Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hotel Le Meurice

Hotel Meurice - Le Meurice, as it's generally called - is a famous hotel located on the rue de Rivoli, near La Concorde. It was built in 1835 (although in some aspects it has a much longer history that you can check here) and was one of the favorite homes of famous British travelers and many European kings and Queens. Nowadays, you can find iPod docking stations in each room! Anyway, as I was passing in front of it, I noticed this bike, that they probably lend to customers who want to go for a ride in Paris. Much more chic than a velib!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

European Elections

It's election times again... In one week (on June 7, precisely in France) the 375 million voters (out of a total population of 500+ million) will elect the 736 members of the European parliament. Unfortunately (well, in my opinion!) the concept of a big European nation is still too new (the first European elections took place in 1979) to mean anything to the people and only few of these 375 million voters will make the journey to the poll booths on Sunday. Unless, unless... they fall for this party who claims they found the best way to avoid layoffs: prohibit them!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Crossed Lines

I had a flat tire today and while waiting for the garage to fix it (which they ended up not doing actually, but that is another story!!) I spent some time in the Batignolles area. I found this bike attached to the fence that protects people from falling on Saint Lazare train lines. I thought it was cool. I also ended up talking to a real estate agent who is also a photographer; he told me he learned that a good photo (technically) is not necessarily a beautiful photo (emotionally). Interesting. BTW, tomorrow all day I'll be in a Photoshop training...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

When messy rhymes with pretty!

Some may find this window messy, I find it pretty artsy! I passed by this shop in rue Michel Le Comte in le Marais a few days ago and never used the photo. And since today I did not have the time to take a "photo du jour", well, I thought I could use this one. I haven't been able to find out what this store's name was. BTW, you're not going to believe it but we have another 3 day weekend coming up, so I'll have time to take more photos ;-)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Casual Paris Scene

This is what I saw when I came home tonight after work in the passage where I live. I grabbed my camera, put it on the floor (an action now known by some of you as the "Tenin perspective" LOL) and pushed the trigger. I have no idea who this painting was made by nor even what the name of the gallery is, but I just wanted to share with you this photographic scene. Hope you like it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Looking for Eric

I can't help showing you this poster for a movie that was competing at the Cannes festival and that will be in many movie theaters over France tomorrow (see trailer here). Believe it or not it's a comedy by Ken Loach - yes, a comedy! - starring, Eric a soccer fanatic postman who receives life coaching from another Eric : the famous soccer player Cantona. Even though I bear the same name, I don't think I'll go and see it as the plot sounds a little meaningless to me. FYI, here are some facts about the name Eric in France : it was the 40th most given first name in France during the XXth century and the peak was reached in 1965 (20 278 babies were named Eric that year!).

Monday, May 25, 2009

Need directions?

I know you're going to say I'm obsessed by window mannequins, as I already took and posted several photos of them here and you're probably right! But here I go again... I found these one at the back of a truck rue de Richelieu last week, ready to be delivered to their display destination. I love the reflexion in the ceiling. If you like mannequins too, check this site. That's all. Have a good week everyone, ours is a 5 day one AGAIN! But fortunately next Monday is another holiday (Pentecôte)!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Les Boules !

Like I told you yesterday, I’m currently in the South of France. Here, they have a very popular game – or is it a sport? – called Les boules (the balls) or La Pétanque after the Provençal dialect word la petanca which means "feet anchored"). It’s very simple: the first player throws a little ball called Le Cochonnet (or Jack in English) about 10 meters away. The following players have two bigger metal boules that they try to get the closest possible to Le Cochonnet. It’s allowed to hit a competitor’s boule (for a more comprehensive history and rules check Wikipedia). FYI, I took this shot in Les arènes de Lutèce a very old Roman arena located in the 5th arrondissement, where now people play Boules every weekend.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I love Paris in the spring time...

