March 15, 2017

Life in France - The Myth vs. The Reality

Fromagerie du Puits Neuf

Myth: The French hardly ever work and go on strike all the time
Reality: The 35 hour work week is true for some, but according to French government statistics, in 2010, 50% of full time workers put in for overtime. Also, if you are a chef, a fromager, own a bakery, work in tourism, etc., you are working way more than 35 hours a week!

When French Fashion Goes Terribly Wrong

The Myth: All French women are perfectly groomed, elegant, thin and dress like haute couture fashion models
The Reality: No, no, no and no. I think the fact that these fuzzy sweaters even exist proves my point

American food. As viewed by KFC in #France.  I'm at a loss for words.

The Myth: Everyone takes a leisurly, 2 hour lunch
The Reality: Fast food is very popular here and after the US, France is the second largest market for McDonald's

Looking Bored

The Myth: The French are rude
The Reality: This is simply not true


The Myth: The bureaucracy is frustrating and seems to never, ever end
The Reality: Yeah, this one is true

Ricard ad. #summerinFrance #pastis #lifeinFrance

The Myth: French people are very careful with their alcohol and rarely drink to excess
The Reality: I've seen my fair share of French people tossing back glasses of pastis, wine and Calvados at local cafés, well before noon

Apéro with a view

The Myth: Every day is spent sipping Champagne and eating macarons
The Reality: Every day is spent sipping rosé and eating cheese (ha!)

Seriously, though.

I've said it before and I'll say it in France is simply that, life.
The garbage still has to be taken out and the taxes still need to get paid. I know the myth sells a lot better than the reality, but I've always tried to keep it real around here.

The reality is that some days are full of incredible art, leisurely afternoons at the café, delicious cheese, long Sunday lunches and great wine. And some days you end up in the emergency room, almost get run over by a bus and spend hours on the telephone dealing with incompetent bureaucrats. C'est la vie.

As our 14th anniversary of moving here quickly approaches, I can honestly say that the good far outweighs the bad. And I wouldn't change this life in France for anything!

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March 8, 2017

5 Things


1) Bread served with butter. This almost never happens!

Paris street scene

2) Une flâneuse

Mont d'Or

3) Runny cheese perfection

Ceci n'est pas une pipe

4) Ceci n'est pas une pipe


5) Sunset over the Seine

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March 4, 2017

My Favorite French Instagram Accounts

A post shared by Doorways Of Paris (@doorwaysofparis) on
I've always had a thing for doors.

A post shared by Photography tourism and wines (@gaylord_burguiere) on
His photos always make me long for the Languedoc. And for the wine!

A beekeeper and his beagle on the rooftops of Paris. Need I say more?

Love the duo behind the brilliant magazine, L'Instant Parisien.

 People who are passionate about cheese are some of my favorite people!

A post shared by French Words (@frenchwords) on
I've learned some very valuable French words and expressions from this account.

Molly shares her delicious discoveries while wandering around Paris.

How can you not help but love this face?

These are just a few of the many that I follow and love.
Some other favorites include 52 Martinis, David Lebovitz, Carina Okula, At Home in NormandieMartin Boire et Manger (yum!), Lou in Paris, Rosa Jackson, Prêt à Voyager, Lina Caschetto and Plum Lyon.

I would love to hear about your favorite France focused accounts. It's always fun to discover someone new!

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December 6, 2016

5 Things


1) The stained glass windows aren't the only beautiful thing at Sainte-Chapelle

Day trip to London

2) The British Library. I loved this place so much I wanted to move in.


3) I couldn't get over this sky!

Café Views

4) A day trip to London last week made me realize how much I love and appreciate the cafés in Paris

Figs stuffed with foie gras. What more could you want?

5) Figs stuffed with foie gras. Need I say more?

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November 19, 2016

Down South

Vineyards in November

We just returned from 2 weeks in the Languedoc, and let me tell you, our trip couldn't have come at a better time. The day before we left I was grumpy and frustrated with Paris.

Yes, it happens.

In a single day, just two days before we left, I had an unpleasant interaction with a pharmacist, was almost run over by a scooter in a crosswalk just 10 minutes later (and I had the light!), and then the icing on the cake was having to deal with some last minute, ridiculous and time consuming issues at our bank.

It felt like time to get the hell out of Dodge for a bit.

Le Languedoc

Autumn is our favorite time in the Minervois. The intense heat of the summer has broken, yet it is still warm and usually sunny. It's red wine weather, and those intense reds they make down there are perfect with rich, cooler weather dishes like magret de canard, pipérade and cassoulet.

And the colors! If you've never seen vineyards in the autumn, I highly recommend making a trip to see them.

The magret de canard toss

One sunny day I went with my friend, Gee, to Narbonne for a bit of shopping and lunch in les Halles. She had told me about one of the restaurants in the covered market, Chez Bebelle, where the chef/owner calls out the meat orders to the neighboring purveyors over a megaphone. A few minutes later the various butchers shout back at him and toss the order to him across the market. Which he always catches.

Now this I wanted to see!


It was a simple, delicious menu with grilled meat, fries, salad and tomato/garlic bread. All washed down with a glass of local red. I had the grilled duck breast and couldn't have been happier. Especially for €13.

Vineyards in November

Other than seeing friends, we didn't plan much. I cooked, took walks in the garrigue, had coffee with friends and enjoyed catching up with our neighbors. It was a relaxing 2 weeks.

Our village is the kind of place where you head out to run two simple errands - return a can opener to a neighbor and go to the café for 10 minutes to use their wi-fi so you can check your email and the weather - and get home almost two and a half hours later because you spent 45 minutes chatting with the neighbors and then got to the bar to find the mayor, who kindly offers you a drink, which you can't just turn down.

Time moves at a different pace in the south of France.

Vineyards in November

After living in the south for almost 9 years before moving north, people often ask me which I prefer: the south of France or Paris?

That's an impossible question to answer because the two places couldn't be more different. Our village in the Languedoc* has a population of less than 400 and our corner of the 15ème in Paris probably boasts five times that many people. And I mean the actual corner where our apartment is located.

Down south it is calm and quiet, the village is surrounded by vineyards and olive trees, a glass of local Minervois AOC wine will set you back €1.30, most of the restaurants serve only French food or pizza and, sadly, leave a lot to be desired, life is organized around opening hours and a car is required for practically every little errand, especially bureaucratic ones.

In Paris it is calm and quiet between 3-4 a.m. (sometimes), our apartment building is surrounded by cafés, a bakery, a butcher and has a really nice view, a glass of wine will set you back €4-8, the restaurant choices are very good and varied, we can go grocery shopping on Sunday and even have groceries delivered to our apartment, and driving is a nightmare and to be avoided at all costs.

There's just no comparison. They are both wonderful and frustrating in their own way.


*it feels very weird to say that we were at our house in l'Occitanie, instead of the Languedoc-Roussillon. It's definitely going to take a while to get used to that.

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