog too. The Paris vs New York book is one I intended buying a while ago as I came across it on Vahram’s blog some time ago and I think you have mentioned it before here too. I must order it!! I enjoyed all your lighthearted comparisons and the video too. An entertaining post and I especially liked the price list sign. When in France I enjoy the greetings as you soon as you enter a shop which doesn’t always happen in England!

    • Great to hear from you as always, miss b. Thank you for your visit.
      Escaping winter blues in sunnier climates is a wonderful idea. Wish I could do the same!
      Greetings are a big deal in France, and that is a good thing. Then again, Parisians can be moody, as demonstrated in the previous comment. Nobody’s perfect I guess.

    • Hi Véronique! Thank you very much for popping over today. I always appreciate your visits and like to hear your opinion. I must say I agree with you. All things French in the Dubai heat is just perfect for me too. As for your post, I remember reading parts 6 and 7 about ending a story on a happy note. Sometimes I think that these blogs have a mind of their own! Without warning strange things happen.

    • Thank you for the quick reply, miss b. Blogger… I tell you: One day, I will have a heart attack: When I looked at the blog this morning, half the text was missing… Yikes. This blog definitely has a mind of its own– and why should I be surprised? It is a FRENCH blog after all 🙂 Bonne fin de semaine.

  10. No doubt that travelling in France is not easy. There is a lots of Crowd in France trains. Some days ago my Friends visited France they told me all the condition about France so now i have decided to Book a car whenever i will visit to France.

  11. Bonjour de Montréal, Véronique. On trouve d’excellents bagels et des baguettes de première qualité ici. Malheureusement, cet hiver, nous avons également trop de maudite neige. Normalement, moi aussi je voyage à vélo, mais avec cette neige de merde, le métro, le bus et la marche. Je laisse le vélo hivernal aux plus jeunes.

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If Palm Springs was good enough for Doisneau, it is good enough for me!

If Palm Springs was good enough for Doisneau, it is good enough for me!

In 1960, iconic French photographer Robert Doisneau came to Palm Springs on a mission… The famed artist, best known for his black and white portraits of Parisian street scenes, arrived in the California desert and shot away, capturing the essence of a unique city, created from scratch in the middle of the Colorado Desert, at…

46 Responses to If Palm Springs was good enough for Doisneau, it is good enough for me!

  1. OK Veronique – now that’s a post RIGHT up my alley. Our last home in the US before moving back to Europe was in Palm Springs. I always wanted to live there for a year or two in a mid century modern pool home. We did it and thoroughly enjoyed our two years living a boyhood dream there (I could do without the hottest 3 summer months but the pool was a life saver then)!
    Guess what – we ate at Pomme Frite many times, we loved it and our house was only a mile away.
    Did you eat at Wangs in the Desert is PS? If not, go next time. It’s on Indian Canyon drive. They serve modern fusion Chinese – the food is brilliant, it’s quite reasonable and the place is uber cool (just like you guys)!
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane – now I’m all nostalgic.

    • Now that is an interesting coincidence… Two years in Palm Springs would be quite a unique experience for two Europeans! So funny you used to eat chez Pomme Frite too! The other place is definitely on my “must-see” list for next year. It is the perfect escape out of Seattle during Monsoon season 🙂 Thank you for stopping by, Craig.

  2. J’adore le grain spécial qu’avaient les photos dans les années 60. Et Doisneau avait ce don d’observation qui lui faisait sortir de n’importe quel endroit l’âme du lieu, saisir ce qui en faisait l’esprit , l’essence.
    Vu mon aversion pour la chaleur, Palm springs ne serait pas mon 1er choix de villegiature, mais ça doit neanmoins être typique d’une certaine Amerique, comme le sont certains endroits mythiques.
    Je trouve surprenante la façon dont sont taillés les palmiers.Et si ton fils est autant fan de belles voitures , c’est à Monaco qu’il faudra l’emmener pour qu’il trouve son compte de Ferraris et de Porsches Cayenne.. :o)
    A bientôt et grosses bises!

    • Bonjour Madame la Niçoise. Ravie de te revoir ici. Très bien dit (écrit!) au sujet du grand Doisneau. Le livre en question vaut le détour si tu peux le trouver quelque part…

      Un habitant local m’a confié que le temps à Palm Springs est parfait “neuf mois sur douze…” – “Ah, ai-je répondu, l’inverse de Seattle, alors…” 🙂 En fait tu t’y plairais beaucoup, à condition d’éviter l’été, comme moi d’ailleurs.

      Les palmiers sont incroyables. Palm Springs détient le record du plus grand nombre de palmiers californiens des Etats-Unis. Ils sont absolument magnifiques. Des géants…

      Pour Monaco, c’est prévu 🙂 A bientôt!

  3. Oh this was lovely. Vero, there is a crazy mistral blowing outside (130 km/hr!!) and it felt so good to be swept away! And I love that your son enjoys photography so much–I can see that he is really looking to find his shot–bravo!

    • Bonjour Heather. The crazy Mistral has nothing on the wind that almost blew us away the morning we hiked in the desert. You can tell Junior’s hair was all ruffled on the last picture! 🙂 The Palm Springs wind, of course, was a lot warmer. I will pass on your comments to the budding photographer. He cracks me up. I’d be walking along the trail, and then realized he had stopped. I’d walk back and find him lying flat on his belly, capturing a shot of the nearby creek… 🙂

  4. What a fun getaway for the 2 of you..the main actually looks like it could be several little places in Florida..Venice for one:)..
    Susan..a great longtime blogging friend of mine just returned also..
    What a golfer’s paradise too..
    Your son adorable..don’t use that word when you tell him I thought so though:)

    Handsome..let’s say handsome:)

    • Merci Nana. Handsome that boy is… He just does not know it yet, and does not believe me when I tell him because “I am his mom, and of course, i have to say kind things about him!” 🙂 Yes, there are similarities between downtown Palm Springs and other American sunny locales. Yet, it is not common to go shopping on a palm tree-lined street, look right or left and see such majestic mountains nearby. Absolutely breathtaking. Thank you for stopping by!

  5. Bonjour! Love Palm Springs and especially enjoyed learning about Doisneau. Made me ready to hop a plane and head south. Now that you are back in the glistening Northwest shall we try for a coffee date one day in the next few weeks?

  6. Never been, although have visited the area. A good time of year to visit I would thhink, before the desert temperatures get too extreme. Beautiful photos Veronique!

