Author: Diana

people playing pickleball in paris

Pickleball in Paris: Everything We Know

I’ve lived in Paris longer than I’ve played pickleball in Paris — but after two years on and off in the US, pickleball has weirdly become one of my favorite activities, so I’ve become dedicated to figuring out where to play it here.

iowa welcome center sign

17 Things to Do in Iowa City

Iowa City is a funny little place: a small city with a major-league cultural side — there’s more than enough to keep you busy while you’re in town, whether it’s for a weekend or a semester. (It’ll help if you like to read.) Category 1: Activities! 1. Catch an Author Rreading Iowa City is home to the world-famous Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and as such, it outperforms other mid-sized Midwestern cities (and, to be fair, basically all mid-sized cities, in the world) to an exponential degree in terms of the local literary scene. Big-name writers come through town all the time — whether to teach at the workshop or just to give a reading at the local bookseller, Prairie Lights. Some authors read both at the workshop itself, on campus, and at Prairie Lights — the easiest way to stay up to date on both is their respective Instagram accounts [Prairie Lights Insta // IWW Insta]. 2. Go See a Women’s Basketball Game This will be much, much more exciting the longer No. 22, Caitlin Clark, …

A Year of Blooms in Paris

Paris changes radically depending on its weather, and what’s blooming — or not. Here, you’ll find a quasi-chronological look at the city over the span of seven years, for an anecdotal take on when you’ll see cherry blossoms, fall color, and brilliant flowers at the Jardin des Plantes (noted here as the JDP). While the dates are chronological, the years are all messed up, so you might see cherry trees blooming in late March or mid-April — it just depends on the year. Something I really noticed is that with sunshine, fall is beautiful here — without it, wow. No one does dreary like northern Europe! If cherry trees are your thing, I have created a 5.5-kilometer, roughly hour-long walking tour through the very center of Paris (at the bottom of the page), with lots of opportunities for seeing them in bloom.  And if you like roses, there’s nowhere better than the Roseraie du Val-de-Marne, just outside Paris in L’Haÿ-les-Roses, and absolutely spectacular when they’re in bloom. Scroll down, or you can jump to the …

olympics tax

So What’s the Story With the “Olympics Tax” in Paris — AKA the Hotel Tax?

Paris loves taxes. Loves them! They (literally) make the trains run on time, and fund the libraries, and support that wild and expansive social safety net we Americans keep hearing about. Now, with the Olympics coming up, those taxes are going up — at least one of them will definitely impact your credit card statement if you’ll be staying in Paris this year. The hotel tax — known in some quarters as tourist taxes, the taxe de séjour, and also as the Olympics tax — is going up. Visitors to Paris have already been surprised to see these higher-than-usual taxes on their bills — but the Olympics tax does not, of course, wait for the Olympics. Rather, they came into effect on January 1, 2024. In 2023, the nightly hotel tax started at €1 for one-star hotels, holiday villages, guest rooms and hostels, rising to €5 for “palace”-level establishments, like Le Bristol and the Four Seasons George V. Now, the cheapest tier is €2.60, while the palace level is €14.95 — and those are all …

aruba eagle beach view

Ask a Traveler: A Safe, Low-Key Spring Break

In this week’s Ask a Traveler, we have a letter-writer in need of a low-key spring break with sandy beaches, a direct flight from New York, and, ideally, a Hilton points-friendly hotel. Our suggestion involves burrowing owls, a 19th-century gold mine, world-class windsurfing, and more. If you have a travel dilemma, please send it to me! The more parameters of travel desire, the better. Hello!  I’m looking for a spring break destination for me and my boyfriend, both tired and cold New Yorkers just hoping to spend a few days getting sunburned on a beach. I’m hoping for a warm-weather destination where you can stay somewhere nice without it being crazy expensive — I’m not interested in places like St. Barts or Anguilla. We’d also like to avoid all-inclusive resorts where the resort is really beautiful but you’ll never leave the resort and if you do it can be sort of stressy. We definitely want something beachfront, even if it means paying a little more. We don’t mind a big, corporate hotel for this trip — actually, …

