Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sunny side of the street...

Recently France has suffered a lot of strong storms and Paris made no exception. But like we say in French: "après la pluie vient le beau temps" (after the rain, comes the sun), which is a metaphoric way of saying: things always get better. Who knows, even our legendary pessimism will turn into wild optimism... In the meantime, I thought this photo - that I took very quickly from my scooter yesterday in front of Les Galeries Lafayette ! - was pretty nice. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Un p'tit verre sur le zinc...

In Paris, I love the atmosphere of these little cafés/brasseries when you have "un p'tit café" ou "un p'tit verre" (a little coffee or a little glass of wine) sur le zinc (on the counter - which was originally made of zinc). I took this photo at L'Acajou des Volcans, a pretty nice restaurant located at 12 rue Coquillère (next to the famous Pied de Cochon at les Halles). Good food, good service and affordable prices, thanks to La Fourchette, the site you MUST go through if you come to Paris and want to chose - and book - a restaurant.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer swing!

I just came back to Paris a few hours ago (but just for a day, I'm leaving again tomorrow) and the city is really quiet. Except... in the Tuileries gardens where, like I already told you, they have installed a small amusement park for children for the summer. I passed by it last evening again and I really love the atmosphere. It's very similar to the old amusement parks my parents would take me too when I was a little boy (only today you win an iPad if you manage to shoot the moving bear three times and not a miniature radio set LOL!). They also have a shaky merry-go-round called "Air Swing" ; the is pretty cool in the night... have a swinging week everyone! 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Saint François de Molitor

In my desperate attempt to make you discover concealed - and more modern! - churches in Paris, here is a new one! It's called Saint François de Molitor and it's located, well, at rue Molitor! The church is really modern (it was completed in 2005), and quite nice actually (especially at night when it's lit from the inside), but what attracted me the most was this beautiful statue of Saint Francis of Assisi made by Alain Courtaigne. How is that for a Sunday post?!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Also in yellow!

First time I see a yellow Wallace fountain in my life. I already showed you green of course (the most common) and red (more unusual) and now this...  Very unusual! The funny part is the label that can be seen on its base: it promotes the "eau de Paris" (water of Paris), saying that it's a perfectly good water and implying that you don't need to buy expensive bottled water (including Perrier LOL) if you're connected to the Paris water network (which is pretty much the case for everyone!). 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Up and running!

I took this photo on the steps of the Très Grande Bibliothèque (the very large library, aka the French national library) where all French books are stored. Some of them are digitalized and can be accessed on the largest online French library Gallica and some must still be seen on the spot. Anyway, I just like the endless perspective you can enjoy there, especially when you catch someone climbing up the steps ;-)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Perrier's anniversary

You probably all know Perrier water, the sparkling water that costs the price of a cocktail, but sounds soooo French ;-) to order at a café. Well it's currently celebrating its 150th anniversary and, to celebrate, they are running a huge ad campaign on TV and in the streets. They also have a Warhol limited edition that you can see in the poster that I photographed in the 13th arrondissement. The nice part, for a French at least is that we also get to see again all the fabulous Movie theater and TV ads that they have been running for the last 30 to 40 years. Including this one from 1976, that I remember having seen live before it was banned for being a little too... graphic!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

La Favorite, my "favorite" bistrot!

At the beginning of rue de Rivoli (number 4 exactly) there is a café / Bistrot called La Favorite that I love! Not only for the food - a mix of Parisian/international cuisine (which includes hamburgers, yes!), but also for its atmosphere: very French and lots of little interesting things to see in the decor, including the menu that looks like a newspaper (see photograph). The bread is to die for and... even the waiters are nice! Definitely worth a visit...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

When the arch dresses up...

