Thursday, December 31, 2009


Tomorrow will be a theme day. I won’t have the occasion to post a typical New Year photo so let me do it today. I took this photo near my place and I thought I’d keep for today to put a - little -smile on everybody’s face (after all is there a better way to start the year?). You may have recognized (from left to right: Michael Jackson, Nicolas Sarkozy (current French President), Ségolène Royal (ex Candidate to the French Presidency) Carla Bruni (current wife of Nicolas Sarkozy) and Johnny Hallyday (famous French singer). As for me, I'm sending you all my love from Boston, where I am currently eating Foie gras (again!) and drinking Champagne that I specially imported for the occasion! And remember, if you want to follow the New Year's eve events live from where you are, here is the link to follow.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Vitrine de noël

I did not show you any Vitrine de noël (Christmas window display) this year, so before they remove them, here is one. I took it outside Le Printemps where they have little stands for kids to climb on, so that they can see better. It's always so cute to see how fascinated the children are, up to a point that they never want to leave. It's a shame we become easily blasé when aging and that displays for adults (I mean television(!)) have to be much more eye catching than this! By the way, if you want to follow the New Year's eve events live from where you are, here is an interesting link.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Trees Forest

Funny the way the wrap Christmas trees in these nets nowadays. You see them absolutely everywhere in Paris, even in Supermarkets. I photographed this forest at Monceau Fleurs in the 17th, probably the largest florist chain store we have in France (and Europe actually). The price of a Christmas tree varies from one store to another and from the kind you want. The "Nordman" is the best - it lasts longer and does not lose its pines - costs about 50 €

Monday, December 28, 2009

French Television

I happened to have a meeting near the first French TV channel (TF1) recently (technically they are not located in Paris, but in the suburbs) and I took advantage of it to take this photo. We have 6 main channels in France plus a about 12 other ones of lesser importance. On top of that we also have Cable television (which is more DSL television) and more and more video on demand, which I'm very fond of. I like the French TV system actually as there is a wide range (from the very cultural public channels to the very commercial ones). If you want to improve your French while watching TV, have a look at this and this. You won't be able to watch everything (for rights reason), but some of it.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Paris snow scene

This is not what's happening right now in Paris. It's just another photo I took during the snowy days we had before Christmas. I took it on Le Pont Nôtre Dame and I actually like the light effects coming from the street. I also like the blinking Santa hat of the guy in the background. Very appropriate! I'm currently in Boston for the day, it's not sowing, but it's cold!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Gee, what a day. After 24 hours of stuffing myself with Christmas food(!) I came back to Paris and rushed to the Olympia to attend a show by Dany Boon. Dany Boon is a French comedian well known for a movie I already told you about: Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis. This time he was alone on stage and it felt good to laugh after so much family gathering (not that my family is not funny!) Now I have to rush again, this time to pack, for I'm going away tomorrow for a week. Where? You'll find out tomorrow... And last but not least. Thanks a million for all you Christmas wishes. I love you all.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Joyeux No "L"

It's today! When this photo shows up on PDP, I'll be unwrapping my presents, feeling sorry for having eaten too much and not looking forward for more food tomorrow! But every year it's the same and I'm actually happy it is. So let me wish you all a merry Christmas. FYI, I took this photo in one of the windows of Le Bazar de l'hôtel de ville (BHV).

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa is on his way!

That's it, I tracked him down! He was probably coming from the mountains of Korvatunturi in Finland (You have to say flying reindeer really help when you need to travel fast!) OK, I stop, or this time you really are going to think I'm on drugs! In fact I took this photo near the Grand Palais, off Les Champs Elysées, where they installed a small amusement park for children - I think it's the first time I see it there. In France - well at least in Paris - we don't have Santa Claus, but we have Father Christmas and every year we hear this on the radio (I'm sure this will remind a few things to my French visitors...). I'm off to Trouville today, to meet with my family. But it's not time yet to wish everyone a merry Christmas. Wait till tomorrow's photo ;-)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas is close...

Yes, Christmas is close, as you can see. There are already cadeaux (gifts) everywhere in Paris waiting to be picked up (this one probably belongs to a giant ;-)) No I'm not on drugs, I'm just happy today is my last day at work until January 6th and I'm really looking forward to having some rest. BTW, I photographed this huge canvas on the facade of Le Louvre des Antiquaires, a shopping mall dedicated to antiques, opposite to the Louvre Museum. They obviously are renovating the building (yes, like in yesterday's photo!)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Wedding Dress

Something more fun today... I took this shot in front of a wedding dress shop which building they are obviously renovating. I found it funny to think of the plastic tarpaulin as an extension of the dress. I know it's silly... FYI, there are a little less than 300,000 marriages per year in France (and about 150,000 divorces). The average age of the groom is 31 and the one of the bride is 29.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sooooo Paris!

