Saturday, May 31, 2008

Les heures joyeuses

Unlike some countries I visited (no, I won't give names!), people in France don't typically drink just to get drunk. Make no mistake, I'm not saying French people don't drink but when they do, it's an additional pleasure to gathering with their friends or eating out. Or should I say was... Because apparently, the situation is changing. Up to a point that the government is thinking of banning happy hours and increasing the taxes on alcohol. Needless to say that a few months after the ban of cigarettes in cafés and restaurants, this new measure is not exactly welcome...

Talking about France, and its evolution, I received an email from the Paris correspondant of CNN international who is interested in the global view of non French people on France and the French. If you'd like to contribute, please have a look at the first entry in the comment box and give your opinion.

Friday, May 30, 2008


OK, that kind of ramps is surely not typical of Paris (I'm sure you can find it in most cities around the world) but I kind of like this photo because of its composition and the graffitis in the background. I'm glad it's Friday, and I'm getting ready for our coming up theme day ("My corner local shop"). Talking about corner shops, I just learnt that I have "lurkers" at Café Bastille in San Francisco, let me wave at them from here ;) Have a wonderful weekend everyone, here it's cloudy AND rainy ;(

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Windows on the world

Intriguing isn't it? That is what I thought when I saw these odd "Men in black" wandering on the Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir (a new bridge over the Seine, inaugurated in 2006) with these wooden frames. Then I spoke to Avi Wanono, the instigator of this event. He is a student at L'Ensad, a school that teaches decorative arts in Paris and this was a project he made for his studies. It's called "Les Voyeurs" (subtitle: Spectacular events) - in French voyeur does not necessarily mean the same thing as in English - and the idea is to get passers by to "have a better look at the urban space". Pretty creative eh?! (See more photo in this little slide show)Congratulations to Avi but also to Adrien, Benoît, Eliel, Fabien, Gaspard, Florent, Jean-Baptiste, Johnathan, Noam, Smail, Victor and Yacine!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Celebrate your neighbors!

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to... my favorite neighbor! Her name is Thérèse, she lives 2 floors above from me and she is an engraver - She actually took over Bing-Guis, the family business that was founded in April 1870. The reason why I'm showing her to you today (despite the fact that she is a lovely lady, of course!) is that yestersday (Tuesday) was the neighbors' day in France. Principle? Talk to your neighbors! Or even organize a big dinner party and get everyone in your building to join in. Believe me, in a big city like Paris, where you hardly know if the guy next door is still alive, it's a pretty big achievement...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

La Boudeuse

I can hear you from here... "He surely did not take this photo in Paris!" Well, all wrong, I really took it in Paris, by the quai de Bercy, more precisely. This boat ship, called La Boudeuse, is one of the rare 3 masts travelling the seven seas under French pavillion. Its goal is to "meet with the Water people around the world" (that is, people who can only be approached by waterways). How cool is that?! Of course in Paris, you don't find many people that can only be approached by waterways(!), but you can meet lots Parisians willing to pay a little to visit this beautiful boat ship, which is far better to finance future expeditions ;)

Monday, May 26, 2008

A day in Disneyland Paris

Two months ago, I won tickets to Disneyland Paris and since I had to use them before the end of May, I went today (Sunday). I'm not a big fan of amusement parks, but I must say, I had fun and what I feared the most - huge lines! - did not really happen, thanks to their clever Fastpass system. My favorite attractions: Space Mountains and "Honey, I shrunk the audience" (3D movie theater), but I liked the classics also (Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.). Let me wish you a good week on behalf of Pluto. Goofy (that we call Plutot, in French)!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Festival de l'Oh 2008

Cool photo isn't it? I took it yesterday at the Festival de l'Oh ("Oh" is pronounced the same way as "eau" which means water in French). As you can guess, this festival is pretty water-centric: What kind of fish live in the Seine? How many canals around Paris? " drink or not to drink tap water?", etc. And to make it more fun, they also have several shows, like this one performed on a Péniche (a flat boat made for rivers) by circus artists. Pretty cool, even if it rained a bit!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A museum not to miss

