July 13, 2024

Adventure Awaits Journeyers

Discovering the World Anew

Women Who Travel Podcast: Moving to Paris for a Life in Food

3 min read

JB: Right now we are on the Quai. When you hear the word Quai, which is Q-u-a-i, it means the bank of the Seine. From our windows you can actually see the Seine River, very central. It used to be a nightclub, so La Cuisine has had her past as well.

LA: Good for her.

JB: Exactly. Now she’s a cooking school.

LA: She’s entered a slightly more distinguished phase of her life.

JB: Exactly. Exactly, yes.

LA: Where does it lie in relation to where you live? What’s your routine at school every morning?

JB: I live near a place called Marché d’Aligre, which is behind Bastille. I have a straight shot from my apartment straight to the Bastille, and then on basically the extension of Rue de Rivoli. I take that straight down, and then I head over to the Seine, and I’m there in about 25 minutes.

LA: If you’re walking.

JB: If I’m walking. It’s a lovely walk.

LA: Describe that walk. Who are you passing in the mornings?

JB: It’s a little quiet until I cross Bastille, but then I get onto the main road. My first smell I’ll say is the boulangerie that I’m passing. Before I even get close, I know exactly … I can be totally distracted and know I’m getting close to the boulangerie because I could smell their morning bread coming out. Then I hear the creeks of these wooden cartons as the verger or the vegetable seller is unloading his products and setting up his beautiful stand. Then I continue down and I start to smell cheese. I can smell the butcher because they’re starting to roast chickens and prepare for the afternoon. It’s a sensory experience, but then so is all of Paris.

LA: We talked about the challenges a little bit and various crises. Most of your, if not all, of your students are from other countries. They’re all visitors and travelers.

JB: Right.

LA: The world is a turbulent place at the best of times.

JB: Yes, it is.

LA: Whether it’s politically, weather, travel. You’ve got through the other side of a global pandemic at this point. You’re part of Paris’s tourism industry. Is it a resilient one?

JB: I’ve learned so much being in this industry. When you’re in tourism, you get to see the country’s ebb and flow. Travelers will start to come en masse when there is a middle class and there’s economic stability. On the other hand, travelers are also very sensitive to any sort of disruption, which I understand. When there are weather systems that are scary or there’s political systems that are scary, you don’t want to be 4,000 miles from home worrying about how to get back. Paris has the luxury and is a city that’s built on tourism. This city is made for visitors.

LA: Now, you have a memoir out. Can you tell me a little bit about it?

JB: Yes. The French Ingredient is my memoir. It’s not a recipe book for food. It’s a recipe book on life in Paris, according to Jane, I should say. It’s just a book about my experiences moving here, setting up the school. Paris is a wonderful backdrop to tell that story, but it’s very much a book that I hope lets people see anyone can do anything if this gal from Chicago can move here and start a cooking school without knowing how to run a business or speak French. Anybody can do anything.

LA: Jane, this was so fun.

JB: Oh, I don’t want it to end. You need to come over.

LA: I will be back, and we’ll have to come by the school.

I’m Lale Arikoglu, and you can find me on Instagram at @lalehannah. Our engineers are Jake Lummus and James Yost. The show’s mixed by Amar Lal. Jude Kampfner from Corporation for Independent Media is our producer. Chris Bannon is Condé Nast’s Head of Global Audio. See you next week.


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