This is Sedulia's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Sedulia's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Paris, France
American in Paris
Interests: things i have lost interest in --television --loud music --why the president is right/wrong --night clubs, being cool --trying to understand the british; things most of my friends don't know about me: i never watch tv. i don't know how to turn on the vcr or dvd player. i once read to the pope. i can ride a bike in a circle with no hands.
Recent Activity
There used to be a few more grands magasins (major department stores) in Paris than there are now. When I first visited long ago, there was even still the Trois Quartiers, a store by Madeleine. It has been through many metamorphoses since then but has never seemed to be commercially successful. There was also the beautiful (from the outside) Samaritaine*, which closed ten years ago for extensive work that everyone understood the need for– frankly, the place was a firetrap with its narrow wooden escalators and crowded floors. At the time, the management said it would rehire everyone after the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 13, 2015 at Rue Rude
All on the same beautiful Saturday afternoon, at the same time! A Muslim bride, in a white hijab.... and a Mediterranean-looking bride in a pouffy skirt.... a very pretty Chinese bride, who looked rich.... ...another bride, waiting for someone.... ...and another, whose man looked very much in love.... and a pretty bride in a sari! Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2015 at Rue Rude
Because I am what my family calls the Queen of Guidebooks, I couldn't resist this "Paris Survival Kit" I bought in a Paris museum recently, while on the prowl for something completely different. Isn't it it cute? Look how there's even a little fake hole at the top for the display rack. I bought it because of the genuine information I found in it, such as a few places to eat, work, or send visitors; also because it's fun to see how real Parisians look at themselves– this book is aimed at them. The only foreigners to get their own... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2015 at Rue Rude
I was hurrying home to get there ahead of the delivery men when I passed a greengrocer where I have an old acquaintance I'm very fond of. I waved at him and we called out a greeting and I was still smiling as I turned back to the street. "Ah, le joli sourire !" said a man behind me. I turned around to see who it was. The man behind me looked roughly like the man in the picture above, but was smiling beatifically. "Vous êtes célibataire ?" he asked. I laughed and went on. Later, he came into a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2015 at Rue Rude
I once saw a roomful of American women in Paris bidding on a small box of Kraft Mac & Cheese. The bidding went up to about $20 (in today's money). This summer, I went to a Walmart in the town where my mother lives. It was only July, but I guess after the Fourth is over, Halloween is the next big holiday. Anyway, the Halloween decorations and candy were out in force, taking up almost a whole aisle of the store. I was appalled. (Christmas started in September.) But of course, if you're an American and want to celebrate your... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2015 at Rue Rude
In the U.S., there are gated communities. Paris has its own versions– these private streets, which abound in the 16th arrondissement. Usually you have to know a code to get in. One of them, the Villa Montmorency in the southern half, Auteuil, even has full-time guards who patrol the streets and monitor the gates. Inside, behind the screen of trees, is one of the very few (or the only?) places in Paris where large private one-family houses exist with gardens and even swimming pools. As you can imagine, the Villa Montmorency been a favorite of the rich and famous for... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2015 at Rue Rude
A lot of important people live in Paris, and that means lots of cops. The especially unlucky ones get assigned this kind of duty. Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2015 at Rue Rude
At the end of the summer, I lost a good friend. It was a shock– I didn't even know he was ill till the day of his death. I have had to go to my share of funerals in France, but this was the first time it has been for a close friend. I flew to his family's home city for the funeral, and for the first time, I went with the family to the graveyard. The graveyards in France look very different from American ones, which no doubt were modeled after British. In the U.S., cemeteries are full of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2015 at Rue Rude
An English-speaking businessman who speaks near-perfect French told me this story. "One of my top employees was very competent, but everyone had a really hard time with her. She was so harsh and hard that I decided I had to have a word with her. "I called her in and said, 'You're extremely valuable to the company, but you have a problem. You've got to be nicer to people. Frankly, you're a bit of a garce.' " "She froze and glared at me. Then she relaxed and said, 'I forgot, you're not a native French speaker. You don't realize the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2015 at Rue Rude
Yesterday I was talking with a Moroccan-Frenchman (born in Morocco, came to Paris 12 years ago) about time and how differently various cultures value punctuality. "Moroccans have a saying," he said. "In Switzerland there are watches; in Morocco, there is time." Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2015 at Rue Rude
You may have noticed I've been gone a while. In fact I was living outside of France, and have just come back, a little grumpily, to my nice Paris apartment and my cat. It has been raining for the past two days and the garbagemen are on strike. The big news in the past two days has been the Air France débâcle, which, in case you haven't been following it, involves government subsidies, the loss of 2900 well-paid union jobs, a very strong pilots' union, and a couple of HR managers* coming close to being lynched by an angry crowd... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2015 at Rue Rude