Quite often, people who plan to come to Paris email me to ask me for tips about what they should do or see while they are here, thinking I surely know of some monument or museum carefully concealed to foreigners! Guess what? Today I have one: le Musée Antoine Bourdelle. Of course, you can find it in many guide books I'm sure, but I confess I had never heard of it. And if it weren't for an eye exam that I had to take on the same street (rue Antoine Bourdelle, of course!) I would have never visited it. Anyway, it's a great place if you like sculpture (Bourdelle worked with Rodin, for what it's worth!) and the venue is fantastic too. BTW, you're looking at Madeleine Charnaux's bust - one of the 1st French female airplane pilots - made with 3 different materials (2 in bronze and one in resin). More - bad! - photos here!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Raider of the lost island...

A few days ago, I noticed this old map of Paris in a shop window. It says "Nouveau plan de la ville de Paris, capitale du royaume de France" (new map of Paris, France's kingdom capital) but it's probably 600 years old, as it mentions l'Isle Louvier (after the name of its owner, Mr Louvier!), an island that was then next to île Saint Louis . Don't look for it if you come to Paris, this island does not exist anymore, as it has been "attached" to the right bank in 1847. I had never heard of this story until today. Thank you PDP ;)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sooooooo Unique!

Do I really need to tell you who designed these shoes? No, I know, you all guessed Jean-Paul Gaultier (don't forget to pronounce the "L" in Gaultier, he's very picky about it!) did. Despite being a great designer (you may not like what he does, but you cannot deny he's got talent) he also happens to do other things. Hence his presence in Eurotrash, a program for the British Television (Channel 4) and soon, he's going to co-present the Eurovision song contest for the French television! Hilarious! BTW, these shoes cost 615 €. I know you would ask...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Surfing the wave

Remember last week's photo in La Défense with the human butterfly? Well, I told you I would show you a few other shots that I took there at the same time. Here is one that I love. The guy is actually on the rooftop (click here for a broader view) of one of the oldest buildings in the area (inaugurated in 1958) : le Cnit (for Centre des nouvelles industries et technologies). It was a very modern building at that time, but now, even after a complete renewal in the late 80s, it still needs some work...
BTW, I finally managed to upload the full length version of the picnic video. If you're interested, it's

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pol Bury's fountain

It's a classic, but every time I pass by it, I can't help admiring this superb fountain, made of two sets of huge metal balls that reflect part of Le Palais Royal where it is installed (in the Cour d'Orleans, more precisely). It was made by Belgian sculptor Pol Bury, who died in 2005 at 85. I love the fuzzy couple in the background.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Human Bar Code

Are you looking for a cool gimmick for your next demonstration? Well, leave it up to the French to provide you with ideas! Hence, this bar code used by one of the teachers that demonstrated yesterday (Sunday) near the Opera. I suppose the "hidden" message is "don't treat us like a product"! Precisely, the demonstrators were protesting cuts in the education budget which amounts to 80 billion € (that is 24% of the annual budget for France- 334 billion euros). If you're interested in the French education system, here is what Wikipedia has to say.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A night at the Museum

I'm back! And what is the first thing I did after dropping my suitcase at home? Well I rushed to the Arts et Métiers Museum to take a photo! Why? Because, like in many cities in Europe, last night was "The Night of Museums", an event that was created in 2005 by the French ministry for culture. The principle is to open some of the museums late at night (until midnight generally) and to let people go in for free. Huge success, as you can see in this photo that I took around 11:30 PM in front of the Foucault's pendulum.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Back home!

