Wednesday, September 30, 2009

African Businessmen

France has tight relations with Africa. Partly for historical reasons (a lot of African countries are former French colonies), partly for business reasons (some African countries have natural resources that we care for...). That is why you find a lot of Africans in Paris and why we encourage trade between our two countries. Hence this "Malian feast of tourism and craft" ((here is an example) that is currently taking place in the Paris Chamber of Commerce in front of which I took this photo. I love African outfits! BTW, talking about trade, do you know a site called Kiva that allows you to help small businesses. I just found out about it yesterday and I think it's a brilliant idea.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Paris garbage

Not everything is glamorous in Paris... We also "produce" garbage and therefore, like in every city, we need to collect it, put it away and burn or recycle it. Like I already mentioned once, each Parisian produces almost 600 kg of garbage every month year, which is more that the double of the amount produced in 1940. We mostly reject cardboard and papers (magazines, etc.) then Plastic, then glass. For several years now (I've been unable to find when it started exactly) we have to sort our garbage (blue cans for glass, yellow ones for paper and plastic and green ones for the rest, like in this photo), but it's still a little complicated. Besides you need several cans and it's not easy in small Parisian apartments... If you're interested and read French, here is a full report.

Monday, September 28, 2009

RATP 60 year anniversary

We Parisians, are pretty proud of our public transports even though we complain when some lines are overcrowded or on strike... At the moment the RATP (Régie autonome des transports parisiens), that is the Paris public transport company, is celebrating its 60th anniversary. On this occasion they brought back to life a few old buses and Metro trains. The one in the photo is a bus from the late forties, when you could still jump on the back while the bus was still moving... Have a look at the cool site they made to celebrate the event. Make sure you click on the central animation then play with the time line, you'll see an impressive collection of old photos.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Last sunny weekend?

It may be the last sunny weekend before a long time in Paris, so I think it's the perfect day to spend some time at a terrace... Today, let me take you to a very interesting place called La Bellevilloise, in the height of Paris - pretty far from the center, where tourists rarely go. It's a restaurant, bar, exhibition and concert hall... you name it and it's also a place where you can have a very nice view over Paris (even though a few skyscrapers kinda block the scenery!) I highly recommend a trip there if you feel like going out of the beaten paths.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Kill advertising!

See this poster? Do you notice anything unusual? That's it, a graffiti... It says "Stop the logorrhea"... Referring in this case to excessive advertising in public places. It was made live, in front of me, yesterday evening (Friday) by Le collectif des déboulonneurs de Paris, a pressure group demanding that advertising space be reduced to the minimum. Every month they organise happenings like this to attract Parisians' attention. Let's be realistic, the city needs advertisers' money so bad at the moment, that there is absolutely no chance they win... See more photos here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Catch me if you can

This is "Le Passe-Muraille" (the walk-through-walls) a character from a very popular short story by Marcel Aymé (1902-1968) that tells the story of a clerk who finds out one day that he is able to walk through walls... and play tricks with his boss and colleagues. This sculpture can be found in Montmartre, at Place Marcel Aymé (of course) very near the Moulin de la galette . It was made by famous French actor Jean Marais. BTW, if you want to read this short story, it's downloadable for free here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A tribute to Haussmann

It's interesting to read about the Paris architecture. The city did not change much until mid 1800, when Napoleon the 3rd committed the Baron Haussmann to turn the city into a modern one. You may have read how he took down thousands of dwellings from the middle ages and replaced them with brand new ones (I live in one of those, which is no longer "brand new", let me tell you!) and forged new streets running east and west, north and south.The 9th arrondissement (well, what became the 9th arrondissement, for before Haussmann there were no such things as arrondissements), was the up and coming place at that time. That is were I took this photo (rue Victor Massé), which is not a typical Haussmanian building, but still very beautiful with its nice carvings. Read this (it's in English) if you want to know more, it's really interesting.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Autumn in Paris

People ask me all the time, "When is the best season to come to Paris?" And I never know what to answer, for there is no "good " season to visit Paris. You do different things in winter than in summer, but you still get to do things. And believe me, at the moment, it's wonderful. Not only do you still get warm temperatures, but you can also see the leaves turning yellow, like in the this photo that I took from one of the highest points in Paris this morning: Menilmontant. I think the church in the background is called Notre-Dame de la Croix. By the way, Menilmontant is also the name of a song...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hands down

Last night I was coming home as usual, but I had no idea of what my photo du jour was going to be... Then, I walked into a little passage called Le Passage Molière in the 3rd arrondissement. There, on the left hand side, I came across the cutest shop on earth called Des Pieds et des Mains ("feet and hands"), which has a double entendre name - "to make a lot of effort". Anyway, this shop specializes in plaster or bronze casts for hands and feet , whether they belong to famous people, grown-ups, or babies. A wonderful idea. FYI, it costs 150€ for a child's hand or foot, 250€ for a grown-up's hand,and 300€ for a foot. (I can see the jokes starting already!)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Paris brûle-t-il ?