Can you think of a more Parisian scene? The typical postcards, the romantic couple in the background… I thought this was the perfect shot for me to keep connected to Paris as I am currently a few miles away (I’m in the South of France, near Nîmes) enjoying a hot, sunny 4 day weekend in Provence. Life is tough! Sorry this will cause more delay in the posting of the Picnic videos but as Pierre Corneille said in Polyeucte: "Le désir s’accroît quand l'effet se recule"! (C'mon Frenchies, you can translate this for our non French speakers, can't you?!)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Gaz à touS les étageS, really?

Around 1880, it was considered a big plus to have gas on every floor (kinda like fiber optics or cable TV today!) that is why “Gaz à tous les étages” is a sign that you often see on the facades of old Parisians buildings, making it obvious that in this place, you will enjoy the comfort of gas, 24/7. Recently, it was not so sure though… as several employees from the gas company decided that since they weren’t paid enough they would have no other solutions than turn off at random a few gas taps! Needless to say, this action was not really popular...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Statue Hotel Dieu

The same day I photographed La Fête du pain, I took advantage of being on the île de la Cité to venture inside the Hotel-Dieu hospital. According to Wikipedia it's the oldest hospital in Paris- it was founded in 651 AD!  - and is still used today (hopefully, they renewed it since 651!). Needless to say it's a fabulous piece of architecture and I seriously encourage you to enter and visit it if you happen to be on the île de la Cité one day. At the end of the inside garden there is a statue which originally represents a famous French surgeon called Guillaume Dupuytren, born in 1777. But every year, med students dress him fancy... I'm unable to tell you what this character is, but I can let you discover his previous looks!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Students no more on strike

After 16 weeks of strikes in several universities (there are 83 universities in France), and in light of the forthcoming exams, students - especially the ones from La Sorbonne in Paris - have announced tonight that they are going to put an end to their strike. They were opposing a 2007 law that established a certain competition between universities and allowed the deans to choose their teachers. Until now a diploma from any university was considered as good - or as bad! - no matter where you got it from. Also, the fees are the same no matter where you attend; it costs 373.57 Euros per year, including social security!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Enough food on this blog! The weather has been pretty bad in Paris lately (hence the PDP picnic that I had to throw indoor) but this time meteorologists are positive: the sun is on its way! To celebrate I photographed a typical summer scene ;). You think I took this photo from above right? Not at all. It's actually a window display at Le BHV, the big department store near the town hall (you can see a little reflexionof the sky in the upper right corner). The whole set is vertical. Pretty cool I must say.

Monday, May 18, 2009

La baguette

Bread is a very serious matter in France. Or should I say was... As less and less people eat bread in France; we went from 900g per day per person in 1900 to 140g in 2006. Partly because it is considered as fattening and partly because for some time bread was not as good as what it used to be. That lead the whole baking industry to work on new kinds of bread, to adapt to newer tastes (wholegrain, organic, various topings, etc.) and... to organize public relations events! La fête du pain is one of them. That is where I took this photo this weekend. I bet you did not know a baguette looked like this before being cooked. BTW, I shot a little video there, that you can see here. The picnic videos, however are not ready yet, sorry. ;(

Sunday, May 17, 2009

At the Marché

I already mentioned the various markets of Paris on this blog, but I never told you about the one on Place Monge, to which I went for the first time on Friday morning and where I took this photo. It's a wonderful market with amazing fresh food. FYI, the list of Paris markets in each arrondissement is shown here. It's in French, but easy to understand. You can also spot them on a map. I'm still working on the videos of the picnic. Please be patient!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The little man uptop the Vendome Column

I've shown the Column Vendôme a few times here, but never the little guy on top of it! And this little guy happens to be Napoleon (this monument was actually made in his honor) ! I bet that if I'd take a poll in the street, few Parisians know that (I didn't!). The history of this monument is fascinating; not only has this statue been replaced several times but the column in itself was destroyed in 1871, during one of the many riots that we've had through our history! I'll be editing the PDP picnic video this weekend, stay tuned.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Rabbits invaded Paris

