Thursday, July 31, 2008

Summer night on the Pont des Arts

The Pont des Arts - or Passerelle des Arts - is one of the rare pedestrian bridges in Paris. It was built between 1802 and 1804 and people had to pay a toll to cross it! In 1970 it had to be closed after being hit by a barge (péniche) on the Seine! It reopened in 1984 and never ceased to be a big success since then. At the moment, for instance, it's packed with young people (mostly tourists!) picnicking, drinking, smoking... while enjoying the stunning view on the Seine. The dome in the background, belongs to the Institut de France, the "knwoledgeable people parliament" as they call themselves on their web site (only in French, of course!).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I'm just back from a dinner with my father which I enjoyed very much. We tried a new restaurant near rue de l'Annonciation, a little pedestrian street in the 16th arrondissement. I took this photo on the way back, as I was closer to my place. These kind of photos are not easy to take, especially at night, as you must play with the settings of your camera (which I'm terrible at!) if you want the biker to look focused and the background blurry. I'm not fully satisfied with it, but I still like the effect ;) Talking about photos... Do you want to see who attended the South California PDP gathering?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Free Parking!!

It's hot and stormy in Paris at the moment. Consequence? The level of pollution has jumped from "good" to "poor". When this happens, the Paris authorities declare a "free parking day" where all residential parking (that is only the cars that show a resident parking permit) is free all day. This clever measure aims at encouraging people to use public transportation instead of their car. Parking in many locations (outside the very center) will also be free during August. But it has nothing to do with pollution, it's just the tradition.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tour de France arrival

Like every year around the end of July, the Tour de France ended in Paris - on the Champs Elysées more precisely. The Spanish Carlos Sastre, 33, won. This year, like I already mentioned, I've been fortunate enough to follow one of the stages in Brittany and I've really been amazed to see how fast they go. When you're by the side of the road, here is what you see, and this lasts half a second maybe. But still, the atmosphere is really good and it's a real popular event throughout the country.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Obama in Paris

If you're American and if you're looking for one of your candidates to the next elections, stop searching! Obama is currently in Europe, preparing his international connections, just in case... He was Friday in France where he met President Sarkozy, who, called him "his pal" (son copain) in an interview by French newspaper Le Figaro ! No doubt that if Obama gets elected, the Freedom fries episode will definitely be history! BTW, between Mc Cain and Obama isn't there a 3rd choice? PS: Following you advice (and nice get better wishes!) I'm off to Trouville for the day (Sunday), it'll do me some good to leave the city for a day ;)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Dancing the Capoeira in Paris

Capoeira dance has been quite fashionable in Paris for some time now. Not only can you take classes if you want to practice yourself, but you can also see it performed in the street, just like I did in Montmartre. Most people don't know that this "dance" - I understand it was more a martial art - was "invented" by the slaves brought to Brazil by the Portuguese (I'm sure that Monica can tell us more about Capoeira!). It's quite impressive to see anyway. Let me take advantage of this post to refer you to Knol for the first time, as this new Google thing was launched today;)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Not so "square" Roland!

Things are pretty rough at the moment on my side so I went back to Montmartre for a walk around the vineyards (it's the green part, in the background) and I came across this little square, named after Roland Dorgelès, a French journalist and writer who became famous after a hoax: he attached a brush to the tail of a donkey, made it paint "something", called the painting "Sunset over the Adriatic" signed it by the donkey's name anagram Boronali (first name Joachim-Raphaël!) and managed to exhibit the "masterpiece" at an art show in 1910! It sold for 400 francs (1 400 of today's euros) apparently.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Encounter of the 4th kind!

It was 11:42 pm, I was walking down the street after having dinner outside with some good friends and I really had no clue of what "the PDP photo of the day" was going to be! Then suddenly, in front of Le BHV department store, I came across this strange seen! I have no clue what all this was for... Probably a photo shoot for an ad like the one I caught in January 2006. But it was really fun - and unexpected.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

No Red Bull!

You want to know what is really controversial at the moment in France? The Tour de France and its usual dopage (doping?) problems? The recent changes in the French constitution? Nope! It's an Austrian/Thai energy drink called Red Bull that France was denied the right to ban by Brussels, the European authorities! Why did we want to ban it? Because it contains taurine, an acid originally derived from bull tissues which effect on the human organism is not really known... I thought of illustrating this capital piece of news with this superb statue that I found in the 15th arrondissement, at the Parc Georges Brassens, built on a previous slaughter house.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Paris Plage is open!

