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My Paris - From a Woman's Point of View

One of my favorite things to do is to buy a book at Galignani on the rue de Rivoli, and then head next door to Angelina for a cup of tea and some macarons. Actually, when the colder weather hits in Paris, I order L'Africain, Angelina's famous pot of thick hot chocolate. It is wonderful. Tea salons like Angelina are delightfully civilized places for women to gather and share their stories. Angelina also happens to be across the street from the Jardin des Tuileries, a perfect place to sit and relax afterwards.
If you want something different to do on Friday night, try rollerskating across Paris with 25,000 other people. Pari Roller, which began in 1994, takes you on an 18.5 kilometer loop around the city, complete with police protection and a midway stop to rest. It begins at 10pm at the Place Raoul Dautry in the 14th, and typically wraps up at 1am.
Want to learn how to cook French food, take better pictures or learn some French? Book a class in Paris, and not only will your stay there become even more meaningful, but you’ll make lots of new friends who share your interests.

Forget those boring “we’ll take you to see all the standard landmarks” tours you'll find in the brochure racks of Paris hotels. Book a tour that caters to your interests. Tour operators like Eye Prefer Paris (eyepreferparistours.com) take you off the beaten path around Paris. There are experts who can even create custom itineraries for you, like food guru Rosa Jackson (www.edible-paris.com) or expat journalist Zeva Bellel (www.parisbao.com).

 


If you're interested in something a little quieter and in making new friends, a transplanted American, Patricia Laplante-Collins has created, Paris Soirees. Each Sunday evening she hosts communal dinners and each Wednesday evening she organizes social media networking in her salon in the 2nd arrondissement. For a small fee you’ll meet visiting Americans, expats, hip Parisians and other international folks, and you'll also get to hear really interesting speakers.

 

Finally, just explore the city. Become a flaneur – a person who simply walks the city to experience it. One can even be a flaneur when riding the metro, and Paris has one of the easiest underground systems to navigate.

Bon voyage…and bienvenue à Paris.


Honey for your honey...

At Maison du Miel, 24 rue Vignon (Metro Madeleine or Havre Caumartin) you can buy beeswax candles in the shape of a teddy bear, cow or rooster. As the name suggests, this store specializes in honey and honey derivatives. Although a jar of honey may not be the ideal gift to transport in your suitcase, they also sell honey nougat, cake and candy. Plus they have a special cake called pain d'épice that is a sort of French gingerbread.
Jean Feldman, Paris France


Advice from a guy...

Journeywoman, you asked me about my favorite moderately priced neighbourhood restaurant that a travelling woman would feel comfortable in. This is the spot that instantly comes to mind...

I like Ma Bourgogne in the place de Vosges (#19). You get to sit outdoors under the arches of the historic place, and the waiters are picture-perfect French (except for the grouchiness). All the classics are well-represented here, from steak frites, frisée salad with bleu cheese, to foie gras. Best bet is the prix-fixe menu at around €32, finishing with a scoop of coffee glace Berthillon. No credit cards, please. Metro: Saint-Paul

Ed. note: David Lebovitz has been living in Paris since 2002. His latest book, The Sweet Life in Paris, is a food-based memoir, filled with humorous and delicious stories about Paris with French-inspired recipes that are both sweet and savory. Website: http://www.davidlebovitz.com


Women's words on Paris...

'The pearl-grey city, the opal that is Paris.'
(Anais Nin, 1966)

'The perfect classroom is Paris.'
(Letitia Baldridge, 1968)

'Paris is the city of love, loveliness, liberty and light.'
(Margaret Anderson, 1953)

'A walk through Paris steets was always like the
unrolling of a vast tapestry from which countless
stored fragrances were shaken out.
(Edith Wharton, 1912)

'If I were to choose one single thing that would restore Paris to the senses,
it would be that strangely sweet, unhealthy smell of the Metro, so very
unlike the dank cold or the stuffy heat of the subways in New York.'
(May Sarton, 1959)


Eating out in France... 

Now that you have your hotel tips, here's a few dining out tips. Learn them well and your French waiter might even think he's serving a local.

  • At the dinner table, hands are placed on the table when you are not eating.
  • Bread should be broken, not cut. It is placed on the table, not the plate.
  • Place your knife and fork side by side across your plate when the meal is over.
  • Mineral water is frequently served at a meal.
  • Cheese is served at the end of the meal. Put the cheese on your plate and not directly onto the bread.
  • To request the check, make a writing gesture in the air.
Waiter
(Source--Europe for Women in Business, Author Tracey Wilen)


A Girls Night Out cooking class in Paris...

I know of a wonderful woman in Paris called Laura Neulat who offers cooking classes to women living in or visiting Paris. This is the way she describes the class on her website ... 'You learn to chop, dice and sear over a bottle of French wine. Conversation flows freely as your creation simmers slowly, allowing time for catching up and exploring various topics ranging from culture in Paris to where to find the best shoes in the city of lights. Fee is for a three hour class including your meal.' Website: http://www.aworldinapan.com/ Email: laura@aworldinapan.com Tel: +33 603 051 027
Fifi, Los Angeles, USA


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