Seriously? Once again, the video I want to watch is not available in my country. Which, when you are an expat, is actually a misnomer. I learned about the heinous Digital Rights Management blockage the hard way, buying movies in the USA I wanted to watch in France. (Obviously, this was back in the Stone Age.) After a long day, we sat down to watch the first much-anticipated movie. No matter what I tried, it wouldn't work. Cue sadness and frustration. Then fury. A friend who works in the TV business in LA explained that this is to prevent "abuse."... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2014 at Rue Rude
Went out for dinner tonight to a nice place in the 16th arrondissement and was surprised to see that since the last time I was there, they have added cheeseburgers to the menu. They are now officially fashionable in Paris. But not cheap. That's $33 a cheeseburger. Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2014 at Rue Rude
It's fun to look at this old map of Paris, which I took a picture of at a map dealers, and see that Paris was once much smaller than it is now. Everything between the Bois de Vincennes and the Bois de Boulogne is Paris now. The project of Le Grand Paris was launched under French president Sarkozy, who is now fairly unpopular (although what French politician isn't, these days?!). The idea was to make Paris bigger, more of a match for sprawling London and big Berlin. However, the idea of giving up their power didn't appeal to the local... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2014 at Rue Rude
I took this picture of the Picasso Museum, one of the jewels of Paris's Marais, in March 2008. The Museum is in the Hôtel Salé, one of the private palaces built in the days when the Marais was the most fashionable part of the city, before the royal court moved to the Louvre and then on to Versailles. As you can see, there was already work going on to renovate it. The museum closed for "30 months" of renovation in August 2009, under the leadership of Picasso scholar and family friend Anne Baldassari, and with a budget of about €26... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2014 at Rue Rude
A nice surprise today in my email. Rue Rude received an award I had never even heard of, for "Best Ten Websites for Expats in France"-- a finalist. I was happy to see that The Paris Blog, an "overblog" of Paris blogs, came first. Laurie Pike does a great job of curating interesting and unusual posts about Paris. And whenever she chooses one from Rue Rude, the views go up! When you've been blogging for a while, like me (Rue Rude is almost to its 11th year!), you have to make many decisions about where you want to go with... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2014 at Rue Rude
Hope you are having a nice summer! Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2014 at Rue Rude
Americans don't really pay much attention to World War I. We came in late to the war and lost few men compared to the other countries. But World War I was a great tragedy for Europe, and put an end to an optimistic era of belief in the unstoppable progress of civilization. European colonies saw their imperialist rulers tear themselves to pieces in the stupidest war in history, and knew they did not need to submit to this rule any longer. Germany and France and England lost a generation of young men. The English became pacifists. The French (most of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2014 at Rue Rude
Today is one of the busiest traveling days of the year in France. Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2014 at Rue Rude
One hundred years ago today, France calls up all its young men. In the next four years, ten percent of the population of France died in World War One. Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2014 at Rue Rude
There isn't a good dry cleaner near me in Paris since the nice fat French people retired and a couple of sour North Africans took over. Most of the North Africans around here are nice, but this couple is so sour-looking that even though they are always perfectly polite, they radiate ill feeling. Dry cleaners in France are called teintureries (or sometimes nettoyage à sec), and their prices are high; you also are lucky to get your clothes back less than a week later. I was in the Midwest last week attending a conference and sent my jacket to be... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2014 at Rue Rude
Don't have much to say today, too busy elsewhere, so I thought I would translate these comments posted when Le Monde asked its readers if it was true that young French people feel that they have to emigrate to succeed. "Bailouga" and another commenter replied (it is a curiosity of the French language that Bailouga's comment required her to reveal her sex, which isn't clear in English). The discussion is still going on, if you want to add your two cents' worth. ["Bailouga":] After a Math Sup, a Math Spé, then two years at a Grande École for engineers, I... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2014 at Rue Rude
Mmmmm. In France, I miss pies! The homemade coconut cream was the best at this wonderful place. Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2014 at Rue Rude
When I first came to Paris, none of the Muslims I met (and there were a lot, because Paris small stores are often owned by Muslims, and even my children's establishment-Catholic school had Muslim parents and assistants), no one much observed Ramadan. Most Muslims were pretty secular and even people who were religious would talk about how "my mother" observed it, but they didn't "because I live in France." Looking back, I think it was after 9/11 that French Muslims became more obviously observant, probably as a result of anti-Muslim prejudice at the time. Anyway, Ramadan is something that most... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2014 at Rue Rude
Is it true that Americans are fat? Compared to Europeans (who are steadily becoming fatter too), I'm afraid so. You really don't see people who look like this in Europe. Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2014 at Rue Rude