Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Paris Mint!

It's the last day of January and it's about time to take down the Christmas decorations! I took this photo at La Monnaie de Paris (Paris mint or coins and medals), a public body that was founded in 864 and is in charge of issuing coins and medals on behalf of the French Government (they still are nowadays, even though we don't use proper French coins anymore but Euros). The place is also a museum, located is a 18th century building, where you can buy medals; at the moment, they are promoting four gold and silver coins, produced under a licence with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Montaigne, the lucky charm...

Let me share with you a real Paris insider story. This statue is the one of Montaigne, a very famous French author and public figure from the French Renaissance era (1533-1592). It's located at rue des Ecoles, right in front of the entrance of La Sorbonne university. The statue is stunning (it was made by Paul Landowski during the 20th century), but it's got a funny story too; if you look carefully at his right foot, you'll see that his shoe is exceptionally shiny... Why? Because students believe that touching it before an exam will bear them luck!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Autolib is growing

I already told you about Autolib, the short car rental service that allows you to take a car at one station and drop it at another one, near your destination throughout Paris and the suburbs there were 250 stations when they launched the service on December 5, and at the end of 2012, there should be 1 200 stations and 3 000 cars!). The proof is that the station that is right in front of my apartment (in this photo) now offers 4 cars whereas it was always empty before. I'm dying to try (I've never driven an electric car), but I have found no need for one so far.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Will the Artist make it?

10 Oscar nominations, no less! That's what French film The Artist got, on top of 3 Golden globes. Needless to say we are pretty proud, for not only do (the French) love actor Jean Dujardin, but on top of that very few movies make it to the international scene like this one. Of course, some will argue that having success with a silent black and white movie taking place in Hollywood is not exactly representative of modern French cinema, but who cares LOL! All I can say is... Good luck to The Artist. I took this photo at Boulevard Saint Germain, by the way.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pont Neuf ornaments

Cool, isn't? I took this photo on the Pont Neuf (Paris experts will have recognized the stunning Henri the IVth statue in the background) yesterday, on my way to the left bank. I searched the Web and apparently these candelabres (street lamps) were installed by Victor Baltard in 1854. They show sea gods and dolphins. Beautiful...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Difficult times...

France is not exactly doing too well at the moment (highest unemployment rate since 1999, a 2012 yearly budget short of 81,7 billion €, terrible perspectives...). It's very unlikely that President Sarkozy will be reelected in May, when we're going to have new elections. Who will be in his shoes in May? It's hard to tell for sure, but most likely François Hollande, the former head of the Socialist party. The extreme right or left parties may also play a large role as people don't know who to turn to to escape this very grey times that we're going through...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I had to quickly go to Lille this morning (a large city in the North of France) and took the train to go there. Prior to taking the train (which was delayed because of a copper cable robbery along the line, a pretty common robbery these days...) I noticed these weird poles, around which people would stick together! Why, well quite simply, because, as you probably guessed, these are heaters! No very eco friendly I must say, but interesting for a photographer!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

农历新年 (nónglì xinnián)

So it's the Chinese new year... and it's the year of the water dragon apparently, a symbol of strength and power. Since I've started learning Chinese (with a wonderful - and very patient! - teacher), about a year ago, I learned a lot about the Chinese culture and language differences (and God knows they are numerous!). FYI, marches and celebrations will mostly take place during next weekend, but I won't be in Paris, so I'm posting this photo that I took during a previous new year celebration at Hotel de Ville.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Busy crossing

Technically it's far from being a perfect photo; it's blurry and dark... And though I love it! It allows to "feel" what a busy crossing in the middle of rainy Paris feels like. Not to mention the typical Parisienne on her bike in the middle! Bonne semaine everyone... Paris will be rainy this week, but still as beautiful ;-)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pure beauty!

