Tuesday
Nov152016

Either/Or: The Art of Choosing

Liberty to choose, or freedom from choice?

It was one of those intimate, white-linen affairs—the kind of restaurant that requires me to dig my necktie out of the mothballs, where even the busboys out-dress me...

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Saturday
Oct222016

The French Political Circus

We’ve been so busy gawking at the sorry slapstick of American politics that it’s easy to forget the other circus acts going on around the Atlantic rim. In France they’re trying to show how many clowns can fit inside the teeny cars of political primaries, and just when you think the vehicle is full to the brim, voila! --another sad-faced bozo tricycles over and squeezes in. It’s hard to believe that one of these Pierrots will eventually take command of the stage and start miming the actions of a president.

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Tuesday
Oct182016

Vegan Paris

Don't think vegans exist in France? Last weekend there were two big vegan events in Paris, the Veggie Pride parade and market at Place Stalingrad overlooking the canal, and the Veggie World fair at Le Centquatre. And they were packed!

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Tuesday
Oct112016

Getting Jazzed in Paris

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.

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Monday
Oct102016

La Belle Epoque Still Not-So-Belle

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. 


 

Thursday
Sep152016

Zéro de Conduite: How to Drive in Paris

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!”

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