Archive for September, 2008

Paris 10 Commandments!

And it’s about time ;) After other cities such as Los Angeles, Orange County or Dublin, Paris is finally getting out its own set of commandments. Feel free to comment!

Thou shall:
– consider eating on the unique lawn of the Luxembourg garden as a picnic
– cross roads whatever colour the light is and whether a car is arriving or not
– distinguish between “Châtelet” and “Les Halles” when arranging to meet friends
– answer “Paris” instead of “France” when asked what country you come from
– consider that once you cross the “périph” you’re outside of Paris
– count metro stations to mesure time and distance instead of minutes or meters
– memorise which part of the metro you should use in order to find the exit right in front of you when you get off
– not even hear the sound made by a “Carte Imagin’R” when it is swiped
– avoid dog shit without having to even look at the ground
– abandon the city to tourists and heat in August

Notre Dame by night

On a related note, I decided to challenge Paris people with a contest for the best night pic of a Parisian monument. Inspired by Lil’s post. Between the bridges and the Nuit Blanche, taking part should be easy for locals :P

Here’s my go. How do you like it? Point and shoot, no tripod :D

La nuit blanche en avance ? Des ponts illuminés ce soir et demain !

Jeudi, vendredi et samedi soir, les ponts de Paris s’illuminent pour célébrer l’amitié franco-japonaise et les 50 ans du jumelage entre Paris et Kyoto.

Vous pouvez trouver les détails ici (site de la mairie de Paris).

Entre projections d’images et illuminations, on se croirait déjà à la nuit blanche (qui aura lieu le 4 octobre)…

Samantha Brown in Paris

Those of you who watches Travel Channel would have undoubtedly know a few household programme names in travelling (and food) adventures, such as Globe Trekker (I like it best when presented by Megan McCormick or Justine Shapiro, not so much on Ian Wright) and Anthony Bourdain : No Reservations. I’ve just been pointed to another show, hosted by Samantha Brown, called Passport to Great Weekends.

This evening, at 10pm EST (give or take 4am local time in Paris on Friday 26th Sept), Samantha will be featuring Paris! It will also be replayed at 2am EST tomorrow (8am local time, Friday 26th Sept).

This is her map and travel guides for the city.

What do you think of the list of locations and addresses? It gives a feel of Paris at leisure (Paris Roller, Velib), recommends a couple of places to eat (I must admit I am not familiar with the restaurants highlighted) but hey, my favourite bookshop is listed so I’m delighted with that.

Then again, nobody should be surprised really, to see unfamiliar addresses. Afterall, Paris is such a diversed city, with plenty to see and to do, that even Parisians would have plenty to uncover at all time. To know Paris inside out would be quite a feat.

I wish I can catch the show. Hey, if you are, let me know how you like it! :-D

Louvre Reflection

The captain of Dublin Metblogs, Mo, was away in France recently. His time was split between Paris and Île de Ré and he certainly enjoyed his trip very much, even if he had to work sometimes. ;-)

During his visit in Paris, he took this beautiful photo of the pyramid by IM Pei at the Louvre. I simply could not resist sharing it with you! (It’s ok, I’ve got the permission to do so)

Pyramid at the Louvre

I should try to do more night photography of Paris too, one of these days. I’ve often do early morning photography, trying to capture the sunrise with the soft hued sky, but never in the dark. Then again, I have a mere point and shoot digital camera, and I need to buy a tripod too, which is essential for low light conditions.

I hope you like this photo as much as I do. :-)

On va le dire comme ça

There are expats aplenty in France, not to mention language students worldwide, who aspire to speak French as fluently as they could. There’s a genuine love for the language for us, and everyone would inevitably tell you, the best way to speak the language is to live within Francophonic society and to interact at all time with native speakers.

Even then, there are nuances that standard text books don’t tell us. Slangs and clever play of words are painfully difficult for non-native speakers to grasp, and expressive phrases pose yet another roadblock to our learning. We sure appreciate all help possible and there is a new learning aid at hand.

