Sarlat la Magnifique

Sarlat la Magnifique

There are special places one always returns to with anticipation and sheer delight. As a longtime expat, I welcome the chance to travel around France and escape Paris, where I tend to spend a lot of time because my parents live in the French capital. Yet Paris, like all French natives know (except Parisians?) is not…

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…