Franco File Friday: Linda, Editor/Founder of Parisien Salon

22 April 2011

I frequently receive emails from readers who have spent much of their lives dreaming about France and hoping an opportunity to move abroad will serendipitously present itself. When it doesn’t happen on a permanent basis, they live vicariously through French-themed blogs and websites and do everything they can to vacation in France whenever possible. Writer and photographer Linda Donahue created Parisien Salon out of a genuine passion to share her love of Paris – to offer insider tips, reviews and stories crafted not only by her but by a team of contributors who know the city intimately. But Linda is also one of those individuals I mentioned who would do anything to call Paris a full-time home and soon, that wish will become reality. Until then, she and her Yorkie, Ella, split their time between Miami and Paris. Read on….
{all photos by Linda Donahue}

Describe what you love about France in three words.
Lifestyle, food, photogenic-ness (I know, I made that last word up, but I had to condense it into one word)

Biggest difference and similarity between Paris and Miami?
The biggest difference between the two cities is everything. Putting aside the obvious (climate, culture, architecture), Miami moves at a completely different pace than Paris. While Miami is very much an international city and only 20 minutes from the U.S. (as I like to joke), it isn’t a city that allows for much lingering—which makes it very American. Most experiences feel rushed. People multi-task with cell phones firmly attached to their ears. The various cultures move around each other quickly. The only thing that moves slowly here is road and home construction (which is actually like Paris).
On the other hand, the greatest similarity between the two cities is the love of good food. Good restaurants here are celebrated, and the annual Food & Wine Festival on South Beach is the perfect example of this.

Most inspiring neighborhood to photograph?
That’s like asking me to choose a favorite child…if I had any children. I think Paris, as a whole, inspires me through its textures and architecture and colors. What really amazes me, though, is that I can walk through a neighborhood I’ve been in many, many times, and still find something new to photograph. 

There are people who complain that the city doesn’t change with time, but I think they’re looking for something so grandiose that they’re missing all the little changes that happen even on a daily basis. New installations within the jardins and parcs. Fresh flowers in a window-box. Fallen autumnal foliage adding color to the sidewalks and ponds. Lights strung up along the boulevards during the holidays. Flowers in bloom in the spring. And it doesn’t have to be seasonal changes. I challenge anyone to stay in the same place from morning to night, and they’ll see the landscape change completely because of the light and shadows and people.

What do you consistently bring back to the States with you from France?
A box of Ladurée macarons (citron and framboise are my favorites), tea from Damman Fréres, a few new Clairefontaine graph-style notebooks, and about a thousand photographs to go through. (I think I’ve finally kicked my Gerard Darel addiction. I think.)
Your favorite quintessentially French shop?
I’m trying to think of just one. There are so many incredible shops, but the ones that stand out to me are the ones I couldn’t possibly find anywhere at home. Laduree and Angelina stand out, only because the concept of a tea salon is so distinctly Parisian. E. Delliherin (on rue Coquillière in the 1st) is also a favorite because, even though I really don’t cook, I love the accoutrements of cooking.

Favorite French film and/or book?
There are so many French films to love, but my all-time favorite is and always will be Le Ballon Rouge.  As for books, I’ve always loved Dumas’ Le Compte de Monte Cristo, which, after years of reading in English, I’ve been slowly attempting to read in French. Very slowly.


I can’t wait for Linda to be a full-time Parisian so that our coffee dates and long lunches are a weekly rather than bi-annual affair! 

Be sure to subscribe to, book tours, classes and workshops through her latest venture, P.S. Privé, and follow her updates on twitter AND facebook (girl knows how to leverage social media!). 

E. Dehillerin | 18 et 20, rue Coquillière – 51, rue Jean- Jacques Rousseau – 75001 PARIS