Thursday, February 28, 2013

Window bars

I fell in love at first sight with these window bars when I saw them near Pigalles, where I had to get something for my camera. When you live on the ground floor (Le rez-de-chaussée in French) in a big city like Paris, you'd better install bars at your windows to avoid that burglars jump into your apartment, but to avoid feeling like you're in jail, you'd better invest in nice ones, like these ones... FYI, last year, there has been 1 117 burglaries in Paris, which is not that much considering there about 1,3 million apartments in Paris, but still... I lived once on the ground floor and did not have bars at my windows - I was broken into once!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fashion Week (again!)

If there is one specialty France has managed to keep alive it's fashion! What was initially a social class identification system has now become a huge industry. Of course we do have competitors, but still... France and Paris in particular is a passage obligé (mandatory place to be) when dealing with fashion (whether on the creative side or the business side). Some may find it superficial, but whether you like it or not you cannot deny it's a true art! Yesterday the Fall/Autumn 2014 season has started and it will last 9 days. I took this photo during a previous show, when, at the end, hairdressers and make up people get on stage to make a appearance.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

When farmers invade Paris!

Here we go again... Like every year Paris welcomes the "largest farm in the world" (aka Le Salon de l'agriculture) at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center. Officially, it's a trade show, but it's also visited by a wider public, including families with kids who can see for themselves what a steak looks like when it's alive! It's also the occasion to witness some interesting French traditions, like these Bergers Landais (shepherds from the Landes region) that used to watch their sheep perched on stilts (the Bergers were on stilts, not the sheep!)! 

Monday, February 25, 2013


Don't ask me why, but I love this photo! I took it right in front of Notre Dame, while I was in the line waiting to get in to photograph the bells (that I posted two days ago). Because of the 850th anniversary of the Cathedral (a pretty respectable age!), they installed these "steps" where people can sit while attending the various celebrations that will take place throughout the year (have a look at the kick off session they had there in December). Also, as you can notice it, it's pretty cold in Paris at the moment ;-) 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Harlem Shake Paris!

Unless you live under a rock, you surely have heard of "the Harlem Shake", this Web "meme" that is currently spreading all over the world. Principle: gather in front of a camera (preferably wearing fancy costumes!) and shake your body erratically! That's all! Don't ask me why it caught on, but it did... To a point that yesterday (Saturday) I witnessed one in front of the Eiffel Tower. I made this little video, for you to see better... Funny as hell (if you like that kind of stuff of course, otherwise, if you think it's silly, I suggest you watch this.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The new bells of Notre dame

You may already have heard the news, Notre Dame had to renew its bells because they were badly tuned! The ones in place at the moment are not the original ones (they were melted during the French revolution!) but installed in 1856. Anyway, the new bell(e)s have been manufactured in Normandy for about a year and delivered earlier this month. Since then, they have been on display, in the middle of the Cathedral. And that's where I was today to photograph them for you (the place is a real nightmare due to the amount of tourists I must say...). It was about time as they are going to be installed soon in the bell towers and should be ready to ring by March 23. In the meantime, they have been digitally sampled so that the show can go on... I'm pretty sure they will soon make an app too ;-) Here is another view and a pretty interesting article from England.

Friday, February 22, 2013

A cleaner Paris (really?)

The cleanliness of Paris has always been a major concern for Parisians. It's also been a point of political contention and since the elections are coming up (we're going to vote for the new mayor next year), no wonder the current town hall team is keen on showing they pay attention to this topic. The truth is that Paris would be less dirty if Parisians were less careless... That is why as of yesterday a new and pretty clever advertising campaign has started. It points out the fact that even though there are garbage cans every 100 meters, things won't improve if people do use them! 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Museum break

Whenever I want to take a little break from the city buzz without actually going away from Paris, I go to the Petit Palais, a fine arts museum located off the Champs Elysées. There you can enjoy a quick break and/or have a little snack in the in house café that I already recommended (especially in summer!) In the main entrance hall, they have a few pieces of art on display, including this one that I love: it's called La femme au singe (singe means monkey) for she has a monkey on a leash) and it was made by Camille Alaphilippe. An absolute beauty.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Saint-Gervais Saint-Protais Church

Last year, more than 29 million tourists visited Paris! I guess they all wanted to see for themselves the beauty we, Parisians, pass by everyday without really noticing it! Hence this church that I've never shown - at least from this angle. It was named after two famous Saints (Saint-Gervais  and Saint-Protais) and it's the oldest one on the right bank. It was built between 1494 and 1621 (yes, it took quite some time, but they did not have bulldozers in the middle ages ;-)) Not only is its architecture very spectacular (you can read everything about it on Wikipedia if you're interested), but it also has a stunning organ, which is still in operation. Last, but not, least, it was bombed during WWI killing 88 people .

