How can I fix a Visa card problem in Paris?

I have a Visa card problem and I'm in Paris

Lynne wrote to me recently asking if I had any suggestions for her daughter’s Visa card problem in Paris.

Visa card problem in Paris, what to do?Teena,

My daughter is currently studying abroad in Paris. She is having trouble with many of the merchants not accepting her American Visa credit card.

Do you know of a prepay loadable card that she can easily put money on to use? or do you have another solution than her hitting the ATM and carrying Euros everywhere?


Teena’s reply to “Visa card problem in Paris”

Hi there Lynn,

I’m sorry to hear your daughter’s had problems.  I was in Paris a year ago with my Australian Visa card and didn’t have any problems, but to avoid lots of fees I also made sure to have 100-200 euro on me in cash at all times.

I did go to my bank before I left Australia and tried a pre-paid debit card which could be used as a credit card too — that worked out well, but the fees were quite high.

Just a thought — smaller merchants might have to pay high fees to accept credit cards, so they probably only accept cash.

If your daughter doesn’t like to carry much cash, perhaps she could try Traveller’s Cheques / Travelers’ Checks, but to be honest I haven’t used those for year, and she may have the same problems trying to cash them with smaller merchants.

Has your daughter met any other girls her age living in Paris who might offer suggestions for her?

Finding out how others cope in the same situation might be helpful.

As long as your daughter is careful not to flash her open wallet around, and keeps it in her handbag in FRONT of her as she walks along the streets, she shouldn’t experience any difficulties with cash.

I’m sorry I don’t have any other solution for you, but do let me know how she gets on, if she tries one of these suggestions or comes up with a much better one.

What a wonderful adventure for her to have – wouldn’t it be lovely if we could all meet up for a latte in Paris one afternoon? Ahhhhh bliss!

Ciao for now, best of luck!

Your Say

I hope Lynne’s daughter has now solved this tricky issue when shopping in Paris.

Have you ever had a Visa card problem in Paris? I’d love to hear from you if you have any tips or suggestions. Thanks!


What is Bastille Day?

Have you ever wondered, “What is Bastille Day?”

To be honest, it’s only non-French people who call the 14th of July “Bastille Day”, so please don’t say “Happy Bastille Day!” to your French friends or other French people – ok?

I’ve lived in Paris so I am familiar with this day commemorating the French Revolution, but thought I’d get a Wikipedia explanation for you:

“Bastille Day is the name given in English speaking countries to the French National Day, which is celebrated on 14 July each year. In France, it is formally called La Fête Nationale and commonly Le quatorze juillet (the fourteenth of July).

The French National Day commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution with the Storming of the Bastille on the 14 July 1789, as well as the Fête de la Fédération on the 14 July 1790.

Celebrations are held all over France. The oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe is held on the morning of 14 July, on the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris in front of the President of the Republic, French officials and foreign guests.”

Read more on Wikipedia here:

If I’m lucky enough to be in Paris for le Quatorze Juillet (Bastille Day), I generally celebrate with friends by having a picnic or going out to dinner. There will be plenty of restaurants open for this national holiday, but a make sure you BOOK IN ADVANCE so you will have a guaranteed reservation.

How do I buy cheese in Paris?

How do I buy cheese in Paris?

Chatelle’s question:  “How do I buy cheese in Paris?”

When Chatelle wrote and asked me about buying cheese, it brought back memories of  the markets and the Fromageries (cheese shops) in Paris.

Teena, finally June 2013 has arrived and in 2 weeks I head for Paris. Cannot wait.

I do have, I suppose, a silly question: I will be wanting to purchase Baguettes and cheese.

How do I buy the cheese? do I ask for a portion, slice, or what.

Here in the USA I can order several at 1/4 to 1/2 pound. Pounds aren’t in France LOL.

Any suggestions?

Thanks for your reply! Chatelle

 Teena’s answer

Hi there Chatelle,

OOOOooohhh how exciting! You’re almost in Paris!

