Friday, February 29, 2008

Paris mayor to be reelected

I realized recently that I never showed you the mayor of Paris. Not that you really care, but since we have elections coming up (March 9 and 16) I thought it was a good time ;) His name is Bertrand Delanoë, he belongs to the socialist party, he was born in 1950 and, according to polls, there is no doubt he's going to be reelected. Parisians appreciate what he's done for the city (the new tramway, Nuit blanche, Paris Plage, Velib, car chasing... to mention his most visible actions) and forgave him for failing to get the Olympics! Have a look at his promotional video, it's pretty well made. Did I mention he also survived an assassination attempt?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

English, and other languages! spoken

I often get messages from people asking me if they'll manage to get by in Paris without speaking French. I always reply that there is no problem, because more and more French people can speak English nowadays - I'm sure you noticed it, if you already came here. I looked on the web for stats (number of French people able to speak English) but only found 1991 figures. Anyway, to illustrate our "opening to the world", I photographed the entrance of this restaurant in Montmartre where they claim to speak English, Italian and... Monegasque (that is French!)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A much less controversial building!

OK, you've seen it here and here already (and even here, thanks to Tomate Farcie) but here is another view of it... It? You know this big arch of triumph built at the top of the Champs Elysées in 1806 by Napoleon after he conquered most of Europe (well the actual architect was not Napoleon of course but Jean-François Thérèse Chalgrin). The arch was then completed in 1836 and it now keeps the memory of the dead killed in World War I (1914/1918). It's also a fabulous place to view Paris from above.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A controversial building

Here is the building that shelters the Ministry of Culture and Communication. As you can see - or imagine -, it's an old building that has been renewed and surrounded by what is often called "iron lace". Needless to say that it's highly controversial. So controversial, that the heirs of the architect who built the building in the first place (Antoine Vaudoyer) sued the one that made the lace (Francis Soler) claiming that Vaudoyer's copyright was infringed. They did not win... If you come to Paris, have a look (it's not far from Le Louvre), it's located 182 rue Saint Honoré.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Hello Dolly!

My favorite trade show is back! Le Salon de l'agriculture (the International Agricultural Show) opened this Saturday and will last until March 2nd. This show is often called "the largest farm in the world" for its spreads out on almost 150 000 sq meters (1 614 586 sq feet) and shelters no less than 4,000 farm animals ! Even though it's a trade show everybody can come and attend the "cow beauty pageant", eat one of the many specialties from our provinces and meet some of the few farmers that are left in France (3.6% of the active population...).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Demonstration for Ingrid

I already mentioned Ingrid Betancourt several times on this blog. She's a Franco Columbian woman who got abducted by the Farc (a Columbian revolutionary movement) on February 23, 2002. To "celebrate" this anniversary, her support committee organized a giant human chain around the hotel de Ville (town hall). This year they emphasized the fact that not only Ingrid is being kept prisoner, but also many other hostages like these guys in the photo...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A place with a silver dining

There are many high-end restaurants in Paris, but to me, La Tour d'Argent (the Silver Tower) is the most mythical one - and one of the oldest (it was founded in 1582!). It is known not only for its food - and more precisely its "Canard au sang" (duck in blood sauce) - but also for its spectacular view on the river Seine. Of course, La Tour d'Argent also owns what is probably the largest wine cellar in Paris (half a million bottles!) which I have been lucky enough to visit about 10 years ago. Of course a meal there is not exactly cheap (about 120 - 150 € per person including wine), but if you come to Paris for the first time I would definitely book a table there well in advance!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Books for sale

This is so typical of Paris that I never even thought of taking a photo... Along the river Seine, in the very middle of Paris, both on the left and right banks you can find book sellers called "Bouquinistes" (a "bouquin" in French is colloquial for book). They sell old books, second-hand, or old magazines and sometimes - because they also attract tourists - foreign books, like here, the Da Vinci Code. Some of their inventory remains in a locked box on the parapets, but they often have to use more space...

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Not far from the Alexander the 3rd bridge I found this statue of Lafayette, the famous marquis who helped the Americans fight the Brits during the American revolutionary war. Reading through his biography I found out that he also played a large role during the French revolution and that, although he was a member of the aristocracy he was very much republican - and even made a Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizens! Did I mention his real name was Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier and that the name Lafayette comes from an estate in Aix that belonged to the Motier family.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Paris Scam!

