Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Odéon, théâtre de l'Europe

This beautiful corridor belongs to L'Odéon, le Théâtre de l'Europe (6th arrondissement), one of the 5th French National Theaters. It was inaugurated in 1782 and was renewed between 2002 and September 2006. Needless to say that it's one of our most prestigious theaters. They don't show classic plays there but modern ones.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Paris Aquarium

They reopened the Paris Aquarium last May and I decided to pay it a little visit last weekend. It's really cool. Not only do they have a lot of tanks (43, including a huge one in which they have a bunch of sharks), but many other activities including a petting tank (to pet the fish), several movie theaters, a concert hall... You can also see divers (photo) feeding the sharks on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. More photos here.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Kurd demonstration

I have to be honest, I am not really up to date on the problem between the Kurds and the Turks, but just as I was walking by the Trocadero on Saturday (see yesterday's photo) I stumbled upon a Kurd demonstration. I then learned, by reading one of their leaflets, that they were mad at France for arresting several members of the Kurdish Liberation Front. Don't ask me why! If some of my readers know more about this please feel free to enlighten me(us). Four more photos here.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Apollo at Le Trocadero

Let's be cultural today, it's Sunday! This is a statue of the Greek god Apollo with his kithara (one of his many attributes together with the plectrum, the laurel, the sacrificial tripod, etc.). I found it at Trocadero today (on the right hand side facing it) and it's really impressive. The quote above Apollo is by French writer Paul Valéry: "« Il dépend de celui qui passe. Que je sois tombe ou trésor. Que je parle ou me taise. Ceci ne tient qu'à toi. Ami n'entre pas sans désir ». It's beautiful in French, but far too complicated to translate in English!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Old cars show

Today I went the the Retromobile exhibition, a show dedicated to old cars, at Porte de Versailles (15th arrondissement). I saw the first motorbike in the world - which happens to be French! - and many other antique vehicles, including cars that I perfectly recall from my youth!! Many more photos here.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Le Basilic Montmartre

No I did not take this photo in the country, but right in the middle of the urban jungle, 33 rue Lepic in the Abbesses area. It's a restaurant - with a little terrasse for when it's sunny and warm (that it is not at the moment!), but I don't know if it's worth the visit or not . I read a couple of reviews on the net, some of them saying it's nice and cosy inside, but some of them say it's a little touristy. If any of the PDP visitors have been there, please let us know what you think.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Wine Tasting in Paris

If you're into wine and want to know everything about French ones - and if you plan a trip to Paris - , I've found the perfect place for you: O Chateau. I went there yesterday evening and enjoyed very much the "teaching" by Olivier Magny (on the above photo) who runs the tasting in English for two hours. Not only do you get to sip some excellent wine (I did not because I don't drink alcohol) but you also learn about the different regions, labels (AOC), vocabulary, etc. More photos here.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Drive the Metro

Have you ever dreamt of driving the Paris Metro? Well, here you go! In the Paris Metro, most of the trains have got a driver (there is only one fully automated line) and if you travel in the first car there is a little two way mirror which allows you to see exactly what the driver sees. That is where I was when I took this photo this morning...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Paris rooftops at dawn

Sometimes the simplest things - like these typical Paris rooftops - can make cool photos. I took this one this morning from my office (on the 8th floor) while there was still a pretty thick mist in the air.

Monday, February 19, 2007

L'année du cochon (Year of the Pig)

As you can see on several city daily photo blogs - it's the Chinese new year. In Paris, there is a pretty large Chinese community (between 250,000 and 400,000 depending on the source) and every year they organize several New Year parades. Yesterday, it started by the Hotel de Ville, today (Monday), it'll take place at the Place Saint Sulpice at 6 pm and next Sunday it will be in the Chinese quarter, located in the 13th arrondissement.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Spring in February!

It's already spring in Paris at the moment. This afternoon, while I was meeting two true visitors and commenters to PDP who flew in to Paris yesterday, I could not believe how warm the weather was. We even looked for a terrace to have a drink outside but everything was packed.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Still allowed to smoke...

This morning, on my way to work, I passed by the opera and my eyes got caught by a thick grey smoke on the avenue de l'Opéra. Of course I stopped, grabbed my camera and rushed to the fire scene. It was a car, as you can see and the firemen were already there. Quite unusual (except by rioting times of course!). More photos here.

