Category Archives: way of life

Paris hot frozen hotel nights

Kube Hotel in Paris is located in one of the few unrehabilitated areas left in the city, which is of some interest. The only special place to see around is the Centquatre, the new cultural center in northern Paris. Kube Hotel is a quite hype place, up to now mostly known for its Grey Goose Vodka Bar, completely carved and decorated in ice, where for € 38, you can spend half an hour drinking vodka cocktails in ice-cube glasses. It seems to be a great success, though you have to wait for a free seance,every half hour, Wednesday to Saturday from 7 PM to 1.30 AM, Sunday from 2 PM to 11 PM. Monday and Tuesday for groups, on resevation only. Not more than 20 persons at a time. As I rather go for warm places,  I never tried it.

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Now, and up to March 21, you may spend an unforgettable night on top of Paris roofs, in the Ice Kube Room. Better do it with a passionate sweetheart. Expensive prices are for two : € 750 from Monday to Thursday, breakfast included. € 850 if you wish to have dinner. Night will cost you € 1000 from Friday to Sunday, € 1100 with dinner.

For this price, you can even carve a heart with your names  on the walls.

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Nights of December 24 and 25 are sold by auction on e-bay, as well as St Valentine night on February 14.

More adventurous and less wealthy ? Join the homeless who sleep in shacks ore under igloo tents in Bois de Vincennes, you’ll be freezing as they do,  sometimes to death, It’s just a bad joke, I would not recommand it, unless you really have too.

Otherwise, the hotel also provides heated room and a restaurant.

Hotel Kube, 1-5  passage Ruelle 75018 Paris Metro La Chapelle, tel 33(0)1 42 05 20 00

More information and booking on the holel stylish site : http://www.kubehotel.com/

Police Raid at Paris FIAC

Last October 23 to 26, as every year, FIAC (Contemporary Art International Fair) took place under Paris Grand Palais glass roof and in Louvre Cour Carrée. But this last edition was the theater of an unexpected performance : a police raid.

The Parisian Gallery Rabouan Moussion was showing photos and videos of performances by the russian artist Oleg Kulik. On October 28, a bunch of policemen in plain clothes came in and took away some photos, arguing that they were an offense to mankind dignity and even had a zoophilic character. The instigators of this moral cruisade remain unknown.

One of Oleg Kulik‘s major topics deals with the notion of mankind, man and animal relationship and situation.

The Mad Dog , performed by Oleg Kulik.

I don’t intend to discuss here the provocative quality of this artist’s work, but if social order was damaged at the FIAC, which is not exactly a nursery, I suggest that our benevolent state authorities burn down all mythologic texts in public libraries, and withdraw from public gardens and museums walls the representations inspired by this zoophilic legends.

I have some propositions :

Pan teaching flute (and God knows what else) to a very young Daphnis. A marble Roman copy of a Greek sculpture ( Heliodore III century B.C.), found in Pompei and exhibited in Naples National Acheological Museum.

Io and Zeus (half bull, half cloud) by Il Coreggio, 1530, are giving a terrible example ( though very hard to imitate) in Wien Kunsthistorisches Museum, Gemälde Galerie.

Leda and the Swann,   Veronese workshop, circa 1560, Fesch Museum, Ajaccio.

Warning : swanns usually have a very bad temper and bite hard.

Le Minotaure et sa Femme (1937) as well as the Faune blessé (1939) by Pablo Picasso are part of the exhibition Picasso et les Maîtres in Paris Grand Palais, which runs up to February 2, and if the vice police squad does nothing about it, millions of people will have look at these.

If you wish to see Oleg Kulik‘s censored photos, go to http://www.photo.fr/blog/31-Censure-a-la-FIAC-2008-Les-photos-interdites-de-Oleg-Kulik.html

And if you’re interested in uncorrect contemporary art, you may go to http://www.rabouan-moussion.com/ or pay a visit to the gallery, 121 rue Vieille du Temple 75003 Paris, metro Saint-Paul.

A cell phone for your stay in Paris

Can’t live without a cell phone ?  Bic phone might be an option during your visit in Paris. Even if you’ve taken yours with you, communications are very expensive, and you might need a phone to make reservations, call friends or relatives in France, arrange a meeting…. for a reasonable price.

