Saturday, August 31, 2013

Seeing red!

It's pretty unusual to see bright color buildings like this red one in Paris... that is precisely why I stopped on my way and took this shot at rue de la Glacière in the 13th arrondissement. It's pretty unusual because as you can guess there are strict regulations in Paris, when it comes to building/ renovating/ painting a building and a facade. Only it depends on the area (you surely could not paint a Haussmann building in red!) and if you manage to get the authorization for the town hall. They obviously did!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Small ville!

Today I had a meeting on 17th floor of a building at La Défense, the Business district of Paris. During a break, I rushed to the window and took several photos. In the end I selected this one because of its surreal aspect; the people look like little puppets on a playground! That's all, nothing mush to add...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pont Alexandre III, the beautiful

I know, I've showed you Le Pont Alexandre III many times already, but never with this sky (it's a real sky!)and never from this angle ;-) So here you go... I took this photo 2 days ago, when the sky was much less inviting than today, around 9 pm (it gets dark earlier now...). The Pont Alexandre III was built between 1896 and 1900 for the world exhibit of 1900. It is named after Tsar Alexander III, who concluded the Franco-Russian Alliance in 1892, and it's his son, Nicholas II, who laid the foundation stone in October 1896. It's a magnificent bridge; if you come to Paris, you have to see it!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Manhattan upon Seine!

OK, maybe there are not enough skyscrapers to compete with Manhattan, but that's close enough ;-) This area is called, Le front de Seine, it's located in the 15th arrondissement and it was not always like this... This part of Paris was very industrious (the 15th was known to be a worker area), but from the 50's onwards  factories started closing or moving to the suburbs. Since Paris needed offices and housing, the government thought of  building towers, like in many "modern" cities. The work started in 1967, but due to the many complaints (it was too "modern"), it was never totally completed and stopped in 74. Now they are renovating some areas, and especially a big shopping mall called Beaugrenelle, that should (re)open very soon. More (in French) here

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

From Montparnasse...

Last evening I was near the Montparnasse train station (which is located on a little hill). I stopped to take a photo of the Eiffel Tower from there, but just when I pushed the trigger, a bus passed by. I was a little cross, but it turns out it makes a real cool photo, much better that the ones I took after without the bus! Sometimes, fate is on your side ;-)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Green wall

I love green walls, especially when they grow in the least expected place. Hence this one, that I found in the 2nd arrondissement, one of the most urban arrondissements in Paris. It's composed of  7600 plants and was made by Patrick Blanc, a botanist that invented - or at least developed - vertical gardens (green walls). Check his cool website!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Henri IV in the sun

I already showed this statue to you, but I never get tired of it! It shows Henri IV, a French king that reigned until 1610, when he was murdered by what you may call a "terrorist", even though the term probably did not exist at that time! This statue can be seen on the Pont Neuf and it's definitely a must see.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

No vacation for bread!

Congés annuels means "Annual leave" in French and as you can guess I took this photo in front of a store - a boulangerie, more precisely. Nothing extraordinary as most shopkeepers close in August except that this one mentions the Paris Prefecture de Police (Paris Police Department), which is quite unusual. I investigated... and found out that in Paris, boulangers (bakers) cannot choose freely when and how long they can close! Why? For a historical reason... Before, bread used to be the main type of food that people could afford. On October 21, 1789, a Paris quarter became short of bread and the only open baker did not have enough bread to feed everyone. He ended up... hanged but the angry - and hungry! - Parisians. Since then the organisation of bread supply (including annual leaves) is ruled by the Paris police department.   

Friday, August 23, 2013

A (very) French café

I had a meeting at Place de la Bastille this morning and since I needed a quiet place the person I was supposed to see recommended that we meet at Le Café Français, at the corner of the Place and the rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine. I did not know this place, but I'm glad I went, for it's pretty cool. As you can see from the blue, white and red colors, the main theme is definitely France! After investigating on the web I found out that this café belongs to the famous Costes brothers who own most of the trendy cafés in Paris (about 40 places!)... 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Patience pays off!

"One should build cities in the country, the air would be much cleaner!" said once, one of our all time famous humorists: Alphonse Allais. Well, if you trust this photo, you could think that they've started! For I did take this shot in Paris and in a very very urban area, near the Place de Clichy (precisely in a little garden square off the Avenue de Clichy). This area used to be pretty ugly, but now it's being totally renovated and people who were patient enough (like the lucky ones who live in this red building for example!) can now enjoy a nice and peaceful view, while being one step away from all the city fuss (and enjoy an increase in the price of their apartment of at least 50%!)!   

