Friday, November 30, 2012

Where there is smoke...

Where there is smoke there is often fire, but most certainly heat! Precisely, don't go thinking this is some kind of winter mist that I managed to photograph early in the morning! This smoke comes from the earth! It's what is called geothermal energy, that is heat that comes naturally from the "dogger" layer, about 1,800 meters from below the ground. In Paris several buildings use this "free" energy and more and more are equipped every year. I found this "spring" in the 5th arrondissement  at rue Saint Jacques, just behind the Saint Severin church.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Purple rain

OK there is nothing really purple in the photo, but it makes a good title! There is nothing really captivating  about this photo either, and though I really love it. I took it last evening near Les Halles (you can see a tiny bit of the Beaubourg center in the very background) just after the rain stopped. The lights are 100% natural; that's what invited me to take the photo actually... Now on to the Christmas decorations ;-)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Paris dragon!

I'm surprised this piece of art is not more famous... It's a part of a "dragon" that seems to emerge from the ground at place Augusta-Holmes on rue Paul Klee in the 13 th arrondissement. It's actually a fountain (there is water running inside, even though there was none when I took the photo) called La Danse de la fontaine émergente. It was designed by the French-Chinese sculptor Chen Zhen (who died in 2000) and it took no less than 7 years to build it. I think it's really cool even though my photo does not do it justice really. Click here for a broader view and here for more information.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Institut du monde arabe

I think I only showed you the Institut du Monde Arabe (the Arab World Institute) only once. An though it's a stunning building, built between 1981 and 1987 by architect Jean Nouvel and located in the 5th arrondissement. The part you see in the background that recalls the Arab architecture, is composed of 240 photo-sensitive motor-controlled shutters, that automatically open and close to control the amount of sun entering the building. I love it! Not to mention Noura, the restaurant located on the last floor where you can enjoy a beautiful view over Paris.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Great idea by Les Papiers peintres

No... the "great idea" is not to show my face on PDP, but what you actually can see in the background of this photo... It's one of the fonds de photo, that is " photo backgrounds" made by two artists Ella & Pitr, aka Les papiers peintres. You can find them everywhere in Paris (and other cities throughout the world), they are glued to any wall and they come with instructions that say "take a photo of yourself in front of this background and send it to this email address". That is what I did (with my camera phone, which explains itspoor quality)! The whole collection can be seen at this address (my photo does not show yet) and also in a book, that is due to be released on Dec. 10. I think this is a great, creative idea

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The long road to learning French...

You may wonder why I gave this title to this photo, but, even though it's a little far fetched, you're going to understand why! Last Thursday I went to the launch of Frantastique a new online service to learn French, hoping to take a photo (the invitation said there was going to be a "happening" during the evening!). Unfortunately, I had my Thanksgiving dinner that night and had to leave before the happening took place. On the way back, however, I passed by the Boulevard de Bercy and saw these sidewalks (the blue light is real) that run underneath the train tracks of Gare de Lyon. Now, you know the story! 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pavé parisien

I know it's less impressive than yesterday's photo, but it's also VERY Parisian: le pavé parisien - or les pavés parisiens -, (in English:Cobblestone) are famous not only because they are everywhere in the streets, but also because they are used in several French expressions: "battre le pavé" (long and hard walk in the streets), "sous les pavés la plage" (under the cobblestones lies a beach), slogan used by students in 1968, not to forget "pavé au chocolat" which is a chocolate cake shaped after a cobblestone (which can feel like a "pavé sur l'estomac" ( a cobblestone in your stomach!) if you eat too many of them ;-) Have a great weekend everyone, I'm off to bed after a long long day...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Give your eyes a little peace...

