I feel like I’ve spent my whole teenagehood watching Sex and the City and reading blogs written by young Parisian women… I was dreaming of the day I would live this big city life myself. I was passionate about art, literature and fashion and there was no other option than Paris or New York to me. I arrived in Paris at 17 to study Art History and I will probably never leave again!
URBANSIDER: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LOVE AFFAIR WITH PARIS?
Love affair is the perfect word to describe my relation to Paris! I’m deeply in love with the city. It was love at first sight and the honeymoon lasted for a few years… I felt like I was living in a dream or on a film set. I couldn’t get used to the beauty of the city and as soon as I was away, I missed it terribly.
Ten years later I’m still astonished by the grandiosity of the city I’ve chosen, but I know it enough not to be intimidated anymore and feel perfectly comfortable. There has never been a big crisis in this love affair, I never got fed up or tired, but sometimes I feel like Paris is pushing me away. Indeed, rents are super expensive and life can get a bit intense… But that’s a love story I’m definitely willing to make efforts and sacrifices for!
URBANSIDER: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT PARIS IN GENERAL?
Probably the homogeneity of the Haussmannian architecture. It’s iconic. It’s what makes the identity of Paris. It’s never boring, always chic. It creates a very dense and intricate decor, but the color of the stone conveys a feeling of serenity.
I love to walk in Paris, have a glass of wine at a terrace, gallery hop in the Marais… Haussmannian buildings are the setting of all of my favorite activities in Paris!
URBANSIDER: ARE THERE ANY OF ASPECTS OF PARIS THAT YOU DISLIKE?
When I travel to other big cities around the world, I always feel that Paris is a bit less dynamic and opened to the world – maybe a bit provincial sometimes. But it’s probably one of the drawbacks of the “French art de vivre.” Life is a bit slower here than in New York or London, for better and for worse.
Also, I grew up in much sunnier parts of the world and I must say I’m still not used to the weather here!
URBANSIDER: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE DAYDREAMING SPOT IN PARIS?
Of course, I love to walk around the Ile Saint Louis and the Ile de la Cité, but it’s so touristy that I feel these moments don’t really belong to me. I think the little streets around the Canal Saint Martin – from place Sainte Marthe to rue des Vinaigriers – and the heights of the Buttes Chaumont feel much more real, and they are linked to many good memories.
I must also mention the Marais, where I spend a lot of time. I never get tired up of the Rue de Bretagne and the Carreau du Temple. And finally, I love a mint tea at the Grande Mosquée and a walk on the Montagne Sainte Geneviève once in a while.
URBANSIDER: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PARISIAN MOVIE SCENE?
I’m so bad at these kinds of questions! I can’t even name my favorite movie or song… Before I lived in Paris I loved the Nouvelle Vague movies as well as the American classics such as Charade or An American in Paris. Now, I’m much more excited when I recognize a place that I know well, so it would probably be a scene from a Cedric Klapisch movie such as Chacun cherche son chat.
URBANSIDER: WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE FRENCH AUTHORS?
I read a ton of novels by Zola when I was younger, but in the last years, I’ve plunged into contemporary literature. I would say Annie Erneaux, Virgine Despentes, Leïla Slimani and, even if I hate his vision of the society, Michel Houellebecq – not his last books though. Also, I’m named after Hemingway’s granddaughter so I must mention him, even though he’s not French.
IF PARIS WERE A SONG?
I don’t know why, but to me “Sympathique” by Pink Martini is very, very Parisian.
Sightseeing: I’m not really into Impressionism so I rarely go to Orsay. If there is only one museum to visit I would definitely say it’s the Louvre. I would recommend the sumptuous apartment Napoléon III and the Chardin’s paintings rather than the crowded Mona Lisa room. Pick the periods of Art History you like the most on the map because you could spend days in the museum! Also, I love the Centre Pompidou and the Palais de Tokyo. Even if you’re not into Modern Art, the view from the top floor of the Centre Pompidou is worth the visit. The Fondation Louis Vuitton, designed by architect Frank Gehry, is stunning and the exhibitions rarely disappoint. And finally, check out the events in the Grand Palais, the Grande Verriere is unforgettable.