Monday, October 11, 2010

The Paris Proust Files: Caroline Rochet, Author, Pariesienne Extraordinaire + GIVE AWAY!

Photo credit -"Le Parisien" : ©Julien Bousquet
JNSQ is adding a new feature to its list of goodies: INTERVIEWS!

You've all heard of the Proust Questionnaire, right? No? Well, if you're American, I'm sure you've heard of Will Farrell's spoof on Jame's Lipton's Inside the Actor's Studio -- Scrumtrilescent ring any bells? At the end of the show Lipton asks a series of questions based on the Proust Questionnaire. You see where I'm going with this. We done did it -- JNSQ style!

So here's the first of many more bags of awesome lined up for a monthly treat, and I've got loads of surprises up my sleeve ;) Some of these will have special prizes to win, so stay tuned!

Recently my gal pal Lindsey from Lost in Cheeseland reviewed the book & had a giveaway (mosey on over there to read it!!!), & we coordinated our asses to bring you even MORE chances to win!

Tell us what makes you Parisian or not in the comments, and I'll draw two lucky bastages to win a copy of her hilariously true book!
(Note: the book is in French) Tweet this with mention to @JNSQBLOGPARIS to get an extra chance to win!

And now, on to our main event -- the first JNSQ PARIS PROUST FILES INTERVIEW WITH:

Caroline Rochet, author of Comment (ne pas) devenir Parisien!

What do you like most about yourself or your writing that you think you can say without sounding too conceited? What makes you so flippin' amazing? (You know this is what people mean when they ask 'what are your strengths', don't look so shocked.)

CR: Well, I guess as every parisian girl, I got a lot of virtues :-) Tough question. I'd say I'm organized, curious, positive (almost gung-ho), fascinated by human-being, and open-minded. Or ... maybe that's just the virtues I wish I had ! And about writing in particular, I hope I'm quite easy to read, informative and funny.

Faults: What do you like LEAST about yourself or your writing that you think you can say without sounding too pathetic?

CR: What I like least about myself is my weakness. People sometimes see me as a strong girl, but gosh, I'm chicken shit ! I swear. I'm too anxious, too (this is a nightmare). But maybe these two faults are good things for a writer. Oh, one last thing : my sense of humour is really gross and "manly" ... and I love it.

Chief characteristic: Define yourself or your writing in 1 word that I can repeat to other people when I talk about you behind your back, ie: He/She is so _______.

CR: She is so unexpected !

Men: Is there anything about Parisian men that doesn't make you roll your eyes? What do they do that makes you think, "Oh yah. That one's def from Paname!"?

CR: Oh god, real Parisian men ALWAYS make me roll my eyes ..! Maybe that's why my boyfriend is not from Paris (he's from Strasbourg but I sometimes think he must be from another planet).
Let's say Parisian guys are usually well-dressed, curious and quite open-minded, but they're so self-centered it's a pain in the ass. And I'm not sure they know how to behave with women, too. No offense, buddies !

Women: What about the Parisian women? Quite the bag of 'tude eh? Or are we the ones who require re-wiring?

CR: Parisian women are a really special race. They're queens of fashion, know everything about everything and really ambitious. Juste like parisian guys, they can be real kind of pain in the ass. But come on, they're also really fun, friendly and clever girls. You can't totally hate them !

Heroes: If you could be any Frenchie who would you be, and why? (Good luck choosing. Between the painters alone you're totally screwed trying to pick one...*evil laugh*)

CR: I definitely would be Serge Gainsbourg.

Emotions: What about Paris brings out the 16yr old drama-queen in you: happy, sad, mad, excited, love, hate; what brings out these emo-spaz-attacks? What do you love/hate most about Paris?

CR: A lot, lot of things brings out the 16yr old drama-queen in me (maybe because she's never that far ...) : the bridges of the Seine, a good coffee at a table outside a café, small streets in the Marais, grumpy Parisian people, boutiques (hell yeah !), museums, the smell of the air ... And the weird part is, sometimes the things I love the most are the ones getting the most on my nerves, and inversely. This city can totally drive you crazy. I love it.