Excellent question – (never silly!) and as with everything, there are several ways to do this.

One pound converts to 453 grams, but I take that up to 500 grams just to make it easy when I’m trying to calculate it in my head whilst shopping.

Roughly speaking:

  • 2 pounds in weight is 907 grams, so close enough to one kilo
  • 1 pound in weight is about half a kilo (500 grams)
  • half a pound is about a quarter of a kilo (250 gm)

If you’re comfortable with trying to speak French, here are some suggestions.

Your questions could be:

Converting as you go:

  • “A pound of cheese please (approximately 500 grams).” = “Cinq cent (500) grammes de fromage, s’il vous plait.”
  • “Half a pound of cheese please (250 grams).” = “Deux cent cinquant (250) grammes de fromage, s’il vous plait.”
  • “Quarter of a pound of cheese please (125 grams).” = “Cent vingt-cinq (125) grammes de fromage, s’il vous plait.”

If you’re not too comfortable speaking French, you could create some cards for your wallet, and write in thick marker pen, the amounts in grams, e.g. 100 grams, 200 grams etc.

Show these to the shopkeeper and point to the cheese (fromage) of your choice. You can also say the name if you can read it, and if you’re ok with that – Camembert, Brie, etc – they should all have their names written on them in the window etc.

I do hope this helps!  I’m looking forward to hearing from you about all the things you love about Paris — wave to the Eiffel Tower and say hello from me, OK?

Bon voyage! Have a great trip!


Your Say

Got any tips of your own for the question, “How do I buy cheese in Paris?” Feel free to share – I’d love to hear from you :-)




Annual Sales in Paris in June

Annual Sales in Paris in June

The annual sales in Paris are held in summer and winter, and the dates are strictly controlled by the Government.

The annual sales in Paris are in June each year

If you happen to be in Paris in June, as you walk around the shops and stores you’ll notice the word “SOLDES” everywhere — which means “SALE”.

When are the summer sales in Paris?

The 2013 summer sales begin on June 26th and go to July 30th, 2013.

When are the winter sales in Paris?

The 2014 winter sales in begin in Paris on January 8th and go to February 11th, 2014.

What’s on sale in these annual sales in Paris?

You name it, you can find it:

  • fashion
  • jewellery
  • clothing
  • shoes
  • handbags and bags
  • fashion accessories
  • just about whatever your little heart desires.

Where to find the Sales / “Soldes”

Walk along the popular streets and int he arcades, you’ll find so much being offered at a discount prices inshops and stores all over Paris, in large stores and small trendy boutiques, in department stores, little designer stores in the suburbs to major designer labels and internationally known designer stores.

Make a day of it – go with friends, plan where to have lunch (off the main streets to avoid the shoppers in crowds) and enjoy yourself whilst shopping the annual sales in Paris!


Petit Dejeuner in Paris 75002

Petit Dejeuner in Paris 75002

Petit Dejeuner in Paris 75002

Need petit dejeuner in Paris?

Walk around any Parisian street every morning of the year and you’ll see people in cafés, eating croissants, standing at the bar to drink their espresso coffee and others dipping their croissants into their thick creamy cafe au lait (milky coffee).

Every now and then when I’m in Paris I’ll have a change and order a non-croissant breakfast which comprises of a cafe au lait (milk coffee), a tartine (a piece of baguette) with beurre (butter) and confiture (jam).

In this photo above I was in a cafe in the 2nd arrondissement (le 2eme – “the Second”) and could watch the world go by while I took my time over breakfast. I’d be making notes and sketching in my trusty notebook and taking photos and videos with my iphone, relaxing whilst absorbing the bustling Parisian life around me.

I never ever tire of doing this – it’s a wonderful way to start the day, and to me, Paris feels like no other city or location I’ve lived in around the world.

Have you had the same feeling when you’ve been in Paris or anywhere else? I’d love to hear about it … comment below or click any of the buttons to connect with – better still, make a quick video or audio and email them to me, that’d be very cool :-)

Petit dejeuner in Paris … the ONLY way to start your day!

