Sunday, December 31, 2006

Another year has gone by

Are you ready for the big night? Are you going to celebrate in style? Do you have your champagne bottles ready to pop? Here in France it is the occasion to appreciate our finest delicacies : champagne, oysters and of course, foie gras which often times is laced with truffles. But did you know that truffles look like these before they're prepared...and I'm not referring to the price! Regardless of how you celebrate, may 2007 be a wonderful year for each of you.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Bike hibernation

Because of the anti car policy in Paris more and more people drive 2 wheel vehicules such as bikes or motrocycles. When it gets cold, like it is in Paris at the moment, people tend to let them hibernate and prefer to take the public transportation.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Blonde ambition!

I came across this interesting example of grafitti in the 11th arrondissement and found it quite striking. I especially like the drooling effect the artist gave his (or her?) caricature. However, I'm not quite sure about the text! Enjoy the last week end of the year ;)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tent update

Haxo Station (a dedicated visitor to PDP) pointed out an interesting piece of news yesterday about the action taken by the Enfant de Don Quichotte association who installed dozens of tents on the Canal Saint Martin to attract people's attention to the plight of the homeless. Apparently, this lead the government to take emergency measures such as increasing the number of shelters and opening them longer than usual.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ski time

How cute is this little skiers scene? I found these miniature antiques in Valence, the shop in the Passage Verdeau that I already showed here. I thought it was pretty appropriate for the season although there is no snow in Paris at the moment (nor in Boston where I am currently).

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Hey you!

Somebody obviously lost a glove and passers by, instead of leaving it on the pavement, put it on a pole (there are plenty of poles in Paris to prevent cars from parking on sidewalks!). It's surely not the PDP photo of the year but I thought it was a cute way of waving at you and thanking you for all your best wishes in the latest comments. I'm back from Normandy and off to Boston now, but I will continue posting, of course.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas everyone!

No I did not write this myself just to take a photo! I found it in the 11th arrondissement near a building entrance. I wish you all a super Christmas (and most particularly Ham from London Daily Photo). I'm in Normandy for a couple of days, so I won't have access to a computer for 48 long hours!!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas eve on the Champs Elysées.

Today I did my last Christmas shopping (yes, I know, I waited until the last minute!) and I ended up on the Champs Elysées. While I was there I thought of you, dear visitors. And took this very very touristy photo... But, hey, what the hell?! It's almost Christmas and even if I took a very similar one last year, it's still worth it! Come back here tomorrow for a more original, yet still seasonal photo...

Put this photo on a card, mug, t-shirt, bag and more here!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Notre Dame de Paris at sunset

OK, I'm lucky! I can pass by Notre Dame de Paris every day if I want, and look at this fantastic piece of architecture. Today, at 5:30 pm, it was really magnificent. Not only is Notre Dame really clean now that they have completed its renovation (and removed the scaffolding!) but on top of that, at the moment, there is a giant Christmas tree in front of it. This photo only shows one tenth of this spectacular scene.

Put this photo on a Christmas card and more here!

Friday, December 22, 2006

More tents

Do you remember this photo? I explained how an association (Médecins du monde) wanted to attract people's attention on the homeless situation by giving them big bright tents that would make them even more visible to the passers by. Well another association (Les enfants de Don Quichotte) has installed more tents on the Quai de Jemmapes (10th arrondissement)and, this time, it's not for homeless people but for people with a home who want to experience - and support - what living in the street is like. Needless to say that this operation is pretty controversial.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Saint Jean Baptiste de La Salle church

I know I'm late in posting... Blogger would not let me do anything last night! Anyway, here is a photo of the Saint Jean-Baptiste de La Salle church in the 15th arrondissement. A church that I never noticed until recently when I got lost in the neighbourhood (70 rue Falguière)! I did a little research and Saint Jean Baptiste de La Salle and I found out that he "invented" classrooms. Before him (1651 - 1719) teachers would come to the pupil(s) home and the teaching would take place in Latin and not French!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

70 000 wine bottles in the heart of Le Marais

Last evening I had the privilege of visiting an extraordinary place: the Au bonheur du vin wine cellar. This cellar is located in the heart of Le Marais (rue des blancs manteaux) in a bank (the Credit Municipal) and all the wine you can find there (70 000 bottles!) is not for sale but belongs to individuals who simply want to keep their bottles away from light, thieves and changes of temperature. It costs about 10 €/month for 50 bottles which, I think, is pretty reasonable. This wonderful idea originates from 2 guys: Thibaut Meslay and Frédéric-Jean Hoguet (on the photo).