Everything comes to an end, especially vacation! Well mine is no exception and if the plane did not crash I should be home today. I like to post an Eiffel Tower to celebrate my return to civilization, so here it is. I included a couple of French flags too, to make it even more French LOL! Happy to be back home and to with you again ;)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Léon Gaumont

In Paris, you always visit the same cemetaries: Père Lachaise, Montpartnasse and Montmartre. But there are many more... such as Le Cimetière de Belleville, a little cemetary where I found the grave of Léon Gaumont, a famous French inventor and engineer who got involved in the cinema business at the end of the 19th century 1895, to be exact). His company (La Gaumont! ) produced as early as 1910 the first "news" that people could watch in movie theaters. They still had them when I was a little boy (yes I'm showing my age!!). He was a friend of the famous Lumiere Brothers of Lyon, direct competitor of Charles Pathe, and produced films from 1895 until he retired to the Riviera in 1929 (Judex, Vampires, Tih Minh, Onesime, Bebe, etc.) and his company remains one of the oldest exisitng film companies still operating under the same name.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Highest Point in Paris

What is the highest point in Paris? Montmartre? La montagne Sainte Geneviève? None of those... It's 40 rue du Télégraphe, in the 20th arrondissement (148,48 m - 162.4 yards). Montmartre is only second (130 m - 142 yards). The interesting part is that this "summit" is precisely located in La rue du Télégraphe, because that is where the first telegraph was used by its inventor, Claude Chappe. I could not believe it was already 2 centuries ago, in 1791, between Paris and Lille (north of France)!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

(Almost) all about Eve...

I found this stunning statue in Le Square de la butte du Chapeau rouge, a park located in the 19th arrondissement from where you can enjoy a nice view of Paris. This statue is part of a monument (a "water chest of drawers" as they call it) that was made by sculptor Raymond Courvégnés in 1938. And the lady is Eve, the first woman. The things you learn on PDP... LOL!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A butterfly to support cancer fighters

Last week I got a call from a representative of Tribu Cancer, an association that supports people who have cancer. They invited me to come to La Défense (a business district slighty outside Paris) and take a photo of an event they were holding to gain awareness. They gathered enough people to "draw" a butterfly that could be seen from far above. And guess who was far above?! I'll show you more, when I come back from vacation.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Concours Lépine (Foire de Paris)

If you're in Paris, this is the last day you can visit La foire de Paris (the Paris Fair), probably the largest in France. The greatest part - in my opinion - is the Concours Lepine (named after the guy who created it), a competition for inventors. Walking down the aisle of this part of the fair is like watching the Shopping Channel all day, only 100 times better! Frankly, who would have thought of inventing this "Champagne cork stopper" that prevents corks from hurting people when they pop out of the bottle?! Il Signore Michele Procopio (who is actually Italian) did, and he sells them for 25 € each. Pretty cheap!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Paris is growing!

You're looking at one of the largest real estate programs in Paris at the moment. It always fascinates me to see that even in 2008, in one of the smallest capitals of the world (Yes, Paris area is small) you can still find 500 acres (200 hectares) available. In 2010 what you're looking at will be turned into offices, housing, industrial facilities and public equipment! All this in the 19th arrondissement, that is inside Paris.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Catch phrase

This won't tell you much if you're not French, but this phrase (which means something like "hit the road, you jerk!") has now become so famous that they even make graffiti out of it. It was pronounced some time ago by President Nicolas Sarkozy, while visiting the Salon de l'Agriculture (International Agricultural Show), in reaction to someone who let him know in a pretty aggressive way that he refused to shake his hand. The scene was caught on tape, posted on Youtube and... was seen almost 3 million times! Here is the "subtitled" version. As for me, I took this advice very seriously and... left the country! I'm currently on vacation until May 19.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Thanks for a wonderful evening

It's always a bit tacky to thank everyone for coming to a party you organized, but I don't care, I really want to thank all the people who showed up yesterday evening, who brought gifts, who called (Lynn and Suzy) and all of you, who commented -a lot! I really enjoyed myself even if I did not get the chance to speak to everyone very long. That brings me to the video which is currently being uploaded... I really hope I'll manage to show it to you because it did take a lot of time to edit (gee, I'll never make a video blog!) and I really would like you to see it;) - I won't know until tomorrow when I wake up to go on Holiday for a week... Whatever the result is, there will still be photos for you here ;). PS: a big thank you to Michael, who ordered all these badges from Zazzle; He gave 33 of them last night! Update : check this, if you want to see more photos... Update 2: the video is here, but only 5 minutes ;-(