I'm just back from a little Paris Thanksgiving dinner with good American friends (that I met thanks to PDP actually). We went to Le Café de Mars, a delicious restaurant which chef is... American. It was super good and very true to the tradition (well, so I think). We had a very good time and since this restaurant is located in the 7th arrondissement, on the way out we paid a visit to the Eiffel Tower. The night was beautiful, the sky slightly cloudy... I could not help but taking a shot. And when I say A shot, I mean a  zillion... Including this little video: 3 minutes of peace for the eyes...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Lamarck without Caulaincourt

Ask any Parisian about Lamarck and he will probably tell you "oh, yeah, Lamarck-Caulaincourt!". It turns out that Lamarck-Caulaincourt is a well known Metro station in the 18th arrondissement, but these two names belong to two different people! Precisely Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck (1744-1829) was a French naturalist who apparently used the word "biology" for the first time. He also categorized 80% of the invertebrates (yeah, he obviously had too much spare time!) among many other things. Of course the reason why I bore you with the life of Monsieur Lamarck is that he is in this photo that I took - obviously at the right moment (look at this sky!) - at the Jardin des plantes. Happy turkey day BTW (this is for my American visitors!).

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

French Public Services

Those of you who follow me on Facebook may have seen one of my yesterday updates in which I was "expressing my discontent" regarding La Poste, the French postal service. On the way out I came across this mailbox and I could not help thinking: this is a provocation LOL! To be fair, French public services (have a look at this British site for more, that is all I could find in English) are not that bad, on the whole, they are just like French service in general ;-)   

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What's left of Les Halles

I know it's not the best view of Paris I've ever posted here, but it's an interesting one! Why? Because it shows what currently remains of Les Halles area ( Les Halles, used to be the central market of Paris from  1135 till the early 70's, when they transferred it to Rungis, in the suburbs). Since the 70's it has been turned into a huge underground mall with a big pedestrian area on top. Recently they decided to redo the whole place. Those who have been to Paris may have recognized Saint Eustache church on the right, the Bourse du commerce in the very back and... a piece of the Ecoute sculpture, by Henri de Miller. I can't wait till this goes back to "normal".

Monday, November 19, 2012

Front runner

Friday and Saturday I spent two exhausting days at a "geek" conference and I must say I did not really feel like touring Paris to take photo yesterday! Fortunately I noticed there was a small running race starting at my local town hall which is just a couple of blocks away from where I live. So I went and took this photo (for once, someone who seems happy to be photographed!). I then looked up on the web yo find out more and discovered that there are dozens of events like that within Paris every year: for women, for notaries(no kidding!), for students... not to forget the marathon of course!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

3rd arrondissement town hall

Like you may know, Paris is divided into 20 districts, called arrondissements. Each of them has its own town hall (on top of the main one called Hotel de Ville). Most of them are real masterpieces for they were built during the 19th century, when Paris was growing and becoming richer and richer...  This one, for instance, is the 3rd arrondissement town hall and it's a real masterpiece. It was built between 1864 and 1867  on the remains of an old lavoir. FYI, 34250 people live in the 3rd arrondissement and it accounts for 1,6% of the total Paris population.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


This is a pretty cool photo that I took it at La Défense while I was making a "timelaps" that I will hopefully show you soon. I love it that the clouds reflect in the skyscraper and that you don't really know where the building stops - and believe me when you see it moving it's even more impressive. It was pretty easy to take though, all I did was to lay my camera on the ground and wait for it to shoot! I was just plain lucky. Have a great weekend, whether you'll be watching the sky or not ;-)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Beaujolais nouveau!

And you thought you were going to escape a Beaujolais Nouveau photo LOL?! Nope... I took it near were I live, at the entrance of Passage Jouffroy where each year a restaurant called Le Zefyr puts a huge inflatable bottle by its entrance. So huge that passers by have to go around it (how's that for a marketing tool?!). How good does the Beaujolais taste this year? I have no idea (I very rarely drink alcohol remember?) and who cares! Everyone knows it's not for the taste that this whole thing is organized, but to boost business and provide a good occasion for people to gather. Which is good enough ;-) Have a look at what they do with Beaujolais in Japan though...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Top hat!

