near cannes france

Day Hike: Trayas to Théoule-sur-Mer

The Côte d’Azur conjures images of starlets, Lost Generation writers, designer-clad convertible-owners, and tanned beach babes, all strutting and partying their pretty selves alongside the sparkly blue sea. In reality, it’s also chock full of assholes, overpriced meals, elitist shades of the ridiculous, and tourists with pretensions. But oh, the sea! It’s just as sparkly and blue as…

cafe des federations lyon

Mix-and-Match Lyon

As I said in my last post, Lyon is my favorite French city by far, and seriously underrated. A few years ago, an important world leader was visiting the city, and I remember hearing people express their delight and surprise at the honor. I wasn’t surprised at all, but I was impressed by the Lyonnais pride without arrogance. If you get…

lyon travel tips

Why Lyon is the Best French City

Paris can kiss my ass. There, I said it. Go ahead and report me to the French Culture Police (actually there probably is some kind of culture regulation office in France, but by the time you file the paperwork complaining about me, I’ll be long gone…ha!) The iconic romance of “The City of Lights” persists, and it’s not undeserved. If…

horrible tattoo

A lectrice…what is that?

The best English translation of my French job title is “adjunct professor,” which seems slightly too fancy, considering my lack of advanced degree. Based on what I hear from other lecteurs and lectrices, the position varies somewhat from university to university but, in a coquille de noix, I’m a teaching member of the English department at a…

hostel tips

Hotels and Hostels in Airbnb Times

Airbnb is great in theory: stay in someone’s luxurious home for a price half that of the local low-end hotel. I was grateful for it when I needed somewhere to stay while I was looking for an apartment and didn’t want to impose on friends for too long, and I admit the potential for some affordably awesome experiential travel through the…

borrowed language

I’ll have a breu-nee, please.

One of the funniest things I do on an almost daily basis is pronounce English words with a French accent so that French people will understand me. This most often happens with food: I’m currently sitting in a café waiting for the Ee-reesh Crem (“Irish Cream,”  on the menu) Latté that I clumsily attempted to order with…

necropolis edinburgh

Time Travel: October 2009, June 2010, October 2013– Magical Edinburgh

During the high season, Edinburgh can feel very tourist-trappy– perhaps this is inevitable in a place widely known for kilts, Harry Potter, and bagpipes. But like some overplayed songs derided by music snobs, Edinburgh’s tourist epicenter is more catchy than trite, and popular for good reason. Visiting Edinburgh is like stepping into a storybook, but not the amusement park sort of storybook in the…

isle of skye

Scotland Forever

In Notes from a Small Island, Bill Bryson writes, “I suppose everybody has a piece of landscape somewhere that he finds captivating beyond words.” For Bryson it’s the Yorkshire Dales– he can’t quite explain why they resonate with him so deeply. I know exactly what he means. Although I’ve seen more than my fair share of beautiful landscapes,…

arrested development gob

The Customer is Always…

This is a crash course in customer service philosophy across cultures. Business 101 in America: the objective is to get your customers to spend money, period. Sometimes this objective is pursued at the cost of employees’ dignity, happiness, and integrity, but, for good or ill, every American knows the mantra, “the customer is always right.” This…