The Hidden Palace of Paris

Inside Bombay Palace restaurant
Photo by Anhar Karim

For an avid restaurant hopper, Paris is the place to be for high quality food and diverse experiences. However, this hobby has a way of burning a hole in one’s pocket. But if you dig deep far enough, you will be delighted to find at least one shop that serves a high quality Pakistani dinner for only five euros.

The Gare Du Nord area off of the La Chappelle metro stop is known for its South Asian community. There are many restaurants and shops here owned by Pakistanis, Bengalis, and Indians serving their diaspora communities and bringing their friends food from back home. And among these many shops, a single gem hides from the spotlight, right across the street from the unassuming Bengali tech shop Comptoir Du Bangal.

The restaurant’s sign announces itself as the Bombay Palace. And there really isn’t much else outside besides that sign. The words “Indien” and “Pakistanais” are written on the sides, and two bare wooden table sets offer themselves as seating. But there is nothing here to catch the passerby’s eye and lure them in. However, anyone with a keen sense of smell will immediately stop when she gets the first whiff of what’s cooking inside.

The food in its entirety is on display behind the counter: Chicken biryani, chicken curry, lamb curry, rice, chickpeas, and more. It all looks as if a chef in Pakistan made it just an hour ago and somehow found a way to teleport it to France. And for just five euros, the server will scoop of a heaping plate of rice, a meat curry, and a vegetable selection, and serve it you on a tray complete with a plastic cup for water and a little salad. Clearly, the restaurant chooses not to stand on ceremony. There are no ornate tablecloths, music, or fancy drinks. Those in charge want nothing to distract you from the food, because as soon as you eat it, all the other flourishes cease to matter.

A typical meal at Bombay Palace
Photo by Anhar Karim

Asif, who preferred not to give his last name, is one of the co-owners of the shop. The young man’s two mismatched earrings dangle as he talks. He speaks with a smile and a hushed voice, as if not wanting to disturb the other customers. He explains how the restaurant business has been running in his family for forty years and this particular shop opened 15 years ago.

“All kinds come. Indians, Pakistanis, Arabs, French, Tourists,” he says in perfect English, nodding his head towards the room. And indeed the clientele are very diverse. On a normal day’s dinner, you may see a black man in the middle, some Pakistanis and Indians on the sides, and a few ethnic French sitting in the back, all picking at their plates with disposable forks and drinking from plastic cups.

There are many similar restaurants in this area, Asif admits. However, he says that this shop is different.

“Our food is always fresh. It’s always made fresh. You eat now and come back in an hour and it will be completely new,” he says. A morning customer will find a completely different array of offerings from the night customer, and both will walk away satisfied. Asif smiles; this feature of the restaurant is a point of pride for him.

Asif admits that the job gets tough. The hours are long and there isn’t really much money in it. But, nonetheless, it’s the family business and he has the responsibility to keep it alive. Besides, he says, “it pays the rent.” But despite this pragmatic explanation and the noted level of difficulty, Asif’s gaze upon his restaurant betrays something more. He smiles upon his surroundings with a look of compassion for a job that he loves.

The Tumbleweeds

By Katherine Trout

The front window of Shakespeare and Company.


PARIS, FRANCE – Above the doorway of one of the quirky second-floor reading rooms of Shakespeare and Company, a portion of a bible verse is painted in capitalized, black letters.


Now one of the most famous bookstores in the world, Shakespeare and Company took its name from Sylvia Beach’s original Paris bookstore that closed down in 1941 during the Nazi occupation. Since the 1951 opening of the English-language bookstore in Paris, the phrase has become the official motto of Shakespeare and Company. Its store owners, previously George Whitman and now his daughter Sylvia, have been dedicated to living it out.

Every night in this reading room, the wooden benches below the walls of books transform into beds, and cushions and blankets appear on the floor.

The reading room becomes a bedroom for the Tumbleweeds.

Former shop owner George Whitman poetically claimed, “People who arrived in the shop blew in and out of the store by the winds of chance.” Whitman welcomed young, aspiring writers into the shop and invited them to sleep on the floors. In exchange for the free lodging, Whitman asked them for a few hours of work, a one-page autobiography typed on a store typewriter, and to read a book a day. These guests soon gleaned the name Tumbleweeds.

