How the Tell-All Got Told

September 21st, 2014

hollande valerieMega-bestseller. A first print run of 200,000 copies released September 4 and already out of stock in many stores and being reprinted.

Valérie Trierweiler’s kiss and tell off Merci pour le Moment is a publishing success.

Lying, cheating politicos beware: French women don’t keep quiet.

The myth that French women don’t mind if their husbands (or boyfriends) cheat on them might just be a myth after all.

Not only did Ms Trierweiler mind – which is kind of funny if one remembers that her ill-starred love affair started with the future president betraying his own wife with her – but she minded so much that she tried to commit suicide, followed by political murder.

thanks for this moment(That’s minding)

The real mystery here is how this book got into bookstores in the first place, since France has a long and not particularly distinguished tradition of censorhip of books.

Books that are about to be published have been forbidden.

Books that have been printed have been ordered destroyed.

Books that have been distributed and displayed on bookstore shelves have been withdrawn, boxed up and pulped, never to be seen again (until a European court ruling, for example, paved the way a decade later for republication.)

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EDM in Paname

September 20th, 2014

rexRex Club is holy ground in Paris when it comes to electronic dance music. French DJ and producer Laurent Garnier founded this club in 1992. A lot of great names within the industry have found their way to this House music mecca. Rex Club delivers high quality electronic music with fabulous sound and is no place to lounge. Dancing is the only recipe and we think you should taste their version on Saturday September 20th, when French label My Love Is Underground is hosting its own event. Expect House and Deep House with that ’90s feel.

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A New Forest Begins

September 15th, 2014

paris forstIn the last few weeks, Paris has opened access to the first forest ever to be planted within the city itself. Covering a narrow strip less than half a kilometre long, and currently home to mere saplings, will it ever feel like a wild woodland? After visiting the transiant landscape of this creation in progress in 2013, I was curious to see what the final result would be. Final is an impossible word though for a living organism, and the city of Paris itself is quick to point out that this is very much an ongoing project. Indeed, it is expected that at least 15 years of growth will be necessary before this project actually begins to feel like a forest.

Already though it is not without interest. The forêt linéaire covers a strip of land between a metalic wall of new-build offices and the concrete ribbon of the mostly invisible périphérique motorway, providing a necessary green breathing space. The trees are slight and unsteady, but, as we might do for our children, we will be able to slowly measure their growth against colourful posts in the coming months and years.

paris forest2At one end the forest spills out onto the Canal Saint Denis, a forgotten waterway now being reawakened from its industrial past by out-of-town shopping centres. This is a good spot to enter, offering a more rustic perspective than the mammoth multiplex cinema complex that sits at the other end of the wood.

This may be a theoretical forest, the planting respecting natural growth principles, but currently it is more of a winding footpath leading from nowhere in particular to nowhere in particular. This is not necessarily a bad thing as walking without purpose and destination is an activity that should be encouraged in cities.

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Post-War Dressing

September 14th, 2014

dresses 2I was recently transported back in time to the golden age of fashion when women wore more delicate, feminine clothes and didn’t dare leave the house without a hat and matching gloves. “Les Anneés 50/ The 1950s- Fashion in France, 1947-1957” follows the metamorphosis of post war fashion in France, starting with the revolutionary New Look collection from 1947 by Christian Dior, who single handedly changed fashion forever for the modern woman. dresses 1Dior flattered a women’s figure by cinching the waist, accentuating the bust, and flaring the skirt. Dior’s fashion and accessories became so popular in the 1950s that sales from the company contributed to the GDP of France.

I poured over the collection of over 100 outfits, carefully taking in the all details. I was also amused by the vitrines of chic hats, gloves, and shoes. Although the daytime outfits were beautifully tailored, they sometimes looked dated, where as the sensational evening gowns and dresses were timeless, looking as though they could be worn on the Red Carpet today. I reveled in the world of strapless bodices, billowing embroidered satin, and immaculately draped chiffon, wishing I were in black tie dancing at a ball with a grand dame wearing one of these heavenly creations.

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Something Special in Saint-Paul

September 13th, 2014

metropolitain restaurant exteriorLe Métropolitain opened two years ago by a talented French chef, Paul Arthur Berlan. It is located in Saint-Paul, one of the most charming Parisian neighborhoods, not far from the Marais. Every dish we had the night we went was perfectly executed, and the service was very attentive.

