Join us in welcoming to The Window Seat the lovely Clotilde Dusoulier, author and celebrated Parisian blogger behind Chocolate & Zucchini. Her delicious guest blog will tempt you with an insider’s look at Paris.
I’ve lived in Montmartre for over five years, and if I’d been paid one centime for every time I’ve directed visitors to the Sacré-Coeur or the Moulin Rouge, I could afford to stay in bed eating chocolate for the rest of my life.
But I worry: once they reach those landmarks, if they get hungry, will they know where to go? Tourist traps lie in wait all over the hill, but Montmartre is a very residential area and locals eat there, too, so there is plenty of good food to be found if you know where to look. Here are a few favorites.
Paris by day is elegant and refined. But you don’t have to scratch too far beneath the picture postcard surface of the City of Light to discover there is a deliciously louche, borderline seedy side to the world’s most-touristed city.
How do I know? Because I have been living here eight years, because I have spent an inordinate amount of time and money in cafés and bars conducting “research,” and because the fruit of that labour – a new book called A Town Like Paris – has just been published.
At the heart of the book is a love story. My love story. I came to Paris from Australia as a swinging bachelor – a young man bent on adventure, determined to foist myself upon an unsuspecting French female population and, in the process, eat my fill of Hemingway’s fabled moveable feast.
Photo of Shay courtesy of Carla Coulson.
Every traveler has a moment like this one. I’d been hanging around Paris for a few weeks and decided to explore the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. After climbing every single step to the top and wandering through the cathedral itself, I was ready to park myself in a café for a while. As I plunked back down the stairs, worn out and bedraggled, a familiar song caught my ears.
“Country roads…take me home…to the place…I belong…West Virginia.”
I wandered over to two young Frenchman playing acoustic guitars and joined in signing a wacky tribute to the late, great John Denver. It was a silly moment, to be sure, but one in which the world felt both stranger than ever before–and yet shared.
This past weekend, Virgin flew a 747 from Heathrow in London, to Schiphol in Amsterdam. Of course, this wouldn’t normally be such a big deal, except it was on time. No, I’m kidding. What was of note on this particular flight was that one of the four engines was powered by a mix of jet fuel and coconut and babassu palm oil. The idea, of course, was to test out using biofuel in the sky to try to cut back on what is an increasingly noted issue of air travel pollution. What is also noteworthy here is that, by using a biofuel that is not from a staple crop—like corn, we can avoid using both food supplies and some other crucial crops