Anne first popped up on my radar via Instagram a year or two ago, with pretty pictures of my second favourite French city Aix-en-Provence. After several failed attempts to meet up we finally managed it a few weeks ago, exchanging Paris stories over a decadent cup of viennois pistachio (espresso, hot choc, whipped cream and pistachios)! Anne is a real foodie and that passion is evident in her writing. Enjoy getting to know this lovely American in Paris , Lou xxx
Hi Anne, why Paris?
Honestly, for a long time Paris was an abstract idea that I fell in love with through books and movies and music, and from a very young age I knew I wanted to be here. When I studied abroad in 2011, I did not instantly fall in love with it the way I had planned—it was a big lesson on how Paris is portrayed and what day-to-day life in Paris is actually like.
Once I brushed the stars out of my eyes, I came to love and appreciate Paris off of its pedestal, really falling in love with the butcher who shimmies (yes, really) and compliments my French, sitting back and drinking wine on the Seine or along the Canal, and watching the city as so many aspects of it evolve. Even just from 2011 to now it has changed tremendously! Thankfully the pastries are just as good and the coffee even better.
How do you spend your days here?
Right now I'm working on my masters thesis, about how refugees in Paris are using cuisine as a way to share their culture and integrate into French society. I also work for food writer Clotilde Dusoulier, and have a lot of fun with her testing recipes and working on Chocolate & Zucchini. I originally moved back to France in 2014 to teach English in Aix-en-Provence, then moved to Paris to work on my masters at the American University of Paris.
Your favourite French experience since living here?
Everything I can think of involves food (most recently, going to Arpège)! A big highlight was celebrating Christmas with two French families when I lived in Aix-en-Provence. They treated me to escargot and les cuisses de grenouilles, and I learned not to eat too many apéritifs lest you become full before the third course arrives.
But even outside of notable holidays or trips, just walking along the Seine or across the city when the weather is nice (or not) has brought me so much joy, simply from observing the buildings and people and really taking in the city.
One thing on your bucket list?
I'm planning a pilgrimage to Normandy once I have my thesis drafted so I can eat Julia Child's first meal in France (and finally venture to the west coast!).
Your favourite Parisian neighbourhood?
I love the Latin Quarter and Montmartre (and have been fortunate to live near both). I also love walking through the Marais—that's where I can feel so much of the city's history and charm.
What would you miss if you left Paris?
The quality of life, particularly when it comes to slowing down for meals; the reasonably-priced-yet-also-delicious cheese and wine; and the persistent and exhilarating feeling of discovery around every corner.
Desert Island Essentials
Favourite book/magazine? I will never tire of reading Julia Child's My Life in France.
Favourite piece of music? Anything Adele, or if I'm feeling particularly française, Louise Attaque.
Favourite French ingredient? Fleur de sel, so much so that my friends make fun of me for it. Or salted butter.
Quick fire questions
Favourite patisserie? I am far more likely to splurge on artisan chocolate—my favorites are Maison Chaudun for the truffles, and Henri Le Roux for the white-glove service and caramels beurre salé.
Favourite metro line? The 14. If there are spots available, I always try to sit at the front to watch as the train speeds underground.
Rive Gauche ou Rive Droite? Must I choose?! I love exploring Rive Droite, but love living on the Rive Gauche.
Red, white or rosé? Champagne!
Favourite Parisian café? It's definitely a tourist destination, but I love watching the crowds from La Contrescarpe. For working, I prefer coffee shops like Strada and DOSE.
Favourite French film? La Haine and L'Auberge Espagnol. The latter, while most of it takes place in Spain, has a great scene explaining French bureaucracy that only those who have struggled through it can really laugh at.