Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Launch of Windows Vista

OK, that's it, Windows Vista is officially launched! In Paris they had a pretty impressive event I must say. They had a giant fireworks display at the Grande Arche de La Defense - "The largest window in Paris" as they called it! - The show was really magnificent, mostly because they used probably the most innovative firework company at the moment: Group F. A photo can never make you feel the beauty of such a display, but it can help you imagine...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Garde Républicaine

It may sound totally old fashioned but we still have a horse cavalry in France! It's called La Garde Républicaine and it is the ceremonial unit of the Gendarmerie Nationale. And guess what? I came across this unit this afternoon in front of Les Invalides (see the dome in the background?). The scene was pretty impressive but I have been disappointed with the photos I made. In the end I selected this one because I like the play between the foreground and the background. If you want to know everything about the Garde Républicaine go here.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Douce France

Douce France, cher pays de mon enfance... (Sweet France, dear country of my childhood...) is a song by famous French singer Charles Trenet. I thought of it when I saw this bike in the sun near the Village Saint-Paul (4th arrondissement) and... when I read this survey in the The Daily Mail (a British newspaper) titled "36 reasons to say goodbye to Britain - and one to say bonjour to fabulous France!" Biased, me?! Come on!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Les Mariés du Marais

According to the French National Statistics Institute (Insee), in 2006, no less than 268,100 people said "I do" (actually "Oui", in France). Of course, there is a pretty fair number of divorces too (152,020 in 2005), but hey, no venture no gain! And do you know how much a wedding in France costs on average? According to this site (in French only), exactly €11,902. By the way, I found this beautiful wedding dress shop on rue Baumarchais. It's called Les Mariés du Marais.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Funeral for a brave man

Only a few of you must know who l'Abbé Pierre was. Let's say he was our "mother Theresa", an extremely brave, religious man who dedicated his life to the poor. Not only did he learn to use the media to raise awareness on the housing problems - especially after WWII, but he also got involved in politics (becoming a member of the Parliament at some point) and founded a very powerful and generous association called Emmaüs. He died last Monday at the age of 94 and his funeral took place this morning at Notre Dame. All the television stations where there and so was I. It looks like this cameraman was looking for him in the sky...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Melting Spot!

Global warming has struck Paris first! Buildings have started melting! OK, I'm kidding (and believe me it's not hot in Paris at all at the moment)! All of these windows and balconies are totally fake. They are painted on a huge cover that hides work at the Bleecker Group building on Avenue Georges V. It's really fantastic. Athem is the company that made this masterpiece. Congratulations and a big thank you to - sometimes not nasty - GG who gave me this info.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Place Saint George

Between the Grands Boulevards and the Place Pigalle there is a little, charming place called La Place Saint George. This area was very trendy during the 19th century and it is still a very nice location to stay or to walk around. In the middle of this place there is a statue of Sulpice Guillaume Chevalier (aka Paul Gavarni), a famous artist (he did mostly drawings) at that time.

PS: thanks to your help (almost 400 voters!), I finally selected the photos I want to exhibit at the Festival de Romans. Here they are...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Planet talks

Tonight I attended a Paris blogger gathering (Paris Blogue-t-il ?) at L'entrepôt in the 14th arrondissement and there was... Nicolas Hulot, the "French Al Gore". Nicolas Hulot is very famous in France, 1st for producing world discovery TV shows (kinda like Commandant Cousteau in the 70s) and 2nd for taking an active part in the preservation of the environment, especially through his foundation. Claiming not to be on one side or the other of the political scene, he recently managed to have the two major candidates sign his "pacte écologique".

PS: thanks a million for your votes. I will select the photos wednesday morning French time and will keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Dear jury, vote for PDP or else... !

Just kidding! I found this yesterday while I was browsing my hard drive. I realized I had never used it, whereas I tend to think it's a good photo. So here it is... it's not the fresh photo of the day (but, rather of this day...), but what the hell! Also, I'd like to thank all of you who have been kind enough to help me selecting the photos I should send to the Festival de Romans. You can still vote here until Tuesday Jan. 23, 10 pm French time (9 pm UTC).