Friday, February 16, 2007

French television on demand

Today I passed by the public television building in the 15th arrondissement (this photo) and I realized I never really dealt with the French TV scene (although you probably remember the launch of France 24). There is a mix of private (TF1, M6, Canal Plus...) and public channels (France 2, 3, 4, 5 and ô) all ruled by pretty strong regulations : not more than one commercials break per hour, no films on Wednesdays, Fridays or Saturdays, etc. What is interesting for you is that more and more programs are now available on VOD on the Internet (most of them for free)... One of my favorite shows is this one, where they show footage from the 60's or 70's.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

La Mome Piaf

You probably all know Edith Piaf (real name Edith Gassion), a famous French singer who sung La vie en rose (no, it was not Grace Jones who sung it first!!) and many other famous French songs. She had a pretty short life (1915-1963) but she lived it fully. She loved and was loved and she rapidly became a real icon. Even 40 years after her death she is still worshiped her. Today they just released a film about her life. I haven't seen it yet but I will. (bonus: here listen to several of her songs including "Je ne regrette rien")

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Love day!

OK, OK, it's a fake! But it could have been true. Today, for Valentine's day, the Paris town hall dedicated the 170 electronic billboards of the city to love! All Parisians, willing to show their love to their valentines, have been invited to enter a short message on the Paris Website. These messages will then be broadcasted every 20 seconds, all day long today. I find it clever and fun.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Mon Chéri

I took this photo on a market near my home. Why on earth would these boxes bear the name Mon Chéri (My darling) I have no idea! What a weird brand name for fruits or vegetables. Anyway I thought this was more than appropriate for a Valentine's day eve... Bonne journée mes chéris!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Paris bridges

Enough politics for a while, how about a classic to start the week? Here is a view of my favorite spot in Paris: the bridges over La Seine. Even in the rain it's beautiful. Nothing to add!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Ségolène to stake one's all

OK, so you wanted more about the French elections... Here you go. Let me introduce you to the other major candidate: Ségolène Royal (Royal is her last name, it has nothing to do with her being royalist!). She's the "official" candidate of the socialist party and she is also the first woman to run for presidency (well, technically it's not true, there has been women running for presidency in the past, but she's the first one to have good chances). Today (Sunday) she will announce her program, which she's been accused of lacking; a very important day for her.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Police

It's pretty common to see policemen stopping cars at random in Paris. I always wonder why. Are they looking for terrorists? For a good reason to give tickets (I hear they're particularly picky on people who phone while driving) or just for a good way to kill time? It's Friday evening! It's been a long week for me, I am ready to enjoy my week end. I hope you'll enjoy yours too.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Advertising spaces for rent

Like most cities Paris has several advertising spaces for rent. I have been unable to find out how much revenues these spaces provide to the city and I am not even sure they provide any revenue. In fact, as far as I could understand, the city rents these spaces to a company (JC Decaux) which provides, in return a fair amount of street furniture and public facilities (like public bathrooms for instance). Apparently this year, the city demanded that the number of spaces be reduced from 2 000 to 1 628. If someone knows more about this I'd be interested to know.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Thank you for visiting us!

The news came yesterday: with 78 million tourists in 2006, France is still the most visited country in the world. Most tourists are European (the Brits first, then the Germans...) but the Americans are slowly coming back and we greet more and more Chinese (600 000). So thank you very much dear visitors for, if you came last year, you contributed to a gross revenue of €35 billion!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Pont basculant

On the canal de l'Ourcq, (a canal that runs through the eastern part of Paris) there are several locks and bridges. I already showed one of the locks but I never showed any of the bridges. This wheel belongs to the one located rue de Crimée (19th arrondissement) and it used to be a wooden drawbridge (un pont à bascule en bois) but in 1871, it burnt and was replaced by a swing bridge (pont basculant). Here is a view from Google Maps.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Elections year

In case you follow the French political scene you are probably aware that this year, in April, we are going to vote for a new President to replace Chirac. There are about 10 candidates but, so far, only 3 or 4 have reasonable chances : Nicolas Sarkozy - on this photo - (right), Ségolène Royal (left), François Bayrou (center) and Jean-Marie Le Pen (Extreme right). I will try not to bore you too much with these elections as you probably don't care, but from time to time I will show you evidences of the campaign...

