Classic French Singers (and Why We Love Them)

“Where there’s music there can be love”
French Proverb

 

French Playing Flute For as long as I remember, I’ve adored the sound and feel of French music. Strange, as until recently, I couldn’t understand a single lyric. Nevertheless, back then; those tiny details didn’t seem to matter. There was something about the tunes, the sound of the language perhaps, that seemed to bypass the rational self and leap at the heart. And so, for a wretched romantic like me, the songs and music induced a world of make believe, a distant memory or imagined love affair. Perhaps, too, it was a sign of things to come. A subconscious prompt telling me I’ve either lived in France in my past life or will do so in the future. Strange, how la vie throws little twists and curveballs in ones direction - and why is it that we only ever realize these things in hindsight?

Dating a French Man

French man and woman in the Paris subway

If you haven’t noticed a kind of abnormal obsession about French people you’ve lived under a rock. About the men as well as the women being - how can I say,  somewhat  holier than thou, sexier, better lovers, well cultured, better dressed, cooler, whatever?

I’m not sure where all the excitement stems from but maybe, just maybe there’s a  grain of truth here somewhere.   And even though I’m writing this from the perspective of someone who’s lived in France for the past 3 years - and also from the point of view of being married to one of these fascinating creatures, I promise I won’t be too biased, ok?

Often stereotyped in what the French man is supposed to be like, there are a  number of myths I’d like to examine under Le miscrosope de l’Amour.

Why Train is Ideal for visiting France and Europe

Rails is ideal to explore France or Europe

No airport stress
Imagine not having to arrive 2-3 hours early, wait in long cues, go through the check-in procedure and the security checks, take off your shoes and empty all your liquids and gels, not to mention other embarrassing personal belongings into a box? No unpacking your things, random searches, turbulence etc?

What's more, when waiting to board, you attempt the breathing exercises you've been told will help you combat your fear of flying. But it's no use. You're still filled with terror. Eventually, when you do take off, your pulse races, your palms are sweaty, you need to pee because you're nervous but you can't because the stewards' trolley is blocking the aisle. Finally, your big chance… the trolley's gone, but no, you hear a 'ding' followed by an irritating voice announcing you're about to land. So you sit down, shut up and strap on your safety belt. (Why, you wonder as you grit your teeth, doesn't that thing you're sitting on come with a discreet potty?)

Women's Clothing Size Conversions (USA, France & UK)

Paris shopping: Women's Clothing Size Conversions

Shopping in large French department stores like the Galeries Lafayette in Paris can be a heady experience.  What woman wouldn't want to spend at least one afternoon trying on the latest fashions?  To make the experience even more enjoyable (and less mysterious!) we offer the following conversion charts for women's sizes in the USA, the UK and France.  Please visit again soon for a future article on menswear.


A Beginners Guide to the French

French People

A playful Guide to the French, from a "tourist's" perspective.

Tiens! So, you're planning a trip to France and have heard some things (i.e. stereotypes) about the French, right? We offer the following as a light-hearted guide to some typical myths; to share what's true and what's not-so-true, and how to deal with both. Remember a French vacation is one of the best things you can do. The best way to verify these rumors is to go to Paris and France, you will not regret it!

Typical Sterotypes

Tour the attraction most Parisian never visited: The Catacombs

France: Paris tour Most Parisians, I know, never visited the Catacombs (spelled Catacombes in French). I never did when I lived there. I finally visited them and I have to say it is truly unique. I recommend strongly touring the Catacombs.

This is one of the rare tourist attractions in Paris, where for just a few seconds you wonder if engineers have studied the place. They must..right...

A brief history:
The origin starts at the end of the XVIII century. After being used for 10 centuries the cemetery of the "Innocents" was starting to become a health hazard in this Paris neighborhood.

Paris Subway: Le Métro

Paris transportation

Most tourists and Parisians use the subway (i.e. metro) to move about in Paris. The state company that operates the metro is called the R.A.T.P.

Pros: It's fast, inexpensive and everywhere. It is also safe, mostly clean and easy to understand. Using the metro also simplifies estimating your travel time. For instance, when I lived in Paris I used the averaged scale of 1 minute and 30 seconds between metro stations. If my destination was 10 stops away, I knew it would take about 15 minutes to get there. Try it! Finally, if you enjoy 'people watching', the Metro is great.

Cons: Strikes; usually once or twice a year. Also, the metro is not open 24/7. Stations open between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m., with the last run ("le dernier métro" in French) between midnight and 1:00 a.m.

Men's Clothing Size Conversions (USA, France & UK)

Basic Apparel

Unlike women's sizes, men's sizes are far more consistent because they reflect the actual dimensions of various body parts in inches or centimeters. For instance, the first number in men's shirt sizes is always the circumference of the neck, with the second number being the length of the sleeve.  In pants, the first number is the dimension Paris shopping: Men's Clothing Size Conversions of the waist,  with the second number being the length of the inseam.  Men's coats are measured according to chest size, measuring under the arms.  As long as you know the exact measurements of the person you are outfitting, it is difficult to go wrong in men's sizes, however, as always be sure to try things on when possible.  We offer the following charts as basic guidelines only.

Men's Dress Shirts

USA UK France
14 14 36
14½ 14½ 37
15 15 38
15½ 15½ 39
16 16 41
16½ 16½ 42
17 17 43

French women style secrets (Or what to pack for Paris so you don't look like a tourist)

French fashion dressAhhh, the elusive style of la femme française…Subtle, sexy, with a mix of nonchalance, confidence, mystery and effortlessness, her look is never too simple or too sharp.

When I think of an image of her quintessential style, I see a trench, well-worn heels, long hair, red lips, soft fabrics like cashmere, gorgeous shoes and a scarf trailing in the wind, emanating her perfume long after she has passed you in the street.

Her clothes look spontaneous, effortless as if she’s thrown them on without thinking. You see her style is not about perfection as such. There’s something a little neglected about her look, something offbeat, never over-studied.

Her ‘imperfections’ in terms of beauty are thought of as charming. She doesn’t care about her small breasts, she thinks them sexy anyway and shows them off with low décollétes (necklines). No need for a bra.