Monday, January 22, 2007

A little help from my friends (you!)

OK today it's the revolution on PDP... There is no new photo and I ask you to work! Explanations: thanks to your massive support in the Festival de Romans I am fortunate enough to remain among the 10 finalists. As a result I must provide the organizers with a couple of my favorite photos by January 24. And, well, after browsing all day, I have been unable to narrow down my selection. So I kindly ask you to help me. Don't think twice, just rank the photos you like according to your first impression, it should not take you more that 2 minutes. Ready? Here is the link to the survey. Thanks a million.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sunday reading

It's Sunday, it's time for a little rest. How about a good book? If you already visited Paris, you probably saw the Bouquinistes on the riverbanks, but that is not where I took this photo. I took it on rue de La Roquette in the 11th arrondissement, in front of a small second hand bookshop. Have a cool Sunday everyone and thanks a million for your votes for the festival. I ended up with 500 hundred votes which will allow me to take part in the final. Then a jury will make the final decision...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A vous Cognacq Jay!

I took this photo on top of a very famous place in Paris ; the historical television studios of the French Television! It's located rue Cognacq Jay in the 7th arrondissement and all French people who are my age, and more, can still remember reporters saying "and now, back to our studio... A vous Cognacq Jay"! It is still used as television facilities and by multimedia companies like the one of Vincent Giolito, the dear friend I visited there yesterday evening.

Friday, January 19, 2007

830 000 new French souls last year...

The news came a couple of days ago: France is the country in Europe where, last year, women have had the most babies (2 babies per woman). This is the highest figure in 25 years! There are several possible reasons for this "productivity". For instance, the more children you have, the less income tax you pay. You also receive 119 €/month if you have 2 children and 272€/month if you have 3. The French maternity leave is also pretty generous: 16 weeks for the 1st and 2nd child and 26 weeks for the 3rd (during which you're paid full salary, of course). And last but not least, the daycare system is pretty good - not good enough, especially in big cities like Paris, but OK. Because even though they have babies, 80% of French women work...

PS: Thanks a million for all your votes. This is the last call: in case you haven't voted for PDP in the Festival de Romans yet, please do so by Saturday, by clicking here. Merci beaucoup!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Assemblée Nationale Shop

While I was taking yesterday's photo I noticed an odd shop around the corner: la boutique de l'Assemblée Nationale. This shop sells all sorts of items related to the Assemblée from very serious books to Marianne erasers (Marianne is the name we give to the French Republic), plates, aprons, chairs... even golf balls! See some of them here on the making of, and also a little video here - in French). A great place to visit if you're into blue white and red (7 rue Aristide Briand in the 7th) !

PS: In case you haven't voted for PDP in the Festival de Romans yet, please do so by Saturday, by clicking here. Merci beaucoup!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The French can now impeach!

This is the back of the French Parliament (l'Assemblée Nationale, see here a part of the front) where, today, the French version of an Impeachment law was voted (impeachment is a specific process for a legislative body to remove a government official without the agreement of that official). At this occasion I learnt that only Kyrgyzstan, the United States, India, Brazil, Russia, the Philippines, and the Republic of Ireland have such a law.

PS: In case you haven't voted for PDP in the Festival de Romans yet, please do so by Saturday, by clicking here. Merci beaucoup!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Le Velosolex

After the Shadoks, here is another important piece of French contemporary history: the Velosolex (more often called "Solex")! The "Solex" was first sold in France in 1946 and is considered as a powered bicycle, not a moped nor a motorbike. It was discontinued in 1974 after over 8 million were sold - mainly in Europe. The odd part is that you can still see some in the streets of Paris, like this one I photographed on the same day I photographed the tents on the Canal Saint Martin. FYI, a new Solex is about to come to life but it will be electric and pretty different from the original one.

PS: In case you haven't voted for PDP in the Festival de Romans yet, please do so by Saturday, by clicking here. Merci beaucoup!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Ready for my close-up...

