Monday, October 31, 2011

Place Dauphine

If you are on Pont Neuf at the sculpture of Henri IV, turn left (or right, if you came from Rive Gauche) and walk in that tiny little street you see. You will get to Place Dauphine, a little square of peace. You can have lunch there, for example at this mignon (cute) resto, Ma Salle à Manger. I just love the design.


The square in black&white

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

FIAC #6

This weekend passed fast and I wasn't home a lot. Let me end the FIAC post-series with two interesting pictures: the first - for me - looks like a huge Christmas ornament :) I know, Christmas is further in time, but I already started thinking about it in one corner of my mind, as I bought my tickets this week for Christmas. I will spend two weeks with my family and I'm very happy to see them soon!

Vincent Mauger: La somme des hypothèses

When I took pictures of this extraordinary piece, a guy came to us and he was totally outraged (and maybe a bit confused) - he was saying, the people have no respect for the Louvre to put this joke up there. Well I think it is funny and is a very good kind of contrast for the old palace. It attracts attention and makes people smile. Temporarily. Actually in the interieur, we can always find contemporary exhibits. 


What do you think?

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

FIAC #5


Adrián Villar Rojas - Poems for Earthlings




"Influenced by contemporary literature, classical culture, science fiction and comic strips, the work of Adrián Villar Rojas deals with the theme of the end of humanity: what will remain after the end of the world, after the end of art. In a time conceived as a loop, Poems for Earthlings appears as a ruin, the remains of a future civilization. This work shares this same theme with televen other sculptures as a ruin, the remains of the Argentine pavilion of the Venice Biennal. Like other monumental sculptures by Adrián Villar Rojas, Poems for Earthlings is a short-lived work that will be destroyed." - FIAC.


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Friday, October 28, 2011

FIAC #4

Getting closer to the Louvre.


This exhibit was made by Vincent Ganivet and is titled Rivières (Rivers). One kid standing next to us said, this is moche. Well, cannot argue on that.


This embossed copper work of Danh Vo, the We the people looks like forgotten armor pieces after war. What do you think? 

By clicking on the pictures, you can see them better

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

FIAC #3

Third post about the FIAC (here you can find the 1st and the 2nd). I liked this exhibit because of its colors and size. It's hard to ignore. The sculptor is Jean-Luc Moulène, it's titled Body and it's dimensions are 8,5x3,5x2,5m!




The cutest little photographer around the Body.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

FIAC #2

This week you can see pictures of the FIAC

 Click on the pictures for a better view

Huge red rabbit balloon with the Louvre in the background.


Gigantic metal lotus in the fountain of Jardin des Tuileries.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

FIAC #1

On Sunday I went to see the FIAC - the Foire Internationale d'Art Contemporain in Jardin des Tuileries, so this week I am going to post some pictures about the exhibits.


It was very crowded as you can see.

Click on the image for a better view


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Le Monde de la Mode


Karl Lagerfeld, the Paris-based 78-year old German fashion designer, creative director of Chanel is launching his own brand, Karl in January 2012. Having worked for so many brands, like Balmain, Repetto, Patou, Chloe, Fendi, he is writing his name in stone. You can follow the launching if you sign up on www.karllagerfeld.com


What is the product that could sell like hot cakes and doesn’t exist yet? 
Let me help you: Louis Vuitton just trusted Jacques Cavalier-Belletrud, the famous perfumeur from Grasse, to create their fragrance! How come they haven’t had one until now, right? This perfume will actually not be their very first one, as in the 1920’s LV had 4 perfumes, “Je Tu il”, “Sur la Route”, “Reminiscences” and “Heures d'Absence”. Be careful, there are fake LV perfumes for sale online! If you would love to own one original, you may have to wait a bit more - the collaboration starts in January 2012, so the release date is not known yet. Until then, we have to settle for l’Eau d’Issey, Dior Addict or Poême of Lancôme, previous works of Cavalier-Belletrud.



On 25 October, so later today, the book of Christian Louboutin is released. He is celebrating 20 years of shoe designing. The book’s foreword is written by John Malkovich, the photographers were David Lynch and Philippe Garcia. Below this sneak-peak, you can look into and buy the book now from Amazon for $93,75 instead of $150. Hm, good deal!






