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…

11 Responses to Family stroll in Paris

  1. Loved this article and I, too, love the 14th. And I loved Philippe Noiret. One of his last roles was performing “Love Letters” in Paris with Anouk Aimee. I was so lucky to have seen them there.

  2. I love experiencing areas of Paris which are fairly new to me through your pictures and comments. Thank you so much for your wonderful posts! I hope I can go back to Paris soon. I will never tire of going there!

  3. I love this post so much! I lived in the 13th arrondisement, and I used to stroll through the 14th all the time. This brought back so many wonderful memories and feelings. While I definitely ventured to the touristy areas, my friends and I always ate and socialized in the 13th and 14th. It really IS the truest flavor of Paris! 🙂

    • The 14th is a treat! There’s musée Bourdelle also and a great oyster cabane right near Tour Montparnasse. Which isn’t so bad when you’re too close to really see it…
      Thanks for a lovely blog!

  4. Merci…I see the Frenchman’s love for Gainsbourg and Birkin…and your son junior has grown into a handsome young man…You intrigue with tales of the 14th…sounds like exactly what I am looking for on my trip…

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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…

12 Responses to Montmartre pour toujours. Montmartre forever

  1. I really enjoyed seeing your picture of Marcel Aymé’s le Passe-Muraille (the Passer-Through-Walls). I had seen that years ago wandering around without a camera. Nice to know it has a name.

  2. Ahhh, I love this so much Veronique! Montmartre is my favorite spot in Paris. I love wandering the streets there. I so often read popular travel websites/blogs tell people to stay away because it’s so touristy, but I couldn’t disagree more. It’s quintessential Paris, in my opinion.

    As always, wonderful post!! 🙂

  3. Ah,I’ll be staying in a lovely little apartment just a block from the Pigalle Metro station again in about a month. I love that area!

    • Excellent. You may want to read the article I wrote about “SoPi” (South Pigalle,) if you have not already. 🙂 Thank you for the message you sent this weekend. Busy times, but I will get back to you, I promise! A bientôt, Jennifer.

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17 Responses to French markets: a thriving tradition in Lyon

  1. Still my favourite place to shop for produce, at the market. Despite having lived in France for years, the excitement of the market has never waned, it is now a part of my general routine!

    • I love les Maras des Bois. They are so tasty, just sweet enough. Baguettes and Mara des Bois? Sounds like a good French lunch to me (had I been around, I would have come over with some saucisson too. You need those proteins. ;-))

  2. It would be hard to say what my one favorite thing is about France, but the French market would for sure be in my top 5, maybe even top 3. Do you have a favorite? I like all of them in Paris, but esp Blvd Raspail and also Richard Lenoir. The ones in Provence are wonderful, too, such as Vaison de la Romaine, Ile sur la Sorgue, etc. I would love to go to Lyon and see the city and the markets.

    • Bonsoir Harriett. I used to live near le Marché d’Aligre in Paris, so I would have to say that is my favorite one. I lived in Vincennes as well with my family, and loved the market there. That’s the beauty of France: There are good markets, large or small, everywhere. A bientôt à Seattle! 🙂

  3. Après ce bel aperçu de Lyon ,il ne reste qu’une envie ,celle de prendre le train pour en faire la visite .

    Merci Véronique pour cette escapade .

  4. I would truly love to buy this beautiful produce. You are correct that here we don’t get the opportunity. Not only are there not markets, but there is no place to put it. Things are too spread out here and inconvenient. How I would love this! Great post. Thank you much!

    • Merci de votre visite Debra. To be fair, there are markets in the US: Pike Place Market in Seattle, of course, which is always fun (but touristy and crowded,) and in New York City, the {covered} Chelsea market. The atmosphere and vibe are different, though. Still, I’ll gladly visit a market wherever I go.

  5. Votre pique-nique est parfait! The last two trips to France have been marked by the purchase of Opinel knives. The first in Strasbourg, the second, after a little bit of searching, in Avignon. Since we make-do with only carry-on luggage for our trips to Europe, we haven’t been able to pack a knives for our “picnic kit” and have had to purchase them on arrival. The Opinel knives are perfect. The ones we have bought fold up into their handles for easy transport, and are always ready to cut up the perfect cheese, baguette, or fruit (ou même le poulet rôti !). Since we have had to buy new ones each trip, they have been great souvenirs for loved ones back home.

    • Bonjour Sandra. I can only agree. The beautiful folding Opinel knife you see in the picnic photo has been traveling with me for over 25 years, not to mention the picnics, or work lunches here in the US. This is a great, traditional, made-to-last French product. I have never had to sharpen the blade, believe it or not! As you point out, what a great gift too. A bientôt.

  6. Great story and the accompanying photo’s only made my mouth water and my stomach rumble as I imagined eating such delicious food. When I lived on Whidbey Island I always loved the Summer Market there. Asian markets are different then the one’s in Europe I imagine.

  7. I want to try and figure out a way to grow strawberries here in Seattle as close to those delicious mara Des bois! In Paris I about died, they were incredible!

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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…

15 Responses to Savoring Lyon’s food

  1. What fun you must have had finding the restaurant, wonderful! Everything sounded delicious. I’m looking forward to Part 2. As an aside, Marita and I booked our tours in Paris and Bordeaux. We are taking a 4.5 hr cooking class in Paris and we are so excited!

    • Merci Cherie. So happy Marita and you are returning to la Belle France soon. I know you will have a fabulous time, including at the cooking school in Paris. You will have to report back when you return. Enjoy Bordeaux too. Another beautiful French city to explore. Bon voyage!

  2. Finding a bouchon was confusing for us…most menus offered many of the same dishes which were unfamiliar even though I have spent a lot of time in France. But I think we found a gem, recommended by one of those lovely, warm and helpful people who worked at the desk of our small hotel. It is in la Presqu’Ile and I would recommend it but would love to know your thoughts if you go back. Another food related experience was the fabulous market! And a little restaurant serving only poulet de Bresse and decorated with chickens and roosters of all types everywhere you looked!