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Alesia Metro Station

Sometimes, when I walk down the street in Paris, my eyes get caught by very common things. Hence this metro sign at Alesia in the 14th arrondissement (Alesia is the name of a square and a street and it refers to a famous siege that took place in Burgundy in 52 BC where the Romans won over the Gallic (Les Gaulois). This sign is different from the usual ones and I have been unable to find out why... All I know is that it was opened in 1909.

Put this photo on a card, mug, t-shirt, bag and more here!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Paris real estate

Several visitors mentioned the price of real estate in Paris in their comments yesterday. Well, the average price per square meter is close to 6 000 € but, of course it all depends on which arrondissement you want to buy property in. In some parts of the 6th and 7th arrondissement you'll pay 8 000 € per square meter and in some parts of the 18th and 19th arrondissement you'll pay "only" 4000 €. Most of the apartments are pretty small as half of the Paris inhabitants live alone. Large ones, or houses are really expensive. In this agency I spotted a 237 square meter house in the 14th arrondissement for 1,8 million €...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Little green shop

I doubt that this shop is still in business (and if yes, what on earth do they sell?!) but, well, I thought the color(s) was interesting and that it's a nice change from the wealthiest shops of Paris. I took this photo rue de la Forge Royale in the 11th arrondissement, near Bastille, a street that, according to what I could find on the web, was built in 1770.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Waiting for the tram

Do you remember the new Paris tramway that I mentioned 3 times on this blog already (September 2005, March 2006 and May 2006). Well, they are finally launching it tomorrow (well Saturday)! And today I came across the rehearsal for the big day. Apparently they will have a band and funny characters like these two (when I took this photo they were instructed to look like they were seeing the tram coming). Let's just hope they won't try to board the tram with their stilts! More info here (in English), if you're interested.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Ferris Wheel in the morning

The Ferris Wheel was there last year, it's back this year... Only this time I took it in the morning, on my way to work; the light was so amazing, I could not help stopping in the middle of La Place de la Concorde to shoot!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

More Christmas decorations

A lot of people write to me to ask for more Christmas decorations. So, here you go! One of the most original ones, in my opinion, is this one, by the Saint Germain de l'Auxerrois church where I had a meeting yesterday evening (not in the church, in a café nearby!). It looks like angels' hair.

PS: Françoise Piron (the French teacher you might remember from this post) is currently looking for a high-school English clas - and teacher - based in France, who would be happy to video conference (through Skype or MSN Messenger I suppose) with her students. If you're interested please email her at fpiron (at)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas Shop window

During the Christmas season (that is since December 1st) all department stores have shop windows specially designed to attract kids. I still remember that my father would take me there every year when I was a little boy... Well, things haven't changed with time, except that now I can go by myself! Here is an example of one of the fanciest I could find (in Le Printemps); of course when you see it for real it's much better because it's all animated, but still, even on a photo these pots and pans are quite cute.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Party time!

I do not go out in clubs very often but today (Monday) was special. All day I attended the fantastic Le Web 3 conference organized by Loic Le Meur, the most famous French blogger, and tonight I went to the party he and one of his partners (Netvibes) was hosting at Paris Bodega a new club that is about to open to the public soon. Despite a real cloakroom organisation problem(!) it's a great place to party. More photos on the making of.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Somewhere near Bastille

The weather is not that great at the moment in Paris, but from time to time the sun manages to go through the clouds. It happened yesterday while I was doing my Christmas shopping in the Bastille area (precisely, rue Charrière). I grabbed my camera and took this photo. There is no sculpture nor famous buildings and though I find it very Parisian.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

HIV awareness ad campaign

It's a clever AIDS awareness ad campaign that they are running throughout the streets of Paris at the moment. They use famous people and make them say a line that recalls their occupation, a song they sing or a TV show they appear on. On this poster, for example, the French singer Johnny Hallyday says "Would you still like my face if I were HIV+?" which recalls one of his most famous songs. You can see the complete campaign on this little video.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Toyota Christmas Trees