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Monday, October 24, 2011

NZ All Blacks fan in the fountain

Yesterday I was walking in Jardin des Tuileries, to check the open-air exposition of FIAC when I noticed an unusually loud crowd around the fountain. The noise was for the enthusiastic New Zealand All Blacks fan who felt it would be the best to celebrate the Rugby World Cup victory.. wet!

Click on the image for a better view


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Bouquinistes





My favorite thing about walking next to the bank of the Seine in the center of Paris is to visit the booksellers' stands and browse their second-hand stocks. You can find them on both sides of the river. 


The Parisian bouquinistes' history goes back to the 16th century. They started to fix the boxes you can see in 1930 and they are part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Seine.


Opening hours: from sunrise to sunset.

Macarons à la noix de coco


Coconut macarons

There’s a debate about the origin of the world-famous macarons. The name comes from the Italian maccarone. There are different versions, the most popular is the Parisian one.

I found this recipe on the 750g website. With this recipe, you can easily make Parisian macarons at home, no special tools are needed. I changed the recipe a bit according to what I experienced during preparing them.



Ingredients (for around 20 macarons):

For the hulls:
2-3 egg whites (of large 2 are enough*)
200 g icing sugar
125 g almond flour
40 g grated coconut
40 g granulated sugar

For the coconut cream:
15 cl cream*
80 g white/dark* chocolate
20 g grated coconut
vanilla exctract*
lime zest*

*My modification. For the original recipe, check the link above.

I recommend you to prepare the filling first, some hours prior to the hulls. It’s easy, just heat the cream and mix it with the chocolate and the grated coconut and add some lime zest and vanilla extract for a more intense taste.

When this is done, got cold and a bit thicker, you can start the hulls. 
Mix the icing sugar, the almond flour and half of the grated coconut well in a food processor. Finer the ingredients, the better your macarons will be. Sift them to a large bowl. 
Start beating the egg whites with a spoon of sugar in another bowl, then add the rest gradually to reach a hard mousse. Sift the almond mix on the eggs little by little and mix carefully with a spatula. Your mixture should be shiny and smooth. 

Place baking paper on a baking sheet. Use a piping bag to produce 2cm/0,8’’ circles on it. To reach a perfect shape, push the mix to one point, don’t try drawing a spiral, the mix will get flat anyway. Sprinkle the other half of the coconut on the tops. On my picture you cannot see extra coconut as I missed this step for a smooth surface. It is important now to let them rest until the top is not sticky anymore. This takes around an hour. 

After this, heat your oven to 150°C/300°F. Bake the hulls for around 10 minutes. Watch them, they shouldn’t get any brown.

As a final step, take two hulls and stick them together with some coconut filling! To enjoy perfect macarons, wait 1 day to consume them, until then keep them in a box.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pont Neuf


Le Pont Neuf, literally the New Bridge is the oldest standing bridge in Paris, although not the first one. It links the Left Bank, the Cité island and the Right Bank. Henry II wanted to build it in 1550, but it was too expensive at that time. Finally it was finished in 1607 during the reign of Henry IV. In the original plan they wanted to build houses on the bridge, as it was common at that time, but Henry IV decided against, as the houses would impede a clear view from the Louvre. The bridge didn't change much since the 17th century, apart from the transformation from hump-backed bridge to a flat one. The bridge was renovated recently for its 400th anniversary from 1999 to 2007.

News of the week


Let’s see what happened in the Hexagon this week.

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the First Lady gave birth to baby Guilia on Wednesday. Félicitations!


There are presidential elections next year, and one of the biggest parties, the Parti Socialiste had its own election to see who their supporters want to see in their colors. François Hollande got most of the votes, so he is going to run for President in 2012.

On Friday the French Parliament, l’Assemblé National voted a tax on sweet drinks, even the ones which are made with artificial sweeteners. This means 2 eurocent per can. Half of the income will go to the National Health Insurance Fund, the other half will be used to finance the reduction of agricultural charges. The tax is double to the original they planned to introduce.

Crédit Suisse published a study about millionaires in the world. France is the first in the ranking in Europe and 3rd in the world – after the US and Japan – with its 2,6 million millionaires. Too bad I’m not one of them! :)

Stock market: CAC 40 3 171.34 Pts (-1,47% compared to last week)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Vacances!

