Saturday, March 31, 2007

Paris Cinema

In France - and in Paris in particular - the cinema is widely promoted. The government and the local authorities do everything possible to support a wide variety of theaters and to avoid that the choice of movies remains limited to blockbusters only. And it works! Some weeks you can see up to 450 different films in Paris - of almost all nationalities. I'm a big fan, myself, I must say. That is why I subscribed to this special plan, where you can see as many films as you want in a wide variety of theaters for only 18 € a month.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Street Lamp

I love the old Paris street lamps. They give this special 19th century flavor to the city that makes it so romantic. I took this photo on the rue de Rivoli where they installed the first street lamps back in 1830 or so. At that time, of course, they were gas powered and every night a guy (un allumeur de réverbères) would have to "turn them on". Now, and since the 1920s, Paris street lamps are electric and nowadays you can count 82 000 of them (good thing nobody has to light them one by one anymore!!)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wall of fame

You all know this place outside Grauman's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard where famous actors and actresses have left their footprints? Well, I've found something similar last night where I attended an excellent show of Manu Payet (a stand up comedian) in Le théâtre du Splendid. At the entrance, right after the ticket booth, you can see a wall where several actors left their hand prints on little clay tiles. Most of the names are well known to the French (Christian Clavier, Marie-Anne Chazel, Thierry Lhermitte, Dominique Lavanant...) as they appeared in very very famous French comedies such as Le Père noël est une ordure, les Bronzés or Les visiteurs.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The best chocolate in Paris?

There are quite a few places in Paris where you can buy - and eat - good chocolate and Les chocolats Foucher is definitely one of them. Even though they have two stores in Paris (this one avenue de l'Opéra and one on the left bank, on the rue du Bac) it's anything but a chain store and it's still a family operated business (founded in 1819). If you come to Paris visit the store on the rue du Bac because you can also have tea there, and if you can't make it to France, well, you can order on the net.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Rainy Paris

I hate to say it but the Paris weather is not always sunny. On average it rains 171 days per year, during a total of 548 hours - the rain is pretty well distributed over the year (even though the dryest season is spring). Snow is pretty rare (15 days on average) and so is the wind (44 days per year). Now the good news! In Paris, on average, the sun shines 1 798 hours per year.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Europe Anniversary

Yesterday was the European Union's 50th anniversary. That is to say, the anniversary of the Rome treaty signed by Germany, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg in 1957. Now, there are 27 countries within the union, a common currency (the Euro), the borders have almost disappeared and, it produces 30,30 % of the world's GDP (2005). Not bad for countries that used to be constantly at war! Alas, since France and the Netherlands rejected the proposed constitution 2 years ago, this beautiful project is not without it's problems...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Time change

Like I have sleep to waste! In 2 minutes it will be 2 o'clock in Paris but because of the time change the clock will show 3 o'clock. I know that most countries in the world will do so too, so I'm with you! I took this photo on the rue saint Louis en l'île, on the Saint-Louis Island (one of the two islands located in the middle or Paris). Have a good 23 hour long Sunday!

Saturday, March 24, 2007


The Eurostar is the train that links Paris to London under the English Channel tunnel. All Eurostar ads are excellent, I must say (I already showed one here) and this new one makes no exception. Of course, you have to be familiar with the the Beatles and their Abbey Road album to fully enjoy it, but I'm sure most of you will. Isn't this ad clever?! BTW, the text says "how about spring in London?"

Friday, March 23, 2007

Bonjour les Québecois!

I know I have many visitors from Canada, including, of course, the Province of Quebec. This morning I thought of them when, near the embankment, I came across this statue of Jacques Cartier, a Breton (from Saint Malo), who landed in Quebec July 24, 1534. Since then, people there speak French... Even if, it's a little bit like British English and American English; the accent, the phrases and some words are slightly - and sometimes totally! - different.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Paris light

Sometimes the light in Paris can be extremely beautiful. That is what I thought when I took this photo on rue de Rivoli. The building on the left is actually the facade of Saint Paul church (where I took this photo).