On the Champs Elysées (n° 79) there is a superb Toyota show room which was designed by the famous French designer ora-ïto. Tonight they had a special opening to promote a new concept car. I did not really buy the new decor they used for the occasion, but I fell for these electric Christmas trees that gave a joyful seasonal atmosphere to the party! Today is Saturday and it's time for me to go Christmas shopping...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Picasso head

This is a sculpture by Pablo Picasso. It is dedicated to one of his friends, the famous French poet Guillaume Apollinaire. It was inaugurated in June 1959 and can still be seen where I took this photo, in the Laurent Prache square in the Saint Germain area (if you look carefully in the background of the photo you can see the the famous Les deux Magots café.). By the way, if you want to make your own Picasso head, try this!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

France 24, the French CNN?

Since last night, 7:30 UTC, there is a new news channel on the globe and... it's a French one. It's called France 24, and it broadcasts from Paris - well from Issy les Moulineaux, a close suburb of Paris (where I took this photo today). I am eager to see if the news will be treated differently than on CNN, BBC World or Al Jazeera (probably a lot more debates!). Anyway I am very happy - and proud! - that France decided to enter the world "image war"! And the good news is: you can all have a flavour of it for it broadcasts in French, English and soon in Arabic.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

And a river runs through it!

The Seine is the river that runs through Paris from east to west and it is used by many boats to carry goods or passengers - there is also a "bus" service (and when I was much younger I even participated in a rowing race!). And sometimes it is also used to carry waste... Much less glamorous than the usual romantic image of the Paris embankment that I often show here, huh?! And if you noticed, the colour of the river is not exactly blue...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Free the penguins!

Strange things happen in Paris: Ironing contests, firemen strikes... and now a penguin talking to the police. So much for global warming eh?! Don't ask me why but these penguins (there were at least 2 of them) were actually promoting a Post Office service (prepaid cards).

Monday, December 04, 2006

Flower Power!

It's been a while since I've shown you flowers on this blog and considering it's Monday, well, I thought it was a nice way of starting the week. Let me offer you this wonderful composition by a very talented French florist: Hervé Chatelain (if ever you're around 140 rue Montmartre in the 2nd arrondissement, don't miss his shop).

Off topic, I'd like to thank Richard from Eye Prefer Paris (the one who interviewed me last week) for the English speaking blogger gathering that he organized on Friday evening. It was nice to put a face to these bloggers that I read regularly. Find out here, who was there.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Cirque du Soleil in Paris

Remember last December 1st's post? I told you I was lucky enough to see Le Cirque du Soleil at Le musée de l'homme. Well, here is one photo that I took while they were performing on stage. I thought it was a perfect photo for a Sunday!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Eiffel Tower in the mist

There is a lot of mist in Paris at the moment and at night it's really nice. Last night on my way back home I passed by the Trocadero and took this photo. It's a classic but it's still worth showing. Have a nice week-end.

Put this photo on a card, mug, calendar, t-shirt, bag and more here!

Friday, December 01, 2006

City Daily Photo theme day

Today is the 1st of December and it's a City Daily Photo blog theme day. This month, the community chose (we take a poll every month!) "Taking a photo of a person from the waist down". Luckily last evening I went to the launch of Windows Vista in Paris and, for the occasion, Microsoft invited Le Cirque du Soleil to perform. This pair of legs belongs to one of the acrobats from this fantastic circus...

52 City Daily Photo blogs are participating in this theme day, please use the links to below to visit them. Due to time zone differences and other factors, the theme photo may not be displayed until later if you are viewing early in the day.

Porto (Portugal) - Greenville (USA) - Evry (France) - Queens (USA) - Seattle, WA, (USA)[Kim] -Stayton , OR, (USA) - Albuquerque, NM (USA) - Joplin, MO (USA) - Singapore [Raymond] -Guadalajara, Mexico - Santiago, Chile - London (UK) - Jakarta (Indonesia) - Bandung (Indonesia) - Melbourne, Aust (John) - Phoenix, AZ (US) - Twin Cities, MN - Newcastle upon tyne (England) - St. Paul, MN (USA) Carol - Szentes (Hungary) - Tuzla (BiH) - St. Paul Kate - Dubai (U.A.E.) - Nelson (New Zealand) - Sharon, CT USA - Tenerife (Spain) - Auckland (New Zealand) - Budapest (Hungary) - Sydney, (Australia) [Sally] - Sequim, WA, (USA) - East Lansing, MI (USA) - Vantaa, (Finland) - Singapore [Zannnie] - Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) - Shanghai, (China) -Sydney (Australia) [Nathalie] - Hyde (UK) - Akita City, (Japan) - Tokyo (Japan) - Rotterdam (The Netherlands) - Manila (Philippines) - Seattle, WA ( USA) [Susan] - Stavanger (Norway) - Hong Kong - Chattanooga, TN, (USA) -Barcelona (Spain) - Trujillo (Peru) - Naples FL, (USA) - Delta, CO (USA) - Buenos Aires, (Argentina) -Bastia, (France (Corsica)).