    • Bonjour Heather. I wonder if your “little gem” is not the place a local friend recommended to me during my stay. I never made it there, but I just looked at the restaurant’s website, and it seems the shoe fits. Will show it to her and report back to you. I see it does belong to the limited list of official “Bouchons” I mentioned. Ah, Lyon, so many restaurants, so little time…

  3. I gained five pounds (2.5 kilos?) in Lyon and never got rid of them. We ate and ate and ate and reveled in every second of it, from the simple bouchons to two-Michelin-starred restaurants (that was the limit of our budget, and 2 stars in Lyon already guarantee amazing amazing food).
    Your friend from Notre Maison gave good advice for choosing a restaurant in any city: limited options, not too many translations. Also, not too obvious. I’m thinking of a street in the heart of Brussels that’s lined with restaurants, most with covered (for the rain) outdoor seating and a maître d’hôtel who is more carnival barker, cajoling passing tourists. At the end of the same street is a severe building with one of the best restaurants in town. Nobody begging anyone to enter. No menu posted in 27 languages. Easy to walk right past.

    • Merci de votre visite. Gaining a few extra pounds in Lyon is an easy thing to do, I can see that. I was only saved by the impressive number of steps I took to explore once again as much of the city I could in two days, and by the other ways I sustained myself (more about that in Part 2,) the rest of the time. Good observation about restaurants in touristy cities. I have not been back to Brussels for a long time. Now I want to return 🙂 Bonne journée!

  4. If you don’t have the time to try them all… good local advice is clearly helpful… and an article like this one!
    I remember a visit to Lyon with the kids, when they were young. They were unfortunately not yet at the age to appreciate “les bouchons” (we had to lie a little about what they were really having on their plates), but I know that they have been back as adults … and have appreciated. It’s really special!!
    (I have been lucky enough also to make Bocuse and Troisgros… That’s also an experience, but different!!)

    • Dear Peter, I can see why you’d have to lie to kids about what’s in their plate if they are having local delicacies such as andouillette or gras double 😉 As for you, Bocuse and les Trois Gros: Only the best for Peter Olson…

      • You can still enjoy a Bocuse experience at the 2 star ( or toques) level- we dined at Brasserie Le Sud and it was terrific!

  5. Bonjour! This post is made my mouth water. I love how the restaurants support one another, such as when they couldn’t accommodate you, they took the time to recommend another great place for your to try. That’s a great indication of a quality establishment!

    I have never been to Lyon, but you’ve made me particularly interested in making it my next France excursion! 🙂

    • I highly encourage you to go to Lyon, Jessica, even if only to get away from big tourist crowds in other French cities like Paris. I loved how all these restaurants took food (and each other’s businesses) so seriously, and they did their best to save me from a fate worse than death: eating in a tourist joint with a menu translated in 5 languages! 😉

  6. I would say your sour evening turned into lemonade. I always try to eat early or very late when I travel to avoid the long waits for food. One must savor and enjoy your meal and France is a great place to do that. Although I have only been to the country once for a couple days, I managed to see Paris and Toulon in that time and take in the sites. Although as you said being a female traveler does tend to get you better service then being a young male. 🙂

    • Bonjour George! You are not kidding: I fully enjoy the perks of being a solo female traveler. I basically never have time to get bored in restaurants. Either the people at the table next door, or the waiter will invariably chat me up. Hope you get to return to la Belle France soon.

  7. Merci FG, exactement ce qu’il me fallait. Tant de choix, sans doute. Et en plus, ton blog me fait penser qu’il faut faire les réservations, bien que je sois tout seul. Je doute que j’aurai la même bonne chance que tu as eu. Encore merci !

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Lyon, the other City of Light(s)

Lyon, the other City of Light(s)

Is Lyon the most underrated city in France? C’est possible. She’s lived in the shadow of her big sister, Paris, for hundreds of years. They are the same age, over 2000 years old. Paris is crossed by a mighty river, la Seine, but Lyon has two, la Saône et le Rhône. Paris has two major islands, L’Ile…

30 Responses to Lyon, the other City of Light(s)

  1. I am so glad when you went back that it was still fantastic. I love going back to old haunts, often they have changed, but usually for the better, some things remain as they have for centuries, others have evolved. Looking forward to part II, and yes I am guilty, despite having lived in France for many years, I am a coastal girl, I know every department from Normandy down the west coast to the Pyrennes Atlantique and then all of the Mediterranean coastline, but not the interior! Guilty as charged!!!

  2. What a report after such a relatively short stay… and a second episode to follow! You can really find that you love Lyon (as you love Paris, Nice, Toulouse….)! Although I’m a bit of a Paris fan, I agree with you – Lyon is a very nice place! I’m sure you have been able to convince some of your faithful followers! 🙂

  3. A wonderful story and photos Veronique!! You included so much detail and I love the 30 year return trip to discover what has changed and what has not. How much have our own changes and experiences affected those perceptions? I’ve done that a few times in different places and it’s always difficult to fully describe. You did it beautifully. Lyon is one of my favorite places in France and I’d love to go back and visit there again one of these days soon. One of the best dining experiences I ever had was at Paul Bocuse – not simply the meal, but the events leading up to it as well talking with Paul and his wife afterward. Thanks for sharing!

    • Always fun to hear from you, Dale! Since you know Lyon well, and love her, I am happy you enjoyed this post and think I did her justice. I did not get to eat chez Monsieur Bocuse, unfortunately, but did not go starving either. More about that later. A bientôt.