Places: In what Parisian hood would you love to live? We all have our favorites! Why is it yours, what makes it all that?

CR: I've lived in different districts of Paris (15, 14, 18, 3, 4 ... from west south to north and east). This sounds cliché, but I'm definitely in love with the Marais. The oldest, cutest, and most compact area ever. The problem is it's really expensive, so my flat (a cute duplex) is small, but I really enjoy living here. Shops are opened on Sunday, streets are beautiful, Seine is just around the corner, and I can really feel the heartbeat of the city.

Wishes: What typical French characteristic do you wish you possessed? (If you say ability to to eat mounds of Camembert and stay thin, I may smack you.)

CR: Talent ! I wish I was this kind of amazing writer (or musician, or painter or whatever) France has produced. And yes, I wish I could eat hundreds of Camembert (or better : Comté and Reblochon) and still kill your eyes with my gorgeous shape, too.

Motto: "What's your motto when life in France is not what you expect?"

CR: Yeah, indeed there is a sentence I say all the time when things go wrong, and the funny thing is I actually say it in english. It's "Life is a bitch, but still, it's life!" :)

Remember to post your Parisian or Unparisian-ness in comments and tweet it up with mention to @JNSQBLOGPARIS for 2 chances at the draw!
Will post winners on October 24th!

More information about Caroline & her book:
Review by Lindsey from Lost in Cheeseland
Her publishing company -
Read part of the book here -

Her blog on Say Who - 
Amazon France link to the book


  1. Right off the bat, this was too cute: "Well, I guess as every parisian girl, I got a lot of virtues :-)" and to me, seemed very Parisian Girl to say, lol!!

    There is an external confidence that many Parisian girls exude that eludes me, for sure. I've read that it is a front sometimes masking insecurity, but I dunno. Parisiennes don't seem to take any shit from anybody, and I admire this about them.

    (It is also one area in which I am not very Parisienne...)

    I love the Proust questions, and this was a really nice take on them! It was cool to learn more about Caroline and her opinions on Parisian men and women. I like getting this kind of insight on my what I have come to think of is my "foster home" (lol).

    I think I read on Lindsey's blog that it is also due to be published in English! I'm looking forward to that. I hope it happens!!

  2. I know, I <3 it too lol, I'm going to have to get more frenchies on my interview list! Glad you liked it, you're in the drawing!

  3. This is terrific, creative and fun. Bravo.

    Interviewing the French .....French women don't eat Brie.

  4. Great interview!! As soon as I can read in French (not holding my breath) I would love to read this book!!! Perhaps I'll wait for the English version. Great to have a French woman speak about life in Paris, versus all the expat chatter ;)

    ps. I felt more 'Parisian' before moving to Paris!

  5. I just moved to Paris from Montreal (I'm french-canadian, so I can definitely read a French book!) a few months ago and figured I am soooooo not fashionable here in Paris...! Just going to the park with my daughter is an embarrassement for me! But I think it's not even the clothes, its the attitude of the women sporting those clothes... Anyway, long way to go for me to be 'Parishionable'!

  6. @Karen & Kim - Glad you dig it!
    @Christine - meh... it's all a state of mind really. I like to think I rock the "don't care" chic.
    @Kasia - might be good practice? ;)

  7. Entered via twitter:

  8. Love this interview! So fun! What makes me Parisienne? Hmm I would say that my love of the beauty of history and art.

  9. My non-Parisian habit...smiling at strangers. As a friendly Texas girl, this has taken some time to adjust to!

  10. @Kadence & Julie -- thanks for sharing!

    there were a ton more on twitter but... I've been to damn busy to list them all here :)

    Last day to enter is tomorrow! Winners announced tomorrow night (paris time naturally)!!

    xx S

  11. "My sense of humor is gross and manly". Love your honesty.


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