Here is my first photo of Paris Plage of the season! If you've been a visitor to PDP for some time, you know now that every year around July 20 (until August 20ish) then embankment of the Seine turns into a giant beach with "real" sand, a swimming pool and a few activities such as Taï Chi or rock climbing. I took this photo last evening (Monday), on the first day of Paris Plage, while the sun was going down on Paris... More info (in English) here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Paris by night

A few days ago I received an email from a regular visitor to PDP (Paul, aka, Nikon101) with a link to a site that I did not know of. As you probably don't either, I thought I'd find the first opportunity I could, to mention it in one of my posts. I confess I had to go back to some of my previous photos to do so (and more precisely when I attended a party on top of the Tour Montparnasse last February). Anyway, ladies and gentlemen in a few seconds you'll be going "wow!" if you click here (and play extensively with your mouse and keyboard!). The week starts again for me and it's going to be a tough one...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Inside Saint Jean de Montmartre

Many of you have heard of Les Abbesses area because that is where the movie "Amélie" takes place. Not far from the metro station, there is a church called Saint Jean de Montmartre which I had never visited before. It was completed in 1904 after long fights over its revolutionary structure: Reinforced Concrete! Was it going to be solid enough?! We know the answer now: it was, and it still is... The facade is interesting too (red bricks) and so is the inside as you can see in this photo (in the foreground you can see the holy water font which is located right in the middle at the entrance when you walk in - 1st time I see one like that).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A journey to Provence

Let's take a little break from this busy week... how about a little journey in Provence? Not this Provence, unfortunately, but the one you can find in Paris (and in many other places, including the US, I noticed last time I was there) when shopping at L'Occitane. Yes, it's a chain store, and yes their marketing is very well made, but still, I love the way they use local products of Provence to turn them into body lotion, eau de toilette or skincare and many other totally useless products! Even the Sales sign of this outlet (I took this photo in Bercy Village), is cool ;) Now, it's the right day to wish you a happy weekend (I was a little early yesterday LOL).

Friday, July 18, 2008

Big Wise Man

After yesterday's post and all the discussions it triggered I thought it was a good idea to bring some peace to this blog! And who best that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (better known as Mahatma - great soul - Gandhi) the man who contributed to giving India its independence and fought, among many other things, for the liberation of Indian women. I found this bust in a restaurant where I had lunch yesterday in the 15th arrondissement. Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What it takes to become French!

Let's give up fireworks and move on to a more controversial debate that has been going on here since last Friday. On that day, the newspaper Le Monde, revealed that the Conseil d'Etat (Council of State) refused to grant French citizenship to a Moroccan woman even though she was married to a French citizen. Why? Because, according to the Council of State "She has adopted a radical practice of her religion, incompatible with essential values of the French community, particularly the principle of equality of the sexes." Most obvious sign of this ? She would wear a burqa during all her talks with the social services... Funnily enough I found this graffiti also last Friday, in a shop they are currently renewing at the crossing of rue du Commerce and rue du Théâtre.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Eiffel Tower on fire!

You thought you were done with Bastille Day celebrations? All wrong! There is no 14 Juillet celebration without a firework in the evening. Every single town has its own, even if it's not as elaborated as the one I was lucky enough to witness from the Champs de Mars Monday evening, right after a music concert (French music mostly) took place. I know I'm making you envious, but one thing I can tell you, it was Fa-bu-lous! Check out this little video, you'll miss the atmosphere of course, but you'll enjoy some of the music they played during the show ;)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bastille Day Parade 2008

Another of our Bastille Day tradition: Le défilé militaire (the military parade). Last year I was too lazy to go so I posted a photo that I stole from the television (!), but this morning I made the effort to wake up early and pay the French army men a visit. And I did not regret it; even though I'm not too much into military things, I enjoyed the parade and its final climax: the landing of 7 paratroopers right in front of the official tribune on the Place de la Concorde. Really impressive. Almost at the same time another tradition took place, this time in Southern California: a PDP gathering! Starring Tall Gary, Pont Girl, Carrie and Petrea and her husband. If you're a true visitor to PDP these names will undoubtedly ring a bell! Now, you can see them for real...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Let's dance with the firemen

Every year it's the same, but how could I possibly miss Le bal des pompiers (the firemen ball), one of the most traditionnal events around Bastille Day (le 14 juillet in French), our national celebration. For years now, on the eve of Bastille day, most fire stations throughout France offer a ball to whoever wants to join and dance; that is if you're patient enough to wait at least 30 minutes to get into the station! I don't really know why, these balls are extremely popular. More French tradition tomorrow...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Red Light District

