Around Paris

In the heart of Paris’s trendy 10th arrondissement lies the peaceful and atmospheric Canal Saint Martin. Unlike some of the eateries, cafés and boutiques in the neighborhood, the canal has been there for a very long time. In the early 19th century, Napoleon I, who was as much a skilled administrator as he was a military…

For the last twenty years, I have had the luxury of being a tourist in the city I used to call home, Paris. Like a tourist, when I visit, I return to popular neighborhoods and landmarks, but my favorite times in the French capital are spent off the beaten path typically in the outskirts, like…

Two Parisians are making weekend plans: Lui (Him:) “Qu’est-ce-qui te tente? Une balade dans le Marais, ou à St Germain des Près peut-être?” (What are you in the mood for? A stroll in le Marais or in Saint Germain des Près maybe?) Elle (Her:) “Bof. On connait par coeur. Il y aura plein de touristes en plus.…

Bienvenue à Belleville and Menilmontant. Once located outside the Paris city limits, these neighborhoods, like la Butte aux Cailles, les Batignolles, or Montmartre, were annexed after 1860 when Napoleon III and his wingman, Baron Haussmann, undertook the 20-year “remodel” that would give birth to the modern city we all know and love today. Of all…

A few days ago, I took you along as I explored one of Paris’ most charming neighborhoods, les Batignolles. The area offers an eclectic mix of eateries from traditional bistros and cafés, to hip restaurants and bars popular with the younger crowd, including Bobos (bourgeois bohemians) who have discovered the neighborhood in recent years. There are established businesses and newer, trendier places.…

Dedicated to Peter O. The place is relaxed, peaceful, with a real neighborhood life and feel: Bienvenue aux Batignolles. This was my home for a few days during a recent visit when I rented an apartment rue Truffaut. We are in the northeastern section of the 17th arrondissement in Paris, just west of Montmartre. Once a humble village, the…

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…

Montmartre. La Butte, the highest point in Paris. Une commune, a former village, once in the suburbs, later incorporated into Paris. The place where budding artists and intellectuals went to slum it in local bars and cabarets. The neighborhood where hordes of tourists flock in an attempt to recapture la vie de bohême, the bohemian lifestyle once favored by a long…

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…

Not all Holidays are created equal. On February 2, France celebrates a Catholic holiday, la Chandeleur (Candlemas.) This is a favorite one. For most French people, here is an opportunity to sample savory or sweet versions of the famous crêpes, (a national treasure, hailing from the beautiful Brittany region, la Bretagne.) It is also time to indulge in fortune…