Saturday, January 31, 2009

Jean de Lattre de Tassigny

I attended a conference at the Dauphine University this (Friday) morning and next to the university, I found this sculpture in honor of Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny. He was a French war hero who fought during World War I and II and the war of Indochina where he lost his only son. As you can see, we're having fabulous weather in Paris at the moment. I hope it'll stay that way this weekend as I have important photos to take ;-)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Capitalism: the French nightmare

There were several big demonstrations in France today and the largest one, as always, took place in Paris. It ended up at the Opera house where I took this photo. I thought it was pretty funny to take an anti-capitalist billboard in front of two shiny adverts for Rolex and Commerzbank in the background! FYI, the billboard roughly says: "Unrestricted capitalism equals people in danger".

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lafont glasses (again)!

I know that it's the 3rd time (last time it was also at the end of January) I post a photo of the window of Lafont, a French optician that has several outlets in Paris. This one belongs to the store located on Boulevard Raspail in the 7th by which I pass every evening to go home. Once again, I love what they've done with their window, it's extremely creative. Like I mentioned already, Lafont is a family owned business and it's their older son, Thomas, who is in charge of the window displays. One day I'll have to check out the other boutiques ;)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wall of wine at the Café Moderne

Funny coincidence today: I had all my meals in restaurants located 40 rue Notre Dame des Victoires, near La Bourse. La brasserie Gallopin at lunch and le Café Moderne at dinner!I found this wall of wine in the second one (le Café Moderne) where I had a really good meal with a friend I had not seen in years. We both went for the 5 - small - course special, where you get to taste a little bit of the chef's specialties. Really nice. If you go, book one of the tables on the right hand side of the restaurant, much quieter that the other ones...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Les Parisiennes

When I passed these two girls in the Latin Quarter yesterday, I immediately thought to myself "these are the typical 2009 Parisiennes" : elegant but not uptight, thin and sexy but not provocative, free but not wild, joyful but not foolish, rich but not ostentatious... Stereotypes? Well yes, probably a little bit, but you know that there is always a part of truth in all stereotypes! By the way, what's your idea of the typical Parisienne?!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Where celebrities have dinner in Paris...

If you've been to Paris, or have opened any Paris guidebook, then you've probably heard of Le Procope, a restaurant that claims to have been the first café in Paris. The place opened in 1686 and has an incredible history (the list of "celebrities" of all times that had coffee or dinner there is fascinating: Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin or Robespierre, Danton and Marat - "top guns" from the French Revolution time! - see Wikipedia for more info). The funny part is that you can still find the name of some famous people above a few seats. For example, I was sitting next to the seat of Jean-Paul Belmondo - a famous French Actor in the 60's and 70's - but I also saw where Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre got to seat or even former President Jacques Chirac.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Eglise des Invalides

I always showed you the Invalides from the other side (what is called l'Esplanade), but last night on the way back from a dinner party at friends who live near this neighborhood, I passed by this magnificent building, which is actually called L'Eglise Saint-Louis des Invalides and which is famous for sheltering the tomb of Napoleon. I never went inside though - yes you heard me, never! Have a quiet Sunday everyone.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

6 billion others, the exhibition.

Do you remember when I encountered the photographer Yann Arthus Bertrand for the promotion of his project called 6 billion others? I told you that on top of the web site there would also be an exhibition at Le Grand Palais in January. Well, last evening I went to see it. The whole place is covered in screens with testimonies from people from all over the world. It's not only impressive, but can also be very moving. See the guy in the photo holding his head? He ended up crying in front of the camera after he'd been asked to talk about the topic "family". The audience was like petrified.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Lingerie show

I went - for work - to the international lingerie show today! You may think it's some kind of kinky exhibition, but not at all! It's a trade show where business prevails... Of course it's also a wonderful place for photographers even though I was not authorized to take models (for copyright reasons). I ended up photographing legs - well, plastic ones! BTW, do you remember my Renault photo shoot? Well, they came up with the final result yesterday (you need to agree to install a plugin called Photosynth if you want the full experience).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bear necessities

Don't go thinking this is how I feel after all your wonderful birthday messages (thanks a million, really, it feels good to have so many people from all over the world thinking of you on a special occasion). No, this is simply one of the many animals featured in the taxidermy studio of Deyrolle, a two century Paris institution where you can find all sorts of nature stuff such as gardening tools and outfits, insect and butterfly collections, etc. Definitely a place to visit if you're around the rue du Bac - Number 46 - in the 7th.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bag dress! Euro Trash!

You like this suit? Don't you think the cape adds a cool note to it? Well, take a closer look (click in the photo, if you need a larger view)... Yes, this white silky material is... plastic from garbage bags! Don't go thinking it's the latest fashion in Paris, or that the crisis struck us so bad in France that we have no money left for clothing! It's just a cool idea people from Ikks (a French clothing store chain) had during the soldes (sales) period. More in the making of.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Quilt, always...