interior of paris apartment

11 Big Problems With Your Paris Airbnb

Planning to rent a Parisian Airbnb this summer? Coming for the Olympics, or the art, or the food? Parisian Airbnbs come with their own specific set of challenges: size, access, and more. Here, a run-down on a few of the most common concerns for living à la française — from burglars swooping down from the rooftop to seven-floor buildings without an elevator in sight. (Here’s a link to the Airbnb shown above.) 1. Am I Going to Be Burgled? Violent crime is rare within Paris’s city limits, at least compared to similarly sized American cities, but property crime is not. (My building, with nine apartments and in a very nice part of town, has had nearly a half-dozen break-ins in the past 18 months.) This problem is most apparent in late summer, when Parisians go on vacation and thieves…do not. Keep valuables well out of sight and always close and lock your windows when you leave — and don’t assume (as I did) that a top-floor apartment means you’re out of danger, since many break-ins are …

princess of montpensier

How Do French People Eat Olives? Aude de Vathaire Has the Answers

Many of the finer points of French culture elude me, even after living there for nearly a decade — so for the nuances of etiquette, manners, and elegance, I reached out to life coach and therapist (and French more expert) Aude de Vathaire, who’s amassed a sizable online following for her pointed, refined counsel. She was kind enough to respond to a selection of my queries — and I recommend following her for more insight and advice on Instagram and YouTube. For a truly deep dive, note that she also offers a masterclass on summoning an elegant spirit, as well.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Aude de Vathaire (@frenchelegance.and.more) The French culture is renowned for its elegance worldwide. Do you think this reputation is deserved, or is it simply mystique? Elegance is part of our essence as a human being, so it is present in each one of us on Earth, ready to be expressed more thoroughly in our personal lives. In all cultures, there is a notion of …

anatomy of a fall promo image

Anatomy of a Fall Is About Marriage — But Also About the Trials of Being an Expat

Everyone wants to talk about Anatomy of a Fall as a dissection of marriage: the impossibility of relationships, the petty one-upmanship that infects so many of our connections with the people we love most (or used to love most), illustrated most beautifully and plainly in the opening scene, when “German bisexual novelist Sandra Voyter” (per Wikipedia) sees her quasi-flirty afternoon with a journalist interrupted by her husband, Samuel, playing a cover of 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P.” as loudly as possible. (That it is a steel-drum calypso cover only heightens the insult.) But it is not only this low-simmering grievance, or Sandra’s bisexuality, so often pushed to the fore as a personal quality of extreme dubiousness. (Why wouldn’t a bisexual woman kill her husband??? duh????), that functions as a presentation of guilt. It is her Germanness — more specifically, her non-Frenchness — that gives the film so much of its antagonistic shimmer. What do we know about Sandra? We know, as above, she is a bisexual German novelist. Now, the film (and obviously director Justine Triet) is well aware that …

emily in paris season 1 episode 2 recap

Emily in Paris: Season 1, Episode 2 Recap

Welcome to our Emily in Paris Season 1, Episode 2 recap. (Here’s our recap of the first episode!) Well! Here we are again, only instead of running through Chicago, Emily’s running through the Jardin du Luxembourg — and this time, she’s running while listening to language instruction tapes for tips on how to say such things as “I do not speak French” and “Please slow down a little bit.” We discussed this last week but I think it’s worth repeating: This show seems to portray Emily as both very sharp and very stupid, but I do not think her failing to learn a language spoken in a country where she was not anticipating moving to (and only did move to because her boss, with her master’s degree in French became incapacitated/pregnant) is a personal failing. If someone told me tomorrow that I was moving to Tokyo, I would be extremely happy but also in terrible trouble, language-wise. Justice for this non-francophone version of Emily! Current Instagram follower count: 230. If you like Emily in Paris, …