On Paris Addiction and the Rather Strange Things It Makes One Does

There’s something about Paris, and it isn’t the Eiffel Tower. The hold this city has had on the hearts (and purse strings) of generations of Americans is largely unprecedented: London may be bubbling with more cultural ferment, Dublin is really nice but, yeah, you know: Paris.

I lived in Paris on two occasions, once in the early 1990s as a student and then from 2003 to 2007, in self-imposed exile from post 9/11 New York. My addiction grew, I was shooting up Paris on a 24/7 basis, I was in so deep I even had the legal right to stay and work there. That was probably the start of the end of the addiction; getting into the French daily grind exposes Paris-lovers to the other side of the postcard, and it’s not always pretty. Au contraire.

But what could be more Parisian than parking your tired ass at an atmospheric café and spilling your angst du jour to your journal or closest friends? I remember one day at La Palette when my friend Julien pleaded with me for some romantic advice and I felt rather honored by that; the sophisticated Parigot asking the silly American about affairs of the heart. Lovely! It was at mythic Café de Flore that I formulated the first Paris travel blog for state propaganda machine  France 24. Memories! The only problem was choosing which café—so many demitasses, so little time. But I’ve saved you some (time, not demitasses), so please do check out my 11 top Paris café choices now at The Points Guy.