Saturday, September 30, 2006

Fast love

As you may know, the Eurostar is a high speed train that goes between Paris and London under the English Channel. To attract riders from the French side, the company has chosen what is to us, a typical English breakfast scene, giving it a French lover's twist. If you look closely, you'll quickly notice that the eggs and beans breakfast has a second connotation, as expressed both in the photo and in the slogan "Londres en amoureux" (London for Lovers).

Friday, September 29, 2006

Don't feed the humans in the cage!

In the Palais de Tokyo (16th arrondissement) there is a brand new modern art museum like I explained a few days ago. There is also a restaurant that I once photographed from the outside. On the inside this restaurant is separated from the museum by a grid. That is exactly where I took this photo.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Stone cutters in the middle of Paris

Not very far from yesterday's photo there is a famous tower, called the Tour Saint Jacques . This tower was originally a bell tower that belonged to a church built between 1509 and 1522 then destroyed after the French revolution. The Tour Saint Jacques is currently being renovated and, to do so, they use several stone cutters, exactly like in the ancient times. This guy, for instance, was currently cutting this block of stone to make it look like this. Amazing.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Palm tree fountain

When he returned from Egypt that he conquered at the very end of the 18th century, Napoleon was really into Pyramids, obelisks and... sphinxes. That is why he had this fountain built, right in the middle of the place du Chatelet. It's composed of 4 sphinxes around a massive palm tree (well a sculpture of a palm tree). Unexpected in Paris, but nice though.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Everything you wanted to know about licence plates

On the back of this superb 2cv there was a sticker saying: "this is not a car, but a lifestyle!". Funny. I'd like to take advantage of this post to explain the French licence plate system. The number on the left is just an incremental number (3 or 4 digits, depending on the number of letters). The letters are also incremental and they allow more or less to find out the year of the plate (ie, the first plate of 2006 in Paris had the letters QLJ). And the two numbers on the right show the region: they go from 01 to 95, according to the départments (sort of counties or States). So here, I can tell you that this licence plate was issued in 1996 and that the owner of this car lives in the west suburbs of Paris! If you're interested check this site (in French).

No relationship with the photo, but I'd also like to take advantage of today's post to thank Kathy Cheng for her nice interview on her They blog blog. It's very rewarding when people think what you do is interesting enough that they want to know more about it.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Demonstration daily photo!

So... Who's "en colère" (angry) at the moment? This weekend I had a choice between a demonstration by the Palestinians and a couple of blocks away, one by La fédération des motards en colère (the angry bikers federation)! I chose to show you the second one. Mostly because it was definitely more jazzy and because it allows me to please Ama (you know, one of my visitors who's into hot gendarmes!)... BTW, if your wondering why bikers are angry it's because the police want them to respect the law : no parking on sidewalks and no weaving between cars. How dare they?!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The oldest church in Paris

Saint Germain is said to be the oldest church in Paris. It's been destroyed several times throughout history (especially by the wicked vikings!), so only some parts of it still belong to the original building that was erected between 511 and 538. What's interesting is that for a very long time it was the parish of the Saint Germain burrough, which until the 17th century, was a small village on the outskirts of Paris. Nowadays, this is part of the city center!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Shopping time

Saturday in Paris. Time to go shopping (on Sundays, almost all shops are closed). Here is a view of the rue de Rivoli, one of the busiest streets in Paris. Nothing fancy, but a place where you can find almost anything - kind of like Oxford street in London, if you know it. It's been a fantastic week on PDP, I really enjoyed all your reactions. We all deserve a good week end!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Close encounter of the second kind

Running a city daily photo can be hard sometimes. Everyday you need to come up with something new and original to photograph. And even in a big city like Paris it's not always easy! But this time I think I have been extremely lucky. I came across this scene through the shop window of a boutique located on boulevard Sébastopol (3rd arrondissement). It looked closed - for good - but they still had the mannequins they used to sell, on display. I love the setting and the cowboy hats.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Foie gras on a stick anyone?

Last night, I went to a cocktail party at the Palais de Tokyo for the launch of a new magazine (Courrier Cadres). After the necessary small-talk, I went to the buffet, and there I found a waiter in front of a bowl of liquid nitrogen in which he kept dipping little brochettes of salmon and foie gras! A-ma-zing. I ended up with a sort of foie gras ice cream (can you imagine?!) very cold (you have to wait a little bit before eating it). If you want to know more, the caterer's name is Nomad, and he is based in Paris and London.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

French women do get fat!