Like all big cities Paris has its "red light district". It is located in the 18th arrondissement, around La Place Pigalle (named after Jean-Baptiste Pigalle) where you can still find several cabarets that started it all (eg, Le Moulin Rouge). Of course, nowadays, showing half naked dancers is much less provocative than around 1900, but still, a lot of visitors from out of town enjoy a little ride in Pigalle at dusk! And when they do, they generally don't miss one of the most emblematic places in this area: the Sexodrome! "The largest adult entertainment center in Europe" as they put it, offers absolutely everything to please both genders on almost 3 000 sq meters (32 000 sq feet)! Ahhhh Paris!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Smiling since 1506

Is she the most admired woman of all times? Well, if you consider the number of people who were willing to kill in order to take a photo of her portrait at the Louvre today (look closely at the reflexion!), I think the answer is definitely yes! And the craze did not start yesterday... But since 1506, as soon as Leonardo da Vinci completed the painting, then later at Versailles, where king Louis the XIVth installed it and, of course later, at the Louvre where it's been sitting since 1804 (with a little interruption due to a theft, between August 21, 1911 and December 10, 1913!). Anyway, even if Monalisa's smile is in every guidebooks and schoolbooks of the planet, seeing it for real is still very moving...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Raw taste

Last night (Thursday) I managed to take some time off to go to the restaurant with some friends and I had a very Parisian dish: un steak Tartare. That is raw beef, prepared with a mix of ingredients (including Ketchup, egg yoke, onions, Worcester sauce, etc.) In this restaurant (General Lafayette) they even add nut chips and blue cheese chucks. Yummy! Well that is if you like raw meat of course ;) I looked everywhere and could not find the origin of Steak Tartare for sure, but one thing seems to be certain; originally it was meant to be horse meat. My friends told me that in the US, restaurants would be reluctant to serve raw meat, because of liabilities...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cars will return in Paris...

Despite the Paris Mayor's determination to eradicate cars in Paris, you can still find some - even parked on the sidewalk, LOL. OK, you guessed, this model is for kids (I found it in the 3rd, not far from République), but within 2 years you will find new "grown up models" (probably a bit larger!) for rent by the hour after the same principle of Vélib. The system is not to be confused with the one I already introduced here, for with Autolib (it will be their name) you will then be able to take a car at one end of the city and drop it at the other end. They should be electric - although electric cars are extremely expensive and not very efficient for the time being - and the rental price should be "reasonable".

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Renewal time

It's early July, France is soon to be closed! French people often go on vacation between July 14 and August 15 (not all necessarily for a whole month though) so it seems like a prefect time to renew shops and outlets. The BNP bank has had a pretty clever idea to hide the work they do in many of their branches; cool screens. I found this one on the Boulevard de Sebastopol and also Boulevard Saint Germain, but I'm sure they can be found in many other places.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Riding through Paris at sunset...

I'm just back from the Saint Malo-Nantes stage of Le Tour de France (it was great, I'll tell you more about it later...) and on the way back from the Montparnasse train station, as the sun was going down on the city , I came across this scene. Gorgeous. This statue is the one of Henri the IVth, it's located on l'Ile de la Cité and it's a replica made in 1818 (the original was made in 1614 but was destroyed during the revolution). The funny part is that the guy who made it, François Lemot, was a Napoleon's supporter and therefore opposed to monarchy. Apparently he hid a few busts of Napoleon in the body of the statue, but there is no actual proof of that!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Return to the Cité du Patrimoine

About 2 weeks ago, I took this photo and said I would tell you all about the wonderful museum outside of which I took it. Now is the time... It's called "La cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine" and it allows you to see the most beautiful sculptures/doors/gargoyles... of the main French religious buildings since the very first ages in one single place. And it's not just paintings of photos but actual casts of originals. It's very impressive (have a look at this or this or this to have a global view), moving and beautiful. I chose to show you one of the many "Pleurant" (Mourners?) that are part of Jean sans Peur's tomb.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Paris Monsoon?!

I often get emails from people visiting Paris asking me "I'm coming in [month] what should I pack?" I never know what to reply as, in Paris, you can never tell in advance what the weather will be like. Take this early July period, for instance... In theory, it should be warm an sunny, and though we're experiencing some heavy rains. And the week to come does not look too good. Tough luck, I'm going to Brittany (Bretagne) tomorrow (Monday) to follow the Saint-Malo>Nantes stage of Le Tour de France. I'd better take my umbrella!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Parisian institution!