    • Welcome back, Liene. A good time of year indeed. It was almost “chilly” the last two days when temperatures barely reached the mid-60s. Of course, coming from Seattle in the middle of February, we were still happy to get sun and blue skies, even if we needed a light jacket in the day time 🙂 Bon weekend!

  7. Eh bien ma chère Véro, I think Doisneau has nothing on you. I would stack your photos up next to his any day of the week. Has Flammarion contacted you yet???

    I must agree with Malyss when it comes to “la chaleur. J’en ai horreur.”

    I notice that Junior is a “Top Gear” fan. I am a mega-fan of the show….wouldn’t miss it. It’s one of my weekly pleasures. I introduced Dan to my favorite TV trio, Jeremy, Richard and James, and he has become a huge fan, as well.

    BTW, we will be out your way this summer. Would love to get together, si c’est possible.

    Bizzzzz, M-T

    • Spoken as a true friend, M-T. Thank you, but really, my modest snapshots can’t possibly be put “dans le même panier” as the great Robert Doisneau’s collection. Still, I believe it is impossible to take a bad landscape shot in that incroyable part of the country – even more impossible if one uses the extraordinaire Lumix LX5, my faithful sidekick 🙂

      Top Gear does grow on you even if you don’t really like cars, doesn’t it? Junior tapes all their shows, and we watch them together several times a week. I do adore the three (very British) hosts. They make me laugh out loud. We each have our favorite and argue over who is right and wrong 🙂

      Would love to see you and Dan this summer. Send me a note and tell me when you will around my neck of the woods, ok?

    • Thank you Suzanne. It must be such fun for Los Angelinos to take off and spend a weekend there! Each big city has a similar “refuge.” As a former Parisian, i remember visiting the Normandy coast on a regular basis. Of course, the weather was not any better there than in Paris, but at least we got a lot of fresh air in the resort towns of Deauville and Trouville…

  8. I’ve never been to Palm String (yet!) and to be honest, it’s never been high on my list. But I might now reconsider it, because of your article (and also Doisneau’s pictures).


    • Thank you Bee. Take a closer look at the Doisneau book. I got mine at the local library. Well worth it. Things have changed a bit since (at least some…) but the magnificent scenery remains… I would not stay there for a month, but a great place to visit over a long weekend at least.

    • I will, always been a Doisneau fan (difficult not to be). Thanks for all these little snapshots of French (and not so French) culture. Sometimes I think I should ask my husband to read your blog (he is American and I’m French), he might get a better feeling of where I come from 😀

  9. Doisneau’s images are wonderful – an example of “a picture speaks a thousand words. I still think that I couldn’t be enticed to Palm Springs but the surrounding areas in the dessert look fantastic. Bisous.

  10. Your photos make me want to book a flight. I’ve never been to Palm Springs. Thanks for sharing another excellent “travel review. ‘-)
    Happy Spring to you! ~ Sarah

  11. Super post Veronique, lovely to see the Doiseau images ofvPalm Springs, ‘like chalk and cheese’ compared to his Paris shots..I’ve really enjoyed seeing PS through your eyes, the surrounding desert is spectacularly beautiful. I must admit though when I do muster up enough couage to board a plane it would still definitely be Paris, our summers are so hot here in Perth I could never go somewhere even hotter for a holiday. marvelous to see your son enjoyng photography so much, my daughter Aimee and I go often together taking photos, very speial times shared. Happy weekend…

    • Bonjour Grace, and thank you for your visit. Palm Springs may seem out of the way, but I am grateful it is so close to Seattle! Otherwise, like you, I’d probably fly to Paris first. :- )

      I see you and Aimee enjoy “shooting” together. I do not consider myself a skilled photographer and use an advanced compact camera, but I see skills in Junior, who learned with his father. And that is how it should be…

    • That is great news Janey. Will it be your first visit there? I hope you have a lot of fun, and hopefully, summer temps will have started going down by then… My understanding is that life gets really tricky in the desert June-August. At least air conditioning is everywhere…

  12. There is something wonderful about a sun break in the middle of the gray season! We visited back when I was 7 months pregnant with #4 and enjoyed walking in the sunshine and simply lounging by our cute motel’s pool. It is a great spot to go as it isn’t terribly far and has so much character. Thanks for the reminder~
    (I don’t seem to be able to sign in as name/url- any idea why not?)

    • Hello Kim. You’re right, Palm Springs is not far at all– and definitely has character!

      Sorry you had some problems leaving a comment. I noticed there was a duplicate one, so I am guessing good old Blogger worked in the end…

  13. I love this post. One of my dreams is to visit Palm Springs some day, because of all the old-Hollywood history behind it and the cool hotels and whatnot. It’s nice to know it’s definitely worth a trip!

  14. Wow French Girl! You went to a desert – who knew! You really captured the place. I’ve been but I never had the chance to try Pomme Frite! Tres jealouse! I love the oldy photos. I like how you described the richies in their fur coats.. meanwhile it’s 100 degrees outside.LOL Crank up the A/C. I bet Vegas was some what like that too. This post is very sunny. Liked it a lot. xo

    • Merci Sandy. I did not really describe the old richies: Doisneau did, with his lense. How good was he?! You’re right, a very sunny post. A Seattleite (real or imported) has got to do what a Seattleite’s got to do to survive the winter. 🙂

  15. I am not sure that Doisneau would recognize much of the Palm Springs you saw. Most of the stars and money have migrated up the valley to Palm Dessert and Rancho Mirage. Palm Springs is trying to revitalize itself but it’s struggling. I have spent quite a bit of time there helping some friends with a senior housing project they are doing on Palm Canyon.

    • Good for you, Michel. I can tell you know the area very well.

      We stayed in Palm Desert. With the exception of the beautiful shopping district, I did not find it that special. As you could be expected, this French Girl preferred “the old Palm Springs…” — I hope the downtown part bounces back fast.

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New York, New York (Part 2)

New York, New York (Part 2)

Special celebrations call for special drinks, like le Kir Royal… A friend commented there was no French twist to last week’s story about New York. My stories ALWAYS have a French twist, she said… Zut. (Rats.) We need to fix this quickly, I say. Cheer up, friend: Plenty of French twists in this story. Plenty of friends,…

31 Responses to New York, New York (Part 2)

  1. Dearest Véronique,
    You had a ‘grande’ time in New Amsterdam! Looks like you inflated yourself with culture and energy for making it into the new year for quite some months. It is super for being able to meet with writer friends. You made me home sick to our Tom Pouce (mille feuille) again! That shows only how much French my Province was in its culture. Happy for you and now chillin’ cooling down for winter. Enjoy the Advent season, leading up to Christmas.