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A must see church

Amazing how, after all this time, I keep discovering new interesting spots in Paris. Hence this stunning church that I had never even seen before. It's located in the 19th arrondissement, next to the pont levant I already mentioned here and it looks like a real old church. In fact it's not so old as it was built between 1841 and 1844, only the architect (Paul-Eugène Lequeux) copied the Neoclassicism style. Anyway, if you're in the neighborhood, it's definitely worth a visit. As for me, I'm back in Paris now, ready to discover new things for you! 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Liberty (part II)!

I know, I told you the story a 100 times already... In Paris you can see several mini replicas of the statue of liberty, including this one that was inaugurated by French President Carnot on July 4th 1889 and which is located in the middle of l'île aux cygnes (swans island) . Of course you all know that the statue of Liberty that you can see in New York was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and has been given to the Americans by the French in 1885. Anyway, this is the first time I showed it from this side ,as, to do so, you must walk along a mini highway that runs along the embankment and it's really not easy!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Paris withdrawals...

I love the South of France and its colors/smell/old stones... But I also miss Paris! Besides, this week is the ignition of "La rentrée" (back to school) and I don't want to miss that! Paris Plage is currently being dismantled, (some) businesses reopen and, well, the city will come back to "normal" life soon. Time for me to go home and pay a visit to the iron lady!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Definitely the tourist season!

If you needed another proof that tourists are in Paris at the moment, here is one: I took this shot on the Champs Elysées, near the Arc de Triomphe and these are all the tuk-tuk (cyclo-pousses in French) that were waiting for customers! Exactly like at a taxi stand... Talking about taxis in Paris, let me invite you to read this article by David Lebovitz (who normally writes about food!) where you can learn how the authorities try their best to make the life of Parisians (and tourists!) miserable when it comes to finding a taxi in Paris (all this because taxis are a powerful lobby that can block the streets of Paris and paralyse the city!). 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A new summit!

You may have been on top of the Eiffel Tower, of the Arch of Triumph, of La Tour Montparnasse and maybe on top of a few other Paris summits, but I bet you've never been on top of the Tour Saint Jacques, a tower I mentioned several times here. After a long period of renovation, they decided to open it to visitors during the summer (until september 15). No rush though, it's very unlikely you manage to get a ticket as it only takes place during weekends and you have to physically be there to purchase the tickets. Shame though, for I think it's really worth it (and I'll miss it too...)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Weird encounter

Here is a photo I took under one of the arches of the Cours du Louvre, but I know nothing about this weird encounter! I looked everywhere on the web and could not find a thing! Maybe it's to promote le Au galop parcours, a horse centric journey into the Louvre museum, but I doubt it. Or maybe is it just a prank! 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Notre Dame's day

It's Aug 15, the day where Catholics celebration the Assumption of Mary, the mother of Jesus. I thought it was appropriate to show you a photo of Notre Dame de Paris, the most beautiful church in Paris, which is also celebrating its... 850th anniversary this year (amazing!). A real masterpiece (see more on Wikipedia) that is very hard to visit, because of the many people that want to visit it too! It's worth the wait though. If you're interested (and can read French), I found a brand new study about Catholicism in France; even though it's loosing a bit of ground, it's still the first religion in France.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wind Power!

Don't go thinking I took this photo in the country somewhere... I took it in Paris, in a public garden located in the 17th arrondissement near the Pont Cardinet area. Of course this wind "turbine" won't produce any electricity, I suppose it's just a scenery equipment, but in other parts of France they do. We have a production of almost 8 000 MW through wind power, which compared to Germany (31 000 Mw),  or the US (60 000 MW) or... China (75 000 MW) is not much, but we're progressing... 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Happy for you!

It's obviously not for the aesthetic of this scene that I posted this photo today, but because, when I passed at 48 boulevard du Temple yesterday, I could not help but have a second look at this graffito! Was someone that happy to just have had sex that he/she felt compelled to write it in big letters on the wall? Or was it more some wishful thinking?! I guess we'll never know... 

Monday, August 12, 2013

The emptiest week of the year...

In France, and in Paris in particular, the week of the 15th of August is traditionally the most quiet week of the year. First, because the 15th of August is a holiday (Assumption of Mary) and second because it's part of the 3 first weeks of August during which, France is known to be "closed" (I learned why recently; it's because when the French were first granted 2 vacation weeks in 1936, the Government picked the 2 first weeks of August. When they added a 3rd then later a 4th week, they simply added them to the ones already in place).  I took this photo at Place du Trocadero, a square that is usually packed with cars! 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sand castle...

OK, it's not exactly a castle... But it's really made of sand and I really took this photo in Paris, not on a beach somewhere on the Riviera! As you probably guessed, I took it at Paris Plage, the event that's been taking place every summer since 2002 and that I featured several times here. This year, I spotted this guy, a "sand sculptor" who makes this real piece of art hoping to get some change (it works pretty well actually, while I was taking the photo, several people gave money). Merci l'artiste !