Today, under the jurisdiction of George’s daughter Sylvia, between 3 and 6 Tumbleweeds live in the store at a time. But when George ran the shop in the 1990s, up to 25 crashed there each night. Krista Halverson, director of the Shakespeare and Company publishing house, says, “Someone described it as Lord of the Flies. It was a lot of fun – it was a lot of romance, chaos and dirt.”

Since the beginning of the Tumbleweed program, more than 30,000 people have stayed the night. Most stay a week or two. But, says Halverson, “There’s a few people that have managed to pull it into months.”

Despite a 1990 fire that damaged the Tumbleweed room, 10,000 autobiographies still remain intact. Some of them include those of famous writers like Sebastian Barry (one of Ireland’s most famous contemporary writers) and David Rakoff (a famous Jewish essayist and New York City journalist). In Shakespeare and Company, Paris: History of the Rag & Bone Shop of the Heart, the recent book documenting the history of the store, Halverson and her publishing crew chose 25 autobiographies to include in the book. To make their choices, they read all 10,000.

An unexpected discovery for Halverson? Finding the autobiography of her ex-boyfriend.

“That was a surprise when I came across it,” Halverson admitted, laughing. He had come to the store in the early 90s “during that kind of Lord of the Flies time.” When George owned the shop, he didn’t bring any money to the bank, and instead let Tumbleweeds take turns sleeping on top of the money. “In the middle of the night, somebody came and pulled him up…and tried to get to the money. He fell off the bunk and broke his back.” Despite the heroic efforts to protect the money, “George was so mad about him getting injured that he kicked him out and told him he could never come back to the bookstore.” Eventually George softened and let him come back to the store to write his autobiography.

To become a Tumbleweed, it takes a very specific personality: brave and in need of little privacy. One can’t apply for it – instead, they have to show up in Paris without a place to stay and ask Sylvia. Most of the admitted Tumbleweeds are young writers – but Shakespeare and Company is serious when it says it won’t allow the Tumbleweeds to write about their experience living in the store. Events manager Adam Biles says, “We don’t want people to write about it. It remains something private, something a little mysterious, something intimate.”

Shakespeare and Company doesn’t want its “ANGELS IN DISGUISE” to be revealed, after all.


A Secret Treat

A close look into the orchards at the Luxembourg Gardens.


PARIS, FRANCE – The Luxembourg Gardens of Paris breeds crisp green carpets of grass, symmetric alleys of trimmed chestnut trees, and a wide variety of colorful tulips and daffodils that border its pathways. But a special secret hides behind the wrought iron bars of one corner of the garden: a massive apple and pear orchard.

The orchard is located in the southwest corner of the Luxembourg Gardens. It is dedicated to the production of exquisite apple and pear breeds. Each year, expert gardeners cultivate approximately 200 varieties of pears and 300 varieties of apples.

One such gardener is Franck, who works long hours inside the barred nursery. On one brisk March day, a group of curious tourists led by Alan Riding, former New York Times correspondent and part-time Paris expert, coax him outside to answer their questions. He is greeted with a bombardment of bonjours and extends a hand caked with mud stains.

Riding waves a hand to the queues of gray wooden tree trunks snaking up the tall metal bars they were bound to. “This is a perfect example of France’s obsession with dominating nature,” he says. It’s not Riding’s British bias doing the talking – Franck, too, admits the choice in orchard mapping echoes the French “style to dominate nature.” The forceful growing of the orchards robs the trees of unique growth potential – but the structured patterns conserve space in the Luxembourg Gardens and give the appearance of a well-manicured garden. For the French, order is synonymous with design and good taste. Franck says, “You could almost say every flower has a name and a number.”

The fruit delicacies stay off limit to munchers except for once a year during the European Heritage Days. During the festival, an exhibition of the best apples and pears are placed on display – and later offered in homage to other Parisians dedicated for preserving fruit.

Bon appétit.

The Underground City of Paris

By: Miriam Friedman

Metro riders keep to themselves. Photograph by Miriam Friedman

The essence of Paris does not lie on the city streets; it exists below ground. From the diverse aesthetic of the different stops, to the etiquette of the people who pass through them, the Paris Metro is the often-overlooked mechanism that captures the city’s spirit. With its 131 miles of tracks, and its 297 stations, the Metro is a parallel, underground city, one that is as deeply embedded in the French psyche as it is in the limestone of Paris itself.

This year, the Paris Metro celebrates its 117th birthday, making it one of the longest running subway systems in the world. This enduring existence is deeply tied to the functionality of the city. The extended network of routes enables the Metro to cover 600,000 miles each day, a distance equivalent to circulating the earth ten times. According to R.A.T.P, the local transit authority, over seven billion people use the lines every year.