How about a classic view to start this Christmas week? I took it last evening (Sunday) around 6 pm while I was going back home after having brunch at a dear friend's. It shows two typical things in Paris: the Eiffel Tower and Les Bateaux Mouches entrance - Les Bateaux Mouches are boats that carry passengers on the Seine and that are named after old boats that used to carry goods. As you can see the snow is gone now and the sky is clear. Perfect for some last minute shopping!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I want this for Christmas!

This? This is called Powerstriders and they are a new kind (well not that new...) of stilts specially made to jump around cities, like Paris ;-). They were making a demonstration in Le passage des Princes where I took this photo, near the Grands Boulevards and it was fun to see (in fact it's really not that easy to use at first). Well anyway, I was kidding when I wrote "I want this for Christmas" in the title of this photo, I just read it's extremely tiring and that you can spend up to 600 calories per 10 minutes!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Warm Metro

I'm sure you could feel the cold from yesterday's photo so today let me offer you an indoor one ;) Like I said I took the metro to work today which is almost like an adventure for me as I rarely take it! I took this photo at the Strasbourg Saint Denis station (a station that was opened to the public in 1908) where they have an odd partition between the two lines. You feel like you're spying on people on the other side while you're waiting for the train! The coming weekend will be cold again which is bad because I still have Christmas gifts to buy!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Velib in the snow

Giant snowfall this morning over Paris. The whole city was a mess - including me on my scooter and people on Velibs! I took this photo around 8:45 while the roads were still clear (well sort of!) but a few minutes later it was all slippery everywhere. Funny as hell (except for those who had an accident.). Tomorrow is going to be worse apparently so I think I'll take the metro to work. That means less photos for you, I'm sorry...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Lutetia is 100 years old

In Paris, most of the luxury hotels are located on the right bank. On the left bank, the most famous one is called the Lutetia and it was the first Art Deco hotel in Paris (the facade is absolutely stunning). It was inaugurated in December 1910 so quite logically they are currently celebrating its 100th anniversary (check the web site if you want to know more about its history). And BTW, if you want to stay there for 3 nights between December 1st and December 31st, you will get a 100 € voucher!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy recyling!

Apparently only one of two plastic bottles are currently being recycled in Paris. To draw people's attention on this major situation(!) the city of Paris, the Coca Cola company and the Designpack gallery have teamed up and built several Christmas decorations out of plastic bottles. I chose to photograph two of the four big Christmas trees they installed at Place André Malraux in the 1st arrondissement. 1,300 bottles were necessary to make them. Really cool.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Frozen Wheel

Come on, don't you act surprised... You knew I would show you the big Ferris wheel of the Jardin des Tuileries one of these days... ;-) Well, now is the time. Why? because I just passed by it a few minutes ago and because due to the cold the Neptune fountain is all frozen (click in the photo if you want to see better). Really nice, I'm sure you're going to love this photo as much as I enjoyed taking it (well I'm glad I had gloves on though...)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cold Attack!

I knew the weather could not stay that mild for long... Now we're going to have to play by the rules of Mr Winter! According to the forecasts, the cold is going to fall over Paris this week with temperatures between minus 1 and minus 6 (on Thursday). Minus 11 is even expected for next Saturday. I think you're going to see some Metro photos pretty soon because I don't think I'l bear riding my scooter with temperatures like that! About this photo: don't get too excited, this is fake snow! I took it in the 5th arrondissement, rue Galande and the church behind the palm tree is Saint Julien Le Pauvre.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A stunning show

I'm usually very picky about shows, but tonight I can tell you that I attended a really delightful one. It's called La Clique and it runs at the Bobino theater, in the 14th arrondissement. It was witty, funny, creative, unexpected, daring... Well, really good. Have a look at some of the numbers if you want to have a better idea. I took this photo at the intermission from the balcony.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Saint George Tavern

How about a little concert for today? This band was actually playing at the Saint George Tavern, an English pub located next to my home. I did not go inside the place, I just passed by it and heard the music through the window on the way back from Le General Lafayette, a restaurant where I had dinner with Lucio (a regular visitor to PDP who normally lives in Melbourne). A delightful moment. BTW, back to this photo: I took it from the street, which gives it this "backstage" effect. Have a wonderful Weekend, it's going to be cold here (not Minneapolis cold, but Paris cold!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