Back to the streets of Paris... I came across these rabbits on Boulevard Haussmann, in front of Le Printemps (the big department store). They were made by "The Cracking Art Group" an Italian artists group whose purpose is pretty unclear to me... All I could understand is that they make huge animals in plastic, exhibit them and recycle them when the exhibition is done. The rabbits (there are 200) can be seen at Le Printemps until June 20, 2009.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

PDP Picnic souvenir photo

It's almost 2 am here, I'm just back from the 2009 PDP picnic and here is the photo you must have been waiting for! As always we - I at least! - had a super good time, it feels so good to be surrounded by people who love what you do. This year was especially moving as several of you sent special message to the best ambassador you could find: PHX-CDG! (And Thib, also!). Also I had the incredible surprise to see Suzy (the famous ET Suzy!) who flew in to Paris from San Jose, California, especially for the occasion. She was not the only one from California; as you all know Lois was also there. I don't have the time to upload photos, videos (this year I had a hard drive video cam so there should be no jammed cassette!) tonight. I'll do all this this weekend when I have more time. I'd like to thank everyone, who either attended the party or participated in writing or in thoughts. PS : Sorry for all the people who are not in this photo; I took it too late. But I have everyone on tape. Please, be patient!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

PDP Picnic day!

That's it! D-Day... It happens only once a year and... it's today (Wednesday May the 13th) . But pay attention, there is a change in the location. The weather is not good enough to take the chance to do it on the banks. Therefore, here is a nice surprise to all of you who have been following PDP and the little "family" that revolves around it. The 2009 PDP picnic will be taking place where Guillemette (better known as "Guille", here) works, that is at "The Cork and Cavan" on 70 quai de Jemmapes (10th arrondissement), by the Canal where I took this photo (see map here) - still @ 7 pm. Métro République or Jacques Bonsergent. Bring food but don't bring drinks, as they have to be ordered on the spot. See you tonight. See also Facebook.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I'm just back from a nice dinner with a bunch of web entrepreneurs, whose company I enjoy a lot. We went to Noura's, a Lebanese restaurant located on avenue Marceau. Everyone - but me - was Twittering, taking photos, posting comments on blogs... I love Lebanese food, even though it's very filling. Picnic update: there is a change in the location. Please visit this link.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Les Parisiennes (part II)!

You make all kinds of encounters in the Latin Quarter... Look what I found just after leaving the Café de Flore Saturday! They were heading to a birthday party they said (probably a caveman!). I did not think of inviting these charming ladies to the picnic on Wednesday, but if they read this... BTW, talking about charming ladies, I finally posted the photos of the little get together I had in Sydney.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Drink at Café de Flore

Because Bettina (a regular visitor to PDP) was arriving in Paris today, Anne Reeves had organized a little gathering with her at Café de Flore. Alas, Bettina never showed up! I suppose I'll meet her later on, at the picnic on Wednesday 13, but in the meantime we enjoyed a nice little drink at the terrace of "Le Flore", as we call it. Le Flore is famous for having been the HQ of many intellectuals after the war. Now it's a little touristy, very expensive (a beer costs 8,50 €!) but that is what is costs to sit where Sartre and Beauvoir sat 50 years ago!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The lady is 120!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen at the moment (well technically it should have been on March 31, the day the French flag was put on top of the tower in 1889!) we're celebrating the 120th anniversary of the Iron lady. On this occasion, a the Paris town hall, there is a big, captivating exhibit about Gustave Eiffel, before and after the tower. Mock ups, documents about iron made monuments (including the structure of the inside of the Statue of Liberty) and even protests (including a "petition" against the tower signed by many famous French writers), without forgetting the various projects for the "after Tower" since, as you probably know, it was not meant to stay... Do visit this exhibit if you come around, it will last until August 29. If you cannot make it and understand French, visit this and/or watch this.
On a different note: if you happen to be in Paris today (Saturday) and want to join a pre picnic gathering, come to Le Café de Flore @ 7 pm. We'll have a drink.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Lunch at Les Invalides

