Lev Raphael: Biography


I caught the travel bug in fourth grade thanks to posters of French chateaux hanging in our classroom, and my first trip abroad was to Montreal because it was so close to my home in New York.  I was seventeen and thrilled that my high school French actually worked! I fell in love with the city, the people, the food, the culture.  A fan of French novelists like Zola and Balzac, when I finally got to France years later, I truly felt I was dreaming.  Being there was beyond my expectations: Just sitting in a sidewalk café was an adventure.  Nothing had prepared me for the sheer beauty of that city.

I’ve spent weeks at a time in France visiting museums, chateaux, and dining perhaps most memorably at Georges at the top of the Pompidou Center.  The Eiffel Tower started sparkling just as my spouse and I walked in for a birthday dinner.  That was as soul-stirring as a week in the Dordogne staying at a hotel whose restaurant had a Michelin star.

I’ve toured as an author across Germany, speaking in twenty different cities and towns where my German improved at each stop.  I've visited the UK several times and taught in London for six weeks.  Amsterdam won me over with its beer, pannekoeken, and fresh flowers. I'm undecided in the Florence vs. Venice debate.  And I found unexpected roots in Belgium where my Holocaust survivor parents spent five very happy years together after World War II. 

I speak French, German, and some Dutch.  Oddly enough, despite my Eastern European background, people in Europe often think I’m Norwegian.  Even Scandinavians have asked me where I’m from in Norway. My writing interests are in Western Europe and—surprise!—Scandinavia, as well as art museum exhibitions in the U.S.

My writing has appeared in the Huffington Post, Salon, the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press, the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Jerusalem Report and many other magazines and newspapers.

Thanks for checking out this page. I specialize in art, culture, and food. If you're an editor, please email me at raphael1836 [at] gmail [dot] com to see how we can work together.


A Taste of Bruges

“That's Funny, You Don't Look American!”

Why Not Speak Their Language When You Travel?

The Amazing London Museum You’ve Never Heard Of

My Germany: A Jewish Writer Returns to the World His Parents Escaped

Rushing to Berlin