Metro riders walk to the exit as they exit the car. Photograph by Miriam Friedman

But more than the hard facts, the walls of the various subway stops model a wide variety of Parisian atmospheres. Ranging from broken concrete, to clean white tiles, and finally, to sparklingly painted tunnels, each destination has its own style. “I travel on line 1 from Champs-Élysées to Neuilly, and I see the glitter transform into ugliness. Even just the terminals remind me of different aspects of Paris,” says 22-year-old interior design student Lauren Asseroff.

Still, stark contrast lurks beyond the mere décor of the subway caverns. Between the travelers on the cars and the performers on the platforms, there is a wide range of conventions and behaviors. Unlike the subway in other major cities like New York and Hong Kong, commuters of the Paris Metro ride in silence. The only noise comes from the occasional tourist unfamiliar with this code, or from the whispers of locals with urgent gossip. “I always do the same thing, when I use this line: stand in the corner and read my book,” says 21-year-old architecture student Lisa Goutan —and she is not the only one. People on the Metro cars sit and stand as they read their books, or plug in their headphones, seemingly unfazed by the others that surround them.

An accordion player stands on the platform. Photograph by Miriam Friedman

Yet outside the car’s sliding doors, a very different reality awaits. There are accordion players, guitarists, and singers. Here is where the Metro bleeds its character. Marvin Parks, 41, is an American-born jazz singer, now living in Paris, who obtained a permit from the Musicians of the Metro Program to perform on the subway. Parks says that he has received support from both the city and the locals. “Besides the money in my hat, every day I am greeted with a smile, handshake, hug, well wishes, and inquiries about when my next show is,” he says. Though on most days, many Metro cars are quiet, entertainers like Parks bring personality to a system whose interior is all too serious.

Marvin Parks with fans in the Metro. Photograph by Marvin Parks

The Metro is the heart of Paris. Not only is it the core method of transportation for most locals, but it also captures fundamental aspects of the French etiquette and culture. Without seeing the way that this body functions, it is difficult to generate a complete understanding of the city. Though the streets of Paris are beautiful and important, the underground level tells a much more compelling story about life in this center. The character of the Metro parallels the lives of the people who ride it; from young to old, a ride on the Metro means experiencing an old side of Paris with a whole new perspective.

This Latin American House is for the French

A towering wrought iron gate opens on two sides, allowing visitors to enter number 217 on the wide Boulevard Saint-Germaine in Paris’ seventh arrondissement. As they walk up the steps to the building, a man in a well-fitting navy suit leaves the building, speaking quickly into his cell phone as he opens the door to the limo waiting for him. Visitors pass through two sets of doors—the first is wooden, painted turquoise-grey; the second, glass, imprinted with gold-flake designs. The doors are three meters tall.

Once inside, the visitors find themselves beneath a crystal chandelier floating from the high ceilings. White daylight flows into the white rooms, bestowing an air of luxury upon the space. The reception desk greets the visitors in polite French, and the building’s staff talk amongst themselves in their francophone native tongue.

The space of number 217 is old-world France. Its beauty intimidates; it owns its regality. Yet number 217 is a Latin American cultural center.

La Maison de l’Amerique Latine has been around since 1946, when Charles de Gaulle decided to honor the diplomatic ties between France and Latin America in the form of a cultural center. “The house is a symbol of the friendship between France and Latin America,” said Anne Husson, the center’s Cultural Director.

Yet though the name suggests it is a place to organize the Latin American community, it is not quite. “This house was created for the sake of the French people,” explained Husson. Though La Maison is a platform for Latin American writers, artists, and thinkers to share their work, the space exists to spread awareness about Latin America in France. All kinds of French people visit the 2-4 yearly art exhibitions and attend near-daily lectures at La Maison. “And that’s good,” explained Husson. The center’s diverse audience builds curiosity about the region in France.

The Maison is entirely financially independent. They receive no money from the governments of Latin American countries and only minor subsidies from France. They are not funded through private foundations. Instead, they rent the space out to individuals and corporations for private events. Any place, ranging from a law firm to IBM, can rent space at La Maison for conferences or seminar meetings. People even hold their weddings in the spacious garden in the back. They also make money through the restaurant and café located inside the building.

