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My Appointment With Paris

Misc. April 21st, 2009
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Much of my adolescence in Brooklyn was spent wondering why I wasn’t born French.

How I caught the “French bug” is anybody’s guess, however. No one in my family has French blood, none of my childhood friends were French, I never heard the language spoken at home, nor was I raised on fancy French food. Hell, there wasn’t even a French restaurant in my predominantly Italian-Russian neighborhood!

What I did know was that across that huge stretch of water opposite my grand parents’ Brighton Beach apartment building was a country where they spoke a lyrical language, wore sleek, sophisticated clothes, smoked and drank merrily, ate delicious food and lived in old, beautiful buildings.

Much of this elegant imagery came courtesy of my step dad’s video store. As a teenager, nouvelle vague marathons of Godard, Truffaut and Resnais films were frequent and I imagined myself a latter-day Anna Karina. At sixteen, the fantasy was finally put to the test during my first trip to Paris. Once there, my French was worthless— I couldn’t speak a word. Couldn’t even say my age, but I was beyond smitten. I decided then and there that Paris would one day be my home.

While many entertained my romantic French obsession, my choice of French as a foreign language had my grandfather Sol grumbling, “When are you ever going to speak French, you live in Brooklyn for chrissakes?” My decision to double major in Art History and French at Vassar so that I could spend a year abroad only added insult to injury. Let’s not even mention the sparring that ensued when I decided to move to Paris as a “five-month experiment,” nearly ten years ago.

Unfortunately, Grandpa Sol died well before either of us cold fathom how important France, its language and culture would become to me both personally and professionally; before I’d marry my French beau, Fabrice; before I’d make pain au chocolat from scratch in my cozy Parisian kitchen; before I’d speak French fluently with a charmingly unidentifiable accent; before I’d write about my adopted city and interview its brightest talent for leading magazines; before I’d hunt down Parisian lifestyle trends for international marketing and communication agencies; and before I’d aspire to write the first in-depth online guide to Paris’ most exclusive, by appointment only addresses with the fresh taste and renegade regard of a girl raised on other side of the pond.

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6 Responses to “My Appointment With Paris”

  1. jason schleifer says:

    Heya zeva!

    checkin out your site and I LOVE it! What a great idea! I haven’t had much of a chance to read your writing before, and while I had assumed you were good, I never realized HOW good. You are wonderful! I’m looking forward to subscribing and reading about all the adventures penny & I can have in paris when we get a chance to come over and visit. :)

    magnifique!

  2. Zeva says:

    Thanks cuz. You’re a sweetheart. Can’t wait to see you. Z

  3. Karen says:

    What about all the times I sang “Frere Jacques” to you?
    xx

  4. JiP says:

    Hello Z
    Je viens juste d’entrer dans cette orfèvrerie, ton site
    Comment dire ? Je suis extrêmement impressionné et je réalise, je crois, l’étendue du travail
    Comme il est dit plus haut, et même si je suis sans doute moins chevronné dans la langue anglaise, tu écris vraiment bien
    C’est du reste toujours émouvant, une Américaine qui écrit sur Paris, see what I mean…
    Bon ça mérite de la pub
    A se voir (very soon obviously)

  5. Cecile says:

    Love IT! Just wonderful.
    When reading the articles I, (the reader) hear the sound of your voice (not actually delusionally hearing you actual voice, you know metaphoricly hearing…) and you are speaking (again not actually with sound speaking…) to me, (once again…the reader) personally.
    I think this is a fabulous idea and a welcome new concept…. I am sure other will attempt to duplicate this concept, but yours will always be the original and classic.
    Brilliant!
    I know you are having the best time. The video snipet is a wonderful surprise too.
    Love and the best to you and Fabrice.
    Cec

  6. yobro says:

    I’m bookmarking this site right now. Excellent stuff!

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