View on the Seine

I rarely post twice in a row a photo that I took in the same place, but today I'll make an exception for I also took this photo at the Paris town hall - but this time through the window. What do you think about the view? Not bad eh? The statue is the one of Etienne Marcel a former provost of the merchants of Paris during the 14th century  (see more on Wikipedia). And the buildings on the the other side of the Seine are located on the Saint Louis island.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Party at the Paris Town Hall

I'm just back from a party at the Paris Town hall that I visited for the first time in my life! Why? Because the Mayor is currently lobbying to obtain from l’ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Number) what is called an "extension" such as ".com", ".fr", ".net"... only this time it would be ".paris"! He took advantage of Le Web to organize a big party and publicize a "petition" that can be found here. I'm glad this gave me the occasion to visit this stunning building.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Notre Dame Christmas 2009

After the modern version of the Christmas tree, here is now... the very classic one right in front of Notre Dame. I took this photo around 7:30 am in the morning that is why the esplanade is almost empty. That's all! Today is a busy day for me as I'll be attending Le Web, my yearly meeting with the world 2.0! (Or is it 3.0 now?!). Be good, while I'm learning about what the future is going to be ;-)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


No, unfortunately this is not a cool Christmas lighting effect, but a real apartment on fire that I photographed last night on my way home. The scene was very impressive as it had just started and the firemen were still on the way. I really hope no one was in this place... Like I already said once, there are not that many fires per year in Paris, but of course, all buildings are so attached to each others, that it can quickly become dangerous for the neighborhood.  FYI, here is a map of fires for 2008 with a breakdown by arrondissement.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Christmas Tree

Even if the financial crisis has made it difficult, Père Noël included, the city of Paris has saved some money for the Christmas decorations. Hence this "Christmas tree", that I photographed at Les Halles tonight. This is probably the last year Parisians will enjoy decorations there as the whole area is going to change; the work will strat in 2010 and end in 2016 - and cost about 760 million euros!). If you're interested in the place, have a look at, it is made by two people who live there and who want to show us through their lens the progression of the work. Excellent idea (disclaimer, I know one of them!).

Sunday, December 06, 2009

A little sunshine in the rain?

It's not exactly the perfect time to be in Paris at the moment... When I went out this morning it was pouring rain like crazy and it's a miracle I managed to take this photo without damaging my camera! According to my favorite Paris weather forecasts site there will be a 70% chance of rain almost every day next week. Should I give up my scooter?! Now about this sign, I first thought it was related to Havaianas, the famous Brazilian sandals brand, but in fact it seems to belong to some obscure French Federation of Havaianing that promotes doing sports in sandals?! It's either very stupid or very clever.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Sacré Coeur from the West

I already showed you the Sacré Coeur several times in this blog, but never from the West of Paris. Not that it makes much difference (after all it's still a big meringue surrounded by buildings!) but since it's been a while you haven't seen it... The thing is that today I had lunch at La Maison de la Radio (the French public radio building); the restaurant is located near the very top floor, so of course I took advantage of the situation to take a photo. Did you notice the little white building on the left of the Church? It's a water tank that I already photographed here. Have a good weekend.

Friday, December 04, 2009

A man ahead of his (DS) time

Let me instroduce you to André Hannorat, a French politician that, I 'm sure, nobody in France remembers! I just like this sculpture - that I shot at the Cité Universitaire, where he lived the last years of his life. And though this man should be remembered for one thing that we still experience nowadays: the daylight saving time. In fact to be perfectly honest, he apparently "borrowed" the idea from Benjamin Franklin and had a bill passed at the French Parliament in as early as 1917.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I love Paris!

OK Strasbourg was nice and unusual. The architecture was beautiful and somewhat exotic, but I'm glad to be back in Paris, the home of the Alexander III bridge. Did you notice that, like every year, they installed the Ferris Wheel in Les Tuileries? Of course you did, it's right there LOL! It's currently cold here (as it was in Strasbourg BTW.) but I don't care, Paris is so beautiful in winter...

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


I'm in Strasbourg today, the largest city in the east of France. It's a city known for its white wine, its Sauerkraut (it has a strong influence from Germany), its European parliament and... its Christmas markets. That is to say markets that are only open in December and sell Christmas related goods (well that was in the old times, now they sell a bit of everything, made in China!). But that is not the reason why I'm there today, it's for work! So I won't see much of all this... To remain in context, I took this photo tonight (in Paris, not Strasbourg!) It's a view from my office onto other offices ;-)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Theme day: waiting!