Despite what Mireille Guiliano wrote in her book, French women DO get fat. Worse, this morning a study (French, English) revealed that more and more French women - and men, let's be fair ;) - get fat... Thus, almost 30% of the French (roughly 14 million people more than 15 years old) are overweight and among those 12,4% are obese. Within 9 years, the French population has gained on average slightly less than 5 pounds (2,1 kg). Does this make you feel better?!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Stock market

This is the French stock market (la Bourse). It's a beautiful building conceived by Alexandre Brongniart in 1813. For about 150 years traders would go there to sell and buy stocks until 1986 when this was totally computerized. Now this building shelters a museum and is mostly used for private parties like the night I took this photo.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Demonstration, part II

Saturday, at place du Châtelet (1st arrondissement), I came across a smaller demonstration than the one of last weekend. This time the people were demanding the requisition of empty apartments in Paris, which I doubt they will obtain. What struck me was the enormous amount of police in the area, whereas there must have only been 50 people at the most. I cannot tell you more, I was asked to leave...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Big green man

Since yesterday's green man inspired you, I thought I'd show you another model today. This one is much taller and much more alive too! You can meet him everyday sweeping the sidewalks, washing the streets and emptying the garbage can. Thanks to him - and his numerous colleagues... - 62% of the Parisians think their neighbourhood is clean (2005 poll).

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Little green man

Yes, this is one of the traffic light signs that tell the people they can cross the street. In Paris, let's be honest, they are not very well respected. I am not talking about cars - fortunately cars tend to stop when the light is red(!) but about the pedestrians. Like in a lot of big cities (except in Germany maybe...) people don't wait for the little man to turn green before they cross the street. They just wait for the car flow to stop (when it does...)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Charles de Gaulle

You probably heard of General de Gaulle, the guy who escaped to England when France surrendered to the Germans during WWII. He organized the resistance and became the head of the government (first right after the war, then from 1958 to 1969). For a lot of French people he is a hero. Not only because he refused to surrender but also because he contributed to making France an independent country (he was rather anti American BTW...). Anyway, I never noticed he had a statue on the Champs Elysées and today I did. I stopped and took a photo , of course!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Street scene

Today, no famous monument, no clever advertising idea and no demonstration. Just a simple Paris street scene: the lady on her way to grocery shopping with her bright orange shopping cart on wheels, the guy with fancy jeans reading his paper while walking... Sometimes I simply enjoy watching the world go by.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Cool ad campaign

Throughout Paris we have bus stops (called Abribus) with a space for ads on one end. Generally advertisers only use simple posters to promote their products. But lately they came up with a cool idea: show the real product in lieu of a photo as you can see on this ad for the women fashion brand Mango. I took this photo on rue de Rivoli (1st arrondissement). I love advertising when it's so creative. More photos on the making of.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Paris in September

Everybody wants to come to Paris in April but I prefer September. It is generally quite nice at that time and it's also the period of the year where Parisians think "these are the last days of sunshine before fall, let's take advantage of it and have lunch on a cafe terrace". And I am no different... So here is the photo I made while I was having lunch at the cafe around the corner. Pure happiness!

Monday, September 11, 2006

A tribute to 9/11

I know it's much smaller but when I saw this tower the other day I immediately thought of the WTC, so I saved this photo for today. It's hard for me to believe it's been 5 years already, I can still clearly remember that day. I'd like to think that this kind of attack will never happen again although I know it's very unlikely. May we learn that good and bad does not mean the same thing all over the planet and accept it.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Immigration demonstration

So... The summer is over, it's about time people go back to one of the favorite French pastime: demonstrations! And guess what, the first one of the season went by my street today. So I did not even have to go out to take my daily pic! In case you're interested, this demonstration was organized to support African immigrants who were evicted from a squat last August. More, here.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Someone solved his parking problems!

I took this photo on the river banks (the Seine, of course) and kept wondering how this guy can use his car providing there is another boat between the banks and his. Or maybe this is just for the scenery - this car actually looks very old and is probably more a collection car than a day to day one. Have a nice week-end everyone.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Much more than the home of Senators...

