Thursday, June 30, 2005

Purple dog

I was familiar with purple rain, but never knew of purple dogs, until I came across one. Don't know if Prince would have made a film and a song after this weird phenomenon though!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Grass fleur-de-lys

The fleur-de-lys is well known for being the symbol of French kings. That is why you find many evidences of this flower throughout our monuments, our ancient books, linen, etc. Even nowadays it remains a living symbol although our last king, Louis-Philippe, gave his throne to the Republic (well, the second one, it's a bit complicated!) in 1848. I took this photo not far from the bottom of the Champs Elysées in a small green spot where the gardeners (I spoke to a couple of them) were very honoured to have the work captured in photo (I did not go as far as explaining it was for my blog though!).

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Painted walls

It's very common in Paris now - and probably everywhere in the world?! When they have to redo facades of important buildings, they just hide the work behind giant painted walls. When I say "painted wall" it's incorrect ; in fact these "walls" are made of plastic canvas and they are painted "on the ground", in a factory. Once they are done, they are joined together and then fixed to a giant frame, as you can see in this picture, to make one giant murale.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Victories Square (Place des Victoires)

Here is my favorite square in Paris! It's located in the 2nd arrondissement, it is not too big and not too large and is surrounded by 17th century buildings that are just fantastic! In the center you can admire a statue of Louis the XIVth (which is not the original for it was destroyed during the French revolution), one of the most prestigious kings of the French History. This square is so elegant and classy that a lot of "new" designers have opened a shop nearby (like Kenzo, Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto, etc. ).

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Gay Pride in Paris

I know, I know, I could have taken this photo in London, New York or Sao Paolo for there is absolutly nothing typical about the Paris Gay Pride - except maybe these guys wearing a beret that you can see here, with a bunch of other Paris Gay Pride pictures. Anyway, for your information, the first Parisian Gay Pride officially dates from 1982, one year after France abolished laws that prohibited homosexuality. Some 17 years later, in 1999, a civil contract law (Pacs) was passed by the government in order to allow two people, including same-sex couples, to have the same benefits as traditionally recognized couples.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The typical Parisian girl

Yesterday was the first day of sales in Paris. Everybody - mostly women - rushes to the stores in the hope of finding THE bargain of the year! I took the photo of this charming lady who, to me, represents the perfect Parisian girl. Up to you to judge!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Fontaine aux lions (Lions fountain)

I know it is a bit odd but these water spitting lions are actualy part of a fountain that you will see if you go to the Place Félix Eboué (the first blackman to play a major role in the French Republic) in the 12th arrondissement (in which case you will have to drop at this Metro station). Built by sculptor Gabriel Davioud between 1867 and 1875 this fountain was first located on the Place de la Republique (where you can now see this statue!).

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Have the Chinese taken over Paris?

I know it's not obvious, but you are presently looking at a genuine Paris building! If you think it looks very Chinese to you, well no wonder for it was built in 1926 by famous Asian art dealer Ching-Tsai Loo who used it a gallery. You can still pay it a visit if you have some euros to spend… It’s located 48 rue de Courcelles in the 8th arrondissement. (View other pictures)

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Dog during music celebration

Yesterday evening was the first day of summer and the official music celebration day. I went all around the city to listen to the music that was played (it was quite amazing in fact, I have never seen that many people dancing in the middle of the streets!) and I took several pictures of course. But the one I like the most in the end is the one of this dog who seems to be the only sensible character in the middle of a crazy crowd!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Looking out the window from the Eiffel Tower

Call me spoiled, but yes I took this photo from the Restaurant Jules Verne located on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower two days ago! The food was excellent, the scenery outstanding and I was with friends I like a lot. What more to ask?! I took thousands of pictures of course, but I thought this one was the most representative: it shows the metal beams of the tower, one of the bridges above the river Seine, the city lights, people visiting the second floor and even... our table reflecting in the window! (View same angle under daylight)

Monday, June 20, 2005

Arch of Triumph at night

I don't know why many civilisations love to celebrate their glory by building arches?! Napoleon made no exception when he decided to have a very big arch of triumph built at the top of the Champs Elysées in 1806 after having conquered most of Europe! The arch was completed in 1836 (long after Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo in 1815!) and it now keeps the memory of the dead killed in World War I (1914/1918).