OK, I agree this face is a bit scary for a Monday! It's actually the face that greets you if you wander into the Passage Jouffroy where the Musée Grévin (wax museum of Paris) is located. Can you guess who this is? Well, it's Quasimodo who fell in love with Esmeralda from the famous novel by Victor Hugo: the Huntchback of Notre Dame (Notre Dame de Paris, in French). See the whole portrait on the making of.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Saint Vincent de Paul's Church

Until recently France was mostly a Catholic country, so no wonder there is a Catholic church practically on every corner in Paris - about a 100 according to various sources (this one - Saint Vincent de Paul - is a real wonder although is not very visited by tourists because it's not located in the center nor in touristic places). Things change though. According to a survey that was released last week, only 51% of the French people consider themselves as Catholic and half of these 51% do not believe in God! See the complete results of the survey here (in French).

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Behind the scene

Call me opportunistic but right after I took yesterday's photo, I rushed to a much fancier place: le Salon des Miroirs, and old 19th century brasserie that has now be turned into a private reception hall. Samsung rented the hall to launch their new range of mobile phones... Was I going to miss that - and the gourmet buffet following the press conference? I don't think so! It has been an exhausting week for me so I am glad it's Le Week-end!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Inside the Ministry of the housing crisis!

You remember the tents on the Canal Saint Martin, to support homeless people? Well there is more... Three associations have now decided to squat a huge building (1 000 sq m2 - 10 760 sq ft) near La Bourse to create a "Ministry of the housing crisis". Ironically this building belongs to a bank who left it empty for 3 years. The "Grand opening" was last evening and, of course, PDP was there. The atmosphere was rather festive: lots of artists, lots of press and lots of supporters... It may seem odd that anyone can walk into a building and settle down, but, in France, if you can prove you've lived in a place for more than 48 hours it is very hard to throw you out (see here a complete guide to squatting! - in French, sorry...). And more photos here.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

How to recognize a real Parisian?

Today I had a good laugh looking at a promotional site for Paris (targeted at the British). First of all you can see the brilliant ad campaign that the Regional Tourism Committee of Paris Ile-de-France is apparently running in the streets of London (maybe Ham can tell us if he saw it) but you can also play with a hilarious - and so true - attitude game and even turn your PC into a Parisian computer!! If you plan a visit to Paris, this site is a definite must see!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


It's not Les soldes nor The Sales but THE soldes! Funny how in French, when we want to show something is really big we use "The" before the French word, exactly like in English one uses "Le" for the same purpose. Anyway, it's today and it's gonna be BIG! I took this photo last night (well on the evening of the 9th) at the Gap store near Le Printemps where they will also start the Soldes - after a little strike in the morning though (I am not kidding!)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New year's wishes from the public transport!

Look! This morning, the Paris public transportation company (RATP) wished me (and all the other voyagers) much Amour (love) for the new year... Isn't that sweet? I did a little research on their site and I found out that they have made posters, postcards and even metro tickets for the occasion, expressing not only love but also generosity, serenity, friendship, health, happiness... Click here for a complete list then click on Téléchargez ce voeu collector once you're on the site. You'll be able to print all this material locally, if you wish.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Abbesses Metro Station

If you have seen Amelie by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, in French) you probably are very familiar with the Abbesse Metro Station for that is a where she meets Nino, the guy who she falls in love with... This station is very typical of the Paris metro and it is also the deepest one (30 meters deep - 98 feet). No wonder, it's located halfway to the top of Montmartre.

PS: Thanks a million for all your support for the Festival de Romans in which I participate. If you haven't voted yet and care to do so, please go there.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Maréchal Joffre's Statue

At the end of the Champs de Mars in the 7th arrondissement, there is l'école Militaire (military school) and a beautiful statue of Macheral Joseph Joffre (1852 – 1931) who is famous for having contributed to an important victory – the one of “La Marne” - by requisitioning all the Parisian taxis to bring soldiers to the battle fields!

PS: I participate in the Festival de Romans, a new festival that takes place in France and which aims at being to the Internet what the Festival de Cannes is to the movie business. If you care to vote for Paris Daily Photo, go there.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Pump it up!

