Friday, August 31, 2012

Old chestnut!

People who live in this square surely aren't out of their tree ha ha! I passed several times by this place, called the Square Bolivar and always wanted to photograph it, but it was always super crowded and full of double parked cars. In August I managed to avoid the cars, but not the ugly traffic signs, so I erased most of them. Those of you who know the place may dislike the fact that I "cleaned" it, but to me, only the result counts, and I really love this photo, so... Have a good Friday everyone and your last weekend before going back to school... (well, at least in most countries in this hemisphere!).

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Champagne for everyone!

From time to time, I've decided to give you shopping tips (and still focus on the photo of course, for those of you who are not interested in shopping or don't plan to come to Paris LOL!). The first one of this series is La Boîte à bulle, a new store you can find at 67 rue de Levis (a street known for it's market) in the 17 th and in Levallois (in the close suburbs of Paris). They sell 3 kinds of - very good - Champagne (brut, rosé and blanc de blanc) that they source from the Champagne region (of course), in the East of France. The store looks really great and Matthieu Lécussan (in the photo), the young entrepreneur who started this business recently, can tell you absolutely everything about Champagne!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Marché Secrétan

How about some black and white photo today... This is the back of Le Marché Secrétan, a covered market in the 19th arrondissement, by the Metro station Bolivar. It was built by famous French architect Victor Baltard (who precisely built what we call the Pavilion Baltard!), but like you can see, there is not much to buy over there at moment. The whole place is being totally redone, after a fierce battle between developers, the Paris town hall and... the locals! The project that won includes an organic market, a fitness center and a "ludothèque" (a game library)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Skateboarding in Paris

Don't go thinking this is a fake photo that I made thanks to some super software by mixing several shots, it's 100% natural; I just pressed the trigger while this skate boarder was going down the Quai de Jemmapes during the cruise I took on Saturday evening. And since I'm sure you're really into skateboarding yourself(!), here is the perfect website for you... (including all the spots where to skateboard in Paris!)

PS : reminder: Jeff (a long time visitor to PDP!) is planning a little PDP gathering in Chicago, during Labor Day weekend.  if you're around and would like to join him, click here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pont Levant (part deux !)

Do you remember the photo of Le Pont Levant de la rue de Crimée, that I posted before my vacation? Well, here is another - and much broader - view of it. I actually experimented it for real! How? By taking part in the cruise that Canauxrama (no, that is not paid advertising!) offers on the Canal Saint Martin. For once I posted two photos, so that you can see how it works: on this one it's up, on the one below, taken a few seconds before, it's still down. Very impressive and very beautiful (thanks to the lighting of the buildings I must say). I loved every minute of this cruise, even if there are a little too many locks for me!

PS : on a different note, Jeff (a real true visitor to PDP!) is trying to organize a little PDP gathering for Labor Day in Chicago, if you're around and would like to join him, do let me know and I'll put you in contact.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Paris Liberation

You think this photo was taken 60 years ago? All wrong, I took it yesterday - and yes, I did pimp it a little! - at an event organized by the Paris town hall to commemorate the liberation of Paris (from the Nazi occupation) that took place on August 25, 1944. On top of the many (too many?!) speeches and singning, they also had several people dressed up like in the forties and vehicles (jeeps, motorbikes...) that contributed to the liberation of Paris. It was cool and moving to see (more historical info on Wikipedia if you're interested).

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Back to Paris

After 5 days in Vence, near Nice in the South of France, I'm back to Paris and to its casual scenes! I took this photo on the Canal Saint Martin and thought it was a perfect "welcome back photo" even though it's not a super original photo; after all, this is not the first couple I caught in my lens is it?! And probably not the last one either... City of love, they say!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Place des Vosges

The Place des Vosges is probably one of the “absolutely not to miss” place when visiting Paris. It’s really beautiful and well-kept and everything and though I find it extremely hard to photograph (see previoius attempts here, here and here)! This time I tried a close up (left hand side when you head North) which is not too bad. The deep blue sky helps! For the records, the Place des Vosges was constructed under Henri IV from 1605 to 1612 and is located partly in the 3rd and party in the 4th arrondissement. It consists of 36+ red bricks and white stones houses.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Green hair!

