Saturday, June 30, 2012


Every now and then I post a photo of lovers on PDP - and not only on Feb 14!- and when I saw these two (on the same day I took the Canal saint Martin photo) I did not resist. I took a lot of shots, none of them are perfect to my eyes, but this one is pretty representative of their passion ;-) FYI, just in case this would give you an idea... there are (as least) two agencies in Paris that organize marriage proposals: Ceremonize and Proposeinparis. I'm just sayin'... ;-)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Dinner in town

Last evening I had the pleasure of having dinner at Le Burgundy, a superb hotel located near La Madeleine. It's a er... pretty fancy hotel and the food was really delish, needless to say! To be honest I had never heard of this hotel and if it weren't for my host Splendia, the high-end booking site that organized the evening, I still wouldn't know of it. Just for fun and to make you take part in the experience, I made a new experiment: I photographed my meal every 10 seconds! Check out the results here ;-) Note:  for those who are wondering, this is NOT a sponsored post, there has never been any and will never be one on PDP!)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Evening by the canal Saint Martin

Exceptionally last evening was warm enough for the people to sit outside and enjoy a drink or a picnic by the canal Saint Martin. I love this canal for it offers a very nice perspective from any of the metal bridges that cross it. I already mentioned it several times, but for the records let me remind you that it goes from la Villette to la Seine and was originally commissioned by Napoleon  in 1802, in order to supply Paris with fresh water (the Paris population started growing dramatically at that time and a lot of people were dying from dysentery and cholera). Now, it's a only used for navigation purposes.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The new Comédie Française

You may have noticed the beautiful roses in the foreground, but the most interesting part in this photo is... the wooden building in the background! It's actually the present Comédie Française, the only state theater in France, founded in  1680 and where famous French play writer/actor Molière used to perform. The original theater, located at Place Colette (in front of which I took this photo), is currently being renovated, and in the meantime they built this temporary one that they installed in the nearby Palais Royal - and that you can see in this photo...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Vintage car rallye

No it's not an old photo that I found in my attic, but one I took last Sunday in the Bois de Boulogne. This old De Dion Bouton (a French manufacturer from the late 1880's) was actually taking part in a "race" leaving from the Invalides to Rambouillet, a city located 55 kilometers (34 miles) away from Paris. Funny as hell. Especially because most of the drivers and passengers were dressed like in the old times. More on the web site of the event organizer (in French).

Monday, June 25, 2012

Velib is 5 years old!

The Velib (on demand bicycle service that I mentioned many times here) has just turned 5! With more than 23 000 bicycles and 1 700 stations, it has really conquered the hart of many Parisians (there are 224 000 - regular - subscribers and more that 13 million people used it at least once (I did!) during the 5 past years. To celebrate, there was a velib "race" yesterday morning on the Champs Elysées. I was there, of course (taking photos, not riding!!). More about Velib in English.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pétanque competition at Hotel de Ville

"La Pétanque" is a traditional French game that originates from Provence, in the South of France (more on Wikipedia). The goal is to throw metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a "cochonnet" ("little pig"!). When throwing the balls, players must remain behind a circle with both feet on the ground. It's simple, fun and can be played virtually anywhere as long as there is enough space. Like... in front of the Hotel de ville (town hall) where they installed several Pétanque playgrounds for the weekend.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Waiting for the rain to stop...

I'm generally not too weather conscious when I'm in Paris, for I don't really care if the sun is shining or not when I'm working. But now I had it! For the past 3 months, I don't recall a week without heavy rain and/or low temperatures... Impossible to plan anything outdoor (not even the PDP picnic!). According to Meteo-Paris, my favorite weather site, it should improve when July comes, but nothing is certain. I thought this photo was a perfect illustration of the situation. I took it during the Music Feast rehearsal, in the afternoon and thought the scene was really cute.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Play me, I'm yours!

Like every year the Fête de la musique (Music Feast) took place in Paris (and in many cities around the world) last evening. It was already its 30th anniversary! Fortunately the rain stopped around 6pm and gave way to hundreds of mini and maxi concerts all over the city. I spent most of my time in the Palais Royal, where the Play Me I'm yours "movement" installed a bunch of pianos around the main pond. The kids were extatic! Check out this little Animoto (now in HD).

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Inside a Parisian building

Here is a beautiful stairway I found in an apartment building located within the Passage Vivienne (the most beautiful covered passage in Paris in my eyes). In this area, most of the buildings were erected during the 18th-19th century. They may not be perfectly aligned nor regular by today's standards, but they are really majestuous, have large staircases, high ceilings, etc. in other words there is a lot of "wasted space" that people are reluctant to pay for, nowadays... No wonder, the price of a square meter in this area amounts on average to 10 000 € (8 487 € in Paris, globally) and very few French people can afford a place there. What's funny of course is to back to some of my old posts... In this one for instance, in 2006, I mentioned an average sq meter price of 6 000 € which sounded outrageous at the time!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Landing in Paris

I had to pick up a friend at Charles de Gaulle airport today and I took advantage of it to take this photo. Technically it is not Paris, but it's close enough! There are 3 airports around Paris (Charles de Gaulle, Orly and Le Bourget). Most of the traffic goes through Charles de Gaulle (88 million passengers in 2011), mostly from France and Europe (about 60%) and the rest from the rest of the world (North America accounts for roughly 10% of the traffic). If I judge from the crowd that was at the airport this morning, the tourist roundup has already started!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Le Nil (The Nile)!

