Paris’ Free Lunch

Paris’ Free Lunch

One of the biggest issues during last week’s presidential election was unemployment, which has been hovering around 10% for quite some time in France. With corporate taxes at up to 75%, there’s a strong incentive not to start a business here. Or as the French tennis players and actor Gerard Depardieu have done, move to Monaco, Switzerland or Russia. More than a few expat couples told us they wanted to move to Paris but couldn’t figure out a way to make money here. So they ended up in Africa, Germany or England.

En Marche!

En Marche!

This Monday we came home to find a swarm of paparazzi next to our apartment and a fleet of black Peugeots speeding off. Just a typical day in the 8th Arrondissement.

It was the morning after the first round of the French presidential election, and there were motorcades everywhere. Also, it turns out, ex-French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s office is two doors down from us. “I thought that was Carla Bruni who asked me for a light the other day,” joked Murray.

A Holiday in Saint-Tropèz

A Holiday in Saint-Tropèz

They say that luck is when preparation meets opportunity. 

We’re feeling pretty lucky these days. My sister-in-law Britt calls it our “pinch me” year. 

Our most recent “pinch me” moment was two days ago. We woke up to the golden light of the South of France in a beautiful villa in the hills above Saint-Tropez. Like a Cezanne painting, it overlooked fields and vines, and stands of les pins parapluie, a local pine tree that looks like an umbrella. 

Where to eat in Paris Spring 2017

Where to eat in Paris Spring 2017

Now that we are into our eighth month in Paris, we’ve had plenty of friends come through – 14 groups so far if I’m counting correctly, with many more to come this spring and summer. I’m often asked where they should go for a date night, or a business lunch, a girl’s night, or where to take the kids. Here are my picks of the top places to eat and drink right now, for every occasion.

Le Jogging

Le Jogging

Jogging has become wildly popular in Paris, ever since the former President Nicolas Sarkozy started a trend by jogging in the Tuileries. Now everyone is doing “le footing.” There is a stretch of the Seine between Pont de L’Alma (near where Princess Diana’s car crash took place) and the Musée D’Orsay that the city has recently redone for joggers with street art and water fountains.

Do we feel safe in Paris?

Do we feel safe in Paris?

Every time I turn on the news or open my Twitter account I am reminded of just how volatile life is, not just in Europe, but everywhere. France has been in a state of emergency since the terror attacks just over a year ago. But there is a strong sense of solidarity among Parisians, who have taken back the streets. When Parisians were asked in a survey their favourite thing to do, the most popular answer was “walking in the streets.” Even more than sex. Apparently Hemmingway’s A Moveable Feast has become a bestseller since the attacks.

Les Traveaux (The Renovation)

Les Traveaux (The Renovation)

This year in Paris has not been all Michelin star meals and Chanel fashion shows. At this very moment, for example, I am sitting in my apartment in the pouring rain waiting for an electrician who was supposed to be here three days ago to fix the power which shorts out whenever we cook with the lights on. I mean, we like to be romantic but it’s getting ridiculous.

Star Struck in Paris

Star Struck in Paris

Before coming to Paris I had never eaten in a 3-star Michelin restaurant. Last week, I had lunch at two of them.

Before you start throwing stale baguettes at me, I should point out that we were hosted. We had some friends in town, staying on Ile St. Louis, the island in the middle of the Seine. They were two couples doing a week of Michelin starred dining, either a lunch or a dinner each day, and they invited us to tag along.