    • Merci, Mariette. I looked up the Dutch pastry named TomPouce, and I have had to say it looks suspiciously like its cousin the French mille-feuille. I guess I know what dessert I will be ordering next time I fly through Amsterdam (a favorite city of mine 🙂 The Advent season is looking good so far, with the exception of the dreadful weather, part of the Seattle folklore I am afraid…

  2. Any post that starts out with a Kir Royale is certain to be une merveille! Patricia Kaas sings Piaf??? What a dream! It sounds like you had a wonderful time. I’m always trying to find bits of France here in San Diego. You have inspired me to look a little deeper. French Girl you are the BEST!!!!!

    • I agree with you, Connie. Kir Royal is a favorite drink of mine. So pretty, so festive, and so delicious, of course 🙂 Let me know what you find out if you find bits of France in San Diego. I would like to return one of these days, and will likely be looking for them too…

  3. Curieusement, la France parait plus belle vue de l’etranger que de l’interieur.La faute aux medias, peut-être, ou alors ailleurs on ne montre et garde que le meilleur.ça fait plaisir de voir que notre culture est appréciée à l’etranger, et sous toutes ses formes , y compris les plus novatrices(ah, ce mille-feuilles et son glaçage latéral!)
    Les univers de Piaf et Kaas vont bien ensemble. Elle aussi (P.Kaas) semble etre maintenant plus appreciée ailleurs qu’ici, où on ne l’entend plus beaucoup.
    Un bel hommage, multiple, J. Baker avait deux amours;il semble que toi aussi! :o)
    A bientôt! bises!

  4. A delicious post in so many ways. Wonderful food and drink! Adorable pooches, and an exquisite songstress! I’m glad you had such a fabulous time, Veronique. So many wonderful memories and friends you made. 🙂

    • Merci beaucoup Mary. You might say this was a successful trip, indeed. I got to cross out most of the fun things off my pre-departure list, and there were some surprises along the way as well… A trip can’t go bad if you catch up with a friend or two (furry or otherwise…)

  5. So many wonderful things to comment on! I am a huge fan of Edith Piaf and the movie, although a sad, was excellent.

    Your trip looked like it was wonderful! The photos you took are fabulous and it looks like you really took everything in. Yummy food, great sites, and wonderful time spent with a special friend.

    Thanks for sharing!


  6. Hi French Girl in Seattle, For ages it seems I have ‘known’ you through comments you make at other blogs I follow. Today on a whim I thought I’d finally visit your blog – what a delightful way to start my day! Loved the tale and especially the part about your blogosphere friends. I’ve felt much the same way. Perhaps one of these days we will meet at this ‘new blogosphere travel friend’ of yours lives in Kirkland, just across that little pond called Lake Washington when not out exploring the world.

    • Bonjour Jackie and bienvenue chez French Girl in Seattle. So happy you decided to stop by and leave a comment! I can’t believe you live in Kirkland. We are neighbors! I, too, live on this side of the Lake. Why don’t we plan to hook up after the Holidays– if we both survive the busy season? A bientôt! PS: I will start Following your blog so I know what you are up to…

    • I’ve become your newest follower! And what great news that we are neighbors – I see a blog post in the making about meeting In Provence via our friend Heather. . .and yes, yes, would love to get together after Christmas.

  7. A Joyful and uplifting post. Thank you for the kind words, Helen. This was a joyful trip indeed, with many joyful moments. Isn’t that what all trips should be? Come back and listen to the music. You won’t be disappointed!

  8. Hello Sandy. Thank you for being by my side as I was waiting to get inside the Carnegie Hall on November 20. It was fun to “speak” to you Live thanks to Facebook that night. 🙂 And yes, if I ever make it to the 4 corners (great name, by the way,) I would love to meet up with you! That’s – almost – a date! A bientôt…

  9. OMG, Ma chère Véronique, what a glorious post! I felt as if I were (re)living the journey with you. And what a great idea to start off with our two kirs royales. Although, I must say that I look much better as a basic black backdrop for the two glasses than in the full-length photo with my disheveled, wind-blown hair. (Note to Self: In future, avoid overhead lighting which casts unattractive shadows on the face.)

    That said, however, my husband looks très distingué holding the little bag containing the remnants of our fabulous poulet rôti from Benoit, which Victor and I polished off for lunch the very next day. Victor gave it two paws up.

    The moment we met, I knew I had found a dear old friend. You were kind enough to mention my sense of style, and, indeed, I do know a little something about the perfect fit. After spending an afternoon in your delightful company, I do believe I can say that we are a perfect fit.

    A la prochaine………….

    • Chère M-T, I wish we’d had a TAD less fun during lunch and we had remembered to take a couple of photos of “les convives” around our lively table… I agree the lighting on that last shot was not ideal, but you and Dan look good either way, standing right by “New York.” No matter, however, as memories of a wonderful afternoon à table remain…

      Thank you again for meeting me in the big city that day. It made the trip all the more special. Hugs to you and Dan (and Victor, the poulet rôti-eating cat) 🙂

      On reste en contact? Bises.

    • Bien sûr que l’on restera en contact. Cela va sans dire. La prochaine on prendra des photos des convives autour d’une bonne table. C’est promis.

      Gros bisous et à très bientôt j’espère! Peut-être au mois de mars? Un petit thé au Plaza pour fêter ton anniversaire? Hmmmm?

  10. Très chère Véronique,
    So many things to say..
    1) Your photos are fabulous as usual
    2) I feel jealous about the good time you had with MT and Dan. Good for all of you!
    3) These pastries are to die for. I almost ate my computer screen when I saw your pic of the mille feuilles (not sure a computer screen is that good though …)
    4) You are so lucky to have seen Patricia Kaas’s show
    5) Whoever doesn’t know what a kir royal is should try right away (BTW do you know this other version of the kir with pinot wine from Burgundy and “liqueur de cassis”. Great too)
    Your post was delightful as ALWAYS.
    Big bisous,
    Anne (Playing with Scarves)

    • Ha. Ha. Merci, Anne. So glad you did not attempt to lick the computer screen. You might have scared your poor children and husband, who are used to living with an elegant French lady 🙂 Yes, it was lovely to meet M-T and Dan in New York. We were saying the three of us should try and hook up somewhere in the United States. Wouldn’t that be fun? I foresee Kir Royal flowing that day… (I have always liked it better than the traditional kir with Pinot.) Merci pour la visite et a bientot…

  11. Thank you for following my blog, I bumped in yours by accident and I like the way you write and the interesting tours you make. New York is one of my favourites too and I like the way you vitited it by neighbourhood, after the touristic things we once did the same, you see so much more.
    Greetings from Marianne

    • Bienvenue Marianne, and thank you for being a faithful Follower of French GIrl in Seattle. As I have said before, you do live in a beautiful European city, lucky lady; one I would not mind returning to so I can, once again, walk all the beautiful neighborhoods…

  12. What a fun trip you had, Veronique! And so many French twists, too. I’ve been to Benoit in Paris, but not to the one in NYC. Next trip! Love seeing all of the furry Manhattan residents, too! XO

  13. Bonjour Elizabeth. I, too, enjoyed the Marion Cotillard movie. This was a performance extraordinaire from another favorite French lady of mine… Hope life is running a bit more smoothly for you these days and the “bad contractor” is leaving you alone.

