All posts filed under: paris

The Five Most Beautiful Parks in the Marais

Paris’s Marais neighborhood doesn’t have an expansive park like the Jardin des Plantes or the bois that edge the city’s western and eastern edges — instead, it has gorgeous pocket parks, ranging from a fraction of an acre to several city blocks. See below for my five top picks, with a number of lunch suggestions — this list is a biased list of personal favorites, and does not include iconic spots like the Place des Vosges — simply because I prefer these. Vive la différence!  1. Square Léopold-Achille Bigger than the Square Georges Cain around the corner, Léopold-Achille was once part of the expansive royal park that stretched all the way to the Place des Vosges. The statues were rescued from the former City Hall, which burned to the ground during the Paris Commune. This park is especially nice in the spring, when the flowering trees are in bloom. 2. Square Georges Cain There’s a beautiful ornamental garden in this pocket park, organized around a 17th-century statue at its center. This park is equally well …

val du marne roseraie

Paris Field Trip: Roseraie du Val-de-Marne

Destination: Roseraie du Val-de-Marne What’s happening: This is an unbelievably beautiful rose garden within easy reach of central Paris. How I got there: The stupid way. Don’t go this way. Instead of entering the garden into my phone like an adult, I instead headed for the town where it’s located: L’Haÿ-les-Roses. I took the RER B to Parc de Sceaux (well worth its own field trip). From Parc de Sceaux, I had a 20-minute walk — to the center of town. From there, realizing my error, I had another 20-minute walk to the garden itself. On the way back, I went the smart way: Bus 172 to Bourg-le-Reine RER B. That, unlike the original trip, was a snap — about 40 minutes door [of bus] to door [of my apartment]. Entry fee: €3.10 Verdict: This place is awesome. The Roseraie du Val-de-Marne is a beyond-beautiful rose garden in a park with quite a lovely view north, toward Paris. (You can see the top of the Eiffel Tower, if you look.) That the garden exists at all is thanks to Jules Gravereaux, who retired at …

I Met Yvan Amar And It Was Amazing, At Least For Me

So last weekend was the Salon du Livre, the big Paris book expo, and it was amazing, for so many reasons: for the chance to see a bazillion books all in one place, for all the booksellers from all over the world, especially the Middle East and Africa, and for all the amazing book design. I took many pictures of the book covers, and they are all below. That, though, is not the point of this post. The point of this post is to say that I met Yvan Amar, and it was amazing. Yvan Amar is the RFI broadcaster responsible for les mots de l’actualité: the words from the news. These have included calamité, démonétiser, couteau, and many others. I use it to practice my French, and so I constantly have Yvan Amar’s voice in my head. Hearing it in real life was trippy. Here is how I handled it. I believed I spotted him, at the RFI broadcasting booth. I walked toward him, to see if I could hear him speaking. (I could.) I …

Aquaboulevard Is the Most Amazing Place in Paris

When one thinks of Paris, many things come to mind: the Eiffel Tower, croissants, the Louvre, the lovely buildings, the blossoming trees, excellent customer service. I’ll tell you what does not come to mind, unless you are a sophisticated consumer of the world’s finest indoor/outdoor water parks, and that is Aquaboulevard, delighting French children and wandering expats alike at the end of line 8. Aquaboulevard is not a secret, but I have found that it is universally known among parents of children, somewhat well known among Parisians, and not at all well known among everyone else. Let me describe it: Aquaboulevard is a massive water park, with both indoor and outdoor facilities. Its activities include many water slides, a “wake box,” and “la corde,” which appears to be a rope. I did not know this at the time of my reconnaissance, but apparently there is also a Sauna Parc accessible for an additional €9 over the €33 entry fee, comprised of three saunas and a hammam. I do not know if I can describe why I found …

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 …

france's best antique show

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!  

Paris: This Week in Instagram

My favorite caption (photo #8): “After a short nice summer, that depressive season begins. After all, Paris is almost all the time either cloudy or rainy throughout the year. That’s why Parisians get unpleasant like me.” 1. After being away for so long, I found myself drawn to iconic spots. A photo posted by MODE & THE CITY (@daphnemodeandthecity) on Sep 6, 2016 at 3:52am PDT 2. A photo posted by Richard Street (@_richardstreet_) on Sep 6, 2016 at 5:00am PDT 3. Like I said, iconic. A photo posted by T O P S H O T L I F E 📸🔥 (@topshotlife) on Sep 6, 2016 at 4:55am PDT 4. This looks like a very well-organized brocante to me. A photo posted by F r a n c e s c a V i g n a (@rummageroom) on Sep 6, 2016 at 4:32am PDT 5. A photo posted by Romy Yedidia (@romyedidia) on Sep 6, 2016 at 4:20am PDT 6. A photo posted by @yu____z on Sep 6, 2016 at 4:08am PDT 7. …

The 100-Year-Flood

In terms of localized natural disasters, I prefer a blizzard, ideally one that requires early departures from work on Thursday afternoons and necessitates a day off on Friday. At least while the snow still falls, and as long as you don’t have to work/drive/do anything during it, a blizzard in New York City is a beautiful thing. I have only experienced one earthquake in San Francisco, which was very fun, very small, and very confusing. In 2012, I spent three weeks in Switzerland, hiking and eating Swiss cheese (LOL) that came out of a plastic container. I flew home the night before Hurricane Sandy, having judged (erroneously) that it would be better to be close to my family in case things turned difficult. (Question: What’s worse than three people in the course of a hurricane? Four people!) I always take pictures of the skyline coming into JFK — how can you not? — but that night I took many, many pictures of the Long Island beaches below us: The waves were already starting to rise. In its smallest spaces, nature is humbling and awe-inspiring — …

Je T’Ecoute

Every Sunday I’m in Paris, even if I’m only there for a couple days, I try to go to Franglish, the non-sexual language-instruction speed-dating-style event I have mentioned here previously, in which you’re paired off with a French speaker and take turns speaking in the two languages. I love Franglish even if it always, inevitably ends with two language learners with their head in their hands, their brains about to explode from 90 minutes of trying to explain themselves in unfamiliar words. Here’s how my most recent Franglish ended: I tried to tell Romain, the architect I was paired off with last (after the 19-year-old French girl who said she’d returned to France from the U.S. to be with her boyfriend but that he worked all the time so now she used Tinder to make friends, to which my puritanical, American self responded: “Friends? Really?”). He had said he liked to draw, so I told him to send me an email if he put his drawings on a website: “Oh hey if you get a website let me …