French Life

France is a lot more than old buildings, food and wine, bérets and accordion music. Look beyond stereotypes, and discover the real France through the eyes of a native.

French Girl in Seattle: The beginnings Happy Birthday, French Girl in Seattle! You have just turned 7. You were born in Paris, during a very cold winter when snow fell – and stuck – in the French capital’s streets, making sightseeing challenging and time spent indoors irresistible. You started as a blog meant to help…

My French family has been the main reason for my annual trips home over the last two decades. France has been the other one. Most trips take me back to Paris, because my parents, my brother and his family all live there. I may surprise some “Parisophiles” when I say I relish the {too rare}…

When this former Parisian, now a tourist, visits the French capital, there is little pressure to hit landmarks, museums, or famous parks. It is all about taking a family stroll downtown, and getting reacquainted with my parents and my brother’s family while savoring favorite locations. Paris, always a willing partner and a generous host, provides the…

French markets: They exist in most towns and cities all over the country, and within cities, in major neighborhoods where merchants gather at least once or twice a week. They can be outdoor (le Marché Saleya in Nice,) or indoor, in old buildings often referred to as les Halles, like the lively Marché des Carmes in…

When I fly home every year, friends ask: “What is your favorite Parisian store?” Dur, dur. Tough call. There are so many wonderful boutiques and department stores in Paris, it would be impossible to choose just one. One problem, when shopping in France, is that sales are a biannual event by law. It may be hard to find…

“On peut dîner plus tard? Je n’aime pas manger avec les poules,” my US-born teenager sometimes says to me around 7:00pm. Can we have dinner later Mom? I’d rather not eat with the hens. If you don’t know the French saying “se coucher avec les poules,” (to go to bed with the hens; to go to bed early,) you…

The French kitchen (especially its Provençal version,) is popular in the United States. I have often visited beautiful homes where imported le Jacquard Français tablecloths and dish towels or Laguiole knife sets, to name just a few, are proudly displayed, cherished souvenirs of trips to la Belle France. As I was working in my American apartment-size kitchen the other day, I…

When you travel in France, you eat at least three times a day. Even if you rent an apartment and cook at home, you still enjoy a few meals out. You have already heard about French dining etiquette. Does the world need another article on the topic? Pourquoi pas, if it actually comes from a French…

However hard I tried, when I sat down in front my keyboard this week, I just could not write about the Eiffel Tower, macarons, or the latest hipster coffee shop in Paris. Many lives (including mine) have been changed forever over the last ten days. Surely, everything has been said about the terrorist attacks in France. Is one…

Our family will remember 2014 as the year of downsizing. Junior and I left our home and neighborhood, and moved into a spacious apartment (by European standards,) in the center of our suburban American town. Even if memories remain, many possessions ended up at Goodwill or Value Village. New pieces, furniture mostly, were acquired along the…