Wednesday, July 14, 2010

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

Julie Andrews may like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, but after living in Paris for nearly two years, I have come up with a list of my own favorite things that I like about the City of Light that may or may not be in a guidebook somewhere.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Flowers à la Monet

Eight years ago, I sojourned to Giverny for the first time in order to see the gardens that Claude Monet made famous in the last decades of his life. Japanese style bridges, a never ending array of gorgeous green plants, and the waterlillies he depicted so many times on canvas, are all part of this impressive landscape.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Being a California girl, I was practically raised at the health food store. Mom would make her weekly trips with us in tow and I grew up reading labels on packages. Needless to say, sugary cereals for a morning breakfast has never been part of my routine.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Sounds from Sainte Chappelle

One of the great things about Paris is that you can see and hear classical music being performed in many of the churches. What could be better than hearing music that speaks to your soul, while surrounded by a beautiful, not to mention historical site? It is a great way to spend an evening! Some

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


If you either have never been or if it has been awhile since you last visited Le Jardin du Luxembourg in the 6th arrondissement, now is the time to go back. My goodness, the flowers are in bloom! Horticulture is certainly another one of the French people's special talents.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Les Faux Pas

Communicating in a language that is not your native tongue can often lead to some pretty interesting miscommunications. If, for example, you say to a foreigner "What's up?" and they are not fluent in English, they will likely look up towards the sky, not realizing that you are asking them the all

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Allergies, Asthma and the Pharmacy

You marvel at the sights and sounds the City of Light has to offer. The Eifel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame, not to mention the plethora of cafes all capture your attention. You plan your day accordingly with what you wish to do next. In fact, you are dripping with enthusiasm, but

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Labyrinth

While I normally do not post my spiritual articles on this blog, since it is about the labyrinth at Chartres, I included it here. If spirituality is not your thing, then exercise your freedom of choice and read the next article about Sex & The City.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sex & the City

As an American woman, I find I have always taken for granted how easily it is to talk about one subject or another with other women. We girls can talk about anything from our innermost feelings to sexual positions with our men without batting an eye. On the other hand, I have read repeatedly

Monday, January 25, 2010


The game is that is. For those Americans not in the know, to the rest of the planet, football means soccer. Soccer may not be the sport of choice within our borders, but leap anywhere outside and you will see children playing in the streets with their soccer balls in tow while

Sunday, January 17, 2010


If you are walking through the streets of Paris during the cold months of winter, you will want to take a break to get warm. If you happen to be visiting the column in the heart of the Bastille, why not saunter off a few blocks to toast your tootsies with a cup of tea. Le Bar a The will tempt your

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Les Toilettes

When I came to Europe for the first time in the late eighties, I was forewarned about having to bring my own toilet paper when using public restrooms as it usually wasn't provided for you.  I was also told that the public restrooms often consist solely of a hole in the floor that a person simply had

Saturday, December 12, 2009


It's my first Christmas in Paris. Chestnuts are roasting on an open fire...Okay, maybe not an open fire. More like chestnuts roasting on a silver aluminum platter resting over hot coals atop a metal garbage can, but who cares? The chestnuts are still warm and roasted and with much delight, their

Friday, December 11, 2009

The English are Coming!

You’ve been in Paris for weeks and the one thing you miss is going to the theater. You want to see one of the many plays in town, but your French isn’t exactly up to par. Sitting in a room for two hours listening to actors in a language you don’t understand isn’t exactly what you had in mind. You

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Strikes in Paris are about as common as finding a Starbuck's in San Francisco. They are everywhere. On any given day, one is bound to find some group of Parisians striking or marching against the government. In fact, the French take the act of striking to a whole new level. It certainly make it a

Friday, November 27, 2009


You haven't really visited Paris if you haven't taken a sojourn through its wonderful nooks and crannies. Rue de Rosiers is one of those spots. Embedded in the heart of the 4th arrondissement, or Le Marais, this little piece of Israel is a must see.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

C'est La Vie

When I first arrived in France, I queued up at the supermarché where the line was growing exponentially by the micro-second. The one and only cashier called for backup. The new cashier, who was supposedly coming to our rescue, ambled to her post as though she were on a Sunday stroll