It's time for les vacances, schools close for a week for the autumn break. Last year I took this picture at the same period at Église Saint-Eustache at Les Halles, near Rue Montorgueil. The little dude in the sunglasses is cool, right? :)



We are in the first district. This actual Gothic church was being built for 100 years in the 16th and the 17th century, although the first church here dates back to the 13th century. Many famous French were baptized (like Louis XIV, Richelieu, Molière and the future Madame Pompadour) or buried here. Inside the building we can find several paintings by Rubens. The largest French pipe organ belongs to this church with its 8000 pipes. The church is famous for two concert premieres in history, one of Berlioz and one of Liszt. 

By the way, did you know, today is the 200th anniversary of Ferenc Liszt's birth? Therefore this year, the "Liszt year", there are a lot of concerts in his honor. 

The statue in front of the church is an art work of Henri de Miller of 1986, it is titled l'Ecoute (The Listening) and it is made of sandstone.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Colors

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I love playing with color saturation on my pictures. Taking away, giving it some (or in this case a lot) more, whatever. Eiffel Tower's view from Ecole Militaire.



Les Invalides


The Invalides is a military complex with a hospital, a retirement home for war veterans, a museum and a chapel. I took the following pictures in its garden and court. You can find the buildings on the bank of the river in the 7th district. If you walk from the Rive Droite (Right Bank), you have to cross Pont Alexandre III, one of the most impressive bridges in Paris. If you prefer getting there by metro, the most convenient stations are Invalides and Varenne on line 13 or La Tour-Maubourg on line 8. In the area there are embassies, there is Musée Rodin and l’Assemblé National (the French Parliament) is not far either.

 They say, the cannons are placed in front of the frontage to make the Parisians remember, that you can always fight if you are not satisfied with the "system". 

 The plants in the esplanade give a strict impression.

Amazed visitors in the court


Louis XIV ordered the construction of Les Invalides in 1670. Most of it was built quite fast, in 6 years. The architect was Libéral Bruant. The church though was built during 30 years by another architect, Jules Hardouin Mansart.

 One of my favourite pictures :)

The Eiffel Tower is in walking distance. The gardens here are perfect for romantic walks. Do you notice the couple there? :)




Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pont de l'Alma

This morning I would like post some nice autumn pictures taken around Pont de l'Alma. This bridge is at the corner of the before-mentioned Avenue George V and Avenue Montaigne. Unfortunately this place is famous for Princess Diana's car accident.






Let me copy something interesting here from Wikipedia: "For Parisians, the bridge serves as a measuring instrument for water levels and a dam in times of flooding on the Seine, due to its statue of a Zouave soldier. Access to the footpaths by the river embankments usually is closed when the Seine's level reaches the feet of the Zouave, and when the water hits the statue's thighs, the river becomes unnavigable. During the great flood of the Seine in 1910, the level reached to the shoulders of the Zouave. The French Civil Service, however, officially uses the Pont de la Tournelle to gauge the flood levels — not the Pont de l'Alma." You can check the statue's picture on the link before.

Louis Ghost




When I think of French interior design, the first item which comes to my mind is the Louis Ghost chair. This famous piece was designed by Philippe Starck in 2000 for Kartell, inspired by Louis XV's chairs. It is made of a high-quality transparent polycarbonate, it is durable, scratch resistant, which is a reason why restaurants use it often. I love it since I first saw it. I will definitely buy some one day for my dining-room  – to surround a large rustic wooden dining table. I love this kind of material mix-up. On the other hand I don’t really like the colorful or printed versions. The good thing about Starck’s designs is that they are highly functional and innovative as well, they are not l’art pour l’art. By the way, the whole idea of rethinking a baroque style furniture reminds me of the Grande Arche, the ultramodern "version" of Arc de Triomphe on the western end of the historical axis. What do you think?

