New York may be the city that never sleeps, but Paris at least has a late bedtime. Once a year there's the all-night art festival of the Nuit Blanche, but for the other 364 days a year, nocturnal activities are less centrally organized. If you want to push beyond standard concert or theater hours in a civilized way, one of the best choices is a jazz club.
I was walking down the Rue des Petits Champs this summer on my way to the Passage Choiseul, and was actually sad to see what has become of the tacky old Belle Epoque Cabaret. Yes, it was a garish eyesore with red neon and faded flags, the epitome of the worst kind of tourist trap "near the Paris Opera!" But at least it had character. It was closed down in 2013 when the Swiss owners went bankrupt, and all of the dancers and restaurant staff laid off. Now it's just a bland restaurant with generic French food sold at "trendy restaurant" prices. As an amusing aside, the tripadvisor page considers it to still be the same establishment, so you can still find reviews from its previous incarnation as a cabaret alongside the very disappointed experiences in today's restaurant.
Ever tempted to climb behind the wheel in Paris? For those who don't find riding in taxis harrowing enough, you can always do it yourself. Just gird your loins, grit your teeth, and increase your life insurance before you do it.
It always starts with the best of intentions. There will be a guest or two staying over, and after dinner we’ll retire to the living room. During a pause in the conversation, I will raise a finger in a sham of spontaneity, and cry out, “Say, why don’t we go for a drive!”
What can a simple ride on the RER reveal about the French approach to problem-solving? Join the author as he heads out to Charles De Gaulle airport one day and encounters a problem in need of a solution.
Ever wonder if maybe Americans enjoy "being French" more than the French themselves? It's an interesting theory explored with humor by author and part-time Parisian Jordan Phillips in her new book, “Inspired by Paris: Why Borrowing from the French is Better than Being French”. I met Jordan Phillips when she was living in Paris several years ago. Now she’s mostly in NYC, but still gets to enjoy the best of Paris by “borrowing” the best parts, from the food to the fashion (with a cameo appearance by “Naughty Paris”). Here is an excerpt from the chapter, The Paris Syndrome.
An American diner serving pancakes and bottomless cups of coffee may be ubiquitous in the US, but in Paris it's exotic! That's why every homesick expat knows about Breakfast in America (aka BIA), the only place to get authentic American diner food in Paris. What most of don't know is what founder Craig Carlson had to go through to open his first diner over 13 years ago.
"Pancakes in Paris: Living the American Dream in France" is Craig's sometimes harrowing but refreshingly honest tell-all/memoir, coming out September 6th. He's graciously agreed to give Secrets of Paris readers a sneak preview.