Understand France and the French

Food, Restaurants, Travel, Understand France and the French

A Moveable Feast

Newly launched, The Paris Supper Club promises to replace both outdated guidebooks and raves from nostalgic friends when it comes to searching out some of the best and truest places to eat in the French capital. The club is a project of former Gourmet European correspondent Alexander Lobrano, author of a book and blog called "Hungry for Paris" (hungryforparis.com), and…read more
Apartment neighborhood, Architecture and Design, Travel with Kids, Understand France and the French

Best parks for Kids in Paris – Jardin du Luxembourg always tops the lists

But day in, day out, except when it rains, they want to go back to "Le Jardin," as everyone, at least in the 6th and 7th, calls it. Aside from being classically beautiful, designed by architect Salomon de Brosse under Marie de Medici's supervision (1615-1627), and a wonderful place for adult pursuits, like making out on the grass, playing tennis, or dozing by the bassin, this place is filled with stuff kids like. ... Paris is a great place to take your children on holiday as there are many tourist attractions, museums and parks in the city that cater to children. ... Jardins du Luxembourg (Rue de Médicis, Rue de Vaugirard) – This garden has a long history, it was established in the 17th century by Marie de Medicis from Italy.

... Take your pick from the attractions below made for the under 10 set: Pony carrousel with "grab the ring" feature Zipline ride Immense play structure and sandboxes (n.b. pay for entry, even for parents) Cotton candy Rental sailboats in the fountain Pony and donkey rides Famous marionette theatre Flying two person swings There is plenty to enjoy here without paying a cent, but go with kids, and expect to shell out plenty of 2 Euro coins to enjoy the full experience.

Un peu différent, Understand France and the French

I always thought Paris was the “City of Light” due to lights of the Champs…

And here is has to do with the Enlightenment and the brilliant people living the city: Paris has many nicknames, but its most famous is "La Ville-Lumière" (most often translated as "The City of Light"),[15] a name it owes first to its fame as a centre of education and ideas during the Age of Enlightenment, and later to its early adoption of street lighting.[ 16] [From Paris - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ]

In the News, Understand France and the French

Sarkozy, the Left and the reburial of Camus at the Pantheon

Imagine a conservative President in the United States embracing a leftist intellectual figure (or several) in order to burnish his own intellectual credentials and position himself as a worthy heir to the 20th Century intellectual tradition of France. ... Given the Panthéon's function as the final repose for France's greatest heroes, it's perhaps not surprising that efforts are now afoot to relocate the ashes of writer and philosopher Albert Camus to a site beneath the 18th century Paris building's cupola. ... President Nicolas Sarkozy said last week that he wanted to add Camus to the giants of French history who are buried at the Panthéon — figures like Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Emile Zola and Louis Pasteur — as a way of revering an author whose defense of the downtrodden and veneration of the individual over the oppressive forces of society earned him fame and respect around the globe. But the announcement outraged Camus' son, Jean, who saw a motivation of a different sort — an attempt by Sarkozy to "requisition" the legacy of a ferociously independent thinker who has long been a hero of the intellectual left.

...As for myself, as a long long time fan and student of Camus, I think anything that keeps the memory of this thinking and work alive in the minds of the French and foreigners is a good thing.

Culture, For tourists only, Museums and Monuments, Travel, Travel with Kids, Understand France and the French

France Miniature

Our friend Patrick Mikla always surprises us with 'inside' discoveries of Paris and France. From the time we met him some 15 year ago, I can remember each and every one of our adventures. The latest is France Miniature. He took the day off and took us Élancourt, a town about an hour drive outside of Paris, where this miniature…read more
Funny, Un peu différent, Understand France and the French

Don’t forget your Speedo if you’re going to swim in public pools in France

But spare a thought for France, where the opposite is true: local authorities regularly force men to ditch their Bermudas and parade in skin-tight budgie-smugglers for the greater public good. In French public pools, from the racing lanes of Paris to the open-air lidos and water parks of the south, anything bigger than Speedos is banned and you must hoist yourself into a posing pouch as a civic requirement.

... This sounds like another attempt to shore up French industry, but it does have a certain logic in a country trying to welcome differences, but at the heart, trying to make everyone into a Frenchman.

Architecture and Design, Understand France and the French

Why do we just feel so good when we are in Paris?

Well, that used to be the case, back in the day when people took vacations where no one can reach you and you forget as much as you can about worklife for a week. ... I don't think you can discount the long term effect of the Haussmann reconstruction of this city that made it into a fairly uniform, but beautiful composite that also reflects a golden light that is unique to Paris, at least among large cities. ... We come from San Francisco so we know what natural beauty is, but we're always dismayed by urban San Francisco: the omnipresent work-live lofts which now dominate every neighborhood with an architectural style that no one would ever want to represent their city.