ON the night of the arrival of Le Tour de France they apparently had a huge light show on the Arch of Triumph, on top of the Champs Elysées. Again, I was not there since I'm on vacation, but I saw that a friend of mine - Stacie (and not Tracey like I originally wrote shame on me!) who is American, but currently lives in Paris to fulfill her dream (of living in Paris!) posted some neat ones on her Facebook page. I asked her if I could "borrow" them, just to show you and she said yes! So here you go... 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Le Tour de France has arrived!

Every year around the same date, the Tour de France ends in Paris. This year made no exception even after the many doping scandals that kinda spoil it. This time though, I'm not in Paris, so I could not witness the "boucle" (loop), that the participants make around and inside Paris so that people can see them. But I dug into my old photos and found this one, which seems appropriate ;-) Only I don't know who this is by This sculpture is by Edgardo Carmona (thank you Mario Baylon Jr) and I remember I photographed it on the embankment, by the Eiffel Tower. Oh by the way, in case you're wondering, the winner of Le Tour is a British citizen (well sort of as I read he actually is from Kenya, studied in South Africa and lives in Monaco!) : Christopher Froome.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Summer riots

I'm not in Paris right now (I took a few days of vacation in the South of France), but I keep reading the news... I just heard that there has been riots in the suburbs of Paris. It often happens in the summertime when the weather is hot, people are out, on vacation, drinking, etc. Anyway it made me think of a photo I took at the Tuileries gardens amusement park a few days ago: people "fighting" for their way among  bumper cars (autos tamponeuses)! I know it's a little far fetched, but that is all I have handy right now to illustrate these much less amusing riots! Have a good - and possibly cool - Sunday everyone. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

So hot!

It's La canicule (heat wave) in Paris (and in many places in France - and Europe - I hear that a lot of old people have started dying because of the heat in England). A canicule, is a long period of high temperatures during which  it does not get cold (enough) at night so that people's body has time to cool off. When it happens - rarely - old people die first. And younger ones take advantage of it to do things they would not normally do, like put their feet in public fountains, like in the photo that I took two days ago at the "new" Place de la République.  And of course, there is almost no air conditioning  in France !

Friday, July 19, 2013

Mandela day concert

I'm just back from the place de la République, where they organized a huge concert to celebrate Mandela. As you all know he turned 95 yesterday, and well, it's very likely that it's going to be his last birthday. I wanted to make a cool photo, including the Republique statue and his face, but the more I look at this photo, the more I dislike it LOL. And though it's too late to change, I have to wake up at 5 am to catch a plane, so that's all you'll get for now ;-) I'll do better tomorrow ;-) Lots of love from Paris and... to South Africa!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Happy birthday Velib!

I can still remember the day I told you about Velib, this bike sharing system that the Paris town hall implemented throughout the city to stimulate the use of non polluting vehicles (instead of cars and motorbikes). Well, it's been exactly 6 years, as Velib celebrated its 6th anniversary last Monday... One thing is sure; it's a success! More than 250 000 Parisians subscribe to the service on a yearly basis, one Velib is rented every second within greater Paris and the oldest user is... 88 years old! Tourists also use it, of course! Look at the chart they have here if you can read French. As for me, well I tried it once, about 5 years ago, but never since the!  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Beam me up Scotty!

I know it's the Eiffel Tower AGAIN! but I could not help posting it twice this week, after what I discovered this morning... Google has a "cultural institute" which, of course, is 100% online and they just included a superb section dedicated to the iron lady! Not only can you read about its history, but you can also see the stunning 360° view that you get from its top! Now you don't even have to fly to Paris (I'm not saying you shouldn't!) to get the full experience ;-) Do check this out, it's really worth it.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A taste of "the others"!

Don't go thinking that you're going to be spoiled with Eiffel Tower fireworks photos everyday!! Time to come back to reality... Interesting reality though. Yesterday, I was wandering in the Tuileries gardens in search for photo ops and I was intrigued by this T-shirt. "The world is our classroom" it said. I first thought this guy was a bit of a brown nose (un fayot, in French!), that he was so happy in his classroom that he did not need to discover the world! and it turns out that it's exactly the contrary. The world is our classroom is a non profit organization (part of the "Competitive Edge Charter Academy (CECA)" if I understood well) and its aim is to create a learning environment where students develop international awareness. Not bad...

