The Highlight of 2013: Mom in Paris

30 December 2013

As I type this, my mother is settling back into her home in Philadelphia and likely vowing never to climb another flight of stairs. We have just spent eight, frankly magical, days carting her around Paris, feeding her our favorite dishes at our favorite tables, pointing conspicuously at landmarks as wide-eyed as first timers, muscling our way through tourists to score the best views, dutifully waiting in lines for treats she wouldn’t find at home and sharing fragments of our lives in one of the world’s most spectacular capitals. But this visit was significant beyond the mere fact that it coincided with the holidays. It was mom’s very first visit to Paris and her first trip to Europe since 1972. Basically, this was an epic, well overdue journey that needed to be perfect. Inconceivable though it may seem, I was worried that Paris wouldn’t charm her the way it charmed me. That she wouldn’t fully understand why I’ve chosen this to be my home – why this city is somehow superior to any other place (closer to my hometown) that could have provided the backdrop to my life’s story. My concerns were unfounded, of course, because the trip was more […]…

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Alone in the Louvre

5 February 2013

The ineffable magic of Paris can be experienced almost anywhere – on its well-worn boulevards and cobblestoned market streets to its vintage shopping enclaves and ostensibly old-fashioned bistros that bookend each corner. But for me, the city is at its most ethereal early on a Sunday morning or late at night once the din of crowds and car traffic subsides. Walk out your door at dawn on a weekend and you’ll find that the silence is almost electric; the emptiness hauntingly beautiful.  Imagine that feeling within the illustrious walls of France’s most iconic museum. Filmmaker Florent Igla’s “Path to Beauty” offers a rare look inside the Louvre’s cavernous halls, without the throngs of visitors, cleaning staff or security guards to obstruct the views. Even from afar, the journey through art and history is exceptional. (If you received this post by email, click HERE to watch the video mentioned above)…

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Walking tour of the 11th arrondissement

29 January 2013

Take a little tour! I’ve asked Thomas Butler,Irish expat and Localers tour guide, to share an itinerary for the 11th arrondissement, the neighborhood I’ve proudly called home since I moved to Paris. A bit of history, a standout restaurant scene and a host of indie boutiques await…… Vibrant, ethnically diverse, and undeniably trendy – that’s the 11th arrondissement. Its boulevards and avenues span out from Place de la République towards the east, like Boulevard Voltaire and Avenue de la République, delineating this wedge of the city into its own distinct parts with their own character and atmosphere. This includes République-Belleville-Oberkampf to the West, Bastille-Popincourt to the South, and Nation-Alexandre Dumas to the East. Historically a blue-collar district, the 11th has evolved a great deal in recent years, due in part to the influx of young professionals seeking lower rents and an active nightlife. Over time, this gave way to a sort of gourmet renaissance, attracting younger chefs and inspiring envy in residents of the more expensive parts of town. This flourishing food scene is reason enough to venture east but there are a number of other attractions worth your time:  In the morning stop off at La Fée Verte {108 Rue […]…

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Wide-Eyed in Paris

28 November 2012

In the enduring spirit of Thanksgiving, I can’t help but express my gratitude for friends. As somewhat of an early holiday gift, I received a visit from someone I used to clown around with at Hebrew school each week as a kid, share my angst-ridden tribulations with during high school and with whom I talked through my existential quandaries throughout college. With him, I have that coveted friendship that no distance, absence or difference in lifestyle can dull. A trip to Europe was his gift to himself to celebrate passing the boards and accepting a position as an assistant district attorney- a stop in Paris was a non-negotiable. I would be his dutiful guide but the prospect was daunting. Would he glean even a jot of the city’s brilliance in only 36 hours? Could I do it justice for a first-timer? Judging by the wide-eyed wonder with which he approached our weekend, I think I can say with confidence that I succeeded. In fact, the last time I saw such cartoon hearts float above the head of a new visitor it was that of my father- one grandiose turn of the corner after another left him transfixed. And let me tell you, […]…

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Playing Tourist in Paris (Part II)

22 August 2012

Perhaps I dramatized things a bit when I said recently that the emptiness in Paris during the month of August was distressing. You see, I expressed this sentiment at a particularly fragile moment just before someone very important to me arrived in town. Winston’s return to Paris ushered in renewed resolve to spend more time outside and relish the fleeting urban calm. The canicule (heat wave) that blanketed the city over the weekend was further impetus to flee my apartment (which had turned into a furnace) in search of a refreshing salve. I have my preferred haunts but last weekend I wanted to do something different. My tactic for always having something new to explore is to reserve a handful of museums, cultural activities and even restaurants for the rare moments I find myself playing tour guide to guests (and the more frequent fallow periods of inspiration). And so Winston and I had lunch at the Le Saut du Loup, the comically overpriced restaurant in the Jardin du Carrousel, where the service is uneven but the views of the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower were unobstructed. We paid a premium for the terrace and the sensation of being on vacation. […]…

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