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Paris Syndrome !

This may sound like an April fool's day joke, but apparently it's not! The Paris Syndrome is a - mostly - Japanese disorder that happens when people realize that Paris is not all about sipping wine at a terrace on a quaint square while playing the accordion and dancing with a Parisienne in the middle of the street (even though it happens, like in this photo that I took at the Vendanges de Mélac last September!). According to this article and this Wikipedia entry some people cannot cope with this bad news and are so disappointed that they have to see a psychiatrist... Like I said, it really sounds like a joke.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Celebrating the end of Ramadan

This morning I had an appointment in the 13th arrondissement and on the way out I passed by the Grande Mosquée de Paris (the big Mosque of Paris), that I already showed you here. The place was absolutely packed, because of Aïd el-Fitr, which celebrated the end of Ramadan. Everybody was all dressed up and looked happy; it was really fun to see. Islam is the second religion in France, after Catholicism. It's also the fastest growing one, mainly due to immigration from Africa and to conversions (even though it's difficult to know for sure as the French Republic prohibits the performing of census based on religion, ethnic origins - or skin color). Also, France being a strict secular state, it is not always easy for all religions to find a space...     

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Rainy day

It rained almost all day today and there has been many many storms in France (except in Nice ;-)). Therefore the  temperature has dropped a bit and it's much easier to sleep now. I took this photo at Avenue Foch (I think this is the first time I post a photo that I took there), a beautiful avenue (often called the most expensive avenue in Paris) that goes from the Arch of Triumph until the Bois de Boulogne. 

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Nice apartement in... Nice

For once, let me show you a photo not taken in Paris, but on the French Riviera! As a matter of fact you may have wondered why I was spending so much time in Nice lately... Well, it's simple, I was busy fitting an apartment in the old town (le Vieux Nice) to prepare it for renting to tourists. It was a lot of work, but I like to think the results are quite good. See for yourself here. It's called Le Douzy (a play on the French 12 "douze" and the definition of doo·zy (noun /ˈdo͞ozē/ 1. Something outstanding or unique of its kind)  And who knows, if you feel like visiting the French Riviera instead of (or in addition to!) Paris, why not?!  Sorry for the blatent advertising, but you have to admit I have rarely taken advantage of  PDP to promote my business!

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

One small jump for man...

Every year in summer I'm always fascinated by theses skaters that manage to do things that I can no longer do!! This time I watched the ones on the new Place de la République (remember, I told you , they have totally redone it and it now offers a large pedestrian (or skaters!) area). Pretty cool...

Monday, August 05, 2013

Sunset on the Carrousel

I'm just back to Paris and glad to be! I'm going to be able to enjoy the beauty of Paris in summer, like this Arche du Carrousel (du Louvre), that I showed you several times already, but I don't think you can get tired of it! I photographed it around 10 pm, when the sun was about to go to bed... Like me in 2 minutes! 

Sunday, August 04, 2013

The tourist season!

The photo is not really good and I surely don't have the intention to make fun of this charming lady, but when I saw her on top of the Champs Elysées, I could not help but smile... I don't know where she's from exactly - probably central Asia or Thibet - but she certainly beats all these fancy Parisiennes with her style! Maybe not the easiest piece of garment to wander on the Champs Elysées, though, but who cares! Welcome in Paris, Madame...

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Back to Le Pont Levant

You may remember my two photos of le Pont Levant from last year (this one and this one). Well, I went back this year! And the scenery is still stunning there. The beautiful building you can see in the background used to be a warehouse where cereal was stored. It apparently burned in 1990 and the Paris town hall decided to rebuild it and turn it into a student residence, a  hotel and also left some room for cafés ans restaurant (it's a must visit place if you want to have a quiet dinner out by the water on a hot summer night...). I love it.

Friday, August 02, 2013


It's going to be hot in France today They expect 37°C (99°F), which is really exceptional for Paris. People need to find ways to cool off and to avoid the dust from circulating in the air... Like this guy that I photographed at the Tuileries amusement park last time it was hot. I was wondering why he was watering something that obviously would not grow, then I realized why... ;-) In Nice, it's hot, but not too hot and, there is the sea... 

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Paris street lamps (lampadaires)

Originally I had plan to stay in Nice until last Sunday, but I had to go back again for a week. And since I have very very little time at the moment I did not anticipate the theme day. Fortunately, among the zillion photos I took with me there is one that I never posted and in which you can see one of these gorgeous street lamps that we have in some areas in Paris (I took this photo at the beginning of rue Saint Antoine just before it turns into rue de Rivoli). Do check what other cities in the world have to offer when it comes to street lamps!