You may wonder why the title of this post is "The Nile"... Well, quit wondering! It's simply the name of this beautiful statue by Italian sculptor Lorenzo Ottoni (1648-1736) - apparently, it is pretty common to represent the Nile as an old bearded man leaning on a Sphinx! I also found it in the Tuileries gardens and FYI, it's actually a replica, made after the original located at the Vatican, in Italy.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Not your garden-variety garden!

Did you ever hear of André Le Nôtre? If you came to Paris, you probably did, for he his the one who designed the gardens of Versailles, of Chantilly, Vaux-le-Vicomte and of a few other castles and places like the Tuilerie gardens, where I took this photo. To be honest, it's not so much the gardens that interested me when I took this photo (even if they are beautiful), but the juxtaposition of the two tourists and the bust of André! 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

More elections...

It's Sunday and we're voting again... Not for the President - he was elected a month ago - but for our Representatives at the Assemblée Nationale (French Parliament). We have no less than 577 "députés" (Representatives), whereas Germany a,d the UK have roughly 600 - and only 435 in the US. They not only vote the laws but also manage their "Circonscription" (regional councilConstituency). They remain in power for 5 years, unless the President of the Republic calls for new elections, which is extremely rare. This photo shows the back of the Assemblée Nationale, which is rarely shown, even though it's worth the look...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Eiffel Tower: new story!

A new story? Yes! As unbelievable as it sounds it looks like they are going to add a new floor to the iron lady... But don't go thinking that you're going to have to walk up another flight of stairs as this extra floor will be... underground. There would actually be two new stories and they will be used to install the ticket booth, a museum, a kids' corner, a luggage locker, etc. This way the city hopes to offer a better greeting to the 6+ million visitors each year.

Friday, June 15, 2012

White dinner (Dîner en blanc) 2012

I'm just back from the 2012 Paris White Dinner Party! Those who've been following PDP for some time now are familiar with this event. People who are invited are asked to dress in white and to go to particular meeting points in Paris (generally around a beautiful location, like the Place des Vosges this time ). At the very last moment they get notified where to install their table and chairs! It's as simple as that, but as there are hundreds of guests, it's a little complicated to organize (not to mention that it is also forbidden to do such a thing without notifying the Paris Police department!). Anyway, like always I took a lot of photos and even video clips, but you will have to wait a little... UPDATE : An Animoto and a video are available in the right column of this blog.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

(Good) Coffee to go

The concept of "coffee to go" is not very common in Paris. Of course we now have Starbucks and some cafés around the corner will give you a paper cup if you ask for one, but it's really not usual to see someone sipping his coffee in the metro or his car. Things may change though, thanks to people like Arnaud Viratelle (in this photo) who owns a little mobile coffee stand by the train station at Place Pereire (which is actually called Place du Maréchal Juin). The coffee is organic, not expensive (in Paris, 1 euro a cup, is a deal!) and the service is very nice, like the owner or the place. So, if you're in the neighborhood, pay him a visit.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Inside Saint-Louis des Invalides

Believe it or not, I had never been inside Saint-Louis des Invalides, the church that is adjacent to the Hotel des Invalides, which was built during the 17th century by Jules Hardouin-Mansart. It's broken down into two parts, one of each (in this photo) being called "the soldiers's church" (you can see the glass partition in the very background of this photo). The whole place is really beautiful, but the most beautiful one is, in my opinion, this stunning metal door at the entrance. Another interesting fact: on both sides of the church, you can see flags; they are "war trophies", from the conquests of Napoleon! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Avenue Luis de Camões

Do you know Luís Vaz de Camões (also known as "le Camoëns"), the most famous poet and writer of Portugal? I did not! But now that I have seen the monument dedicated to him off the boulevard Delessert in the 16th arrondissement, near the Trocadero, I do. He was the "Shakespeare" of Portugal and lived approximately between 1525 and 1580. "His avenue" is beautiful, and obviously a pedestrian area (as far as know it's the only pedestrian avenue in Paris) as you can only walk the stairs in it. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

DIY art at Gare Saint Lazare

I could have made a little quiz and let you guess what this is, but you'd probably never have guessed... It's actually a close up of a "sculpture" that I found last week at the brand new Gare Saint Lazare (a train station located in the heart of Paris, near the Galerie Lafayette and Printemps department stores). It's called Plastic bags (in English) and it's a collective work of art made by Pascale Marthine Tayou, a Cameroonian artist who asked the people to hang multicolored plastic bags around a huge net! The result is stunning ; have a look at the broader view I took or in the official photo gallery.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