Thursday, May 08, 2008

PDP Picnic 2008

Among the people who follow PDP, I've never been disappointed in anyone I've met - and last evening made no exception. I did have a great evening - and I'm sure everybody did. I know you're dying to know more, but you're going to have to wait a little bit because right now I'm half dead and I need to get some sleep. I hope this photo will keep you waiting... (Besides, it's worth the wait, as I not only have tons of photos, but also videos). I LOVE you pdpers! Update. See who is who on the making of.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Madonna's private concert

Guess who saw Madonna in a private concert at the Olympia hall last night?! Not me... But a few selected guests and some lucky listeners to the French radio station NRJ, who won some of the few seats available! I spoke to her agent and he said she might show up at the PDP picnic (I just posted some additional info in the forum BTW), but would not be able to stay too long (she has a concert in London soon, you know...). I asked him to make sure she'd bring a bottle of wine and some sausage. ;-)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Paris Bed & Breakfast

Did you know that you can stay in Paris in a Bed & Breakfast? I didn't... Well until a couple of days ago when I received an email from a friend of friend of friend who was actually trying to promote his apartment. I gave him a call and went there yesterday to take a photo. Nice place, cool guy and definitely a good experience (well, that's what his guest book says anyway!!). He also told me that he would soon be offering theme meals : Parisian dinners, Mediterranean, Indian... Check this site for more. You'll see, he's not the only one to run a Parisian Bed and Breakfast. PS: the "rocks" on the floor are not stones but cushions!

Picnic alert: the annual PDP picnic will definitely take place this Wednesday @ 7:30 on the Seine riverside. The weather will be gorgeous! Bring some food and something to drink and don't forget to also bring your good mood ;) More in the forum or on Facebook.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Demonstration for better housing

How to attract attention on France's housing problems? By invading empty buildings and inviting the media to attend the operation! I happened to witness such a "commando action", last Thursday, as I was walking around my neighborhood to take photos. The protesters managed to occupy a 5 000 sq meter building (previously used by a school) and threatened the authorities to stay, just like they do rue de la banque (see this post and this one). Only this time the Police got them out a few hours only, after they got into the building. See the whole process in photos in this little video.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Do you know what a Moleskine is? It's an oilcloth-covered cardboard that has been - supposedly - used by European intellectuals to write, draw or even glue little souvenirs from their trips and thoughts (yes, just like modern scrapbooking!). The manufacturer of these notebooks is a marketing genius: he managed to turn Moleskine notebooks into exhibition material... In Paris, for instance, several Moleskines made it to Beaubourg, Le Printemps (where I took this photo) and Librairie Flammarion. But wait, that's not all! They also have great websites, like this one, on which they interview famous (LOL) city daily photo bloggers....

Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Pilgrim

In front of the Saint Germain church at the moment, there are several statues on display. I fell in love with one of them, called Le Pèlerin (the Pilgrim) made by Jivko, a sculptor born in Sofia (Bulgaria), who then studied in Prague before settling down in Paris in 1992 where he became a French citizen. I photographed this Pilgrim with the bust of Jean Mabillon in the background (permanently on display, unlike the Pilgrim), a famous monk who "invented" a "method" to authenticate and file church documents (don't ask me!! this took place in 1681...). If you want a global view of the statue only, click here.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Le Muguet

I did not have the opportunity to offer you "un brin de Muguet" (a Lilly of the Valley stem) yesterday because of the theme day, so let me do it today... It's a tradition in France on May 1st (the day we celebrate "labor day" - la fête du travail) to pay a visit to our relatives and bring them this cute little white flower that is supposed to bring luck. Incidentally, it's also the only day in the year where anybody can sell Muguet in the street without paying taxes... BTW: I still haven't decided on the picnic place for sure, I'm still waiting for the weather forecast to be a little more certain. Stay tuned and check the latest in the PDP Forum.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

An odd little number!

