Looking for the best French gifts on Etsy? Voilà. While I’ve been an Etsy shopkeeper for forever, I’ve only recently become more of an Etsy shopper, and I’ve bought more excellent stuff on Etsy this year than anywhere else. (Like: vintage maps of Europe, an Animal Crossing-themed print for a friend, and a vinyl Bruce Springsteen sticker, because for 2021 I decided to be the sort of person who cares a lot about stickers.) A couple quick things, as we begin our search for the best French gifts on Etsy (noting: no vintage, no clothing, as those are separate searches!!). As someone who ships from France to the U.S. literally all the time, it’s actually very straightforward and fast: Look for shipment via service called Colissimo, which is the national post carrier’s shipping plan. From Paris to the U.S. it can take as few as four days, though usually it’s closer to seven. And there shouldn’t be customs charges for any of these products (as they’re under the price that would incur them.) Keep an …
The list of the top cities to visit in France that aren’t Paris begins with Lille and goes all the way south to Nice: Mon dieu, there’s a lot of France that isn’t Paris! Paris can be cold (both climatologically and interpersonally), it’s expensive, the weather’s terrible — yes, it’s beautiful, but so is Lyon! And Lyon’s cheaper, friendlier, and both sunnier and snowier!
It wasn’t until I moved to France that I started to read fiction about World War II, especially stories set there. This is my most recent reading list of the best books set in World War II France — and though it comes in the middle of the list, go with Irène Némirovsky’s Suite Française first — all of these books are gorgeously written, but only Suite Française was written gorgeously while the author was under threat of deportation to the Nazi death camps. (And indeed, she died at 39 at Auschwitz.) The story of the book’s survival is worth a movie of its own, as it was saved by Némirovsky’s daughter for over 60 years and only published in 2004. It’s a miracle that her book survived — and a testament to the power of writing, that after all this time, her voice can still be heard.
God knows that a trip to Paris could take a lifetime. If that’s not available, whatever works will do, whether you have three months, three weeks, three days, or just enough time to hop into town between an early-morning arrival and a late-night connection. For many people, though, Paris is one part of a trip to France. But where to head for the second half?
So what are the best flea markets in France? The French take their flea markets very, very seriously, and these events are hugely popular. Plan in advance for accommodations or risk staying out of town.
This post is newly popular since Kaysersberg has recently been in the news. God bless Anthony Bourdain, a true embodiment of the best of France (his father’s home) and his native New Jersey, with all of the passions of the former and the humor and sagacity of the latter. Weekend destination: Kaysersberg, Alsace Why: It’s the prettiest village in France! Also, hiking.
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].
Here’s why it’s easier than ever to move to France. And this is not a fake reason like, “Because you’ve never been less scared in your whole life!” or “Because after a lifetime of saying Oui mais non! the only answer must be Non mais ouiiiii!” There are a million ways to live full- or part-time in France — this is just mine; if you’re a student, spouse, fiancé, entrepreneur, artist, whatever, there’s a different path and an entirely different set of paperwork to assemble. And this does not pertain to work visas. Work visas? I have literally no idea.
As part of working on my book, I’ve been re-watching a few of my favorite movies about love: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Weekend (the U.K. one, not the French one), and Before Sunset, among them. The one I love most is Blue Is the Warmest Color. I am writing about it today because I realized I wanted to officially declare it my movie of France. I won’t summarize the plot beyond its most basic points: Two women fall in love. Complications ensue. I loved it when I first saw it, because I thought it was remarkably clear-eyed about a certain kind of love. I believe that with love, although we have a spectrum of choices, most relationships of some duration fall into one of two categories: relationships of convenience and true, crazy, harrowing love. This film, obviously, is about the latter.