Recently, somebody who is planning to come to Paris for a visit, asked me if the area she planned to rent an apartment in, was safe. I answered that, globally, Paris is not a dangerous city, but that I could not guaranty she would not meet a pickpocket or so like in all big cities. I thought of this, when today, on the magnificent bridge Alexander III, I witnessed a classical scam: a kid pretends to pick up a gold ring just by you, shows it to you saying "you lost something" and when you say "it's not mine", the kid makes up a story and ends up asking you for money in exchange for the ring (which, of course is not made of gold!) This kid did it several times while I was taking pictures, but, from what I could see, it never worked!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Cirque Bouglione

There is a permanent circus in Paris. It's called Le cirque Bouglione - Bouglione is a famous family that runs several circuses in France - and it's located in Le cirque d'hiver (winter circus) a place that was originally built in 1852 (read the whole history here). They just started a brand new show, so the place is crowded. Who said the circus is dead?! Check their web site and pay them a visit, it's really worth it ;)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Nina Ricci dress

Let's start the week with a very "girly" post! Last weekend I went to Le salon du Vintage, an exhibit dedicated to clothes, objects and furniture from the 70's (and a bit from the 80's too...). It was really good but I only found the the time to select the best photos I took there today. Anyway, I chose to post this dress by Nina Ricci (sold by En ville-Vintage in the 11th arrondissement) on PDP, but you can find more photos of the event on the making of.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Paris Center of the world!

New elections are coming up..."Les Municipales" (local elections). Yes, we are going to renew our mayor in March. Well, when I say renew, in fact we are going to "revote" for Bertrand Delanoë, the present mayor as polls show there is very very little doubt on the outcome of these elections ;) Unless, unless... some outsider confuses the issue. I let you find out yourself ;)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Hôtel du nord

I wanted to post this photo a little later, but since several of you mentioned Hotel du nord after yesterday's post, here it is. For those of you who are not familiar with French culture, let me just say that this hotel - also located by the Canal Saint Martin, became famous because of a film director called Marcel Carné who precisely made a movie in 1938 called "Hotel du nord" . This film became extremely famous because of scene with French actress Arletty whose line "Atmosphere, atmosphere" is as famous among French people as "we're not in Kansas anymore" is among the American public! BTW, check the Hotel du nord website, it's really cool.

Friday, February 15, 2008

More love!

I don't know these people, but I'm pretty sure they are tourists who came to Paris especially around Valentine's day! I took this photo on the Canal Saint Martin in the 10th arrondissement, a place that I recommend if you want to take a nice walk in a lesser traditional place of Paris (I mean less traditional than the Seine embankment). Something funny about this canal: in was build under Napoleon who raised special taxes on wine for the occasion; I bet this was very unpopular at the time!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A message for you...

Here is my message to you all! It's a shop window of Franck & Fils (a very traditional department store) I noticed a couple of days ago while I was going to my niece's near La Muette. Only, exceptionally I did not have my camera with me. So tonight, when I left the office I went all the way to rue de Passy, waited for someone to pass by the window and took this shot. Don't ask me why they used Love and not amour though! Anyway, my dear visitors, let me wish you all a happy Valentines day ;)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Smart Ratatouille

Do you recognize this guy? I know you do... If you were in Paris at the moment you could see hundreds of him, all perched on the roof top of Smart cars. They had the clever idea to use these cute little cars to promote the DVDs of this cute little rat! And it works pretty well; people can't help turning their head when they see one of these cars coming, several newspapers wrote about the operation and the little rodent even made it - again - to the home page of PDP!! (Well, last time, was much less cute, was it?)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Invalides at night

Unusual point of view for today... I'm just out of a company party (Apec) that took place on top of the Montparnasse tower (some people say it's the best point of view in Paris because, precisely, you cannot see the tower!). Needless to say that I took my camera along... Et voilà! I took several pics from the spectacular rooftop on the 57th floor, but this is the one I like the best. It's Le Panthéon Les Invalides, a former hospital that has now been turned into a museum. Like the Pantheon(!!), it also shelters the tomb of several famous Frenchmen including Napolean's one.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The rat year

Will the rat bring more wealth and wisdom to this world? Yes, if we believe the Chinese who have been celebrating their new year throughout the world since last Thursday (why don't you check other Chinese new year posts on the brand new city daily photo portal on this occasion?). In Paris there has been several parades, including one in the Chinese quarter in the 13th arrondissement and one opened by the mayor of Paris and the Chinese ambassador. There are about 300 000 Chinese in the Paris area, most of them came in the 70's from the Wenzhou province and Indochina (the former French colony).