A few days ago, I went to a quilt exhibition opening at the 5th arrondissement town hall, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy and France Louisiane. The work of several quilters (from Louisiana and France) was on display together with many portraits by the Alabama quilter Riché Richardson, including one of Barack Obama (take a look at the little Animoto I made with all the quilts). I thought this was the perfect day to post it as, unless you live under a rock, you know that today (Tuesday) it's the new US President's inauguration.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Musée Maillol, again!

You must think I spend my time in the Maillol museum for I already posted many photos of the place. The thing is that they often have interesting exhibitions, so on top of the usual Maillol sculptures I'm never tired of seeing, I also enjoy their temporary stuff. At the moment, they have a Russian paintings exhibit called l'Avant-garde Russe (that is paintings from the beginning of the 20th century). It's a difficult one; you need to "study" a bit to enjoy it thoroughly, but it's worth it ;). And it allowed me to take a cool photo, so...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Inside the kitchen of La Cigale Récamier

Those who've been following PDP for a while will probably have recognized Lynn aka PHX-CDG, who I had the pleasure to have dinner with last night (together with Michael and Susan, a colleague of Lynn's). We went to La Cigale Récamier, where I immediately found out Lynn was so famous that all the waiters knew her. Not only the waiters actually, but also the chef and owner of the restaurant Mr Gérard Idoux, who gave us a tour of his cuisine. Specialty of the house? Le soufflé! I personally had soufflé for starter, main course, and... dessert. You've got to try the place if you're in town, but don't forget to book... Along with Lynn, Catherine Deneuve is a regular!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Gallery Lafayette

Forgive my lame play on words in the title of this post, but it's true though, I found this bust of General Lafayette in a gallery, well at least in an exhibition I will tell you more about later. If you're American, the name Lafayette sounds probably familiar as this military officer played a role during the independence war (helping the "Americans" getting rid of the English!). I let you read more about his life on Wikipedia, if you're interested.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Demonstration at Saint-Germain des Prés

(12:00 PM edit) These people are demonstrating! What do they do for a living? They model. Who do they usually model for? The Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts (a public fine arts school). Why are they angry? Because they are paid 11 € an hour and suffer bad working conditions (ie the cold!). They are not the first models to demonstrate: last December, the ones of Les Ateliers Beaux-Arts de la ville de Paris protested the Paris town hall's decision to make tipping illegal as of October (before then, students would traditionally tip them at the end of a modeling session). Estimated loss: 200 € a month (some work 70 hours a week). I missed this desmonstration at the time, where they posed in their work outfit! Only in France...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It probably glows in the dark too...

Please don't go thinking this is the kind of trees that grows in Paris! Like the one I showed you a few days ago, this Christmas tree is off duty for the season and quite frankly I'm not too surprised it ended up in the trash. I can tell you I was not the only one who stared at it for a moment this morning (I think I'm the only one who took a photo of it though ;). Well, I understand it's much less attractive than yesterday's scene (thank you for all your nice comments BTW), but you've got to admit I made my best to remain in the same color scheme!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Place de La Concorde, this morning

I know, another of these sunrise photos, but I'm sure you won't mind me posting it. I took it this morning on the Place de La Concorde on my way to work. The scenery was so breathtaking that you would not believe the number of cars stopping to take a photo with a camera phone! And to think I thought of taking a shorter way this morning because I needed to drop something somewhere before going to the office...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Inside the Bibliothèque Nationale de France

I work too much! So last night, for once, instead of staying in the office until 8 pm, I decided to air my mind and go to the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (also called Bibliothèque François Mitterrand after a former French President who had it built) to attend a conference by Jean-Marc Jancovici about climate change (he's a scientist, not a politician, which makes him more trustworthy!). Unfortunately, I arrived 5 minutes late and the place was already full so there was no way I could get in. I did not waste 100% of my time however, it gave me the opportunity to take this photo inside the Bibliothèque, which I kind of like ;)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Begging on the Champs Elysées

I took this shot last time I had dinner on the Champs Elysées and I did not publish it right away because I always have mixed feelings about that kind of photos. I think it's easy to trigger pity by showing someone begging for money kneeling down on what they call the most beautiful avenue in the world. At the same time, I must admit that I felt guilty coming out of a heated restaurant, heading to a heated apartment and having no problems paying the bills. Why this guilt? After all, I'm not the one who put this guy in the street. Can someone explain?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The ice age...

