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Margarita-Loving Texan in Saint-Germain

Landen moved from Dallas to Paris in 2018 after first falling in love with the city during a semester abroad program. She’s enamored with all things French, but especially the food. Landen’s favorite way to see and experience Paris is simply by walking around without a particular destination in mind. Keep up with Landen on Instagram @pariswithlanden or on her blog.

 A Quick Q&A With A Local Paris Insider

Our Interview with Paris Writer Landen

What brought you to Paris in the first place?

I studied abroad here in Fall 2012 and fell absolutely in love. I came back the next summer for another study abroad program and afterwards I made it my goal to live in Paris. It took me five years to get here full-time. I literally pinch myself every day because I feel so lucky to live in this incredible city.

How has your relationship with Paris evolved?

There were some huge adjustments at first with living here versus just visiting. I was used to eating at restaurants every day (and having bread with every meal) and taking a taxi if I needed to get somewhere. Now that I live here, I cook a lot more – I love going to the weekly markets and specialty shops to find my ingredients – and restaurants and baguettes are a special treat. And if I’m not walking, I take the metro – it’s so easy and necessary to avoid the traffic.

Are there any of aspects of Paris that you dislike?

I’m from Texas, so at first, I really missed having a car, air-conditioning, and tons of space in my apartment. For the most part I’ve gotten over not having a car and a lot of space, but I did break down and buy a mobile air-conditioning unit. I know French people think it makes you get sick, but it was my best friend during the summer months.

What do Americans think of when they think of France?

I think there will always be people who think the French are snooty or rude, but 99% of the time that’s not the case. I think Americans are really receptive to and appreciate the French culture. And I think we love a lot of the food clichés – croissants, baguettes, croque madames, and fries!

What’s your favorite thing about Paris in general?

It’s super hard to pick just one thing, but I think the energy. It’s such an exciting and inspiring city and the energy is palpable and contagious. Different places in the city have different energies too, so there’s really something for everyone and every mood.

What’s your favorite daydreaming spot in Paris?

If I’m working, I’m most productive and motivated when I’m sitting on the terrasse of a café surrounded by people, whether they’re tourists or locals. If I’m in the mood to daydream somewhere by myself, I like to sit along the banks of the Seine because it’s so peaceful and always nice to be by the water.

What’s your favorite Parisian movie scene?

I love all of Midnight in Paris, but my favorite scene is in Me Before You when Louisa reads Will’s letter in Place Dauphine. It’s such a simple but perfect Parisian moment.

If Paris were a song?

For me Paris as a song is U2’s “City of Blinding Lights.” I think it captures the spirit and energy of the city perfectly. I always listen to it during take-off on a flight to Paris because it makes me so excited.

Landen’s Favorites:
  • Sightseeing: Palais Garnier – it’s such a beautiful building and I adore the Chagall ceiling
  • Stroll: Anywhere on Sunday morning when Paris is empty or beside the Seine
  • Cocktail bars: Bar Hemingway or Candelaria
  • Restaurants: Le Voltaire or Café Varenne
  • Coffee shops: Café Kitsuné or the terrasse of Le Saint Germain
  • Brunch: Coutume Café has the best soft-scrambled eggs ever
  • Chill: On a bench at the Jardin du Palais Royal or along the banks of the Seine
  • Experience: Go to a concert at Sainte-Chapelle or on a Seine cruise at night
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