Setting Sail

November 11th, 2014

sailboat luxemboug gardenIt’s been an exceptionally warm and sunny fall this year, and I have been taking advantage of it by being outdoors as much as I can. Some of my favorite places to be in this kind of weather are the Parisian parks and gardens. I especially love to go to the Luxembourg Gardens and the Tuileries. In both parks you can rent miniature sailboats by the hour and with the rental comes a long wooden stick in case your sailboat goes afloat.

There was a school break recently so the parks were teeming with children sailing their sailboats in the ponds with their parents helping to navigate them. The boats have colorful sails and I spotted one pirate ship with ominous black sails with a skeleton flag attached.
black sailboat

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Color Your (Parisian) World

November 10th, 2014

paris map coloring posterIf you have kids (or an artistic streak), check out the giant coloring posters of Paris in different sizes up to 1m80 wide, and dining placemats of Paris (and other cities). There’s even a poster with a P’tit Vélib’ theme for little cyclists. They’re made of eco-friendly materials in France by OMY (27 rue Milton, 75009), but you can also find them in stores throughout the city such as Merci (111 blvd Beaumarchais, 75003).

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The A**Hole and His Sh***y Beard

November 8th, 2014

trou de culWith apologies for all the cuss words…I love this attack on the Hipster.

Soaring Over Paris

November 6th, 2014

eagle over parisAs you may know, touristic helicopter flights one Paris are not permitted. (Not hearing helicopters is one of the myriad joys of the city.) But for a rare bird’s-eye view of the town, here’s a eagle to guide you.

Do Fries Go With That Shaken Martini?

November 4th, 2014

pasdeloup paris cocktail barPasdeloup, which opened its doors a couple of months ago, is casually chic spot with some of the city’s best bar talent. That staff is thanks to Amanda Boucher, previously of Candelaria (which just took a spot on the worlds 50 top bars list – again).

At Pasdeloup, she has created a menu of around 10 cocktails at 12 each. There is no pandering to the masses with a simple fruit-and-vodka choice. Their vodka cocktail includes vinegar, as well as cocchi Americano and pisco–which results in something refreshing, bracing and a little bit unexpected for the general drinking public. A look at the rest of the menu shows a competent and calculated sense of balance within individual cocktails as well as throughout the menu. Many of the cocktails are pre-batched, making for more consistency. Those looking for the classics will have no problem here, as confirmed with my usual martini order.

Additionally, there are four cocktail and food pairings like a Spritz du moment paired with Shiitake for 14€.

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May It Be Deliciously Spooky

October 31st, 2014

maison du chocolat
Happy Halloween from The Paris Blog!

Don’t Get Too Literal

October 30th, 2014

walrusTo have long teeth, in French parlance, does not equate being long in the tooth. Having long teeth means someone is (idiomatically) ambitious, not old. “Eating on the thumb” and “breaking people’s feet” are two (literally translated) French expressions you will hear more frequently (if not daily) in France. Here’s a handy list of many of the most frequent idioms.

The City’s Oldest Pastry Shop

October 29th, 2014

stohrerThe baba au rhum dessert was invented at Patisserie Stohrer on rue Montorgueil in the early 1700s. By Louis XIV’s personal pastry chef. The shop is still open, and you can still eat those delicious brioche soaked in booze!

Rethinking La Defense

October 28th, 2014

la defense parisI am not a big fan of modern French architecture, and most of it in Paris is mediocre at best. A few years ago I ventured to La Defense when the first Uniqlo store opened. I didn’t think much of it at the time, just a set of mostly nondescript modern glass towers, which could have been in any city in the world.

For some reason I wanted to give La Defense a second try, as I thought it could be photographically interesting. I hadn’t taken my camera out in ages, as I have been so busy with my photo show and tours in the past weeks, so it felt good to have my camera around my neck and ready to shoot.

cross in la defenseOn an Indian summer day last week, it was sunny and clear with the temperature hovering about 72 degrees. As I exited up the escalator I got a great shot of La Grande Arche, a modern day arch on the same axis as the Arche de Triomphe. The shapes and juxtaposition of the buildings clustered near each other against the crystal blue sky were a feast for my camera eye. The more I shot, the more appreciative and aware I was of the architecture, not dismissing it like I did the first time I visited. Another surprising feature I didn’t notice before were the striking sculptures in the complex. I learned there are 60 monuments and sculptures by such noted artists such as Cesar, Miro, Calder, and Francois Morellet. 

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Last Week for Outdoor Photo Fest

October 27th, 2014

La Gacilly festivalEvery summer, the town of La Gacilly on the border of Brittany’s Morbihan and Ile-et-Vilaine departments hosts the Festival Photo, the largest outdoor photo festival in France. If you happen to be in area, the 2014 exhibit runs one more week, until November 2nd!

I’ve visited La Gacilly’s photo festival the last two summers. What is great about this event is it’s all outdoors. Photos line the cobblestoned streets and are exhibited in the parks. You don’t need to buy tickets–by walking around the town, you are there!

The theme of the festival every year is “people and nature”. In 2014, the United States is the special invitee. The exhibit includes photos from a range of decades, including those by Ansel Adams, Steve McCurry, Robert Capa and many more. There are also some photos on display (in large format) that are the property of NASA.

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