  14. Although I lived many years on the eastern coast of Canada until my very early 20’s I never had the urge to visit New York. With a lust for food developing over the years as an “older” woman I would love to visit.

  15. Great article. Your trip seemed fabulous. I shall have to visit the restaurant tribute to Josephine. How interesting the numerous cultural things in New York. Being the mecca for immigrants entering the US years ago, it is alive still. I love NYC. It is such a fabulous place to visit. I see something different each time I have been. Question: why does Nutella seem so Special? Thanks for sharing. It brightened my day as always.

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New York, New York!  (Part 1)

New York, New York! (Part 1)

  Central Park bench: The wisdom of New York city. A few days ago, I *almost* wrote a story, and it started like this: These vagabond shoes  They are longing to stray  Right through the very heart of it  New York, New York… (New York, New York lyrics)   I was still in New York…

56 Responses to New York, New York! (Part 1)

  1. Oh wow..I saw so little compared to this when I went..and quite frankly don’t know which areas we were in..You really know your way the inscription on that park bench..
    Thanks so much for this guided tour:-)
    Still wondering if you met Bear:-) 🙂

  2. Oh Veronique! I just love your trip to NYC. And I was so thrilled to see your first neighborhood because I used to live there! West 10th Street & Greenwich Ave!!
    I miss it so much. Thank you so much. These shots are just beautiful! I can’t wait to see more!

  3. Once again, thanks for letting me tag along. I love to walk and explore the neighborhoods of NYC. How wonderful to have visited this gal! I need to plan a trip…………Sarah

  4. Dearest Véronique,
    So glad you enjoyed ‘New Amsterdam’ once more! Yes, buildings are the fingerprints of a city and they tell a great cultural story. You took great photographs and your storytelling is always a class act.
    Glad you made it back safe.
    Hugs to you,

  5. Yes, I shall join you for part 2!! A wonderful “walk” through one of the most fascinating cities in the world, with such thoughtful scenes which you snapped. Love that parking sign, and the memorial sign too. You have the most fabulous way of taking a reader with you on these trips. xx

  6. Oh Veronique! What a fantastic post! I love it all. Where to start? 🙂 I love living on the West Coast, but i miss NYC and visiting it with a passion. I feel as though i’ve had a fun visit through your great photos here. West Village and Soho are my favorite neighborhoods, i think. But i also love Brooklyn.. something special about it. And Central Park is wonderful! Central Park and all the dogs who walk and play there! Ah, New Yorkers and their canines. Love! That squirrel relaxing next to the woman in Washington Square Park is quite a chunker! Well fed, perhaps? lol. I’m glad you enjoyed your visit, and i can’t wait to see more pics! Have a great week!

    • Dear Mary. Funny you should mention New Yorkers and their canines. Not surprisingly, I was fascinated by them and was planning on featuring several “dog shots” next week… I have been on the West Coast for years and sorely miss the great cities on the East Coast. For years, my American adventures always took place there, North or South, but always on the East Coast. There is so much history and culture there. I am afraid our scenic West Coast can’t compare…

  7. What a great trip to NYC, and how nice that you took us along for the tour! My mom’s parents lived in Manhattan when I was growing up, and I have many fond memories of walking to the Museum of Natural History almost every other day during visits. One of my favorite recollections was watching the fire trucks zoom past the apartment on Amsterdam with the Dalmatian pup in tow.

    So happy that you were able to renew your friendship with NYC… She has missed you, too!


    • Bonjour Genie. I would have LOVED visiting my grand-parents in NYC as a child. I can’t imagine how many hours I would have spent playing in Central Park! You are correct: New York city and I were happy to see each other again.

  8. Amazing photos Veronique. You are really in love with NYC! Your post made me look at NYC in a different perspective. When my girlfriends and I had a mini-reunion in NYC early this year, we had fun walking around. I particularly enjoyed walking around Soho. I’m glad you enjoyed your trip!

    • Bonjour Pamela. New York is all about walking and exploring; the sign of a truly “great” city. It is easy for a French person to fall in love with her. The French love cities, especially cities with so much history and culture. They love them even more if they feel “dépaysés” (out of their usual environment) in those cities, and what city here screams “North America” more than New York?

  9. Merci, Véronique for taking us along with you on your wonderful tour away from the usual touristy places. Soho and TriBeCa are two areas I would like to visit one day and I hadn’t heard of The High Line (c’est noté!) When I’m ‘doing’ a big city, I love to take a breather in the parks. Great photos as usual and wonderful words on the benches.
    P.S. Of course I’ll join you for Part Two!!

  10. How lucky for us that you and your camera had such beautiful sunny days! Thank you for those gorgeous shots of Central Park and the new Hi Line. And those vagabond shoes…so unFrench–and so very practical!

    • Bonjour Alison. Don’t be fooled by my vagabond shoes… unFrench, but truly the only sneakers Parisian women will consider wearing (I kid you not: Converse is all over Paris these days!) — I might add these babies saved my life. The comfortable Clarks boots I wore for the first two days almost KILLED my feet, and I had to stop by Bloomingdale in Soho eventually, and snatched the cute navy blue Converse. My feet thanked me profusely, trust! 🙂

  11. Thank you for taking us for a walk in NY and original angles. You’ve captured the Manhattan’s essence Veronique. Looking forward to Part 2 and P.K. concert review and more photos by happy vagabond.

    • I thought about you as I visited the Chelsea underground market… a fun place for “foodies…” I think I could live in NYC, but I would choose my neighborhood carefully, and all my favorite neighborhoods are in the lower half of Manhattan…

  12. Oooh, these photos are just fabulous!! Count on me in your continuing tour group. I have always said that Paris has my heart, but New York has my soul. Can’t live without them.

