Archive for December, 2009

Metlinks OTW : 30.12.09

Tis the week between xmas and the new year and things should be pretty quiet in the city. But are they really that quiet? Let’s see…


    This week

  • Disappointed by the xmas presents? Why not sell them on the web?
  • The end of the RER A strike last week-end and some traffic on RER C between Paris and Juvisy should also be noted.
  • Yves Rocher, founder of the brand that wears his name, died last saturday at 79.
  • This year

  • Taking it easy with our 3-year-old smoking ban? This article mentions growing numbers of people starting to ignore the ban…
  • The tradi to overthrow the baguette?
  • New year!

  • Details on what metro will be running at what time on New Year’s Eve. And for free!
  • Did you check out the Eiffel Tower light show? It runs up until 31th so don’t miss it!
  • Next year…

  • New rules to liven up Parisian dance scene?
  • 2010 in Paris means it’s been 100 years since the last major flooding (floodings that used to appear on a 100-year cycle basis…) To commemorate this event, an exhibit will begin on January 20th at the Pavillon de l’eau
  • Prices will be on the rise as well… SNCF trains for example, but also taxi rides and many more things I guess…

Suivez le show en direct propose de retransmettre en direct les festivités parisiennes du nouvel an donc où que vous soyez vous pourrez en profiter !

Metlinks OTW : 25.12.09

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope everyone has got some holidays to enjoy now… I’ve tried to keep up the metlinks but this week will be a “short edition” as I’m late to head over to my mum’s place already!


    This week

  • Pictures of the snow last week in Paris
  • A recap of the train issues in Paris this week: Eurostar, RER A and C… I’m glad I was staying home under the duvet!
  • Eurostar vs. Eurotunnel, who’s at fault? A recap of what was going on in the tunnel last week.
  • Misc

  • A picture of the city’s oldest tree apparently planted under Henry IV! I must go have a look!
  • A take on Parisian macarons. While there may be some truth in this post, as a Parisian woman, I’m not sure I agree. I may be fat (depends on your point of view I guess) but I don’t care and I eat my macaron from any number of places… But maybe that’s just a “subversive act”?
  • Next week

  • A few suggestions on how to spend New Year’s Eve in Paris

Intriguing decorations in the streets

Here are the two weirdest decorations I’ve seen in the streets of Paris. They both happen to be quite near the rue d’Ulm, known for its occasional odd activities indeed, but I’ve spotted the one late last week and the other yesterday…

Here is the bear-can xmas tree? A lot of effort really went into this as 3 trees / bushes were decorated, almost every single branch having its bear can on top of it… Quite impressive if unfortunately not eco-friendly…

I would have thought the cable between the buildings to be meant for xmas decorations but when I looked up, I only saw that pair of shoes… I really wonder why / how they ended up there…

Photos de piscine

Si vous connaissez vraiment bien vos piscines parisiennes, ce concours est pour vous ! Vous avez jusqu’au 4 janvier pour associer chacune des 15 photos proposées à la piscine où la photo a été prise… Bon courage !

Metlinks OTW : 17.12.09

A slightly early edition of Metlinks for this week, because I want to give a special shout-out to Bij, who has a big big day ahead of her today. No, not a wedding, silly. Nonetheless, good luck home girl!!

Eiffel sunrise

Winter Activities

  • It’s winter wonderland for the kids between 3 and 17 years old at Charléty Stadium, from 19 to 31 December. Charléty sur neige opens daily (except Christmas Day, of course) between 1.30pm (1.00pm during weekends) and 6.00pm. Note though, the last entry time is 4.30pm. And oh, this is completely free!
  • Christmas in Paris is not the same without a stint of ice-skating in front of Hôtel de Ville and/or by Gare Montparnasse. From 18 December to 6 March 2010, it opens daily between 12.00pm and 10.00pm during the week, and between 9.00am and 10.00pm during weekend and public holidays.

