Le Grand Ramdam
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Le Grand Ramdam
Monday, August 23, 2010
I learned my lesson that day, and now when I have vegetarian visitors, I make sure we go to restaurants that cater specifically for them. Finding these establishments is easier said than done though, which is why I was particularly happy to come across this exhaustive list of vegetarian restaurants in Paris on the very useful Posted in Paris website.
One or two of these are of the fairly hardcore variety and quite joyless places to eat, but I can particularly recommend Le Potager du Marais. Business must be good there as they recently extended in neighbouring premises!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Pelouse de Reuilly, M° Porte Dorée
Monday, August 16, 2010
(Post already published on Invisible Paris, October 4th 2009)
In Paris, an individual spends around 85 minutes travelling each day, with the majority of this time on passed on public transport. As around 25% of Parisians are single, these daily commutes would seem to offer an ideal opportunity for lonely hearts to meet. Fortunately, two young men are on hand to ensure that cupid travels with them.
“Whenever we talk about the project, people always want to know two things; why we do it and whether it works” Timothée Peignier, co-founder of a website called croisedanslemetro.com tells me. The site gives individuals who caught a glimpse of a potential future love of their life on public transport the chance to find that person again. The result is a list of touching, but often sad messages from people now desperate to initiate communication but with little hope of succeeding. So does it work?
“Honestly, we don’t know” replies Tristan Daeschner, the other co-founder. “In any case we consider this aspect to be part of people’s private lives. Our objective was just to give them the means and the opportunity to meet” he adds.
Je vous ai croisé dans le métro dimanche en fin de matinée. On s’est regardé dans le wagon, en descendant vous m’avez marché sur les pieds et vous m’avez souhaité “bonne chance”. On s’est regardé quand vous êtes descendu, mais moi je suis restée. Je le regrette aujourd’hui..
After placing a message on the website, the individual later receives any replies directly at their given e-mail address. Timothée and Tristan will know the number of replies an individual has received, but the contents of these messages remains a secret.
The service has now been running for a little over 6 months and has spread to other cities around France and Belgium. London and New York should follow soon – once the creators have found a suitable translation for the website name!* However, each time they launch a new city, there are a whole series of cultural and sociological questions to answer. Who takes public transport in these cities and how do people react to each other? As an example, Lyon has taken well to the service, but the inhabitants of Marseille still seem reluctant. “For New York, maybe we'll have to launch croisedansletaxi.com” wonders Timothée.
Why did the two men start the service though? “Obviously we were inspired by other services such as the letters in the free Metro newspaper and the Missed Connections section of Craigslist. We felt though that there was no dedicated web service available for this subject, and as we both work in the internet industry, we thought that we’d launch something in our spare time”. Curiously, they have no plan to earn any money from their service beyond covering the expenses of the site. In fact, one could almost conclude that the two are romantics and are happy to act simply as a free dating agency. They are so inspired by the project that they constantly thinking of ways to improve the concept. A 'live' iPhone service has been postponed because the technology is not yet in place underground, but other spin-offs may soon appear. "We would like to print some of the messages on paper and hand them out on the Metro" says Tristan. "We also thought about getting an actor to read out some of the messages too" he adds.
Beyond the worthy intentions of the site creators, it is the messages themselves that have become the star of the show. They are a poetic account of life in today's big cities, providing a snapshot of brief encounters; two people who shared eye contact and exchanged smiles but who never quite managed to meet and talk. Sprinkled throughout the messages are words of regret, expressing how the scene could have played out differently, and a general despair that the tongue is more discreet than the eyes. However, there are some messages that simply celebrate the beauty of the moment, with the authors not even looking for any kind of follow-up.
Tristan Daeschner and Timothée Peignier from croisedanslemetro.com
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Note: The 15th August (Sunday) is a Public Holiday in France. Municipal museums and swimming pools will be closed, and you may also find several extra shops and cafés with their shutters down.
A free Tricky concert
Tricky has had his ups and downs, but his live concerts are always an event, especially when they are free. The organisers of the Festival Fnac Indétendances have saved their biggest star until the final weekend, and you’ll be able to catch Tricky at the Hotel de Ville on Friday night – performing now in his new home town!
Hotel de Ville,75004
Classique au vert
After the early summer Jazz festival, the Parc Floral in the Bois de Vincennes opens its stage to a classical music festival until the beginning of Autumn. The site is magnificent, with the stage overlooking a small lake and landscaped gardens, and it is possible to enjoy a picnic whilst listening to the music. The rest of the park is also well worth a visit, especially if you have children.
Each Saturday and Sunday at 4pm until 26th September.
