Author: Diana

paris travel hacks - a view of the seine from the elevated road

12 Necessary Paris Travel Hacks

Paris is a city of immense beauty, but also immense, if occasional, complication. These are my best Paris travel hacks for navigating the city. 1. I feel safe here, but property crime is real. Within the city limits, I’ve never felt unsafe in Paris — not even walking home solo at 2 a.m. I don’t know anyone who’s been the victim of a violent crime. I feel physically safer in Paris than in the other big cities where I’ve lived — New York, San Francisco, London, and Rio — and I’ve never walked into a mall here looking for the exits in case some lunatic starts shooting up the food court. That said — that said! — property crime here is real. Pickpocketing is real. I feel like relative to NY and SF, you’re less likely to get your bag back if you leave it in a restaurant. And — pièce de résistance — earlier this summer a thief came through a window into my apartment and swiped my laptop. Bizarrely, parallel-ly, I feel like …

best non touristy neighborhoods in paris - image of canal de l'ourcq in the 19th arrondissement

The Best Non-Touristy Neighborhoods in Paris

Ever wonder about the best non-touristy neighborhoods in Paris? Our letter-writer did! (Pre-PS: If you have travel questions, please do send them to us via Instagram DM; there’s nothing better in the whole world.) The question: Can you recommend your favorite residential arrondissement — not touristy? Absolutely!! I want to open with two brief provisos in terms of the best non-touristy neighborhoods in Paris: #1: Paris is so small that I honestly believe you can stay anywhere within the city itself and have a wonderful time here — meaning that the more residential arrondissements shouldn’t put you off. The 15th is 1000X closer to the center of Paris than, say, Park Slope is to Manhattan, or Chiswick is to central London (and I say that as someone who lived in both of those latter neighborhoods — it’s not a dig, it’s just geography). #2: In terms of having a non-touristy experience: timing is as important as location. Montmartre in July is a nightmare, and I say that as someone who walked through the Place du …

Everything You Need to Know About Paris in August

Last summer, I was the last of my friends to leave Paris for the season — and I spent all that time alone doing the weirdest but also most interesting thing I could think of, which was documenting the exact vacation dates of all the Paris storefronts that close up shop in mid/late July through late August/early September. (I say “storefronts” rather than shops because “storefronts” includes boutiques, restaurants, and services (i.e. hair stylists) — anyone who might leave a sign in the window explaining why they’re gone). It took a very, very long time to sift through all that data — but it’s done, and now I can tell you: The average number of days a storefront closes shop in Paris in August: 19.15 I was a little surprised this was as short as it was — respect to the real ones who closed their doors for a solid month. The longest closure on my list was for 33 days. The shortest was seven days. Note: This is more the average of shops taking …

What to Do in Paris: 101 Ideas for Museums, Food, Day Trips, Festivals, and More

What to do in Paris: The Absolute Must-Dos 1. Sit along the banks of the Seine as the sun sets — ideally in June, but if you get lucky with the weather, you can do this literally all year round. And ideally you’ll get to do this several nights in a row — which means you can try out a bunch of different spots. My favorite include: the Right Bank right below the Sully-Morland métro stop, the southern bank of the Ile Saint-Louis, the stretch of the Left Bank between the Sully and the Jardin des plantes, in the Jardin Tino Rossi. If you’re there in August, look for the Paris Plages. 2. Well, you probably have to go up the Eiffel Tower; it’s required. 3. Even better, though, watch the Eiffel Tower put on its nightly sparkle show from the steps in front of Sacre-Coeur, up in Montmartre. Obviously you’ll want to go late; follow it with dinner at La Boite aux Lettres, on rue Gabrielle. The show lasts five minutes, and starts every …

lighthouse - best audible books 2021

7 Basically Perfect Audible Books for 2021 and Beyond

These are my picks best Audible books (for 2021). If you pick the right one, there’s something incredibly special about the right audiobook — I don’t think books are generally improved by their film adaptations, but I do think some are even better in their audiobook format. To the Lighthouse is one of the 20th century’s perfect books — but the way Nicole Kidman reads those dense, twisty sentences helps crack it open in a way that’s impossible on the page. I have 70 books in my Audible library, and most I didn’t finish. Some were boring. With others — like with The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and two Neil Gaiman books — I ended up buying the print version because I couldn’t follow the plot. These, though, are all wonderful, and if you’re looking for something to listen to next, look here first. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah I can’t even say what an incredible experience listening to this book was. I’ve read lots of books by TV comedians and those were fine and entertaining …

The 7 Best 2021 Wall Art Calendars on Etsy

There may be 20,000+ search results — but I’m pretty confident that among these six picks is the single best wall art calendar on Etsy. I turned to Etsy when my usual calendar-providing suspects — Paper Source, Rifle Paper — came up empty. Some requirements for my new calendar: I wanted a wall calendar, not a desk calendar, and ideally, I wanted something bound (either with, like, staples or ring-binding) — not the sort of thing where you have to use a fancy binder clip to put it on your wall. I also avoided printable calendars (I make one(!!) but just didn’t want anything DIY for this), and I skipped single-page, full-year-on-one-sheet calendars, I didn’t go through all 22,000 results(!!!!!) in my search for the best wall art calendar on Etsy, but I did find a half-dozen I loved. These obviously reflect my general interests — National Parks, trees, travel, etc. — but you can find literally anything you want, including: a virus calendar, a pastry calendar, a “2021 Nude Art Calendar.” 1. Architecture Calendar …

7 Perfectly Minimalist Earrings From My Favorite French Jewelry Maker

Minimalist jewelry is so tricky if you’re looking for something sleek ‘n’ chic but not utterly without interest. Paris-based designer Raphaël Schaltegger walks that line expertly with his Goutte de Terre brand, which mixes super-smooth Limoges porcelain with gold and other organic details. These are the best minimalist earrings on Etsy, as far as I can tell. Schaltegger has a gallery and shop in the 11th but also sells his work online, which is all to the good. The prices are reasonable enough — my favorite piece below, the Seine earrings, are about $50 — and utilitarian enough that they could withstand the transition from day to night, classroom to office, or whatever big move might be on your agenda. If you like these but they’re not quite right, check out their Instagram, which has new pieces not yet online. Affiliate links below.  1. Kisale Earrings BUY IT HERE:  “Kisale” earrings, $50 That’s a very particular green, but if it works for you, it looks great with gold. 2. Seine Earrings BUY IT HERE:  “Seine” earrings, $50 …

yabla review

An Honest Yabla Review (2021)

My Yabla review: I love Yabla. I’ve used Yabla for three years, after I discovered it while looking for a way to practice my oral comprehension of French. I can read reasonably well, and speak at least competently enough to express my less-complicated thoughts, but I am hopeless at understanding people when they speak French. Enter, Yabla. (Note: This Yabla review focuses on Yabla French, though I imagine it’s more or less the same for each of the languages Yabla offers.) So What Is Yabla? Yabla is a language-learning system that uses a selection of game-like programs to increase oral comprehension, vocabulary, and written ability. My favorite — the one I use 99.9% of the time — is Scribe. The concept is simple: Every week, Yabla publishes a bunch of new videos — a mix of news reports, music videos, cartoon segments, and original material made by Yabla itself. (The original material is excellent — especially the videos by Lionel (Lionel the First, though Lionel the Second is also great, something other Yabla French users will …