Favorite French Reads of 2016

20 December 2016

It’s been a rocky year for humanity overall but a great year for readers, particularly those who enjoy books about France or that take place there. In the run-up to the holidays (and for all you last-minute gift givers), here are a few of the titles I particularly enjoyed in 2016. Markets of Provence The second market-driven book from Marjorie Williams is a colorful guide to Provence’s food, antiques, crafts, and other regional specialities. A celebration of market culture, Williams demonstrates that they not only define the Provencial character but their role in forging social bonds among its people. Bonus: it’s small enough to travel with you comfortably! When in French To say I loved this book is putting it mildly. While Lauren is known for reporting on subjects ranging from Michelle Obama to the political undertones at the Salon de l’Agriculture in Paris, she turned her attention to a much more personal story — her own journey from North Carolina, to London (where she met her French husband Olivier) and to Geneva, where they lived for several years before arriving in Paris. It is at once a hysterical account of the seemingly endless series of hurdles, adjustments, sacrifices and head-scratching moments inherent to expat […]…

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The Only Street in Paris: Exclusive Excerpt by Elaine Sciolino

28 December 2015

As the year comes to a close and many of you are flush with holiday free time and are perhaps in search of a good book to dive into with a glass of wine, I thought I would share one of my favorite recent reads. I’ve previously featured author and journalist Elaine Sciolino on this site (back in 2011!) and have enjoyed following her stories from all corners of France for the New York Times over the last several years. But I’ve been most intrigued by her declarations of love for a very personal piece of her Parisian life — the neighborhood and, more specifically, the street, she has called home for the last decade. Her new book “The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs” spoke to me not only because I know the street well but because I have a similar attachment to my own neighborhood, my street, the characters that make up its narrative and the energy they exude. Part memoir, part travelogue, Sciolino’s book is a magical stroll through one of the city’s most coveted streets, brimming with artisans old and new who have, somewhat unwittingly, ushered in a sense of renewal in […]…

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Old vs. New Craft Cocktails: the Evolution of the Bloody Mary in Paris

19 October 2015

Up until fairly recently, Paris was anything but a destination for cocktail enthusiasts. You could find bar classics at extortionate prices in luxury hotels, uber sweet Mojitos at no-name bars, but little else. But since the Experimental Group stoked a movement with the launch of the first Experimental Cocktail Club in 2007, the cocktails and spirits scene has undergone a drastic transformation. Today, Paris ranks among the world’s best cities for innovative craft cocktails and talented mixologists. Celebrating this exciting change is Doni Belau, founder of The Girl’s Guide to Paris, in her new book Paris Cocktails (Cider Mill Press). Belau not only covers the new wave of bars and bartenders but also a historical context that may surprise most readers (hint: a cocktail culture in the capital first emerged in the 1800s!). Here, the author shares a bit of background to one of the world’s most iconic cocktails and how it has been updated for today’s tastes. The classic Bloody Mary cocktail has come a long way from its creation in 1921 as a cure for a hangover to the various ingenious riffs on the recipe, which you can savor today in Paris or in your own home. Harry’s […]…

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Turning 30 in Paris

28 June 2015

Today, I turned thirty. So naturally this was cause for self reflection – the good, the bad, and the on-the-way-up experiences that make me excited for this new chapter in my life and even more so to reach this milestone in Paris. To keep this succinct, I came up with 3 reasons for this upbeat outlook on the birthday, one for each decade: 1/ A firmer sense of self and a solid groove in the city.  Nine years ago, when I officially settled in Paris, I didn’t have a creative outlet, I didn’t know what each day would bring let alone an entire post-college career and I was perpetually doubting my choices. In hindsight, that seems par for the course. In our early twenties we barely understand ourselves as young adults and are, in many cases, grappling with the anxiety attendant to transitioning from four years of a familiar routine. I couldn’t count the number of times I questioned what I was doing in Paris, particularly as former classmates took to Facebook (the only widely-used social platform at the time, if you can believe it!) to broadcast their new jobs. On top of that, I hadn’t yet formed my own […]…

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(NEWS!) The Paris Book

22 June 2015

I have been living in Paris for nine years, writing this site for six and contributing to newspapers and magazines for over three. At some point, the prospect of taking the knowledge I have built up over the years a step further certainly crossed my mind. But in what form? I knew I would only pursue a book project if an idea emerged organically and if it felt right. An idea that I would be excited to research and write. Well over year ago, after a marathon catch-up in Paris with my dear friend Nichole during which we discussed some of the changes in Paris I’ve observed over these last nine years, that idea crystallized. But I sat on it. I wasn’t ready. So I let it germinate for months. Until Rebecca Plotnick, a photographer who splits her time between Chicago and Paris, unwittingly presented me with a challenge. It was during our first in-person rendez-vous and we were getting to know one another. She asked if I had ever considered writing a book – a memoir, a guide, whatever – to which I politely replied “Yes but I don’t have an idea. It’s not the right time”. She smiled […]…

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