Friday, November 30, 2007

Place Vendôme ready for Christmas

Several of you have asked me for some Paris Christmas decoration photos, so let me start with this one, that I just shot a couple of hours ago on Place Vendôme (which I already shot from further away here). They scattered several candlesticks throughout the place and installed special projectors to enlighten the column in the middle. Really nice.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Democratie en France

Over the past few days I noticed that Paris was covered in these little posters and I really wondered what they were all about. Only today did I find out that they're intended to promote a film called "Démocratie en France" made by four American directors who wanted to picture the French democracy during the last elections. To be honest, I just saw the trailer, and I'm not really thrilled. Maybe, because I already saw thousands of after elections analysis and I don't need to see another one...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

George who?

When it comes to home made coffee in Europe you can be sure that a Nespresso machine is not very far. Nespresso (a brand of Nestlé) is a huge success here: almost 1.5 million machines and 2,3 billion capsules sold and18% of the capsule machine market. All this success is due to the good quality of the coffee of course, but also the advertising campaign which stars George Clooney. From what I read though, Americans will never see this campaign as George refuses to "spoil" his image "at home"! Click here to see the television and movie theater version.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Smart car of the month...

It's been a while since I've shown a little Smart car on PDP. In Europe, a lot of them are used for advertising, like this one which is currently used to promote the release of the Jungle Book DVD. Why do people accept to have advertising on their car? For the money of course! Providing you drive at least 700 km per month (about 500 miles), each campaign can help you make between a 100 to 300 euros a month. BTW, I hear they are going to sell the Smart car in the US, I'm really eager to see if American drivers will go for such a small vehicle.!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Revolution !

OK, the transportation strikes are behind us but, wait, there is more! Now the students - and high-school pupils! - want to be in the picture too. They have started demonstrating and picketing in several universities to protest a recent law. One of these demonstrations gave me the occasion to take this photo, that I find pretty funky! The guy in the picture is Kamini, a famous French singer and the stickers that the demonstrators glued to his poster say: "No [need to] claim" and "Let's block everything].

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Et pourtant elle roule !

Here is a much less sophisticated scene than yesterday... It's all covered in Graffiti but... it still runs!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Back to shopping!

That's it! Now that the strikes are almost over, life is going to start again! Shopping in particular... I thought I would show you an other extraordinary Christmas window. This one belongs to the Galeries Lafayette where they usually have very creative stuff. I love it. Have a good weekend everyone.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The end of the strikes ?

Several of you emailed me asking "I'm coming to Paris next week or so, how difficult will it be to go from the airport to town and to move around Paris afterwards?" Well, good news, the strikes are coming to an end and even though some strikers still don't accept to give in, it's very likely that everything will be back to normal next week. And don't forget, you can still use the Velibs to move around Paris now!!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

According to my stats, about half of my visitors are American and I know that today is a very important day in their culture: Thanksgiving (Le merci donnant). To wish them a happy one, I thought of going to this place in the 4th arrondissement called... Thanksgiving, where all Americans in Paris go shopping when they're fed up with French cuisine!! The place is not only a caterer but also a restaurant with Cajun specialties. Needless to say that at this time of the year, they are pretty busy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Meet the French ancestor!

If cameras had existed 2000 years ago, I probably could have taken a photo of a similar guy (a Gaulois, one of the previous inhabitants of France) at this very same place (on a bridge over the Seine) LOL. I photographed this one on the Pont des Arts, during his "stag night" - well "day" actually - (what we call enterrement de vie de garçon - "bachelor life funeral") organized by his friends before his demise... err, I mean marriage. He is dressed up like a famous French character called Asterix.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Magic Blackberry!

I attended the launch of a new Blackberry by a French mobile carrier yesterday evening near le Grand Palais. After the traditional introduction speech, to entertain the audience, they invited a magician on stage who started playing with the new phone and perform a few tricks with it. It was quite impressive, I must say. He ended his number with this confetti scene, which, I was sure would make a good photo ;) A nice change from the demonstration photos!

Monday, November 19, 2007

The non strikers strike back!

Sorry to start the week with a demonstration photo but this one is unusual: it's a counter strike demonstration! It took place today (Sunday) between Place de La République and Nation with the intention of showing some "disagreement" with the transportation strikers. Interesting but totally useless; this week, not only will the transportation strikers go on but they will also be joined by civil servants, students, teachers, air controllers... you name it! Ahhh Good old France!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Caught in the act

At last! I managed to catch one of those guys who pollute the walls of our cities with their graffiti! Just kidding... In fact this is not a real graffito but a piece of art "commissioned" by the organizers of "La journée du bonheur" (happiness day) on the occasion of a happiness gathering that took place today by the Seine and that I witnessed. Cool idea!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

What transportation strike?

