One of the oldest streets (in one of the oldest neighbourhoods) in Paris, Rue Mouffetard has been at the heart of the 5th since before the fifth was the fifth. Once a Roman road that ran all the way to Place d’Italie, today Mouffetard begins at Saint Medard Square and runs up to the more […]
A short walk from the RER Station of Nogent-sur-Marne in Vincennes lies the Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale – an eerie, ramshackle remnant of France’s colonial past. Overgrown and unkempt, a maze of narrow paths leads visitors through an unlikely collection of tumbledown relics, from paint-cracked pagodas and moss-covered statues to stone bridges and Cambodian stupa. So. […]
Europe’s biggest opera house, this gargantuan green-roofed, Phantom-of-the-Opera-inspiring powerhouse of song (yes, opera) and dance (ballet) towers over the hectic traffic of, well, Opera. A veritable fanfare of neo-baroque architecture, Opera Garnier takes the name of its architect and creator, Charles Garnier. Alas, not everyone was impressed: “Everybody knows the Paris Opéra, at least by […]
Yes, it’s in every guidebook. Yes, you will find it listed under the section marked DON’T YOU DARE MISS THIS OR ELSE. Yes, the queues often stretch to the horizon of the lovely Ile de la Cité. But, but. This place really is somewhere to see. Those very same queues kept me hot-footing it past […]
I can now say with confidence that the unilateral decision to ignore every official letter you cannot immediately understand (all of them) will lead, inevitably, to hysterical phone calls to terrifyingly well-spoken accountants.
Learning French is a right bugger. Sometimes I spend ages creating imaginary role-plays in my head based on the countless conversations I’ve failed to have – the ones that have left me wide-eyed and fish-mouthed. Yes alright, all of them. I try to practise specific phrases, prepare likely explanations, attempt to repeatedly shoehorn the five words I […]
At the first unexpected judder you spot the nearby nerve-bags. Their eyes flash instantly to the tranquil world outside the window, at the clouds resting comfortably in the sky, as if their constancy can confirm beyond all doubt the impossibility of disaster. After a seemingly endless moment of suppressed panic the spine gives an inch under the […]
You’re right, it’s been a while. Is there anybody there? I have reason to hope a few of you still have an ear bent this way, since kind folk have exhorted me to tell a story or two since I disappeared from Blog Land in a shameless display of capitalism. Once I’d settled into the […]