Monday, February 05, 2007

An unusual building

Until WWII, the 11th arrondissement used to be a very industrious arrondissement. Several buildings of that time still remain in the neighbourhood exactly as they were built. It's the case of this charming new gothic style house, built in 1891 by architect Péchard. Located cité de la Roquette (off la rue de la Roquette) it used to be the home and the workshop of a cabinet maker called Dugast as the original sign shows it.

If you want to know more about the Festival, I wrote a little note on the "making of". It's been a tough week end; all I want now is... Go to bed!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Honey I shrunk the cars!

I could not resist taking a photo when I saw the effect of the cars reflexion on this big glass partition in the middle of the Porte de Versailles (15th arrondissement). If you pay attention, you'll see that the car on the left hand side is a Smart car, which is already half the size of a normal vehicule!
PS: Festival de Romans, the epilogue: I ended up with the second prize. I will tell you more tomorrow but right now I have a very limited access to the Internet so it's not really convenient.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Mural mural on the wall...

I found this painting (painted directly on the wall) on the Quai de Jemmapes in the 10th arrondissement (where there is a canal). I took this shot from the other side of the street because I wanted to be sure to have the two lamp posts in the frame. No idea who the artist(s) is(are); if one of you knows, don't hesitate to enlighten us all...
Update (26/02/2007) : thanks to my faithful readers, I've discovered that it is Gil Bensmana who made this mural. He calls it "Attempt to escape n°6".

Friday, February 02, 2007

5 minutes of blackout for the planet

Last evening, between 7:55 and 8 pm, all French people were invited by several environmental protection associations to turn off their lights for 5 minutes. The idea was to attract the attention of politicians, media and citizens on the need for more energy savings. Even public monuments like the Eiffel tower turned into the dark age at the same moment... And it worked! The French Electricity company reported tonight that the equivalent of 1% of the national consumption has been "saved" thanks to this "eco demonstration".
PS: I'm off to Romans for the festival tomorrow morning at 6 am(!). Will keep you posted on the results. Cross your fingers for me! And Merci encore for your support!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Annoying thing in Paris

Sorry! Today is a city daily photo theme day and the theme is... "Something that really annoys you in your city". There are not many things that annoy me in my beloved city except for the little gifts left by Parisian dogs on the sidewalks. Let's be fair, things have improved a lot over the last years and more and more masters pick up their dog's poop, but there is still a long way to go...

52 Daily Photo sites are participating in the 1st February theme "What really annoys you in your city", please use the links to below to visit them. (Due to time zone differences and other factors, the theme photo may not be displayed until later if you are viewing early in the day.)
Porto (Portugal), -Stayton, OR (USA), -Albuquerque, NM (USA), -Tenerife (Spain), -Greenville, SC (USA), -Dubai (U.A.E.), -Evry (France), -Jakarta (Indonesia), -London (UK), -Sequim, WA (USA), -Buenos Aires, (Argentina), -Seattle, WA (USA), -Minneapolis, MN (USA), -Stavanger (Norway), -Joplin , MO (USA), -Nelson, (New Zealand), -Milano, (Italy), -Singapore by KeropokMan (Singapore), -La Antigua (Guatemala), -Nottingham (UK), -Singapore by Zannnie (Singapore), -Budapest (Hungary), -Not Strictly Seattle, WA (USA) -Bandung (Indonesia), -Vantaa (Finland), -Hyde (UK), -Madrid by Dsole (Spain), -Oulu (Finland), -Saarbrücken (Germany), -St. Paul [Carol] (USA), -Sydney by Sally (Australia), -Tokyo (Japan), -Kyoto (Japan), -Trujillo (Peru), -Shanghai (China), -Rotterdam (NL), -Chicago, IL (USA), -Nice, (France), -Naples, Florida (USA), -Hong Kong, -Santa Clara, CA (USA), -Quito, (Ecuador), -Cottage Grove, MN (USA), -Paris (France), -Manila (Philippines), -Brussels (Belgium), -Auckland (New Zealand), -Newcastle upon Tyne(England), -Houston, TX (USA), -Sydney by Nathalie (Australia), -Mumbai (India), -Anderson, SC (USA)