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Un café s'il vous plaît !

The weather is nicer and nicer in Paris and yesterday I had the pleasure of taking my first café outside on a terrace in a long time (I know it's hard to see I was on a terrace, but I can assure you I was ;-) This is a typical bistrot cup (the color is called "vert empire"); it is normally manufactured in France, in the Limoges area - a city where most French china was (and still is) made. They are quite expensive (15 € each!), but very sturdy.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Invalides, last evening...

I thought I had shown you the Invalides so many times over these past - almost - 8 years, that it was not worth giving it a new try. And though, on the way back from a goûter (snack) at friends yesterday, I stopped and took this shot. I know it almost looks like I took it at day light, but I did not; the light in the foreground is 100% artificial and the blue sky is probably due to the fact that I had to lighten the whole photo a bit. Anyway I like the final result.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

2013 Chinese New Year

Almost totally unknown and ignored by Parisians, the Chinese new year (which should technically be referred to as the Chinese calendar new year, since other Asian countries also celebrate it) is now widely celebrated throughout the streets of Paris! The celebration even lasts for a week and includes much more than just a parade. Today (Sunday) there will be two hot spots for Chinese fans: the 13th arrondissement (which is the original Chinese quarter) and Belleville. I took this photo last Sunday, when they had their first parade, in Le Marais (the blue building on the left is the Pompidou Center).

Saturday, February 16, 2013

An unusual metro station

When you think of the Paris metro, you probably have in mind one of the typical Art nouveau entrances designed by Hector Guimard. Well, he did not do them all... Hence this one, near Place Monge, located at rue de Navarre, probably one of the oldest streets in Paris (it takes you to the famous Lutèce arenas, that were built by the Romans, when they used to live in "Paris" - which was called Lutèce at that time). I did not find any information about this station - who built it -  but I really like it.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Paris on ice...

I went to the Bazar de l'hôtel de ville (a department store famous for its hardware department!) yesterday and I passed by the ice rink they install every year in the front of the nearby town hall. I then realized I did not show it to you this year. So here it is, with a nice sun effect (I took it around 4 pm) and a bit of Notre Dame in the background. Hurry if you want to ice skate in Paris, it'll remain there until March 3 only ;-)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day

"Make love not war", was the slogan you could hear in the 60s... Well, if you look at this graffito, it looks like the two are compatible LOL! To be quite frank I did not notice the machine gun in the hands of the angel at first and I saved this photo thinking "this would make a  perfect photo to celebrate lovers' day! On a second thought it might not be that appropriate... ;-) Anyway, let me send you all my love, wherever you are in the world.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Here is a nice change from the usual graffiti... Even if technically it's not very different! Only this time it's legal and qualifies as "work of art". "It" is Le Bateau Ivre (The Drunken Boat), a famous poem by French poet Arthur Rimbaud that all French pupils have learned at school (at least partially). Thanks to the Dutch Tegen-Beeld foundation who committed calligrapher Jan Willem Bruins to write it on a wall, well you can now admire it on 300 sq meters (3229 square feet) at rue Férou (right next to the Pantheon Saint Sulpice) Dankü!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentines day is approaching!

Here is a cute little Graffito that I found somewhere in the 20th (I don't remember where exactly!). I thought it was appropriate in view of the coming of La Saint Valentin (Valentine's day). On this occasion, the Paris town hall invited all Parisians to send a love message to a specific address; the message will then be broadcasted on the 170 information electronic billboards that are to be found everywhere in Paris on Feb 14.  2 700 people participated, but only a few will have the pleasure to see their messages up on the billboards!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Paris Carnival 2013

It was a busy weekend in Paris! Many exhibitions and two parades: one to celebrate the Chinese new year and another one for the Paris Carnival. For yes, even if it's not exactly like in Rio, we do have a carnival in Paris! I've been following it for a couple of years now and it's always fun. It rained and snowed a bit yesterday so it was not easy for the people to march, but it allowed me to take interesting photos, like this one where you can see the reflection on the pavement. I have many more, but no time to select them yet...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Crème de la crème... de marrons!

