Romantic Paris with Eurostar

31 October 2016
Romantic Paris Lindsey Tramuta

“Where can I go for a romantic afternoon/evening in Paris?” Few questions are as challenging to answer and yet I find myself confronted with it time and again. I struggle with the idea of city-specific romance, and more specifically Parisian romance, because it is so subjective and personal. And the weight of Paris as a place means the possibilities are truly endless. The very name of the city is enough to summon fantasies of a romanticized, bon vivant life: Seine-side strolls, languid meals with bottomless glasses of wine, picnics on the Champs de Mars as the sun descends and the Eiffel Tower begins its hourly sparkle. Romance in Paris hinges on a series of experiences that are contrived to fulfill an expectation. Like the way I once told myself that to feel Rome as lovers must, I had to whip around town on a ruby red Vespa. The reality is, I’m terrified of scooters and found myself more uncomfortable than romanced. I forced a scenario that I believed would produce a desired outcome. Instead of willing it to fruition, I believe in letting the city ensorcell with its own natural gifts. So when Eurostar asked me to describe my favorite romantic […]…

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24 Hours in Paris

26 October 2016
Seine River Cruise Paris

48 hours might be a good start. But 24 hours to experience Paris ? That’s like challenging a friend to a dare, knowing full well they’ll struggle to be successful. But sometimes, 24 hours is all you have to explore. I’ve spent that much time in other parts of Europe when work or other obligations made it impossible to devote more time. With helpful tips from locals and a firm plan, I’ve gotten memorable first, second and third impressions of a number of places and the same can be done for Paris. The real challenge is prioritizing what to see, do, eat, and drink in a city as experientially rich as Paris. So I’ve proposed two options for each of the below activities: one that leans more traditional (marquee musts for any tourist new to the city), while the other will be more local. Clement weather will be preferred/required for some of the experiences below. SEE There is a lot of ground to cover here so be strategic: if this is your first trip to Paris, focus on the center and western edge of the city which are the most dense in landmarks, shops and other places of interest (with convenient […]…

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L’Instant Parisien: Chronicles of Parisian Life

8 October 2016
Amandine Delaunay for L'Instant Parisien

Where have all the storytellers gone? To podcasts and visual media; to quick and easily digestible formats that satisfy an insatiable burning to jump from one nugget of news to the next. In other words, storytelling in the traditional sense of the word, has taken a back seat. As a writer, the rapid consumption culture that has infiltrated the world of media and our acquisition of knowledge leaves me more than a little disillusioned. It’s part of the reason I try, as much as possible, to create more than mere captions when I share bits of Paris on blink-and-you-miss-it platforms like Instagram and Twitter. I am convinced that there is still potential to tease out a narrative even when the average attention span taps out at 10 second. It’s why I reach for magazines that do justice to storytelling; whose editors aren’t afraid of exceeding an inane 500 word limit and dig under the surface of a place, a moment, a spirit. It’s why my book is far more than a guide (you’ll see!) and my work attempts to focus on people who nurture the art of storytelling, whether by words or crafts. So naturally, it’s why I have gravitated toward L’Instant […]…

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The New Parisian Cafe: La Fontaine de Belleville

1 June 2016
La Fontaine de Belleville

Before the weather took a nosedive (The Local reported that it has been the rainiest month of May since 1873), I was celebrating the opening of the ultimate Parisian neighborhood café by engaging in the consummate Parisian pastime, apéro hour. La Fontaine de Belleville, the first café extension from the roasters behind Belleville Brûlerie, is the quintessential corner hangout, adapted to today’s tastes. By which I mean that it blends quality coffee, quality craft beer, wine and spirits and simply delicious snacks like pain perdu and yogurt for breakfast, croque monsieur for lunch, and top-shelf cheese and charcuterie for evening nibbles, in a space that successfully looks both to the past and to the future with glorious effect. It’s a warm environment with spacious terrace seating, enjoyable music, and a rollicking vibe that sends the message that Parisians will never, under any circumstance, relinquish their bon vivant tendencies. But most importantly, it sees the gap between the specialty coffee world and the Parisian café idiom close just enough so that devotees of both can feel satisfied. Operating as a café since 1915, the café had a firm identity and a loyal set of regulars. The Belleville trio David Flynn, Thomas Lehoux and Jeff Marois didn’t want to radically alter its visual […]…

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More than a department store: Galeries Lafayette

25 May 2016
Galeries Lafayette Coupole, Paris

As a kid, I had a habit of pleading with my parents to take me to one of two places nearly every weekend: toy stores like F.A.O. Schwartz (RIP) or Zany Brainy (with a more cerebral selection than Toys R Us but no less fun) and the bookstore. Any bookstore. Provided I finished my homework for the week and didn’t pester my older sister, they usually agreed. These visits would sometimes last hours. The end goal wasn’t necessarily to go home with bags overflowing with new games or books  – my parents taught me to value and make the most of what I already had at home and be more discerning about new acquisitions – but to explore. Being surrounded by rows upon rows of books and games was an experience in itself, a place to lose myself to my imagination, and that’s all that mattered to me. That quest for experience, which any marketer will tell you is what defines the average consumers’ most abiding needs today, stayed with me, even as a suburban gal. I couldn’t find a veritable sense of place-experience in malls so I sought it out in the (infrequent) moments I’d find myself in downtown Philadelphia or in New York City, […]…

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