Jan 29, 2015

No-Go Zones (We Went): Carayaquoise


You may have heard about Fox so-called "news'" so-called "no-go" zones in Paris. I say "so-called" twice because, really, they're both bogus. If there are any zones that are best avoided in Paris, it's the various red-light districts that tend to be on the outer circle -- just where I wander the other day to get Pippa to an audition. The neighborhood, not far from Sacré Coeur is, um, how shall I put it?...different.

Jan 27, 2015

Def-Con Charlie: Vieurals


Since the Charlie Hebdo attacks, we here in Paris are living in a state of heightened anxiety, alertness, and security measures. There's an official name for it: status Vigipirate. I could tell you it means the equivalent of code orange, but really I just think of it as Vigilant Pirate. We all must be vigilant pirates. Like these guys on a boat in the Seine.

Har matey, this vigilant pirate will protect us all.

Jan 25, 2015

Your Secret Job: Fromage du Curé


There are French people I've been friends with for almost four years now, and I still don't know what they do for a living. Are they hiding something? Covert spies? Drug dealers? Book shop owners? Or, perhaps, they're just French. So they don't define themselves, their personalities, their friends, or their lives by their jobs. The feeling is, when you're not at work, why talk about it?

Jan 23, 2015

Ancient Hot Chocolate: La Truffe


I cannot say my girls have never met a cup of hot chocolate they didn't like because, well, they both poo-poohed a $20 cup (each) of French, traditional-style hot chocolate after one sip. Too rich, too thick, too intense, too much. Too much money, that's for sure.

Jan 21, 2015

Currents of Air: Le Roumé


My friend Nancy is an American who's lived her nearly all of her adult life in France and has been married to a Frenchman for over 20 years. Yet she laughs and rolls her eyes when talking about the French and their fear of "the courants d'air [air currents, or breezes]. They're all so afraid of the dreaded courant d'air. They're so convinced you catch a cold from a courant d'air, they won't even sleep with windows open. In the summer."

Jan 19, 2015

Politically Correct, French-style: Pecura Balsamique


We are talking to friends, recently moved over from the United States to Paris, about a girl on the gymnastics team. But which one? You know, the one in the blue leotard (that's all of them), with the ponytail (all of them), the tall one (relatively speaking, at least, that's half of them), the one who's good on beam (half of them).... It's exhausting. Finally, I simply ask, "Do you mean the black girl?" It appears I've lost my American politically-correct filter.

Jan 17, 2015

A Much-Needed Break: L'Ecaillon


After three days of early morning rising, staking out news kiosks, reservations, and waiting for hours on long lines in the dark and cold, I am finally the proud owner of two Charlie Hebdos, with the by-now famous cover -- one for me and one for a friend in the US. I had to buy them at two different kiosks, because most places would only sell one at a time, to try to accommodate the most people possible.

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