It’s been a while since I’ve shown you a Paris graffito… I found this one opposite to the place du Guignier that I featured two days ago, in the Villa de l'Ermitage, more precisely. I love the way the ivy blends with the “hair” of the lady. The drawing is signed “Bamby”, but I did not find anything about him/her on the Web.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Docking in Paris

When you think of Paris, you don’t necessarily think of a harbor city, do you? And though it is! For even though the closest sea (la Manche/the English Channel) is at least 150 miles away, there no less than 19 ports within the Paris area for private yachts and goods delivery. Here is one of the rings that allow boats to dock; it’s located at the Bassin de la Villette where they have a little yachting area. You can rent a spot for about 2 500 € a year if you have a small boat and … if you find room ;-)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sewers shelter for sale...

Here is a little “place” I love. It’s located off the rue des Pyrénées in the 20th arrondissement and it really looks like you’re in a village. The shelter on the foreground (where it’s written “Service des Égouts”) belongs to the town sewer services (you can see the coat of arms of Paris above the two doors) leads to several halls, including a superb vaulted one. The place is apparently for sale, but I have been unable to check this info.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The end of the world!

The end of the world? Nah.... Just a little heat wave! We’re never happy, are we? Earlier in the season you heard me complain about the cold and the rain, now is the time to rant about the heat. “La canicule”, as we call it; is supposed to last until this Thursday and since very few homes have air conditioning in Paris (installing a unit is a nightmare as it is forbidden on most facades and you need to ask the permission to the co-owners of the building for a more complex installation!), well, we suffer! Nothing serious though, like in 2003 when 15 000 old people died after a 17 day heat wave (see this graphic).

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Last day at Paris Plage

Everything comes to an end, especially Paris Plage. Today is the last day where Parisians can enjoy laying in the sun on the sand or a deck chair by the embankment and where kids can use these water wheels to run endlessly like hamsters! They will be back next year I'm sure, and I will probably too (well, so I hope!). Have a great Sunday everyone, here, we try to avoid going out because of the heat...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sacré Coeur at dawn

Those of you who are Facebook friends with me may remember that a few days ago I happened to find myself at Montmartre at dawn. I never posted the photo because I thought it was too classical, but  I just had a second look at it and thought it was not that usual to see the Sacré Coeur at 6:30 am... So here you go! Yes, the east is on the right side in this photo ;-) In case - pretty unlikely if you've been following this blog for quite some time - you would not know anything about this Basilica, you'll find everything on Wikipedia.    

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pont levant de la rue de Crimée

Between le bassin de la Villette and le Canal de l'Ourcq (two water channels that end into the Seine) there is a stunning metal bridge called le Pont de Flandre or de la rue de Crimée that allows cars and pedestrians to go from one side of the channel to the other. So far, nothing extraordinary I agree, except that this bridge is a pont levant, meaning it can be lifted when a boat needs to go through. It's the last of the kind in Paris. Did I mention, the view from there is at dusk is breath taking?!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The backside of Paris

In Paris, the law normally requires that all facades be cleaned once every 10 years minimum, but it's rarely the case. You've noticed it if you came here, the city of light is not all about mint condition buildings and spotless Haussmanian facades! A lot of places need a good paint job, if not more... This is particularly true for the back side of apartment buildings, the part that you cannot see from the street and that generally overlook a little courtyard, like in this photo. Still, with a ray of sun, everything looks prettier ;-) 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Is there something about Mary?

