All posts filed under: france

things to do in lille

The Complete Guide to Lille

Let me convince you why you absolutely must visit Lille, the capital of France’s North. Beer. Mussels. Friendly people. Things that don’t exist in Paris are available in excess in Lille. I’ve been to Paris more than I’ve been anywhere else in France — but in second place is not Bordeaux or Lyon or Nice or even Marseille (which I love!) but Lille. I’ve been to Lille more than anywhere else I’ve been in France except for Paris. This is mostly because every Labor Day weekend, I head to Lille for its huge flea market, possibly the biggest and oldest in Europe. (Operating for nearly 1000 years, it only stopped a handful of times, including the Nazi invasion of France during World War II and after the terrible truck attack in Nice in 2016.) Lille is only an hour from Paris by train but its location, bordering Belgium, hints at its very different identity: It’s beer, not wine, and moules et frites instead of steak tartare. It’s friendly! I know I already said that, but it’s worth …

a deer themed present from a french etsy maker

12 Excellent French Makers on Etsy

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 …

top cities to visit in france

Top Cities to Visit in France — That Aren’t Paris

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!

a vintage image of a couple sharing a newspaper from casablanca

5 Books About World War II in France

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.

Where to Go After Paris?

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?


Kaysersberg: 5 Things You Need to Do in France’s Prettiest Village

Kayserberg earned a terrible claim to fame, for a reason that made headlines worldwide. 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.

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].

how to move to france

It’s Easier Than Ever To Move To France. Here’s Why.

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.