All posts filed under: paris

paris mineral expo

Minéral Expo Paris: Paris Field Trip

Destination: Minéral Expo Paris, which I have come to understand is the very popular exposition of minerals, gems, fossils and rocks, as well as a billion crystals shaped like (a) hearts, (b) angels and (c) magic wands. Spot: Espace Charenton, at Porte de Charenton, which might be the least attractive place I’ve ever been in Paris. Report: This was an amazing outing. As I have recently discussed, I am a fan of crystals. Generally, I am happy to go to Minerales do Brasil, which is a very weird, very amazing store in the 8th. This, of course, was a once-a-year opportunity to view thousands of crystals at once. I wondered if I would see enough new stuff to warrant the weird trip to this extremely weird place, and I am happy to say that I absolutely did. (See pictures below.) One of the things I liked most about this trip was that it was so extremely un-Parisian. It’s in a room that looks like it’s the basement conference space at the most middling hotel in the …

Sézane: Paris Field Trip

Much is made of “French girl” allure. Maybe the reason why it’s so easy to conjure up that term is because — at least in Paris — it’s a real thing. “American girl” — what would that be? We are multitudes, we are that Coachella girl in the fringed poncho in Mitski’s video, we are Mitski in the raspberry pantsuit, we are Mitski in the gold mini-dress, we are myriad and various. Parisian girl style — not so much? I can’t describe it better than a French person, so here’s the situation, straight from a Parisian Instagram star: In France, we have style but the problem is that this style could be so boring. This is the same for every woman: In the upper class in Paris, you have a slim jean, you have ballerinas [flats], you have a simple tee shirt, you have a gray coat, and then your hair is with no artifacts [accessories]. This is a typical French woman. Honestly, if you find this subject remotely interesting (and I find it fascinating), …

minerales do brasil

Minerales do Brasil: Paris Field Trip

Minerales do Brasil may be my favorite store in Paris. There aren’t a lot of perks freelancing, and it’s equally hard to come by a finish line. When you finish a big project — congrats! Now you get to go look for more work! YAY! To deal with this, I started doing this thing where I would set myself a certain number of tasks, and then based on the difficulty of that task, I would reward myself WITH A SPARKLY ROCK when I finished. My collection, all purchased at Minerales do Brasil, currently looks like this: There’s a rock for when I finished a chapter of my book, a rock for when I finished a short story I was working on. You get the idea. This is a weird, random store, at the back of the second courtyard in a building in the 8th (it’s a 5/10 minute walk from the Miromesnil metro stop). I love it because — well, obviously, I love rocks (and minerals and crystals and the rest). But also because it’s …

A Word About Parisian Salads

So the thing I have noticed about salads in France is that they are not so much salads as ham with a side of lettuce. I clearly remember my first salad in Paris, which was at a cafe called Le Sully near the Ile St Louis. It had potatoes and goat cheese on toast, plus a lot of ham. It was not this, but it looked a lot like it. WTF is that? For the record: I like potatoes, goat cheese, and toast. In fact, I strongly prefer them to vegetables. But this is the point: I eat salad to balance out the times when I eat potatoes, goat cheese, and toast. If the salad is actually potatoes, goat cheese, and toast … that is not a very good system. This is all to say that today I went to Charonne to explore — Sunday afternoons being made for exploring, of course, since nothing else is open. My destination: Cafe Moca.

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 …