Happy fall, friends!
Where do the days go? If summer went by quickly, the month of August was a blur. A work trip to Zurich, a few days in Corsica and then back to the U.S. for my cousin’s wedding, it felt like I was all over the place!
All very fun but I returned to Paris feeling like a zombie on Friday (a two-hour customs line after 28 consecutive hours of being awake will do that to you). I took the weekend as a much-needed break from running around to just lay low and *recharge the batteries* (cook, eat, sleep, repeat).
Speaking of time flying, it’s already been just over three months in Paris and TWO YEARS in France. Incroyable! A while back I wrote this post on five reasons Lyon is better than Paris, and, while I still stand by what I said, I'm finding that there's a lot to love about Paris despite the grisaille (or is that pollution?)
I've had plenty of pinch-me moments since I moved to Paname (a nickname for Paris, apparently inspired by the Panama hats that were a hit with Parisians back in the 20th century like they are now).
Surreal scenario #1: The other weekend, after completing my first (and probably last) CrossFit class, I (naturally) wandered into the boulangerie next door: Ten Belles Bread. I had never heard of it, so I did what any self-respecting millennial would do in that situation: I whipped out my phone to Google it. One of the first articles to pop up in the search results was by David Lebovitz, an American food blogger living here in Paris. As I skimmed his post, I looked up as someone walked in, only to realize it was the blogger himself! A little starstruck, I asked him just to make sure. “Are you David Lebovitz?” “I am,” he replied. Not sure what to say after that, I blurted out “I was literally just reading your article on my phone! I love your blog!” What can I say, I like to play it cool when I meet famous bloggers.
Surreal scenario #2: Another weekend, I was out with some friends at one of those bar éphémères - at the Opéra! The opera. Unreal. There was a Cointreau bar with the drinks in little plastic cups designed to look like mini bottles of Cointreau.
So that's been my life lately. Still in constant awe of everything. There's so much to do and see (and eat!) even a lifetime wouldn't be enough time to scratch the surface. Does the honeymoon phase of being an expat still count if you've already lived in the country for two years? TBD.
Anyway, enough gushing. As much as I love my life here, there are days when I feel like I'll never figure out the French. Tu vois? It's on those days in particular that I turn to the wisdom of the many books/blogs/videos out there dedicated to decoding (okay sometimes making fun of) les français and the many nuances of the culture. Hilarious, relatable and downright helpful. I've listed a few favorites below, best enjoyed with a glass of wine in hand, bien sûr.
- Best book: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle. I remember stealing this one from my Dad a while back. Even though it was published back in 1989, so much of what the author observes still holds true today:
“It is at a time like this, when crisis threatens the stomach, that the French display the most sympathetic side of their nature. Tell them stories of physical injury or financial ruin and they will either laugh or commiserate politely. But tell them you are facing gastronomic hardship, and they will move heaven and earth and even restaurant tables to help you.”
― Peter Mayle, A Year in Provence
People also rave about similarly titled A Year in the Merde, which I still have not read even though it's been on my list forever.
- Best (food) blog: Speaking of David Lebovitz. My go-to source for food advice from restaurants to recipes.
- Best Instagram: I started following parisinfourmonths and reading her blog before I moved here. Dreamy photos and an inspiring story!
- Best video series: I still can’t remember who first told me about this guy who pokes fun at the French through short videos, each inspired by a different aspect of life in France. My favorite is this one on learning the French language . I especially love when he talks about how you get to a certain point where people can no longer suss out your accent – they just think you’re a stupid French person. Ha! So relatable. He recently posted this one on French expressions and you know how much I love talking about French expressions (more on that here and here).
- Best website: My Little Paris. Not so much a commentary on French culture as a good source of insider secrets on what to do/see/eat/etc. in the capital. Live in Lyon or Marseille? Pas de soucis – there are editions for those cities too. Shoutout to my friend Roxane for the tip!
What about you? Do you have any favorites? I'd love to hear them!