Sunday, February 10, 2008

J'vais vous montrer qui c'est Raoul!

Let me introduce you to Raoul Follereau, a French doctor who dedicated his life to leprosy. At first I thought he lived a long long time ago, but I found out he lived between 1903 and 1977. That is why his fight took place mostly in Africa. His motto - engraved on the last line of the statue stand - is very Catholic/French: "Personne n'a le droit d'être heureux tout seul" (Noboby has the right to be happy alone). Anyway, if you're interested in Leprosy(!) and speak French, you can check the site of his foundation.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Smallest Paris street

Every city has one, Paris makes no exception! You're looking at the narrowest street in Paris, la rue du Chat-qui-Pèche (The fishing cat street)... It was built in 1540 (yes, 1540!!), is located in the 5th arrondissement, close to La Seine and is only 1.80 m wide (slightly less than 6 feet). You won't be surprised to hear it's a pedestrian only street and that it's one of the many tourist attractions! Have a good weekend everyone.

Friday, February 08, 2008

To jump or not to jump...

The Eiffel Tower is not always this Paris symbol where - some - people propose to their fiancee while having dinner at the Jules Vernes restaurant! Sometimes, it's also a handy place for desperate beings to commit suicide. That is precisely what happened yesterday, when a 28 year old girl jumped off the staircase, halfway from the 1st floor. The oddest part is that she did not die right away; she was taken to a hospital nearby and is still in a coma. FYI, since it was built in 1889 there has been about 350 suicides from the Eiffel Tower. Two of them are said to have survived.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Resting in the sun

Yes, it's possible to rest in the sun, in the middle of a big city like Paris, providing you find a quiet place to take your nap! This man did find one... And I found him today in the Jardin Montsouris, in the 14th arrondissement. The weather is pretty mild at the moment and, as you can see, the sun was shining today. Just for your info, the sun shines 1700 hours per year in Paris. It's not a lot, but not too bad considering the country average is 1850.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Art against Dictatorship

A very "underground" post today... I did a little research on the net to find out who could be the author of this amazing collage and I came across the site of an American street artist called Shepard Fairey (aka Obey) who, apparently, held an exhibit in the Magda Danysz gallery (see a little video here) in 2006. He also was featured, with several other artists, in a movie called "Life remote control" (mentioned in the little TV screens on the right on this image). Huh!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

More towers in Paris?

Should there be more towers in Paris? If you look at this photo - that I took in the 13th arrondissement - I bet you'll probably answer "no way"! And though providing Paris is one of the smallest cities in the world (105 km² - 40 sq. miles*) and that the price of housing is way too high for a lot of people, our mayor is considering building new towers for housing. A very difficult decision to make, providing that according to polls, Parisians clearly don't want new ones... If you want to have a look at the projects, check the video here. (*) As a comparison, the area of London is 1 579 Km2 (610 sq. miles) and Berlin 891,75 km2 (344 sq. miles).

Monday, February 04, 2008

Line 5

There are two three(*) bridges that are used by the metro in Paris. The Bir Hakeim one (that I already showed here) that is used by line 6, and this one, called Passerelle d'Austerlitz, used by line 5. The reason why these two lines cross the Seine on a bridge is that they were built before 1910 when architects were still reluctant to build train tunnels underneath water! (*) Update: a dedicated visitor emailed me to let me know I forgot the Pont de Bercy! He is right, and I should have thought of it, because, of course, I already photographed it here and here!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Newly weds!

You rarely hear about world leaders getting married while they're in power, do you? And though it just happened today in France! Our President got married to an ex model called Carla Bruni Tedeschi (will she have herself called Carla Sarkozy now?) at the Elysées (the "house" of French Presidents. Needless to say I was not invited to the ceremony, so I had to steal a photo from the television (the news on France 2 @ 8)!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Have Giant Flies taken over Paris?

No, this is not a real fly, but a mock up that I photographed by the Jardin des Plantes, on the Grande Galerie de l'évolution museum side (a museum that shows the different steps of animals and man evolution throughout the ages). And to think this giant fly probably existed at some stage...

Friday, February 01, 2008

Monthly Theme day: when people think of my city...

