giving thanks

Today is my favorite holiday, not because I’m terribly patriotic (though I do love my native country), or because of the copious amounts of decadent food and drink that will be ingested (that happens quite often in Paris),  but by how Thanksgiving unites us and makes us reflect on what we are grateful for in this life.

Here in Paris we celebrate with a yearly feast hosted by a friend from the New York chapter, where new faces mingle with those who have made this a tradition. There’s even one Native American in the expat mix! We share the table with French, Italian, Irish and Australian, all of us taking this occasion to count our blessings. Isn’t it so commonly said that expressing gratitude leads to happiness and well-being? After six years in Paris, I certainly have a lot to be grateful for. Though life never ceases to challenge us both personally and globally, as events of the past few weeks have proven, we must savour every day. As goes the saying, carpe diem!

I wish for you, dear readers, a feast filled with peace and love. May you carry gratitude in your hearts, always.

Chloe Lodge photographer-Kasia Dietz


Over a week has passed since the tragic events that shook Paris, and in turn the world. Life is slowly resuming while the mourning continues, as it shall for a long time to come. Winter has crept in and the city appears more quiet than normal, yet resilience and strength are felt in Parisians and expats alike. Life goes on, in strength.


Many are asking whether it’s safe to travel to this beautiful city, one of the most desirable destinations in the world. My answer is yes! We cannot let fear guide us. We must love Paris more than ever. Here are a few thoughts from fellow Americans, including myself, via Stylecaster.

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I’ll be getting back to designing and writing this coming week, sharing what is uniquely beautiful about Paris, this city that so deeply inspires my senses. Thank you for following along on this journey, and for all your continued thoughts. Paris je t’aime.

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Fluctuat nec mergitur. “Though beaten by the waves, she never sinks.”

J’aime Paris

I’m finding it difficult to articulate my thoughts of the past 48 hours. My beloved Paris, a city adored by all, attacked, so many innocent lives lost. And for what? For enjoying life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. My Italian and I live in the North Marais, bordering the 10th and 11th arrondissements, steps away from Place de la Republique. On many evenings we are carousing these sames streets where the attacks occurred, where many were not as lucky as us. Glued to the news at home, we could barely believe the events as they unfolded all around us, sirens in the distance making it all the more real. My heart aches for the families and friends of the victims, for the lives so suddenly cut short. I was immediately reminded of the Charlie Hebdo attacks earlier in the year. Again? The shock and despair I feel, that many of us feel, is all too similar to 911 in New York, an attack not just on a city, but on the entire world.

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On Saturday, rather than stay home and allow the media to feed our fear, we walked to the sites of the attacks, in thought of the victims and in support of our adopted city. My eyes filled with tears as we passed the cafes with terraces once brimming with locals; now only bullet holes remained. The gate was down at Le Petit Cambodge. Flowers and candles lined the streets, people of all ages gathered around to pay homage. Suddenly it became all too devastatingly real. That evening we spent with friends from the neighborhood, all of us grateful not to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Chance.


The sun shone brightly on Sunday and again we took to the streets. As we often do on mild fall weekends, we biked to the Seine and rode the length of the river past Hôtel de Ville and our favorite haunts in Ile Saint-Louis until we reached Musée d’Orsay. Museums and markets remained closed, but all around us life was being lived. Parisians mingled at neighborhood cafes, children ran around the riverbanks,  tourists queued to view Paris by boat, we even caught a glimpse of a token bride and groom. Love for the city was felt around every corner.


Since 911 my affection for New York grew deeper, it became a city that will forever remain in my heart. Now too, I feel more bonded to Paris, much the way I do to a loved one whose well-being is of paramount importance to me. This is perhaps the most sane way to survive such terror, by expressing profound love and cherishing the life we have been given. Every. Single. Day.

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As the sun set and we made our way back home, I thought about the official Paris Motto since the Middle Ages, now again relevant, Fluctuat Nec Mergitur, Though beaten by the waves, she never sinks. Stay strong Paris!

views from above

The last few weeks in Paris have been a feast for the eyes, and equally, for the soul. Is there a more spectacular season than autumn, when the leaves turn golden hues against elegant pale facades? Even on a gray day, the city comes to life, inviting you to admire it.

IMG_9968 I have taken many a stroll along its leafy streets, occasionally looking up to catch the light.

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Hôtel de Ville

Often I walk past Hôtel de Ville, Paris’ City Hall since 1357, and always I wonder what the interior looks like. This neo-renaissance building houses the local administration, and since 1977, the Mayor of Paris. Rebuilt after the original burnt down during the Paris Commune in 1871, it sits close to the Seine, bordering the famed Marais and attracting all who pass by its regal structure. Very often an art exhibition takes place within or outside its walls.

IMG_2045Every September, Les Journées du Patrimoine or Heritage Days, envelop Paris. For these 2 days it’s possible to visit monuments & sites usually not accessible to the public, for free, if you don’t mind standing in line, sometimes for hours.

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car-free Paris

Imagine a city with no cars or motor vehicles, where cyclists take over the wide lanes, paths are filled with pedestrians, & a public bike system provides the means for transport.

IMG_2309That’s exactly what happened last Sunday when Mayor Anne Hidalgo implemented a car-free day, provoked by a citizen collective called Paris Sans Voiture (Paris Without Cars).

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