Delicious Goodies

  • A short list of chocolatiers in Paris, including Patrick Roger, Jean-Paul Hévin, Patrice Chapon and Michel Cluizel.
  • Have you seen Pierre Hermé’s Christmas Specials? Oh what I wouldn’t give to have one of the buches de Noël, or the flocons, or the limited winter edition macarons. Check out this PDF of their festive offerings.
  • This is perhaps the most sumptuous pastry feast video that I’ve ever seen.

Menu For Hope

  • Food bloggers worldwide come together at this time of year to make Menu For Hope a success year after year. David Lebovitz is hosting the edition for Europe and UK, and many Paris-based food bloggers are offering amazing items for bidding.

Unfortunately, Les Grèves

  • This month has been a barrage of strike actions one after another, not to mention the on-going ones among the museum workers. The foreign press weighs in on the issue too.
  • On the other hand, Anne discovered while the strike may be taking place, the entry may also be free and the ticket requirement waived. (I don’t know though if this is the case every time such an action takes place, so don’t quote me on it!)

Do You Know..?

  • Many of the metro stations in Paris are culturally rich, and adorned accordingly to the stops or to the history behind the names of the stops. Have a read at this very interesting article.
  • Let’s learn some French expressions with podcasts by Katia and Kylie Mac. The girls are fun and sassy, often accompanied by “Frog”.

Paris museums, where will it end?

We mentioned previously that the Musée du Luxembourg is about to close.

There have also been all the strikes affecting Beaubourg, the Musée d’Orsay, even the Louvre or Versailles… (Most museums seem to have reopened though some are “free” because of strikers blocking the cash desks.)

Anyhow, now, it’s time for the Palais de la Découverte… I know this has been under discussion for a while: closing the Palais before it’s grown too “dusty” and that the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie “does the same thing”. Apparently, the decision has become official that the Palais de la Découverte will die at the end of this year. Whatever remains are left will be integrated with the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie. I’m quite curious ready about the current exhibits: this week, “The hunger of dinosaurs” was just launched and it’s supposed to run until May. The few images I’ve seen seem striking, I hope many will be able to enjoy that exhibit.

If you think it’s a shame for the Palais de la Découverte and its traditions of bringing science to the large public, in its own way (because it’s not “just like the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in old and shabby”!), then you are invited for breakfast over at the Palais de la Découverte: every day (except on Mondays when it’s closed) from the 8th of December from 9am30 to 10am in the Hall d’Antin. Just bring your thermos of coffee, your croissants, etc. to show support or take part in what seem to be the last days of this institution…

Metlinks OTW : 11.12.09

Here are the various bits and pieces for this week. There is so much going on at the moment! Which means there is lots of stuff to talk about but also little time to do so…


    Influenza A (H1N1)

  • All about the vaccination centres in Paris
  • Blood donation suffers from the flu as well: numbers are in decline compared to last year’s. This might be caused both by less donors and also by less personel available.
  • The nurse students are also affected by the conscriptions for the vaccination centres: long hours and maybe no pay in this holiday season… I also heard they had little time to prepare their exams coming up.
  • Tired of all the jazz around the ful? Relieve your stress with the vaccinator game!
  • Miscellaneous

  • France to hand back some Egyptian treasures during Mubarak visit next week.
  • We think this piece of advice is really quite terrible and is bound to get the poor fellow to miss his flight! Alternate possibility could be, if things go well in Charles de Gaulle and you see there are no problems on the RER B, to get out of the RER in Saint Michel Notre Dame station, take a look around especially towards Notre Dame and then head back down and to Orly airport.
  • Will there be an SNCF strike this week-end? Most unions have removed their call to strike! They warn about possible strikes in January though…
  • Christmas decorations at La Fayette: lovely set of pictures
  • I wanna ride the poney mommy!

  • From 5th to 13th December, it’s time for “Salon du Cheval“. I hear the mean interest is for the horse shows (I know nothing about horses myself). Be careful because it’s in Villepinte this year, not Porte de Versailles!
  • This event also leads to new campaigns from “Le cheval ça ne se mange pas“, more info on their website. Maybe you’ve noticed the ads in the metro as well?

Alerte incendie à la piscine?