OK, I agree, there are more sexy things than a gas/petrol pump photo, even if it's a Parisian one! But the reason why I wanted to post about this today is that I found out on my way back to France that since the beginning of the year, the Government has put in place a very clever gas station search engine on which you can not only check the nearest gas pump, but also compare prices. Today, for instance, you can see that the cheapest litre of gas in Paris can be purchased for €1.16 and that the most expensive sells for €1.34.

Friday, January 05, 2007

A light at the opera

Sorry I have not been too responsive lately but I really wanted to enjoy my time in Boston and Vermont with the dear friends I have there. Now is the time to come back you my faithful visitors and to my favorite city! (Not that I did not like the architecture of New England mind you). To celebrate my return here is an all time wonder: one of the opera street lamps by Louis-Félix Chabaud. There are 22 of these around the opera house and they are made after 2 models: l'Etoile du matin (with a star in its hair) and l'Etoile du soir (with a crescent moon in its hair).

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Soft Cotton

While out Christmas shopping, I came across this shop on rue Mazarine in St. Germain called Coton Doux. I loved the colours of these shirts so much that I asked the storekeeper if he'd mind me taking a photo for you. Ok, I did buy a couple of ties as well! Soon I suppose this stuff will be on sale, good thing I come back to Paris today...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I found the Shadoks!

OK, if you're not French and/or are less than 40 years old this photo won't bring any memory. But if you are, I am sure you already have a smile on your face... These two characters, called Les Shadoks, became a major French TV phenomenon in the late 60s where they would appear every night around 8 pm - if I recall well. They were birds, pretty stupid and rude and they were supposed to have left their two dimensional planet to come on earth. One of their major occupation was pumping but nobody - including them - knew exactly why! I found these two ones on rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine, #71 (11th arrondissement) where Jacques Rouxel, the late "father" of the Shadoks used to live.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Restaurant Le sel de la terre

It's been a while since I recommended a restaurant on this blog... So here is a new one, called, Le Sel de la terre, very French, where you can enjoy balsamic roasted shallots and garlic confit or a pot de crème with pistachio biscotti. You think we're lucky to have such a temple of French haute cuisine in Paris?! Well, all wrong, this one is 3 445 miles away from the capital of France! It's located in... Boston, where I am currently ;)

Monday, January 01, 2007

January 1st theme day

Thank you so much for your best wishes. As you may know today is a city daily photo blog theme day - like every 1st of the month - and the theme for today is "My best photograph from last year". Being now in 2007 I supposed I should have taken one from 2006 but I cheated a little and chose one from 2005 (precisely November 26). I took this photo while going grocery shopping on a saturday morning with a really bad camera... And though it's one of my favorite!

52 Daily Photo sites are participating in the 1st January theme, 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) -Albuquerque, NM (USA) -St. Paul, (USA) Kate -Greenville,SC (USA) -Stayton, OR (USA) -Szentes (Hungary) -Hyde (UK) -London (UK) -Dubai (UAE) -Buenos Aires (Argentina) -Shanghai (China) -Nelson (New Zealand) -Twin Cities, MN (USA) -Joplin MO (USA) -Stavanger (Norway) -Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) -Not Strictly Seattle, WA (USA) -Jakarta (Indonesia) -Auckland (New Zealand) -Sharon, CT (USA) -Evry (France) -(Aust) John -Newcastle upon Tyne (England) -Paris (France) -Bandung (Indonesia) -Brussels (Belgium) -Minneapolis MN (USA) -Aliso Viejo, CA (USA) -Seattle, WA (USA) -Budapest (Hungary) -Singapore by Zannnie (Singapore) -Tenerife (Spain) -Santa Clara, CA (USA) -Houston, TX (USA) -Sydney by Nathalie (Aust) -San Diego, CA (USA) -Vancouver, BC (Canada) -Singapore by KeropokMan (Singapore) -East Lansing, MI (USA) -Sydney by Sally (Australia) -Tucson, AZ (USA) -Nottingham (UK) -Sequim, by Norma -Hong Kong -Vantaa, Finland -Kyoto (Japan) -Tokyo (Japan) -Chattanooga -Santiago (Chile) -Berlin (Germany) -Trondheim (Norway) -Delta, CO (USA) -