I eye witnessed two fires this weekend... One at Le Grand Orient head quarter (the largest Freemasonry obedience in France) which happens to be right by my house and La Taverne, a restaurant also located in the 9th arrondissement at Boulevard des Italiens, where I took this photo. Both of them were pretty serious but no one was injured. I took advantage of this photo to do a little research on the web and I found interesting stats: the number of fires by arrondissement in 2008. Have a look.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

2009 Techno Parade

Like last year, Paris was turned into a giant Dance floor on the occasion of the Techno Parade a sort of carnival dedicated to electro music. Not exactly my favorite one, but I surely would not want to be considered as "old", so I went. And, well, it was fun. To watch, that is! I found this photo was "funny", as this is an empty bottle of Vodka, so I suppose this guy was not exactly sober (this probably helps dancing!). We have no laws against drinking in the street - or in a public space - (or if there is one, it's not respected...).

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Classic cars for classy movies...

I already mentioned it here, but it always surprises me: there are about 750 movies shot yearly in Paris, according to the Paris town hall. Very often they are historical movies, that is why they have to bring "accessories" to the set, like in this photo that I took Place des Pyramides (1st arrondissement), a location that is often used for movies. Shooting a film in Paris is free - unless you use venues that belong to the city (museums, public buildings...), but you have to pay the parking fees! If you're a film maker and if you're interested in shooting your next movie in Paris, do check this site.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Johann Strauss statue

It'll be interesting to see if the Beatles' music will still be played in one century, like the one of Johann Strauss (1825 - 1899) who appears in this photo. I found out only recently - and by coincidence - that he had a bust in Paris in the 10th arrondissement. He was surrounded by art students that were drawing his portrait while I was taking the photo. Here is some Strauss music to cheer you up before the weekend ;-)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Beatles invade the Paris streets

Funny isn't? I took this shot last weekend right in front of my home, as this typical English bus passed by me, in the street. On top, there was a band playing Beatles' music - pretty well actually. I figured out it was some street marketing operation so I did some research... And I found out on this site and this one that all this was to promote a new game : The Beatles Rock Band (for Wii and PSP).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Man on the Moon exhibit

Little quiz... Do you know who owns the most comprehensive collection of space photos in the world? Well the one in this photo (Victor Martin-Malburet) and a friend of his (Félix Winckler) two young Parisians who started collecting them at the turn of the century. And you know what? They got to exhibit them at the Palais de Tokyo (a modern art museum) where I took this photo yesterday (Tuesday) morning during a press conference for Nikon (for yes, Nasa used a Nikon camera for Apollo 15 and later missions). You should hear Victor tell you all about "his" crescent earth photo, the one that he is really proud of. BTW, if you want to laugh, you can also check this...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Geyser ?

Unusual scene today. Just in front of my office one the major water pipes in the street broke and caused a huge geyser in the middle of the street. As you can imagine, I quickly grabbed my camera, started shooting from my floor, then rushed down the stairs and took another round of photographs at the street level. BTW, the timing is not really appropriate as we're experiencing a terrible drought in Paris at the moment... Ooops. Sorry for the late posting, I made a mistake in the scheduling settings...

Monday, September 14, 2009

La Parisienne

La Parisienne is not only the name we give to a female Parisian, it's also the name of a famous women only race that takes place in Paris every year. It starts at the Eiffel Tower and arrives at the Champs de Mars and it is "only" 6 km long so that women of all age and health condition can participate in it. It took place yesterday (Sunday) and I managed to go there to take a few (well 255!) shots! I ended up keeping this one, because it shows the impressive success of this race (17 500 women registered this year). Have a look at their website, maybe next year you could plan to enter the race...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Never miss a brocante anymore

Today I passed by a brocante on rue Lecourbe, in the 15th arrondissement. I'm not a big fan of old junk goods, but once in a while I walk through one of these hoping to get a good photo. I'm pretty happy with this one, which shows an old French typewriter (did you notice the keyboard layout?), but I wasn't too happy with the stand owner who started complaining when he saw I was taking a photo.... Anyway, if you're interested in visiting one of these brocantes while you're in Paris, let me give you a tip: visit (it's not a joke!) - They keep an up to date program month after month.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Paris Bus tour

People often ask me "I'm coming to Paris, what should I do?" I never know what to answer of course (there are so many things to do in Paris...), but, if it's their first time here, I always recommend to start with a bus tour. It is a very touristy thing to do, but it helps having a rapid look at all the important things to see, to which you can always come back later. As far as I know, there are three tour bus companies in Paris : Cityrama, LesCarsRouges, ParisVision. I cannot tell you which one is the best, but maybe some of my visitors may...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Going to work...