Husson emphasized that the commercial side of La Maison is entirely subordinate to the other branches. It is important that La Maison is not beholden to anyone in their exhibitions. Yet walking through the space, it is clear that renting out the building limits them. Hallways are crowded with conference attendees; company meetings require privacy and quietness.

Husson also explained that La Maison’s independence is important because it means that they do not have to answer to the French government or governments of Latin America. Yet she explained that in general, they follow France’s policy. They will not feature any Cuban or Venezuelan artists unless those artists are already exiled in France. If France were to cut relations with Cuba, she said, they would probably not feature any Cuban artists.

La Maison is currently featuring the work of Elias Crespin, a Venezuelan artist who designs mechanically-controlled mobiles that move slowly in mesmerizing patterns. Though Crespin is a proud Latin American, the exhibit’s introduction and captions to his works are all in French. In the gallery, a number of middle-aged French couples and student-aged women whispered to each other in French.

The café offered selections of Latin American food like quesadillas and “Salade ‘La Jefe’”, which is a mix of foie gras and French-style figs. The wait-staff spoke to each other in French, and pairs of older French ladies easily ordered their espresso coffees.

David del Castillo, receptionist at La Maison, explained that while many patrons of the space are French, he has met many Latin Americans through his job. Just recently, he said, a family of nine Colombians came by to see Crespin’s exhibit. It is a problem, he explained, that the descriptions were all in French, and that English- and Spanish-speakers couldn’t understand. “But that will always be a problem,” he explained. He then turned to greet two new arrivals, instructing them that the conference they were looking for was up the stairs and to the right.

Alissa Rubin: Humble on the Front Lines

by Marissa Rosenberg-Carlson

Alissa Rubin has seen it all. A foreign correspondent for nearly twenty years, she has faced great peril in the name of great reporting. She became deputy chief of the New York Times bureau in Baghdad in 2007, and chief of the Times’ bureau in Kabul two years later. When she almost lost her life in a 2014 helicopter crash in northern Iraq, she dictated a report of the accident from her hospital bed. In her current position as chief of the New York Times bureau in Paris, she stays true to one lesson learned from past reporting: “You have to be humble about the unexpected.”

Rubin speaks softly but doesn’t mince words. During an informal dinner with Princeton University students, she dives right into France’s core political issues. As Paris bureau chief, she focuses on terrorism. But her team takes care in deciding when and whether to use the word terrorist, particularly when a given attacker is Muslim. She is cautious not to sensationalize. “We don’t do conjecture. We report a lot of details of each case, to paint a portrait,” she said. Without making premature conclusions, Rubin probes for causes. “Why? That’s the big question. Why do Muslim communities feel disenfranchised in France?” she said.

Rubin’s ability to suspend judgment makes her a flexible reporter. She also writes on the French presidential election. She gained insight from watching the U.S. election and the referendum on Brexit unfold last year. “This year is about absorbing the fact that we – the press – were wrong,” she said. “I don’t trust the polls. I don’t know what to believe. Wisdom is knowing what you don’t know.” Even as a seasoned journalist, she continues to grow in her craft. She takes criticism in stride and always responds to it. “If someone takes time to write to me, they deserve my engagement,” she believes.

Rubin views journalism as a privilege and a responsibility. “We’re paid to ask questions that other people can’t ask. We’re there because you can’t get there,” she said. For that reason, she worries about new journalism that values speed over accuracy. She believes nothing analytic can be done so quickly. “Thought happens at its own rate,” she said. Twenty years into her journalistic endeavors, thought remains Rubin’s forte. Her intellect continues to capture the world’s most poignant stories, and transmit them to readers eager for truth in an era of alternative facts.

Learning about the Chinese diaspora in France


Lobby display at the Chinese Cultural Center of Paris (CCCP.) (C) Lavinia Liang, 2017.

Pauline Bayle speaks five languages. In the last ten years, she has lived in four countries and seven cities. Now, in conjunction with finishing her master’s degree in East Asian Cultural Studies in Paris, her hometown, Bayle is interning at the Paris Chinese Cultural Center. She loves her work as the front desk representative. “Everyone is very nice, and I am learning a lot every day,” she said. She described the Chinese Cultural Center of Paris (CCCP) as a “bubble of China in France.”

The CCCP is a moderately-sized complex, and an organization that employs about 20 individuals. About a third of its staff are interns. Bayle is one of two non-Chinese interns. As an extension of the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China, the Center’s staff are technically employees of the Chinese government. “I have to be careful what I say,” Bayle said, lowering her voice.