I never showed you a very important part in the Parisian culture: Le Concierge! Located at the entrance of buildings (generally in a small apartment on the ground floor, like in this photo that I took rue des Saint-Pères), he - or more often she - takes care of the property, dispatches the mail to the dwellers, takes out the trash and monitors who gets in and out. Before, there was almost no Parisian buildings without a concierge, but now, they are considered too expensive and a lot have been "outsourced". Browsing the web I found out that the term concierge evolved from the French Comte Des Cierges (keeper of the candles!).

Friday, July 04, 2008

One more thought

I'm just back to Paris after a pretty tiring trip but I could not help going to the town hall where a lot of Parisians - and press - gathered to celebrate the release of the most famous French(/Colombian) hostage. I just saw a long interview of Ingrid on French television and I can tell you that this woman is really something; even after she's been treated like a dog (her words) for 2,321 days, she has the strength to say that she feels no hate for her abductors... Anyway I don't want to bore you with this story, especially since, like some of you mentioned it, there are still other people held by the FARC in the jungle. Let's also have a thought for the American hostages ( Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes and Keith Stansell) who landed in San Antonio today. They will celebrate the 4th of July in their homeland for the first time in 10 years...

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Ingrid is free

24 February 2008.

29 december 2007.

24 February 2006.

For the first time in PDP's history (I guess!) let me repost 3 photos; the ones I posted on various occasions to remind my visitors of Ingrid Betancourt, the Franco Colombian lady who was abducted by the Farc more than 6 years ago. Tonight we heard she was freed yesterday. I'm so happy, I could cry.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The old lady has a new dye!

Some of you mentioned it already in yesterday's comments (I guess it's been pretty much everywhere in the news), on June 30 at 11 pm the Eiffel Tower turned blue and grew 12 yellow stars... Why? Because those are the colors of the European flag and because France is to take its presidency for 6 months (FYI, there is no actual European President - yet? - but a pretty complicated organization...). Cool idea (the blue Eiffel Tower) I must say and very much appreciated by Parisians - and tourists - apparently. Talking about Europe, I'm heading to Brussels for the next two days, I'll try to keep in touch with you, but it's not going to be easy...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Theme day: No!

Well, it's July 1st, and, as usual it's a theme day within the City Daily Photo community... Guess what, this month's theme is: "post a picture of a sign in your town that includes the text 'no'", like it's easy and/or photogenic?! I had to actually produce the photo(!) with a little help from 1) Aristide Maillol who sculpted these magnificent 3 nympheas, 2) Jacques Froissant, a famous French blogger who brought a piece of paper and a marker, 3) Alexis Hubeau for the art direction and... Laurence Thurion who gathered all these people - and many more - for a Champagne party (you get the picture now, right?! LOL!)

