Christmas shopping is a true test of endurance, not to mention patience; achieving retail-jungle success in a foreign language requires humility as well, as I discovered in Paris last December.  Also, when making purchases, an understanding of certain phrases can facilitate things; for example, “Would you like this gift-wrapped?” or “Madame, remove your gloves from the counter”.  (The dismissive flick of the salesperson’s hand and her scowling look made this an easy one.)  The same advice applies when navigating the… Read more »

Paris is a magical place at Christmas time, where holiday markets offer visitors warming eats and drinks, and a vast assortment of holiday gifts that no one really wants.  The food is good, though.  A warm crépe filled with chocolatey Nutella or maybe ham with gooey, melting gruyére can be paired with rich hot chocolate or, even better, a cup vin chaud/warm spiced wine.  Hungry yet? One can work off one’s indulgences with a few spins around one of the… Read more »