Author: FP

A True Story About Customer Service in Paris

Last night, at trivia night, I decided I wanted not fish and chips (€13) but fish and mozzarella sticks (€6.50). Pourquoi pas? You only give your arteries one chance in this life; you might as well clog them with only your first choice of snack foods. Anywhere else in Paris I would have gone up to the bar and paid my €19.50. But trivia night is at a Scottish-themed pub: Perhaps they would be amenable to some negotiation? I went to the bar and explained my situation. “I would like fish and chips but no chips and an order of mozzarella sticks,” I said. Actually I explained it at significantly more length than that. “I’m not saying you should like swap the fries for the mozzarella sticks,” I said, because I am not a monster. “But could you maybe take like €2 off the total?” “Sure!” the bartender said. “That’ll be €19.50!” The bartender’s friend laughed and explained something I did not entirely understand in French. “Oh, oh,” the bartender said. “Let me see what …

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A Look at the Foire de Chatou

  Last weekend, we went out to Chatou for the Foire de, an annual gathering of some of France’s best and most expensive antique dealers. It’s definitely the sort of fair that’s more about inspiration than buying stuff — I saw pieces there that cost twice or even three times as much as what I’d seen at the Porte de Vanves flea market literally three hours earlier. So — that’s not ideal. But if you’re, you know, “in the market to dream,” this is (cough) heaven on Earth! It goes through Sunday. See more about it here!  

how to move to france

It’s Easier Than Ever To Move To France. Here’s Why.

Here’s why it’s easier than ever to move to France. And this is not a fake reason like, “Because you’ve never been less scared in your whole life!” or “Because after a lifetime of saying Oui mais non! the only answer must be Non mais ouiiiii!” There are a million ways to live full- or part-time in France — this is just mine; if you’re a student, spouse, fiancé, entrepreneur, artist, whatever, there’s a different path and an entirely different set of paperwork to assemble. And this does not pertain to work visas. Work visas? I have literally no idea. This pertains specifically to a long-stay visitor’s visa: a visa de long séjour — visiteur. A long-stay visitor’s visa is a very good visa for a writer to have. Stay as long as you like: The three-months-in-three-months-out Schengen rule does not apply to you. Have a nice time, drink wine. Renew it in a year. If you don’t like renewing it in a year, consider the skills and talents visa (la carte compétences et talents), if you are skillful and talented. Most …

The Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas: Around the World in Books

I am trying to read a book from every country in the world. The last book I read was Italy: My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante. THE BOOK: The Ice Palace, by Tarjei Vesaas IN SHORT: This is an utterly strange story about the relationship between two young Norwegian girls, and the titular ice palace. THE BEST BIT: This is a crazy book. I loved it the first time I read it, and liked it the second — maybe because the absolute otherworldliness of the titular ice palace — a frozen-over waterfall, and all the mysterious caverns behind it — were no longer a surprise, and what you’re left with is a difficult little story, about two young girls: 11-year-old Unn, newly arrived in a small Norwegian community, and Siss, a popular girl at their school. They are in that weird, gray place between childhood and adolescence, and whatever bubbles up between them, scares and enraptures them both. Even an early meeting is couched in the language of a very preliminary seduction: “[Unn was] an attractive girl. … …

Thank You For Subscribing To My Newsletter

Thank you for subscribing to the newsletter! It is now confirmed. If you have done so in order to receive the code for 10% off at my Etsy shop, that’s awesome! Please feel free to use it as often as you like. The code is: NEWSLETTERYEAH. If you were more interested in this week’s free map, please download it here! Otherwise, a few of the more popular posts: – Why everyone should read a book from every country in the world – Why everyone actually should move to Paris – Why I am part of the Facebook lie – And our past newsletters can be found here I make a new map every week, and new subscribers and those who forward the newsletter to their friends are eligible to win it at no cost. So please forward around!

Women of Science Have All the Answers

Maybe you let your subscription to Audible lapse? Or you’re all out of downloads for the month? (TBH this happens to me a lot.) May I suggest: this audio recording of me valiantly reading aloud my story Women of Science Have All the Answers, and I say “valiantly” because I’d just bitten my lip something major. Also, please enjoy the fact that I literally cannot pronounce an “an” sound, either in words like “hand,” “man,” “pan,” or, most tragically, my own name. I wrote this story an incredibly long time ago, something that will be clear from: – the Oprah references – discussion of “crack smokers” – “calling a car service,” which at least I was able to update to “calling a cab,” which in any case is sounding very 2013 – many other bizarro ideas Download it here.

This Week’s Free Map: London

This week’s map is London! London’s the greatest, and it is also the city that greeted Major Charity Adams (later lieutenant colonel, just FTR) with a Buzz Bomb. To learn more about Charity Adams, I strongly recommend her autobiography, One Woman’s Army: A Black Officer Remembers the WAC or Double Victory: How African American Women Broke Race and Gender Barriers to Help Win World War II. To download the map, shown below, just click here. Save it, print it out and frame it — it’s distressingly indistinguishable from a screenprint. The better quality the printer, the better quality the print, though even a super-cheap printer (like mine) will do a half-decent job. Each map is only available for free for a week, so download away.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys: Around the World in Books

I didn’t realize it until I was halfway through that “Between Shades of Gray” is officially a YA novel—and even then, the only thing that gave it away was its length (though now that I’m thinking about it, there are plenty of long YA novels, so please excuse my stereotyping). This is the story of 16-year-old Lina and her family, as they are deported from Lithuania with the arrival of Russian forces during World War II and subjected to a long list of miseries and deprivations. This is a very hard-nosed little book, and it is, in fact, remarkably well suited to being a tale told for (indeed) young adults: It is clear-eyed about the cruelties of the world in a way its intended readers will certainly understand. It was a relief, actually, that this book was not written (specifically) for adults, as that permits a simpler story, without the adult’s need to reconcile her experiences with her now-upended worldview. I do think that the average 16-year-old has an easier time adapting to a new, …