It's been a month already since the last theme day within the City Daily Photo bloggers' community, so here we go again... Today, our theme is: waiting! I thought of it all day and could not come up with something interesting. Then, before I left my office, I looked through the window and saw the huge traffic jams... There I was! I actually took this photo over the Périphérique, the ring that runs around Paris that is often stuck between 6 and 8 pm. Have a look at the other ways of waiting in the other parts of the blog world...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Art Deco Building

In your opinion, what can be found in this building? A museum, a luxury hotel, a department store? All wrong!  This superb Art Deco building made by architect Joseph Marrast in 1931 is the head quarters of... the BNP Parisbas bank - the largest bank within the Euro zone. It's located near the opera, more precisely at the Boulevard des Italiens.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Yellow Umbrellas

It was raining today. Not so unusual for the end of November in Paris, but what is more surprising is to come across a bunch of people holding an umbrella the same color! I quickly found out they were all taking part in a Viva Ashraf demonstration (see more here) to protest the lack of democracy in Iran. This protest has apparently been going on for quite a while now, throughout the world. In Paris they gather every weekend at Place du Chatelet.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Le train bleu restaurant

Generally the kind of restaurants that you find in train stations don't really offer the best type of food... Except one: Le train Bleu, a restaurant located in the Gare du Nord (North station) Gare the Lyon, the one that you have to go to, to take the Eurostar to London or Bruxelles for instance takes you to the South of France. Le Train bleu is a Brasserie (originally a place were you were served beer and the type of food that goes with it) but a high-end one (just take a look at the menu to find out...). But more than the food, this place is highly recommended for the scenery (as impressive as the Louvre, some dare saying! - again check the website for more. But who am I to talk? Actually, I never went there, I just grabbed a train at the Gare du nord Gare de Lyon!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Paris underground

I know, this is probably the least glamorous photo I've ever posted here, but this is also typical Paris ;-) It's one of the many parkings that you can find underneath buildings - well the ones that have been built after the invention of automobiles obviously! The funny part is that now, it is forbidden to build new parkings underneath buildings as the Paris town hall wants to discourage Parisians from owning a car... BTW, if you're crazy enough to drive a car when you come to Paris, here is a useful sites to find a place to park.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

La fondation des Etats-Unis

I already mentioned several times the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris, a campus located in the 14th arrondissement where 40 student residences have been built between the two world wars. One of them is La Fondation des Etats-Unis, it was built between 1928 and 1930 by French architect Pierre Leprince-Ringuet and financed by American surgeon Homer Gage - and a few other people...). I passed by it today and I noticed it for the first time, due to traffic congestion! To get a room there you must be American and fulfill a few other criteria... Check for yourself! Believe me, it looks great.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lunch at Drouant

I work a lot these days, but I have compensations... Hence, this wonderful lunch I had today at Drouant, a very famous restaurant near the Opera. Drouant is known for the quality of its food of course, but much more than that. It's also known as the place where each year the jury of l'Academie Goncourt announces who the winner of the Goncourt Prize is (see my previous post on this restaurant for more). This year it was Marie Ndiaye. As for me, I did not win any prize, but I had the best risoto...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sparkling galeries

Like every year the famous department store Les Galeries Lafayette (after the name of the street where the main store is located) is now wearing its Christmas outfit! No less than 150 000 electric bulbs, 7 km (4.35 miles) and 150 people are necessary to install it. I'm interested to know if they will change the whole system before Christmas 2012 as, by this date, the European Community required that all incandescent light bulbs be replaced with energy-efficient lighting... It started already; it's now impossible to buy 100 watt "regular" bulbs in Europe.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Your next house in Paris?

You're coming to Paris and you don't know where to stay? Well, I have the perfect place for you... This town house is ideally located (Avenue Franklin D Roosevelt, very near the Champs-Elysées), it's extremely beautiful and it has a very interesting history: The Count Le Marois had it built in 1863 then it was sold in 1927 to the France-Amériques association, an association that promotes a "mutual understanding between France and all the countries of North and South America". This house is for rent whenever you feel like throwing a party for several hundreds of people... (See the inside here). That's what I did last week ;-)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Paris Photo

Every year the International Paris Photo show takes place at the Carrousel du Louvre. I don't always go, but this year, a visitor to PDP who happened to be in Paris,  invited me to join him there. It's a beautiful exhibit, with lots of fantastic photos (and some less fantastic!) in a perfect environment. It would have been far too easy to take a photo of a photo to post today, so instead let me offer you a little piece of the press office. I did not plan to use it really, but after I blew it up a little that's the one I thought was the best.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Paris through a bridge

There is nothing more beautiful than a view of the Seine from a Paris bridge. And when this view happens to be at dawn (well almost at dawn!) it's even more beautiful. Here is what I could not help but photographing this morning on my way to work. This bridge is called Le Pont Notre Dame and it takes you to the Isle de la Cité. It overlooks the Pont d'Arcole under which a Péniche (flat boat) is passing. Have a nice Saturday everyone, I'm on my way to Le Perche (a region outside Paris) for the weekend.

