Thursday, January 31, 2013

Paris solitude

I found this graffito in the 17th arrondissement  (I don't know why it's written in English) and I found it quite touching. Not only because of the funny drawing they made using the pipe hole (I'm not even sure that's what it is), but also because of the message it carries. I looked up on the Internet and found a few facts and figures: in Paris 600 000 people (about 27% of the population) live by themselves (against 14% for the rest of France). This is due to the fact that there are a lot of students, that most newcomers in France start in Paris and probably because of the increasing number of divorces and widows. And even though there are many activities in a big town, it can also be very difficult to meet people. Some probably regret it, some apparently like it!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

French Cancan is back!

Look at what I found this morning in my street! An ad for a French Cancan show that is going to take place at Le Palace (the equivalent to NYC Studio 54 in the 80's and now a theater) in March and April! The Cancan (that the Brits renamed "French Cancan") is a dance in which women show their legs and Petticoat which was very daring at that time (the Internet did not exist then, remember?!). This new show will be more compliant with the 21st century if we judge from this video teaser... It looks pretty good actually, I might fall for it...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Eclairs to die for...

If you already came to France you probably had the occasion to eat an "Eclair", that is a sort of long puff generally filled with chocolate of coffee custard. Now there is - much - more to them... At the Atelier de l'Eclair, a new pastry shop located at rue Bachaumont in the second arrondissement where I had the occasion to see many kinds, including salted butter, vanilla, lemon... and, even more unexpected, savory ones (cheese, ham, salmon and even foie gras!). If you come here, I really advice that you give it a try (the place is very nice too). You may also order them on the Internet, but I'm not sure about that, for to be good, éclairs must be really fresh.

Monday, January 28, 2013

More snowy moments

No it did not snow again in Paris this weekend (far from that, it's actually pretty "warm" right now), but I finally had enough time to select all the snow photos I took last weekend. I made a little video in which you can see them all and I chose to publish this one (the Tiber), from almost the same angle I took it on January 2nd, when it was sunny. Have a good week everyone.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The man who found oil!

The next time you fill your car tank think of this guy... His name is Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian and he is one of the pioneers of the oil industry! He's had a fascinating life: born in Istanbul in 1869, in an Armenian aristocrat family he studied in Turkey, France, England and "discovered" oil in Irak; he even participated in the creation of Shell! Anyway the reason why I photographed his bust, is that I discovered by sheer coincidence that he has a foundation in Paris where you can see - and read - a lot of stuff related to Portugal where he ended his life. More about him - and his fascinating life - on Wikipedia of course!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Casino de Paris costumes auction sales

Call me lucky, because I am! Yesterday (Friday) I attended the exhibition of the Casino de Paris costumes that is currently held at the stunning Elephant Paname center for the arts (look at the ceiling!) in view of this weekend (Saturday and Sunday) auction sales. Mistinguett, Jane Avril, Joséphine Baker, Line Renaud... and all the fabulous dancers that performed at Le Casino de Paris wore one of those costumes and/or accessories at some stage (and on stage!). Of course I could not help but taking a zillion photos (and videos), so that you can have a much more comprehensive view of this exhibit. Check it out here. And if you're interested, well, hurry, as it will only last 2 days!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Valet parking

Even though there are still many cars in Paris, our mayor has declared war against them. Fewer parking spots, speed limitations, extra one way streets and possibly tolls have probably helped reducing traffic within Paris (supposedly 25% less in 10 years, but it's difficult to check the information). To keep customers coming, stores and shopkeepers now hire valets (voituriers) that take care of your car while you're shopping. They cost 8 € on average.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Seine Cruise

It's really not everyday that I take a cruise on the Seine. Last night I did, to attend the 4th anniversary party of the IMC, the only club I belong to. It was perfect, but not... picture perfect! I'm so cross; I took a zillion photos and none of them are good. This is the only one I could save, but for the framing! It still has a little "je ne sais quoi" in it, but nothing breathtaking. I'll do better tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Paris SketchCrawl

Do you know what a Sketch crawl is? I did not... Until last Saturday, when I witnessed one at the La cité de l'architecture et du Patrimoine, I was telling you about yesterday. Principle: anybody who enjoys sketching - and is aware of the meetup - gets to meet in a place and spend some time drawing what they see. The result is then published on the Internet! Cool idea, isn't? Check it out, there might be one of these events near you soon... I took many photos of sketchers, here is a little patchwork.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A museum with a view!

