Author: Anne Elder

The Year of Magical Eating

I don’t make resolutions*, simply because I try not to set myself up for personal disappointment. But I’ve already decided that 2016 will be the year of intentional eating: of quality over quantity, of savouring** over stuffing. (This feeds into my resistance toward dietary labels and detox diets where you can’t drink coffee or eat bread or dairy or anything delicious. You try living in France and not eating bread and see how you like it.) On my flight down to Aix-en-Provence to celebrate New Years, I began reading Ruth Reichl‘s book “Garlic and Sapphires”, which was recommended to me months ago and has been gathering dust on my bookshelf ever since. Her words are captivating and her relationship with food enlightening, encouraging readers to remember the flavours of a dish rather than ordering seconds. The more people pay attention to what and how they eat, the more attuned they become to their own senses and the world around them. Ruth Reichl, Garlic and Sapphires While in Aix, I popped into my favourite restaurant, Fanny’s. I used to …

An American in a Cheese Shop

Before I begin, I want to take a minute to thank everyone for checking in on me and for all your kind notes. This month has been hard and surreal for the entire Paris community, and I have been so touched by all the friends sending me global support for Paris and words of encouragement. I have found great comfort in the Paris city motto, Fluctuat nec mergitur, meaning tossed but not sunk, and have been struggling to find the right words to express how this has affected me. Most of my thoughts have been posted stream-of-consciousness style on Instagram, which you can see here. And, my favorite article that has been posted thus far can be read here. ♥ I began an internship that I love last month with the fabulous Clotilde from Chocolate & Zucchini (if you don’t already follow her you should!), for whom I got to go on a tour of a new fromagerie (cheese shop) on my street. Check out the how-to guide on C&Z for cheese shopping like a Parisian 🙂 I am notorious …

The Color of London in Notting Hill

My favorite place in London is, without a doubt, Notting Hill. It’s not just because I have been hoping to run into Hugh Grant for years (movie Hugh Grant not real life Hugh Grant)…though that wouldn’t be an awful turn of events. Notting Hill is filled with colorful houses reminiscent of Rue Crémieux in Paris (though it is much more crowded), with streets of creamy white houses thrown in for good measure. Every Saturday on Portobello Road, there is a huge market, with everything from antique jewelry and china to clothes to fresh produce. As the cold sinks in, several vendors take advantage and ladle out cups of mulled wine for shoppers. The market is always crowded and it takes a discerning eye to see what’s authentic and what’s a ploy for tourists. The last time I went to the market, I was overwhelmed by crowds and despite my searching, found nothing that really caught my eye (that, however, didn’t stop me from leaving with armfuls of scarves and dresses). This time was much more …

Paris v. Aix-en-Provence: A Tale of Two Cities

Paris got cold the day I arrived. That was the unfortunate moment I remembered that for the past eight months I had been living in the same place Parisians go for vacation — the cold air snapped me back to reality. As soon as my unfortunate French Southern twang emerges in Paris, I am faced with an ultimatum: Paris or Aix? The question, though, is super difficile to find an answer for — these are two very different French beasts. Why should I have to choose? Paris is filled with festivals and art and good food and markets and the sparkling Tour Eiffel (and a skyline). Paris has character. It is also home to the most tourists in the world, smoggy and smokey air filling everyone’s lungs, and a metro system that views its users more as sardines than people. Paris has Haussmann buildings, Aix has Roman-inspired, orange tiled houses. Aix is filled with sunshine and wineries and lavender and markets, but good luck going anywhere beyond the same three restaurants and bars you always resort to. To …

Biking in Paris: I Lived to Tell the Tale

City bike riding is one of my biggest fears. Always has been, always will be. So much so, that back in March when I came to Paris with my friends Lauren and Alex, they went on a bike tour of St. Germain without me. Not because I generally oppose tours. Because I was too scared to ride a bike. But the idea of riding a bike along the Seine, of riding through Paris with flowers and vegetables in my basket, was just too tempting to avoid. I wanted to see the city faster than I could by walking, and spatially realize that the Centre Pompidou is only about 10 minutes from my apartment. I had to face my fears. I held my breath and signed up for a Vélib’ account, just in time for last weekend’s Journée sans voitures. At 30€ per year, it’s a pretty decent form of transportation/exercise. I studied my route beforehand, riding from my house in the 10e arrondissement to school across the Seine in the 7e. I Googled tips after tips after tips …

How I Navigate a New Paris

Paris has changed a lot in the past four years (despite what I say). I live in a new neighborhood, take a different metro line, and this weekend will face my fear of biking through the city (it is by far the cheapest form of transportation at 30€ per year). I used to get lost – a lot – but now I have an iPhone, for better or for worse. It’s almost as if I’m living in an entirely new city, without having to relearn a metro system or language. Today, I want to share some of my favorite Parisian resources for cafés, markets, restaurants, and events throughout the city – perfect for visitors and expats alike. Paris By Mouth → A comprehensive guide to many, many restaurants in Paris Time Out → Restaurant profiles and event highlights for what’s going on in the city (I can’t wait to try out Le Réfectoire at the Marché Saint Martin) My Little Paris → See her map of must-try cafés in Paris TIP: Follow her on Facebook and Instagram for …

Métro, Boul…angerie, Dodo

Happy Friday, everyone! I am nearly settled into my new apartment and can’t wait to explore my neighborhood this weekend. But first, scenes from the opera house. Last night, I was lying on my yoga mat in the 1e arrondissement, miraculously not falling asleep during savasana despite nearly finishing the first week of classes. An opera singer was practicing a few floors below in the same old building, located on a side street between the Opéra Garnier and the Louvre. Sounds of motorcycles and chatter from the street lifted up to our window; the opera rehearsal snuck through the cracks in the floor. Our yoga teacher told us to think about the sun – leading me to imagine beyond the exposed beams out to the city that I have been seeing mostly underground for the past two weeks. Among les français, this is the Parisian way of life – métro (commute), boulot (work), dodo (sleep). Repeat. However, thankfully, my work for now involves intensive reading while eating baguettes, though I wish the ratio of number of reading pages to baguettes could …

Greetings from Paris!

The first week in Paris is always the hardest. Well, for me at least. The packing, goodbyes, flying, getting to the city, lugging bags through the city, living in a hostel for an undisclosed amount of time, getting in fights at the bank (a true test of French fluency), and unpacking (finally) are enough to question why exactly you chose to put yourself through all of this. Again. And again. (The answer to this question is, of course, the croissants, picnics, quality of life, thankfully being reminded that yes you do still remember how to speak French, the 3€ wine and even the weird crab sticks at the Franprix.) I was pretty quiet here over the summer, mostly because I was busy working three jobs and trying to see as many people as possible. But now I’m back, with a new French view that needs to be reported on and new markets to explore. À très, très bientôt. ♦