Ignore the Christmas Market on the picture, it doesn't have anything to do with what I'm saying - to avoid confusion

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Verlan

Speaking French is not easy. At least, for me it isn't. It's already difficult to understand, as the written and the actual pronounced words are quite different. For instance, we don't say the end of the words. This is why McDonald's here is pronounced McDonald. Or McDo, actually. There are exceptions, of course, they prove the rule, right? :)


For me in the beginning, understanding a native seemed very hard. The words didn't sound to have beginnings, ends, it was horrible. So when I first heard of the verlan, I freaked out. What is this scary thing that upset me? L'envers of the words. This is a slang, where you mix up the syllables. When you are done with the mixing, you change how the syllables were originally written to adapt to the pronounciation, you may leave some of them out, and ta-da, you're done! There are no rules, you just have to know them. The name of the phenomenon is made like that as well: l'envers - l'en vers - vers l'en - vers len - ver len - verlen - verlan. Easy, right? It is used in informal conversations, mostly to hide the original meaning a bit.


Here are some examples:

  • meuf - femme (woman)
  • keum - mec (guy)
  • ouf - fou (crazy)
  • reuch - cher (expensive)
  • vénère - enervé,e (pissed off)
  • chelou - louche (weird)
How do you like them?

11°C (52°F) outside

The weather is not cheerful today here in Paris. It is raining and it's cold outside. I had a nice mug of caramel tea, but it just didn't make it better. I think I need this:


Who's with me? :)

Triangle d'Or

Or the Golden Triangle.



In my previous post I spoke about my first shopping experience at Champs Elysées. What I was expecting to see back then is on the other side of the avenue. There is a geographical triangle on the north side of Champs Elysées, bordered by Avenue Montaigne and Avenue George V. This is a prestigeous area with numberous world-famous luxury brands. We can also find hotels, restaurants and embassies here. The north side of Champs Elysées is more expensive as well, as it is the sunnier side, so people prefer it to the other.

Champs Elysées is the most expensive retail location in Europe according to Cushman & Wakefield’s annual „Main Streets Across the World” report and fifth most expensive in the world. In 2010 London’s New Bond Street took the first place, but last year’s new retailers on Avenue des Champs Elysées had an impressive effect. I walked near by the new Abercrombie & Fitch store several times and always noticed a huge queue of people on the street, waiting to get in. I was wondering if they are paid actors to attract people. Have you noticed, when a shop is empty, nobody goes in, but if there’s a crowd, (almost) everybody has an urge to see what is going on there?

As it is very popular among tourists, it is not à la mode for Parisians to be seen on Avenue des Champs Elysées on weekends. I don’t know about the rest of the triangle though. :)

What kind of shops can we find here?

To start with the French classics, on the corner of Champs Elysées and George V, there is the HQ of Louis Vuitton. It is a beautiful building with a big logo and a flag. And a queue outside, usually. Dior has a huge building on Avenue Montaigne, it is impressive, and actually they introduced the luxury to the avenue after the Second World War. Givenchy can be found on George V. Chanel has a boutique on Avenue Montaigne, though it is not their most important shop in Paris. The frontage of Hermès on Avenue George V is covered with elegant dark brown wood, I love it.

Louis Vuitton

Other major European brands are present on Avenue Montaigne. The Nina Ricci house is opposite of Dior, I find it very classy. Gucci and Dolce&Gabbana are closer to Champs Elysées. I like D&G’s window, it is huge and there are clothes hanging in different heights. My special favourite Spanish tanner, Loewe has a store on this avenue too. A Valentino shop can be found after the five-star Hotel Plaza Athénée, on the other side there is a Prada, close to La Seine.

Hermès

American jeweller Harry Winston has a shop on Avenue Montaigne. If you are shy to wander in, just like me, then there is not much to see, windows are small, with very few product in them. Well, these guys were not too shy for sure. Fortunately some of the stolen diamonds were found by the police later. 

Givenchy

Monday, October 17, 2011

Arc de Triomphe





Classic. Well, architecturally speaking it’s neoclassic. The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most visited monuments in Paris, built in the beginning of the 19th century in honor of the people fighting and dying for France during the French Revolutinary- and the Napoleonic wars. It is located in the western end of the famous Avenue des Champs Elysées, on the star-shaped Place Charles de Gaulle. You can get there by metro line 1, 2 and 6; RER A and bus lines 22, 30, 31, 52, 73 and 92.

