In the News

French expect Americans to come back to Paris

MSNBC reports that last year, American tourism was down 40% versus a decade ago. Worse, the Paris tourism office says 2009 traffic was down another 3.4% versus the prior year.

Surprisingly, while we only read of a double-dip recession, French tourism officials expect that Americans will be coming back "as the the U.S. economy improves. I have no doubt they are correct, but I don't thing that will mean in 2011.

Culture, Understand France and the French

What’s the deal with the Rentree this year?

Paris has been deserted until today, the last day before school officially starts. In other years, we noticed an increasing activity each day leading up to school day. This year though, things are different. Several hypotheses: 1. Many people without kids still have this week off and are Still lazing on the beach somewhere. 2. Those with kids did indeed…read more
In the News, Understand France and the French

Current postage rates from France to the US?

Are these the current postage rates in France?

Standard first-class letters (20g or less) and postcards within France cost €0.56; to continental European countries (from Scandinavia to Portugal), Baltic states, Greece, and the British Isles €0.70; to other European or Eurasian countries (Iceland, Russia, etc.), Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Oceania (Australia, New Zealand) €0.85.

Apartment - 39 rue de Vaugirard - short term rental, Apartment neighborhood, Architecture and Design, Tours and visites, Travel, Travel with Kids

Jardin du Luxumbourg named one of the 60 greatest places in the world

Image via Wikipedia I'm consistently awestruck every time we visit our 'Jardin.'  We're so lucky to have le Jardin du Luxumbourg as our backyard.   Even after more than a decade and a half of coming to this lovely city each year, I have always found this park and its gardens magical.  Lately, I've found myself reading more about the planning…read more
In the News, Movies, film, and photography

Movie Love for Paris, City of Klieg Lights –

We will be in Paris next week. I can hardly stand the long times between being there, the place where I feel the most "at home." Well, at home, because it's all so familiar and doesn't change like everything here does. Through a viewfinder of any type, it still looks like the black and white images from the first Truffaut movies I saw 30 years ago.

Good article here from today's NYT on Paris in the movies. I don't have a 16mm, but may bring a big Nikon for once, now that I'm not carrying little kids in my arms half the day.

In the News

Bad news on apartment rentals

To the dismay of everyone in the travel industry other than hotel executives, Gov. David Paterson of New York has signed legislation outlawing the rental of apartments in New York -- which means primarily New York City -- for periods of less than 30 days.

This is very bad news for family tourists everywhere who've recently discovered the joys of renting an apartment for the week, rather than a hotel room. As parents of two small children, I wouldn't say that the availability of apartment rentals is the difference between going or not, but it is often the difference between having a good time versus a nightmare of four people crowded into an over-priced hotel. Not only do apartment rentals mean not paying for a lot of hotel amenities that go unused by families, they also provide a kitchen, which helps families stay away from hotel restaurants and the dreaded $10 glass of orange juice.

Understand France and the French

Standards versus diversity in top French schools admissions – NYT

The movement to more aggressively change admissions standards and affirmative action strikes at the very heart of what France is and will be. We in the United States, despite our seemingly endless racial issues and divides, are far more used to the pulls and pushes of the new global economy. Sure, we are all scared of losing what we thought we had in some lost golden time we remember, but we do have 50 plus years of addressing hidden inequities. That's not to say that we have solved them, by any stretch of the imagination, but we have tried numerous approaches and most of us know as Americans that our history has and likely always will be in a diverse population.

At the same time, this evolution is fraught with with the same pulls of meritocracy versus affirmative action, "standards" versus opportunity. And this is felt the most strongly at the Grandes Ecoles in France, where accepted students are almost guaranteed a life of success, even more so than one would expect from a degree from Harvard or Yale. For years, students at these schools were social and economic class-selected because entrance exams were not only intentionally culturally biased, but because some kids just didn't get the early education that would allow them to even be considered.