Archive for September, 2009


The French Can't Commit

Several weeks ago, a couple of my friends and I hatched a great plan — we would go see Julie and Julia together on Wednesday, September 16th, the day it opened in France, and benefit from the last day of La Rentrée du Cinéma when tickets would only be 4 euros.  It sounded like sheer genius, that […]

Visit Sarko's Digs Free!

  For culture hounds not heading to the annual Techno Parade, this weekend is the Journées du Patrimoine or “Heritage Days” festival. That means two things: Lots of doors that are usually closed will be open. The annual festival gives unusual access to: The Palais de L’Elysée (chez President Nico) Hôtel de Matignon (gorgeous old mansion/current residence of […]

A Squat Becomes an Art Destination

Originally a squat occupied by the KGB (a trio of artists whose names are Kalex, Gaspard and Bruno), 59 rue de Rivoli has been renovated into a cultural destination. In days gone by, the squat was threatened with expulsion even though it was often called the third-most-visited contemporary art venue in Paris. Ten years passed between legal issues and […]

Ham and Secondhand Shopping

The smell of ham mixed with hundreds-of-years-old antiques is in the air…It’s that time of year again when the Parisians’ mouths begin to water in anticipation of France’s best brocante.  While in most countries “ham & antiques” isn’t a natural combination, in France La Foire Nationale à la Brocante et aux Jambon is the country’s largest antiques […]

Dawn Patrol

There is a lot going on in Paris work wise at the moment (c’est la rentrée!), so I have to wake up very early in the morning. The advantage is that the streets are empty and that you come across a different kind of crowd than the one you see at 9:30. I love this […]

The Festival d'Ile de France

  The Festival d’Ile de France has a regional emphasis, unlike Paris’ other summer festivals and events. With 33 concerts stretching far beyond the major Parisian music venues, the festival combines a rediscovery of regional heritage with a huge range of world music. As part of this year’s theme, “Elles… musiques au féminin,” Directrice Charlotte Latigrat […]

Catfight in Luxembourg Garden

I witnessed something yesterday that I never in a million BILLION years thought I would ever see in Paris, ESPECIALLY in the very serene, very upscale and very calm Jardin du Luxembourg. There was a good old-fashioned catfight between two middle-aged women.  I was quietly sitting in a chair meditating on how to be more […]

Rykiel Season

It’s Rykiel season (or almost)!  The Rykiels are the royal family of French fashion. Mother Sonia and daughter Natalie have been designing since the 1960s when Sonia set up her quirky women’s knitwear company. Although she produces year-round collections, Autumn is Rykiel season: these are the months when you want to skip through Paris parks […]

The Differences Between Women and Femmes

  I had a call the other night from Jon Henley of the Guardian, who had reviewed my book and wanted to talk about a piece he was writing about French women. It seems there has been a sudden onslaught of books on the subject, some of them written by Anglo-Saxon women driven by the question: what do they have that […]

They're Baaaack

  For those of us who like to stay in town in August, la Rentrée can come as quite as shock.  During the last weekend of the month, you can still walk down the middle of Rue de Rivoli at midnight, marveling that le Marais looks like an abandoned movie set, but by the first week of September you will […]

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