Sunday, November 30, 2008

Who stole the paintings?

I took this photo in an art gallery next to my home. I can't help thinking they had a hidden message to the artists in mind... Kinda: "sorry guys, but the paintings you ask us to sell are not worth any more than what they are framed in... As a matter of fact, even empty frames are sometimes better than your art!" And they proved it. PS: my thanksgiving party was really great, but now I have to digest all the food I had!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Ferris Wheel is back

Like every year the Ferris wheel is back. It's located at the bottom of the Champs Elysées (actually in the Tuileries gardens on the Place de la Concorde side) and you can see it from miles away... This year, due to the Color feast I was telling you about a few days ago, it also changes color regularly. Have a nice Saturday everyone. I will be celebrating Thanksgiving with American friends tonight (I love Turkey!)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Another dawn photo

Yes, I know, it's another of these dawn photos, but I can't help it, when it's sunny in the morning and that I pass by the river banks: I have to stop and take a photo;). I'm not 100% sure what this bridge is - yes you can boo me! -but I'm pretty sure it's Le Pont Neuf. I also realized today I forgot to wish my American visitors a happy Thanksgiving, so let me do it tonight... Have a nice sunny Friday (ours won't be that sunny...)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Hunting Museum

Once again I discovered a museum I had never heard of before: the nature and hunting museum (Le musée de la chasse et de la nature), located in Le Marais, where I went this morning for a press conference. I first was attracted to this very original sculpture (I have been unable to find out who made it!) then to the beautiful building that shelters this museum: l'hôtel de Guenegaud, a "palace" that was built between 1651 and 1655. I did not visit the museum though, because I did not have the time, but I surely plan to go back.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

PDP dinner at General Lafayette's

OK, I'm late... But it's for a good cause! I'm just back from a Paris PDP dinner, where, as usual, I had a wonderful time. I finally got to meet Carrie (who was at the South California PDP gathering, if you remember), and I had the pleasure to greet newcomers: Michelle, Elisabeth and Stuart. Of course the loyal attendees were there too: Guille, Thib, Michael and... Jeff via email and telephone! All this took place at General Lafayette, a restaurant near my place were I took this shot. But of course, there is the usual "family photo" - plus a little extra! - to discover here...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Babies at La Samaritaine

La Samaritaine - a former Paris department store - is the site of an unusual exhibit of photographs by Thierry Bouët: Newborns. This is a photo of one of the 50 on display - a baby boy just 55 minutes old. Why? Well, as Christmas is coming, it's the way LVMH (the owner of La Samaritaine) and the Paris 1st Town Hall have found to celebrate the nativity. The exhibit will run until January 20, 2009 (see a wider angle here).
Don't forget if you are in town:
a little PDP gathering will take place tonight (Tuesday 25) at General Lafayette (a restaurant located 52 rue Lafayette). If you want to joint just email me (eric at so that I know approximately how many people will show up. Thank you.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé

You must know it since their marketing is now worldwide, the 2008 Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived! Beaujolais is a region above Lyon (the second third largest city in France) which former capital was Beaujeu and which is known for its wine. Every third Thursday of November since the 1950's they produce a special Nouveau wine that is supposed to be drunk a few weeks after the grapes have been harvested (you'll find the whole story, and much more in here). Every year it's a big event and cafés and restaurants take advantage of it to boost their business. I took this photo yesterday at the Zephyr Café, on Les Grands Boulevards. As for the quality of this Beaujolais Nouveau, I let you fight over it in the comments box!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

En trevlig dag at Ikea!