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wandering outside Le Louvre

It looks like snow but it's only water... Water from a fountain located in the square courtyard of the Louvre (click here to see it on Google Maps). Nothing much to say, I just like the effect. PS: don't forget tomorrow is December 1st, time for a City Daily Photo blog theme day...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Iron Men!

Guess where I was last night? I attended the final of Le Fer d'or, the 1st ironing championship in the world! This amazing contest, organized by the company Philips, took place in a club (La Scala) and was really fun. Each contestant (they were 6 for the semi final then 3 for the final) had to iron a shirt and a pair of pants in as little time as possible. A judge - dressed up like a soccer referee! - then inspected the result and gave penalties (10 seconds) for each remaining wrinkle. This championship was so successful that Philips announced they were going to export it throughout the world! BTW, find out who the winner is on the "making of"...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Hey big boy, got a light?!

I saw this lamp from the outside of this shop (19 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1st arrondissement) and I had to take a photo of it! I opened the door and asked the salesman politely if he would allow me to take a picture. The guy said "OK, but only the lamp - and only one photo!" For yes, ladies and gentlemen, without realizing it, I had opened the door to the shoe God... Christian Louboutin! I must confess, I had never heard of this designer, but a quick look around his shop, and later on his web site, made me understand that there is nothing like a Frenchman when it comes to fashion !

Monday, November 27, 2006

Paris Starbucks

Why do you think a Parisian would go to a Starbucks in Paris when you can find cafés pratically on every corner?! Well, first of all it's smoke free, second the coffee is good (although outrageouly expensive!) and third because it's quiet and cosy. The perfect place for an interview! And that is precisely what happened on Friday when Richard Nahem, who started eyepreferparis, an insider guide to Paris some months ago, interviewed me about PDP. Richard describes himself as the guy everyone would call to know what to do when in NYC. He now wants to be the same guy in Paris! Best of luck and thank you for the interview Richard.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

American Hospital of Paris

In France, the health system is considered to be good, not only because in 2000 the World health organization said it was the best one in the world, but also because everyone - rich or poor - has access to it. People who want a better service, however, prefer to go to private hospitals, like The American Hospital of Paris which was founded in 1906. It was originally established to offer American expatriates access to care provided by physicians trained in the United States. During WWII, the AHP became a military hospital under the Red Cross and was also awarded the Ordre de l'Armée and Croix de Guerre for services rendered to tens of thousands of Allied and French wounded.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The key to solving the housing crisis?

A recent study by the French national statistics institute (Insee) shows that almost 7 million French people (out of a little more than 60 million) live with less than 800 € per month. The high price of housing in big cities like Paris makes it almost impossible for them to find a place to live. To attract our attention to this situation, the Habitat & humanisme association (an association that provides housing to the poor) projected a huge key on the Grande Arche of La Défense. Not sure it will really change anything though...

Friday, November 24, 2006

Alexandre III Bridge (2)

Yesterday, on the way out from my party I could not help but taking a photo of this wonderful bridge. There was a little mist and the Invalides dome in the background made it even more superb. Nothing more to say really.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Party and concert at the Pont Alexandre III

Tonight I went to a party organised by SFR, a French cellular phone carrier. This party took place in a new location under one side of my favorite Paris bridge: le pont Alexandre III. The decor was really nice (old Paris stones) and the organisation flawless. But the highlight of the evening was a concert by a French singer that was very famous when I was young: Michel Jonasz. I felt like I was 20 and sung all his songs along!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Paris no "match" for firemen strike