Postcards from Paris March 2013

Postcards from Paris March 2013

postcards from Paris


with Teena Hughes   |  march 2013 video newsletter

Postcards from Paris Newsletter from

Welcome to today’s Postcards from Paris!



It’s a bit windy here today in Melbourne, and the temps are expected to be in the low 20 degrees Celcius, but we do expect rain. I’m looking at the weather in Paris and a “high” of 10degC is still a bit chilly, but from here on in it should start to get a little warmer in the lead up to summer for June/July/August:

Postcards from Paris -- What's the weather in Paris, France?

More about weather:


Ecoutez! Listen!

Teeny Tiny Audio Files on How to Speak French

Here are two little audio lessons I’ve made for the beginners:

“Bonjour mon ami! Ca va toi?” and “Croissant au beurre?”

My New Paris Photo Book

I’ve wanted to let you know that my book of Paris photos is ready, but in all honesty it’s taken longer than I wanted due to the move to a new city, yahda yahda (sorry for the excuses!), but it WILL be ready soooon, promise! I’ve now given myself a deadline, so fingers’ crossed!

Postcards from Paris - Teena Hughes Photo Book of Paris

What’s on in Paris in March/April?

Spring’s around the corner …

Postcards from Paris -- Paris in November


April (heading into Spring / Printemps):

My Postcards from Paris Facebook Page

When you have a moment, pop over to my Paris Facebook page to see all the photos I’ve posted, and join in the conversation:

Postcards from Paris facebook page with Teena Hughes

Not on this mailing list?

Did someone send you this email because they thought you might enjoy it? That’s fantastic! Why not sign up for yourself, so you’ll receive it in your inbox too?

Learn more and join in the fun today

Sign up for Teena Hughes' Postcards from Paris Video Newsletter today!

Ciao ciao for now! I’ll be in touch again soon – send me your questions and I’ll do my best to help.


Teena Signature


Teena Hughes,
PO Box 111, Balaclava VIC 3183  – Australia
Telephone Australia (+61) 0408-801-808 http://a-night-in-paris.comI hope you enjoyed Postcards from Paris!
Dreaming of Paris wishing I was there

Dreaming of Paris wishing I was there

About this time of year I do a lot of dreaming of Paris

… the sights, the sounds,  aromas, fragrances, the architecture, the people, my friends, my favourite haunts …

Yes, there’s plenty to day-dream about for sure.

So I thought I’d grab some photos on post them here to brighten up my day – and I hope yours too.

Dreaming about Paris and the Eiffel Tower

Above: The Eiffel Tower

Dreaming of Paris - a carousel

Above: The Carousel at the foot of the Sacre Coeur, Paris.

Dreaming of Paris - Poulbot Restaurant

Above: The entrance to Poulbot Restaurant in Paris.

Dreaming of Paris - scooters parking

Above: two scooters parked outside a parking garage.

Dreaming of Paris - yellow letterboxes

Above: two gorgeous yellow letterboxes.

Aaaahhhh all of this dreaming of Paris makes me nostalgic!

I’m planning on visiting friends in London in September and popping over to Paris for a few weeks. Can’t wait!

Paris Sleep Mask – ooh la la!

Paris Sleep Mask – ooh la la!

It’s slumber time with a Paris sleep mask

I couldn’t resist having these on my Paris website – everyone needs a sleep mask when they travel, and it’s not navy, black or brown so it won’t get lost :-)

To be honest, you don’t even need to travel to wear one of these – you can pretend you’re in Paris while you’re at home, put on some French music, get comfy, pop on your Paris sleep mask and let the lovely music massage your brain into sleeping. Dors bien! Sleep well!

Paris sleep mask in lime green with French words by Teena Hughes (image)


Paris Sleep Mask $US10.99 + Shipping $US4.00

  • Black nose piece to limit the amount of light which tries to sneak under the mask
  • Comfy elastic strap to hold it in place
  • One size fits all
  • Machine washable
  • Dimensions (approx): 7.25” x 3.5”
  • Lime green with French words

**Please note payments will appear as ‘Abfab’ or ‘Absolutely’ on your credit cards and receipts.

Questions about the Paris sleep mask?

