• The Talented Mrs. Harriman Before she was the American ambassador to France, Pamela Harriman was either the wife, the mistress, or the political benefactor of some of the world’s most powerful men. JOHN VON SOTHEN retraces the life of a 20th century Leonard Zelig, whose life ended in the vaulted pool of the Hotel Ritz. 2015-11-25
  • The 10th arrondissement – Paris’s secret garden JOHN VON SOTHEN reveals why Paris’s most diverse and hipster arrondissement has become France’s Ground Zero. 2015-11-23
  • Schizofrench at Mediapart For the past two years, I’ve been a contributor for the online publication Mediapart thanks to a column they’ve given me called Schizofrench. It’s a sandbox of sorts; essays and rants ranging from my love of Moleskin notebooks to my hatred for French flea markets, to the way Airbnb has changed my neighbourhood sitcom. All of it, of course, is super serious and fits in […] 2014-10-01
  • Flea Markets: France airs its dirty laundry A flea market (vide grenier) visit ranks up there as one of the things people most romanticize about France. Don’t believe the hype says JOHN VON SOTHEN, who’s had his share of an institution that has seen better days 2014-07-17
  • Americans in Paris With the 70th anniversary of D-Day fresh in our minds, I keep going back to how my father (who fought in World War II) would tell me those involved in the Normandy invasion were “the best Americans had to offer.” Unfortunately, that trend stopped after the war, because the Americans who’ve debarked in Paris since aren’t the best America has […] 2014-06-17
  • The Mid-Atlantic: the future voice of Europe The European elections will soon be upon us, yet it seems I’m the only one who cares. And I can’t even vote! But my interest lie less in the politics of Europe and more in imagining what Europe would look like if they really did go all the way, as in the full federal sense, […] 2014-05-13
  • Asterisk Posters “Ce n’est ni un scotch, ni un bourbon, c’est du Jack.” read the French translation at the bottom of the poster. And thank God for that. For a moment there, I didn’t know what I was reading. I thought it might have been a poster for a movie, featuring the actors It’s Not Scotch, It’s […] 2014-04-13
  • My moleskin and moi My moleskin, that leather-bound notebook I used to write in, no longer inspires me – probably because everyone, it seems now, has one. I see mothers with Moleskins writing down the number of naps their kids take. Guys at the gym tote around Moleskins to mark down their reps. I even noticed my shrink taking […] 2014-04-11
  • Stop asking me for a “bonne adresse” Every day it seems somebody wants a “bonne adresse” (an inside travel tip basically on where to eat, buy, or see something). It could be the Parisien friend who’s about to visit New York, the American friend about to come to Paris, or the neighbor looking for a good resto in the 10th, not to mention the […] 2013-10-17
  • Trainworking I moved to the countryside for a couple of months thinking there I’d be able to work. My work, mind you, is telling jokes to myself, so I can basically do that anywhere. But I thought the countryside with its fresh air, lack of distraction, natural fecundity, and overall dacha allure would be the perfect […] 2012-11-12