the off-season

In Cannes, land of silver screens, someone has pressed pause. The town sleeps, stirring occasionally to prepare for things to come. Since November, the wind has carried visitors away. The air holds a bitter chill. Even on sunny days, it lurks in shadows waiting to pounce. The clink of cutlery and smell of frites at the beachside restaurants have been replaced by the violence of … Continue reading the off-season

sleeping with strangers

I have a new favorite patisserie. Cannoli. Good cannoli, I must specify, cannoli assembled in front of you: tangy ricotta spooned into a crispy, fried shell and dipped in tiny chocolate chips or chopped pistachios.   Cannoli tastes even better accompanied by a view of the Duomo, a cup of espresso, and a light rain. To fully appreciate the warmth of the moment, I would … Continue reading sleeping with strangers

shoebox in paris

Thoreau said, “I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”   It’s a fair sentiment, though with my budget, I’m more likely to be crowded on a pumpkin. Using AirBnb, the glorious startup that connects travelers with private homeowners in the perfect meeting of supply and demand, I’ve had the comfort of a … Continue reading shoebox in paris

how to speak to Santa Claus in French

We’ve survived a bleak November, and Montluçon is getting its Christmas makeover.  Music plays and lights sparkle into the night. The festivities are a little haphazard: instead of one cohesive carnival, there are attractions scattered around the city. Bumper cars at the foot of the chateau, some food stands across the street. A five minute walk brings you to the main attraction: the little marché de Nöel in front … Continue reading how to speak to Santa Claus in French