This is not something very Parisian, but surely very French. It's called Crème de marrons (chestnut spread), it's made by a French manufacturer from Ardèche (a region in the center of France) named Clément Faugier (named after the founder of the company in 1882) and well it's really good! There is very little chance that you can find it near you as, only 15% of the production is exported. You'll have to come here to test it! Have a nice Sunday in the snow or on the beach...

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Good ol' tradition...

"Faire du neuf avec du vieux" (turn old into new) is what I thought when I saw these place mats decorated with old French symbols. I photographed them in front of a cool store called Comptoir de Famille, located in Le Passage Jouffroy (the passage when the wax museum of Paris - musée Grévin - is to be found). Needless  to say that there is nothing old in these mats, they're probably made in China out of brand new plastic. Still cool though ;-) Have a great weekend and if you're Chinese, don't forget to celebrate the new year!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Picnic anyone?

Those of you who already attended a PDP picnic will probably recognize this place. Only, if I were to organize/organise(!) such a picnic at the moment, I would probably need to rent a boat LOL. As you guessed, the Seine is currently overflowing and it's quite impressive (between the garbage bags there are normally benches!) and beautiful too. The voies sur berges, that is the urban motorway than runs along the Seine is closed of course, so that there are massive traffic jams. But life goes on, it's still not the "big one" and nothing like the 1910 floods.  

Thursday, February 07, 2013

European food aid support

Last Monday, the Restaurant du Coeur (a very popular French association that provides food to the people who need it) organized a happening on the Trocadero esplanade to raise awareness on possibly financial cuts by Brussels (the European headquarters). This happening was called the airfood project and consisted of bringing an empty plate and pretending to eat... nothing! Clever... (check their website if you want to see more). More than 18 million Europeans (4 million French) are concerned by this decision which will be voted today and tomorrow. Europe is not the only place where such cuts happen, watch this "funny" commercial that takes place in Australia for instance. (Sorry the quality of the photo really isn't good).

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

French films

One thing I like very much about Paris is that we still have a pretty dynamic movie industry. This is due to specific financial dispositions (for example anybody in France can invest in a movie and get a tax cut), but also to the fact that even if the big American blockbusters are extremely successful, we still have a wide variety of choice when we want to go to the movies. We have what we call Cinémas d'art et d'essai like this one, the Studio 28, located in Montmartre. There you can watch "quality films", the very ones that led Phil in Modern Family to say "Why do I have to watch a French movie, I didn't do anything wrong" -;). Jokes aside, I'm glad these theaters still exist.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

A very popular man!

Not a big Paris scene today, just something to make you smile ;-) A few facts an figures though: In France wearing a helmet on a motorbike (on any two-wheel vehicle with an engine actually) has been compulsory since 1973. Not wearing one costs 135 €...

Monday, February 04, 2013

All about Paris Maisons closes...

This weekend the second edition of Paris Face Cachée (Paris underground...) took place. Quite logically  the purpose of this event is to allow Parisians to (re)discover hidden aspects of Paris (I let you discover the program if you can read French). It was a huge success! I personally attended a conference by Sylvanie de Lutèce (that I had previously featured on Portraits Parisiens) about the history of prostitution in Paris. It was really interesting; I learned everything about Maisons Closes (brothels). Fortunately, they are now (really!) closed and prohibited.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Give love a second chance...

How many times in your life did you miss a love opportunity because you did not dare talking to someone or respond to someone who was obviously trying to make contact with you? I'm sure many times... Well, before (that is before the Internet age!) you would simply go home with your regrets hoping that fate would smile at you a second time. Now - if you live in Paris at least! - you can place an ad on (we missed each - describing your missed opportunity (eg. "you were wearing a red dress, I asked you when the next bus was coming") and hope that the "red dress" reads your ad ;-) Isn't that cool?

Saturday, February 02, 2013

The crowd!

In the Tuileries gardens there is a stunning sculpture that I never showed you. It's called La foule (the crowd) and it was made by British sculptor Raymond Mason. It was completed in 1967, purchased by France’s National Fund of Contemporary Art and placed in 2000 in the Tuileries. How not to think of  Edith Piaf's song?

Friday, February 01, 2013


I love today's City Daily Photo bloggers community theme day (It was apparently suggested by Kate from Visual St Paul). Of course living in the Northern hemisphere and being in February helps a lot, but still ;-) I took this photo earlier in the month - when it was snowing that much - on the Champs Elysées and I really chased that guy because I thought this red umbrella would make a cool photo with the snow. I'm glad I saved it for today... Happy theme day. Check what other umbrellas look like all over the world