Fashion to fromage: Best English blogs in France
The Local · 5 Feb 2013, 10:55
Published: 05 Feb 2013 10:55 GMT+01:00
- Ten myths about France and the French (04 Feb 13)
- Marseille: 'A city with a unique soul' (31 Jan 13)
- Zahia Dehar: From call girl to fashion princess (25 Jan 13)
Not to be confused with experimental culinary fusion, Chocolate and Zucchini is a drooling concoction of recipes and food musings penned by Parisian Clotilde Dusoulier.
The former software engineer, turned French kitchen goddess, admits a simple cooking utensil gets her giddy these days.
“For the quintessential Parisian experience it’s important to find providers in your neighbourhood,” she advises. “Once they know you they will save you the best produce - it’s all part of the culture.”
The title represents her recipe for success – fresh and healthy versus nice and naughty. The proof of the pudding is in the eating – anyone for cacao and courgette pasta?
Not a fan of impressionist art? Then skip the capital’s countless museums is the advice from straight-talking travel writer and tour guide Heather Stimmler-Hall.
“Paris isn’t only about buying Chanel bags and eating macaroons,” she says. Born and raised in Arizona, she tells tourists to dodge the pricey American burger joints and give directions on where to buy a decent baguette for three euros.
As to Paris’ best kept secret? “ How much stuff there is to do for free,” she says. “The museums are going to be there forever. Go spend a day discovering the backstreet neighbourhoods. No one’s going to close the Louvre.”
Getting to grips with your gites can cause some major gripes for expats in the French holiday homes business.
Photo: Marc Slingerland
Ask Marcus Smith, who moved from the UK to the Dordogne over 12 years ago and has never looked back.
Or rather ask his altar ego, blogger Boris, who has a wealth of tales to tell on the truth of living the expat life in France.
“The TV programmes about people moving here don’t portray a very realistic picture,” he says. “It’s either all very easy and idyllic or so disastrous they’re forced to move back since they’re hated by the French.”
Don’t be fooled by its glossy exterior. “This is not another fashion blog,” claims the glamorous Vanessa Grall, also known as Messy Nessy.
The set up of the site is both pretty and gritty with Nessy blogging from her Paris apartment “on the offbeat, the unique and the chic.” She has a penchant for discovering abandoned places in the capital and pleasantly tells others to “get lost.”
“Paris represents the art of being free and artistic,” she says. “So to find the interesting and unusual you just have to lose your way.”
Ask Nessy for directions to the city’s baguette ATM as well as a Chinese rip-off replica of the Eiffel Tower.
A Paris transplant from Philadelphia who fell in love with a Frenchman but maintains a love-hate relationship with her adopted home. The daily frustrations of French living prompted Lindsey Tamuta to start the blog.
”The garbage truck was stuck in the bus lane and it made me late for work,” she explains.
”Amidst the city's many gifts and charms, there are many strange, unproductive details about the way things operate here and it spiralled into telling other stories.”
As the blog suggests, Tramuta admits to have fallen for the fragrant array of French fromage.
“Comté is my favourite,” she says. “A hard cheese with a little kick, there’s nothing more enjoyable than a wedge with which to finish a meal.”
For those wanting to polish up their rusty high-school French, teacher Camille Chevalier-Karfis has a refreshing approach to learning.
“I love teaching but I am not so much in love with the French language,” she says.
“I’m not about using poetic material that explore it’s beauty, I want to give students a guide to spoken French, the real kind you hear on the street today.”
The blog is packed with grammatical pointers enabling you to perfect your passé composé as well as audio in simple French available to download.
“The beauty of the French language is that people still want to speak it”, she adds.