How To Live Like A Parisian, No Matter What Neighborhood You’re In

How To Live Like A Parisian, No Matter What Neighborhood You’re In

Articles about how to dress like/talk like/date like a Parisian are a dime-a-dozen, and mostly complete BS, so I was hesitant to take on this subject. Instead of listing what colors to wear and how to get that sexy french girl tousled hair that everybody seems to want, I’ve just described how I actually lived, when I was in Paris. Enjoy!

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Travels in the Loire: Visiting Le Château de Chambord

Travels in the Loire: Visiting Le Château de Chambord

Our target for the weekend is Château de Chambord. As the most famous and prominent castle  in the region, can get very busy in the summer months, but after driving through the thickly wooded  domain that surrounds it (and signs alerting us to wild boar and deer that roam about) we find it half-empty in the cold and crisp early December air. 

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Versailles: An Unofficial Guide

Versailles: An Unofficial Guide

The Palace of Versailles, approximately 20km south-west of Paris is one of the most visited sites in Europe, and is on everybody's to-do list while in the City of Lights. It is an absolutely spectacular place, and one of my favourite sites in the Paris region, but it's not the kind of place you should just pitch up to and wing it. 

Due to its size and popularity, a day in Versailles can easily descend into a disaster of long lines, bad timing, long walks in the dust and cancelled trains. 

As a tour guide I've spent thousands of hours in the town and estate, and I firmly believe that preparation is the key. So read on, because I'm about to share as much advice as I can. 

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The Ultimate Paris Marathon Spectator Guide

The Ultimate Paris Marathon Spectator Guide

Watching the Paris Marathon isn't easy, even for a local. I was rushed, unprepared and even had to take a cab at one point. *shame*

Yet loads of people come to Paris from out of town to watch, so with this in mind, I've designed the perfect user-friendly Ultimate Paris Marathon Spectator Route. 

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Exploring Chartres: a Cathedral-sized adventure in the Eure-et-Loire

Exploring Chartres: a Cathedral-sized adventure in the Eure-et-Loire

Chartres is about 80km south-west of Paris, 1h20 by train. Perfect for a day visit, visitors go to see the UNESCO World Heritage listed Notre Dame de Chartres, arguably the most beautiful Gothic cathedral in France.

Back in May 2015, I spent a day in this beautiful little town with my Dad and his wife. Being the deadline-oriented, timely writer I am, I’ve let nothing get between me and this post.

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What Lies Beneath: Exploring the illegal Catacombes of Paris

What Lies Beneath: Exploring the illegal Catacombes of Paris

There’s a world you don’t see. Under your feet. A dark, wet, scurrying world. A muddy, candle-lit, labyrinthine world. Of immeasurable interconnected tunnels, dislodged boulders, vaulting galleries. Private dens, stone-carved temples and sprayed artworks. A world of pit-pat drips and natural springs, sagging electrical wires and bones.

A burrowing, endless honeycomb of a world under the huge, light, airy city you walk through every day. And one evening, this girl fell down the rabbit hole.

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How I overcame my fears and spoke French on national TV

How I overcame my fears and spoke French on national TV

Speaking French is not a simple matter of flicking a switch and carrying on with life. It is inextricably related to feelings of legitimacy, falsehood, belonging and alienation. It is associated with anger and frustration, inadequacy, stupidity, and triumph. It is related to who and what I am, my place in the world around me and a constant negotiation and re-negotiation of meaning, intention and power. 

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about November the 13th

about November the 13th

I’ve tried to write something about the attacks of November 13th for weeks. It never feels like the right time, or the right way. Still doesn’t. How can one possibly begin to put words to the enormous confusion of horror, pain, death, anger, grief, emotions, news reports, lack of sleep, tears that was it. How can one begin to describe something that you can’t touch, and which changed the very world in which you live, has coloured the way you see everything, and has made everything Before and After?

How can I, one among millions begin to even try? What right do I have to tell this story?

Like pushing magnets together, my words resist one another. The harder I push, the more violently they slip away into a messy pile on the other side of meaning.

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Hey You! Yes You: meet Ellen, who has been up the Eiffel Tower over 700 times

Hey You! Yes You: meet Ellen, who has been up the Eiffel Tower over 700 times

Welcome to "Hey You! Yes You", a new series in which I'll introduce you to a new marvelous person that I have encountered here on Earth,  each with their own interesting story. 

For the first ever post of I have chosen a friend of mine here in Paris, Ellen. Ellen is a seriously talented musician and singer, who has just finished recording a to-be-named new album.  

By regularly coaxes the magic of unicorns out of her voice and into our ears on the Paris music scene. By day she works in one of the most beautiful places on earth: The Eiffel Tower. As a tour guide, and has been up the Tower more than a hundred times. Like, way more.

I thought it would be fun to ask her a few questions about what that is like. 

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Anna's Adventures: Cooking authentic French cuisine

Anna's Adventures: Cooking authentic French cuisine

Published in PRIMOLife Magazine September 2015

“Turn it! Turn it!”

Oil spits out of the sizzling pan, splattering my white apron and everything in the vicinity. I stand back, wielding shiny kitchen tongs like Steve Irwin fending off a particularly aggressive snake. Amid the encouragement of my companions, I flip the excitable chicken pieces one by one.

I like to cook, but usually without an audience so I can hide the chaos, the panic, the improvising and the fact that I’ve used every single dish in the kitchen. Yet here I am, in the beautiful Parisian home of Paule Caillat, aka, a proper French cook.

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Adventures in the South of France: Exploring the 'perched village' of Lacoste

Adventures in the South of France: Exploring the 'perched village' of Lacoste

Provence has got to be one of the most adorable regions in France.

A land of lavender, vineyards, fruit trees, gently rolling hills and the occasional limestone range... Of ancient village centres, narrow cobblestone streets and carved stone fountains... The true paysage, the authentic rural heart of France which has remained unchanged throughout the centuries in its deeply significant traditions and unrelenting adorableness.

Did I mention lavender? 

If I'm honest, the self-conscious provincialism can wear pretty thin, especially in the bigger towns where vendors cackle with delight at the commencement of the tourist season, and even on brand new buildings the paint is artfully weather-worn.

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Artistic Licence: A Luxurious Weekend In The South Of France

Artistic Licence: A Luxurious Weekend In The South Of France

Yves Saint Laurent, Brigitte Bardot, Pablo Picasso, Bernard Buffet…

Wait who? Although his name is little known today, Bernard Buffet was once one of France’s most wealthy and successful artists, critically acclaimed at home and abroad.

So what happened? Due perhaps to his fame and the resentment and jealousy of Picasso, Buffet suffered from a severe critical backlash in the 1960’s. Although he remained well-loved among the “ordinary people”, the art world firmly turned its back on him, right up until his death in 1999. Now more than 15 years later, there is proof that the world is re-discovering Buffet, and liking what it sees. 

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