Today is August 15 and, for the catholics, it's the Assumption of Mary, the mother of Jesus. France has strong Catholic roots (about 2/3 of the population say they are Catholics even though about 60% of them do not actually practice - see this very detailed data about the French Catholics if you're interested), so I was sure that if I went around Notre Dame Cathedral I would get a few photo opportunities! And I did! Hence this procession leaving the inside of Notre Dame for the embankment on to a "boat pilgrimage". It was really moving to see the crowd singing and praying.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The champions are back!

I know you must be fed up with the Olympics, but it's only the second time I mention them since they started! Today, "Les Bleus" (the French sportsmen always dress in blue!) came back from London with the Eurostar and I knew that if I went to the Gare du Nord, I would have many photo ops. I did! And for once I was not able to chose between two types of photos, so here are both of them! I'm not a big sport fan nor super patriotic, but on these special occasions I can be easily moved!

Julie Bresset, Alain Bernard, Teddy Riner, Florent Manaudou, Alexis Vastine, Steeve Guénot.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fauchon ou Hédiard ?

Hédiard ou Fauchon ? If you never came to Paris, these two names won't ring any bell, but if you did you probably know that they are two famous "épiceries fines" (gourmet food store) located at Place de la Madeleine. One was founded in 1886 (Fauchon) and the other one in 1854 and both sell the finest food (a lot of French products of course, but not only) you can find in Paris (well, there are other places, like La grande épicerie du Bon Marché on the rive gauche, but there aren't that many). All these places are slightly expensive, of course, but the quality is there; try the croissants from Fauchon, for instance, they are to die for and not that more expensive than in an average patisserie. At night, like you can see, they have a cool lighting of their facade - which obviously inspired the... parking garage next to it!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Another great sculpture

Here is another of my finds even though it's been there (place du Canada) since... 2003 and I must have passed it dozens of times! This statue shows father Komitas, an Armenian priest and music composer (among many other things) who lost his mind after what is referred to as the "Armenian genocide" in 1915. I don't want to enter a big discussion about this terrible event (you can read all about it here) for it's highly controversial in France (we have a pretty large Armenian population in France). I've just been amazed by the beauty of this statue, made by David Yérévantsi,and by the fall colors that are already showing on the trees!. I simply wanted to show it to you.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Paris Plage 2012

Paris Plage is a yearly operation, organized by the Paris town hall (see more in English here), that consists of transforming several parts of the city, and most particularly the Seine embankment, into a "beach". Thus if I had taken this photo during winter for instance, you would have seen concrete and most likely cars instead of this lady having her lunch break in the sun! It's a lot of work for only a month (mid July till mid August), but it seems to be worth it, as it's always a big success. Every year I try to make my "official Paris Plage photo", I guess this year it'll be this one ;-) - Just out of curiosity, have a look at the photos I took the years before, including in 2005, only 3 years after this event was created. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Opéra Garnier

You've seen it a thousand times ? Yes, I'm sure... But it's not easy to photograph it without any traffic around it. That is why I'm taking advantage of being in Paris in August, to revisit my classic monuments! For those of you who would not know it, this is l'Opéra Garnier (often called le Palais Garnier), named after the architect who won the competition in 1861 and completed it in 1874 (yes they already had budget problems at that time!). It's one of the two main opera houses we have in Paris (the other one being the Opéra Bastille, a more modern building) and yes, it's beautiful, especially at night. you can its - very interesting - story here.

Thursday, August 09, 2012


There is nothing like a statue by Maillol to look a the bright side of life! Or course it helps when it's located near le Louvre, when there is a deep blue sky in the background and when there is a little ray of sun to wrap it up! In fact this sculpture is not meant to cheer us up, for it's dedicated to the inhabitants of Port-Vendres, a small town located in the Languedoc-Roussillon (the most Southern part of France you can find!), who died during WWI. Still, it's magnificent (and we should be thankful to Dina Vierny, the muse of Maillol, for giving his work to the French government  in 1964!)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Getting married in Paris...