Thanks a million for all your birthday messages yesterday, I did not have the time to comment yet (I had a very busy Saturday!) but I will tomorrow. Last evening I passed by the Art Club gallery near the Louvre and saw this stunning sculpture. I thought it was perfect for a peaceful Sunday...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Birthday dinner

One good thing about winter is that the seasonal food changes. Last night I was able to share a typical meal from the Franche-Comté region called La Boîte Chaude with some very good  friends (including PDP ones): Lynn aka PHX-CDG, Eric (aka Mr PHX!), Roniece, Heather, Jane, Patricia and Michael.
Made by scooping out the middle of Mont d'Or cheese, inserting a few cloves of garlic and some Jura wine from the region, you cook this cheese in it’s “box” for 20 minutes in the oven until it’s nice and gooey! Then you eat it with potatoes and charcuterie, not forgetting the saucisse de Morteau. Of course, the meal would not be complete without a desert, which turned out to be... a surprise birthday cake! Now I let you guess who the  "chéri" on the cake may be  ;-))

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fancy sales

It's the winter sales again and like every year there are many interesting windows to photograph. I found this one at Conforama (a department store dedicated to house equipment), on the river banks, near the Pont neuf and quite liked it. Of course, this year, due to our economical problems, I doubt the sales will be very successful, but it won't prevent me from photographing them - at least this is free!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Paris, the city of Love

Sweet graffito today... I found it at rue Monge and thought it was cute. They I thought of the common saying "Paris, ville de l'amour" (Paris, the city of love) and I started wondering why? I even searched on the web! And did not find anything relevant really. Why on earth would Paris be anymore the city of love than any of these cities?! I wonder...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Christmas is definitely over...

Like every year people get rid of their tree (I got rid of mine yesterday!). I already explained here that a lot of people simply throw them out of the window after, they've checked that nobody is at risk (hopefully). All this to avoid putting needles everywhere in the staircase and even though you're supposed to bring it to a recycling spot.! Walking down the streets of Paris after Christmas can be dangerous LOL. And before you ask I did like everyone ;-)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Galerie des glaces

Once again, I haven't been able to go out today, so I dug into my treasure box and found a photo I apparently never showed you. I took it at the Chateau de Versailles in 2010, during a private visit I was fortunate enough to take part in. Those of you who visited the castle will naturally have recognizes Les Galerie des glaces (the hall of mirrors), a stunning hall that is 239.5 ft long and 35 ft wide! An amazing place, that France could surely not afford nowadays ;-)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Change of lighting?

I had a busy, tiresome weekend and I did not find a single minute to go out! Therefore here is a photo I meant to show you earlier and totally forgot about it. It's "an" Eiffel Tower - not THE Eiffel Tower - taken at the Christmas market they had in the lower part of the Champs Elysées. Also a one which lighting is probably not copyright protected, unlike the one of the original one - which I think is a real scandal, but don't get me started...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Peaceful moment

L'Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts (the National Fine arts school), is a school before all, and it's normally not a place to visit, but if you manage to sneak in, you'll see amazing things. Hence this Venus which original is apparently at the Vatican. The place is absolutely amazing, with lots of interesting buildings which history you can see here (in French only...).

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mole art...

I took this photo at the Hotel de Sully, a stunning hôtel particulier (private mansion) that was built between 1625 and 1630 and is now the French historical monument center. It's worth a visit in general, but it's even more worth a visit right now, as they currently have an artist (Ghyslain Bertholon) performance in the gardens. What is it about? Moles... Yes, giant moles, like the one you can see in the foreground of this photo. It's odd, but pretty unexpected, therefore creative...

Friday, January 13, 2012


Today I discovered what a Makowiec is! It's a traditional Christmas Polish cake that can also be found in the North of France (not surprising since the North of France is a former area of polish immigration) and... in Paris! Hence the one I bought today in a boulangerie. Pretty good actually, even though it's a little dry ;-)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Street sign thief!

Yes it's a one way street sign. Yes it's pretty dirty. But look more closely... Something should put a smile on your face, like it did on mine... Yes, the  little guy that looks like he's stealing the white rectangle inside this street sign! I have no idea who did this, but apparently there as several ones in Paris and I find it quite amusing. that's all for today ;-) Update: here is the Facebook page of the artist who makes these little guys.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Place de la Concorde

The big Ferris wheel will also disappear soon and since I passed by it yesterday evening, I thought I'd photograph it... I don't know how I managed, but the thing is that the blurry effect only affects the Ferris wheel and its surrounding and not the Obelisque! Sometimes you just get lucky ;-)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Last Christmas decorations...