Need I say more? I took this shot Friday in one of the sidewalk gutters (look at this photo, I took in 2006 if you want to know more about our water system). It was -13 C (8.6 F) apparently on that day, so no wonder water turns into ice ;) It's the Russian's fault they said on television (the cold air comes from Siberia!). I just had a look at the weather forecast though and it looks like things will change next week. This might be the last icy photo of the season on PDP!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Photo Shoot

So the reason why I had dinner at l'Atelier Renault yesterday was to prepare a photo shoot that took place today in La Vilette. The French car manufacturer thought of a pretty cool idea to promote one of their latest models (the new Megane). They invited a few bloggers from several countries in Europe (including France of course) to participate in a giant, joint photo shoot. I was one of them. The result will appear on a specific website on January 21. I'll let you know more about it. (The white part in the background is... snow!)

Friday, January 09, 2009

Florida 50 years anniversary

I just had a nice little dinner on the Champs-Elysées at l'Atelier Renault (I'll tell you why later). I then got the chance to see that this year is the 50th anniversary of "La Floride", which is not an American State, but... a French cabrio made by Renault in 1959. Brigitte Bardot (in the background) use to have one apparently! The photo is not very good, but, eh, you can't expect one like yesterday everyday, can you?! Besides, let me dedicate it to our favorite Floridian: Michael!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Champs de Mars in the snow

I know, I know this is not the Snowy Eiffel Tower you've been demanding for days, but almost! I took this photo on the Champ de Mars, that is... behind the Eiffel Tower (which I repeat has no snow on it whatsoever!). It's really cold in Paris let me tell you, and we're not used to these Canadian temperatures!! This morning I had to take the metro because the gas handle of my scooter was frozen! But it's fun too; the city is a bit disorganized...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Le Lyon de Belfort

I know you've been asking me for a snowy photo of the Eiffel Tower but last time I passed by it (two days ago) I swear I did not see a single flake of snow on it!! To make up for it, here is Le lion de Belfort, a famous sculpture located at Place Denfert-Rocherau, by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi whose workshop was located not far from there. Bartholdi is also the one who made La Statue de la Liberté... This lion is called the "Lion de Belfort" because it's a replica of the original one, located in the city of Belfort in the east of France. If you don't see the snow on it very well it's because of the particular light that we have at the moment in Paris (it's about 20 degrees Fahrenheit here, which is unusually cold). For a broader view, click here.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Revolution at France Televisions!

I know my British visitors will find it normal, but it may come as a surprise to the American ones (as for the others, I'd like to know), as of today, there will be no more advertising between 8 pm and 6 am on the French public television! Consequence: for the first time in 40 years or so (when advertising on TV was introduced in France) prime time programs started tonight at 8:35 instead of 8:50 / 55. It's only 20 minutes, but it makes a huge difference, especially for the private channels who are likely to lose market share... Some people say the Public television will lose too much funding because of this new rule, but I hope not, because, let me tell you, it's really cool not to have to wait for the advertising to stop before watching the programs.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Snow alert (part II)

I know you're going to say you already saw one of these Maillol sculptures covered in snow 2 days ago... But to be honest I really hesitated between the last one and this one (if you noticed, you can almost see the Eiffel Tower in the background in this one) and since I heard we have a good chance of snowfall today (Monday) again, I thought I could post a second one... Besides, judging from your comments last time, I think you will enjoy it too. Not to mention it's a peaceful way of starting the year! Have I made enough excuses?!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Violent anti-Israel demonstration in Paris

Sorry I'm late posting, but I'm just back from Le Boulevard Haussmann, where I took amazing photos, after an anti Israel demonstration. From what the Agence France Presse reports, between 20 000 and 25 000 people protested the Israeli incursion in Gaza, but towards the end, a group of demonstrators started acting violently; they flipped about 13 cars upside down, burnt 3 others and crashed a few shop windows. Here are some additional photos: first a little Animoto, second, the actual photos.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Snow dress

I posted a lot of Aristide Maillol sculptures on the blog, but this morning, when I saw it had snowed during the night, I could not help but stopping by the Louvre gardens and take a photo. Snow is rare in Paris, that's why we love it when it happens; it gives an extra flavor to the city (even when it's just a thin layer, like in this photo). Soon it will be Monday and life is going to go back to normal... Have a nice, resting weekend.

Friday, January 02, 2009

From the stage of Le Châtelet theater

I'm just back from Le Châtelet, a theater located in the very heart of Paris and pretty well known for its wide range of shows and concerts. It opened in 1862, and you can really tell people were shorter at that time, because there is not much room for your legs LOL. Anyway, a friend of mine had a spare ticket so I went to see On the town, a musical by Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins. Perfect for the first day of the year ;) Now you may wonder how I got to take a photo of the whole theater, from the stage... Well I did not! This is just a mock-up located in the entrance to help you choose your seat. Cool eh?!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Best photo of the year

Here you go... This one was called Gare d'Orsay at night and I took it last January, when the weather was a bit cloudy. I remember thinking, "gee it really looks like a painting", and it does! There were other photos I could have picked instead of this one, so especially for you, here they are! Have a nice year everyone! And don't forget, today, everyone in the City Daily photo community will post his/her best photo of the yeat, so don't miss it!