A young man stops by, speaking French with Bayle. Then he switches to near-perfect English, and then to perfect Chinese. He introduces himself as Sean Tu, the Executive Director’s Assistant. Like Bayle, Tu was also once an intern. He was born in China, came to France for his undergraduate studies, and then did his masters in Raleigh, North Carolina. He soon leaves to help a few visitors, after complimenting Bayle’s English.

(C) Lavinia Liang, 2017.

Visitors to the CCCP are not many, perhaps a dozen an hour. They trickle in regularly, and stay for extended periods of time in the complex. CCC’s daytime regular programming is all free. The center offers a variety of programs and services. These include a Chinese school, a theater that shows Chinese cinema, an East Asian library, and a permanent space for special exhibitions. The current special exhibition is a collection of famous Chinese artist Han Meilin’s sculptures and watercolor paintings.

For a small cultural center in a busy business district of Paris, the Center seems to attract a lot of visitors. However, Bayle says that there is still a lot more to be done on the communications and marketing front. “Everything here is a little behind,” she said. “When I first interviewed here, the Executive Director didn’t even know what ‘digital marketing’ meant.”

(C) Lavinia Liang, 2017.

The Chinese community in Paris, as Bayle explained, has always been rather fragmented, although in recent years it has been coming together through social action. Most of the Chinese immigrants in France—indeed, in Europe—are from the province of Wenzhou. The Chinese immigrants in Paris include small businessmen, many of them restaurant owners; undocumented workers; as well as a growing Chinese Mafia. Still many more are the descendants of immigrants, and are native-born in France. “Some of these Chinese are more Parisian than me,” said Bayle, who lived in Rome for her first five years of childhood.

Bayle also drew comparisons between the current political climates of France and of the United States. Both countries are slowly addressing the often-quiet racism against Asians. Both countries, through presidential elections in the US and presidential campaigns in France, are witnessing the popularity or electability of far-right candidates. In recent years, the Chinese community in Paris has also been defining itself and coming together as a clear and cohesive group.

In such a political climate, Bayle reflected on the different kinds of racism that different ethnic groups experience in Paris. “You say something against blacks or Muslims? You’re racist. You say something against Chinese? Well.” She paused. “There is still the idea that Asians are well-integrated here in France, and cause no trouble. But now there are demonstrations. Everybody is talking about this.”

A Key to (an Imagined) Paris

Do not lose the bedroom key of the Grand Pigalle Hotel. There are 37 keys: one per room. They hang in orderly lines on a glass mirror behind the reception desk. The composition exudes an expensive elegance. So do the keys.

The key in itself is rather unassuming. It is old-fashioned and golden, small enough to be clasped in the palm of a hand. What sets the key of the Grand Pigalle Hotel apart is the ten-centimeter long, black and red leather tassel attached to it. It is a fusion of modern and retro. The key is a physical embodiment of the atmosphere that this high-end boutique hotel is cultivating.

Nelson Siba, the new front desk manager, works the night shift until 10 p.m.. Sitting at the imposing, golden desk in the middle of the foyer, Nelson is the guardian of these keys. Like the key, Nelson appears to be a deliberate addition to the interior design. Shrouded in a yellow hue from the reflection of the desk, he radiates the demi-god aura of young Parisian class.

Nevertheless, Nelson is in tune with realities of a high demand job. Aside from being in charge of all the hotel’s bookings, Nelson also has to make sure that each day none of the keys gets lost.

“I have been here only one month. It is very stressful,” Nelson says. He does not look up from the screen of the desktop computer. His fingers fly across the keyboard, as he speaks.

It costs €85 to replace a key. Most importantly, there is only one spare key for each room. Supply is limited. Created by Dorothée Meilichzon, a 30-year-old Parisian interior designer, the key is unique to the Grand Pigalle Hotel. Meilichzon, who has worked in many of the European capitals, designed the key to be a cosmopolitan addition.

Florent Masse, a professor of French theater at Princeton University, describes the key as being caught between past and present.

“Old hotels in Paris used to have keys like this, now most hotels use the card,” Masse says.

The standard key-card is indisputably more convenient but convenience is not what the owners of Grande Pigalle are striving for.

“When I look at this key, I am reminded of silky Parisian weekend escapades,” Masse says holding up his own room key. “The key is Paris.”

The key is a distant echo of the Paris captured in the books of Hemingway. It tells a story of an idealized nostalgia for dreamy cafes, flowing wine and love. In many ways this key and this corner hotel are caught in a theatrical drama of the past. It offers an escape – for the privileged few – from the turbulent present that France currently finds itself in.