I know you expected me to come up with THE idea for today's theme but I could not think of the one thing that would represent Paris. So I went the easy way: I browsed my photos and selected the ones I thought would represent Paris best (if you want a better view, simply click on the photo):
Place de la Concorde (this one is recent), Musée d'Orsay (this one too), fashion, wine (the one stolen from my cellar!), Notre Dame, Paris cobblestones (and velib!), strikes!, romance, fashion shows, Beaubourg (Pompidou Center), Paris skyline, Hermès (and luxury goods in general), sex, Rodin, Ratatouille(!), croissants - and petits déjeuners in general, Edith Piaf, macarons (hi Monica LOL), love, a good beer on a Paris café terrace, the fabulous bridges of Paris, Sacré Coeur, fine food, less fine - but still very good! - food, France's colors, Champs Elysées, the "crottoirs" (dog poop on sidewalks), the metro, "the" tower, Saint Germain des prés, large tables where you can have endless dinners with friends, Charles de Gaulle, more sex, more metro, the French tennis open and... 2 cafés et l'addition!

Today is a theme day (when people think of my city, they think of...) among the City Daily Photo community. This month 135 (it's growing every month!) are participating. Please pay them a visit but keep in mind that not everyone lives on the same time zone.
Portland (OR), USA - Menton, France - Monte Carlo, Monaco - Memphis (Tennessee), USA - Manila, Philippines - San Diego (CA), USA - Anderson (SC), USA - New York City (NY), USA - San Diego (CA), USA - Mexico City, Mexico - San Francisco (CA), USA - Mumbai (Maharashtra), India - Mainz, Germany - Weston (FL), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Turin, Italy - Las Vegas (NV), USA - Hobart (Tasmania), Australia - Bicheno, Australia - Durban, South Africa - Joplin (MO), USA - Nashville (TN), USA - Stockholm, Sweden - Kyoto, Japan - Tokyo, Japan - Brussels, Belgium - Chicago (IL), USA - Montpellier, France - Seattle (WA), USA - Mazatlan, Mexico - Saint Paul (MN), USA - Sharon (CT), USA - Sesimbra, Portugal - Toulouse, France - Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Susanville (CA), USA - Maple Ridge (BC), Canada - Saint Louis (MO), USA - Prague, Czech Republic - Helsinki, Finland - Pilisvörösvár, Hungary - Lisbon, Portugal - Mexico (DF), Mexico - Trujillo, Peru - Dunedin (FL), USA - Albuquerque (NM), USAPort Angeles (WA), USA - Cottage Grove (MN), USA - Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - London, UK - Baziège, France - Jefferson City (MO), USA - Greenville (SC), USA - Selma (AL), USA - Mumbai, India - Naples (FL), USA - Norwich (Norfolk), UK - Silver Spring (MD), USA - Setúbal, Portugal - Stayton (OR), USA - Bellefonte (PA), USA - Sofia, Bulgaria - Arradon, France - Montego Bay, Jamaica - Athens, Greece - Austin (TX), USA - Singapore, Singapore - West Sacramento (CA), USA - Jackson (MS), USA - Wassenaar (ZH), Netherlands - Budapest, Hungary - Rotterdam, Netherlands - St Malo, FranceChandler (AZ), USA - Melbourne, Australia - Port Vila, Vanuatu - Cleveland (OH), USA - Nottingham, UK - Kansas City (MO), USA - The Hague, Netherlands - Crystal Lake (IL), USA - Wrocław, Poland - Chateaubriant, France - Cheltenham, UK - Moscow, Russia - Monrovia (CA), USA - Saigon, Vietnam - Toruń, Poland - Grenoble, France - Lisbon, Portugal - New Orleans (LA), USA - Sydney, Australia - Boston (MA), USA - American Fork (UT), USA - Boston (MA), USA - Montréal (QC), Canada - Wichita (KS), USA - Radonvilliers, France - Buenos Aires, Argentina - Christchurch, New Zealand - Rabaul, Papua New Guinea - Wailea (HI), USA - Aliso Viejo (CA), USA - St Francis, South Africa - Port Elizabeth, South Africa - Seattle (WA), USA - Pasadena (CA), USA - Vienna, Austria - Orlando (FL), USA - Torun, Poland - Delta (CO), USA - Santa Fe (NM), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Haninge, Sweden - Paris, France - Stavanger, Norway - Niamey, Niger - Le Guilvinec, France - Bogor, Indonesia - Saarbrücken, Germany - Auckland, New Zealand - Wellington, New Zealand - Budapest, Hungary - Juneau (AK), USA - Bucaramanga (Santander), Colombia - Glasgow, Scotland - Chicago (IL), USA - Jakarta, Indonesia - Adelaide (SA), Australia - Sydney, Australia - Riga, Latvia - Subang Jaya (Selangor), Malaysia - Terrell (TX), USA - Terrell (TX), USA - -