I hope blog readers will forgive me for my Left Bank bias. It's where I live and flaner -- a word that's hard to translate but means, approximately, walking idly around the city, sitting in cafes, reading newspapers and watching people. I can't try to render the whole of this remarkable city, which I seem to love more and more.
A friend who once lived in France told me recently that he thinks the French are like rebellious teenagers, driven to strike out against authority, though they need it fundamentally. I see them more as menopausal women, constantly checking their image in the mirror, unsure what's left of life after the prime.
In response to readers' queries, there's a great information source for visitors to Paris: It's a free magazine aimed at American expatriates, but it's also useful to travelers seeking yoga classes, jobs, language instruction and accommodations in apartments. It's Fusac, 26 Rue Bernard, Paris, 75014, France; www.fusac.fr. The website tells where it is distributed and also tells how to get a copy by mail.