At Trocadéro there is a fabulous museum called La cité de l'architecture et du Patrimoine, where you can see stunning casts and reproductions of what France has to offer in terms of architecture (modern or historical), stain glass, murals, etc. all in one place. I already mentioned it once, but I went back last Saturday for a very interesting event that was held there and that I will deal with later. Whenever I go to this museum I'm always captivated by the view on the Eiffel Tower that you can enjoy during your visit... Here is a little sample ;-)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Paris Tuileries gardens

I apologize for those of you who've already seen this photo on Facebook, but since everyone seemed to have liked it there, I though I would also post it here (for those of you who never visit Facebook!). I took it yesterday morning (Sunday), around 9:30 am at the Tuileries gardens. So much snow is really rare in Paris. FYI, this photo was originally taken in color of course. I like the black & white version because it gives it a little vintage flavor, but the color one has an interesting flavor to. So for once, I'll post two photos instead of one.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

More snow...

Less original than yesterday's photo, maybe even a little tacky(!) but this is such an unusual scene in Paris that I did not resist posting it. Those of you who know Paris will probably have recognized the Grands Boulevards metro station... How? Because of the Hard Rock Cafe sign in the background,  precisely located on the Grands Boulevards. Pretty cool isn't it? FYI, there should be more snow tonight in Paris...

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Yes that's Paris! Can't you see the Eiffel Tower in the background?! I took it last evening on my way to a dinner party and you have no idea how difficult it was to reach Le Trocadero on my scooter in this weather! I even had to leave it and return home by metro. But it was fun too. I have more photos, but right now, I'm super cold, super tired and just wanted to post this before going to bed. See you tomorrow ;-)

Friday, January 18, 2013


I know it's winter, I know it's January, I know there is nothing extraordinary about the kind of cold we have at the moment and I also know than compared to other places like northern Europe or USA, I have no reason to complain! But I'am glad I had the chance to sit by the Hotel de Montalembert fireplace today... Very nice place I must say (the Hotel de Montalembert was Steve Jobs' favorite hotel when in Paris) and very cozy. Stay warm everyone (well except if you live in Australia of course...).

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fight against terrorism

I don' t know if you've been following the French news (which happen to be international news too!) recently you know that we have been "invited" by Mali to fight Jihadists in the North of the country. The "war", as the news channels now call it, has started and consequently we fear retaliation in France. That's why as of Monday, if you walk down the streets of Paris, you will see soldiers everywhere, and especially in busy areas or Paris landmarks (like on the Champs Elysées, where I took this photo yesterday - Wednesday). Your bag will also be searched in most stores. Not very pleasant, I agree, but necessary.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ferris Wheel at Les Tuileries

I'm still a bit sick and the weather was so bad today in Paris that I did not go out at all! I could not take a fresh photo of the day, so here is one I took recently at Les Tuileries Gardens. You probably recognized the famous Ferris wheel that I usually show you every year around this time. But for once, I photographed it during the day. But the real reason why I like this photo is because of the presence of the two ducks in the front! I'all be back on track tomorrow (and I HAVE to go out anyway!).

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

From the rooftop of Le Printemps

Yesterday (Monday) I had a meeting near Gare Saint Lazare and on the way back I passed by Le Printemps department store. I started taking photos when I suddenly saw someone on the rooftop... I then realized they have a nice terrace up there and I decided to check it out - which was a first for me! I did not regret it! The view is stunning, (the "greek temple" in the background is La Madeleine church) and I really recommend it. Not to forget they also have chairs and tables outside which must be very enjoyable in summer.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Winter is (really) coming...

No I did not steal the title of this post from The game of Thrones series, but from reality... As of today (Monday) winter is really coming to Paris (and France in general). According to forecasts the temperature will be as low as -4° C (25° F) tomorrow morning and it might even snow ;-) As for me, I spent the whole weekend in bed because of a nasty cold! Nothing serious, though ;-) I'll probably be able to go out again and take more photos tomorrow.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Amélie's café

Believe it or not, I only discovered Amélie's café (that is le café des 2 moulins, where part of the French movie Amélie was shot) a couple of days ago. It's located at rue Lepic, a typical Paris street, near Montmartre. The setting did not look familiar at all (well from what I could remember, because the movie is already 12 years old!), but I did a little research and found out that the owner who bought it in 2002 totally reshuffled the place. Cool place though. And for those of you who have no idea of what Amélie is, here you go!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Demonstration time !

Must be the season... After Virgin, a huge taxi demonstration on Thursday and a big upcoming anti gay marriage on Sunday, I came across a small protest outside the Printemps department store. The store firemen picked the first day of the sales to demonstrate against their working conditions, playing on words ("we are not on sale.."). Needless to say that they did not get much attention from the 20+ ladies (yes, before you blame me for being a chauvinist there were only ladies!) waiting for the Printemps to open their doors. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cartier without Bresson ;-)

Not all stores are facing bankruptcy on the Champs Elysées... This one, for instance, that I photographed yesterday evening looks like it's doing pretty well! Cartier is a French jeweler, founded in 1847, that is world famous. They recently celebrated their 165th anniversary with this stunning little film that I strongly recommend you watch, if you haven't already.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The end of Virgin...