La Pagode

Here is an odd place in Paris I never told you about... It's called La Pagode (the Pagoda), and like its name indicates it's a building shaped like a real Japonese Pagoda. Only, it's located in the 7th arrondissement, not far from the Rodin Museum. It was built in 1896 and offered by the owner of the Bon Marché department store to his wife (who was not impressed apparently for she ran away with his associate the year after!). Now it's a cinema that shows Art et Essai movies (that is everything BUT blockbusters!). Anybody can walk in and have a look, like I did yesterday afternoon.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Cool night shot

It's been a while since I've shown you a night shot. So here is one, that I took yesterday evening from the pont d'Iéna, right by the Eiffel Tower. The bridge in the background is the Passerelle Debilly, the one where I took this shot, that the most romantic of you probably still remember... 

Friday, June 08, 2012

Accessibility night

I'm embarrassed to say, but France is not very good at making sure that handicapped people have access to the same places as others. For example, you rarely see someone in a wheelchair in the streets of Paris, simply because getting around is difficult and because stores, bars and even public transportation are not properly equipped. The main reason is money of course, but also a general mindset. To fight this and to raise awareness, the City of Paris has organized a "great night of accessibility"  during which people will be invited to list bars, clubs, restaurants and other evening public places where handicapped people are welcome. It will be followed by a concert at the recently re-opened Gaité Lyrique. I thought this graffito - that I found in the 5th - was perfect to illustrate this excellent event.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Reading in Le square de Cluny

If you happen to wander at the corner of boulevard Saint Germain and boulevard Saint Michel, by the Cluny museum, I strongly recommend you take a walk inside the square de Cluny, a half medieval/half modern garden where you can barely hear the traffic noise. I went there for the first time this morning and took this cool photo. I think I should have used it for our June theme day "tranquility"!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

A night at Theater Marigny

I went to the Marigny theater last evening, a beautiful theater located in the lowest part of the Champs Elysées (very close to the Elysée Palace, the home of the President of the Republic). I took this photo from the inside, on the 1st floor, during the intermission (or to be honest, while I was leaving, before the end of the show,  because I really did not like it!). The sign says "salle Popesco" (hall Popesco) after the name of a famous actress who died in the 90's at 99.  

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Advertising age

Like all underground transportation systems in the world, the French metro makes ends meet by selling advertising space. This, since... 1947 (and a little before too)! Generally rented by the week, this space has seen thousands of ad campaigns since then! One artist - Pierre-François Grimaldi - had the idea of turning them into real pictures. Some of them can currently be seen at Galerie W, near Montmartre. Quite clever - and interesting for "old" Parisians like me who may remember some of these campaigns! 

Monday, June 04, 2012

On the case...

Can you smell blood on PDP today?! Well, you should, for besides the Queen Jubilee in the UK, the French news is full of the story of Luka Rocco Magnotta, a Canadian porn star who is said to have killed a man, made a video and sent the victim's dismembered body parts in the mail (read more here)! Even worse - after all this - he took a flight to... Paris! Some witnesses say that he stayed in the Batignolles area (a quarter of Paris where I used to live 10 years ago!), others that he is currently in the suburbs... Anyway, I could not help but live dangerously (LOL) and went back to my old neighborhood to take this photo. If tomorrow's PDP photo is of one of my body parts, you'll know why... ;-) In the meantime I'll be singing this... UPDATE: He was caught in Berlin today!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

French Tennis open

The French tennis open (called The Rolland Garros tournament in France) has started. It's always a big thing, not only for tennis fans, but for the Parisians (and French) in general. Of course, I could not miss it... But if you think I took this photo in the Rolland Garros stadium itself, you're all wrong! I took it in front of the Paris town hall, where they installed a huge screen with seats and tables where people can watch the show comfortably (click here for a broader view). Pretty cool actually...

Saturday, June 02, 2012

A journey to Versailles in Autolib

I already mentioned Autolib twice on this blog (here and here). It's a car sharing system that allows you to pick up a car from any station in Paris and suburbs and drop it in any station, when you return... Well, for the 1st time today I used it (to go to Versailles). The system is very well made. All you need is to scan your licence and ID and swipe a credit card in one of their stations, then choose your plan (I took a daily one for 10 €/ 24 hours and 14€/hour) and get familiar with the driving of an electric car (it's really not very different from "normal" cars). Cherry on the cake ; the whole system remembers the radio stations you memorized so that the next time you take a car, your favorite radios are already preset!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Tranquility, really?

Today's theme day among the CDP community is "Tranquility". Frankly there is not much that makes me think of anything tranquil in a big city like Paris! I first thought of showing you water, but even on the Seine there is a constant circulation of boats and "bateaux mouche" ! So here is a scene that I took last night, right after I went out of the Marigny Theater on the Champs Elysées. The street is pretty busy of course, but the sunset is rather "tranquil"! As always, have a look at what the other CDP bloggers posted for today's theme day...