Camille Rowe on French vs American Behavior

Seeing as it’s Sunday I thought I’d share a little something with you that made me laugh as I was eating my cereal this morning.

There have been so many blog posts and books written in recent years comparing the differences of French and American women, and while I have a few theories of my own, I especially loved this short video where French/American model and actress Camille Rowe acts out a few different scenarios.

I think my favorite is the one where she gives directions…SO SO TRUE. And the selfie one…that is definitely a cultural difference. Which one did you prefer?

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Rentrée & Picnic

It’s that time again: time for my annual welcome back to Paris and the crazy life post. I know things have grown rather uncommunicative around here…it’s truly been la grande sieste, and while I cannot promise that I will do better or apologize for last year, I can say that I am excited to be back and have another adventure. And maybe this year, I’ll be better at telling you all about what I get up to.

One of the greatest aspects of this trip, however, is the sense of security I feel. As I begin my second consecutive year in the City of Lights I can’t help but feel more sure of myself and my place in this city. Navigating is a breeze and I’m approaching the overwhelming bureaucracy with a calm attitude I would have found baffling last fall. I now know that (as the French say) “tout s’arrange.” Everything will work out. So I don’t stress as much. But there are the inevitable stresses about a new year and the financial struggles that this magnificent city brings. Expect lots of “how to attempt to save cash” posts in this space in the coming months. Which, if you can do while looking fabulous is really what Paris is all about, right?

So, what does an expat do when she first gets back to Paris? She has a picnic, of course! And maybe some dessert too, but I’ll save that for later. Nothing terribly fancy, just a galette jambon fromage from my favorite crêperie. And a bottle of fizzy water. Eaten, bien sûr at the Luxembourg Gardens. Bliss. 

 

April 9th

Man, the fair weather days just keep on coming. Today was filled with lovely hours outside, some time in a local park with some of my students, and errands. I also was surprised with a large protest in my neighborhood as I exited the metro. I never actually figured out exactly what it was for…I saw signs for several different groups including the Young Communist Movement, but basically tried to zip across the street and get home as quickly as possible since I was tired from my day.

Perhaps the best feature of the day, however, happened when I found a lovely bouquet of cheaply priced flowers AND…a mega-strawberry score—5 euros for a HUGE crate. I’m in heaven. With the springy weather has come an inordinate appetite for fruit so I’ll be happily munching away on berry goodness all weekend! Seriously though, 5 euros for that many strawberries? I love you Franprix.

                

April 8th

Ah Paris! You are so unbelievably gorgeous when you want to be. Today I had so many plans of different things I needed and wanted to do. I got out, and promptly forgot all of them with the glorious feel of the sun on my limbs. BARE LIMBS, people, it was that warm. So instead, a long and lovely stroll along the Seine plus some gelato in the Tuileries. Cheers!

            

April 7th: Coffee and Cake

You know those days when everything in the universe seems to be absolutely perfect? Where you just want to sing and skip and dance because there’s this insane buoyant gaiety that is totally inescapable? Today was one of those days. Paris put on her finest and was STUNNING today: sunny radiant, beautiful weather with a slight chill and pleasant breeze. The flowers were blooming and everyone was happy. Me included.

So, to best profiter, I took advantage of the weather and walked all over the Marais hitting up two different joints I’ve been interested in for a long time. And took a few shots of the streets along the way. Because I couldn’t resist.

First stop was Boot Cafe, a place I’ve been hearing about on every insider Paris blog as the hipster hangout for a coffee. And let me tell you. There were hipsters. Plenty. And they clearly were regulars. It was amusing and wonderful.

Funny story, this place is actually RIGHT next door to where one of my good friends lived when we were studying abroad. It was always hopping and I remember her mentioning it being a really popular/known spot, but I never ducked in for a cafe and therefore couldn’t judge. The cafe is TINY so be prepared to swing in and get one to go (especially if you go during rush hour or early in the morning. The menu is simple, offering espresso, cortados, americanos, and cafe cremes plus bagels, scones, and such. I got the creme and it was loverly, though very strong. My poor system which has become much more sensitive to caffeine since I dumped my 3 cafe-a-day habit was a little overwhelmed. Rabbit heart all morning. But it was worth it.