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Inside the TGV

This morning I had to go out of Paris to attend a seminar in Tours (west center of France) and I went by train, more exactly by TGV (bullet train). Before the departure I took this photo, at the station (Gare Montparnasse). I then noticed how they painted straight lines on the train to emphasize the feeling of speed when it moves... And that was precisely the purpose of my seminar: how to make objects look/sound/feel like what consumers want them to be (solid, reliable, good...). Fascinating!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Walking in Paris

The best way to visit Paris is, by far, on foot. Unlike other European cities such as London, Paris is rather small (105 sq kilometers - 40 sq miles). And if you stick to the center, practically every interesting to spot is within walking distance. For those of you who don't know, Paris is divided into 20 districts called arrondissements, numbered from 1 to 20 in a clockwise spiral like an escargot (snail) starting from the centre (the île de la Cité and île Saint Louis). Each arrondissement has its own culture... I will come back to that one day!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Meet the French butchers

The French eat quite a lot of meat (about 110 grams per day on average) and mostly beef (a recent study shows that 82% of the French say they have eaten beef at least once during the week). No wonder you can find a butcher practically at every corner in Paris, almost as many as bakers... I am not a big meat eater, but I must say I have a lot of respect for these guys who work really hard and can select a good piece of meat when you ask them.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Green, green!

I found this in the 2nd arrondissement in the window of Ikks, a sportswear shop that I had never heard of before. It's located on rue d'Argout, not far from La Place de la Victoire, an area famous for hosting the most fashionable international brands.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Just (not yet) married!

Just like in many places in the world, on the eve of your wedding, your friends take you out for the day - or for the night - and make you do all these crazy things that you - supposedly - will not be able to do once you're married. They often ask you to come in a fancy dress costume... It's generally the bride to be with her girlfriends and the groom to be with his boy friends mates, much more rarely the couple together, like on this photo. Anyway, I remember mine was fun, my friends took me to a cabaret - I don't remember which one, I must have been VERY drunk! BTW, it's called "un enterrement de vie de garçon - ou de fille" - (A bachelor's life funeral).

Friday, March 16, 2007

Caron de Beaumarchais

Enough religion, sex, and food, let's deal with culture now... (Don't yawn!). You're looking at Pierre-Auguste Caron de Beaumarchais, a famous French writer and politician who lived between 1732 ans 1799. He wrote The Marriage of Figaro and the Barber of Seville (that have been adapted for the opera later) and he sort of supported the "Americans" against the Brits during the war of independence (he actually sold then weapons, but still!!)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Pied de cochon

This may look absolutely disgusting to some of you but it's one of my favorite dishes: le pied de cochon pané (breaded pig foot). If you want to try this while you're in Paris there is ONE place to go: Le pied de cochon! near Saint Eustache church, in les Halles neighbourhood (6 rue Coquillère to be exact) where I took this photo. Also, it's one of the rare restaurants in Paris to be open 24 hours. (Visit the Web site here)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sex in the city

This morning, they just released the 3rd study about French sexuality (the former two ones were carried out in 1970 and 1992). What changed the most is the sexual behaviour of French girls/women: they now have their first intercourse at 17,6 (17,2 for the boys) which is 3 years sooner than 50 years ago. Women also have more sex partners throughout their life than before (4,4 on average, compared to 3,3 in 1992) but still much less than men (11,6 partners). And for the first time they claim to have exactly the same number of monthly intercourse than men, that is 7,3 8,7. There are many more interesting data about this study if you can read French...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Better late than dead...

I just found out about this clever ad campaign they run ad the moment around the city town hall. They show shadows of people - to let us think that they died - with a message like "Philippe, 42, was late. He drove his scooter too fast". That's all. The "caption" says that there has been 64 lethal traffic accidents last year and 7 000 wounded. I may keep taking the metro after all! Talking about death I came across this dreadful site today.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Inside Saint Paul's church

On the rue Saint Antoine, number 99, there is Saint Paul church, a church that was built between 1627 and 1641. It's a real masterpiece - I'll show the outside of it one day. In the meantime here is a photo I took Saturday inside, in front of a crypt dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
PS: thanks a million for all your nice compliments on yesterday's post. I have been very touched.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Time flies...