    Also, can’t wait for Part Deux.

    Bizzz, M-T

  13. What a fun visit you have. I love New York in the fall! The photos are beautiful, thanks for taking us on a glorious long walk through the city. And my feet don’t even hurt! Welcome back to the slower pace of Seattle! XO

  14. I had to chuckle at your comment about the “rude” or abruptness of some of the Europeans or New Yorkers. You are right.. man up, they are busy and trying to get things done. Those buildings!! When we were in Paris and Belgium over the summer, I couldn’t stop looking at, or photographing the buildings. If only those walls would talk!

    Enjoy the brisk Seattle weather are having. I heard it’s going to dip down in the twenties tonight 🙂


  15. Thank you so much for this post about my favourite city! It’s been so long now since I haven’t been to NY, but we will go in spring 2013 and I am looking forward to it.
    Merci beaucoup,

  16. Je suis heureuse de m’apercevoir que tu te balades autant que moi en ce moment !… Malheureusement en ce qui me concerne le ciel est bien gris et chargé d’eau en Bretagne… Hier soir, j’ai quitté Plouescat pour Cherbourg… Dans une petite semaine je me rendrai à Honfleur et Deauville…

    Merci pour ces merveilleuses photos… Ce fut une très agréable promenade… la bonne humeur devait être au rendez-vous en pratiquant cette marche dans un tel environnement.
    Je te remercie également pour ton gentil message et ton conseil en ce qui concerne mon petit souci.

    Je ne suis pas très présente en ce moment, je reviendrai te visiter plus régulièrement dès mon retour à la maison, dans une dizaine de jours.

    Gros bisous à toi.

    • Bonjour Martine. Ah, la Bretagne… Superbe, mais humide (un peu comme Seattle, en somme…) Honfleur et Deauville, deux de mes destinations préférées sur la Côte. Passage presque obligatoire quand on réside à Paris. Je t’envie d’aller y faire un tour. A bientôt, à ton retour de voyage…

  17. what a fabulous trip! although i’ve been to nyc many times it’s always for quick trips..not enough time to really walk the neighborhoods as you have. looking forward to part 2! (and thanks for your comments 🙂

  18. I’ve never been to New York (tho we were once offered a house exchange by a family from there, but passed it up for LA), so I’m fascinated to see all these different neighbourhoods.

    ‘Chapeau’ for doing all that walking in Converse – they look great, but are a bit hard on the feet!

    • Welcome, Linda, and thank you for stopping by. I did not do all my walking in the cute Converse. They only kicked in on the third day, when I could not BEAR the thought of wearing my other shoes any longer 🙂 The Converse felt like slippers after that!

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71 Responses to “I have to go see about a girl…”

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this post for so many reasons. Of course I loved the photos of the amazing skyline. I’m a huge fan of skyscraper architecture – all the shapes and sizes are just as fascinating to me as old traditional buildings. Interesting to read about your visits to New York too – what an opportunity to actually live there for a while. You also made me think about my French pen pal’s family who welcomed me so many times. We instantly got on well and since then have become life-long friends. I’m so grateful to them (no wonder I became such a francophile!) and I really should organise a long overdue visit soon. I look forward to hearing about your trip – it’s going to be such fun I’m sure!

    • Hello miss b. I am discovering you and I have more and more things in common 🙂 I am planning to walk around Manhattan to take photos of the buildings. I love Art Deco architecture, and I know New York will be happy to oblige 🙂

  2. Bonjour Véronique!

    J’ai découvert ton blog sur le blog de Connie- Snow in the Air – Ton blog est très intéressant – Je suis une nouvelle fan de ton blog! Jettes un coup d’oeil au mien –

    Ariane x

  3. Ahhh, I don’t know if you knew that I was a NYer before moving to France? Trust me, it took my honey to pull me away from my beloved Big Apple–I still think it is the best town in the world–sorry, Paris! So happy to hear that you love it like I do. Enjoy your time there, I know you will! And it is good to think that you are helping to revive a battered economy by going–bravo!
    Bon Voyage…

    • The pen pal sounded nice enough while we exchanged letters for years, but I guess these things happen. Small correction: NEW YORK is my friend recently hit by a hard time 🙂 New York will be fine, though. New York is always fine. Oh, and no, it is not Carol I am having lunch with…

  4. Veronique, how lovely to find out a bit more about you. I too love NYC but it’s been a long time since I last visited…too long, every December I dream about going Christmas Shopping there but I have not quite managed to pull it off, maybe next year. My Sister is flying out there this evening for a few days and I am green with envy! I know you are going to have a wonderful time…enjoy

    • I would love Christmas shopping in New York, Dash. That is something I have yet to do myself. I would also love bringing my son here to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. One day, one day… Your sister in one lucky lady– as am I 🙂

  5. ok, wow. first of all..i need to know where you went to school in greensboro. it wouldn’t be the day school there by chance? secondly, john irving was a major crush of mine. i read and re- read garp. i always thought he was a hottie. 🙂 lastly, as an expat american i obviously love nyc. however, when i’m IN the states…it’s boston for me. tell me you’ve been? i don’t see it on your side bar 🙂
    can’t wait to hear about your trip when you return. it sounds amazing. is that a zara leopard blouse i spy?
    bon voyage!

    • Bonjour Pam. I was not a student in Greensboro during that first trip to the US. I just stayed with my penpal’s family – who treated me royally – for several weeks. A few years later, I was a college student in Atlanta though, thanks to a full scholarship awarded by the Georgia Rotary Club.

      As for Boston, yes, I have been, but briefly, and loved it. But I need to go back, and I am certain I will be adding Boston to my list of favorite cities after that trip 🙂

  6. I also lived in New York during the 1980’s and even though I met lots of celebrities I never met John Irving! I hope you have a wonderful trip to New York, one of my very favorite towns in the world!

    • Bonjour Connie. I have never met a single celebrity in New York. In fact, come to think of it, I *almost* met John Irving. One of the assistants at Pocket Books had offered to introduce me during an upcoming meeting with Irving. Unfortunately, he was scheduled to fly into town THE DAY I left for Paris. Can you imagine?! It took me years to recover. 🙂

  7. Ooh, the mysterious “French Girl in Seattle” is beginning to reveal her pre-Seattle life. How delicious! A propos duquel, j’attends avec impatience l’énorme plaisir de te rencontrer (enfin!!) et de passer un bon moment en ta charmante compagnie samedi.

    Eh bien, je me demande si un p’tit rendez-vous Chez Joséphine avec son fils J-C n’est pas sur ton programme? J’y ai passé un soir (jusqu’à la petite nuit) inoubliable il y a plusieurs années. C’est à ne pas manquer.

