Emma Neilsen, a Studio Coach manager with Rosetta Stone, was born and raised in Paris, France. As a native Parisian, she’s happy to share some of her favorite spots in the city. I asked her some questions, designed to give Francophiles a taste of the city as she knows it.
What is your hometown?
How long did you live there?
I was born and raised in Paris. I moved from Paris to the United States when I was 22.
What is this region known for?
Paris is known as the City of Light, and it is true. If you have a chance to have a car, do Paris by night and you will be amazed at how pretty it is.
Can you name any specialty food that you grew up with?
Especially with the recent movie, ratatouille comes to mind as one of many specialty foods you will find in France. I also grew up with delicious crêpes and foie gras!
What is the best café in your hometown?
I can’t think of the best café, but in general, I really liked café brasseries, which are great for lunch and staring at people outside. I guess this is another thing Parisians are known for: people watching while enjoying a nice coffee at a brasserie table.
Do you have a favorite museum in the area?
I like the Musée d’Orsay. Did you know it used to be a train station before?
Are there any scenic parks you would recommend?
There are lots of parks. My favorite one, just because I lived a 10-minute walk from it when I lived in Paris, is called Parc Monceau. It is gorgeous. A lot of weddings occur there on weekends. I remember as a child being amazed when limos would park nearby for weddings. Now that I live in the US, I find limos annoying because they’re too big, but in Paris they’re still an attraction!
What is your favorite activity for a lazy Sunday afternoon in your town?
In France, even in Paris, almost everything is closed on Sunday afternoons. No grocery stores, no clothing stores, very few pharmacies are left open. So usually, a lazy Sunday afternoon can be spent with family, or going to the movies, or hanging out with friends.
Is there an event you would recommend attending to someone who wants to visit?
Yes! Especially if you enjoy music, I highly recommend the event called Fête de la Musique. Every year, in June, there is a Fête de la Musique everywhere in France. Basically, everyone who plays an instrument can go in the street and play. Lots of small groups go to cafés and play, and people dance in the street all night long. It is a great event!
In a word, how would you describe your hometown?
Colorful (so many lights, so many international people, so many cultures, so much of everything at once).
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