  4. Merci for the wonderful vicarious trip to Lyon this morning, such a beautiful city. You make it all seem so easy to see everything and thoroughly enjoy the city. I’m so glad you were able to visit your past and that it didn’t disappoint. You are an excellent ambassador to France. I look forward to your next post.

  5. Old paved streets, small restaurants with wonderful food, good wines, I feel like I want to pack again and hit the road to say hi to Guignol. Thank you for that lovely trip without leaving my chair.

  6. Oh my! How I enjoyed this post! Lyon will definitely be on my to do list. So beautiful! However did you get anything done in 2 days? The history seems fabulous. The streets so quaint. The Basilica is stunning. Thank you so much for sharing. I am learning so much from you. I really appreciate the opportunity to follow you.

    • Bonsoir Debra. I did pack a lot in two days, but made sure there was time to sit down, pause and enjoy “special moments” too, like that visit to the beautiful park on the top of Fourvière hill shown in the video. I really appreciate to have you as a reader. Merci.

  7. Thanks for the inspiration, I am one of those who have bypassed Lyon. My next trip begins with Lyon! (Returning home From Nice, I miss France already… Waiting for part 2 – your travel posts will have to do until the next trip)

  8. I just discovered your wonderful blog and loved your trip report. I could close my eyes and almost imagine myself in the places you visited.

    As a 30 year Resident of Japan from the PACNORWEST area, I am always amazed about life choices that take some of us far beyond where we grew up or were born.

    Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading many more stories. Arigato Gozaimasu.

  9. I’m not sure how I got on the list for this Facebook post but it is so timely. We are leaving in three weeks for a month in Europe. The first half is filled in and we are working on the remaining. Your post settles one gap. Thank you!

  10. Although Paris will always have my heart, I absolutely LOVED Lyon! It’s a beautiful city with great food, excellent shopping, many interesting museums, silk!, but you didn’t mention the people! They were wonderful and so very warm and friendly. Having lived in Toulouse many years ago as a student, I saw a lot of the southwest, and also Provence. But all these many years later I made Lyon a destination on a trip which included only Paris and I am so glad I did. I would recommend to a first time visitor the Hop On bus service. Ride the entire route and get an overview of the city, then use it to go to the places that interest you. I had a 3 day pass and used it as transportation during those days. The metro is very efficient as well. After Paris it is now my favorite city in France.

    • Bienvenue Heather. Thank you for mentioning the people of Lyon. I dedicated this story to two of them, who used to be good friends of mine when I lived in the city. Many more deserve recognition! As for the silk industry, well, that is worthy of another blogpost entirely. So many stories, so little time. Bon weekend!

  11. Lyon is one of our favorite places in France, too, and your text and pictures bring back fond memories of our visits there! Paul Bocuse’s Brasserie Sud is among the best values anywhere in French cuisine (although Brasserie Georges is also fun for the antique atmosphere). The little town of Vienne (20 minutes south of Lyon) is almost a destination in itself, with some of the richest Roman ruins in the country. Glad I found my way to this blog!

  12. Je viens de découvrir votre blog, c’est magnifique ! J’habite actuellement à Lyon (je suis anglaise) et je trouve que c’est vrai, la majorité de touristes ignorent cette belle ville avec sa basilique, ses traboules, ses marchés incontournables… J’adore aussi le Parc de la Tête d’Or, ses jardins botaniques, les serres, les cerfs et le parc zoologique, trop bien en été!

    • Merci beaucoup Rosie. Ravie de votre visite. Oui, la belle ville de Lyon mérite vraiment un détour. Je suis pour ma part très heureuse d’y être repassée brièvement l’été dernier. Bienvenue chez French Girl in Seattle! Revenez quand vous voulez!

  13. Bonjour French Girl, one of the wonderful things about a blog, they live on. I’m in Ireland in August for work, but feel I have to take some time afterwards for several days in France. I know you’ve raved about both Bordeaux and Lyon, neither of which I’ve visited. I’ve visited a number of other French cities, so now I’m debating between these two. Any strong feelings? Merci en avance !

    • Bonjour Eric. Sorry, I only just saw this message. Lyon and Bordeaux are obviously very different cities, but there are similarities as well (both boast museums, and atmospheric old towns, beautiful riverbanks, and excellent public transportation.) If you are interested in gastronomy, I would pick Lyon over Bordeaux, but if you love to learn about wine, Bordeaux is an obvious choice, especially with the new “Cité du Vin.” Tough choice, really. I don’t think I want to make it. I love both (but have only lived in one.) 😉 Bonne chance et bonne visite.

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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…

36 Responses to To Nice, France, with love.

  1. Excellent and so interesting, as always. Beautiful photos. It is such a pleasure to travel vicariously with you. Merci beaucoup!

  2. I actually cried at one or two of the reports, and that’s no me hie! Born and bred in Northern Ireland I thought I was used to this carnage, but no, the soft side gave in. But as you say don’t let them win, carry on, visit this beautiful city, and strip of wonderful beaches, coastline, and wonderful bars, restos, and hotels. You could be run down accidently by a bus, car, or lorry anytime, at home or abroad. Little risk kiddos, c’mon come and see beautiful France. Five years in the north, a few visits to the Morbihan (south Bretagne), first visit for three weeks to my wonderful in laws, like second parents in La Térriér, beside La Tranche sur Mer, in the Vendée (yes as in the yacht race), and a honeymoon in Paris, not long after several attacks or attempts, never cooled my love for this country, or travelling and exploring. C’mon in the water is lovely. Chances of being caught up in anything other than a traffic jam minimal biloutes!

    • Bonjour Paul. Great to read you again, Biloute! 😉 Thank you for the personal témoignage. It’s very special to me that an Irish guy loves France and her people so much. Bonne semaine dans le Nord (you know that region also holds a special place in my heart…)

  3. My husband and I are continuing with our plans for a two week vacation to France in October. We’ll definitely make Nice one of our destinations. I really enjoy your posts and photos.

