• The curious hanging Santas of Paris Recently, I’ve been having a hard time convincing my seven-year-old daughter Santa exists. She just saw High School Musical 2 at a sleepover “pajama party” last weekend and usually, if you’re old enough to appreciate the works of Zak Efron, chances are you’re not buying the Santa Claus myth anymore. And honestly, how could she? […] 2015-12-23
  • Organ traffic JOHN VON SOTHEN turns his attention to the organ transplant scooters he sees whizzing by him in Paris – the emblem of French socialist medicine and a harbinger of what’s to come.  2013-10-10
  • Big in France The way the game usually works is you take a washed up actor, who’s been unemployed for a while (David Hasselhoff), take one of his not-to-recent works (Bay Watch), then turn to those around you and say with a sort of snickering condescension. “What’s up with David Hasselhoff nowadays? Baywatch was like what – ten […] 2011-06-18
  • DSK from the IMF just wasn’t VIP In light of the Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair, everybody is taking polls nowadays.There are polls on who will now lead the Socialists, polls on whether people think DSK is guilty or whether it’s a setup; polls on whether the French press should pry more into the private lives of politicians. There’s even a poll gauging who’s […] 2011-05-20
  • Same old heads It’s bizarre for me to hear Americans are gearing up for yet another round of elections this November. It feels just like yesterday I was at Harry’s Bar celebrating Barack Obama’s presidential victory. Probably because it was yesterday. American political terms are short, I know that. But when compared with France’s, they’re internships. And however […] 2010-11-20
  • August in Paris – the luxury of not having to NOT work The closer and closer August approaches, and the tyranny of having to go on vacation gets more intense, I find comfort in knowing I won’t be alone this year when I stay at home. There’s a whole continent right across the ocean that won’t be leaving either, nor stopping everything until the rentrée. In fact […] 2010-09-13
  • Le French Touch, c’est too much The other night I was at a dinner with French friends. Everyone was talking and I was thrilled by how much I understood. Yet at the same time, the conversation was so infested with English words, words like “Borderline”…”hype”…”open space,” “too much,” and “offshore,” that any American tourist looking for the “Louvray” could have followed. […] 2010-07-11
  • Exact change Whenever I buy something in France, I often find myself in that uncomfortable position of never quite having the exact change; which isn’t understandable or acceptable to a lot of cashiers I’ve crossed. Just the other day I rang up a bottle of sparkling water and bag of cachous, to the tune of 3 Euros […] 2010-04-13
  • Man Names Film I’d seen it on the shelf of my New York video store, and I realized it had to be the same film. There was the same cover with the French actor Benoit Poelvoorde staring down in black and white with that giant gun. I remember the poster in France everywhere, but always with the long […] 2009-11-10
  • Let’s go Mets! French baseball and me Last month was bittersweet for me: My Yankees were eliminated from another postseason, while, just days before, my Mets walked off with another championship under their belt. No, I’m not one of those fantasy baseball shut-ins, nor a minor leaguer playing for the Mets AA Binghamton franchise. I’m an ex–New Yorker who lives in Paris […] 2009-10-11