There is a lot going on in Paris work wise at the moment (c'est la rentrée !), so I have to wake up very early in the morning. The advantage is that the streets are empty and that you come across a different kind of crowd than the one you see at 9:30. I love this photo: you have Paris at dawn in the background, and a feeling of motion triggered by the four workers in their colorful jackets.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lunch at Hôtel de Crillon

I know you're going to be so jealous, but I don't care! Today I had lunch at the Hôtel de Crillon, a hotel located in a unique location: the Place de La Concorde. Not only is the view stunning, but on top of that the food is excellent. This, ladies and gentlemen is a Verrine of seafood with a little cauliflower cream and... a caviar toping. You want to call me spoiled? Yes you can!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

By the Seine

Last night I "had to" go to a professional networking party held on a boat on the Seine. Not only was the party worth it, but on top of that the weather is so wonderfully warm in Paris at the moment that it was really the perfect place to be. When I left, I walked for a while along the Seine, right at the bottom of the Eiffel tower, where they have a sort of mini landing zone for small boats (where I took this photo once). I sat down on the steps, waited for a boat to pass by and started shooting very close to the level of the river. A delightful moment... BTW: did you notice that today is 09/09/09 ?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Microsoft Windows...

This morning there was a press conference for the grand opening of the new French offices of Microsoft France. The building is really nice so I thought of taking a photo for PDP. I first thought of posting this one but I thought it was too "obvious" so instead I chose this scene, that I saw when I left the building. It's less impressive than what I saw live, but I sill like it. It reminded me of a photo I took a long time ago. Anyway, that will be my contribution to "work", especially for my American visitors who just celebrated Labor Day!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Fried van

There are scenes I wish I could not photograph. Hence this burned van that I shot in the 2nd arrondissement (rue de Cléry, more precisely) in a normally very quiet area. I don't know if this van was intentionally set on fire, but I have serious suspicions... Several thousands of cars are burned in France each year (more than 36 700 in 2008 - more than 500 only to "celebrate" last Bastille day!). They are not all burned by rioters, some are also burned by their owners to get the insurance money...
On a different note, I'm launching a new blog (a professionnal one this time) this Monday. You probably won't be interested (it's in French and does not deal with Paris nor photos!) but I thought I'd tell you anyway ;-)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

When graffiti become works of art

This evening (Saturday) I popped into the L.J. gallery for the opening of an exhibition by Olivier Kosta-Théfaine, a graffiti artist. I'm sure that if he had been told, say, 15 years ago when he used to hijack the walls of the suburb where he used to live (Sartrouville) to paint graffiti, that he would one day end up in a gallery (and the Cartier foundation!) he would not have believed it. It's well deserved though, he has talent. Have a look at the Gallery site (click on the image to view more) or the Cartier foundation one.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Here comes the rain again...

We had a little taste of winter these past 2 days. Rain, drop in temperature... People have started freaking out because the "big flu" is likely to start spreading out with the cold weather. So far so good though ;-). I had to go to La Cité Universitaire (a place that I already mentioned here). That is where I took this photo (the sky obviously cleared up after the rain). I'm glad it's Le weekend even though it's going to be busy (with a nice photo opportunity Saturday night, if I'm lucky...)

Friday, September 04, 2009

Dinner with friends

Little truce with my diet! I'm just back from a dinner at La tête de goinfre (pig head) in the 17th arrondissement where I, well, did not exactly eat lightly! But I don't regret it ; as you can see it's a typical French restaurant - with this so typical table cloth and old wine boxes for decor. I had Cochon de lait (roasted porc) and stuffed myself with the irresistible bread (the one you can see in the baskets on the bar)!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Les Beaux Arts de Paris

Last evening (Wednesday) I passed by L'Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts (the National Fine arts school) located in the heart of Saint Germain des Pré, and, for the first time in my life, I went inside (I think I was not supposed to be there, but what the hell...) The place is absolutely amazing : enormous (especially for this area, very very dense), full of art (they obviously don't know what to do with their sculptures ;-) and full of history too (it was created in 1863). Unfortunately, it's also very very damaged. You can tell some buildings have been restored (including a magnificent glass roof top), but most of them are in very bad condition - and I don't suppose our culture ministry can now afford to repair them...

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

What track is on the menu ?!

Hurrah! I know now what I can do with my old LPs... Turn them into menus ;-) I found this original "thing" next to my home, rue Cadet, in a sort of "Diner" (well, a restaurant that remotely looks like a Diner!) called Jour après Jour (Day after Day). I have two boxes of old LP's that I thought I would put on ebay, but now I'm wondering: would the owner of Jour après Jour buy them for more?!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

La BIG Conciergerie

Funny this is typically the kind of photos I try to avoid on this blog - as I'm sure you can find thousands of La Conciergerie photos on the Web - but this morning I could not resist! I had to go early to the office and, like everyday (don't be jealous!) I passed by this stunning building (which, even after all these years living in Paris, I still continue to look at whenever I pass by it) and noticed the light and the reflexion in La Seine. I could not help but stopping and pulling the trigger. This photo is actually made of 2 shots (I don't have an angle wide enough to take the whole building) which explains its weird shape. Also, today is September 1st and our theme day is: BIG. I think this qualifies!!