From the top you can have a stunning view on the avenues starting from this point. It is one of the three famous arches of the city’s historical axis longing from the Louvre to the modern business district, La Défense.

Funny story. When I first visited the Arc de Triomphe in 2000, I was part of a tourist group, therefore my freetime was limited. It was more of a let’s-visit-the-museums-and-churches type of tour, but I - being a 16-year-old girl - was also quite interested in the famous Avenue de Champs Elysées. I desperately wanted to own any kind of clothing from this shopping area. Unlucky for me, I had no clue at that time which way should I run to get my trophy. I had 10 minutes! Arc de Triomphe was behind me, I chose to go to the left, as I didn’t really find anything in the beginning of the avenue. Of course, this is the investment banking area. I was quite disappointed. Finally I found a shop, took the first purple knitted gilet (vest) I saw, paid for it quickly and ran back to our bus. It was good size, and in the end I was a very happy owner of a real French garment from the Champs Elysées. :)

Croissant recipe





On Sundays I am planning to post recipes mostly from la cuisine française. What else could I start with than croissants? You can find the original recipe here, which I modified just a little bit.

Preparation: 1 hour plus resting time (oh, hours!)

Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients (for 1kg dough):

-          - 500g flour
-          - 180g butter
-          - 15g yeast
-          - 50g sugar
-          - 28cl milk
-          - 10g salt
-          - 2 tbs of water
-         -  1 egg

Preparation:

Step one: the dough

Dissolve the yeast in warm water. In a large bowl, put the flour, the salt, the sugar, mix, make a hole and add the milk gradually.

When the milk is fully incorporated, add the yeast-water mixture and knead the dough for 15 minutes.


Form a ball, put it in a bowl, cover with a cloth and let it rest for two hours.

After the two hours, spread the dough on your table in the shape of a four-pointed star, keeping the center thicker.


Spread the butter in the center and fold the branches on top of it.

Then roll out the dough into a rectangle. Now fold the rectangle into thirds (one third from the left, one third from the right) and rotate the new rectangle 90 degrees to the right. Put it in the fridge for an hour. Extend the dough into a rectangle again, fold it in three and turn 90 degrees right. It should go to the fridge again for an hour.


Do the folding once again with fridge breaks. Your dough is ready.


Step two: the croissants

Roll out the dough to get a half cm thin rectangle and cut triangles. Roll the triangles from the wider part to the point, giving them a croissant shape. Then you may turn them into a half moon shape.

Let it rest for another two hours. Turn the oven to high temperature.

After resting, brush the croissants with the beaten egg, being careful to avoid drops.

Bake 5 minutes in a hot oven and then reduce the heat for the next 10 to 15 minutes.


It may sound scary with all the „math” but it is not too difficult to make and during the resting time you can enjoy other activities. Like a long bubble bath.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Eiffel tower - from far



I grew up in a medium-size town. I was taught, look for the steeple and you will know where the town center is. I took this picture from the hill of Argenteuil. You can see how La Tour Eiffel is determining the landscape.  When the darkness falls on the city, the lights of the tower sparkle like fireworks every hour for some minutes. I think it is quite impressive, isn't it? :) Don't worry, there will be closer shots of Eiffel Tower later, but until, when around Paris, look carefully - you may see the Old Lady from surprising distances!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Versailles



This adorable bookstore is on the streets of Versailles. Not in the famous chateau. I love this town, it seems friendly, streets are clean. Although if you come by train from Paris (to be precise from Gare (train station) Saint-Lazare) I find it a bit difficult to get to the castle. I mean if you are not prepared, just like us. (No maps, etc..) We assumed there would be clear signs about this main attraction, but we spent one hour finding it. I didn't mind the walk as we passed nice windows, just like this one. Are you as enchanted by antique books as I am? I think les histoires (stories) behind these books could be just as interesting as their contents..

Friday, October 14, 2011

After 1 year

Hm.. I know, I know! I opened this blog bit more than a year ago to report on my life in Paris. It didn't go very well so far, right? :) 


Nevertheless, after this - let's call it - break, I'm going to show first what I saw, felt, heard, experienced here during this year. 


Normally it is in September, but let's see my rentrée (this is how the French call the early fall, when they go back to school or work)!