172 City Photo Blogs are currently participating in this theme. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants or visit each of the following blogs separately:
American Fork (UT), USA by Annie, Anderson (SC), USA by Lessie, Ararat, Australia by freefalling, Arradon, France by Alice, Ashton under Lyne, UK by Pennine, Aspen (CO), USA by IamMBB, Athens, Greece by Debbie, Auckland, New Zealand by Lachezar, Austin (TX), USA by LB, Avignon, France by Nathalie, Bandung, Indonesia by Harry Makertia, 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, Birmingham (AL), USA by VJ, Bogor, Indonesia by Gagah, Boston (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston, Brantford (ON), Canada by Nancy, Brighton, UK by Harvey, Brookville (OH), USA by Abraham, Bucaramanga, Colombia by Fernando, Bucharest, Romania by Malpraxis, Budapest, Hungary by agrajag, Budapest, Hungary by Zannnie and Zsolt, Canterbury, UK by Rose, Cavite, Philippines by Steven Que, Chandler (AZ), USA by Melindaduff, Château-Gontier, France by Laurent, Cheltenham, UK by Marley, Chennai, India by Shantaram, Chennai, India by Ram N, Chesapeake (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Christchurch, New Zealand by Michelle, Cincinnati, USA by Erik Laursen, Cleveland (OH), USA by iBlowfish, Coral Gables (FL), USA by Jnstropic, Corsicana (TX), USA by Lake Lady, Delta (CO), USA by Bill, Duluth (MN), USA by Sun Dog Press, Durban, South Africa by CrazyCow, East Gwillimbury, Canada by Your EG Tour Guide, Edinburgh, UK by Dido, Folkestone, UK by Piskie, Forks (WA), USA by Corinne, Fort Lauderdale (FL), USA by Gigi, Gaia, Portugal by m+p, Geneva (IL), USA by Kelly, Grenoble, France by Bleeding Orange, Gun Barrel City (TX), USA by Lake Lady, Hampton (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Haninge, Sweden by Steffe, Hanoi, Vietnam by Jérôme, Helsinki, Finland by Kaa, Hobart, Australia by Greg, Hyde, UK by Gerald, Jackson (MS), USA by Halcyon, Jefferson City (MO), USA by Chinamom2005, Jerusalem, Israel by Esther, Katonah (NY), USA by Inkster1, Knoxville (TN), USA by Knoxville Girl, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Edwin, Kyoto, Japan by Tadamine, Lakewood (OH), USA by mouse, Larchmont (NY), USA by Marie-Noyale, Las Vegas (NV), USA by Mo, Lisbon, Portugal by Maria João, London, UK by Mo, London, UK by Ham, Lynchburg (VA), USA by Timothy, Mainz, Germany by JB, Melbourne, Australia by John, Menton, France by Jilly, Mexico City, Mexico by Poly, Mexico City, Mexico by Carraol, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Mitch, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Greg, Misawa, Japan by misawa mama, Monroe (GA), USA by Tanya, Monrovia (CA), USA by Keith, Monte Carlo, Monaco by Jilly, Monterrey, Mexico by rafa, Mumbai, India by MumbaiiteAnu, Munich, Germany by Troy, Nashville (TN), USA by Chris, Nelson, New Zealand by Meg and Ben, New Delhi, India by Delhi Photo Diary, New Orleans (LA), USA by steve buser, New York City (NY), USA by • Eliane •, Newcastle, Australia by Julia, Newport News (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Norfolk (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Norwich, UK by Goddess888, Ocean Township (NJ), USA by Josy, Oklahoma City (OK), USA by ananda.tashie, Orlando (FL), USA by OrlFla, Palos Verdes (CA), USA by tash, Paris, France by Eric, Pasadena (CA), USA by Petrea, Pasadena (CA), USA by Can8ianben, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia by Murphy_jay, Petoskey (MI), USA by Christie, Phoenix (AZ), USA by Cheryl, Poplar Bluff (MO), USA by Tricia, Port Angeles (WA), USA by Jelvistar, Portland (ME), USA by Corey, Portsmouth (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Posadas, Argentina by Lega, Pretoria, South Africa by Sam Ruth, Quincy (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston, Ramsey, Isle of Man by babooshka, Reykjavik, Iceland by Vírgíll, Riga, Latvia by Riga Photos, Rotterdam, Netherlands by Ineke, Rouen, France by Bbsato, Saarbrücken, Germany by LadyDemeter, Saigon, Vietnam by Simon, Saint Louis (MO), USA by Strangetastes, Salem (OR), USA by jill, Salt Lake City (UT), USA by Eric, Salt Lake City (UT), USA by atc, San Antonio (TX), USA by Kramer, San Diego (CA), USA by Felicia, San Francisco (CA), USA by PFranson, Santa Fe (NM), USA by Randem, Seattle (WA), USA by Kim, Seattle (WA), USA by Chuck, Selma (AL), USA by RamblingRound, Sequim (WA), USA by Norma, Sesimbra, Portugal by Aldeia, Setúbal, Portugal by Maria Elisa, Sharon (CT), USA by Jenny, Silver Spring (MD), USA by John, Singapore, Singapore by Keropok, Sofia, Bulgaria by Antonia, Springfield (IL), USA by Aubrey, Stanwood (WA), USA by MaryBeth, Stavanger, Norway by Tanty, Stayton (OR), USA by Celine, Stockholm, Sweden by Stromsjo, Stouffville, Canada by Ken, Stratford, Canada by Barb, Subang Jaya, Malaysia by JC, Suffolk (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Sunshine Coast, Australia by bitingmidge, Sydney, Australia by Julie, Sydney, Australia by Ann, Székesfehérvár, Hungary by Teomo, Tamarindo, Costa Rica by David, Tel-Aviv, Israel by Olga, Tempe (AZ), USA by angie, Terrell (TX), USA by Jim K, Terrell (TX), USA by Bstexas, The Hague, Netherlands by Lezard, Tokyo, Japan by Tadamine, Torun, Poland by Glenn, Toulouse, France by Julia, Trujillo, Peru by Giulianna, Turin, Italy by Livio, Twin Cities (MN), USA by Slinger, 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 D.C. Confidential, Wellington, New Zealand by Jeremyb, 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,