Two Faced: The Charm of Repurposed Buildings in Paris

The idea of repurposing antiquated buildings in a city may seem somewhat callous – somewhere, a city planner must decide on behalf of their regional metropolis that the building’s original purpose is redundant. It’s a decision driven by several concerns and postulations. Modernization and industrialization are arguably the biggest drivers of change which tend to signal that the technology has advanced more quickly than the buildings are designed to withstand. Our shifting criteria for what we de

Books on Paris: Delving into My Curated Bookshelf

Six months in Paris on my year abroad was enough to make a small dent in the literary cacophony of opinions, revelations and assertions about the French capital which has created something of a canon of its own. The city has been something of a home and a refuge for French and expatriate writers alike for centuries, offering a deliberate pace of life that favors contemplation and observation over fleeting occurrences. Many leisurely hours were spent reading in the manicured gardens of the Place

A Literary Feast for Bibliophiles: Lesser Known Bookstores in Paris

Literature and the city of Paris enjoy a quasi-symbiotic relationship. It’s the only metropole with a “river… that runs between two bookshelves,” the Seine being quite literally lined with bouquinistes whose antiquarian stalls overflow with jumbled pre-loved classics and anthologies of romantic expressions. The written word hangs over the city like irrepressible mist. The romantic flair of French semantics accompanied by the penchant for conversation intrinsic to the French apéro culture makes

UNESCO Celebrates the Baguette

The UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is a distinguished — if somewhat nebulous — mark of prestige that recognises the traditions which make cultural expression an authentic mélange of food, music, literature, knowledge and crafts. In an era of increasing globalisation, it’s becoming essential to preserve these potent nuggets of identity which are beacons of soft power — symbols of the idiosyncrasies which make each society and community distinct. These colourful traditions include

Feasting in the 9th Arrondissement: The Complete Guide

There are few pleasures more readily available than gastronomy in France and even fewer clichés more frequently employed than that of the Frenchman with a baguette in hand and a string of garlic strung around his neck. From fromage to omelette, éclairs to saucisson – the French food scene is indulgent, plentiful, and sometimes quite overwhelming. And when it comes to food in Paris, the two are almost synonymous. Need steering in the right direction? Here’s your complete guide to the best cafés,

Down and Dirty: Explore the Paris Sewers at Musée des Égouts

“The sewer is the conscience of the city,” prophesied Victor Hugo with bizarre fascination in his magnum opus, Les Misérables, first published in 1862. But if Paris is a city rhapsodized for its grandiose exterior, you’d be forgiven for not having explored the recently renovated Musée des Égouts de Paris, a quirky museum which, rather than celebrating the visible, transports you into Paris’s murky depths. Indeed, underneath Paris lies another Paris – a Paris which sighs beneath the weight of a c

Franglais; idiosyncratic or reductive?

Whilst working in Paris, as part of my year abroad, I was surprised when one of my French colleagues asked me what RSVP meant. It’s a Frenchism which stands for ‘répondez s’il vous plaît’, meaning ‘please respond’, that is widely recognised in the English language but which doesn’t appear to be the case in French. So why is it that aspects of the French language have made their way into the English language, seemingly without the French even knowing? Bilingualism seems to be something that has

Paris 2024: Greener Olympics?

The postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games have only drawn to a close a few months ago, but Anne Hidalgo’s sights have, for many years prior, been firmly set on the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. Aiming to host the most environmentally sustainable Olympics in history, the Parisian mayor has extremely ambitious plans in order to make the French capital as sustainable as possible, in time for it to be judged on the world stage. The wider environmental aim is for the 2024 Paris Olympics to be the first Gam

Julia Llewellyn Smith: “Print journalism is in a lot of trouble”

Julia Llewellyn Smith is a freelance journalist who writes for The Times, You Magazine at The Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail as well as magazines such as Grazia and Vogue. She’s also written nine books including Travels Without My Aunt, about the travels of the author Graham Greene. A former news reporter, Llewellyn Smith has produced features on “every subject under the sun”, although now she conducts a lot of interviews, “often with celebrities, but very often with ‘ordinar