    • Dear Mariette. Yes, I have spent a lot of time in the USA. In fact, I visited every single summer after my college year in Atlanta in 1985… until le Husband and I finally moved to Seattle in 1996. I have always loved the East Coast, not just New York, and miss it dearly. Always a treat to fly back.

  8. I’ve lived and traveled all over the world…and I really love visiting NYC. I go each summer with my college roommate from 40 yrs ago–we still have a grand time! Eat a meal at Prune if you can.

  9. oh my i am on the fly i have to reread this, disect every bit and comment again when will you be here-nyc that is -gosh so excited

  10. I loved reading this and learning more about your life. That is so cool about your research on that author. I would love to have that experience: living in New York City for a few weeks. Long enough to get a taste of being a native, while short enough where you don’t get jaded. 🙂

    I hope you have fun in New York City! I’m a bit envious. I haven’t been since I was a kid. I’m hoping to get there in the next year or so, to visit my Jonny!

    • Well, it sounds to me you have the perfect excuse to fly to New York city soon: Your best friend – the great Jonny! – lives there. 🙂 New York is such an expensive city. I could not have stayed that long back then, without my friend’s hospitality…

  11. Bon voyage! Have a great time back in the Big Apple. It has been quite a few years since I was there for anything but a quick meeting in and out and keep thinking about spending time in NYC for fun. With any luck we will do so before too long.

  12. je me suis un peu perdue en route: tu vas donc à NY voir PAtricia Kaas chanter Piaf, c’est ça? Mais qu’est-il arrivé à John Irving au final?.. je me souviens du “monde selon Garp” et du scandale qui a entouré cette histoire aussi bien pour le livre que pour le film. Je me souviens aussi qu’effectivement, il etait celèbre et publiait beaucoup, qu’est-il devenu?
    J’espère que la NY que tu trouveras ne sera pas trop abimée après le passage de Sandy..Bon voyage en tous cas.
    moi aussi je repars, destination dévoilée seulement au retour! :o)
    Alors bises et à bientôt!

    • Oui, c’est bien ca. Concert unique et j’ai reussi a avoir un ticket. Face a la scene, 7e rang. Salle mythique ou Edith Piaf est passee elle-meme en 1957!

      Aux dernieres nouvelles, John Irving vit toujours au Canada. Il ecrit regulierement des romans, dont le dernier, In One Person, est sorti recemment. Longue et belle carriere donc, avec des sujets controverses, comme le dernier.

      Dis-moi quelle voyageuse tu fais! Tu ne t’arretes plus! Bises.

  13. Love NY and try to visit every couple of years usually scheduling around NYC Ballet premiers or some special exhibitions not to be missed . Though it’s always something in NY not to be missed all year round 24/7, the city never sleeps. Please pass by the Bergdorf & Goodman windows, they are always unpredictable and fantastic, especially at near Christmas time.
    How much I’d love to hear Kaas live, loved so much her talented tandem with Jeremy Irons in ‘And now Ladies and Gentlemen’ but she is coming only to Montreal…alas …
    Have a wonderful trip and get togethers dear Veronique and keep us posted.

    • Bonsoir Natalie. Good call about the Bergdorf Goodman windows. I won’t get to see the Christmas window displays at le Printemps and les Galeries Layette this year, so that would be neat!

      Kaas is going to be great. I can hardly wait! Her tour is unique this time: She only performs in iconic locations, such as the Olympia, in Paris; the Royal Albert hall in London; and Carnegie Hall, bien sûr. I am glad I will be able to “catch her” in one of them!

      A bientôt.

  14. What a spellbinding post, Veronique. Riveting for bibliophiles, film mavens, and Big Apple Lovers like me. My Californian son was an exchange student in Aix-en-Provence…and a grad student in Paris..becoming a French citizen and has lived in Europe ever since. So much back and forth between old friends. ‘Cider House’ did rule. LOVED that film. What a gutsy girl you were. You truly make the most of opportunities. So inspiring. Bon Voyage!

  15. Veronique, I love NY too. My daughters took me there last December on a holiday trip for my birthday.
    This blog entry was amazing!!!! First of all you have to be very special to have received a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship….and from reading this…I would say that you are!

    The first time I saw your picture…I was shocked at how much you look like an exchange student we had over ten years ago…Yes, she was from France (Limoges) and she was a Rotary Exchange student. She came for a year, but I suspect you did the three week summer exchange on your first visit? I will post a picture of our Marina soon and come over and tell you so you can see!….Have a fabulous time in NY. I know that you will!…Janey

    • Eh bien merci beaucoup, Janey. 🙂 I was actually an exchange student for a whole year (1984-1985.) It was a special program handled by all Rotary Clubs in Georgia. At the time, they awarded about 50 scholarships a year to students worldwide. I was one of two French students chosen for the program, and I was very proud 🙂 It was a wonderful year. It changed everything, really. New York has been delivering so far… 🙂

  16. I hope that you have a fabulous trip, how could you not?! I hope that you will discover new food adventures, new scenes, and many familiar old ones.

    Your chic travel attire convinces me that yes… you are a French girl! (You rock!)


    • Ha! Ha! Well, this French Girl forgot the essential rule of city travel: Get comfortable shoes. I walk 6 or 7 hours a day, and my feet are KILLING me when I return to my hotel at night… Mind you, any shoes would feel bad after that much walking… except sneakers, but I was determined not to wear any on this trip 🙂

    • Isn’t it ever, Jeanne! I can’t believe how lucky I am: It is cold, but the weather has been sunny every day since I arrived. How beautiful New York looks in the Fall. I am just amazed at how many trees have kept their fall colors in spite of Sandy the Superstorm!

  17. I enjoyed looking at all your posts. You have nice photos of Nice – we had a great time there last month and perfect weather. I understand your love of New York – it is a vibrant town – we try to go there at least every other year but have been lucky to go there twice since last year. I’ll look forward to your photo and your tales on the Big Apple. Enjoy yourself and Bon voyage!

  18. I wish you a wonderful trip, Véronique and a fun time with the your dear girl friend.
    Can’t believe you are going to see Patricia Kaas at Carnegie Hall. Have you seen the movie “Ladies and Gentlemen” (Claude Lelouch)? At the very beginning of the movie P Kass is singing a song where she pretends to be a star having a show at Carnegie Hall!!!
    Bisous à toi et à la grosse pomme 🙂
    Anne (Playing With Scarves)

  19. Have a fabulous time! (Actually, by this time you are there and enjoying yourself immensely!) And you sure know how to travel in style! I love living on the Left Coast, but i miss visiting New York. A lot. I think a vacation there soon is in order for my husband and i as well! 🙂 Hope you’re enjoying all the delicious repast!