  4. Thank you for your very informative posts and wonderful photographs. What a beautiful.tribute to Nice ! I visited Paris , Normandy , and Avignon last autumn. I hope I can return to France and see Nice.

  5. What a touching article that expressed what most of us feel about Nice [& Paris] particualry when you spend a lot of time in both places – such special places each in their own way. I will share on my blog etc if I may. In fact I’d love to ‘borrow’ a couple of photos [with due recognition] if possible Thanks. Ralph

  6. Sieu Nissart … Je suis Nicoise et j’habite a Seattle egalement. Je me demande meme si je suis la seule ici? J’etais sur la Prom le 14 Juillet avec mes enfants pour des vacances tellement attendues. Il faisait plus froid que d’habitude. Le vent s’etait levé et on craignait qu’ils annulenent le feu a cause du vent. Le feu a ete magnifique et s’est termine en Blanc-Bleu-Rouge. La suite, on la connait. Nice est restee Belle mais il etait difficile d’en profiter. La promenade, notre promenade a ete souillee. Les nicois partagent une profonde blessure collective.

    Merci pour votre belle declaration d’amour a Nice. Vos photos sont maginifiques. Je partagerais avec mes amis americains.

  7. I have found your blog via Oui In France, what good luck! What a different trip your last was from the previous ones to Nice. I am glad you could take positives from the visit away with you. Annette

  8. Bonjour! Merci pour cet article merveilleux. Nice has become something of a 2nd home for me over the past few years, staying for 3 months then traveling around France and Italy from there. So, a trip to Normandie or Cinque Terre meant coming home … to Nice. I love the people, the food and the surroundings. Did I mention the food?
    Un signe de la main de Victoria, BC, juste en face de l’eau. Dave.

  9. Enjoyed your post and great photos! I live in Villefranche sur Mer part-time ..hope to meet you the next time you are in Nice. Also, liked your Eze post in 2011.

  10. I’m a California girl living in Seattle’s east side but Nice has also always been my love. When I was 21, I stayed in Genoa for a summer but took many day trips up to Nice. It’s just so beautiful – the architecture, the sea, the colors and light. I would feel like crying when I had to leave. I also really liked Monaco. The beach there had very soft sand and fish would swim around your feet since they put fish food along there I think! Can’t wait to go back. Next time I want to stop by Menton and villefranche Sur mer. Thanks for your blog. I was lead to it looking to see if Seattle can grow the kind of strawberries I had in Paris!

    • Thank you for stopping by Lindsay. I know there are many Nice lovers out there, and it’s always special for me to hear from them. Unlike you, I do not enjoy visiting Monaco (I once wrote a blogpost about it ;-)) but Villefranche, Menton, Eze Village, are all great options on the coast. As for strawberries, my favorite ones come from the southwest, les gariguettes or la Mara des Bois in particular. I wish you good luck finding their match in Seattle. 😉

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

  1. I’m so jealous of you because you have a photo with Rick Steves! I love him because he makes travel so unintimidating!
    Anyway, I think your travel essentials are spot on. I always carry a ton of notebooks and when I have that “down time” just after a day of action and before the aperitif, I love to write about the day’s events.
    One thing I might add. Inexpensive jewelry. Honestly–I bring cheapo hoop earrings from walmart when I travel because I don’t want to worry about the good stuff. If I lose a hoop so what!
    Ahhhh. I’m getting ready to plan my travel bag now. Next month we will be back in France!

    • Bonjour Cathe. I agree about the jewelry. I wear a few basics on me at all times. The rest is meant to help accessorize, and usually costume jewelry – as jewelry, like pens, tends to get lost on long trips 😉 Excited for you about your upcoming trip to la Belle France!

  2. In response to Clauvel, as a man I carry all of these items mentioned although with some slight alterations. Since I don’t blog I carry an iPad with an adapter to download pictures from my Lumix camera. My bag is usually a small backpack. And I have carried a Moleskin for years. Great article.

  3. Thanks for the post – I just ordered my OMG bag. Sadly, they no longer have it in purple, but I will love the black one.

    • There are a lot of articles out there on this very topic Candy. I recommend you visit the blog “Une Femme d’Un Certain Age.” She has recently written a great story about packing for Europe. Merci de votre visite!

  4. Merci for all the good suggestions. Good to know that sneakers are now trendy in Paris. I just bought a black pair for my trip to France with Marita in September. Having comfortable shoes is number one for travel. I agree with the jewelry, bring inexpensive or just wear the same thing everyday.

  5. I completely agree with your endorsement of the Paris Pratique (I have the 3 Plans par Arrondissement version). I’ve been a devoted user since my student days in Paris in the mid-70s. Map apps on a phone are nice but I still prefer this booklet: vraiment indispensable!

  6. I love the idea of the notebook for travel, I love collecting tickets, business cards and pamphlets while travelling. Love the scarves idea as well. Thank you for the tips.

  7. The OMG bag is lovely. It seems large for daily us while traipsing around a city…do use something smaller.
    I currently have a black canvas cross body bag that LL Bean no longer makes and it might just be too ratty for another month in Paris…

  8. I have retired my Lumix after a month in Burgundy and Provence last year. The best photos were taken with my smartphone!
    Color me surprised
    I just lightened my load for Paris in fall!

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62 Responses to Monoprix: The Parisians’ favorite store

  1. Monop is always my first destination in France! I head straight for the skincare aisle and stock up. Love just browsing in there…

    I’ve bookmarked this to make a point to visit le stylo d’or when we’re in Paris this summer. (We’ll be there for les soldes, which should be interesting.

    Thanks for sharing these.

