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French Friday – How to be Parisian in San Francisco Part 1

French Friday on Misadventures with Andi

I thought it would it would be fun to do a post about how to get a little French into your life. I chose San Francisco because that's where I live! I also did outreach to blogging bud, Amy, who lived in San Francisco before moving to Paris – lucky girl! She had great suggestions so I decided to have this post be her tips only and I will do a second one with mine.

Amy writes at “C'est la me” and is originally from Orange County, but considers San Francisco my home. She didn’t leave her heart there, but she did find it there in the form of a Frenchman, Frédéric!

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They met on November 17, 2001, the evening of the Leonid Meteor shower at a housewarming party in Hayes Valley. While standing on a rooftop watching the stars fall, Fred offered Amy his jacket and she accepted even though I wasn't really cold. They married three years later and eventually made their way to France so she could learn his language and experience his culture.

They’ve been in Paris for more than 4 years now and she's still working on achieving those goals, although moving from SF to Paris was probably less of a culture shock than moving from OC to SF. Amy says in an ideal world, they’d split their time between the two countries – but keep their French health care and vacation, of course!

And here are Amy's tips:

[1] Enjoy a long lunch “en terrasse” at Plouf (Now closed). Despite living in Paris, Plouf continues to be one of my favorite French restaurants thanks to its location on the European-esque Belden Place, authentic dishes, and flirty French waiters providing American-style service.

[2] Les Parisiennes adore a weekend trip to the hammam, and San Francisco girls are lucky enough to have their own version: Kabuki Springs & Spa. Even though I had been living in San Francisco for years, my first visit to Kabuki wasn’t until one of my French girlfriends invited me to join her. She even came prepared with a baggie full of sea salt to use as a natural body scrub.

[3] Take in a film at le cinema, instead of seeing a movie at the Metreon. While larger theaters exist in Paris, most of them are smaller and more intimate. My favorite place to see movies in San Francisco is the Clay Theatre. Its discrete placement on Fillmore Street, alongside boutiques, restaurants, and apartments, reminds me of how most cinemas are in Paris. You can walk from a restaurant to the movies, to a café for an after-dinner drink – and actually be able to leave the building and change your environment to do so (as opposed to a giant multiplex where all the same sounds, smells, and chain restaurants are contained under the same roof).

Thanks Amy! I love the moules-frites at Plouf as well!

How about you? Got any suggestions on how to “Frenchify” your life?

(You can also check out Part 2 here!)

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  1. What a cute idea for a post! I just checked out Amy’s blog, very cute and witty! It’s no surprise that the transition from SF to Paris is a rather natural one – they (and by they I mean Americans fond of Europe) say that SF is the most European of all American cities. I need to make a trip back there…. I could use a dose of fresh food!

    1. @Lindsey, SF is pretty fabulous!

  2. Great ideas! I have been watching alot of French films, since I went to Paris…what a fabulous city! I look forward to hearing all about your parisian adventures! xxoo 🙂

  3. Thank you, Lindsey and Cathi for your nice comments. And a big thank you to Andi for asking me to participate. It was really fun and a great idea. Can’t wait til my next trip to San Francisco. And sorry for my late response to your email and this post, Andi. I was on vacation – I’m getting used to that part of being a Parsienne 🙂

    1. @Amy75, no thank YOU! I got use to the vacations too 😉

  4. Today I spent some time listening to French music – Edith Piaf, Celine Dion (in French), and a few other French-language artists whose music I downloaded onto my iPod.

  5. Hi Andi! Nice to find your blog! I absolutely love Paris as well, and you left some great tips for a Parisian experience in SF. How long have you been speaking French? Looking forward to reading more!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Lacy, salut! I started learning French in 2003, but since moving back I don’t get much speaking practice. I watch French news every day and watch lots of French movies to keep it up because my mother-in-law doesn’t speak any English so I have to! (And I want to!)