I later wandered down Rue de la Sicile to visit another hyped spot, Comme à Lisbonne—a tiny bakery dedicated entirely to the pastel de nata—a Portuguese pastry with the sweetest most perfect cream (think creme brulée in a flakey pastry crust) and cinnamon.

The spot has recently expanded with a restaurant that serves Portuguese delicacies as well as specialty food goods (all the canned sardines you can imagine and more). Unfortunately, I had already lunched when I arrived, but I will definitely be heading back for déjeuner in the very near future.

It was honestly one of the most charming places I’ve ever been in Paris, the staff was friendly and cheerful and chatty and I was loath to leave them. Moreover, I can attest that the pastel de nata is seriously the tastiest thing ever. Not too sweet and just perfectly creamy, it now ranks among my favorite pastries EVER. And if that doesn’t sum up why you need to head to this little haven I don’t know what will.

April 6th

Today a brief ode to one of my new favorite English bookstores in Paris: WH Smith.

I must say, I feel mild guilt about proclaiming this spot as one of my favs since it is a British bookstore chain, but I do love it. Now, there will always be a very special place in my heart for Shakespeare & Co’s boho charm and for Galignani’s more subdued, historic glamour, but I adore this little shop (which happens to be a metro stop up Rue Rivoli).

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I think I love it best because it’s so unpretentious. The staff are friendly, and it emits that warm glow that all book lovers find irresistible (particularly on a cold, grey Parisian day). It reminds me of an English bookshop I used to frequent when we lived in Rome and therefore has an odd comfort that the others can’t match. More than any other shop, I love to just whip in here and see what’s new, browsing as long as I please (even when it’s busy it’s not too busy) before heading home.

Sometimes I buy something, sometimes I don’t, but I rarely miss an opportunity to visit it when I’m in the area.

Bonus? It offers an AMAZING selection of magazines including a number of new independently published beauties. After weeks of popping in (and months of not being able to justify shipping charges) I recently got my hands on Cereal, a new indie style and travel magazine that is so unbelievably gorgeous. They also have various magazines with numerous foreign language counterparts, so I can get my English or my French fix (or Italian if I’m feeling brave). And to top it all off they have a number of truly delectable snacks (because, why not). Many come from niche British brands I’ve heard of but never seen, and it always takes all my strength not to walk out of there with a Cadbury chocolate bar. When I took a friend last week we ended up leaving with mince pies!

If  you are on Rue de Rivoli and are an anglophile or anglophone craving some solid reading material and a warm environment, I highly recommend swinging in. The bilingual staff are always willing to help you with anything you need, and be sure to check out the shelf dedicated to their top picks if you’re indecisive.

April 5th: Easter!

Happy Easter!

What a lovely day. I love this holiday. The bunnies. The chocolate. The dyed eggs. It’s all great. And it marks (for me) the true immersion into spring time which I am always so ready for. Maybe less in Paris then when I was living in Minnesota, but it’s still one of my favorite seasons. I love a good transition.

As I promised yesterday, today’s picture is a summary of all the goodies I picked up during my errands yesterday. Now that I have them all on the bed I am realizing that I maybe went a little crazy. But I suppose that’s what holidays are for.

So, let’s go through these together, shall we?