Friday, November 20, 2009

An evening at the theater

I know you're probably expecting a Beaujolais Nouveau related photo, but no! I'm just back from a more cultural event: a play by Octave Mirbeau, performed at the Théâtre du Vieux Colombier, near the Place Saint Sulpice by the actors of La Comédie Française (probably the best troupe you can find in France - read more here). It was a real delight - the play makes fun of the Nouveaux riches and although it was written at the very beginning of the 20th century the plot works very well today. In the theater they also had a small exhibit of stage costumes. That's what I chose to show you today.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happiness on the Champs Elysées

Yes! After last night's football match against the Irish, people were celebrating everywhere - for France is now qualified for the next World Cup. I took this photo on the Champs Elysées last night, but if you take a closer look at the young lady on the left, you will notice that she's wearing the Algerian flag. The thing is that Algeria also qualified today for the World Cup (after 26 years!) and since there is a large Algerian community in France they all gathered on the Champs Elysées. It's really nice to see people happy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Like a Mustang in Paris!

OK, maybe I'm in the Twilight zone right now, but it all seems like I live in the past these days... First the Vespas, then the Vintage flea market and now... the 1965 Mustang. It's one of the many models that Mikaël Cleuziou, a young entrepreneur who started Lazare et Vespucci, a company that sells old reconditioned automobiles from the 60's or so. Brilliant idea. Don't think of buying this one, it's already sold he told me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Salon du Vintage Fall 2009

Like last April and last year, I went to Le Salon du Vintage, a sort of high-end flea market dedicated to stuff from the late 60's, the 70's and the early 80's. I try not to be one of those "before, it was better" person, but I still think that there is nothing more elegant than a woman outfit from the 60's. This time the show took place in the heart of Saint Germain and it was a real success. Like always I took a zillion photos ( nearly 500!) but I selected only a few in this little Animoto. Enjoy... And have a look at this too.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Drive an original scooter

The word "scooter" is definitely English (it's a motor-powered bicycle) but the actual object was invented in Italy (in Genova exactly) in 1945 by two Italian engineers who called it Vespa (bee wasp). Since then the concept was copied in many places in the world - especially in Japan - but Italians continue to produce Vespas. Hence these two ones that are genuine models. They belong to Motori Italiani, a place that only sells original Vespas - and can even customize them for you. FYI, the black and white calendar is now ready, you can find it here. A big merci to those first customers who already bought the color one!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The love bike!

Intriguing isn't? At first I thought someone had found an interesting way of parking his bike (In Paris, where space is scarce, people find it hard to put away their bike - and leaving it in the street is rather risky as there are many thefts). But in fact, this "love bike" is just a store sign belonging to, a bike rental and repair place located in the 2nd arrondissement. A nice alternative to Velib... FYI. I'm currently working on the 2010 PDP Calendar. The color version is already completed... I still have the B&W to make. Thanks for your help again.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The old lady has a new dress (yes, again!)

In case you haven't heard - but I know you did -, the Eiffel Tower is 120 years old. To celebrate, they installed a new set of lights on the side facing the Trocadero and every night from 8 pm to 11 Pm they "play" with them for 12 minutes. When I say "they" I mean the computer, as, of course, all these lights - which happen to be low consumption Leds - are computer controlled. I passed by ET 2 days ago on my way back from my father's and I took this. If you want to see moving images of it, click here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Jazz in Paris

Last evening (Thursday) I went to the opening of a photo exhibit by Alain Bellone, but I felt a bit lonely as no one would speak to me (did you notice how people look very inspired in art exhibit openings, but don't dare talking to each others?!). So I left pretty quickly, without a photo (I had planned to take my photo du jour there...). On the way out - near Le Méridien hotel in Montparnasse - I came across a Paris institution that I never showed to you: Le petit journal Montparnasse. It's THE place to go to if you're desperate to listen to some jazz in Paris and don't know where else to go.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Arc de Triomphe

Yes, this is Les Champs Elysées. Yes, the street is amazingly empty... But if you look carefully, you will notice a lot of policemen (including the famous Gardes Républicains on their horse). Well, no wonder, I took this photo this morning, just before the celebration of the 1st world war truce took place. Angela Merkel (from Germany) was exceptionnaly here this morning. There are no survivors left of this war (among soldiers) so I suppose this date won't remain a holiday for ever...