I can't believe it's been 2 years since I started this blog... 2 years that allowed me many pleasant things: 1) rediscover my city, 2) "meet" - even if for most of them only virtually - hundreds of nice people throughout the world, 3) build up a community that never ceases to increase. Of course, I sometimes feel I spend far too much time on this blog - and answering the many emails people send me from everywhere asking me for visit tips! - but I don't regret it. I want to thank you all for being always so nice to me, you are the reason why I continue.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Garde Républicaine in the Métro

Remember the Garde Républicaine post? Well they don't always ride horses... They also take the metro, obviously! (And of course, at Station Invalides!)
PS: I had to switch to the new Blogger Platform tonight, I hope this won't cause any trouble.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Women's day

Yesterday, as you probably all know, was "La Journée de la Femme". For the occasion - and for my work - I went to a diversity round table organized by Clara Gaymard, the President of GE France. About 10 women, mostly belonging to ethnic minorities, told their stories and it was really interesting - and sometimes also moving. Diversity is a new concept in France, a concept that is difficult to impose here because it is contrary to our fundamental belief that France is an egalitarian society. Remember our motto: Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. Mentioning the possibility of affirmative action (or better known here as positive discrimination) is just like acknowledging that we failed...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Oh la vache !

Today, I went back to the Salon de l'agriculture at lunch time with some colleagues from work. We had a great time (worse than kids!). I chose to show you a cow again because it is really cute and its owner - a farmer from Normandie (West of France) was very proud of it. I am sure this will please Louis La Vache ;). And BTW, the title of this post "Oh la vache !" means more or less the same thing as "Holy cow" in English.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Beautiful Pont Neuf

It's been a while since I've shown our beautiful Pont Neuf (New bridge). I took this photo from l'île de la Cité. Let me just remind you what I wrote about it last June: "it was started in 1578 and completed in... 1604 (the French kings needed more money for the war than for bridges then). At that time it was really something: 20 meters wide (66 feet), real sidewalks (and unusual thing at that time) and 384 Mascarons (masks sculptures in stone) on each side."

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The rat race

Funny how in big cities you spend your time running. You run to catch your train, to arrive on time at your next appointment, to shop before the stores close... Even the people in charge of the infrastructure help us save time. Take this people-mover that I photographed in a big metro hub, for example. It allows people who connect from one line to another to go quicker with less effort. The funny part is, half of the people who use it every day probably have a gym membership where they can use a treadmill! (Don't look at me!!)

Monday, March 05, 2007

French Elections: the 3rd man

Today I had lunch on the rue des Martyrs in the 9th (a very busy street that they turn into a pedestrian area on Sundays) and within 5 meters was given 3 promotional leaflets for the 3 main candidates. I already mentionned Nicolas Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal, here is now François Bayrou "the 3rd man" as they call him. He claims to be at the center and it works! The polls now give him a score of 19% for the primaries and say he would win over all the other candidates if he makes it to the "final".

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Pascin Exhibition

You may remember when I first mentioned this wonderful Paris museum called the Musée Maillol (after the name of French sculptor Aristide Maillot) at the occasion of Marilyn Monroe's last sitting. Well, at the moment they have another stunning temporary exhibition: paintings by Jules Pascin, a painter who was born in 1885 and committed suicide at the peak of his success in 1930. His work is really good and beautifully exhibited in this must see museum.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The largest farm in the world...

