When I started this blog, Liquid Marmalade, I was ashamed to tell people about it for fear they were going to judge me. They did and guess what I am still doing it 18 months later. I have had: inverted snorts of derision, pitiful looks and even plain why on earth would you want to eat alone. The reason I started solo dining was to stop missing out on all these wonderful restaurants and bars in Paris. I am single, most of my friends are coupled up and well you don’t always want to be the third or fifth wheel, but most of all I am an independent woman in control of the rest of my life, that’s the hope, and yet the fear of saying table for one left me trembling. Solo dining is great and having done it for well over a year in the City of Love and Lights here are my top tips and observations on how to successful dine solo.
To really see Paris you need to walk the streets and get lost, as I do often, being GPS challenged even with a blue flashing dot on the map I manage to often go in the wrong direction. You could take the metro and have the metro ticket rejected because it got demagnetised in your bag next to phone or have the pleasure – did I say pleasure – of someone push up against your backside, with not so much as an introduction, as they barrier hop. Yes, a very Parisian sport is fare dodging and riding the metro for free. Then if that wasn’t enough there is the dank stench of perspiration so strong that the back of your throat itches. Continue reading →
When I first came to Paris back in May 2010 to live and work I used to walk past various brasseries’ terraces and stare at the couples enveloping each other in midst of smoke and no doubt talking about something intelligent like Proust. I, on the other hand, was too afraid to even sit at a table and so that summer past with me walking sometimes seriously dehydrated past all these tables afraid and missing out on an essential part of French life – people watching! Continue reading →
Did you know that for 6 months of the year I work for the French government?
No, I hear you say.
Neither did I, it came as a great shock to me too so let me explain.
August is the month of summer holidays. It is also the month in which the French tax man sends you your tax bill, it appears that some people in France work during August. Welcome to socialism because we’re all in this together! I returned from two weeks in idyllic Greece and her islands to see this year’s tax bill for nearly €4,000 having hoped the projection I had seen in June was wrong. There is tax at source in France and then there is extra tax, everyone has to submit an annual tax declaration to see what extra tax they will have to pay, what does the latter mean and moreover how is it calculated nobody seems to know or more importantly understand but lots of people spend days if not weeks calculating how to pay less of it. Continue reading →
You could die in Paris in August and nobody would know until La Rentrée in September when normal city life recommences!
Ok, maybe that is a slight exaggeration but honestly Paris is like a deserted town in August – everything shuts down. I was involved in a bad road accident a few years ago on a work trip, endured 22 hour flight from Australia via Buenos Aires and arrived back in Paris wearing a neck brace. My Parisian doctor prescribed an MRI to survey the damage and check nothing was broken in my spinal cord that was the 24 July and when I went to book the MRI was told sorry Maidmoiselle but the first appointment we have is in September after all it is the holidays. Yes, that’s right: the doctors (replaced by locums), and dentists – my beloved Dr B went for his 3.5 week holiday so I better not crack a tooth – the post office changes its hours to only open for a ridiculously short period and are closed at lunchtime, libraries open a couple hours a day during the week and are closed on weekends and then all your favourite local shops, boulangeries, restaurants etc closed for a month- bah c’est les vacances quoi – it’s the holidays! Continue reading →