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Statue in the Jardin de Bagatelle

This photo was taken in the Jardin de Bagatelle, in the Bois de Boulogne. Known for it's rose gardens and Orangerie, this face made me wonder what the sculpter had on his mind that was so serious!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The French Republic

Remember one day I took the photo of the bust of Brigitte Bardot and told you how we like to think of the French Republic as a women? Well here is another proof of that. This time it's not only a bust but a whole statue dedicated to the Republic. It stands on the Place de la République (no kidding!) where Parisians tend to gather spontaneously whenever somethings important happens in the country. Why am I putting this photo here today?
Well maybe because it's the anniversary of "l'appel du 18 juin" (18th June call) made by General de Gaulle in 1940. He urged the French people to resist although the French government had just surrendered to the Germans.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Palm tree and Eiffel Tower

This photo is pretty unexpected in Paris for the weather is not particularly mild, especially in winter, and no palm tree can survive. And though this photo is not a fake! I took it from a recreation park called Aquaboulevard, located in the west of the city where they created a beach (with real sand!), put exotic trees, etc. It's totally artificial but just good enough for the city boys and girls that we all are...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Love is in the air

Caption this!

Sooooooooooooo. So far, we have (I extracted them from the comments):

- Couple of spies, pretending they are lovers whereas they are actually watching some bad guys (Bob)
- Heterosexual demonstration in a park (known as "Kissin'). Lead by two activists of "Act down" ! (Anonymous)
- Please don't throw me off of the mountain just because I made fun of your Hawaiin shirt! (Michael)
- You knew I was a vampire! (Lucas)
- Don't go Jean-Luc, I neeeeeeeed you and your uncanny fashion sense! (Shannon)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The year of Brazil in Paris

It's the year of Brazil in Paris and everywhere you can find exhibits, concerts, shows... about this country (that I don't know yet, unfortunatly). I took this photo in one of the Galeries Lafayette (a department store, like the Printemps, I don't know if you remember) window shop for they are precisely having a special exhibit abot Brasil at the moment. I am not sure of what it shows (maybe people from Brasil who visit this blog can help adding information!), probably a traditional dress or costume. Anyway, I love it! View original picture
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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Candies, ice cream, coffee, tea and much more...

If you go to Parc des Buttes Chaumont in the 19th arrondissement you will not only discover a very nice garden (I will show it to you!) but also this very elegant women. She will help you with hot chocolate, ice cream or cotton candies like no one!

Monday, June 13, 2005

French hostages freed after 157 days

I don't know if you remember this photo? It showed two French hostages (a reporter and her guide) that had been abducted in Iraq. Well, they have been freed yesterday and people are so happy that they show it! On this photo - that I took yesterday in a Park - these picnickers hung on the tree a small poster that says: "They are free and so are we."

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Caesar's thumb!

I already told you my love for La Défense quarter, the modern business area of Paris. Not only can you see some facinating skyscrapers but also modern art masterpieces. This one is called Le pouce (the thumb) and it's made by one of our most famous sculptor (who actually died in 1998): César (his real name is César Baldaccini). It was made in 1965 (that's probably why it could use some French manicure ;)) , weighs 18 tons and is 12 meter high. If you go to La Défense, you can see it on the far right of the Big Arch, that I already showed here.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Street sign in Paris

I love the street signs in Paris, they have this little old style flavor that makes foreigners think the city is so romantic! This one is particular, though, because it is standing right in the middle of a street, which is very unusual in Paris. Generally they are attached to the first and the last buildings of the street so that people know where they are. It was not always so though... Before 1728 there were no street signs (or very rarely). From this date onwards it became compulsory for the owners of the first and the last house of each street to engrave its name. In 1806 Napoleon took the street naming under his wing and passed a law saying that the names should not be engraved anymore but painted. In 1847 the paint was gone (so was Napoleon, by the way...) and the authorities turned to a well proven technique: china! And here we are, in 2005 still using it even for the new streets.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Les Mercuriales towers