Introducing – On va le dire comme ça : Dictionnaire des expressions quotidiennes!

Touted as first of its kind, this dictionary explains the meaning and the use of over 1600 expressions and sayings illustrated using over 5000 examples, and reveals their counterparts in other French-speaking countries. Add in modern languages integration (e.g. Anglophone influence), this dictionary will not even go amiss in a French household.

It doesn’t come cheap, at over €30 a pop, but I suspect its value will be worth more than that for the keen language learners. However, I suspect I know well the meaning of the expression “bling bling” so that will be one phrase I need not learn. ;-)

And you? Do you like Paris?

While I wasn’t completely “born and bred” in the city, this place is my home town and I just happen to love it :D The things is, I’ve noticed, lots of people hate it. Some people seem to walk by trying not to think about it and just be “meh” but it seems to me they’re just trying to avoid acknowledging that they live in a city they don’t like?

Overall, people seem to have strong feelings about this city, unlike any others I’d like to say. It’s a lot smaller than London or New York City for example, but it is France’s biggest city. There are large amounts of traffic, pollution and pigeons (and other not-so-pleasant things), but also many local boulangeries, fascinating monuments and museums (and many many other highlights)…

I got thinking because we have a new co-worker in the office. He’s not French and is discovering France and Paris for the first time. And the other day, he got himself a 30-minute walk between “Paris is such a great city” me and “I can’t wait till my contract is over and I can leave this god-forsaken place” French co-worker…

I wonder how he’ll come around: like it? not like it? Hehe…

Anyhow, it seems to me that people who grew up in Paris tend to love the city, while people who have come here from the rest of the country (either to study or work or whatever reason) often tend to hate it… Of course, these remarks are not absolutes but: is there really a trend? I’m curious…

How about foreigners who come to live in the city? I’ve noticed a good many like it here. I should process data to see whether they came from smaller cities or larger cities…

Have any of you noticed any trend among the people you know? Or maybe in other large cities that bring love and hate in such close quarters?

Anyhow, we’re still working on the city’s 10 commandments. By now, a number of the other metblog cities have done so. If you have any input you’d like to give, feel free to comment!

C’est la rentrée !

Let us now follow as the events unfold in the beautiful city of Paris…


  • in August the city was abandoned by its inhabitants and left for tourists to populate (see Paris in August)
  • at the very end of August/early September, people started coming back and signs of activity started showing up, in particular relocating (see Moving) and a few posts for this metblog (who dutifully follows the local trends? ;) )

And now, let us see what happened next:

September is Paris, and overall in France, is a month dedicated to “la rentrée” (going back to school). Kids go back to school, young adults start out in uni and lots of people come back from hols and consider it’s their “rentrée” to go back to work… Moreover, the whole process of “la rentrée” takes a lot of organising and people are quite busy all over the country.

Some people approach this wholeheartedly (happy to get rid of the kids?) while others complain and drag their feet (urg, homework!).

But all in all, the process of “la rentrée” takes place, petit à petit, and some resolutions work out while others fail dramatically.

Soon enough, things will settle down: students will study (oops, that’s me), teachers will teach (oops, me again), people with other jobs will work (what? not me again!) and another year will whoosh us by…

See you next year? ;)

Portes ouvertes au Collège des Bernardins

Situé à proximité de Maubert Mutualité, le Collège des Bernardins, édifice gothique datant du XIIIème siècle, vous ouvre ses portes entre aujourd’hui et dimanche !

Créé en 1245 pour être un lieu d’études et de recherches, il a connu un peu tous les rôles au cours des siècles : prison pendant la Révolution, puis entrepôt, école ou même caserne de pompier… Jusqu’à ce que soit entreprise sa réhabilitation, qui vient de se terminer.

Serez-vous parmi les premiers à aller voir ce qu’est devenu aujourd’hui ce “Collège” ?

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