I took this photo at rue des Rosiers, which the heart of the Jewish part of Le Marais (a must visit place if you like falafels and bagels!). I fell in love with this coat the minute I saw it, even though it's not exactly everyday wear! Besides since obviously the place (it's called Yoahm, after the name of the owner of this store) was closed, I don't know how much it costs. But i'll go back and ask! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Look before you leap!

You must think I spend my time on the Trocadéro esplanade, but I don't! I just happened to be there yesterday (Tuesday) and witnessed this funny scene: A newlywed couple from Japan was being photographed in front of the Eiffel Tower when suddenly a group of students, who obviously were having a French moment, stood behind them and started applauding and cheering. Everybody laughed, including the couple. Sorry for the bad quality of the photos, there was not enough light (the weather was pretty covered as you can see).

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Inside La Madeleine

I spent the whole day in Lille (a large city in the North of France) today, therefore I did not have the time to take my photo of the day. So, here is one I took a few days ago... It shows the inside of La Madeleine, a Catholic church that took 85 years to build and was almost turned into... a train station at some stage-  in 1837)! It's a beautiful church (the statues in this photo were made by Carlo Marocchetti) often used for concerts (even though the acoustics are awful!) or for important services, like, for instance, for the funerals of famous French people. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Animals you don't need to walk!

This Saturday I went to Le jardin d'acclimatation, a small amusement park located in Le bois de Boulogne in the 16th arrondissement. Like in all amusement parks you can find merry-go-rounds, roller coasters, car racing, shooting stands... but it's also an educational park where children can see animals, attend various workshops and... walk through unexpected exhibits, like these funny shaped animals designed by Guili Guili and made of recycled metal. Here is the one I thought was the cutest, but I photographed and filmed several other ones, that are just as cute! Have a look on the PDP Youtube channel.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembrance Day

Today is November 11 and in a lot of European countries it's a holiday. It's the day the WWI armistice was signed and where we remember the numerous veterans who died during that terrible war. In England, and all commonwealth countries, it's called remembrance day or poppy day, for that is the flower they use to commemorate that day. We don't have this tradition in France, but two days ago I came across this  drawing by street artist Fred le Chevalier and noticed the little red flower on top of the head of the girl. It made me think of a poppy (I know it's far fetched!). 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Moving around at La Défense

Those of you who follow me on Instagram may have already seen that this morning I went to La Défense, the little Paris "Manhattan", in other words an area of Greater Paris, full of skyscrapers and mostly dedicated to business (even though there are also apartment buildings, a huge pedestrian area, gardens, fountains, and... the only shopping mall in Paris open on Sundays!). I like La Défense very much, as I said it many times, for it's both modern and traditional. Proof is that people use their bike to go there and move around ;-) Have a nice weekend everyone!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Hide and seek with the Eiffel Tower!

I went to the Cité de l'architecture & du patrimoine, a superb musuem dedicated to architecture, to attend a temporary exhibit about Henri Labrouste, a leading architect who got famous in the 1800's. The exhibit was great (I love architecture) and I learned a lot of things, thanks to the guide who gave us a tour. This museum is located at place du Trocadero and on the way out, I could not help but taking a "stolen" photo of the Eiffel Tower, from inside the museum. I kinda like it ;-)

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Once a brothel, now a nightclub!

Thanks to my new portraits blog, I get to meet interesting Parisians like the one in this photo... Her name is Sylvanie de Lutèce, she is a story teller and specializes in  the "dark" side of Paris! She knows everything about famous criminals like Jules Bonnot, the head of the Bonnot gang or Jacques Mesrine, where and how the guillotine was tested in the first place... and she also knows the Pigalle area (an area known for its red lights...) like the back of her hand. Precisely, she had me photograph her in this area, at Le Carmen, a former brothel, now turned into a beautiful bar and nightclub (look at the ceilings!). One last thing... This place is called Le Carmen, because Georges Bizet is said to have written his famous opera there (no proof though!).