On the eastern part of Paris you can see these two towers (one is called "Le Levant" and the other one "Le Ponant") and both of them bear the name "Les Mercuriales". They 122 meter high, have 33 stories and were built in 1975. It's during the 70s that most skyscrapers were built in Paris and surroundings.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Roses in the "Jardin de Bagatelle"

In the Bois de Boulogne, not far from the inner city of Paris you can visit a very nice and peaceful garden called "le Jardin de Bagatelle". Not only will you see all kinds of vegetals and birds (including free-range, noisy peacocks!) but you can also visit one of the most beautiful rose gardens I have ever seen. Here I took a photo of a rose called Mrs Auriol, named after the wife of one of the French President of the Republic (Vincent Auriol, 1884-1966). By the way, there is also a restaurant in this garden, but I would not recommend it as the service is terrible (believe me, I am French, I know what I am talking about!). View original photo.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

In Paris, Policemen chase you on rollerblades!

No, it's not David Hasselhoff and no, this is not Baywatch! It's a street of Paris (rue Croix des Petits Champs, in the 2nd arrondissement) and it's one of our few policemen that browse the Capital on rollerblades. Don't go thinking they are cooler because they use this unusual "vehicule"... They give as many tickets (see the picture!) as the ones who walk, drive or ride!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The other side of the Champs Elysees

Yesterday I showed you how the Champs Elysées was turned into a giant stadium to support the Paris bid for the Olympics, and today I am showing you another - and much less glamorous side of the avenue... I took this photo only a few days before yesterday's Olympics communion.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Champs Elysees turn into a giant Olympic stadium

I know it's hard to believe but I took all these photos yesterday afternoon on the Champs Elysées! How is that possible? The most famous avenue of Paris was turned into a giant Olympic stadium for the day to promote the bid of Paris for the Olympics for 2012. It will surely not influence the final decision of the Olympic committee but it gave the Parisians a very unusual show...
In addition to these kinds of events, the French Olympics task force has produced two great web sites: the official one (available in English and French) and a more touchy-feely one where you can see the TV commercial that is, in my opinion, a real masterpiece (click on "Voir le film TV" on the upper right orange banner) and/or choose the English version of the site on the left bottom of the screen.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Going back home after a hard day's work!

Unfortunately I am not the author of this photo but I love it. It really makes you feel so much about Paris atmosphere at this time of the year: the weather, mild enough to let you walk down the street with just a sweater on your shoulders, the sun gently falling, the bicycle that more and more people use in the city, the shadow of the street sign on the Tuileries Wall (the Tuileries is a large garden located in the center of the town) and... the Metro entrance. A big round of applause for Michael who took this picture Friday and passed it on to me.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Streets spring in Paris

Don't panic these are not real people... But puppets made of I don't know what and that artists participating in a street exhibit called Le printemps des rues (streets spring) have hanged in the air - above the Canal Saint Martin in the 10th arrondissement. The feeling is really surprising. At night there was also a show in which these puppets would play a role but the show was very boring, I hate to say...

Friday, June 03, 2005

Funky garbage cans in La Villette park

Here are few funky ashtrays/garbage cans I came across in Le Parc de la Villette (where I already took this picture). I just found out that they were made by famous designer Philippe Starck who - to me anyway - is a real genious. He would turn any trivial thing into a piece of art...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

French ipod ad campain on Metro stations

Yes, in France too the ipod is extremely succesful! Apple is presently running an ad campain on all the metro stations in Paris (here is the Daumesnil station in the 12th arrondissement). I love this campain.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Window shop of florist Hervé Chatelain

Yesterday evening I went to the second edition of Paris Blogue-t-il ? A Parisian blogger gathering that I attended already last month. Once again I spent a very good evening and I had the chance to get to know bloggers that I regularly read and chat with many interesting people.
On the way back home I drove pass the window shop of Hervé Chatelain, a florist, and I could not help taking a picture. His shop is located on 140 rue Montmartre (2nd arrondissement) and it’s not the first time I noticed how attractive it is.