Today is the 1st of May and on top of being the day we celebrate Labour throughout Europe (by non working!) it also happens to be, like every 1st of the month, a theme day within the City Daily Photo bloggers community. Today's theme is... Numbers. I have tried to look for something more unexpected than a set of numbers like the ones I posted here and I remembered that last weekend I came accross this guy. He would stand at a traffic light near Porte Saint-Martin and every time the cars would have to stop at the traffic light he would perform his juggling number! (Then save some time to ask for a little retribution of course...).

As always, more and more people participate in this monthly worldwide communion (181 this month)! Check if someone has posted an even more far fetched photo than mine(!) on each blog (see below) or visit our portal (now there is even a theme day page, where you can follow the progression throuhout the day).

Albuquerque (NM), USA by Helen, American Fork (UT), USA by Annie, Arradon, France by Alice, Aspen (CO), USA by IamMBB, Athens, Greece by Debbie, Auckland, New Zealand by Lachezar, Austin (TX), USA by LB, Avignon, France by Nathalie, Barrow-in-Furness, UK by Enitharmon, Barton (VT), USA by Andree, Belgrade, Serbia by Bibi, Bellefonte (PA), USA by Barb-n-PA, Bicheno, Australia by Greg, Bogor, Indonesia by Gagah, Boston (MA), USA by Sarah, Whit, & Leyre, Boston (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston, Bucharest, Romania by Malpraxis, Budapest, Hungary by agrajag, Buenos Aires, Argentina by Karine, Busan, Korea South by iamnbinb, Canterbury, UK by Rose, Chandler (AZ), USA by Melindaduff, Chateaubriant, France by Bergson, Cheltenham, UK by Marley, Chesapeake Daily Photo (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Chicago (IL), USA by Focused Light, Christchurch, New Zealand by Michelle, Clearwater (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Clearwater Beach (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Cleveland (OH), USA by iBlowfish, Cologne, Germany by April11, Concordia Sagittaria, Italy by Patrizia, Coral Gables (FL), USA by Jnstropic, Corsicana (TX), USA by Lake Lady, Dallas (TX), USA by turtle, Darmstadt, Germany by Elsch, Dunedin (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Durban, South Africa by CrazyCow, East Gwillimbury, Canada by Your EG Tour Guide, Evry, France by Olivier, Forks (WA), USA by Mary, Geneva (IL), USA by Kelly, Glasgow, Scotland by Jackie, Greenville (SC), USA by Denton, Gun Barrel City (TX), USA by Lake Lady, Hamilton, New Zealand by Sakiwi, Hampton (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Helsinki, Finland by Kaa, Hobart, Australia by Greg, Hong Kong, Hong Kong by Rachel A., Hyde, UK by Gerald, Inverness (IL), USA by Neva, Ioannina, Greece by Christos-Ioanna, Jackson (MS), USA by Halcyon, Jefferson City (MO), USA by Chinamom2005, Jogjakarta, Indonesia by Jogja Portrait, Joplin (MO), USA by Victoria, Katonah (NY), USA by Inkster1, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Edwin, Kyoto, Japan by Tadamine, Larchmont (NY), USA by Marie-Noyale, Las Vegas (NV), USA by Mo, Le Guilvinec, France by ds2944, Lisbon, Portugal by Sailor Girl, Lisbon, Portugal by Maria João, Lodz, Poland by ritalounge, London, UK by Ham, London, UK by Mo, Mainz, Germany by JB, Malaga, Spain by Paula, Manila, Philippines by Heyokity, Maple Ridge, Canada by Susan, Marseille, France by Alex, Medan, Indonesia by KT, Melbourne, Australia by Mblamo, Melbourne, Australia by