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

2012 American elections

Unless you live under a rock these days, it's impossible not to be aware that during the night a new American President is going to be elected. I won't bother taking side of course as I'm not American and don't live in the US... But I have a lot of American visitors on PDP! So I thought of "celebrating" this evening with a photo of  the Harry's bar, which is undoubtedly the most famous American bar in Paris (read its history here). During election times, they organize a vote among American expats and the result is posted on the window (see the process on my 2008 post!). As you can see here, Obama would win by 214 to 148, but this straw vote has already been wrong twice... See you tomorrow morning (for me) with the real results!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Everywhere I look...

This will probably sound silly to you, but the more I pay attention to my home city, the more I notice tiny little details that I never noticed before. Here is a good example: this is a close up of a street lamp on the Place de la Concorde. Even something as trivial as a street lamp is beautifully carved - or rather casted - (of course they are not as beautiful as that everywhere in Paris, but still...). That was my "I love Paris" claim of the day LOL! And FYI,  I looked everywhere, but did not find anything about who manufactured these lamps. Tomorrow, a more obscure aspect of Paris...

Monday, November 05, 2012

Heaven doors?

A few days ago I had a meeting at the Madeleine square area and I was early. So I took advantage of this unusual situation(!) to wander a bit in the neighborhood and by the church of course. I suddenly saw its magnificent doors, which I had never seen (or rather never paid attention to!). I don't know if my photo allows you to feel the emotion I felt when I saw this extraordinary work of art, but I really hope it does. I looked up on the web and found out they are made of bronze, designed by Henry de Triqueti and feature the 10 commandments. Truly exceptional. And a nice way to start the week...

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Candy anyone?

I had a really exhausting day today, and barely found the time to take my daily photo. But on the way back home I passed by the Bastille area, where they currently have a tiny amusement park. I saw this stand where they sell waffles, cotton candy, ice cream and many other treats and I immediately fell in love with its looks. I then set my shutter to a slightly slower speed and waited for people to pass by. I'm quite happy with the result, even though it's not the photo of the century LOL!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Wet Paint!

Yes, I know, it's a bit of a silly photo, but I like it! "Peinture fraîche" means "wet paint" in French and, well, I suppose they had just painted this street light, even though it did not really look so. I took this photo the same day I took the Place de la Concorde fountain one (which explains the blue sky now long time gone...) and I had to take dozens of shots before I managed to have everything in the right angle and... no traffic! Et voila everyone... Have a good weekend, here it's very very calm for everybody is on vacation until at least Monday. 

Friday, November 02, 2012

How much for a coffee in Paris?

Believe it or not, we have a coffee price index in France! It's made by Gira Conseil, a consulting company specialized in the food business. They released their latest index a few days ago and tada... it turns out that the average price for a coffee in France is 1,38 €. But the price varies from one region to another; in Paris, the average price is 1,95 € with a - very - large difference between places. It is still possible to pay only 1 € or less  in some places, but it can go up to 4 or 5 € in some fancy restaurant or bar. You must not forget that when you say "un café s'il vous plait", you're not actually buying an actual good, but a service which includes cost of labor, rent, taxes, etc. BTW I took this photo at Le Fumoir, a cool place by the Louvre where coffee costs certainly much more than 1 €!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Water's edge

Those of you who have been following me for a long time know that PDP is not the only City Daily Photo blog in the world, we are a legion! And every 1st of the month, we have a tradition: called a "theme day" which consists of posting a theme photo. Lately the City Daily Photo portal was down so it was hard to see all theme photos at once, but for about 2 weeks, thanks to the very hard work of Peter and Julie, we have a brand new one! So here you go, do visit, or go directly to the theme day page and see for yourself. BTW, the theme today is Water's Edge, I first thought of the Seine of course, but I've done that a lot... So I went to Place de la Concorde, put my camera as close as I could to the edge of one of the Jacques-Ignace Hittorff 's stunning fountains and took this shot. The colors are natural, there was a superb blue sky in Paris yesterday and they put this green stuff in the water, probably to boost the contrasts. I love it.