Here is something slightly merrier than yesterday's scene: a wedding! Obviously an Asian one - I'm guessing Chinese, as more and more Chinese people come to Paris to get married - or at least to take photos of their marriage! For getting actually married in France is not easy and takes time... You must provide many documents (passport, birth certificate, certificate of celibacy, medical certificate...). You must also "publier les bans" (publish the banns), that is give the town hall where you plan to get married enough time (I think 15 days) to publicize you wedding to come (in case someone has a good reason to prevent it!).

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Passy's cemetery

Don't go thinking I'm morbid or anything but I do love cemeteries, especially the ones of Paris, where you can come across so many famous people and so much creativity in the tombs. I've already showed you many of them (including the famous Père Lachaise), but today I visited for the first time the Passy one. It's pretty small, but due to its vicinity (the rich 16th arrondissement area) it is worth the visit (besides, it's very very close to the Trocadero, so if you go there to see the Eiffel Tower...). You can see the grave of Gabriel Fauré, Claude Debussy, Jacques Ibert (French composers), of many foreign aristocrats (Bảo Đại, the last emperor of Vietnam), Farah Pahlavi (former queen of Iran), several members of the Romanov family (from "old" Russia), etc. You can also see anonymous graves, like this one (well, so I think!) that are still pretty remarkable. 

Monday, August 06, 2012


If you paid attention to the title of this post you saw "cocorico" which is French for "cock-a-doodle-doo" and also the onomatopoeia we shout when France wins a game or a battle. I thought since we're still in the top five (for the number of medals at the Olympics) it was the right time to go back to la Fontaine du Théâtre Français, the blue white red fountain located at place André Malraux and show a little patriotism on this blog! Out of fair play I will also congratulate China (even if they have 22 times our population), the US (even if they have 5 times our population), the UK (even if they are organizing the games), South Korea (even if I cannot find any excuse for being behind them!) ;-)

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Gare du nord (North Station)

It may not look so, but this photo was pretty hard to take due to the size of this magnificent train station.. It's called La gare du nord (north station) and quite logically all trains that leave from there go up north (including the suburbs, northern France, England, Belgium, The Netherlands...). It was inaugurated in 1846, then was rebuilt and/or renovated several times since then, especially by architect Jacques Hittorff who gave it this roman look. It was also featured in many movies, including The Bourne Identity, Ocean's Twelve and others.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

By the pale moonlight...

Yes, that is really an easy photo, I know, but who cares! You may have recognized Le Louvre, right by the famous Pyramid and you probably also noticed... the moon, which is of great help in the composition of this shot. To be frank, I stayed there a good 15 minutes to enjoy the show, for yes, it was really fantastic! I hope you can enjoy it as much as I did...

Friday, August 03, 2012

Open air movie theater

What are these people doing? Looking at the stars, the sunset, the passers by? All wrong! They are watching a movie! Where? On the Pont des arts ? How? Thanks to one of these battery operated video projectors that you can take everywhere (providing you also take a screen with you of course!). Huge success needless to say, since it's not that common to see such a scene. I was not the only one who took a photo (but I probably was the only one crawling on the bridge LOL!)

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Swinging by the canal

Some of you may remember this photo (dancing by the embankment of the Seine) or this one (Tango dancers) where you can see people dancing by the Seine (every night or so providing it does not rain). Well I found a new one! It's organized by Bart and Baker, two guys who love swinging music and therefore making people swing. They organize these events all year long, but during summer they have these special sessions on Paris Plage. You have to know that in France, we still usually dance what is called here "le Rock" or what specialists call "Le Swing" (see this video! or this spectacular one from thje 50's). I personally love it LOL!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012


Today is August 1st and the theme day among the CityDailyPhoto community (which is temporary hosted on Facebook until the portal gets fixed) is numbers. I did not find any that I liked enough to post so you'll have to use your imagination... For yes, it takes two to be lovers by the Bassin de la Vilette where I took this photo! A pretty good number I think ;-) Happy 1st of August anyone, check  what number(s) the other CDP have come up with on Facebook if you're on it.