Revisiting My Trip to the 2010 French Open

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As the 2014 French Open tennis tournament enters day three today, I can’t help but remember my attendance at the 2010 French Open, held in late May-early June at the Roland Garros facility in Western Paris. With the help of my temporary landlord, I bought and printed out a day pass to the outer courts, and was able to attend two junior matches involving American teenagers (they both lost) and a doubles match featuring a highly seeded French team (they won). I also sat for a bit in the courtyard outside Court no. 1 (the third-biggest of the courts in the complex) and watched on a Jumbotron as Serena Williams dispatched her opponent. It was amazing! Continue Reading →

It’s No Cliche: Springtime in Paris is Magical

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Ah, springtime in Paris.

Certainly you’ve heard more than one visitor to or resident of the City of Light utter this phrase, usually with a wistful sigh. And while it’s true that equating springtime in Paris with extreme bliss is something of a cliché, there’s actually a very logical reason this adage developed—there is nothing in the world quite like springtime in Paris. Continue Reading →

Macaron Mastery at Pierre Herme

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Paris is home base for a chain of out-of-this-world patisseries launched by arguably the world’s greatest pastry chef, Pierre Herme. The patissier is best known for his macarons, most of which have quite unusual flavor pairings, such as orange, carrot and cinnamon; foie gras and figs; sherry and golden raisins; white truffle and hazelnut; and olive oil and sea salt. Another signature Herme pastry is the 2000-feuille, a more decadent version of the French classic millefeuille or 1000-feuille—a rich dessert made up of layers of stacked puff pastry sheets separated by chocolate, almond cream and hazelnut cream filling. But truth be told, all of Herme’s desserts are delectable. Continue Reading →

V.E. Day: 69 Years Ago, the Nazi Nightmare Ended

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Today, May 5, marks the 69th anniversary of the Victory in Europe during World War II, known as V.E. Day. A national holiday in every major Western European nation, V.E. Day is celebrated particularly boisterously in France as the country suffered a long occupation by the Nazis and even the establishment of a collaborationist government in the southern half of the nation. In Paris, locals and visitors alike can find several historical sights and monuments related to World War II and the Nazi occupation, particularly locations that are directly linked with the mass arrest and deportation of French Jews in the city. Continue Reading →

Up Close with Le Penseur at the Musee Rodin

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One of my favorite Paris Museums is the Musee Rodin, adjacent to the Invalides complex on the Right Bank. Opened in 1919, the museum is dedicated to French sculptor Auguste Rodin. The museum is housed in the 17th century Hotel Biron—a glorious mansion in which Rodin rented four rooms for his workshop from 1908 until his death in 1917—and the manor’s enormous gardens. Among the many pieces displayed at the museum are three of Rodin’s most famous works, including Le Penseur (The Thinker), Le Baiser (The Kiss) and La Porte de l’Enfer (The Gates of Hell). Continue Reading →