Like every year, the Salon de l'agriculture (International Agricultural Show) is taking place in Paris. 3,000 farm animals will live for 2 weeks on almost 150 000 sq meters (1 614 586 sq feet) and... 230 000 kg (507 063 lbs) of straw. It's a trade show but it's open to anyone and especially to the Parisians who can then realize that the beefsteak they had for dinner was once a cow! This show is also a must visit for politicians, especially in this pre-election period : 59% of the French territory and 3,5% of the active population are still dedicated to agriculture.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Medieval Party

About 2 weeks ago I received an email from a certain Claire who said I should go with her to one of the medieval parties she goes to every Thursday night. So... yesterday evening I did! It was really cool... everybody was dressed up in medieval costumes (like this one), you get to drink Hydromel (a typical medieval beverage) and you can dance medieval dances (or supposedly medieval!). It takes place in beautiful cellars in the Bastille area and it's open to anyone who wants to join in. Very Fun. Thank you for the tip Claire!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Theme day: Men at work

For this "Men at work" theme day, let me take you to the sewers of Paris... for yes, ladies and gentlemen, in Paris you can visit the sewers! Of course, it's a little less romantic than the bateaux mouches, or a walk on the Pont des Arts, but it's much more original. The sewer network is like a mirror city. You find one canal pratically under each street of Paris (it's more than 2,000 km long). Coming back to the "Men at Work" theme day, 1,551 people are responsible for managing the entire network.

67 City Daily Photo blogs are participating in the 1st March theme, "Men at work", 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 (Greenville SC (USA) ) -3 (Hyde (UK) ) -4 (Tenerife (Spain) ) -5 (Albuquerque, NM (USA) ) -6 (Stayton, OR (USA) ) -7 (Rotterdam (NL) ) -8 (Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) ) -9 (London (England) ) -10 (Richmond, VA (USA) ) -11 (Sydney -Sally (Australia) ) -12 (Newcastle upon Tyne (England) ) -13 (Constanta (Romania) ) -14 (Evry (France) ) -15 (Lubbock, TX (USA) ) -16 (Szentes (Hungary) ) -17 (Villigen (Switzerland) ) -18 (Mumbai (India) ) -19 (Tel Aviv (Israel) ) -20 (Twin Cities, MN [USA] ) -21 (Jakarta (Indonesia) ) -22 (Houston -Candice & Megan, TX (USA) ) -23 (Budapest (Hungary) ) -24 (Singapore - Zannnie (Singapore) ) -25 (Dubai (UAE) ) -26 (Singapore -Keropokman (Singapore) ) -27 (Madrid -Dsole (Spain) ) -28 (Mazatlan -Kate (Mexico) ) -29 (Nelson (New Zealand) ) -30 (Vantaa (Finland) ) -31 (Kyoto (Japan) ) -32 (Tokyo (Japan) ) -33 (Joplin, MO (USA) ) -34 (Auckland (New Zealand) ) -35 (Sequim, WA (USA) ) -36 (Menton (France) ) -37 (Minneapolis, MN (USA) ) -38 (Istanbul (Turkey) ) -39 (Sydney -Nathalie (Australia) ) -40 (Sharon, CT (USA) ) -41 (Seattle, WA (USA) ) -42 (Anderson, SC (USA) ) -43 (Monte Carlo, (Monaco) ) -44 (Milano, (Italy) ) -45 (Grenoble (France) ) -46 (Wailea, HI (USA) ) -47 (Guelph, ON (Canada) ) -48 (Melbourne - John (Australia) ) -49 (New York City (USA) [Ming_the_Merciless] ) -50 (Cebu (Philippines) ) -51 (Bandung (Indonesia) ) -52 (Antigua Guatemala (Central America) ) -53 (Hamburg (Germany) ) -54 (London -Jonemo (UK) ) -55 (Hong Kong ) -56 (Stavanger (Norway) ) -57 (Paris (France) ) -58 (Naples, Florida (USA) ) -59 (Saarbrücken (Germany) ) -60 (Shanghai (China) ) -61 (Quito (Ecuador) ) -62 (Zurich (Switzerland) ) -63 (Joensuu ( Finland ) ) -64 (Aliso Viejo, CA (USA) ) -65 (Cheltenham (England)) -66 (Bastia (Corsica, France)) -67 (Brussels (Belgium))