Standing in solidarity with my fellow Frenchmen and women, with journalists in France and around the world, with the core values of freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and for an end to senseless hatred and terrorism. Read more →
This year in Paris, the Mairie decided to do something different. Instead of focusing the festivities on the Eiffel Tower, they moved the party to the Champs Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe, and created a wonderful spectacle complete with fireworks at the countdown. If you can overlook the idiots who thought it would be fun to use their stupid green lasers on the Arc during the entire show, it was really quite nice and very well done! I hope they do it again next year and maybe we'll get to go there in person. Although we'd probably never have as good a vantage point as we have in this video, what with thousands of people crushed into the Champs Elysées. Bonne année à tous! Enjoy! Paris célèbre le passage en 2015 avec un... by mairiedeparis Read more →
Having now moved in Paris FOUR times (and that's not counting when I moved here in the first place), I have become something of an expert in how to orchestrate a household move. But I never knew how one might move, say, a large PIANO into a Parisian apartment, given that the staircases are usually narrow and the elevators, if they do exist, probably only have space for 2 or 3 human beings. And that's without luggage or shopping carts. A few days ago, I looked out our living room window because some idiot down below kept repeatedly beeping his car horn. There's a small supermarket across the way, and it is normal for delivery trucks to block the street over there, so I figured that's what the fuss was all about. Well, there WAS a delivery taking place, but not the type I anticipated: Because of the weight of the piano, this delivery truck with its built-in crane also had stabilizing "feet" (not pictured), so once the crane was in motion, there was NO moving this truck until the job was finished. The horn-beeper's car was just below my window, sandwiched in between the sidewalk, this truck and vehicles... Read more →
If I weren't so sleep deprived (experiencing a wave of insomnia the past 4 or 5 nights, where I wake up at different times during the night and then can't get back to sleep again for hours, dammit), I might have more energy for writing, and I do have a few longer posts in the works, but in the meantime here are some random images I've taken recently with my new iPhone 6. Got to say, I am LOVING the improved image quality (I already thought the iPhone 4's camera was pretty awesome, but this is even better!) At a restaurant we like near our home. We arrived early, but the place filled up very quickly. It's always full. The patron/chef makes a point to come out and shake everyone's hand; he always wears one of those flat-top straw hats. It's a lovely family business where his wife and adult kids all work there. I was on my way to meet a friend the other day, but my bus was blocked on Rue de 4 Septembre near Opéra. As I walked down that street trying to find an alternate bus, I saw WHY the street was blocked: a fire at... Read more →
Yesterday was the 8th anniversary of my move to Paris! I got caught up in other things yesterday, and though I intended to blog about it, at the end of the day it just didn't happen. Ironically, it's been very fresh in my mind of late, what it felt like to arrive here in Paris and to know I wasn't only staying for a few short days. I've been editing the hell out of my memoir (pleased to say I'm right on track to get it all done by the end of the month!) and just finished the "arrival" chapter a couple of days ago. So help you refresh your own memories (or if this is the first time you're going that far back in blog history), here's what happened: First, I found a great apartment in the suburb of Vincennes. Then, I booked a flight and got to use my frequent flyer miles, so it was FREE. Then the apartment fell through, and I had to figure out another plan. I had to tell people close to me that I was moving to Paris. I had to figure out what to pack and what to do with everything else... Read more →
The Saint Michael fountain in the 5th arrondissement is a popular meeting point for a lot of people in Paris, due to its location just at the metro/RER Saint Michel and the big, open place in front of the fountain. But the fountain itself is quite striking, with its pink marble columns and the verdigris of the aging bronze. I've always liked the spitting gryffins. The fountain was a part of the huge city redesign done by Haussmann during the Second Empire. It's seen a lot of fighting, though, starting with the Paris Commune in 1871 and also, during the liberation of Paris: a lot of street fighting between the fleeing Nazis and the French Résistance took place in this area due to its proximity to the Préfecture de Paris just across the bridge. Read more →
The Champs Elysées may be the most famous street in Paris, but it is not the street with the most money being thrown around. That honor probably goes to the Avenue Montaigne, where you can find many of the major haute couture houses as well as the Plaza Athenée which is the most expensive hotel in Paris. I've not yet ever had the nerve (or been dressed well enough) to go into the lobby or bars of the Plaza Athenée, but I've always loved the exterior with all the flower boxes hanging from every window: The hotel just reopened recently after a year-long luxury renovation. Although Avenue Montaigne is known by women for all the couture houses, I just recently realized there is something on this street that would interest a lot of men: the luxury cars that are parked just in front of the entrance to the Plaza Athenée. Every day for the past 3 weeks, as I have passed by on my morning bus to work, I've seen this gold Lamborghini, complete with license plates in Arabic, so clearly there is some sheik or oil baron having a long stay in one of the hotel's best suites. I... Read more →
Le Procope is the oldest restaurant in Paris and dates to 1686. It boasts an illustrious clientele, including Benjamin Franklin, Victor Hugo, Voltaire, Balzac, Danton and even a young Lieutenant Napoleon. When I came to Paris in 2001 to celebrate my 40th (I'd always promised myself I would turn 40 in Paris - and I kept that promise) this is where I celebrated. My mom and I made our reservation the day before (by walking in and with me speaking my horrible high school French, but the maitre d' had the good grace NOT to scoff in my face although he may have snickered behind my back afterward), and when we arrived for our dinner, they seated us on the little upper level balcony! The service was wonderful and they really made my birthday extra special in every way possible. Then in 2007 during my first year living in Paris, I took my best friend here on her last night; no balcony table but we ate in a very classicly decorated room and had a delicious meal. I haven't eaten here since but have no reason to suspect the quality has dropped off, despite it being a bit of a... Read more →
The other night, a friend and I were wandering around Ile Saint Louis looking for someplace interesting to have dinner. We almost passed right by this place at first, but something made us stop and check out the menu. When we saw reasonably priced dishes (15-18€) and traditional French fare, we thought, well, why not? And then we got a look inside the place, and that decided us: This is "Aux Anysetiers Du Roy", a restaurant located in a 17th century building in the oldest part of Paris. Those ceiling beams are the real deal. Madame (the woman in white) is the patronne, and she bosses her husband around with a smile. (That's him in the royal blue sweater. He basically served, cleaned tables, and brought coffee.) The walls are painted stone. The tables are old wood and close together. The food was excellent - I had salmon with a champagne sauce and my friend had magret de canard (best part of a duck) with a honey raisin sauce - and the bill only came to 54€ including tax and tip for the two of us (no starter and I didn't have any wine because I had to go to... Read more →
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