Recent Features

Recent contributions to Vanity Fair, GQ, and Mediapart

  • Monsieur Mediocre

    A hilarious, candid account of what life in France is actually like, from a writer for Vanity Fair and GQ. Americans love to love Paris. We buy books about how the French parent, why French women don’t get fat, and how to be Parisian wherever you are. While our work hours increase every year, we […]

  • In Gad We Trust

    Four years ago, Gad Elmaleh, France’s biggest comedian, arrived on US shores with the dream of becoming a stand-up comic in English. The funny part? He actually did it. On a dreary October evening in 2015, Gad Elmaleh, France’s biggest comedian and one of its most recognized stars found himself doing stand up in English […]

  • Gloria Vanderbilt: The last American aristocrat

    Heiress to one of the richest American dynasties, Gloria Vanderbilt has seen it all. Fame, fortune, love, and tragedy. JOHN VON SOTHEN retraces the destiny of the woman who inspired Breakfast at Tiffany’s and designer jeans, while harkening back to a lost age – when America once had royalty. There must have been a moment […]

  • Stella McCartney leads the next British Invasion

    Most celebrity interviews fit a certain template. They are polite. Guarded. Brief. Perfunctory. Stella McCartney’s having none of that shit. Before I even start recording, she’s snuggled on a banquette, flipping through a lookbook of her latest collection. For the next 45 minutes, we sit and point and laugh and talk while the pages turn. […]

  • The Risk-Taking, Mood-Making Magic of Haider Ackermann

    Born in Colombia, raised in Africa, schooled in Belgium and based in Paris, fashion’s favorite nomad has found a new home as creative director of Berluti. I can’t remember why, but Haider Ackermann and I are talking horses. He’s a big fan of riding, which is odd, considering he’s only been on a horse once. […]

  • French vacances: Six weeks of not so great time off

    JOHN VON SOTHEN discovered when he married a French woman that a man’s visions of those sex filled, rosé saturated lazy European summer holidays are unfortunately dependent on one thing. You have to spend them with…..the French. THE DINNER PARTY One of the selling points my wife, Anaïs, pitched me before bundling me off to […]

  • As time goes by – All Aboard the Ultimate, Super Luxe Food Cruise

    “Not many people know this, but Humphrey Bogart never said the line ‘Play it again, Sam.’ He said, ‘You played it for her, you can play it for me,’ and Sam acquiesced.” That’s Harry talking, the piano player aboard the Seabourn Odyssey, a sleek iron-and-teak-railed ship heading to old-school Mediterranean ports like Barcelona and Tangier before moving into […]

  • The Post-Trump American in Paris: the newly registered sex offender

    Since the Trump election, living in Paris as an American is kind of like being a registered sex offender.

  • This time the Trump joke’s on us

    Following Donald Trump’s stunning win, America’s knee jerk reaction has been to “find humour in it all,” which JOHN VON SOTHEN finds downright pathological, especially considering it was partly responsible for Trump’s victory in the first place. 

  • Bernie Sanders: The Force Awakens

    With a shocking upset in Michigan, Bernie Sanders is proving he’s not dead yet. The only ones who aren’t surprised are the millions of millennials packing stadiums to see him. JOHN VON SOTHEN travels aboard Air Sanders to meet the improbable icon of the new American left.