All posts filed under: NF

Why You Actually Should Move to Paris

Short answer: Paris is as good as you think it is. Second short answer: Because there is nowhere better to learn to understand beauty. The long answer is longer. When I first came to Paris, I had a writing job that was a dream in that it paid a living wage and that it paid that wage on time. I could also live wherever I liked, as long as I was online between 10 AM and 6 PM Eastern time. I planned to stay in Paris until I perfected my French (allotted time: eight weeks) and then head elsewhere. Six weeks later, we’d all been fired, I spoke approximately three additional words of French, and I was in love with my Airbnb host. By the time we broke up, a few months later, I was hooked — on Paris. In Paris, I found a poor laboratory for language learning (everyone speaks English, everyone is in a hurry) but a singular workspace for un moment de calme, if you know what I mean. A 10-to-6 work schedule in New …

Today I Was Accused of Shoplifting and It Was Kind of Awesome

Un dimanche soir, Maubert Isabeau se disposait à se coucher, lorsqu’il entendit un coup violent dans la devanture grillée et vitrée de sa boutique. Il arriva à temps pour voir un bras passé à travers un trou fait d’un coup de poing. Le bras saisit un pain et l’emporta. … C’était Jean Valjean. First, as I believe it is customary, I begin my story about being accused of shoplifting by saying I am no Jean Valjean, stealing bread for my family — which is a terrible situation to be in, and something to think about as I share a city with thousands of migrants and refugees who cannot enter a supermarket as I can: with the knowledge that as long as I avoid the aisle with the very expensive whiskey, I can pay for what I see. I thought about that quite a bit after I was accused of shoplifting: how my experience, which, while amazing in a very sideways sort of way, was made possible — and ridiculous, rather than threatening — because of …

how to rent an apartment in paris

How to Rent an Apartment in Paris (For Most of Us)

1: Airbnb 2: I want to be clear: I am not a victim. When your biggest problem is that you can’t find an apartment with a southern exposure and parquet floors in Paris—your biggest problem is pretty fucking small. That said, I can, with authority, say that finding an apartment in Paris was one of the most exhausting, frustrating, infuriating things I’ve ever gone through. I would not wish it on my worst enemy, and I would move to Mozambique before doing it again. My story: As I’ve discussed here previously, it makes sense for me to rent an apartment there. In the past, I’ve subletted. Sublets are easy to find, and relative to the two housing markets I know best—San Francisco and New York—they are ridiculously inexpensive. You can sublet an apartment here for under $800 a month. Maybe not in the 6th, but it’s a small city, and the cheaper apartments are in the more-fun neighborhoods, so everything works out. But then I got tired—of moving every 3 to 6 to 12 months, shuttling my stuff …

alexander hamilton tour of new york city

A Tour of 9 Alexander Hamilton Sites Because Enough Is Never Enough

OK, so we’re at least ten months behind the whole Hamilton thing, but we’ve been away. Actually: Where have we been? Uh, France. I traveled the wide, wide world and came back to this. #hamiltonreferences Because we just cannot get enough of Hamilton, and because listening to the cast recording ad infinitum is no substitute for investigating the man’s real-life hideouts, hideaways, dueling grounds and dinner spots, these are 9 New York City (and environs) sites on our virtual Hamilton tour. The Morris-Jumel Mansion Fact: This is Manhattan’s oldest house! It was built, in 1765, by Roger Morris — tragically, a Tory — on a 130-acre estate that went all the way from the Hudson River to the Harlem, which is mind-blowing. After Morris left, George Washington set up shop here during the Battle of Harlem Heights, only to be kick out himself after the British won Manhattan. Washington returned after the war, and here ate dinner with Hamilton (along with John Adams, Henry Knox and Thomas Jefferson) on July 10, 1790. Almost unbelievable: A French immigrant named Stephen Jumel bought the …

paul and joe sister

Paris Shopping Guide: Paul & Joe Sister

Today’s shopping review: Paul & Joe Sister Shopping in Paris is weird, because it tends to be both incredibly expensive and incredibly monochromatic. Well, I guess that doesn’t make it weird so much as consistent: Honestly, take the names off the shops, and I’d walk up on down the streets trying to figure out why there were five versions of Theory, all selling slightly different collections at basically the same price. (For example: Sandro, Maje, ba&sh, Claudie Pierlot, Comptoirs de Cotonniers, etc.) In my shopping experience, the French love a pricey basic—the kind of thing where you’re like, “Ugh, it’s so boring, I don’t understand why this costs $200,” but then you wear it every day for three years and it all makes sense. Which brings us to the French high street. American shops are becoming more and more visible here—Forever 21 (right near the Louvre!) opened last year. There’s an Anthro in BHV now, the only one in France. And soon there’s going to be a J. Crew on rue Mahler, in case the French …

Paris Spot: A Visit to the New Mineralogy Gallery in Paris

The Mineralogy Gallery at the National Museum of Natural History here has been closed for a millllllion years. But now, it is open, and that is amazing. I love the National Museum of Natural History above all and any others here. The Louvre? The Musee d’Orsay? Pass and pass. Whatevs! The natural history museum—hereafter referred to by its French acronym, the MNHN—is magic. Walk down the street at the right time, and you can look into its galleries from the sidewalk and see dinosaurs. Magic. And of course, the MNHN surrounds my absolute favorite place in Paris: the Jardin des Plantes. I love the Jardin des Plantes so much that I tried to find an apartment next to it—which of course was impossible, but I tried. It is the right first stop on anyone’s trip to Paris, unless that person is an ogre, or someone who objects terribly to loveliness and flowers and being happy. Anyway: the Mineralogy Gallery has been closed literally since those dinosaurs roamed the actual Earth—but it reopened last month. I’m sorry these …