Thursday, May 31, 2012

Doing justice to the Palais de la justice!

Curiously enough, I never photographed this beautiful building, called Le Palais de justice (the Justice Palace), which is the "headquarters" of our justice system. It is located on the Ile de la Cité, in the very middle of Paris right near the Conciergerie where Marie-Antoinette was kept prisoner after the French revolution. I went inside this palace only once, to attend "la conference des avocats", a sort of funny fake plea open to the public, staging young lawyers . 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A walk among the trees

Here is another photo I took the same day in the Luxembourg gardens. I love that scene: the light, the way the people are dressed, the "corridor effect"... And thanks to Lois Simon who quoted Wikipedia in the comment box yesterday, we know that... "In 1612, Marie de Medicis planted 2,000 elm trees, and directed a series of gardeners, most notably Tommaso Francini, to build a park in the style she had known as a child in Florence."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Some work, others don't...

Here is a scene I photographed at the Luxembourg gardens and I thought it was a good illustration of yesterday, a day we call Pentecost Monday which is a Catholic feast commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the remaining eleven Apostles of Christ. It used to be a holiday, but in 2004, the Government decided to make it a working day to raise money for the elderly. Of course, this decision  gave way to many protests... resulting in a partial reinstatement of the holiday! Funny photo though!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Fire at the Eiffel Tower!

Last Friday I had the pleasure of joining a group of students from Miami University (Ohio, USA) who are currently travelling in Europe and wanted to meet "true French people" and expatriates "in the flesh". It was really interesting and fun (they were really smart!). Since dinner was at Café Kléber on the Place du Trocadero, we walked towards the famous esplanade! The weather was stunning, the tower was in good shape and so were the showmen and women who were performing in front of the tourists. See for yourself!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Love souvenir!

Cute photo isn't it? I took it at Les Pont des Arts, where, like I already reported several times, lovers from all over the world who come to Paris, attach a lock to the grid  as a symbol of their love. There are a zillion of them now, and the Paris town hall often has to remove them or to replace parts of the grid. That's probably what happened there and these two people were lucky enough to be the first to attach their lock right after the grid was replaced! This was definitely worth a souvenir photo!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Forced to be 2 minutes early!

I'm often asked what are the main cultural differences between the French and other nationalities (namely English speaking ones!) and the management of time is definitely one. Hence the "scandal" that is currently taking place in your train stations at the moment: the SNCF (railway company) has decided to close the doors of the TGV (bullet train) as early as 2 minutes before departure! No way you can "jump" on board at the last minute any more... Imagine!  Why is it that French people often arrive just on time or late? I have no idea...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Paris Elevator

Here is a very typical Parisian thing: an elevator from the beginning of the century (the 20th). You find them in most Haussmanian buildings and some of them are really nice. This one, that I photographed in the 17th arrondissement even has a little bench on which people can sit during their journey! You have to keep in mind that when they were first installed, they were pretty slow; some of them where not even electric, but worked with a pretty complex hydraulic system, not always very reliable (I remember an old uncle who told me he got once trapped in one that would never stop going up and down!).

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cruising the Seine

The weather has finally decided to be nicer... Parisians are thankful and so are the tourists. At least the ones that cruised the Seine on a "bateau mouche" today! My eyes got caught by the lady in green in this photo, but it's only now that I realized she was being photographed by someone with a pretty "professional" attitude... Maybe she's a model or something! Anyway I love the atmosphere in this photo.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Don't drop and go!

Some people complain that Paris is a dirty city. To be honest I don't think it's any dirtier that most large cities in the Western world, dog poop apart of course! (A lot has changed on this front by the way...). It's true though, that some people won't bother making the effort of reaching the next garbage can even though, there is one every 100 meters maximum... The Paris town hall has decided to react , threatening all polluters a 35€ ticket if they are caught dropping anything on the pavement. Will it work? I'm curious to know...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spooky Eiffel Tower

I often hesitate to show the "classic" views of Paris thinking that you can see them everywhere, like in guidebooks. Sometimes, though, I don't resist! Especially when the light is "different" or when the scene is intriguing... Like in this photo. You probably recognized the "lady" on the left, but probably not the one on the right... She represents La Jeunesse "the youth" and was sculpted by Alexandre Descatoire. (1874-1949) 

Monday, May 21, 2012

The debut of a successful business

It's always funny to jump in the past and see how the business that someone started a long time ago are still up and running and "pretty modern". That is the case of Le Printemps, one of the first Paris department stores created in May 1865 by Jules Jaluzot and Jean-Alfred Duclos who took the risk of investing in an area that was not very popular then. Only they believed that the new Saint Lazare train station would change all this, and they were right! They also "invented" fixed prices; for the first time customers would not have to bargain each time they wanted to buy something, simply pay the price on the label. How revolutionary!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