I don't know how long the strikes will last, but so far so good. People get organized, they walk, use roller blades or, drive their bike - or Vélib' - to work (I took this photo this morning on Place de la Concorde). Also, as always in difficult times, people talk to each other much more, they share their feelings, help each other... Of course that is, those who live in Paris for the ones who live in the suburbs and have to suffer the long hours in the traffic probably don't agree with me!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Chanel n°5

Here is another very creative windows display from the Galeries Lafayette. It "stars" the most famous perfume in the world : Chanel n°5. Unlike most recent perfumes, this one lasted more than a decade... It was created in 1921 by Ernest Beaux for the unforgettable Coco Chanel and a lot of famous people wore - and still wear - it : Catherine Deneuve, Carole Bouquet, Nicole Kidman and, of course, Marilyn Monroe who once said: "What do I wear to bed? Why, Chanel No. 5 of course."!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Last call for the retirement train

I know you must be a little fed up with demonstration photos, but, well, this is what's happening in Paris at the moment. Like last month (I was on vacation, so I could not witness it) the public transportation workers went on strike and demonstrated near Montparnasse (where I took this photo) to protest the elimination of special rules that allow them to retire earlier than the vast majority of the French. In 1995 the same kind of reform triggered a complete shut down of the country for a month and the government had to give in. This time though, it is very unlikely that the outcome will be the same.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat...

It's only early November, but some stores (department stores mostly for now) have started displaying their Christmas windows. I took this one at Le Printemps where the theme is "Nordic fairytale, a world of ice and magical Christmas lights"! Beautiful I must say, and a big hit with the tourists - and locals! Christmas weather is here too, beleive me. Cold and wet. I hate it!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Quiet please!

OK, this is not the most glamorous photo I've shown on this blog, but I've found it "funny". It reads "here, there is an alarm that goes off every night, please do something!". The noise is a problem that Parisians have to deal with daily even though, from what the Paris town hall says, there has been some improvement lately. Apparently, at night, less than 50% of the Parisians are exposed to less than 55 decibels, and only 4,5% are exposed to more than 65 decibels. If you're interested, check the Paris noise maps at the bottom of this page.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Baguette Sandwich

I know I'm going to make some of you very jealous! But yes, yesterday, I had one of these delicious baguette sandwiches for lunch... Fresh, crunchy, fully loaded, just like I love them. Not to mention that this kind of baguettes - called La flûte Gana, created by Bernard Ganachaud - is one of the best kinds I ever tasted. I've tried to look for more info on the baguette, but I 'm unable to know if it was created under Napoleon or much later, in 1920. More info here or on Wikipedia.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

La Place Vendome

The Place Vendôme, is a very famous spot in Paris, and though I never showed it on this blog (I did take a photo there once, though, but the place was not visible). What you mostly can see on this shot is the "Colonne Vendome" which was erected in 1810 by Napoleon to celebrate his army. Precisely, this column is made of 1,200 melted canons that were taken from Napoleon's enemies during his wars.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Geometry lesson

I don't know if it happens to you, but sometimes, when I drive by a street scene, I think to myself: "this has a good chance of making a nice photo". That is exactly what I thought to myself when I passed by this school (I guess it's a school, I am not 100% sure) near the river banks in the lower 16th arrondissement (Quai Saint Exupéry, more precisely). I love the color, the geometry and the disposition of the various objects and people. It's cold in Paris, but I'm glad it's Le Weekend!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Free hugs from Paris!

You all know the Free Hugs campaign initiated by Juan Mann, from Australia (if not, check read the story here, it's very moving). Well now, Juan has disciples all over the world, even in France (check the French site here). I trapped these two huggers last week, in front of Notre Dame, they were very nice. So nice, they even accepted to hug... Flat Stanley!!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The little house in the Paree...

If you already visited Paris, there is very little chance that you saw these houses. They are located rue Dieulafoy, in the Maison Blanche area (13th arrondissement), far away from the traditional places to visit. They are quite exceptional, not only because they are very colorful and well kept, but also because there are simply very few houses in Paris. They were all (44 of them) built in 1921 and were exceptionally modern for the time : imagine, they all have a bathroom and a garage!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Sex workers demonstration

This week's demonstration was held by sex workers yesterday... They want the senate (in front of which the demonstration took place) to abolish a law that prohibits soliciting (in France, prostitution is not illegal, but soliciting is). Let's face it it's not a very popular cause and there were actually more journalists than sex workers at this demonstration, but still, I think it's pretty brave to do this. By the way, don't ask me why this guy's T-shirt is written in English, I swear I took this photo in Paris!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Goncourt Prize

Each year in November the 10 members of the Goncourt Academy jury elect the "the best and most imaginative prose work of the year" (well, according to them) and give him - or her - the Goncourt Prize. According to the tradition, the announcement of the winner is made every year at 1 pm on the dot from this restaurant, called Drouant. If you look more closely, you will see several names on the facade of this restaurant; they are all Goncourt Prize winners. By the way, this year's winner was announced yesterday's morning. His name is Gilles Leroy, he wrote «Alabama Song», a French novel, despite its title...