    • You’re welcome, Susan. Life would be drab, indeed, without Monoprix! 🙂 One thing I have always loved getting there is “l’eau micellaire” my favorite make-up remover. They have several brands, including Barbara Gould. They make very affordable alternatives to my favorite brand, Caudalie, which is a lot pricier. I can’t understand, for the life of me, why “l’eau micellaire” has only just popped up on the shelves at my local Target over the last few months, after all these years. Now I see it everywhere. Ah, marketing…

    • I just returned from Paris on Labor Day and I miss the Monoprix!! Wow, definitely my favorite store! I was visiting with my son & daughter in law who are living in Paris and my first day the took me to Monoprix and I was hooked! To say they carry clothing along with food does not give enough credit to the high quality of all items found there! Give me a Monoprix!

      • This is my main method of traveling! I windup buying a few really cool and inexpensive pieces of luggage there, and then I give them away when I get home. All my nieces have cool, trendy luggage from Paris and London. At the very least, it makes one leg of the journey super easy.

  2. We were very lucky to discover the Monoprix 2 blocks from our apartment in the Le Marais. I loved all the new things to try there and while I was trying to speak French, the checker was delighted to try to speak English! We shopped there several times during our stay. We love to explore grocery stores when we travel to new places!

    • I am like you Stephany. I have always enjoyed visiting grocery stores when I travel. I remember my first visit to an American-size supermarket, Kroger’s I believe, over thirty years ago. I could not believe the size of the cereal aisle. This was before cereal became popular for breakfast in France as well. 😉 Are you referring to le Monoprix located on la rue de Rivoli, near St Paul? If that’s the one, I used to go several times a week as a grad school student. My university was right around the corner. Memories…

  3. LOVE the Monoprix in Chartres, where I’ve gone a number of times. I helped facilitate pilgrimage groups. We used to have receptions catered at a high end hotel until we realized that what was in Monoprix was better, and far less expensive. I bought a pair of socks there and I wish I had bought more than several. They were all time favorites and I never found anything even close. I love the clear photigraphs of the dairy shelves… All those yaourts… (Is this a word where the circonflexe would be removed? I always forget, so just as well we don’t need to remember any more).

  4. I love your blogs–always wonderful memories of France. I invite you to check out my website,; my love for France shows up as helping English speakers overcome their difficulties in sounding French. I would love to have your feedback. Merci

  5. For some reason, I just saw this post. I love it. Monoprix was one of my husband’s favorite stores in France (well, mine also). We would walk there every evening for a bottle of wine. I wanted to buy everything. I also loved the Buci News. They were so kind there. I saw something in the window I wanted to buy for a friend, and the clerk couldn’t find it in the store, so he climbed into the window to get it for me. I love the postcards from Paris. Oh my, I could go on and on. I always love your posts and your facebook posts! Thank you! Jane

  6. Bonjour,
    Felicitations pour votre blog qui fait honneur à la “french way of life”.
    Le concept Monoprix est à mon avis, un des meilleurs endroits pour trouver des produits divers, de qualité et à prix corrects. Tout specialement les produits alimentaires sous label “Monoprix Gourmet”.
    Une valeur sûre.
    Bonne journée !

  7. I have just discovered our local Monoprix, despite having lived in France for years! I have parked outside it many times and always walked straight past, that was until our 15 year old daughter told me I must go in, she had been introduced to the store by a friend. I loved it! What a find, the last time I remember going in a Monoprix was in Paris some 20 years ago!

    • Bonjour Susan. I bet the Monoprix you visited is very different from the one you saw in Paris 20 years ago. This was just about the time the chain changed their image and started becoming “trendy.” Glad you have one nearby. Their stores are not the cheapest, but they are so convenient; and so fun, n’est-ce-pas?

  8. I enjoyed your post on Monoprix. I also used to like the Prisunic (owned by Le Printemps stores,) which were a lot like the Monoprix, then Monoprix bought them out. I have been in so many Monoprix in Paris – I like the one on the Champs-Elysees, and the one near Ternes, about the one near le Square du Temple or Republique? And the one near St Paul when we rented a studio there. I will also go often to the one in the street between Les Galeries Lafayette and Le Printemps – they have a good selection. I like to buy “gants de toilette” which I call “mains.” I have never gotten used to American wash cloths and can’t use them to wash – I always carry my gants de toilette.

  9. Oh Man! I can taste the yogurts! I was in a Monoprix 2 years ago. Nice pictures. It’s time for me to go back to S. France. I’m so over do!! I have (kind of) a French post up. You should check it out V. =)

  10. You know, this wonderful article begs the question, how do I get big stuff home, to the U.S. ?
    I’ve done research, asked French friends, read online and looked at the FedEx website, but no real answer.
    La Poste used to have a fixed price box to pack and mail home, but no longer I think.
    What about the rug, the beautiful piece of furniture, and so forth, I can’t live without, but will not go on the plane ? Help please… I just need to find a Fed Ex in France ? Most of my “finds” are in rural France anyway, and the seller doesn’t ship.

    • I feel your pain, Gary. The good news: La Poste still sells the fixed priced box to pack and mail home. My family uses this to send me care packages on a regular basis. The bad news: Only small items fit inside it. I have no idea how to ship rugs and bigger things to France. I am guessing antique sellers do, however, since most of their clients ship back to the US. I would approach an antique seller specializing in French items here in the US and ask them how they bring the goodies over here. Sorry, not much help, but I have learned to live without “big” French items because of shipping costs over the last 20 years. Merci de votre visite !

  11. Ah oui! Monoprix is always the first outing when arriving in France. A great selection of cheeses, wines and familiar delicacies to get us through the first two days of jet-lag. Ne pas oublier La Carte!