On the bench

Look what I found at the Porte de Versailles today (Porte de Versailles is an area located in the South West of Paris where they have large exhibition halls, including the famous Salon de l'agriculture that I already mentioned several times and the Foire de Paris (Paris fair). It's just a bench, put a pretty colorful one. I thought it would make a cool photo and it does (the shadow helps, I must say ;-)) That's all, have a nice Sunday everyone.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bike ride

Traditionally there are many "official" holidays in May in France (1st, 8th Ascension, Pentecost...) and this year a lot of them fall a day or two close to a weekend so that it's easy to take 3 or 4 days off for the price of one! That is precisely why Paris is currently very quiet, as last Thursday was a holiday and a lot of people have made "Le Pont" (the bridge)! I stayed, for I already took some time off recently at the beginning of the month and have to work now (I also have to finish the new design of PDP!). If the weather is nice I may take a little bike ride though...  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Zoom on Notre Dame

It's not because today is La Saint Eric (in France, a country of Catholic tradition, each day is associated with the name of a said Saint) that I'm showing a bit of Notre Dame, but just because I found out only yesterday that they installed telescopes in front of it, so that people can see the stunning details of its facade better. I did not try it though, because I did not have any coin (1 €) so I can't tell you if it's worth it. One thing I'm sure of, is that it helps making cool photos ;-))

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fête du pain 2012

As you all know I'm sure(!), in France the 16th of May is the day of Saint Honoré, the Saint of... bakers! That is why we are currently celebrating bread at the moment. How? In several ways, including a large exhibition in front of Notre Dame Cathedral, where I was able to taste some bread specialty and take this photo. If you notice, the baker in the foreground is a woman, as more and more bakers are now female bakers.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New President

That's it, as of today our new President, François Hollande, is in charge. The whole "coronation" took place today which involves a trip to the Elysée to switch places with the former President, then a car ride between the Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe, then a few handshakes with the crowd (we call that a "crowd bath"!) and a few other traditional stuff. As you can see, yesterday's sun was gone today and obviously the French protocol does not include the use of an umbrella... We have an expression in French that goes "mouiller sa chemise", which means "to put in some hard work". I think it could not be more appropriate, providing the amount of work that awaits for him!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wish you were here (you too I'm sure!)

The weather is currently lovely in Paris at the moment; just the right temperature (20°C - 68°F), plenty of sun, and another holiday in the pipe (newt Monday!) this Thursday. I took this photo from the Jardin de Belleville, a park that not many tourists visit and from where you can enjoy a very nice view of Paris. I highly recommend it. BTW the dome that you can see in the background is... the dome of the Invalides Pantheon (thank you Marnie! sorry for the mistake) .

Monday, May 14, 2012

Belleville artist worksops

Every city has its artists district. I'm not talking about galleries or museum but more off scene workshops, where young, not academic artists, gather and create what might one day become very successful. In Paris, this district is located in Belleville, in the 20th arrondissement. Yesterday, they had a "Portes ouvertes" day (open doors), where everybody could walk into their workshops and admire their work. I saw many interesting things, including this rather unexpected Buddah style temple in front of a giant wall covered in graffiti. More information here.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Betty Boop visits Paris!

I really don't know why someone made posters of Betty Boop and posted them on the walls of Paris, but here is one of them, that I found near the BHV (Bazar de l'hôtel de ville) department store. Maybe in a few days we will discover it's simply an ad campaign! Anyway I thought it would be a nice Sunday photo, even though it's not very Paris centric, nor even French! FYI Betty Boop is an animated cartoon character created by Max Fleischer that appeared for the first tim on August 9, 1930! [Uptade] Doh! I did not even notice that Betty had the body of Marilyn! There must be something going on with these two ladies, as I also found this.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Silver liner

Yes, it's a classic. Only the sky was so beautiful today that I could not help but taking a shot.The boat on the Seine is not really a "liner", but a boat on which you can enjoy a nice trip on the river and admire the Seine embankment which, to me, remains the most beautiful thing in Paris. BTW the water level has risen a lot lately; flood pictures to come for sure... I also have to decide on a date for the PDP picnic...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cycle racing in Paris

Don't go thinking the Tour de France started earlier this year, this cyclist is probably just an amateur that I caught on "film" yesterday in the Bois de Boulogne. The Bois de Boulogne is a 3.3 square mile park that borders the west side of Paris in which you can find several lakes, restaurants and even a racecourse. That is precisely around this racecourse (called l'hippodrome de Longchamp) that the cyclists train. FYI several buses allow you to go to the Bois de Boulogne, which is a nice location for a picnic for instance.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Playing with Europe

In front of the town hall there was until today an exhibition targeted at kids, dedicated to... Europe. They probably organized it a long time ago, and though it's wonderfully timely, as, as you may have heard in the news, Europe is once again at jeopardy. Greece has no more government, Spain and Portugal have a huge debt problem, and France and Germany have to negotiate on the latest treaty. It's not easy to build a new country... BTW, how good is your European Geography (I scored 55)?

