A few weeks ago, I decided to walk to the western side of the city, past the Eiffel Tower. I had just discovered that there are, in fact, three islands in the Seine in Paris. The first two are well-known: Île de la Cité, which is home to Notre Dame, and Île Saint-Louis, which is … Continue reading Gustav Eiffel and the Île aux Cygnes
Yesterday - Thursday, November 15th - was a totally French holiday. Not the kind of holiday that gets you out of work but the kind that warrants drinking wine just because. It was Beaujolais Nouveau Day, which is the day - always the third Thursday of November - when that year's vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau … Continue reading Beaujolais Nouveau: il est arrivé!
Halloween isn't really a thing in France, so Colin and I decided to celebrate on our own in the most spook-tacular way: by going ghost-hunting in the catacombs. The Paris catacombs, created in the late 1700s to address problems with overflowing cemeteries, are hidden deep underground and are full of artfully arranged human bones, mostly … Continue reading I ain’t afraid of no ghost
The past two months have been more or less continuously filled with visitors. While it's been wonderful to share our life abroad with so many friends and family members, it is a relief to have our tiny apartment back to ourselves. (For reference: 18 square meters is comfortable with two people, cozy with three, and … Continue reading How to be a good tourist
You may remember, from about a month ago, the Great Macaron Showdown. During Round One, Colin and I bought macarons from the super-traditional Ladurée; we thought they were great. During Round Two, Colin’s brother treated us to macarons from Ladurée’s more experimental rival Pierre Hermé; they were great, too. That left things at a bit … Continue reading The Great Macaron Showdown, Round Three
Over the last few weeks, between visitors, I started exploring some new programs and tools that seem like they might be useful professionally. It's been a lot of fun to learn something that's not French! Since I didn't have an actual project to work on, I tasked myself with using Esri's Story Maps tool to … Continue reading A Day Without Cars
I know you're all anxious for an update on my secret identity - and I promise I'll get to that soon - but the prelude to that update is actually my recent trip to Italy. I know, I know—after having just written about how this fall is jam-packed with visitors, how did I have time … Continue reading A quiet realization
The success of every spy (so I’m told…) depends on the strength of their cover – their “legend.” Without a good one, a spy’s going to get found out before they even make it to Chapter Two. That’s probably not news to you if you’ve read any spy book ever. But here’s what you might … Continue reading Five truths about being a spy and learning French
While Colin's brother was visiting, he mentioned that he wanted to try some macarons. So although Colin and I had to leave him to meet our landlady for a glass of wine (she was passing through Paris, and we'd never met her in person), we gave Ross directions to the nearest Pierre Hermé and told … Continue reading More macarons!
I may have mentioned a time or two before that Paris is very easy to love. Beyond the list of things written about in every guidebook, the city reveals its character in small ways, in the otherwise understated gaps between the glitz and glam. One of the most powerful of these glimpses is the plaza across … Continue reading Responsibility and overcoming indifference