Things started off well with the marinated gambas (large shrimp), granny smith apple and red pepper. The appetizer was not only a pleasure for the eyes but also for the palate, the granny smith dressing brought a pleasant fruity touch to the gambas. My friend had a crunchy soft boiled egg which came with crunchy asparagus. The egg was well cooked, with a golden crust on the outside while the inside was smooth.

gambas at le metropolitainYour veggie friends will be satisfied as well, the risotto fregola sarda with mushrooms was a hit. Fregola sarda are very tiny pasta, cooked risotto style, which gives them a creamy touch. My friend went with the chicken supreme, the meat was tender as a rose and we could almost finish it with the spoon.

>on to dessert!

Mural Mania

September 11th, 2014

Salvador-Dali-Mural-near-Pompidou-1024x685If you’re into street art you can go on a self-guided tour of the murals commissioned by the local town hall, or stop by the Galerie Itinerrance which represents some of the world’s most prominent street artists including C215 and El Seed (they were the ones who brought together 108 street artists for the wildly popular La Tour Paris 13, which was demolished in April). And it’s not in the 13th, but nearby in the 5th arrondissement is another excellent gallery and bookshop featuring graffiti artists, Nunc! Their next vernissage is September 13th from 2-7pm with the artist Baubô. The Espace Dali is hosting a new street art exhibition Dali Fait le Mur starting tomorrow (through March 15th), bringing together twenty “urban artists” (including beloved Parisian street artists Jérôme Mesnager and Speedy Graphito) who have created their own interpretations of Dali’s surrealist artworks in painting, stencil, design, light, sound and installation (you can also see a fresco created for the event along the Rue Poulbot, just around the corner).

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Crack-of-Dawn Rave

September 7th, 2014

Morning Glory_MSethi-2396_glitterMy former boss, the fashion designer Rick Owens, turned me onto the idea of waking early to slam an espresso and hit an after-hours club. How better for an dansomane d’un certain age to shake it out without the attendant hangover?

A new breed of clubs is going even further to simply start first thing in the morning rather than carry over from the night before. Los Angeles has its Sweaty Sundays with trailblazing choreographer Ryan Heffington. London has Morning Gloryville, Morning Glorywhich started last year as a sober, socially conscious version of a rave. And now Morning Gloryville is expanding into other cities, including finally, Paris.

It happens this Wednesday morning, so pack your work clothes and come dressed to dance. The 14-euro entrance fee covers coffee and access to roving massages and a yoga class area. Dance instructors will ease wallflowers onto the floor.

Say hi to Rick if you happen to bump into him on the floor.

Sept 10, 6h30 – 10h30, Le Carreau du Temple, 4 Rue Eugene Spuller, 75003. Metro: République or Temple

Pre-Mixed Bliss

September 4th, 2014

la cave a cocktail 2La Cave a Cocktail is a new breed of bottle shop that just opened doors and sells a variety of bottled cocktails. This is strictly a shop, not a bar. The basic range includes standards like a Cosmo, familiars like the Pornstar martini and unusuals like Duc o’Lada (Cachaca-based). They also offer a Prestige selection of barrel-aged cocktails. And, for those who want something soft, they also offer a couple of non-alcoholic options by the bottle as well. cave a cocktail 1We sampled a few and my favorite by far was the Martinez N. 3 which is livened up with the addition of some Scrappy’s Lavender Bitters. We took a peek at the cave where they are barrel aging this and others in the Prestige range. La Cave a Cocktail bottles are good for about six cocktails and cost 30 Euros for the regular range and 48 for the Prestige.

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Bonjour, La Rentree

September 1st, 2014

rentree paris autumnAmerican celebrate Labor Day today, a holiday honoring the labor movement. French are simultaneously buzzing about La Rentree, the exodus (for many) from long vacations to the cities and their jobs. Thanks to global warming, these days no longer feel very autumnal. Today’s high in Paris is expected to be 71F / 22C!

Crowded, Noisy and Recommended!

August 31st, 2014

dijestiflepetitmarcheLe Petit Marché is on rue Béarn, a small street just north and directly off of the Place des Vosges. Le Petit Marché is not for those who want a quiet, romantic dinner. It’s busy, noisy, jam-packed café perfect for a quick lunch and people-watching.

Most of the staff speak English. Start with the Chinese salad or the ceviche. You’ll find French cuisine with Asian influences such as fresh tuna tartar with toasted sesame seeds served with a Thai sauce. Main courses are served with small bowls of mashed potatoes and green beans. Other recommended dishes include the cod, lamb, steak tartare with Asian spices, and the succulent duck breast in a honey sauce.

As we were leaving the café, the waiters at the small bar offered us a complimentary digestif!

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