Monday, July 15, 2013

Good old Eiffel Tower!

What would we do without the Eiffel Tower and the Champs Elysées?! Well, I don't know, it's hard to imagine ;-) Like every year, the iron lady (and a few other people ;-) witnessed a stunning Feu d'artifice (fireworks) and like every year it was a big success. This closes my Bastille day (fête du 14 juillet) series! Now is the time to go back to our normal activities ;-) Paris has started its summer mode: less Parisians, more tourists, nice weather, less traffic and soon... Paris plage ! I feel like I went through this a zillion times ;-) - Wait a minute... I did!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The "Pompiers"

In Paris, the Pompiers (firemen) are part of the army so they often march on the Champs Elysées on July 14. But today, it'll be the Bretons firemen (from Brittany, a region located in the West of France) who will march! No so easy as the must learn how to walk exactly 110 steps a minute (the "normal" speed pace on that day, don't ask me why!) and that they're not used to do so. Fortunately, on the eve, these ones will not have taken part in any of the famous Bal des pompiers, that I told you about so many times... 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tribune Officielle !

Tomorrow is Bastille Day (Le 14 juillet), the day we celebrate the French Revolution (which took place in 1789). There are several events on that day, but the most symbolic one is probably the huge military parade that passes down the Champs-Elysées from l’Arc de Triomphe to Place de la Concorde where the President of the French Republic and his government (and a few selected guests!) stand - and where they can enjoy this view (without the rain this year!) . I passed by the Pace de la Concorde today and took this photo ; needless to say that the whole area is heavily monitored by the police and that I was afraid they would stop me for taking a photo, then I saw tourists doing it...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Peaceful day at the Luxembourg gardens

It's always funny to "rediscover the world" after you've been "trapped" in a place for several days . All the usual scenes that you normally don't pay attention to suddenly become of extreme interest: cars, shoppers, cafés... and passers by in the Luxembourg gardens. This morning I happened to go there after a visit to my doc's and everything there looked wonderful to me. I know it's a little silly ;-) But I had the same feeling the first time I left the barracks after 3 weeks training during my military service (yes, a long long time ago, so long, it does not even exist anymore in France LOL). Facts and figures: the Luxembourg gardens is the second largest public park in Paris(22.5 hectares) and it was created in 1612 to surround the Luxembourg palace.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Irreversible damage

Last night, the Hotel Lambert, located at the tip of Ile Saint Louis partly burnt (you can see part of it in the background). It's a real tragedy - even if no one died, which of course is the most important. It was one of the oldest (1640!) and most beautiful (It took 5 years to the painters to decorate the inside) buildings in Paris. The place was being renovated and it's possible that an electrical problem caused the fire. Some people also suspect that it may have been intentional, as the Hotel was bought in 2009 by Cheikh Hamad Abdallah Al-Thani from Qatar and that the type of renovations he wanted to make (including, from what I read, a car elevator!) was not exactly of everybody's taste...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Le bon goût...

Now that the weather is pretty good, that the temperatures are much higher, people have started uncovering... Hence this charming lady that I photographed on the embankment, near the area where the PDP picnic usually takes place. To an average French person this outfit is a little over the top (to say the least!) and certainly not de bon goût but, of course, all this is cultural. What seems vulgar in one part of the world may look very refined in some other parts. 

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

So hot!

The French are known for being constantly negative, always looking first at the things that will lead a project to fail and complaining a lot. I must say it's pretty true (this NYC article explains it very well) to a point that it's really depressing. Look at the weather for instance... a few weekd ago people were complaining about the cold, now that it's really hot, they complain about the heat ;-) I don't think there is any way to please a French!