  12. When I was going to school in Paris, many years ago, I became homesick as Thanksgiving approached. I was determined to find all the items I needed to make an authentic T-day meal. In my local Monoprix (which featured a loudspeaker with the sound of car brakes squealing and an excited voice saying, “Freins–sur les prix!!!”) I found cranberries which, wonder of wonders, had been imported from the USA. Not only that, they were from my hometown–Wilmington, MA. I was in heaven and have shopped at Monoprix during every subsequent visit to Paris. I make a pilgrimage to the one in St. Germain des Prés. Two days ago I wore a lovely shirt I bought there during my last visit. You can only imagine how delighted I am to have read your article. In your honor, tomorrow I am going to wear a pair of sox I also bought there, so I can walk around all day feeling very Parisian. Mille fois merci!

    • Bienvenue Michaël. What a wonderful message! So glad you once found a small piece of “home” at Monoprix. It truly is a special place. Thank you for wearing your French socks in my honor. I am flattered 🙂 Bon weekend!

  13. I leave for Paris, again, in the next couple of weeks and cannot wait to go to Monoprix again. Thank you for the wonderful reminder. By chance do you remember where you took the picture with the mason jar and Eiffel tower? My niece is obsessed with Paris and I would love to find that to bring back for her.

    • Bonjour Rachel. The photo was taken in a side street near la Place des Ternes, in the 17th arrondissement. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the street. I am certain you can find similar items all over Paris, especially as we get closer to the Holiday season. Bon voyage!

  14. I will be going to Paris in 2 weeks and I will be sure to drop in and take a look around. Sounds like my kind of store.

  15. Which is the best/biggest Monoprix to visit in Paris that has clothing and homewares? All the Monoprix we have been to have only had food.

    • Thank you for your visit Rachel. If the Monoprix you visited only had food, they must have been “Monop” stores (There are more of them, and they are typically smaller, catering to the needs of travelers in train stations for example, or working professionals.) There is a large Monoprix store on the Champs-Elysées you can visit, and most neighborhoods have similar versions, even if not all are created equal. Rue St Antoine near le Marais is also a good one. Bonne chance!

      • We went to a Monoprix today about 600m from Muse D’Orsay that was beautiful, two stories, and had only food and toiletries. We were disappointed. We will try the one on the Champs-Elysee tomorrow, but will it be more expensive there? When I lived here as a missionary in 2000, Monoprix was not like this at all.

        • Bonjour Elsa. Monoprix stores in Paris (and in the rest of France) come in all shapes and sizes. After a while, you recognize the best ones. Prices should not be vastly different from one store to the next since they advertise through the same channels. Like its old competitor Prisunic, Monoprix has been around since the 1930s and has evolved over time. It is now owned by the Casino group. Ever since the years 2000+, the positioning has been more high-end, with the addition of organic food products, and items appealing to a more Bobo (Bourgeois-Bohème) – or touristy – clientèle. You are correct in pointing out prices used to be lower. Things were different in the 1980s when I lived in Paris.

  16. Is it possible to ship things from Paris home if I want to buy souvenirs but don’t have the luggage space? Any advice helps!

    Also, on another topic, if my hotel in Paris offers laundry services, is this a good way to save on packing space? (Wear the outfits twice on a two week trip?)

    • Hello Melanie. You can purchase a pre-paid Colissimo box from the French post office. The largest size can fit up to 7kg and will cost under $50. As for doing laundry in a hotel, sure, why not? It’s expensive, but so is flying to Europe, right? 😉

  17. Bonjour,

    I just found your site because I googled Monoprix, looking for those wonderful Knorr and Maggi dry soup mixes they sell. I always buy a bunch to bring home with me but have just had the last one tonight. Do you know how I might order them online?

    All I have found so far are those companies’ German soups–not the same as the French ones. Monoprix carries about 13-14 different veggie, mushroom, and Asian ones that are inexpensive (less than 3 Euros each) and taste wonderful and are simple to prepare (just add water).

    By the way, I too love Monoprix. I have gone to the one near the Mitterand national library, and the one on Etienne Marcel near the Rue Montorgueil. Both were larger two-story stores, where I have bought a couple of cashmere sweaters on sale, cotton scarf, nightie, socks, and cloth placemats, in addition to food.

  18. Thanks for good info. We basically have a 2 day layover in Paris with 2 teen girls and one whats to shop for clothes and accessories. I plan to let her shop and eat crepes to compensate for jet lag in exchange for going to musee d’ orsay and walking the city!

  19. Bonjour, I stayed in the 15th and there is a wonderful Monoprix when you get off metro at La Motte-Picquet – Grenelle. Love that store. Will be in Paris June, July and August. Just checked and there is one near the apartment. Love your site and videos. Makes me feel I’m in Paris when I’m in Florida.

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Sampling crêpes in le Marais

Sampling crêpes in le Marais

Not all Holidays are created equal. On February 2, France celebrates a Catholic holiday, la Chandeleur (Candlemas.) This is a favorite one. For most French people, here is an opportunity to sample savory or sweet versions of the famous crêpes, (a national treasure, hailing from the beautiful Brittany region, la Bretagne.) It is also time to indulge in fortune…

29 Responses to Sampling crêpes in le Marais

  1. Those crepes look wonderful! I loved watching as he gently corrected the person speaking French. That has happened to me many times in our visits to Paris. Next time we go we will check this place out. And also your new YouTube channel. Merci bien French Girl.

  2. Merci biloute! I’ll try in April, when I finally visit Paris, from the wild north, Chez les Ch’tis, after over four and a half years in France. I love crepes, and j’énvie pour quelques maintenant. My revered agéd one is taking us to Paris for a few nights after our wedding on 9 April (j’ai réfusé la premier Avril!) at his expense. Bonne chance pour la chaine Youtube petale, et bon courage pour un autre semaine! I’ll never speak either language properly again, after living with the Chtimis, who are, as mad as us Northern Irish, with all the mixes of accents and dialects. Vive la difference! A bientot biloute! x

    • Cher biloute. Merci de votre visite. I do not get too many comments from the Northern Irish, especially one who lives chez les Ch’tis. You know, I lived in Lille (Lambersart, more precisely,) for 5 or 6 years during my elementary school years. I have fond memories of the Lille area and les Ch’tis. So do my parents. Thank you for subscribing to my new YouTube channel. I will try and update it soon. I have a few more video clips to share. Last but not least, I confess to being intrigued about “[your] revered agéd one.” I fear something got lost in translation. 😉 A bientôt. FGIS.