  20. Your write wonderful posts. Pirates of Penzance, was the first G&S I saw when I was at school and I immediately became a G&S fan. Similarly with my daughter when she was 8 years old. She is now in her late 20’s and can still recite every word from this operetta! My mother fell in love with New York on her first visit. My brother lived there for 5 years and was heart broken when he had to relinquish its charm for life back in Australia. This amazing city still eludes me……..One day perhaps……..
    Apologies for not being more active in the blog world. I have been too flat to participate since returning from France. Most of the renovations to My French Folly have to taken out and redone, I had a head on car accident on our third day in Haute Marne, a few trips to the local French hospital and after 3 months, I am still waiting for the exact cost estimate from the huissier who confirmed in her report that the work done by A Piece of Burgundy was unprofessional and poor and has to be redone, which will possibly cost more than the purchase price of the house. Because A Piece of Burgundy were not operating with the correct siret number, chasing them for reimbursement has involved employing a lawyer….all too depressing! Enjoy NY. Bisous

    • Welcome back, Elizabeth.

      I just can’t believe the trouble you have been experiencing in France. First of all, sorry about the car accident. Did you get out of it relatively unscathed? I hope so… As for “That Piece of Burgundy” business, they certainly sound like a bunch of crooks! And now you are dealing with French lawyers to boot… from the other end of the world! I could not blame you if you decided to give up on your French folly altogether! You are one brave woman… I can barely deal with the contractors who live in town, let alone foreign ones…

    • You would think I would like cities since they are considered girls. But, truth be known, cities give me Although for Miss Patricia Kass, I would totally go visit!;) You’re one lucky lady. Je suis tres jalouse. J’espère que tu t’amuseras pendant tu es là.=) I love all these photos. Your son looks like he is having a blast! Happy holidays V. xx

    • Beaucoup de choses. Des images d’Epinal, trimbalées dans de vieux films et séries TV, des bouquins lus à la Fac… Le premier voyage aux USA, c’est toujours spécial. Et puis la réalité s’installe, après quelques années, pour ceux d’entre nous qui ont choisi de s’y installer, pour un an, pour dix, ou pour plus longtemps. Il y a du bon. Il y a du moins bon. Mais certains endroits, comme New York, ne déçoivent jamais… Alors on y retourne toujours avec plaisir.

    • Justement, te voyais-tu à Seattle ? Moi, je rêvais plutôt de Californie, de Floride ou de New York, et je suis dans le Colorado (là où j’ai trouvé du travail quoi !).

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31 Responses to A weekend in “the Little Big City”: Portland, OR

  1. Dearest Véronique,

    Merci for mentioning parapluie; like in my home country… Sounds so good to recognize this world after 28 years!
    What a lovely and surprising city Portland, OR is. Love that trainsation with its tower, indeed it reminded me right away of San Marco Plaza in Venice.
    Have a great week ahead and thanks for such an informative post!

    Love to you,


  2. Je rêve depuis tres longtemps de l’Oregon, depuis qu’ado, j’avais lu dans un atlas de 1860: “Oregon, terre sauvage du nord ouest americain, peuplée d’indiens hostiles”..Puis j’ai vu “un flic a la maternelle”, que j’a adoré parce qu’il se passe à Astoria, il fait tout le temps gris et on voit les bateaux passer sur le fleuve. Alors, decouvrir Portland par tes yeux fait partie du plaisir! J’adore les statues d’animaux sauvages en pleine ville, la gare est tout simplement sublime, toute l’ambiance fait envie..(sigh)Encore un joli voyage partagé, merci!
    Bonne semaine!

  3. Un bien joli voyage! Et puis, en train, c’est toujours une aventure. Il s’y passe des choses que l’on ne rencontre nulle part ailleurs. Les rencontres, aussi, peuvent être intéressantes.
    J’aime beaucoup ton blog, Véronique!

  4. What a great post Veronique! I am outright fascinated by Portland, I have to say. It really seems to have the best of everything the States has to offer…if only there wasn’t so much rain…Did you eat well? I love that you were upgraded to a suite! Nice things happen to nice people…

  5. Wow, fantastically interesting post. You are a bonafide reporter…so impressive! I love how ecologically advanced Portland is. Wish that was everywhere. And that they care about the arts–it’s a city with its priorities in order. Glad you had such an enjoyable trip!

  6. –Mariette — Merci dear friend, and thank you for your visit. There is a little bit of Europe in Portland, and I find it a fascinating city.
    — Maryss — Oui, tu aimerais beaucoup Portland. Les habitants sont très accueillants et sympathiques, comme dans les petites villes. En même temps, il y a beaucoup à faire côté divertissement et la nature n’est jamais loin. L’Oregon est un des plus beaux états américains.
    — Richard — Merci beaucoup. Je crois que je vais voyager en train plus souvent. Je n’y pense pas toujours, mais c’est tellement plus relaxant et convivial que la voiture. Une expérience à renouveler.
    — Heather — I agree with you. Without the rain, it would be one of my favorite cities in the US. I will definitely be back in the spring and summer. It is simply gorgeous then. Oh, and I ate well, but being on my own, I stayed away from world-class restaurantsv [Portland has a few.] I find them a bit intimidating. 😉
    — French Heart — Thank you. The arts are indeed a big deal in Portland. That city has so much to offer. Reporting from Portland is an easy job, really 😉
    === Veronique ===

  7. Veronique – I am so envious of your trip! It sounds like you saw, learned, and did a ton! While traveling alone can be daunting at times, depending on where you are going and for how long, some of my fondest memories are spending the day alone in Europe, exploring, while the person I was visiting was at school or work for hours at a time. (I had little tastes of solo ventures!)

    I have always wanted to go to Portland, and your wonderful photos make it all the more enticing! Merci beaucoup!

  8. v-i checked in last night, thinking perhaps another sunday post-but nothing- shut the computer off to really watch one of my favorite PBS series DOWNTON ABBEY-then, today i forgot it was monday this morning-3 day week -ends always do that to me-when suddenly i was like “my visit with v”-and yet again SHEER DELIGHT! i have never been to that neck of the woods-yet you make a good sell for sure! love the information you share- practical- the pic of you in the doorway of the train is so cute and joyful.have a great week– as always thank you for sharing another slice of your life!