Pretty soon all Christmas decorations will be gone, so let me show you one last one. I found it at the Hotel de ville (town hall) - and not in the court yard of the Louvre Museum, where they also have pyramids! - Beautiful isn't? Nothing else to add - except that maybe I should think of taking down my Christmas tree now... ;-)

Monday, January 09, 2012

Parisian fireplace

It's pretty rare that Parisians have a fireplace that actually works, and though, yesterday, I had a nice afternoon with friends who have, what we call a Poêle Prussien (I looked everywhere, I could not find their origin). Very cool! Most Parisians think it's forbidden to make fire in a fireplace in Paris, whereas it is allowed, under several conditions (you have to have you chimney pipe cleaned twice a year, you're not allowed to burn just anything, etc.). I have a couple of fireplaces in my apartment, now I'm tempted... (Of course the price of wood may put me off this idea, but that's another story).

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Invalides in black and white

I went to a Galette Party today (a galette is a cake that people eat to celebrate the Epihany (a Christian feast) after Christmas) and on the way back I passed by Les Invalides. It was a beautiful evening (it's still warm in Paris at the moment here) and I felt like taking a photo. I made a black and white one, for a change...

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Louis the XIIIth

I'm sure you will have recognized ;-) this  is Louis the XIIIth - well a statue of Louis the XIIIth, as the real one dying some time ago (1643!). This statue was made by Dupaty and Cortot in 1829 in replacement for an old bronze statue from 1639 (I took this shot at Place des Vosges, BTW). If you look carefully, you will see a plane in the background (in the sky, obviously!); quite a historical hiatus, isn't?! Have a nice weekend everyone.

Friday, January 06, 2012


My scooter broke down a few days ago and I had to take it to a garage... Last evening I went there to pick it up and on the way, I came across this stunning painted wall at rue Oberkampf. It was made by Mosko Associés, a group of street artists that actually started in the Moskowa area (hence their name), an old Paris quarter that has been renovated and completed in 2004. Check their website.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

How to meet Parisians?

In big cities people can easily be isolated. Nowadays you can go on line and make new "friends", but you can also take part in "real" social activities like a walk through Paris, visit a museum, attend a concert... you name it. That is exactly the purpose of grandparisorties.com, which address I found after photographing this advertisement on a public phone booth (I actually liked the "confetti effect" on the right end side). As far as I could see it's mostly in French, but precisely, it's a good way to mix with the locals! And for those of you who prefer going out in English, you can join my friend Sab's meetup group: Paris if you please...

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Don't burst his bubble!

They have a small amusement park at La Bastille at the moment and they have all sorts of attractions. One of them is a giant bubble game on water... And since it's pretty warm at the moment, there is no risk it gets icy. I would have loved to try, but it's not allowed for adults. Darn! ;-)

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Winter scenary

Scary? Yes, a little bit... But beautiful too - and typical of winter! I took this photo near le Champs de Mars, by the Eiffel tower, where they have little gardens where dogs are accepted - but only on a leash! - as the sign says.  As you can see the weather is a little cloudy, but still partly sunny; we've had the warmest new year's night since 1883!

Monday, January 02, 2012

The morning after...

Someone must have celebrated the new year and forgot something... My new year's eve celebration did not include much alcohol, but a ridiculous amount of food, whichI did not resist! No wonder I was not very energetic today... Enough to see your best wishes though. Thanks a million. Now is the time to reset whatever we want to reset and start fresh!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Best photo of the year

Like each year it's difficult to chose and like each year I chose an consensual shot, showing one o my favorite spots in Paris: Le Pont des arts. But since I reviewed them all, I selected a few other ones, that you can see on the Making of. Again, have a wonderful year everyone, have some rest today and get ready for a brand new start! Love you all.