Sunday, June 28, 2009

You just can't take me out anywhere!

Toujours le comédien - always the comedian!
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Friday, June 26, 2009

We were interviewed on le Pont des Arts!

A couple of nights ago, we were interviewed on the Pont des Arts by Gary Lee Kraut who is an author of five travel guides to France and Paris. He was interviewing people on why they picnic on the Pont des Arts, what they buy, what they drink (!) and what interesting things have happened to them sur le pont.

We've had a number of picnics on the bridge to watch the sun go down, the Tour Eiffel light up and sparkle on the the top of the hour and just to enjoy the French joie de vivre. As for special events, Chris and Sarah got engaged on the pont while they were staying with us. Mike (l) and Caitlin (m) just above were engaged in Belgium but came directly to Paris afterwards to celebrate with us and Caitlin's mom, Marilyn (r).

It's interesting to see all the people who show up every night on the pont and along the Seine to celebrate. I blogged a few days ago about this very topic ("Fun on and around the Seine") so it was interesting - and fun - to talk to Gary about our experiences. Gary told us that he visited Paris 20 years ago and never went home.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fun on and around the Seine

There always seems to be a party on or near the Seine - every night. Tonight was no exception as you can see from some of the photos I took while we were on the Bateaux Les Vedettes du Pont-Neuf. The hour long trip is a nice way to see many of the bridges, famous sites and many of the museums - and other characters - that are near the Seine. Of course, it's worth it just for the great views you get of the Tour Eiffel!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Creepier Side of Paris

It is a cemetery and a consecrated spot located in the abandoned limestone quarries under the streets of Paris. (They started removing bones from overcrowded cemeteries all over Paris in 1786 and stopped in 1860. Some five to six million skeletons were moved.) However, it's really creepy and probably one that you could cross off your list unless you've been in Paris forever and have seen EVERYTHING else, or you like creepy.

OK, Eric, don't shoot me.

The other creepy thing I paid good euros to see was a temporary exhibition of George Condo's "work" (which can better be described as hideous) even though he is apparently greatly appreciated by many (?). Poor Aristide Maillol, whose lovely work fills the Musee Maillol, must be spinning in his grave.

Hurry, you only have until August 17 to see George Condo's "work" at Musee Maillol, 61 rue de Grenelle 75007!

Lucky Andy Warhol...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Picnic sur Pont des Arts - Priceless!

The View

A Sample of the Goodies

The Friends

The View

Friday, June 12, 2009

We got "ringed" and then we got "Whiffed"!

Last week, the infamous Paris shopkeeper, Eric DuBois, and I were strolling along our beloved streets of Paris. Being a little more experienced in this daily practice, I had to chuckle when a young woman positioned herself between Eric and me on a narrow street. Et voila! There it was! The ring.

Of course, you would have no idea what this scam is all about unless you've been to Paris and had the silly experience. In short, this is what happens. When it happened to me the first time, a man suddenly bent down in front of me and picked up a gold ring from the sidewalk. He immediately showed it to me, smiled, and gestured that he was blessed because he had found this beautiful ring. Then he tried it on various fingers and acted all disappointed that it didn't fit his fat, stubby fingers. He placed it on my finger and voila! Perfect fit! He gestured that he wanted me to keep the lovely ring. And started to walk away. But then he had second thoughts and asked for a few euros for coffee. My alarm bells started going off and I quickly tried to give him back the ring. He wouldn't take it until I started to put it on the ground, then he snatched it up and literally vanished. Of course, this all happened in a matter of seconds.

My first thought was that if I had taken out my wallet to give him a few euros, he would have snatched it and disappeared. However, when I got home, I asked my friend, Le Google, and found out all about this scam. It turns out that the ring is brass and practically worthless, even though there was the story of a woman who got scammed and said that she got $80 from a jeweler when she took it in to have it melted down. Doubtful.

OK, so back to the story. Walking down the street, Eric and I got ringed (yet again).

Later in the day, we hadn't had enough of scams, so we decided to try out a new product that I had learned about on a TV special: Le Whif.

Here's the hype according to Karen Day.

"Le Whif Chocolate Inhaler

Finally, chocolate is no longer a guilty pleasure. Le Whif, which just launched yesterday, combines chocolate and aerosol science with their zero calorie chocolate inhaler.

Beginning in the spring of 2008 as part of a culinary art experiment executed by Harvard professor David Edwards and his students, the innovative concept moves "eating habits to their logical conclusion." While we've yet to actually try the chocolate, we're sure this will spark a new culinary craze and lead to even more gastronomic experiments.

Le Whif is available online, and can be purchased by the box (24-count) for 40€."

OMG! Save your money! Our experiment was €1,80 for one whif. They offered coffee along with Le Whif for an extra 3€. Jokingly, I said that maybe they want you to have coffee to help you get rid of the after taste (moi, toujours le skeptique!). Sure enough, a few minutes after the experience, which I likened to drawing some Ovaltine powder into your mouth through a straw, I asked Eric for some gum to help rid my tastebuds of an unpleasant after taste.

But, go ahead if you must, try for yourself this new culinary craze and be part of the spark!!! It will only cost you 40€ ($56.00) for a 24-pack!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Happy 120th Birthday, Tour Eiffel!

Since I've become sadly aware that my days in Paris are numbered, I've had to make a list of "must make time for" these things before I leave. On the list for yesterday was the exhibition at the magnifique Hotel de Ville (main Paris City Hall) in honor of Gustave Eiffel: "Le Magicien de Fer".

The exhibit contains paintings, photos, drawings, and models of Eiffel's work - work which included hundreds of metal structures around the world. Cast iron railway bridges were his favorite structures and his innovative company even produced portable bridges sold in kits.

Eiffel (along with Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc) designed the infrastructure of the Statue of Liberty, which consists of four gigantic steel supports. They also supervised its assembly.

The Tour Eiffel was built for the 1889 Universal Exposition and was meant to be dismantled after 20 years. However, Gustave had other plans. He was determined to find a practical application for the Tour, and he spent the last 30 years of his life working on projects in meteorology, radiotelegraphy, and aerodynamics to ensure that his Tour would remain standing. (And we're glad he did!)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Homage to a master - Henri Cartier-Bresson

Yesterday, we visited the Maison Européenne de la Photographie over in the Marais. I specifically wanted to visit the maison because there was an exhibit of Henri Cartier-Bresson underway and I think he was one of the true masters of photography of our time. It really was an amazing exhibit.
...these images reflect the career of a man who wanted to "put the head, the eye and the heart in the same line of sight".
Unquestionably he achieved this in his photographs.

From 2009_06_06

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Belly of the Beast?

Everytime I fly in or out of Paris' Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport - terminal 1 - I always get the feeling I'm in the belly of the beast. First stage is the trip through the intestines - the long, whitish, moving sidewalk ride from the terminal out to the gates - as seen below:

Then, when you arrive back home you reverse the course, go through the intestines once again and into the blood vessels - the long, clear tubes that transport you from the terminal to the baggage claim area and finally out onto the street...

Crazy imagery but that's the way it comes across to me...