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Armistice Day

November 11th marks another French holiday on the calendar. This time it's Armistice Day, or Armistice de la Première Guerre Mondiale, which signifies a more solemn occasion. Those who were killed or injured during the first World War as well as those from other wars are honored on this

Thursday, October 22, 2009


What could be more exciting for the art world than to discover a new painting by Leonardo da Vinci? Sold a few years ago for a mere $19,000.00, the new owner had an inkling this painting was not a 19th century German piece as originally thought, but indeed a work by the great Renaissance

Monday, October 19, 2009


For the last several weeks, many expat friends and acquaintances have mentioned to me how the people in the Metro live in their own little world, making little or no contact with anyone else. Faces are empty of all expression except for the frowns that might be plastered on a few faces. The

Sunday, October 11, 2009


It was 4:19 in the morning and my bronchial cough I have had for the better part of ten months was raging. I knew I wasn’t contagious, because I have never given it anyone, but it certainly made it difficult for me to breathe. Not to mention the fact, that it has exacerbated my exercised induced

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I am forever on a quest of finding the most perfectly flavored foods to eat. Mostly everyone I come in contact with is aware of this little fact. So, it would stand to reason that someone would eventually give away a locals' trade secret, by whispering into my ear that there is a boulangerie in the 7th arron-

Friday, September 25, 2009


Most Americans know better than to ask their friends how much money they earn or to ask how much was spent on a large ticket item like a house. It is considered uncouth for us to be so nosy. The French, on the other hand, take the subject of money to a whole new level. Simply bringing up

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


(co-authored with Marion Fiore)

After reading my article A Little Sex to Marion, she commented on how I should have added that the gelato at Amarino’s is orgasmic. It’s funny because I used that very word after tasting it for the first time myself. But alas, while being true, I had already finished my article about Amarino Gelati

Monday, September 7, 2009


On one of my soujourns to Paris I sat at a cafe with my favorite book.  Planning on absorbing myself in the prose of the latest author I was reading, I got a little sidelined.  I couldn't help but overhear the ladies seated next to me. My book would have to wait, as I watched the scene play out.

Les Differences Culturelles

Yesterday I stopped at a corner traffic light waiting for it to turn green. Standing next to a family of three, I noticed that the father and teenage son were rambunctiously flailing their hands in the air, only to be discouraged each and every time an empty cab drove by.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


The first time I tried Italian gelato I was visiting Rome and was blown away by its taste. Even in the cold of winter I had to stop off to get my scoop for the day. American gelato simply does not hold a candle to the original Italian. While Americans may not be able to find a comparable gelato at

Friday, August 28, 2009


You have been in Europe for awhile and you know this because the cluster of dirty laundry on the floor is growing exponentially. With each passing day the pile gets bigger and the clean clothes in the suitcases quickly disappear until there is nothing but a cavernous dark space left. You don’t

Friday, August 21, 2009


American expat and acclaimed photographer Ami Sioux has published her second book PARIS 48˚49N 2˚29E. This eclectic mixture of photos gives the audience an insider's impression of Ami's adopted home...and just in case you were wondering, the numbers correlate to the longitude and

Monday, August 17, 2009


It’s still warm outside as the sun begins to wane. I open the beveled glass windows to allow a breeze to run through my bedroom. Like so many Parisian apartments, this two-century old building, encompasses a courtyard. If the draperies are pulled back one can get a glimpse of any neighbor in

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Château de Vincennes

The Louvre and Versailles are not the only châteaux in the neighborhood. While not in Paris proper, Château de Vincennes is just a hop, skip and a jump away—only a few metro stops on the line 1 direction Chateau de Vincennes.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


For years, I had been reticent to explore outside the arrondissements that were not centrally located. I had everything I needed in the heart of Paris and didn't deem it necessary to venture out any further. Besides, I had been warned that districts like the 19th had a 'bad' element and one had

Monday, August 3, 2009


After four years of university, I did what any reasonable post-graduate does—I packed my backpack and headed off to Europe for a two-month sojourn. I visited the anglo-speaking countries first, and then trotted off (or should I more appropriately write that I glided on a high-speed catamaran) to

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Year in the MERDE

For the last several months I have been seeing Stephen Clarke's book A Year in the Merde everywhere. It's as though this book was following me. I have befriended a few authors in Paris and inevitably their copy of the paperback would boldly stand out amongst all the other books crammed on their shelves.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Beach in Paris?