      • My mangled version of English, before I murder French even more petal! My father is the revered aged one. 80+ and still pulling the younger girls, without trying! Pmsl. Know the Ch’ti backline petal, as that was why started following you in first place couple of years ago. Shared the crepe video with my soul sis back in Norn Irn, who coming over with my dad, for her first ever flight, and first ever visit to La belle France. Coming for the wedding Chez les Ch’tis first – poor chile gonna have a severe culture shock!! Not really other than language, the northerners hers, not much different to us. After wedding, my da paying for few days à Paris! Gawd elp the poor Parisians with my terrible ungrammatical “French” dotted with totally ungrammatical dialect, and Chtimisms!! Have visited the beautiful Morbihan several times, and the poor Bretons at least ask ‘Vous est un nordist monseur?” “Ah bienvenue Monseiur le Ch’ti”! Pmsl/mdr. Revered aged one is my father who is 81 this year, and still young and spritely at heart, pulls more young women, and has more energy than me damnitt, but the French docs give me bucket loads more medications than the Brits/Irish ever did. If you up visiting your old pottes in the sch’norrd in April, and passing on 9 Avril, drop in and take embarassing photos of our wedding petale! I hope you enjoy the fun of English English, and American English, and the dialects, slang, etc, as much as me. Vive la difference. I never knew, or thought France had so many diverse dialects, til I arrived, or before visited the lovely crazy sis in the Morbihan. My nefs et nieces me fait apprendre un peu de Breton. The poor Bretons actually think I’m a Chtimi! Nordist deux fois – Née en Irlande du Nord, et adoptée par the chti. I dinnae ken whit language til talk hie bay! Bon fin de weekend petale. Bon courage pour une autre semaine. A bientot biloute. xoxox

  3. OOO and crepe day is the 2nd! perfect timing!

    what did he sprinkle over the nutella on the crepe? Cinammon?

    Thanks for the yummy video!

    • Bonjour Nicole. Yes, Crepe Day and la Chandeleur are the same holiday and happen on February 2. As I recall, the friendly crepe guy sprinkled coconut on the Nutella crêpe. You can hear the young lady order “une crêpe Nutella – Coco (noix de coco,)” or something along those lines. A bientôt.

  4. I returned back to the U.S. after five weeks in Bretagne, visiting a French friend who lives in a small town there. (I was actually in France during the Paris attacks…). Of,course, crepes are a staple in Bretagne and, even having to be gluten-free, I could enjoy les crêpes de blé noir, made solely from buckwheat, which is not wheat at all. Delicious! One day my friend and I stumbled upon a crepe- making demonstration and the guy let me try it. I did a terrible job, but he informed me that it’s really an art, to smooth the batter just so. I bought the wooden tools to spread the batter and flip the crepe, then got some buckwheat flour and one of these days I’ll see if it can be done in a cast iron skillet.

    I miss France so much! Your post was pure nostalgia for me!

    • Bonjour Lynn. Merci de votre visite. How wonderful to spend five weeks in la belle Bretagne. I am glad you got a private crepe-making lesson. Be warned buckwheat crepes are notoriously harder to make. It can be challenging to get the batter consistency just right. I have fond memories of a weekend spent in a very old home in Brittany owned by a friend and co-worker who was 100% Breton and loved to cook. One Saturday afternoon, we walked around the village and got each ingredient we needed to make les galettes (buckwheat crepes) from small shop keepers in the area. Lait, beurre, oeufs, and of course, la farine de sarrasin. It was carefully wrapped in thick paper and my friend brought it home as if he were carrying a trophy. I watched him prepare the batter. He cooked the crepes in an old pan in the giant fireplace and they came out just right. I have never sampled – or watched – anything that special in a kitchen since. A bientôt.

  5. Lynn the crepes Bretonne are very different, and more for a meal type filling – love em too. My sis in law to be (enfin le date de mariage est 9 Avril! yeeeehaaaaaaa!) in the Morbihan, Valérie, put us on to them, and are available in most supermarkets, prepared thankfully, for us maladroit. The finished products, not always, but the raw materials and preparations are very reminiscent of my natal Northern Ireland. Good quality contents, and nitty picky preparation (and if not perfect scrapped, and reused, or chucked out – usually to the dogs, cats, or birdies, circling yer feet!. That is another reason, when you come to France you are gobsmacked with the numbers, sizes, and types of pans (poeles) in use in Frebch kitchens – one for nearly every different dish. Sometimes French cuisine is like a martial art – if you don’t have the right weapons, you will never win the battle. Bon fin du weekend biloutes, at bon courage pour la semaine d’arrive.

  6. De bonnes adresses à noter pour les crêpes, merci!! Vous étiez à quel hôtel dans le Marais? Et merci pour la vidéo que je partagerai avec mes élèves~

  7. Comme toutes les photos gourmandes sont tentantes ! On ne demande qu’à déguster .

    Vous sauvez nos traditions ,une seule consigne ” que les crêpes sautent pour la Chandeleur ” 🙂

  8. V MY MOUTH IS WATERING …watching the crepe man in action is truly like poetry the flip the turn the press down OH LA LA-looks so good BRAVO on the youtube channel I am so excited another “I knew her when” moment – congrats onward and upward-best of everything to you and as ALWAYS here is to your goals and dreams coming true-

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ça va, Paris?

ça va, Paris?

