Paris for the people: Belleville and Menilmontant

Paris for the people: Belleville and Menilmontant

Bienvenue à Belleville and Menilmontant. Once located outside the Paris city limits, these neighborhoods, like la Butte aux Cailles, les Batignolles, or Montmartre, were annexed after 1860 when Napoleon III and his wingman, Baron Haussmann, undertook the 20-year “remodel” that would give birth to the modern city we all know and love today. Of all…

Paris boutique shopping: Inès de la Fressange Paris

Paris boutique shopping: Inès de la Fressange Paris

Paris boutique shopping can intimidate visitors who don’t speak French fluently. What to say, after the indispensable “Bonjour?” What if the sales staff start asking questions… en français? Is it true you are not supposed to touch merchandise? Inevitably, in order to save time and trouble, many will head for the nearest department store. Le…

Chez Gaston (Batignolles, Part 2)

Chez Gaston (Batignolles, Part 2)

A few days ago, I took you along as I explored one of Paris’ most charming neighborhoods, les Batignolles. The area offers an eclectic mix of eateries from traditional bistros and cafés, to hip restaurants and bars popular with the younger crowd, including Bobos (bourgeois bohemians) who have discovered the neighborhood in recent years. There are established businesses and newer, trendier places.…

Family stroll in Paris

Family stroll in Paris

When this former Parisian, now a tourist, visits the French capital, there is little pressure to hit landmarks, museums, or famous parks. It is all about taking a family stroll downtown, and getting reacquainted with my parents and my brother’s family while savoring favorite locations. Paris, always a willing partner and a generous host, provides the…

Montmartre pour toujours. Montmartre forever

Montmartre pour toujours. Montmartre forever

Montmartre. La Butte, the highest point in Paris. Une commune, a former village, once in the suburbs, later incorporated into Paris. The place where budding artists and intellectuals went to slum it in local bars and cabarets. The neighborhood where hordes of tourists flock in an attempt to recapture la vie de bohême, the bohemian lifestyle once favored by a long…

French markets: a thriving tradition in Lyon

French markets: a thriving tradition in Lyon

French markets: They exist in most towns and cities all over the country, and within cities, in major neighborhoods where merchants gather at least once or twice a week. They can be outdoor (le Marché Saleya in Nice,) or indoor, in old buildings often referred to as les Halles, like the lively Marché des Carmes in…

Savoring Lyon’s food

Savoring Lyon’s food

You followed French Girl in Seattle around Lyon a few days ago. We looked at historic streets, buildings and churches, scenic riverbanks, and at least one world-class museum. Let’s be honest: We can’t talk about that magnificent French city without discussing Lyon’s food. Tout un programme. A long story. Lyon is said to be the French (even the…

To Nice, France, with love.

To Nice, France, with love.

Nice, France. La Baie des Anges. La Promenade des Anglais. Famous names and places many travelers’ dreams are made of. For those who have been lucky enough to visit and spend quality time in Nice, no explanation is needed. They know. For those who haven’t yet, let me tell you the story of my long-lasting friendship with that beautiful…

French Girl in Seattle’s travel essentials (Travel Tips Series)

French Girl in Seattle’s travel essentials (Travel Tips Series)

“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” Freya Stark, Explorer and Travel Writer. Agreed, Freya. I love exploring new towns, big or small. I love traveling alone too. Wait. Alone? If I am fine traveling by myself, I still like to be in good company. I…