You knew it was coming, didn't you?! I'm surprised how many reactions I had (here, on Facebook, etc.) after I mentioned I was going to Ikea yesterday! Apparently, everyone has his own experience of this Swedish institution! There are no less than 7 Ikea outlets around Paris (and 19 in the rest of France) and they are extremely successful. I went there to buy a new bed and ended up buying all sorts of junk I don't need instead! But isn't that what makes the fun at Ikea?! FYI. A little PDP gathering will take place Tuesday 25 at General Lafayette (a restaurant located 52 rue Lafayette). If you want to joint just email me (eric at so that I know approximately how many people will show up. Thank you.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Green Green

I came across this row of trees this morning on my way to work and I could not help but stop and take a photo ;-) They were being delivered to a florist in Rue de Richelieue and formed an unexpected scene in this very urban area where absolutely nothing grows! Like I already told you there are 484,000 trees in Paris, 96,500 of which are to be found in the streets. These ones are not included! Have a nice weekend everyone, I will be visiting Ikea tomorrow, how is that for a treat?!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fête de la couleur

It's the color feast in Paris at the moment! This means that every now and then throughout the city you can come across spots of orange or pink, like in this photo where you can see a few stripes up top this Morris Column (these columns are normally used to promote shows and plays). The color feast has actually been adapted from the Holî in India and it is currently used to raise awareness of children in need on the occasion of the 19th anniversary of children's rights.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Last sunny days?

Who said it's not sunny in Paris in November?! Well, this morning it was... It did not last very long, but long enough for me to take this funny photo of a colleague. This weekend will be very cold, we may even experience some snowfalls. I read all this on the Paris Meteo Website, that I already mentioned here, and which is the best source you can find if you're planning a trip to Paris. BTW, there is a new PDP gathering in the pipe... It will take place on the 25th and I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The aesthetics of politics...

"Capitalism allows the rich to decide for you. Act now!" is basically what this message says. You won't be surprised if I tell you I photographed this on the window of one of the local offices of the French Communist Party, which, even if it is in bad condition, is still alive (unlike the other communist parties in Europe, the French one never changed its name). I know the political message behind all this is probably the most important(!), but I was mostly attracted to the aesthetics of the scene... [Sorry for the late posting, my fault!]

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Karma Kameleon

Keep cool! I came across this cameleon (I'm not actually certain he's a cameleon to be honest...) on the Quai de la Megisserie, a place by the river where they sell plants, flowers and... pets. You find more puppies and pussies kittens than giant green cameleons there ;) but they do sell small crocodiles, reptilians and all these creatures that we call NAC (for Nouveaux animaux de compagnie - new types of pets). I'm sure hey would be better off in their homeland than in a cage in Paris, but that is another story. Anyway, do visit this place if you happen to be in Paris, the set is gorgeous.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Controversy over Terrace heaters

"Would it make sense to heat your house and leave the windows open?" recently claimed 3 Green members of parliament (well "Députés" in French) who are currently trying to pass a law that would prohibit the use of terrace heaters in France. Needless to say that restaurants and cafés do not really share the same opinion; they argue that since the smoking ban it's the only way for them to keep smokers within their reach! Both parties use figures (CO2, watts, gas...) that do not match, of course. A very French debate... BTW, I took this photo rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, at the restaurant chez Julien, very nicely decorated.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pont Marie at night

Is there anything more beautiful than the bridges over the Seine? This one is Le Pont Marie and I took this photo yesterday evening from Le Pont Louis-Philippe right when a Bateau Mouche was passing underneath it (you can see the additional light coming from the boat). Le Pont Marie (named after its architect, Christophe Marie) is very old ; it was built between 1614 and 1635 and at that time several houses could be found on it. A huge flood destroyed 2 arches in 1658 and several houses - and inhabitants! - were taken away by the river... They decided not to rebuild the houses when they fixed the bridge...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

More after our commercial break!

If you like commercials - I'm talking good commercials - the place to be tonight and tomorrow is... Paris! Why, Because you could attend the 28th Nuit des Publivores (The night of the Ad eaters!), a 5,5 hour long "commercial break" that takes place in one of the most famous movie Theaters in Paris: Le Grand Rex. This show, created by Jean-Marie Boursicot in 1981, is now so famous that it even takes place in many cities around the world (not in the US yet...). I attended one, in the 80's, and I must say, it was a lot of fun : partly because I love creative commercials and partly because the fun was also in the audience ;)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Dolly goes to Paris...