John, Memphis (TN), USA by SouthernHeart, Menton, France by Jilly, Mexico City, Mexico by Poly, Mexico City, Mexico by Carraol, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Mitch, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Greg, Minsk, Belarus by Olga, Misawa, Japan by misawa mama, Monrovia (CA), USA by Keith, Monte Carlo, Monaco by Jilly, Monterrey, Mexico by rafa, Montpellier, France by Marie, Moscow, Russia by Irina, Mumbai, India by Kunalbhatia, Mumbai, India by Magiceye, Nancy, France by yoshi, Nashville (TN), USA by Chris, Nelson, New Zealand by Meg and Ben, New Orleans (LA), USA by steve buser, New York City (NY), USA by Ming the Merciless, New York City (NY), USA by • Eliane •, Newport News (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Norfolk (VA), USA by ptowngirl, North Hampton (NH), USA by Amy, Norwich, UK by Goddess888, Nottingham, UK by Gail's Man, Ocean Township (NJ), USA by Josy, Omsk, Russia by Nataly, Orlando (FL), USA by OrlFla, Oslo, Norway by Lothiane, Owasso (OK), USA by Jennifer, Paderborn, Germany by Soemchen, Paris, France by Eric, Pasadena (CA), USA by Petrea, Pasadena (CA), USA by Can8ianben, Penang, Malaysia by Maltelda, Perth, Australia by Elevation7, Phoenix (AZ), USA by Cheryl, Pilisvörösvár, Hungary by Elise, Port Angeles (WA), USA by Jelvistar, Port Elizabeth, South Africa by Sam, Port Townsend (WA), USA by raf, Port Vila, Vanuatu by Mblamo, Portsmouth (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Prague, Czech Republic by Honza03, Quincy (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea by Jules, Ramsey, Isle of Man by babooshka, Riga, Latvia by Riga Images, Rollag, Norway by Stormel, Rotterdam, Netherlands by Ineke, Saarbrücken, Germany by LadyDemeter, Saigon, Vietnam by Simon, Saint Paul (MN), USA by Kate, Salem (OR), USA by jill, Salt Lake City (UT), USA by Eric, Salt Lake City (UT), USA by atc, San Diego (CA), USA by Felicia, San Diego (CA), USA by Zentmrs, San Francisco (CA), USA by PFranson, San Francisco (CA), USA by Louis la Vache, Seattle (WA), USA by Kim, Seattle (WA), USA by Chuck, Selma (AL), USA by RamblingRound, Seoul, South Korea by Phil, Sesimbra, Portugal by Aldeia, Setúbal, Portugal by Maria Elisa, Sharon (CT), USA by Jenny, Singapore, Singapore by Keropok, Sofia, Bulgaria by Antonia, St Francis, South Africa by Sam, Stanwood (WA), USA by MaryBeth, Stavanger, Norway by Tanty, Stayton (OR), USA by Celine, Stockholm, Sweden by Stromsjo, Stouffville, Canada by Ken, Subang Jaya, Malaysia by JC, Suffolk (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Sunshine Coast, Australia by bitingmidge, Sydney, Australia by Julie, Székesfehérvár, Hungary by Teomo, Tacloban City, Philippines by agnesdv, Tel-Aviv, Israel by Olga, Terrell (TX), USA by Jim K, Terrell (TX), USA by Bstexas, Tokyo, Japan by Tadamine, Torun, Poland by Torun Observer, Torun, Poland by Glenn, Toulouse, France by Julia, Turin, Italy by Livio, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina by Jazzy, Twin Cities (MN), USA by Slinger, Vichy, France by Delphsnl, Victoria, Canada by Benjamin Madison, Vienna, Austria by G_mirage2, Virginia Beach (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Wailea (HI), USA by Kuanyin, Washington (DC), USA by Rachel, Wassenaar, Netherlands by Rich, West Paris (ME), USA by crittoria, West Sacramento (CA), USA by Barbara, Weston (FL), USA by WestonDailyPhoto, Williamsburg (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Willits (CA), USA by Elaine, Yardley (PA), USA by Mrlynn,