Dimanche dernier, j’étais à la piscine Saint-Germain. Fascinant.

Alors que j’étais sur le point de rentrer dans l’eau, un message sonore s’enclenche. Je n’arrivai pas à comprendre les mots au début mais en gros un technicien était requis quelque part. Ok, pourquoi pas, mais je suis pas technicienne moi ! Le maître nageur, pourtant, semble penser que cela nous concerne et fait évacuer la piscine : tout le monde en maillot sur le bord de la piscine. Apparemment, c’est peut-être le début d’une alerte incendie nous dit-on ! Si c’est bien le cas, alors il faudra évacuer vraiment et aller par les sorties de secours dans le marché Saint-Germain au-dessus… (Non ? En maillot ? Quelle idée !)

Lorsque le message précédent s’arrête, tout le monde y croit, mais non : comme aucun technicien n’est venu à temps, l’alarme incendie s’est déclenchée ! Néanmoins, puisqu’il semble que ce soit une fausse alerte, nous ne sommes pas évacués vers le marché. Afin de ne pas courir de risques, nous sommes tous de même évacués vers les caisses de la piscine. Heureusement que j’ai attrapé ma serviette au passage ! Il commence à faire frais même si l’endroit est bien chauffé…

Nous attendons donc au final une petite demi-heure (juste le temps de mouiller sa serviette) pour que les techniciens arrêtent l’alarme et ensuite pour qu’ils la ré-enclenche. Tout d’abord, les gens qui souhaitent accéder aux vestiaires pour rentrer chez eux sont autorisés à passer et enfin ceux qui veulent retourner dans l’eau sont autorisés à descendre… Il était temps ! Au moins, cela aura un peu vidé la piscine et elle est plutôt plus calme que d’habitude ! De plus, le maître nageur qui nous a initialement alerté est resté avec nous tout au long de l’alerte et a tenté de nous rassurer et de nous tenir au courant autant que possible. Malgré le début des plaintes (“Il est hors de questions que j’aille dehors en maillot!” etc.), personne ne s’est énervé et tout est rentré tranquillement dans l’ordre.

N’empêche, un incendie dans une piscine ? Quelle idée ! Apparemment, il y a déjà eu des problèmes : liés à des incendies dans des endroits à proximité de la piscine et qui ont causé l’entrée de fumées dans la piscine par les voies d’aération… Comme quoi, il faut s’attendre à tout !

Metlinks OTW : 04.12.09

We’re back with another week’s edition of Metlinks, and it seems Bij and I are playing tag-team on this lately. It’s kinda fun. But you know what’s not quite so much fun? The escalating strike among museums workers, which now see other major museums joining in the labour strike, including Musée d’Orsay, Rodin Museum, Arc de Triomphe, Sainte-Chapelle, Versailles and (the tower of) Notre Dame. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for speedy resolution. (Must stay positive, right?)



  • O noes! The rest of the tour by Mando Diao has been cancelled! This means they will not be in Paris next week… Another reminder not to overwork and pamper yourself with some nice holidays! I hope they get better soon.
  • A dark Eiffel Tower at night? This Tuesday, it was no power cut but a part of the 22ème journée mondiale de lutte contre le SIDA.
  • Law regarding the Grand Paris has been passed this week. So, automatic métro for an additional 130km of tracks. Let’s hope the works won’t be too disruptive.
  • Viral film festival was also held this week in Paris.


Other news

  • Only 10 day left to apply for the job as a 1-month international shopping consultant. Touted as The (Second) Best Job in the World, you can still be in the hunt if you take the little quiz, submit a video resumé and start getting your friends to vote for you, fighting against some 170 other candidates. Bonne chance!
  • Meg Zimbeck is running the most entertaining foodie competition at the moment, called the Edible Advent Calender. I dare not take part since everyone seem so good at it I’ll just end up making a fool of myself…
  • La Semaine du Fooding is currently underway (until Monday 7 December), themed Les Incorrects to challenge you to dine on what many may appear taboo/politically incorrect today. Do you have a reservation for the dégustations and the clandestine bar?
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