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...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Christmas is coming, Eric is getting fat...

The holiday season is approaching... You can tell because it's getting cold and the Christmas decorations are out. In Le village Royal - off La rue Royale, that takes you to La Place de la Concorde - red pine trees have suddenly grown! Probably a genetic modification ;-) BTW, here are the final results for the PDP calendar. Now I need to make it!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Die Berliner Mauer in Paris

In Paris we also celebrated the fall of the Berlin wall... There was a big event on the Place de la Concorde last evening between 7 and 8 with music and light shows but it was hard to see anything to be honest. As I anticipated it would be, I passed by the Place de la Concorde this morning precisely to take a photo and here it is! If you're a regular visitor to PDP, you know that I was fortunate enough to go to Berlin on November 10, 1989. This morning I found the photos I took there. Here are some of them...

Monday, November 09, 2009

Let's celebrate!

No, I have nothing in particular to celebrate, but some people must have... I found this bottle in front of La Gare d'Austerlitz (one of the 6 main train stations in Paris) and I couldn't help but taking a photo ;-) I also noticed the nice lighting that they put on the facade of the building which, I think is new. This station is mostly used to take people to Bordeaux and Toulouse, two large cities located in the South West of France. It was built between 1862 and 1867 and is going to be totally renewed in 2011. Have a good week everyone.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Apple has its store in Paris

Curiously enough, even though France is one of the major markets for Apple, there was no Apple store in Paris until... this morning 10 am. The famous brand opened its first outlet in the Carrousel du Louvre, a very prestigious location. Of course, as always with this "cult", some adepts had started queuing at 6am (reports the Agence France Presse) possibly because of the incentive: the first 5,000 visitors would receive an Apple T-shirt! When I went there around 2 pm, the line was much less important, but the security crew was still everywhere... I'm glad I just bought myself a brand new Windows 7 PC and an Android phone and did not have to queue a single minute for that! LOL

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Learn haute couture at the Mecca!

If you wanted to work in the high-tech industries you would probably go to Silicon Valley in California, but if you wanted to work in the fashion industries you would probably come to Paris... And you would probably pay a visit to the Institut Français de la Mode - a school dedicated to fashion (and creative industries)  like I did today (Friday). Not that I actually want to work in the fashion business, but because I've always been curious to see from the inside the place where "haute couture" (and how to sell it!) is taught. The other interesting part is that the IFM is  hosted in the Docks en Seine building, a brand new dary building by Dominique Jakob et Brendan McFarlane facing the Seine in the 13th arrondissement.Pretty cool.

Friday, November 06, 2009

The French love LE big Mac...

I know what you're thinking: "this is not a typical photo of Paris!" No it is not, and though, what you're looking at is extremely popular in Paris - and in France in general. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the news came at the beginning of October (see this New York Times article): the country that is known for its "haute cuisine", the country where women - supposedly! - don't get fat, the country where people love to think they are different... is the most profitable one after the US for Ronald! I think that the reason for this success is that even though it's a global company, they have adapted pretty well to local tastes. Hence this whole wheat bread Big Mac that we have in France (whole wheat is supposed to be healthier).

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Dark (Rainy) Side of Paris

I like it very much in the summer time when we have daylight until at least 10 PM, but I find it very hard to cope with the winter time when it gets dark around 6PM. Hence this photo that I took last evening not long after I left the office. As you can see, it was also pouring rain... BTW, I probably told you that already here, but I’ll say it again: there are 171 days of rain per year on average in Paris (16 days of heavy rain) and it rains on average 641 mm per year (which is nothing compared to… Hinatuan in the Philippines : 4650 mm!) The only positive aspect is that it allowed me to take a cool photo (not extraordinary, but "cool" ;-)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Merry-go-round by the Eiffel Tower

Last night (Thursday) I passed by the Eiffel Tower hoping to see some special light effects that Thib(a regular visitor to PDP!) has been telling me about for quite some time. Unfortunately I did not see anything other than the usual lights, so I decided to take this photo instead. It's a little corny, of course, but it's soooooooo Paris ;-) BTW, thank you again for all your help with the calendar selection, it'll make my life much easier (I will let you know my final choice asap).

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Old books for sale

I came across these books for sale at a brocante and I could not help thinking "how long before books disappear from flea markets and brocantes?!" For yes people, Amazon has just started selling its Kindle in France ? (If you don't know what the Kindle is, check here). Of course I'm exagerating. There will be books - I mean real ones! - on sale in the street for a long time, but I'm pretty sure  that in 50 years or so, people will find it amusing that "back then" people had to go to a bookshop to buy a book and they could not even perform a search, and wait, they had little cute bookmarks to remember which page they were at!". BTW, I'm sure you're dying to know the result of yesterday's survey. So just click here!

Monday, November 02, 2009

2010 PDP Calendar vote

Today it's your turn to work! I already asked you what photos you would picture (ah ah!) on the 2010 PDP calendar, you gave me your choice, but now I need you to narrow it down a little bit (remember, there are 12 months in a calendar ;-). So here is a little survey for you, if you can spare 5 o 10 minutes to answer, then that would be of great help for me. Thank you. [9 AM UPDATE: I'm sorry - VERY sorry - the online survey did not work so I had to switch to Google Forms instead. I've updated the link so if you've answered already and feel like doing ot again, click on "here is a little survey for you" again. If not, I'll understand].

Sunday, November 01, 2009

November 1st Theme day

Today is November 1st and I'm facing a dilemma... Do I post a photo that is theme day compliant (see here what the other city daily photo bloggers have done for today's theme: "doorways") or do I celebrate All Saints day (that is the day of the dead)? I chose not to choose and to, like you say in English "kill two birds with one stone..." (faire d'une pierre deux coups, in French). I took a photo of two doorways at Le Père Lachaise Cemetery!