  9. Hi Veronique! Looks like you had a fun trip! It’s been YEARS since I’ve been to Portland, although I did spend quite a bit of time there in the 90s and make the trip for work now and again. It’s a lovely spot and I do wish that Seattle would learn a thing or two about public transport from The Rose City. Especially today, when I find myself stuck at home unable to get to the office. I do not do snow either! Hope you are safe and warm on the other side of the lake! XO

  10. Great series! I like the photo of Hotel Monaco avec le chien. Great place. =) Love the whimsical art on street posts as well. Have great day Veronique!

  11. Yay, my hometown! Your pictures and commentary show it off at its best. I do like Portland’s downtown; however, my neighborhood (which isn’t that far from downtown) is hilly and has few sidewalks. Not good for biking or walking, sadly.

  12. — Katelyn — You’re welcome. I have always enjoyed traveling alone and did a lot of solo travel in my 20s. This is something I stopped doing while my son was very young, but I re-discovered how fun it really was while in Nice last summer. I hope there will be more fun trips in the future 😉
    — g — Merci mon amie. Downton Abbey would have been an excellent reason to miss this post. I have been watching it myself and love it. In fact, I had a few episodes downloaded into my faithful MacBook Air and watched a couple on the train to Portland 😉
    — I dream Of — I hear there is a lot more of the wet, white stuff headed our way tomorrow. School is off of course, and we are going to be stuck at home for the next two or three days. Oh joy. There are definite advantages to living on your side of the lake.
    — Sandy — Merci. That hotel was so much fun. I picked up their directory so I can visit more of the Kimpton properties in the future.
    — Veuve — Well, I am truly honored that a Portlander enjoyed reading my post. Thank you.
    — Designchic — Do add Portland to your list of places to visit. You won’t regret it.

    == Veronique ==

  13. Veronique

    Thank you for such a concise report on Portland. I have not been. It sounds like a great little city which has some good planners. From your account, it feels like a European City. Thank you and I shall look forward to visiting one day. (I have been to Seattle on a couple of occasions) but it certainly differs.
    Thanks again for this insightful account.
    Helen xx

  14. I enjoyed your tour of Portland. We took a short trip there several years ago and had a great time. It’s a nice size city and close to European cities for its interest in helping the environment.

  15. Sounds like Portland are doing a great job on the green living such innovative ideas Bravo Portland.
    Thanks for the virtual tour and so happy you are back on the tracks I love a train ride.
    Carla x

  16. What a great trip! And how clever to take a train. My son has become quite interested in trains lately, and we need to make a trip. Tricky to come by day trips in our part of the world, but we’re thinking an overnight trip might be a good gift to celebrate his graduation from Lower School this year. Maybe Portland should be on our itinerary…

  17. Brilliant post Veronique, I very much like the sound of Portland OR, not too big, sounds a little like Perth. I feel really inspired to take a train journey after reading about yours, my last trip was from London to Paris on the Eurostar which was fabulous! I know there is a trip that goes from Perth across the Nullabor desert to the Eastern states, takes a few days I think. Hmmm something to definitely think about. It sounds like you had a great time, sometimes it’s so good to get away on your own oui!

  18. I love Portland also and have taken the max train from the airport downtown

    I would like to take the train up to Seattle next trip instead of driving

    there is lots of snow as of today my daugter tells me

  19. — Carol — Just downloaded Season 1 of Portlandia. Can’t wait to watch it. Buried in snow right now…
    — Helen — You’re welcome. Yes, there is a lot of competent city planning in Portland, it’s quite obvious. I like that the acknowledge mistakes made in the past but are smart enough to plan ahead now in order to avoid making more.
    — Vagabonde — We agree. There is a definite (and very pleasant) European feel in this city.
    — Carla — I wish you could have been with me. I can only imagine the photos you would have taken to show off Portland!
    — Lauren — Train travel is always a good idea. I miss it a lot in the US. That was my favorite transportation mode in Europe (other than my feet, of course.)
    — PerthDailyPhoto — Thank you. The Eurostar is grand. We loved it last summer and did not even travel in 1st class. Yes, I did enjoy my little escapade solo 😉
    — CurtainsinMyTree — Your daughter is right. We are buried in snow this week. Life seems to have stopped in the Seattle area. The kids are loving it! Come back soon.

    = Veronique =

  20. Trop bien ton ‘petit’ article Veronique ~ tu as vraiment une facon de devoiler Portland qui est enticing et les pics sont super donc tour de Portland versus Snow awww je t’aurais suivie xo

  21. Oh this post makes me homesick for the US and I moved back to Europe years ago… One bullet point on my bucket list is definitely crossing the country via Amtrak (New York – Seattle preferably since I have friends along that route). Not particularly because I find it unique (as you well know trains are not that uncommon around Europe…) but there is something special about travelling on the ground, especially as you said when you’re sick and tired of flying!

  22. Thank you for your wonderful travel guide. Portland is a place I’d really like to visit (and Seattle too!). You’re lucky you missed the snow. I guess you’re pretty sick of the snow by now? I knew about Powells and the food trucks but you taught me so much more!

  23. Hi! I stopped by your blog via martine alison… glad I did! I love Portland but have not had much chance to really explore it. The hotel looks fabulous and I may have to make the effort to check it out! The train station pictures are lovely, too. 🙂 I will be back!

  24. Yay for Portland!! I love seeing all these photos of you in places I know so well. 🙂 Kind of makes me feel like we share a special connection now. Hehe.

    My dad went to graduate school at Portland State and he often takes our family back to visit. He has such fond memories of the place, even though it’s a lot different now than it was in the 70s.

    My favorite part of Portland is the food trucks. I can’t imagine how much fun it would be to work in downtown Portland and have such variety awaiting you for lunch every day. It would be a dream come true! Yum!

    And yes, that mall is pretty cool. I love that Portland has no sales tax (although I heard residents make up for it with their property taxes). But if I could just rent an apartment there and shop all the time, that little side note wouldn’t matter, would it? Hehe!

    Glad to see you had a wonderful visit! 😀

  25. wow- I feel that i have visited and lived there in ways- I do wish all cities were so ecologically and artistically inclined- so well done – thanks so much for this post

  26. Veronique, you look fab!
    I love those “Grand Centrals” train stations built like palaces on the turn of XIX-XX centuries. I’ve seen in documentary the majestic one built in NY but sadly demolished in 30-s.
    And I love street sculptures whimsical posts.
    The directions post on Pioneer Courthouse Square is very funny. Had you try to follow the arrow?

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