All posts filed under: paris

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 …

12 Big Problems With Your Paris Airbnb

  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 launched from the roof. 2. What Time Do Renovations Start? Many Parisian apartment buildings are hundreds of years old, which means that renovations in neighboring apartments are a fact of life. Obviously, this being France, there are strict rules about when construction can start and stop to maintain general public health — in my building, drilling started at precisely every morning at 8:15 a.m. for three months. If you’re staying for a while, …

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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 …

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, …

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The 15 Skincare Products My French Makeup Consultant Recommended To Me

One of my weird splurges this year was a makeup consult with a verifiable Parisian makeup artist. It was a strange experience — I don’t wear a lot of makeup, and I walked out of there wearing a lot more than I’m used to. I don’t know how much time I need to spend looking at my face, you know what I mean? But I loved her skincare recs, which definitely lean toward the vegan, the pricey, the Euro (especially Austrian!), and the exclusive. I think Gwyneth Paltrow might own everything on this list? It’s very Goop-y. She divided my suggested routine into three steps: makeup removal/cleansing, more cleansing, and then a soothing eau de rose. They’re all listed below. Wherever possible, I found US-based retailers for her suggestions — where I couldn’t, I included the French retailers. (This will be clear from whether the price is listed in dollars or euros.) Remember that though the prices are obviously correct, the French purchases will mean high shipping charges, so it might be worth considering another …

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Literally Everything You Need to Know About VAT Refunds in France

You think it’d be easy to get free money from the government — but not. Claiming VAT refunds in France can be confusing AF — but the good news is nearly everyone’s confused, which means that there’s a lot of let’s say “gentle instruction,” from retailers and customs officials accustomed to dealing with people who don’t understand what’s going on. There are a ton of restrictions and exclusions, and the amount returned will vary on a bunch of different factors (not least how you want your money refunded, with cash coming at a slightly disadvantageous rate) — but know that if you stick with it, you’ll save about 12% on many of your big purchases. And note that if you’re buying luxury French brands, the savings can really add up — for example, the same exact pieces from Louis Vuitton can be 30% cheaper in France than in the U.S. Get shopping! What is VAT? VAT is an acronym for value-added tax. One of the ways governments make money is by taxing goods. In the …

Is Louis Vuitton Cheaper In Paris?

Is Louis Vuitton Cheaper in Paris? is part 4 in an ongoing investigation. Please also see Is Chanel Cheaper in Paris?, Is Sézane Cheaper in Paris? and Is Diptyque Cheaper in Paris? If you’ve read our previous stories investigating whether famous French brands are cheaper in France — you’ve probably guessed that indeed, the answer to this question — Is Louis Vuitton cheaper in Paris? — is yes. Unlike Chanel, Louis Vuitton offers online shopping, which made comparing prices easy. Here we go! Is Louis Vuitton Cheaper in Paris: The Handbag Let’s start with the Neverfull. The Neverfull GM is a large tote bag in Damier Ebene canvas and natural cowhide trim — “it is ultra-roomy but never bulky.” (I bet it can get bulky.) In USD, it’s $2100. Let’s say you’re buying it in New York City, so we’ll add 8.875%, the current sales tax. Your total bill is now: $2286.19 So taking things across the pond: Your price is now 1550€. Using the current conversion rate,  that comes to $1,708.50. Maybe you’re paying in …

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Emily in Paris Recap: Season 1, Episode 1

If you like Emily in Paris, I guarantee you will love my newsletter about living there. Sign up here!  Welcome to our first Emily in Paris recap: Season 1, Episode 1. Oh là là. I remember how stressed I was when the show first debuted, in 2020. It was like watching your infinitely more glamorous and better dressed neighbor go on the same vacation as you — only their clothes were better, their hotel was nicer, the beaches that they went to had better sand and prettier views. It was your experience, only better, in every possible way. Mon dieu, I say. Mon dieu. Moving to Paris feels like a unique experience, but it is not. In fact, the silver lining is that it is infinitely variable, and depending on your experience, talent, ambition, and worldview, it is infinitely possible to make new, vital, and canonical work about it, like Ernest Hemingway, James Baldwin, Josephine Baker, and a million more. (Two of my favorites include dyed-in-the-wool Midwesterners: Iowa painter Grant Wood, most famous for “American …

a view of the countryside including a pond and trees

An Interview With Annabel Simms, Author of “An Hour From Paris”

I’ve been living with Annabel Simms’ books nearly as long as I’ve been living in Paris. She’s the author of several guides to exploring the city from is outer limits and beyond, into the glorious French countryside, rife with forgotten castles, unexpected vistas, appealingly decrepit train stations, and much more. I’ve had a parasocial relationship with Annabel since I first bought An Hour from Paris, which includes detailed itineraries for 20 day trips outside the city (but easily accessible via a dense and generally well-run public transportation network.) Another book of hers, Half an Hour From Paris, earned a new edition in July and covers destinations including the Parc Saint-Cloud, Malmaison, and the Chateau de Vincennes. For all these reasons, I was incredibly excited to chat with Annabel over Zoom about her life in Paris — she in her 25 meter square apartment in Paris, me in Iowa City. Anyone dreaming about coming to Paris to start a new life should keep reading to see how she decided to, and succeeded, forge a new life in France, following …

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What’s the Best Way to Travel from London to Paris? An Investigation

Now, for those who prefer listening to reading, you can listen to me read this article aloud! Just click below or download or whatever.  It’s a truly pressing question: What’s the best way to travel from London to Paris? I’ll tell you what is not the best way to travel from London to Paris: driving (unless you need to), cycling (unless you want to) or taking a nine-hour bus. Which pretty much leaves you with Eurostar, or flying. Paris and London are just over 300 miles/several worlds/one time zone apart. It’s an incredibly quick flight — if you don’t add in all the travel to and from the airport(s) and the rigamarole getting through security. It’s also an incredibly efficient train trip — but often unbelievably expensive (closing in on $500 if you don’t buy in advance). Each method has big-time pros and cons. This summer, I had the opportunity to fly to London from Paris, and then return by train — which made it easier than ever to compare the two services, which are …