It's a hot summer day and you are longing for the sand and sun that a beach provides, but you find yourself in Paris, miles away from the Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. Will you fight traffic to get to the beaches of Normandy to find your repose? You could; but if you are here in late July through

Monday, July 20, 2009


You know it’s that time of year again when all you see on television is Lance Armstrong hanging out with one well-known actor or another. This famous 7-time winner is both the darling and the adversary of the cycling world and is clearly the showman of the sport. Be that as it may, he is one

Monday, July 13, 2009


The Americans had a Revolution and the French followed suit with their own a few years later. Over two centuries have passed and the remnants of this fight for freedom still remain. One cannot miss the ubiquitous French motto "Liberté, Equalité, Fraternité" screaming to the high heavens on many


For those of us movie-aholics or for anyone who simply has a hankering for some buttered popcorn and a chance to see Johnny Depp on the screen, don't despair that you won't be able to get your fix while in Paris. Thankfully, many theaters host American and other English speaking films in our

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fête de la Musique

The summer solstice is upon us once again. Historically, this change of season marked significance with various ancient cultures, often being celebrated with lavish festivities. The French have adapted this idea into a modern day celebration by taking advantage of partying on the longest day

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Square René le Gall

I often share with people how important it is to stop and smell the roses. Not just the roses, but all of nature sparks a sense of wonder within us. Furthermore, when I travel, I like slip into my adventurous side and just wander around in order to see what will find me. One day, while I was on

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sacré-Cœur Basilica

Dedicated to Christ's heart, Sacré-Cœur Basilica stands proudly atop the highest point in Paris in the Montmartre (mount of martyrs) district. It's notorious for being the ugliest church in the world, but I have good news—it grows on you. Construction began in 1875 for this Roman Catholic basilica and

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Nespresso Anyone?

For all you coffee lovers, you will want to make certain to visit Nespresso. Starbucks and Pete's don't hold a candle to this upscale coffee shop. Actually, "coffee shop" isn't quite the right description. It's more like a coffee boutique. Two floors of elegantly displayed coffee machines,

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I cannot tell you how many times in the last few months I have been asked by a French person why we use a particular word or phrase in English. I have only one response and that is that I honestly don't really know. There is a very definite difference between our two respected cultures. As

Monday, May 11, 2009


Many of us may take food shopping for granted while we are at home, but it is a whole new experience in France. Let's face it, we are accustomed to going to the store, putting whatever we want in the cart and having the cashier ring it up for us. Then, miraculously, everything is bagged


I was first introduced to The American Church not because of the church itself, but because it is widely known throughout Paris to post ads for housing. People gather during non-worshiping hours with pens and papers in hand, hoping to find just the right spot to live. Don't bother looking on

Friday, May 8, 2009


Holiday number deux for May is Victoire 1945 which celebrates the surrender of Nazi Germany thereby the end of WWII for France. The festivities include a procession of the military on the Champs-Elysées ending symbolically at the Arc de Triomphe. The sitting president lays a wreath on

Friday, May 1, 2009


The first of May kicks off a host of holidays during the month. La Fête du Travail (or Labor Day to us) celebrates the worker. However, May Day is also known around here as La Fête du Muguet (meaning the Festival of the Lily of the Valley).

Saturday, April 25, 2009


When visiting Paris, I encourage everyone to take a field trip to Chartres. It’s about an hour by train and will only enhance your excursion. Chartres is most noted because it houses the Gothic cathedral Notre Dame de Chartres—yep, there is more than one Notre Dame or ‘Our Lady’ out there.