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Paris Flat Iron

I took this photo at the corner of rue de Hanovre and rue du 4 septembre, a street that starts near the Opera. It made me think right away of the Flat iron in New York City. Of course it has only 5 or 6 stories (vs 22 stories for the NYC one!). It's a beautiful building - typical of some of the Paris architecture), but I have been totally unable to find any information about it. 

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

WWII Armistice

Today (May 8), is a holiday in France; we celebrate the WWII armistice (the end of the war). There will be a big event on the Champs Elysées for the occasion (to which exceptionally, both the new and the former President will attend). I happened to be on the Champs Elysées yesterday and I came across this sculpture of Charles de Gaulle, by Jean Cardot that I already posted a long time ago and from - another angle. I thought it was pretty timely, as de Gaulle played a large role during WWII.

Monday, May 07, 2012

And the new President of France is...

That's it! The polls didn't leave much suspense to be honest, but at least now we're sure; the next French President for the 5 years to come is François Hollande, from the socialist party. He will officially start his new job on May 15 (which does not leave much time for the former President to move out!) and even possibly on May 11 with an unofficial encounter with Angela Merkel from Germany. If you want to know what this new election will change and what "French socialism" really means, I recommend this article. I wish him (or rather us!) good luck.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Saint Michel area

I took this photo from the taxi that was taking me home from the airport after my vacation. I did not think it would be any good, but now that I see it on the computer I kinda like it. I took it in the Saint Michel area; you can see on of the pedestrian streets that they have there. I don't really know why this building is all lit to be honest, as to me, this is just a book shop (the famous Gibert Jeunes that all Parisian students know!). Anyway, thanks so much for your best recovery wishes yesterday. It worked, I already feel much better today ;-)

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Not that bad weather after all!

OK, maybe I exaggerated a bit when I said the weather is awful yesterday. I was just assuming from the weather forecast sites that it would be. And it is not! I took this photo right by the Pont Saint Michel (the one that precisely starts at the Place Saint Michel), a bridge that was first built in 1378 then reconstructed several times since then (the latest "version" was built in 1857). Sorry not much else to add, I'm sick as hell and all I can think of now is... going to bed (I should never leave Paris LOL!).

Friday, May 04, 2012

My beloved Paris!

Everything comes to an end, especially vacation! After a few days in beautiful Marrakesh, I'm back to my beloved home town (I need to vote on Sunday, remember!). The weather is awful, but I'm sure it won't last... And most important: the 2012 best baguette baker has just been chosen! I have to visit his bakery! FYI, this is an ad I photographed on a taxi; it promotes a new 2 page edition dedicated to Paris in Le Figaro daily paper.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Le débat !

I know that you probably don't care about French politics, and I don't want to bore you too much with it (so far I think I mentioned them only twice or three times!), but I can't resist posting a photo about "The Debate", that is a 2 hour "verbal fight" that usually takes place between the two candidates to the second round of the French elections. It took place last evening and even though I'm taking a break in Morocco at the moment, I could not help but watching it (hence the photo!). One of these two little men on each side of the screen is going to be the next French President on Sunday! 

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

1st of May desmonstration

I was not in Paris today, but I anticipated the various Union marches that generally take place on the first of May (I took this photo during a recent demonstration). This year though, no less than 3 official marches took place: the one of the unions, the one of the extreme right party and the one of Nicolas Sarkozy, who is currently running for his reelection. On a different note, I just saw on the news that the best restaurant in the world in not in Paris, nor even France, but in Denmark! The place is called Noma and this decision initiates from  Restaurant Magazine, a British publication - which might explain the reason why the first French restaurant is ranked 12th...

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Theme day: Bakeries

I know you're probably expecting the typical French bakery, full of croissants and pains au chocolat... Well I have showed you all this several times on PDP already, so for today's theme day I chose something that is currently growing in Paris: bagels. Not that they are about to take over our good old baguette, of course, but they're bringing a nice change to the bread and fast food scene. I found this nice little place at rue Cadet (number 7, a cool semi pedestrian street in the 9th. Like always, have a look at what the other CDP have posted for today's theme day