If you’ve ever googled “Paris food,” then the name David Lebovitz popped up. And if you haven’t run across him online, you’re missing a treat. A former pastry chef at Chez Panisse and American who moved to Paris years ago, his posts will make you rush to Expedia to check the fares to Paris, just in case they’ve plummeted (You can always hope!). Plus, he’s like the genuinely nice cousin you love hearing from- except he doesn’t live in Houston. And he shops for groceries at Richard Lenoir, not Kroger. And makes a mean kouign amman.
David Lebovitz posted an essential list of safety tips for travelers to Paris. Some of them are just common sense:
For example, if you wear fancy jewels or tote a pricey handbag on the métro, there is probably someone on there that loves your gold Rolex as much as you do.
But he also alerts us to specific schemes visitors (and locals) face in Paris everyday, for instance the “Found Ring” scam which happened to me this winter:
This is a common ruse in touristed areas, like the 6th, and happens on the bridges that cross the Seine as well as in places like the Place de l’Opéra and Madeleine. Someone walking in front of you will “find” a gold ring on the ground and pick it up, with a look of surprise. (I don’t know why they are so surprised, since they let it drop from their shirt cuff.) They will show it to you, ask if it’s yours, then after marveling at what a valuable piece of jewelry they found, they will offer to let you buy it from them for a great price. The ring is cheap brass – just walk away. (I usually laugh in their face and tell them “You’re kidding me – right?”, although I don’t recommend that tactic as some people have been spat upon.)
Oh, also be sure to read all the comments on David’s blog. They’re always a great source of information and inspiration.
David sometimes has book-signings around Paris. His cookbooks make a wonderful gift for your favorite baker or Francophile. (Check out the schedule on his blog.) For her birthday, Lizzy got a signed copy of Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes . My present? I got to meet David Lebovitz!