Monday, July 08, 2013

Wallace Fountain

OK, I'm feeling really better now, time for me to go back to my normal life - and start taking photos again! In the meantime here is a classic Paris scene: a Wallace fountain. There are about 120 of these fountains in Paris and like I already explained they were named after Sir Richard Wallace - a very wealthy Scottish-French philanthropist who used part of his money to improve the life of Parisians. Most of them are green, but a few are red.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Beautiful day...

Summer has finally come in Paris, too bad I really don't feel like going out LOL! I dug out a photo that I don't particularly like (there is a reason why I keep photos on my computer and never post them!) because it has very little interest. But providing it matches the current Paris weather and that I have nothing better to show you, it'll do ;-) It's the passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor Pont du Carrousel BTW. 

Saturday, July 06, 2013

So long café gourmand...

Good news, I was freed last evening! Still haven't been operated though (which means I'm going to have to go back soon...) but at least I feel good - although totally wiped out of course. In the meantine I must refrain from eating anything that has fat in it, which includes a lot of things ;-) Including this delicious Café Gourmand that I photographed before my "departure" and that I did not use because I did not like the framing too much. But tonight, God knows why, I'm OK with it! (BTW with this gallbladder thing I forgot to wish a happy 4th of July to all my American visitors, so let me catCh up today!). And for everyone: have a good weekend!

Friday, July 05, 2013

What's the rush?

Who says you cannot take an interesting photo if you're stuck in a place for a few days?! Not me... Now that they have stuffed me with antibiotics I feel much better so I was able to go down to the hallway of my hospital this morning and here is what I managed to photograph with my phone. Pretty cool isn't it? Note that even though in France most hospitals were owned and managed by the Catholic Church until 1905, now the vast majority of them belong to either the Government (or rather to the Public health system) or to a private body. 

Thursday, July 04, 2013

It rocks!

Hey everyone. Thanks soooooooo much for your nice comments yesterday. I'm still in the hospital but everything is fine, I just don't know when I can be operated on ;-( Will I have enough photos to keep up? I don't know, but in the meantime here is one that was on my laptop and that I never posted because I never managed to find out who made this piece of art (I found it in the new part of the 13th arrondissement I already told you about). I still don't know, but since I have no other choice, I'll post it today ;-) If ever someone knows among my readers I'll be happy to edit this caption tomorrow... After a good night sleep (well... sort of!). Again thanks a million. Update: Someone knows... A big thank you to Alex who posted in the comments:  "The sculpture's name is "Rocher dans le ciel" and the artist is Didier Marcel". Merci Alex! And yes, I did not even realize how appropriate this was, considering the situation LOL

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Hospital time...

Well, well, well... There was no way I could get away with my abdomen ache that easily! Turns out that I have gall bladder stones (yes stoneS!) and that they have to remove them. Am I happy to have surgery? No... But it's really nothing compared to what I imagined! The funny thing is that I managed to take a photo of where I'm staying for the next I don't know how many days. Don't worry though this is a very old sign that they kept for the scenery, my hospital is much more modern than this!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Notre Dame d'Espérance

There not only old churches in Paris, some new ones too. Some VERY new ones even... Like this one inaugurated in 1997, located at rue de la Roquette in the Bastille aerea in front of which I passed several times without finding the righ angle to shoot! This time I went for the "closer to God" angle ;-) Thank you for your best wishes yesterday; I'm still not recovered (this photo is not fresh of the day!), but I hope to be better tomorrow.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Petit Palais Façade

Today's theme day is "Facades". Living in Paris I had more choice than I could even think of, but... on Saturday night I had a terrible food poisoning which led me to no sleep at all and a whole day in Bed! So I had to dig into my photo collection and here is what I found... It's the Petit Palais which a paper company (Canson) adorned with colorful wrappings. I wanted to post this photo earlier but was waiting to go back (I don't like this one too much (too many cars, white sky...). But for now, it'll do. I'm going back to bed right right this second! Don't forget to check the other facades throughout the world by the way!