“After visiting every year as a tourist, I finally got to live here, and I still thank my lucky stars every day, even after four years of calling Paris home.”
Being a travel writer, Ulrike is naturally inquisitive, forever exploring far-flung places around the world. Living in Paris proved to be the thrill she expected it to be and although she has been down nearly every road in every arrondissement, each new day still brings new surprises and yet-to-be-explored corners.
What brought you to Paris in the first place?
Quite simply, my husband was requested to move here for work. He didn’t even bother to ask me. A no-brainer. After visiting every year as a tourist, I finally got to live here, and I still thank my lucky stars every day, even after four years of calling Paris home.
How would you describe your love affair with Paris?
It started from childhood, I have always known Paris. But then, through reading all the writers associated with this city, the love grew stronger. As soon as I moved here – and I have lived in a lot of places (seven countries on three continents) – I felt I’d come home.
How do you deal with the ‘Frenchness’ of Parisian people?
I embrace it. The people are no ruder than in any other city and being an introvert myself, I feel that I fit right in when people grumble at me in the metro. And I find that if you start with a cheery bonjour and end with a merci, au revoir AND a bonne journée, you actually get some genuine smiles.
What’s your favorite daydreaming spot in Paris?
I am a water person, so give me a bench by the quayside, somewhere between the Île de la Cité and Ile Saint Louis, and I’m happy.
What’s your favorite Parisian movie scene?
You know, I still get a thrill out of every scene where I recognize a Paris street. Every time.
What are your favorite French authors or books?
When I moved here, I thought it’d be time to read Proust. And I did. All seven volumes of it. Alas, I read it in English, my French cannot cope with sentences an entire page long. I am still in awe and enjoyed the history lessons throughout. More recently, I loved Muriel Barbery’s Elegance of the Hedgehog, and Leïla Slimani’s Lullaby.
If Paris were a song?
I feel that Paris is always beautiful on the outside, come rain or shine, but deeper down it’s sometimes not all that perfect, so maybe Soprano’s “Clown”.
- Sightseeing: I regularly visit Pompom’s Polar bear and Van Gough’s “Starry Night” in the Musée d’Orsay.
- Stroll: Walking the Petite Ceinture
- Cocktail bars: I don’t go to bars a lot, I usually just choose nice terraces. But I do like Le Perchoir de l’Est.
- Restaurants: Café de l’Homme, Les Bouquinistes, Ricci Bayen for its truffle pizza
- Brunch: Le Pavillion du Lac, Buttes Chaumont
- Chill: Parc Monceau, on a bench with a book and a coffee from the kiosk
- Gigs: Call me a tourist, but I love it when people invade the metro – if they can sing.
- Experience: I do love ice skating in the Grand Palais before Christmas
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