Today my brother called me and said, "Hurry up, I just saw a demonstration that you don't want to miss for your blog." I jumped on my scooter - yes I have a scooter now - and rushed to Place Denfert Rochereau (14th arrondissement) where there was a big demonstration of firemen. Yes people, in France even firemen go on strike and demonstrate! Needless to say this is a blessing for a photographer! More here.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Street sailing

Soon the Salon nautique de Paris (Boat show) will begin. This show, where the most beautiful boats will be displayed, will take place Porte de Versailles, in the 15th arrondissement. Problem: how do you take those huge boats to the exhibition hall? Answer: you stick them on big trucks, you ask the help of the Police and you wait for the traffic to slow down! Here, I photographed the arrival of a big catamaran in the Montparnasse area on its way to Porte de Versailles.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Le petit déjeuner

Yesterday was Sunday and it's really the only day of the week where I can enjoy a real Petit Déjeuner (literally "small break from fasting"). In France, we don't eat salty food such as sausage or ham like they do in Northern Europe, but mostly sweet things such as marmelade, croissants, orange juice, and, needless to say, baguette "tartines" (a piece of baguette with butter and marmelade). Also, due to the excellent marketing of cereal brands, we are starting to eat more and more of these too.

Put this photo on a card, mug, t-shirt, bag and more here!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A tribute to South Jefferson Central School

About two weeks ago, I found out in my stats that I had many visitors coming from a school (South Jefferson Central School) in New York state. I then looked at the site and discovered that a French teacher, Françoise Piron, had given her students an assignment based on PDP... I think their work is great! If you want to see for yourself, simply go here. To thank them all, here is a dedicated post from Thomas Jefferson Square here in Paris (16th arrondissement).

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saint Germain des Prés

Before the prison episode of yesterday, I passed by the Saint Germain des Prés area and I could not help but taking a photo. If you have been to Paris, there is a good chance you had coffee at Les Deux Magots, just in front of l'Eglise Saint Germain. This area used to be famous before WWII and until the 60's for it was the rendez-vous of the literary and intellectual elite of Paris. People like Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre but also Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus and Pablo Picasso hung out there.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Prison break

The things I do for you! This morning I had a meeting in the 14th arrondissement close to a prison called La Santé (after the name of the street where it's located). I started taking pictures when suddenly two policemen jumped out of their car and stopped me! They called the station to check who I was and made me erase all my photos. Only tonight did I discover that one was still in my camera... I am pretty respectful of the law so I've hidden its identity (hi dr A. ;)).

Thursday, November 16, 2006

What it takes to be a good citizen

I took this photo this morning, near the opera, on my way to work. Unfortunately, it's not unusual to see people taking advantage of the night to drop sinks, toilet seats, TV sets, computers, etc. on the sidewalk. Things may change for electronic waste though as, as of today, France enacted a European law to establish a funding system for the collection and recycling of electronic wastes. Retailers must now collect electronic devices and give them to a recycling unit. The funding of this comes from extra taxes (20 cents on a cellular phone, 13 euros on a fridge, etc.). Some people argue that manufacturers, and not consumers should pay for this.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


No this is not a close up of pebbles in a Japanese garden, but a bunch of goat cheese that I photographed on a Paris market. As you may know we're big on cheese in France - it is said that there are 365 different kinds. Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, a famous connoisseur from the 18th century even wrote in one of his books "A meal without cheese is like a one eyed beautiful girl"!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Paris: not always the city of love...

Do you see these holes in this building? If you go to the Ecole Militaire (7th arrondissement), a Military school where young Napoleon was once trained you'll see thousands of them. Is it due to a defect in the stone? Not really, these holes are bullet holes that probably come from of our many battles throughout time! I have been told that they have been left to remind us of our history.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Paris is alive

You'd think that in an old city like Paris, with buildings that can be as old as 1,000 years there are few new constructions. All wrong! I could not find the exact figures but when I ride through Paris I am always amazed by the number of buildings that are still being built. I came across this work in progress, recently, avenue de Wagram (17th arrondissement) where they removed every stone of an old theater called Le Théatre de l'Empire - which was seriously damaged by an explosion in 2005. Don't know what they will build instead - I was told a hotel - but I was dying to cross this fence!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Champagne, even in the toughest moments...

This photo is sad and kind of funny at the same time. Sad because this guy is obviously aside our society and surely below the standard of living of any Frenchman and funny because he's drinking champagne, which is a very expensive beverage that you drink on special occasions.