Paris: The ban on pants

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Up until February 2013 when it was revoked, there was a 214-year-old law which formally prohibited women from wearing trousers. The archaic law demanded women ask police for permission to dress as men in Paris less they be arrested. In 1909 the law was amended allowing women to wear trousers if the holding a bicycle handlebar or the reins of a horse. Obviously les flics have turned their cheeks for years.

French women’s rights activists….rejoice!

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Rapper spotting: Iggy who?

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So out of it that I am! I aimed my camera at the striking woman being rushed at the Tuileries not knowing who she was but that I’d soon find out knowing only her shouted out name: Iggy. Any twenty-something knows it’s Iggy Azalea, rap recording star, songwriter, model from Mullumbimby, New South Wales. Chic, looking older than 23, she’s wearing a Viktor & Rolf $680 sweater and skinny snake print pants. A definite standout in the crowd and most willing to pose for the geekers. For her upcoming gigs in the U.S. and Canada click here.

Sunshine avant garde from Elisa Nalin

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Trendsetter Elisa showing off some ways with denim. Ideas for the do-it-yourselfer. What American girl doesn’t have a denim jacket or shirt somewhere in the back of her closet. Almost time to store your boots and break out those stilettos.

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French Restaurants: r.e.s.p.c.t.

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Be aware their job is their profession, not a trade they’re temping at to get through school or a step in their career path. To get a waiter’s attention say: “S’il vous plaît, Monsieur/Madame.” Don’t call them over until you are ready to order and try to know what you want; their time is valuable.

A golden rule that will serve you well in restaurants and just about any place you visit (even elevators): say “bonjour!” (“bonsoir!” in the evening). This doesn’t just mean hello.
It’s recognized French code for, “Yes, I am here, and I am respecting you by being polite, so you are going to respect me and maybe even be pleasant to me.”

You’ll be amazed — it works.

Cezanne spotting in the 19th

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Take a walk down the villa strewn alleys of the 19th and you never know who will cross your path. A Cezanne look-alike walked right by as I sat in a neighborhood cafe after visiting Paris’s off-the-beaten track park, Buttes de Chaumont. Should you want to stay in one of the quartier’s budget hotels, here’s a sampling:

Nouveau Paris Park Hotel
4 Rue Hassard
33 1 42 06 67 67

Holiday Inn Express Paris-Canal de la Villette
68 Quai de la Seine

Hotel Le Canal
48 Avenue de Flandre

Mercure Paris La Villette
216 Avenue Jean Jaures

Hôtel de la Perdrix Rouge
5 Rue Lassus

Balladins Paris
219 Rue De Crimee

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It’s no wonder many who reside in this quartier don’t venture out beyond its boundaries. A whole week lolling by its canal, park, tree lined hilly streets, a good place to be if you already know the city and want to find a place where people still say hello. No remnants of the old slaughterhouses, just kitty cats on flowerpotted windowsills waiting for the quiet day to roll on by.

Choosing a studio apartment in Paris

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From totally basic (bed – usually convertible, kitchenette – alcove with two burner stove, sink, microwave, refrigerator, tiny bathroom w/shower, chair, table, tv, armoire) to French provincial splendor and views of the Eiffel Tower, here are some places to begin your search for a studio apartment. Pictured is what you get for about $125 a night. Location: right off the Champs Elysees. Not much, but where you stay matters if you’re walking Paris. Remember to bring you No Worries Paris guidebook for all the essential routes.

AirBnb: budget prices, huge selection of locations

HomeAway: deal directly with owner, illustrated with photos

TripAdvisor Paris: a good solid source with photos and reviews.

http://www.vacationinparis.com: my favorite. They send you the keys. Nice variety hand selected, proven. Reserve early.

Paris Perfect: another agency with well located properties.

Start your search a few months before you go. The good properties that are priced low are snatched up by those in the know.

Where to eat in Montmartre: gastropubs

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A few suggestions just down the hill from Sacre Coeur. All the rage now are tapas (french style) and you’ll find the most exquisite at chef Geoffroy Maillard’s Extension, 16, rue Eugène Sue, 33 1 42 59 43 24 Metro: Chateau Rouge, Jules Joffrin

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Chéri Bibi on the east side of the hill combines arty flea market decor, traditional French cooking and sensible prices. 15 rue André del Sarte, metro: Barbes-Rochechouart. phone 01 42 54 88 96

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Le Grand 8,8 rue Lamarck serves unpretentious bistro fare, the kind of food you’d find in a Midi square. If you’re looking for comfort food, sign in here. Metro: Lamarck-Caulaincourt. phone 01 42 55 04 55

How to insult a Paris restaurant

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First on the list is capturing what you’ve been served with your camera or IPhone. Rude, rude, rude, an insult to chefs who consider themselves artists, don’t appreciate being copied or having a bad photo of something they’ve created spread across social media. Adding to that, some guests startle others at nearby tables with their flash and some go so far as to style the setting by moving chairs, tableware, other customers. Food porn? Sacre bleu!

Then there are the clients who ask for a doggie bag, call the waiter “garçon” and ask for butter for you know what. When in any country, a good general rule is to read up on the customs before you go. Be a respectful traveler. Some basic rules are in the No Worries Paris guide.

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