Monday, April 20, 2009


If you are a woman enamored with the City of Light and have a desire to explore your racier side, then Naughty Paris: A Ladies Guide to the Sexy City might just be what you are looking for. Filled with colorful photographs throughout this provocative book, Heather Stimmler-Hall takes a sensual

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Progress. As we near the second decade of the 21st century, the world has become a smaller place. A half a century ago, only the wealthy traveled across oceans to foreign nations. Now, it’s commonplace for any of us to spend time sipping champagne in Paris. In addition, the advent of the

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Let’s face it, Paris is one of the most expensive cities in the world—especially with the exchange rate as it is. However, if you are on a budget there are a few tricks to getting around without damaging your pocketbook too badly.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


While the Louvre and Musee d'Orsay are always at the top of any travel guide list, there are a plethora of other museums in town that one can roam through. From grand homes left to the state to museums dedicated to a particular artist, Paris has it all. Wikipedia claims there are at least 153

Monday, March 30, 2009


You can’t come to Paris and miss Notre Dame. It is a must see. While it is true that the ubiquitous amount of churches and cathedrals that stand sprinkled all over Europe are certainly lovely and have their own unique charm and sense of wisdom held over from the ages, Notre Dame is still different.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


On every excursion to Paris I have wanted to plunge into trying the local cuisine. Blanquette de veau has been on my ‘must try’ list for quite some time now, but I never managed to get around to it…that is until a few days ago. If you are a vegetarian than read no further, this will not be for you. If

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Everyone knows what a croissant is. However, you haven’t really tried a croissant until you have had one in France. After all, it was invented in Europe and believe me they are different than anything you have ever tasted at home. They are much lighter and fluffier. It feels as though a

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dining Etiquette 101—A La Française

You are in the City of Light and are invited to the home of a French person for a fabulous meal. The various aromas dance to your nose as your tummies wait with anticipation at the prospect of having a home cooked meal—French style.  The water is poured into a glass and after about five minutes

Monday, March 2, 2009

Le Musée Rodin

Considering the topic of my college thesis was on Auguste Rodin, I don’t think I could ever get enough of his breathtaking works. He helped to define twentieth century art with his ingenious sculptures. While it is true that the artist authorized several castings of his works, even after his

Saturday, February 28, 2009


Without getting much sleep for a week due to having the most horrendous cough of my life, I decided a visit to the doctor was in order. I don’t have any health insurance in France so I was concerned the prices would shoot through the roof, but at that point it didn’t matter. I was officially sick and needed medical care.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Mark Twain said that, but I don’t think he ever spent a winter in France. This is my first winter experience here. Today it made it as high as +2C. Since I have been here it has been as low as -10C, that’s 17.6 Fahrenheit for you and

Monday, February 2, 2009

Le Petit Palais

Are you tired of the lines at the Louvre and Orsay, but still need your museum fix while in Paris? Well, hold onto your artistic hats. I know of a place that is perfect—made just for you. Located in the 8th arrondissement directly across the street from Le Grand Palais, Le Petit Palais collection is

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Le French Kiss

David Letterman pronounces his top ten list each evening. Here is mine:

“What are the top ten reasons for coming to Paris?”

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday Brunch at Le Reservoir

What does 24€ buy you in Paris? A phenomenal all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch at Le Reservoir. Located in the 11th arrondissiment, it is walking distance from the Bastille Opera.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Dress Code

June rolls in and so do the tourists. They are not hard to miss with the ubiquitous array of t-shirts sporting a collage of advertising. Shorts are worn which easily display white tennis shoes and sports socks. The fanny pack accessorizes the ensemble. And the final touch: drum roll please…cameras

Thursday, January 22, 2009


It’s that time of year again, when everything in Paris is on sale—and I mean everything. The ubiquitous signs exclaiming SOLDES (sale) are plastered on every retail window enticing the smart shopper to come in. Entrée s'il vous plaît! Leather jackets, clothes, shoes, furniture, you name it, it

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Check, Please—And Other Cultural Differences

When visiting a different country than my own, I try to learn a bit about the culture. I am in their territory after all and I would like to at least make an attempt to play by their rules. I really understood the importance of knowledge as I sat in a café one day. The people sitting next to me

Monday, January 19, 2009

Salon de Thé

There is no doubt about it, the French know how to prepare food. Furthermore, most especially in Paris, one could never say there is a shortage of places to eat. Frankly, there is a never-ending sea of eating places on practically every street. From the kiosks where you may grab a scrumptious

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

First stop, Charles de Gaulle Airport...or Orly Airport if you prefer. Paris has two international airports to choose from; though I have always flown into and out of CDG. Since Paris is one of the most toured cities in the world, CDG is always hopping. If you plan on arriving on a French holiday