Monday, November 05, 2007

Walking around the Louvre

Sometimes a photographer can trap another one! That's what I did when taking this shot in the main courtyard of the Louvre where the famous glass Pyramid (that I only photographed once here) was built. This pyramid is also surrounded by several basins that I used in this picture. Have a nice week everyone...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

L'Opéra de Paris

Anyone who's been to Paris also knows the facade of the old opera house, also known as Le Palais Garnier (after the architect who built it). Well, I chose to show you a particular angle of it; its entrance floor... Less spectacular, but more original! This stunning building was completed in 1874 and has been renewed several times since then (starting with electricity in 1969!!). I love it because it's the symbol of the magnificence of Paris during the 19th century. Since we're talking opera, here is a little extract of La Juive by Halevy, sung by my favorite Tenor: Roberto Alagna. La Juive was the opera that was given the day they inaugurated this opera house.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Celebrating the dead

Like in many countries, November 1st is All Saints day, the day Catholics celebrate their dead. A lot of people take advantage of it to go to visit the tombs of their dead relatives and bring flowers. I'm not sure this procession that I shot in front of Notre Dame has also something to do with this date, but I'm pretty sure it does. It was quite impressive and the tourists there (there are tons of tourists in Paris at the moment) were quite surprised. As for me I'm off to Trouville to see my 94 year old aunt for the weekend, believe me she's far from being dead!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance

Some of you will think I'm late on the blue theme day, but the truth is that I hesitated between yesterday's photo and this one. It's a shot I took recently during a demonstration for Falun Dafa (a Chinese "mind and body cultivation" movement) that is apparently banned in China. When I took this photo I changed - by mistake - one of the settings of my camera and that is how this photo ended up, er.., blue! I kinda like it this way, it looks as if was taken in the morning in a very peaceful moment (the Falun Dafa effect?).

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Theme day: blue

1st day of the month and as usual it's a theme day within the DP community. Today's theme day is... Blue! It was recommended to avoid blue skies as it was too obvious so I decided to look for something slightly different. I thought of... La rue Bleue ("blue street"), a street located in the 9th arrondissement - formerly known (before 1789) as rue d'enfer (hell street). On top of that, on this typical Paris street sign, there is a large blue part too. So here we go...

118 sites participate in this theme day today, please pay them a visit:

Boston (MA), USA - Cleveland (OH), USA - Philadelphia (PA), USA - Arlington (VA), USA - Cape Town, South Africa - Portland (OR), USA - Sequim (WA), USA - Selma (AL), USA - Arradon, France - Petaling Jaya (Selangor), Malaysia - Stockholm, Sweden - Singapore, Singapore - Wassenaar (ZH), Netherlands - Phoenix (AZ), USA - Seattle (WA), USA - Toulouse, France - The Hague, Netherlands - Moscow, Russia - Fort Lauderdale (FL), USA - Kyoto, JapanTokyo, Japan - Saint Paul (MN), USA - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Stayton (OR), USA - Maple Ridge (BC), Canada - Detroit (MI), USA - Crystal Lake (IL), USA - Port Angeles (WA), USA - Cottage Grove (MN), USA - Nelson, New Zealand - Bandung (West Java), Indonesia - Greenville (SC), USA - Hyde, UK - Radonvilliers, France - Albuquerque (NM), USA - Nashville (TN), USA - Manila, Philippines - Port Vila, Vanuatu - Saarbrücken, Germany - New Orleans (LA), USA - Bellefonte (PA), USA - Melbourne, Australia - Hobart (Tasmania), Australia - Forks (WA), USA - Wichita (Ks), USA - Barton (VT), USA - St. Louis (MO), USA - Joplin (MO), USA - Chandler (AZ), USA - Quincy (MA), USA - Setúbal, Portugal - Inverness (IL), USA - Christchurch, New Zealand - Toruń, Poland - North Bay (ON), Canada - Le Guilvinec, France - Chateaubriant, France - London, England - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Naples (FL), USA - Norwich (Norfolk), UK - Sydney, Australia - Austin (TX), USA - Mumbai, India - Boston (MA), USA - Santa Fe (NM), USA - Menton, France - Monte Carlo, Monaco - Paderborn, Germany - Montréal (QC), Canada - Jackson (MS), USA - Stavanger, Norway - Orlando (FL), USA - Grenoble, France - Cheltenham, UK - Forks (WA), USA - Mexico City, Mexico - West Sacramento (CA), USA - Silver Spring (MD), USA - Weston (FL), USA - London, UK - Jefferson City (MO), USA - Ocean Township (NJ), USA - Belgrade, Serbia - Paris, France - Shanghai, China - Montego Bay, Jamaica - Montpellier, France - Saint Louis (MO), USA - Wailea (HI), USA - Rabaul, Papua New Guinea - Auckland, New Zealand - Evry, France - New York City (NY), USA - Nottingham, UK - Las Vegas (NV), USA - Oslo, Norway - Minneapolis (MN), USA - American Fork (UT), USA - Cypress (TX), USA - Haninge, Sweden - Trujillo, Peru - Trujillo, Peru - Melbourne (VIC), Australia - Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation - Durban, South Africa - Brussels, Belgium - Anderson (SC), USA - Budapest, Hungary - Wellington, New Zealand - Prague, Czech Republic - Saigon, Vietnam - Ystad, Sweden - Miami (FL), USA - Seoul, South Korea - Hong Kong, China - Melbourne, Australia - Baziège, France