“ça va Paris?” How are you Paris? — How I had longed to ask that question, when I landed at Charles de Gaulle airport on December 20. Ever since the November 13 terror attacks, I had worried about my family, my friends, Paris and her people. It did not help that French and international media relayed alarming news incessantly in the…

45 Responses to ça va, Paris?

  1. Thank you for this positive and beautiful commentary on our beloved Paris. I always enjoy your postings. Greetings from not too far away Mt. Shasta. Geri Metz,

  2. I love your write-up, so sensitive and personal. I LOVE how the Parisians – and you – gathered in sidewalk cafes as a form of La Resistance! Vive La France!!

    The recovery of Paris post terrorist attack means so much to me – and boy did Paris meet the match and overcome!

    Paris proved her “force de vie” in the extraordinary achievement of the COP21 talks, not 3 weeks after the attacks. The whole planet breathed a sigh of relief that Paris allowed these talks, with thousands of dignitaries, delegates, advocates and activists arriving under heavy security, and that the talks yielded a 190-nation legally binding agreement!!!

    Frankly the land of Jean D’Arc feels preternaturally equal to this extraordinary moment in history, for the planet. From the caves of Lascaux to the deft and hardballl tongue of Laurent Fabius – a new day for the planet was saved. It was a matter of intention that this happened, following the strong direction of President Holland – and the role of France is forever part of the world’ potential success.

    There is so much work to do, state by state, region by region, industry by industry, to get the carbon emissions down, as needed by physics, to sustain the bountiful life of this planet.

    I cannot say strongly enough how symbolic and felicitous it was that COP21 was settled in PARIS just after the City of Lights was attacked. To me it symbolizes humanity’s chance to rise from the knife edge and prevail. As with France – so with the whole world!

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Anne. I was personally amazed Paris did not cancel the COP21 talks, and so impressed city and government officials pulled through, with very positive results I must say. Let’s hope for the best now. As you pointed out, there is still much work to do if we want to treat our planet better than we have in the past. Bonne journée et à bientôt !

  3. I make an application in order to get your approval for sending some
    – i.e. 4/5 – of your beautiful pictures of Paris to my niece, in Grenoble .

    Would it be possible ?

    Rémy Clauvel

  4. Beautiful posting. Thank you for photos during your visit and thank you for reliable coverage of Paris during the terrorist’s attack.

  5. Thank you for this beautiful post, your photos are superb, as always. Paris is a survivor and you capture that perfectly in this post. I am so looking forward to returning.

  6. FRENCH GIRL….I ADORE EVERY SINGLE WORD AND THOUGHT AND PICTURE IN THIS POST!!!! without exception- once again you have captured the heart and soul of a city which has faced a lot-and ALWAYS returns more spectacular than before! I loved the daily updates via your facebook page but somehow this post just conveys it all! I hope you and jr have the most wonderful new year ever and here is to DREAMS COMING TRUE IN 2016! How is your beautiful addition- settling in fine I hope…..

    • Merci, as always, faithful g. 🙂 I wish you a Happy New Year! The new addition – aka Mademoiselle Coco – is settling in just fine and has me wrapped around her cute little paw already. She is a great companion (and one who does not snore at night. ;-)) As for dreams coming true in 2016, I have been holding on to one for a few years now, and hope I will be able to realize it, sooner rather than later. Bonne fin de weekend!

  7. This makes me so excited for my trip to Paris in March! I have been in love with Paris for so long, and am looking forward to introducing her to my sister. I’ll have to research your blog posts for some cafe recommendations while we are there.

    • Merci de votre visite, Diane. Paris will feel somewhat different from Toulouse, my hometown, but you already knew that 😉 I don’t have particular cafés I visit, as the fun part for me is to walk; and walk; and walk some more, then sit down at a random -but appealing- café terrace when I get tired. The more space for people watching, the better. Enjoy the beautiful French capital. May she meet all your sister’s expectations, and yours. Bon voyage! Say “Bonjour” to Toulouse, the friendly Southern Belle, for me.

  8. Love seeing your photos and reading your account of the visit. Can hardly wait to get back; this time we’re going in July, but I really do want to schedule a December visit one of these years. Yes, to cafe gourmand, one of my favorite things about Paris, especially enjoyed en terrasse.

  9. Just returned from a week- being there in January was wonderful! I had concerns about the weather but they were unfounded, the temperatures were not bad at all and there was just a bit of rain. No queues at the museums- we managed to see 10 exhibits! Great article????

      • We were actually in the cab en route to the airport on the evening of November 13th. Our trip was cancelled but we were determined to return as soon as able. We were able to use all of the exhibition (4) tickets we had purchased in advance, the only monies we lost involved a jazz show. I was so happy to see that many of the holiday decorations were still up, they were just beautiful to see – as I knew they would be. We found the 6 remaining exhibits that we saw just by walking around the city and seeing the advertisements on walls and kiosks. Tried three new restaurants, two of which were wonderful! I am still floating on air!

  10. Very nice read. Sounds like a wonderful trip and the photos to boot! Yes I’m jealous of you having French food again. Funny how it can be a hit or miss even when it comes to French food. I had a miss in Nice for. Niçoise salad. I know! And I not going to even tell you where I had an amazing chèvre wrap. Lol Happy Parisians are on point.:) xo

  11. I just finished booking our flight for this coming summer and the news broke out in November.
    For a moment I thought of cancelling our trip but my husband said No. It will be fine by the time you go, Paris is going to be safer than ever.
    I’m glad I did not cancel, and the planning has been exciting.
    I can’t wait.
    Reading your blog just made me more excited.
    We are going to the French Riviera as well, and I’m wishing we are staying longer than a month. So much to see.

  12. Please allow me to compliment you on your very fine photography.
    This is my first visit to your site from a link in an article on “The Local” Internet magazine website.
    I will be looking in here again in the future.Cordialiment,

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