Bic is a French trade mark (named after a baronet called Bic) which became famous in the fifties selling disposable ballpoint pens. For years, talking about a bellpoint pen, people used to say ” un bic”.

This time it’s an almost disposable cellphone created with Orange, the phone company which belongs to France Telecom.  It costs € 49, with a loaded battery, SIM Card and 60′ communications (valid during 2 months). You can can use it at once, keep the phone number for at least one year, and of course buy some more time if you need it. Of course, it’s basic, don’t expect to tke pictures, listen to music, watch TV, upload anything….you can just call, answer a call and get your messages. After all, it’s a kind of relief.

It’s available in supermarkets, tobaccoes and newspaper shops, and comes in two flashy colors : green and orange.

Keep in touch!

June 25 : Sales begin in Paris stores

Summer sales begin in Paris tomorrow morning Wednesday June 25, and will last up to August 2. As spring has been quite chilly, those who can’t try a summer dress when they freeze in their sweaters did’nt buy (I belong to this type ). And middle class people were not so wealthy, not to speak of lower classes – and as everybody knows, there’s no one so greedy as rich chicks who could bite or tramp on one another to get a good price at Gucci or Prada.

Anyway, I think that all kind of stores have a lot of stock. The first day is not a good day – unless you have already focused on one special thing. And if you can, rather try week’s late mornings than Saturday afternoon. If don’t find your size at Galeries Lafayette, try at the Printemps next door, or at the Bon Marché on left bank. They all send about the same trademarks. Or try small shops. Have fun.

Paris Montagne Sainte-Geneviève 1 : up and around rue Mouffetard

The south way to climb Paris Montagne sainte-Geneviève is to go up rue Mouffetard, starting at Saint Médard square.

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It was former – long ago – a working class district, and the whole area was called “la Mouff‘”. All the lower part of rue Mouffetard and its crossing little streets was an outdoor food market. It still has beautiful remains.

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Facing Saint-Médard, a completely tattooed old house – a pork and poultry shop, as we can see, shows this area’s historical tradition. Nowadays, you find there “Androuet“, which is one of the best cheese stores in Paris, and a fine Italian products shop.

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Going all the way up, you’ll get to place de la Contrescarpe. There you have several options.

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You can sit at one of the numerous cafés around. You can go down rue du Cardinal Lemoine and pay a visit to hotel des Grandes Ecoles courtyard and garden. You can go straight ahead on rue Descartes, and and pass Pierre Alechinsky‘s poetic “street tree”.

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At rue Clovis corner stands Henri IV high-school, which is one of the “grandes écoles” left in the neighborhood, and at the end of this street, you have a glimpse on place du Panthéon.

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From the Contrescarpe, you can also climb higher, taking on the left rue Blainville and rue de l’Estrapade. It goes through a nice little square:

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Next to it, a former coffee roasting plant

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has become a town house.

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At rue des Irlandais’ corner, meet a shooting soccer player by FKDL

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You can also stop for a drink place de l’Estrapade at the Café de la Nouvelle Mairie

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Though it is rather chilly, many people sit outdoor, under heating devices : the smoking costumers. This is part of a recent phenomena.

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Since the beginning of this year, it’s forbidden to smoke in all public places. So smoking has become a significant outdoor activity. You’ll notice people smoking outside offices and stores – where large outdoors ashtrays have been set on the ground. There are more people outside cafés than inside – when outdoor is heated. And even at home, rain or snow, you’ll see people smoking on their balcony. What’s more dangerous for your health, smoking or catching a bad cold?

You can get to rue Mouffetard by metro station Monge or Censier-Daubenton.

Past and Present in Paris Arènes de Lutèce

The “arènes de Lutèce” are one of the oldest remains in Paris, Lutèce being the former name of the city. In the “gallo-roman” times, these arenas were the stage of gladiators and wild animals contests as well as theatrical productions, and could seat 17 000 spectators.

They are located just down below the “Sainte Geneviève Mountain” a historical “old Paris” area on south bank. Nowadays, it still is a significant place in the neighborhood social life. People use the steps for quiet reading or chat.