I'm home sick at the moment (nothing serious, don't worry) so it's difficult for me to take photos any further than around the corner of my house! And today I really regretted it as I could have taken this extraordinary scene: a sheep roundup on the Champ de Mars, by the Eiffel Tower! Explanation: about 700 several sheep breeders thought it was the best way to attract the medias attention on their low incomes. It worked! It was in the news everywhere... I had to cheat a little bit (this is a photo I took at the Salon de l'Agriculture some time ago) to report the event, but I'm sure you'll forgive me ;) And if you want to see the real thing, have a look at this photo by François Lafite.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A museum for fun

A lot of big cities have their wax museum and Paris makes no exception, of course. Ours is called Le Musée Grévin (after the name of the artist who made the first wax sculptures around 1880 - the museum was inaugurated in 1882) and it's located 10 Boulevard Montmartre, in the former "in" area of Paris. There are about 300 wax characters in there; most of them are French centric (Brigitte Bardot, Charles Aznavour, Michel Drucker (a TV guy) and... of course, Nicolas Sarkozy - since July 2006) but a lot are internationnaly famous (Céline Dion, Jimmy Hendrix, Zinédine Zidane, Tony Blair, Ray Charles...). Kids love this museum and there are big lines on rainy days!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Le Sentier

Here is a very typical and historical area of Paris I never told you about. It's called Le Sentier (after the name of one of the major streets that runs through it) and it's the heart of the French clothing wholesale. It's a place where a lot of immigrants started their company - and sometimes made their wealth: originally mostly Jews (from North Africa), but now more and more Chinese and Pakistani. It's also a place known for its illegal workshops (constantly chased by the Police though) and illegal day workers hired to carry loads of garments and fabric from one place to another on these little red and blue trolleys that you can see in the photo. And, last but not least, in my opinion, it's the next up and coming area of Paris...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

WWI Truce Celebration

Today is a holiday in France. We celebrate the end of World War I which ended precisely November 11, 1918 at eleven o'clock. This truce (armistice) was signed by Marechal Foch in a train carriage specially fitted for this occasion (this same carriage was also used in 1940 by Hitler to sign the rendition of France). For the first time there will not be any Poilus (that is what we call the soldiers who fought this war) at the ceremony as, like reported previously on PDP, the last French witness of this war died last Mars at the age of 110.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Le Palace's new life

Le Palace was a mythical place when I was young. It was the equivalent to what Studio 54 was in New York in the 80's 70's: the club to be! It was closed in 1983 after its owner died and did not really reopened until a few days ago, after it's been turned into a theater again (see more of its history here). I'm also happy to post this photo today because it brings me back to when I started PDP with my little Sony compact camera: I posted a photo of Le Palace on April 8, 2005 ending the caption with "Nobody knows what the Palace is going to become." Now I know! Time flies and PDP has already a history!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sunday Tea Time

It's cold, gray, a little rainy... It's the perfect moment to have a little tea. Like this nicely dressed lady that I photographed at a terrace near Beaubourg (she probably had a macaron or two, wrapped in this ugly white paper on the table!) The French tradition of tea is not as strong as in England or China, but the market is apparently increasing (2 ou 3 French people drink tea against 1 out of 3 ten years ago). It is still considered as an "elite" beverage, and more feminine than masculine. There are several nice Salon de Thé in Paris ; the most famous ones are probably Mariage Frère (a tea specialist) and Angelina (an upper class hang out). If you're interested, here is a little selection of other cosy addresses (in French).