To eat:

  • Berries: from one of the beautiful alimentation places at Saint-Paul. Crazy expensive but they were so stunning I couldn’t resist. And they taste divine!
  • Eggs: (bio, bien sur). I hard boiled mine like we do at home, but I didn’t dye them.
  • Yogurt: again bio from the bio food store. As a special treat.
  • Brioche: I’ve been trying to stick to the gluten free thing but today felt like splurging. And I couldn’t resist this sweet little bun.
  • Orange juice: fresh squeezed (yes!) from the grocery. Because they have a machine to fresh squeeze orange juice. Because that’s a thing. In France. Did I mention that I love France?
  • Kusmi Detox tea: I’ve been wanting some Kusmi tea for a long time and finally went into a shop yesterday. It’s like my version of a candy factory, dangerous for the wallet with more delectable and unusual aromas then I’ve ever experienced. The green tea is especially enticing.
  • Cadbury mini caramel eggs: …just a few. Because, you know, Easter.

I also picked up some small comforts (because the food wasn’t enough). Some Lush moisturizer because I love, love, love Lush. And after being very good and not buying more products for almost a whole year I decided to treat myself. I also grabbed some magazines for fun. Porter (which I love), Elle (in French to practice mon français), and Cereal which I’ve been DYING to read since I found out about it this time last year. A copy is finally mine! I’m so excited.

That’s about it for today. Snuggling up with all of this in the lovely light of my apartment and listening to some lovely francophilic tunes (I decided to go all-out on the French thing).

Because in my head somehow Easter equals Juliette Gréco...

Because in my head somehow Easter equals Juliette Gréco…

Hope you and yours are having a similarly lovely day!

PS—Shameless self promotion: If you’d like to see what I’ve been listening to lately, head on over to my other blog for daily song updates.

April 4th

Another day without too much happening. It’s the beginning of a three-day weekend! Hooray! So I’ve been taking it rather easy. Lazy Saturday morning plus an afternoon of errands and shopping all ’round the city. But I made sure to snap some pics of the overcast streets of Paris—which were PACKED by the way…note to self, never go shopping on the weekend—while I was out. Want to see what I picked up? You’ll just have to check back in tomorrow. Winky face.

      

April 3rd

Another rainy day in Paris. Nothing much to report but, as always, this city manages to be beautiful no matter what the weather. Especially when inviting boulangeries are involved.       

Wishing you sunny weather wherever you are! Or at least delight in the grey.

April 2nd: Nose

Today’s weather was ugly…it’s been super grey and rainy lately—not the sort that leaves you running for your umbrella, but the cool, obnoxious misting that is so infuriating and leaves you feeling exceptionally dirty. Yuck. So I was in need of something a little uplifting for the instagram feed.

I’m actually cheating slightly since these photos are from the other day, but I promise the weather was just as bad and that I was so busy I didn’t have the opportunity to take remotely interesting or exciting photos. Seriously guys the most eventful part of my day was being stared at by a French professor as I ate my sandwich in the teachers lounge—seriously, though, WHAT was his problem? So I thought I’d share two shots from my recent (and long awaited) trip to Nose—Paris’ finest fragrance and beauty concept store.

The concept is simple. Want a perfume but maybe not the same one EVERYONE AND THEIR DOG is wearing? Come to Nose and let the experts help you find your perfect scent. Ain’t nobody got time for that? It’s even easier! On their website you can create an account and fill out “perfume diagnostic” where, by identifying fragrances you’ve enjoyed in the past, you will be provided with suggestions of 5 other scents you may like. You can read descriptions of them and then order all 5 for a total of 10 euros (to be shipped or picked up in-store) and try them out at home. Once you’re done, you can go and pick up the perfume with a 10 euro discount. Or, if you don’t like any of the samples, you can annotate your profile and start the process again!

As someone who’s long been interested in perfume and had trouble finding that signature scent, I was super excited to try this out. I chose to pick my samples up in-store, but they do ship and are remarkably prompt. I ordered my sample pack plus two samples I was curious about after browsing the site.

I’ve been slowly testing them over the last few days and I must say all are lovely and unusual (in a good way). Two are too sweet for me, but that actually makes it easier to tailor things down. I’m excited to see which one I fall in love with, I’ve already worn one twice and I haven’t even sampled them all!

In the meantime, if you’re in Paris any time soon, you should definitely check out this shop. It’s already one of my favorite Parisian finds.