Destination: France

War Story

Could a trip to the old battlefields of Europe with his veteran father work a little magic on their relationship? Jim Benning hoped so.

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‘Paris Was the Landscape of What I Wanted to Be’

In the latest essay in The Rumpus’ “The Last City I Loved” series, writer Rebekkah Dilts looks back on her time as a foreign student in Paris. Here’s a taste:

Speaking and being spoken to in French, this language that’s like a song, opened a new vein of cognition and a different sensibility in me. Paris was the landscape of what I wanted to be: I wanted to have a history that I believed in fiercely, I wanted for art and words to be acknowledged, but also for softness and aesthetics to be appreciated. And I was embraced by a family again; to feel tenderness and a sense of belonging in the setting of so incredible a city was the greatest gift I could have been given. I felt a unique and profound freedom.

A Street Corner in Paris

A Street Corner in Paris Photo: tibchris, Flickr, (Creative Commons)

Jeffrey Tayler had all but given up on the City of Light. Then he sat down at a Left Bank cafe.

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R.I.P. George Whitman, Shakespeare & Company Owner

It’s hard to imagine Paris without Shakespeare & Company, and George Whitman, who died yesterday at the age of 98, owned the famed Left Bank bookstore for years.

He took its name from the original shop owned by Sylvia Beach.

“For decades,” the New York Times notes, “Mr. Whitman provided food and makeshift beds to young aspiring novelists or writing nomads, often letting them spend a night, a week, or even months living among the crowded shelves and alcoves.”

Travel writer Erin Byrne profiled Whitman several years ago, noting that he had “fashioned a life for himself that brings together the two things he loves most in all the world, books and people. It is this combination that makes him tick. Old age without loneliness is unusual; George always has a house full of friends. Fragility without weakness is seldom seen; this man is thin and frail, but his presence is noble.”

His daughter, Sylvia, discusses her father and the store’s history in this terrific video:

The Not-So-Endless Summer

Biarritz, France Biarritz, France (Abbie Kozolchyk)

Parting with beach season is especially sweet sorrow in Biarritz, France, as Abbie Kozolchyk discovered

See the full audio slideshow: »

Stilettos in Paris

Eva Holland did the Bohemian backpacker thing in Paris. Paris Las Vegas gave her the chance to act out a different role.

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Splitscreen: A Love Story

Splitscreen: A Love Story from JW Griffiths on Vimeo.

Mesmerizing travel video shot entirely on a Nokia mobile phone.

(Via Kottke)

World Travel Watch: G20 Alert in Seoul, Volcano in Indonesia and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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Paris vs. New York: The Blog

Paris vs. New York, a tally of two cities is a fun graphic blog that pairs up aspects of the two iconic spots—Quasimodo vs. King Kong, for instance, or the macaroon vs. the cupcake. I guess this is one city-to-city comparison that never gets old. (Via Kottke)

World Travel Watch: Protests in France Turn Violent, Entry Fee in Venice and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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World Travel Watch: Strikes in France, Festival Season Crime in Nepal and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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Expat Pleasures: Jimmy Buffett, Live in Paris

Jim Manzi is living in Paris, where a recent Buffett concert has him reflecting on the expat experience:

One of the many great things about living here is the fun of having typically American experiences completely out-of-context. The annual late-September Buffett concert in Paris has become, like the seven-a-sides in Hong Kong, a ritual gathering point for expats for thousands of miles around. This created a hilarious Anglophone bubble in the middle of Paris. About the only French I heard came from Jimmy at the mic (who, having lived here years ago, still seems to have pretty passable French).

A surprising number of his songs reference the city. In fact, he closed the concert with a great acoustic version of He Went to Paris, which is a song that Bob Dylan cited as one of his favorite tunes by one of his favorite songwriters. Though not many of us here are living a Lost Generation literary life, it still felt very bonding.

I can relate. One of my favorite weekends, during the year I lived in England, was spent preparing a makeshift Thanksgiving dinner and tossing a football around the backyard with other North American students—funny, since pigskin and pumpkin pie are no part of my life at home, however “typical” they are supposed to be. As Manzi points out, context is everything when you’re living abroad.

World Travel Watch: Second Bomb Threat at the Eiffel Tower, Rabies in Bali and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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World Travel Watch: Commonwealth Games Concerns in India, Elections in Cuzco and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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Paris Offers Free Sparkling Water

In one public water fountain, in a wooden hut, in the Jardin de Reuilly. The Guardian explains:

France’s addiction to bottled sparkling water is up there with its penchant for bike racing, foie gras and Johnny Hallyday. Now, authorities in Paris are attempting to fight back against the national dependence by unveiling a public water fountain that gushes with chilled bubbles.

La Pétillante - literally, she who sparkles - is the first fountain in France to inject carbon dioxide into tap water before cooling it and serving it up to passers-by. Inaugurated today in the Jardin de Reuilly in south-east Paris, it is expected to prove a user-friendly means of weaning the French off the bottle.

France pinched the idea from Italy, which already has 215 sparkling water fountains.