In Paris it's prohibited to walk on the grass in most of public gardens. Therefore the only option you have when it's sunny outside and want to take advantage of the nice weather, is to sit on a bench or go to one of the woods in the suburbs. That is unless you know the secret places! Like l'Esplanade des Invalides where I took this photo today around lunch time. It was a beautiful day yesterday as, apparently, next Thursday (the day of the PDP Picnic) will be - well according to the forecasts...

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Lycée Chaptal

Last evening I had a meeting rue des Dames and on the way out I saw this. On the right a typical building of the Batignolles area (a quarter in the North-West of Paris) and in the background a piece of Le Lycée Chaptal, a high school built between 1866 and 1876 that was originally used to teach Chemistry and Physics to the army officers of Napoleon the 3rd. A very Parisian scene, no doubt.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Pushing the boundaries

Yesterday I took you to the past with Mozart, today let me take you to the future with President Sarkozy! Like I already mentioned, Paris is a pretty small city compared to the other European capitals. The idea of extending its boundaries to the suburbs in order to make a "Greater Paris" area like in London has been in the pipe for a long time, but it is very difficult to achieve. Last year, President Sarkozy asked 10 world famous architects to come up with ideas to reshuffle the space like Haussmann did in his time. The results are interesting - and sometimes spectacular - and can be seen in la Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine until November 22nd. If you cannot make it to Paris, you can have a glimpse on line here or read this article in English.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Mozart lived there

I love it when I walk down a street in Paris and suddenly see a plaque on the wall saying "This writer/singer/composer... lived in this building in XXXX". The latest one I saw - and obviously photographed - was the one of Mozart who came to Paris for the first time in 1763 with his father (he was 7 at the time). It's located in the Hotel de Beauvais a magnificent building that was completed in 1656 and that you absolutely have to see if you happen to pass by the 68 rue Francois Miron in the 4th arrondissement. PS: don't forget next week's picnic!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Where to take a walk in Paris.

If you're looking for a nice, not touristy garden to take a walk in Paris, I would suggest you pay a visit to Le Jardin des Plantes, in the 5th arrondissement. It's a botanical garden surrounded by several museums: Evolution, Mineralogy (where I took the photo of the crown jewels), Paleontology and Entomology! (See Wikipedia for a full description). But more that this, this garden also shelters an Art Deco wintergarten and two enormous greenhouses (of which you can see a part in this photo). Don't miss all this if you come to Paris.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

New York loves me!

Look what I found on a Paris sidewalk?! Thought it was funny even though I don't know who's behind this? Is this a new "brand" they are trying to promote (I even found a T-shirt on Zazzle) or just a graffiti for fun? And why not "Paris loves me" (or rather Paris m'aime!) Anyway. FYI, today (Sunday) I'm meeting with Anne Reeves - a regular visitor to PDP, who just arrived in Paris. A "moment of delight", for sure ;-)

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Le Muguet

OK, I know it's not very original, every year I take a photo of the same Muguet (Lilly of the Valley) but that is what the tradition of Labor day is all about. Yesterday (May 1st), everywhere in Paris you could buy Muguet from kids, boy scouts, the Red Cross and even from the French Communist Party. I chose to show you one that I took at a florist on rue Monge. Very pretty. Let me offer it to you all ;)

Friday, May 01, 2009

Beyond a shadow of a doubt

Today is May 1st, the day we celebrate Labor by... not working! But within the City Daily Photo community there is no such thing as "no work"! Quite the contrary; today is a theme day: shadow (Click here to view thumbnails for all participants). I cheated a little bit as this is not really a shadow, but who cares!! Have a nice long weekend if you're in a part of the world where you celebrate Labor day also.