Archive for the 'Expat Life' Category


Origins of the “Lost Generation”

The hectic pace of life in the 1920s–the jazz, the gin, and the flappers–reflected unease as much as release from WWI. And although the Americans had participated only in the last 18 months of the war and had not suffered the same catastrophic loss of life, they too felt the anxiety underneath the gaiety. Ostensibly, […]

Halloween Costume Shopping

Parisians aren’t really into Halloween,  but what if you are invited to a costume party? Where will you find a costume? For those of you on the eastern half of Paris, you have the boutique Cotillon Moderne. They also sell online! In the 17th–metro Brochant–you have an address for a real costume shop. Smack dab in the center […]

Le Brain Drain

Yet another missive about the growing moroseness among young French people. I have to admit I agree with increasing number of articles about France’s top-heavy government and the country’s general bitterness dashing the dreams of hardworking entrepreneurs. Couple that with the Parisian pastime of complaining, and your have a beautiful country full of amazing sensual […]

Expat Health Insurance

You packed your guidebooks, your laptop computer, and super-fancy camera. All set to move abroad? Not yet. A debarking expat fantasizes about the great meals, rich experiences, and lifelong friendships that await us in our new home. What we don’t consider is health insurance. And guess what? Your Universal Health Care is not valid overseas. […]

Air Travel Alert

Yep, another strike in the offing. This time it’s the air traffic controllers–meaning that if you plan to fly in or out of France next week, Monday through Friday (the 27-31), you may want to try to make other plans. Here’s the article (in French) if you want to know what the union demands are […]

Attention Stamp Nerds!

If all you sending home from a trip to Paris is a postcard, at least put a decent stamp on it. Ask for the Versailles Collector stamps at any Parisian post office (or order online), which are valid for international mail (there is no postcard rate in France). They also have Eiffel Tower Collector stamps (they cost […]

Racist Moment at the Post Office

A little plump old lady with a scarf, obviously a foreigner by the way she was  rrrolling her rrrs, was berating the postier behind the counter [at my local post office]. “Your colleague just walked off and left me standing!” she said, pointing toward the postal bank counter (in France as in many other countries, the […]

Beware of Taxi Scams

Something funny happened that I thought I’d share with you. I was in a hurry the other day and took a taxi for a very short distance, only two or three metro stops. The driver was a flirt, telling me I was beautiful and asking where I was from. Then he went on about how […]

Luggage-Free Travel

Why, in the 21st century, is luggage still such a huge hassle when traveling? Packing it, hauling it, checking it, waiting for it, losing it… If you’ve got the funds and the wherewithal to pack a few days in advance, you can avoid all of these issues by using a luggage shipping company. One of […]

An End to High Roaming Fees?

Good news this month for Americans traveling to France with their smartphones: T-Mobile has eliminated those horrible roaming fees. See a comparison of fees for the big four carriers here. This seems like a much better option than hoping you’ll be able to find enough free Wifi to get by (and many high-end hotels actually […]

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