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And the stage is peacefully shared by children playing ball,

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and elder children playing bowls.

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It’s also surrounded by a garden, and a playground for smaller children and you can see glowing in the distance a modern ruin, the skeleton tower of Jussieu University – which was built with asbestos.

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In the lovely and peaceful rue des Arènes, there is a cute pure 1925 style house.

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And a gate opening on imposing steps that lead to the antic arenas.

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Arènes de Lutèce : entry 49 rue Monge, rue des Arènes and square Capitan. Metro Monge. Open daily from sunrise to sunset.

January 24 : Walking along Paris streets

January 24 was a day of protest in all French cities, and Paris streets were filled with marching people University professors and students, Hospital doctors and nurses, Scientists, Postmen, high-school teachers, air traffic controllers, librarians… even some policemen had joined in.

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I was there too, to support my University friends, and I took a few pictures.

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Protest marches are a French National sport, and in Paris, Bastille is a traditional stage on their way.

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Some had made paste board carnival like figures. This one says “Sarko is very bad for your health”. Exactly the same worlds are written on cigarettes boxes. But French people don’t smoke any more, except in the streets.

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It was a rather calm protest that went from Jussieu , a science University located on left bank near the Seine, up to St Augustin Church, which is North West on right bank. It was a long way, and at the end it started raining, so everybody left quickly.

Paris : Stormy birthday party for Simone de Beauvoir!

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Simone de Beauvoir would have been a hundred year old in 2008, if she had lived that long. Her major contribution to non-fiction literature, “the second sex”, published in 1949, has nourished the feminist movements of the seventies, and is still a reference.

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This anniversary was celebrated by two interesting documentaries on public cultural French television channels (“la 5″ and “Arte”), and by literary press.

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In this harmonious appropriate praise concert, the false note came from “le Nouvel Obs'”, which is not exactly a tabloid.

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What? Scandalous she may have been in her writings as well as in her life, but she was never known as a play mate. So rose the first protest choir : How shameful it is to dig out this nude picture of a dignified writer and put it on first page, just to sell more copies !

Then, of course, the original photo came out, which started a righter contest : the real indecency was to use Photoshop to model her figure according to modern taste.

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It seems that Simone de Beauvoir never asked for this picture to be taken, but was not really mad at Art Shay : he was a professional photographer, a friend of Simone’s american lover Nelson Algren, and she left the bathroom door opened.

I don’t know if it was appropriate to put this picture on a front page, but I think it was certainly not to modify it, for it’s a really good picture. For myself, I am glad that it came out. I think it makes her look really cool, just pushing up her hair looking in the mirror, feeling just comfortable to stand naked and not bothering to close the bathroom door. It reminds us that she was not only a solemn thinker, nor her life time companion Jean-Paul Sartre eternal “girl friday”: she had the unconventional way of life which matched exactly with the ideas expressed in her writings, and she never tried to hide it (which can’t be told of all male writers).

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Shay’s beautiful portrait of Simone de Beauvoir in Chicago in 1952 is as accurate as the more conventional ones. To read his version of the facts, go to : http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/actualites/culture/20080115.OBS5331/photo_de_simone_de_beauvoir__art_shay_raconte.html

To get an idea of the passion it rose, go to : http://www.rue89.com/2008/01/07/le-nu-de-beauvoir-excite-la-blogosphere

We’ll never know what she would have thought about this. “Much ado about nothing”, maybe?

And by the way, did you read “the second sex”? If you prefer the english version, go to : http://www.amazon.com/Second-Sex-Simone-Beauvoir/dp/0679724516

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2008 January 9 : Sales in Paris


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Christmas and New Year festivities are over, it’s sales time !

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On January 9 before dawn, fashion addicts will stand in line waiting to rush in as soon as luxury shops and department stores doors will open. But don’t worry, sales will go on up to January 20, and if you fear to get lost in this jungle, just go to : http://www.soldesbyparistouch.com/

Best wishes from Paris

I wish you all the best and a great time in Paris in 2008 !

Shall I take you for a virtual ride on Champs-Elysées ?

If you’re staying in Paris for new year’s eve, I would not advise you to get there for real at midnight, unless you really enjoy crowded and not so safe places.

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