Like in most democracies France has two chambers: l'assemblée nationale (Parliament) and Le Sénat (Senate). Both pass laws but work slightly differently. The National Assemblee can be dismissed by the President of the Republic whereas Senators are elected for 6 years and cannot be dismissed. Well, the most interesting part for you is not how French politics work, but how well located the Senate building is. No only does it sit in the Luxembourg gardens but it's also a very nice building to visit and, on top of that, it always shelters fantastic exhibitions.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The return of Le Beret

And you thought Parisians no longer wear berets? All wrong! Not only can you still find the old Frenchman sporting the traditional beret (dark blue) but more often than not, today they're left to the trendy crowd (of which, no, I am not one!) who likes them with brighter colours like this hot red one that was on display near Les Halles.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

National Convention Monument

No, it's not a monument dedicated to the sales(!) but to the National Convention, a historical period that took place in 1792, when the populace of Paris stormed the Tuileries and demanded the abolition of the monarchy. The Legislative Assembly decreed the provisional suspension of King Louis XVI and the convocation of this so called "national convention". This odd monument, is to be seen inside the Pantheon, where I took this picture.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Last winter, to attract people's (and the government's) attention on homeless people sleeping in the street, the Médecins sans frontières du Monde (World doctors) NGO gave them about 300 bright coloured tents to use as a shelter. As expected by the organization, some Parisians started to complain... and put pressure on the Paris town hall and the Government to solve the problem - that had not been solved even if we were no longer in winter. And it worked! About 7 million euros are going to be invested in new shelters and they will open 24/7 unlike previously. Still, there are about 60 tents left in Paris, like this one, that I photographed... on the back of the Beaubourg Center!

Monday, September 04, 2006


This mini waterfall actually comes from one of the many water taps that you can come across along the Paris sidewalks. Every day, according to the Paris town hall website, about 2 400 km (1590 miles) are cleaned with the help of this water system - and sanitation workers dressed in neon green suits with big green plastic brooms! Sometimes this water has other uses, like in this photo from last year.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Clever Reflexion

Today I went to a restaurant/bar (called "Curieux Spaghetti Bar", at 14 rue Saint Merri, 4th arrondissement) to have a quick coffee and... to use the bathroom. When I entered I noticed right away the wall in front of me on which they installed a "forest" of shaving mirrors (you know, the ones that are attached to a sort of a spring that you can pull or rotate in any direction for shaving). It may not be obvious in the photo, but I can tell you the effect is really cool. Don't miss it if you're in the neighbourhood.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

If I had a hammer...

I took this shot outside the Grand Palais, but I have no idea who made this statue. I think it's really impressive though. What on earth is he planning to do with this hammer?!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Doorway to heaven?

Today is September 1st and like on the 1st of each month it's a City daily photo blog theme day. And the theme of today is... Doorways. There are plenty of nice doorways in Paris, of course, but I chose this one which is the artists entrance to... The Moulin Rouge. Much less appealing than the real entrance but much more original (And sooooooooo Parisian Wako!).

42 Daily Photo sites are participating in this theme today. 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.
1 - Porto (Portugal) -2 - Copenhagen (Denmark) -3 - Trier/Treves (Germany) -4 - Hyde (UK) -5 - Greenville, SC (USA) -6 - Trondheim (Norway) -7 - Manila (Philippines) -8 - Willamette Valley, OR (USA) -9 - Cottage Grove, MN (USA) -10 - Alexandria, VA (USA) -11 - Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) -12 - Guadalajara (Mexico) -13 - Szentes (Hungary) -14 - Sydney (Australia) -15 - Wellington (New Zealand) -16 - Sharon, CT (USA) -17 - Albuquerque, NM (USA) -18 - Washington, DC [Passante] (USA) -19 - Chattanooga, TN (USA) -20 - Antigua (Guatemala) -21 - Rotterdam (Netherlands) -22 - Portsmouth (UK) -23 - Ryde (UK) -24 - Saarbrücken (Germany) -25 - London (UK) -26 - Newcastle (UK) -27 - Singapore -28 - Aliso Viejo, CA (USA) -29 - Seattle [Kim] -30 - Sandiego, CA [Felicia] (USA) -31 - Jakarta (Indonesia) -32 - Vallauris (France) -33 - Brussels (Belgium) -34 - Seattle [Susan] -35 - Stavanger (Norway) -36 - Paris (France) -37 - Sainte Maxime (France) -38 - Hong Kong (HK) -39 - Oulu (Finland) -40 - Trujillo (Peru) - 41 - Delta (US) - 42 - Berlin (Germany)