Pissarro Illuminates Paris

By Iris Samuels

On a Monday morning, the line for the Musée du Luxembourg stretched around the block. Patrons readily waited in the gloomy weather to see the new exhibit. Three days after the opening of Pissarro in Éragny, the art lovers of Paris flocked to be among the first to see the highly-anticipated retrospective.

While the Musée du Luxembourg is much smaller than some of Paris’s better-known museums, its history is grander than most. The museum was established in 1750 as the first public painting gallery in Paris. It displayed the king’s collection, including works by Titian and Leonardo Da Vinci. The gallery’s next incarnation was as a center of contemporary art, between 1818 and 1937. It housed many up-and-coming artists of Paris, such as Monet, Cézanne and Renoir, who now adorn the walls of the city’s biggest museums – the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay and the Centre Pompidou.

Since 1979, the space has been home to visiting exhibits, which have paid homage to some of Europe’s best artists. The current one features paintings by Camille Pissarro, one of the leaders of Impressionism and pointillist art in the 19th century. The exhibit depicts Pissarro’s connection with Éragny, a village in northern Paris where he lived for the last two decades of his life.

Pissarro’s paintings are a poignant complement to the gardens just outside the building. They portray the natural environment of Éragny – tree-filled, pastoral and innocent. In the neighboring gardens the scene is similarly idyllic, as children frolic by the fountains, lovers enjoy the seclusion and runners take to the gravel paths. Just as Pissarro sought calm in the village of Éragny, so do Parisian seek a respite from the city’s hectic streets on these Left Bank grounds.

The Jardin du Luxembourg dates back to 1612, and has had many lives. According to Alan Riding, former European cultural correspondent for the New York Times, the Luxembourg palace, once home to kings and queens, was briefly turned into a prison after the French Revolution. During the Second World War, it served as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe. Now it is the home of the French Senate – a place for statecraft, formal meetings, and decadent dinners.

The latest change in the grounds’ never-ending evolution is a new metal fence erected around the palace. According to Riding, it was installed after the recent terror attacks rocked the city, as part of a concerted effort to defend Paris from the growing threat of terrorism.

The gardens mirror the city that had grown around them. Balancing the urbane and the natural, the elite and the plebeians, Paris is constantly adjusting to the changing world, while desperately clinging to the beauty and grandeur that have been its birthright for hundreds of years. Pissarro’s exhibit is a delicate reminder that even as guards armed with machine guns roam the city, and constant vigilance is in high demand, Paris will always remain a city where nature is shaped into high art.

The French Order

by Marissa Rosenberg-Carlson

The French love giving orders – to everyone, about everything. They even give orders to nature, according to Alan Riding, former European Cultural Correspondent at the New York Times. Riding riffed on this idea during a morning tour of the Luxembourg Gardens. He passed an apple garden, whose trees were clenched in wires that prevented their branches from pushing fully outward. At that image he claimed, “The French say to the apple tree: you will grow in two dimensions, not three.” Never missing an opportunity to milk the metaphor, he later came up to a playground and said, “See? The French children play only in straight lines.”

Though Riding spoke in hyperbole, he was right about French people’s obsessions with order. This theme serendipitously appeared in other contexts throughout the day. During dinner, Princeton Associate Dean Rebecca Graves described the rigidity of French public education with respect to course requirements and behavioral expectations. “In France, difference is punished, not celebrated,” she said. Young journalist Bérengère Sim transferred that sentiment to her experience of French national identity. Bérengère is half-Scottish and half-French, but grew up in Singapore and the UK. At parties she has to justify her background to perplexed Parisians. She feels that French people don’t know what to with her, since culturally they cannot conceive of a French person who holds multiple nationalities. In other words, French identity is exclusive. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be French enough for France,” said Bérengère.

Order is also taking center stage in the campaign rhetoric of Marine Le Pen, the presidential candidate of the far-right National Front party. Le Pen spins the concept of order into government control over who and what belongs in French society. In the first presidential debate, Ms. Le Pen railed against the European Union. She claimed that the teaching of pupils’ native languages in French schools prevents integration. She preached this all as part of her desire to “order” French identity, saying she doesn’t want to be president of some “vague region of the European Union.”

What types of order will manifest on the streets of Paris tomorrow?

Ordered apple trees at the Luxembourg Garden.