Archive for the 'French Traditions' Category


Against Type

Bucking against that shopworn stereotype that all French people are rude, writer Amy Alkon invokes a Parisian habit in her book on how to be nicer to people. Ironic, no? It’s also nice to do as they do in Paris, where passing strangers are likely to greet each other. You’ll walk through the courtyard of […]

Hair Apparent

Hair. That is what is most different about the appearance of Parisians and Americans. The African women do serious weaves, often in koo-koo colors (think: weave salons near Strasbourg St. Denis metro station), while American black women go for more natural looking fake hair . Or just natural hair. As for white women, you will […]

What Else Did You Expect?

Is there anything more French than pursed lips? Even the half-a-face mannequins modeling eyeglasses at my local pharmacy assume the snooty expression.

My Local

To be Parisian, you must have a local—your go-to for dining out, an aperitif before dinner, or a quick cup of coffee. And to be super duper Parisian, your local should be less than fabulous. It shouldn’t be a blazingly shiny brasserie or reupholstered retro bistro. The waitress shouldn’t be sexy. Those places are for […]

May Day!

May 1st is both the Fete du Travail (Labor Day) and the Fete du Muguet (Lily of the Valley Day). The latter is a spring celebration dating back to the Middle Ages. Flowers were given by men to women they liked as a form of spring courtship. The Labor Day part of the holiday started […]

Prep the Pastels!

A traditional Easter egg hunt goes grand in the gorgeous manicured gardens of Chateau Vaux le Vicomte on April 19, 20 and 21. Leonidas, the chocolates company, hides over 85,000 eggs throughout the Le Notre-designed grounds. There is a separate egg hunt for adults, plus egg decorating workshops, face painting, and pony rides for children.

Watch Your Back

Happy Poisson d’avril! Just like April Fool’s Day, the first of April is a day for hoaxes and pranks. The difference in France, however, is that it is also a tradition to pin a paper fish on an unsuspecting person’s back. One the poisson is discovered, the pranker shouts, “Poisson d’avril!” Leave it to the […]

The City’s Most Famous Sandwich

Le croque-monsieur is THE real French sandwich. It is not just a ham and cheese sandwich made with two pieces of bread. It is toasted and it is famous. They are available in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. I could not believe my eyes when I saw a wide variety of croque-monsieur flavors […]

That Explains It

A friend explains the reason for one of Paris’s most marked socio-cultural traditions: In Paris, they love to make you run all over town to do paperwork, and when you do 1/3 of the time you arrive at the right place during their (schitzo) open hours and are met with a sign like this. It […]

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