Like in many countries in the world the traditional record and book stores suffer from the competition of the web (even the word "record" sounds outdated now!). No wonders then that Virgin Megastores, one of the main books and music chain stores in France has filed for bankruptcy today. It includes the huge Champs Elysées store where I took this photograph earlier last month (they obviously had a batman special that day!). Sad for the 1,000 people who are going to be made redundant, but not very surprising. Who is going to replace Virgin on the Champs Elysées? Nobody knows, but most likely Apple, Uniqlo or Forever 21...

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Sales time...

I must not stay up too late tonight for tomorrow is the first day of Les soldes (the sales) and stores will open earlier than usual! The sales are highly government regulated in France and they can only take place during certain periods (Winter, Summer and 2 other floating periods). It is compulsory to clear off what in the store (it is prohibited to  replenish your inventory less than 30 days before the start of the sales) and the old and new prices must be clearly displayed on each tag. It's also the only periods where selling at a loss is allowed.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Somebody must have hit the bottle!

"Funny" scene I witnessed today near my home, by pure chance. One of the trucks that collects used glass lost its load on the pavement! Needless to say that it caused a huge traffic jam. I grabbed my camera and took several shots including this one that shows a pretty cool scene (even though it was not really cool for the poor guys who drove the truck).  

Monday, January 07, 2013

Last run through Paris?

Yesterday morning the 13th old car parade took place in Paris. I went to one of their stops at Invalides and it was really cool (I have many photos but did not have the time to select them yet). It might me the last of the kind for the Paris town hall is about to pass a law that prohibits cars older than 17 years to drive through Paris (to avoid pollution). The bill is still in progress; let's hope antique cars will have a special persmission once or twice a year...

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Last robbery of the year...

Imagine! On new year's eve, right by the opera house, one of the Apple stores in Paris was robbed! By today's standards robbing Apple is like robbing a church or a temple ;-), so it made the headlines right away and the news channels even sent a crew to witness... well to witness nothing since the robbers had long time gone! The bottom line is that they robbed for about 400 000 € worth of iphones, iPads, etc. I'm sure Appe will get over it.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Time to reflect!

Still pretty warm in Paris at the moment, but the nice blue sky is now history! So here is a pretty wet photo today, taken on the Trocadero esplanade. Not very Paris centric I agree, but I thought that since a new year has come, it was time for a little reflection (I know, it's easy ;-)). Have awonderful weekend everyone, mine will be busy eating "galette"!

Friday, January 04, 2013

Fun time!

They're back! "They", are the giant bubbles that allow kids to float on an outdoor swimming pool belonging to a small amusement park, currently located at Bastille. I know I'm way off the age range for these things, but I do regret it as I'm sure they're a lot of fun! Also funny the €uro Disney sign in the background, I'm not sure Walt (or rather the Walt Disney company) would approve of the spelling LOL!)

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Progress or regression?

Today on Facebook I had a small discussion with Julie from Sydney eye in Australia, about these new "Rick Shaws" popping up in many big cities now. Paris makes no exception of course. To me it's odd , as before they would only be found in developing countries, where people could not afford cars. Now, they are back in fashion because it's a touristy attraction and it's also a not polluting way of moving around. I'm still not sure about the idea of using a man like a horse... I like the photo though, even though I think I did a poor job with the framing!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Fresh start!

I know it's an easy photo: stunning sky, beautiful statue, unusual light... But there is no harm in going the easy way when you can ;-) I thought this photo is so pure that it was perfect to start the year. I took it at the Tuileries gardens like the one last Sunday. It shows a sculpture by Pierre Bourdict called The Tiber (which is the name of a river in Rome, Italy) and it's absolutely splendid. Not much else to add except THANK YOU very much for your nice messages these past days. May the new year bring you all much joy and happiness.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Best photo of the year

Once a year I get to take one day off and it's today! Why? Because for once I get to reuse a photo I already took, as "the best photo of the year". Well, I really liked this one, that I took last March, by pure coincidence. I love that you can see the guy's headset pretty clearly. Again, let me wish you a great year and thank you for being such true visitors. In a little more than 2 months I'll be celebrating the 8th anniversary of PDP, which is really not what I had in mind when I started. Love you all (and don't forget to check out the other best photos of the year within the CDP community!).