Please let me know asap and I’ll do my best to help you, thanks! Back to my Paris Store >>


Luggage tags for Paris

Luggage tags for Paris

Luggage tags help you find your bags, fast

All those luggage tags in airports, on masses of black suitcases and bags, the conveyor belt going round and round.

When you’re waiting for your bag this lime green one with French words on it will be visible from a distance and oh so easy to spot :-)

Luggage tags for Paris, lime green with French words

  • Luggage tag is made from lightweight aluminum
  • Removable leather strap is included
  • Image is covered by crystal clear coating for protection
  • Measures approximately 3.25″ x 2″
  • Add your contact details

**Please note payments will appear as ‘Abfab’ or ‘Absolutely’ on your credit cards and receipts.

Questions about these lime green luggage tags?

Please let me know asap and I’ll do my best to help you, thanks! Back to my Paris Store >>




Paris backpack with French words

Paris backpack with French words

This Paris backpack will hold all your stuff

This is a great sized Paris backpack for all your daily essentials while exploring. It holds a ton of stuff and is sturdy too. When I first visited Paris I had two backpacks – one large for everything I was travelling with, and one small for day use.  I was always amazed at how much I could fit into the day use backpack, and it was great because it left my hands free for reading books and drinking coffees :-)

Paris backpack in lime green with French words

Paris backpack $34.99 + Shipping $10.00

  • Double zip closure
  • Elasticized mesh pockets at sides (for water bottle etc)
  • Not that you’d need to carry them, but it can fit 2 packs of A4 paper easily (500 sheets per pack)
  • Extra front compartment
  • Adjustable padded shoulder straps
  • Top hook
  • Approx. dimension: 11″(L) x 5″(W) x 15.5″(H)

**Please note payments will appear as ‘Abfab’ or ‘Absolutely’ on your credit cards and receipts.

Questions about this Paris backpack?

Please let me know asap and I’ll do my best to help you, thanks! Back to my Paris Store >>


Mini folding umbrella with French words

Mini folding umbrella with French words

A mini folding umbrella – ooh la la :-)

I wanted to design a mini folding umbrella with French words all over it, in a happy bright colour to make a statement in the streets of Paris on a grey winter’s day. This is my first one:

Mini folding umbrella, French words (image)

Mini folding umbrella - Teena in Paris at Place des Vosges (image)Mini folding umbrella: $US29.99 + Shipping $10.00

  • Made from 100% polyester pongee waterproof fabric
  • Opens up to 41″ span
  • Can be reduced to a collapsed height of 9″
  • Each rib consists of 3-section aluminium for flexibility and strength

I had a prototype umbrella made and took it with me to Paris – here I am in the Place des Vosges just off rue St Antoine near metro Bastille. It was a grey day, and this design really stood out from the crowd :-)

**Please note payments will appear as ‘Abfab’ or ‘Absolutely’ on your credit cards and receipts.

Questions about my gorgeous Paris umbrella?

Please let me know asap and I’ll do my best to help you, thanks! Back to my Paris Store >>




Pack of Playing Cards with French words

Pack of Playing Cards with French words

Pack of Playing Cards for your holiday?

Whether you’re going on holidays overseas or interstate, a pack of playing cards is always a great thing to bring with you.

This deck has 54 cards, with my design on their back – French words and phrases which make me think of being in Paris.

Pack of playing cards with French words (image)

I also found a font (typeface) which reminds me the art deco Metro signs in Paris – what do you think? Does it look ok to you?

Pack of playing cards: $US12.00 + Shipping $4.00

**Please note payments will appear as ‘Abfab’ or ‘Absolutely’ on your credit cards and receipts.

Questions about my gorgeous Paris pack of playing cards?

Please let me know asap and I’ll do my best to help you, thanks! Back to my Paris Store >>

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