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The sound of... musicals

A few years ago if you wanted to see a musical in Europe you had to go to London, period. Things have changed! Now you can see a lot of interesting productions in one of our many theaters. That's precisely what I did last night when I went to Mogador to see Le Roi Lion (The Lion King). I must say, I'm not a big fan of these shows, but this one really made me change my opinion. The costumes are stunning - I'm talking stunning! - the scenery is breathtaking and the French adaptation is really well made. Nice way to start my weekend ;) Here is a little clip.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Glass Hail!

It's the coolest effect I've ever seen in a shop window! This stunning scene belongs to the Galeries Lafayette, one of the largest department stores in Paris, and it's part of their Christmas decorations that started at the beginning of the month. Like several of you noticed, Paris is not the most decorated city in the world for Christmas (far from that!), but some of the decorations are really outstanding. I really look up to the people who are creative enough to come up with ideas like this.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Water of Paris

From what I understood from yesterday's comments, everyone seems happy after the US elections! I thought of celebrating the event with a little glass of a typical Paris beverage: water! As a matter of fact, the Paris town hall has been promoting tap water for several years now, and they even just opened a water museum in the 16th arrondissement where I photographed these 3 really cool pitchers (designed by Pierre Charpin). The whole purpose of this PR campaign is actually to let Parisians know that their tap water is just as good as bottled water, that it's much more environmentally friendly than bottled water and that it is about 300 times less expensive than bottled water! More here - in French - if you're interested.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Straw Vote at the Harry's Bar

It's a tradition that has almost never ceased since 1924: the "straw vote" at the famous Harry's Bar... The principle is simple: any American citizen (who can show an American passport) and who is older than 18 can participate in the vote. The results are posted in front of the bar (and on the Web site) every week leading up to the election until the very final moment (I took this photo at 7 pm on November 4th Paris time). The interesting part is that ever since 1924, the straw vote at Harry's Bar was wrong only twice: in 1976 (Ford/Carter) and in 2004 (Bush II/Kerry). At the time I'm posting this photo, I still don't know if they were wrong a third time...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

French Obamania

During my stay in the US last week, I often got the question "and what do you think about the US elections in France?" I kept saying that there was very little discussion among the French, whether they traditionally support the right or the left wing, about 80% of them would vote for Obama if they were Americans. Last evening (Monday) there was even a small demonstration on the Trocadero esplanade in favor of him (yes Suzy, the little blue ray above the head of the woman in the middle belongs to the Eiffel Tower!). Will he finally be elected? We'll soon find out ;)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Cynical, but beautiful

I know, this looks like a very basic message - kinda like "aren't we treating men like consumable goods nowadays?" but I loved the graphics. It's not really a graffiti but a printed paper glued to a vent pipe, that I photographed in the Beaubourg area. The garbage can is typical of Paris (with its transparent plastic bag to avoid bombings - that is, to avoid that terrorists hide a bomb in it). It's not exactly the best photo I could choose to start the week, but it really caught my eyes. BTW, I have no idea who did that, so if anyone knows...

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The right time

As I'm currently trying to recover from my jet lag (It always takes me ages!) I don't think I've ever showed you an interesting piece of art by sculptor Arman called "L'heure de tous" that has been installed in front of the Gare Saint Lazare in 1985 (which explains the little pigeon "offerings" that you can see on it...). The clocks don't actually work, they are just for the purpose of the sculpture. Incidentally, today is also the day Americans switch to give up DST (Daylight Saving Time) and return to normal time, so if you're from the US, everything should be back to normal with Europe and PDP in particular! Have a great Sunday.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Theme Day : Books

Those who have been to Paris probably have come across the Bouquinistes, these typical book sellers who don't really have a bookshop but a "box" along the Seine embankment. There are currently 217 of them along the Seine, running no less than 900 boxes - that makes a total of roughly 300 000 old and new books, postcards, photos... The first ones appeared during the 16th century and they managed to survive until now, even though there has been several attempts to eradicated them (either for political reasons or economical ones). I took this photo in one of these boxes thinking it would be perfect for our theme day. On a different note, may I also wish a scary Halloween to all my American visitors!

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants to the theme day.