Parc Floral de Paris, M° : Château de Vincennes
Full programme: http://www.classiqueauvert.fr/classiqueauvert/classiqueauvert2010.html
This weekend gives you the last chance to visit two fascinating photography exhibitions.
Paris d'Amour : ‘Paris d'Amour’ can literally be translated in English into ‘gambles in love’, and here it applies to the act of getting married (or signing a civil contract !), which is always a leap into the unknown. The photographer Gérard Uféras spent two years taking pictures at 70 different marriage ou ‘pacs’ ceremonies, highlighting the many different cultures and lifestyles of the capital. The results are both amusing and touching.
Final day : Saturday 14th August.
Hotel de Ville
Willy Ronis: Although this exhibition continues for another week yet, what better moment to visit than the 14th August, the day when Willy Ronis would have celebrated his 100th birthday? This photography legend didn’t quite make it to his own centenary, but he did help to organise this wonderful retrospective of his career.
Monnaie de Paris
11 quai de Conti, 75006
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
The application is called Paris Guestlist and is geared towards both visitors to Paris and those living locally. The basic idea behind it is a simple one – to list parties and events taking place across the capital and to give you the possibility to add yourself to the guest lists.
It has the standard Google map in the centre of the screen, with the days of the week across the top. The locations of the events are plotted on the map, and colour coded according to the day of the week on which they are taking place. You can therefore search for an event by location or for the particular day you are planning to go out.
Looking at the application today though, it seems as if it is very much in soft launch mode. There are currently very few events listed, but there is the promise that many are on their way. What kinds of events will be featured? For the creators of the tool, the events should include “nightclubs, art-galleries, private parties, spring and summer picnics and outdoor festivals, black-tie galas and balls, private-sales, fashion shows, and sample sales”.
The idea is a very interesting one as it appeals to people’s desire to be ‘in the know’ and to feel special. It is impossible to say currently though whether it will offer truly exclusive events or whether it will simply be another means to promote happenings that are already amply promoted elsewhere.
The tool comes in two versions. A Lite version which is free to download, and a version to purchase which offers some additional features (share events on Facebook, sign up on guestlists via SMS or email…). http://www.parisguestlist.com/iphone/english.htm
There is also a simplified internet version of the tool.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Les Nuit des Etoiles
This weekend marks the 20th anniversary of the nuits des étoiles, an event which aims to help people to observe and understand the sky above them. Clear skies are predicted this weekend, but with light pollution it is very difficult to observe stars above Paris, so to get the best from this event you'll need to head out to the suburbs. In the Paris region the two most interesting events would appear to be an observation of Saturn and the summer sky, and a midnight walk in the Parc du Vexin.
See http://www.afanet.fr/Manifestations/Carte.aspx for the full list of planned events across France.Cinema au Clair de Lune
The Cinema au Clair de Lune season in August projects films outside in different parts of the city, if possible in places that have some relevance to the films concerned. Three films are programmed for this weekend:
Friday 6th, 9.30pm
Le Péril jeune (Cédric Klapisch)
Saturday 7th, 9.30pm
La Bête humaine (Jean Renoir)
Parc André Citroën (why not at Saint Lazare ??)
Sunday 8th 9.30pm
Diva (Jean-Jacques Beineix)
Jardins du Trocadéro
Films also continue outside at La Villette this weekend:
C.R.A.Z.Y (Jean-Marc Vallée)
Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi)
Les Valseuses (Bertrand Blier) over 16s only!
"Breizh Touch" - a Fest Noz at the Hotel de Ville
As part of the music festival accompanying Paris Plages, a special Brittany-themed evening is programmed for Saturday night. Expect plenty of singing, dancing - and cider!
M° Hotel de Ville
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
The website is built around a central map feature and functions in Flash. After connecting, first impressions are good. The site is attractive, and the colour-defined features (sights, activities, maps) are very clear and simple to use. Perhaps most of important of all though, it is fast, quicker even than Google maps.
The smartphone version functions first with the list of sections, helping you to find for example bars, restaurants or hotels in a particular district, then provides a link to the exact spots on Google maps.The company have clearly spent a lot of time on the design of the tool and it is a design that works. However, such services live and die by the quality of the spots that they suggest, and it is here that the yogoguide is still clearly a work in progress. For example, when searching for Chinese restaurants, there wasn't a single address from Belleville or the 13th arrondissement, the city's Chinese districts.
The company have assured me that they are constantly adding listings to their service and filling the gaps, and they also encourage users to suggest and rate spots. When this feature becomes a little more active, the yogoguide will become an excellent and practical tool. Whether this will eventually replace the guide book or not though is another matter!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
In order to avoid any nasty surprises though, you need to know about the other 13%! Generally these are the parking spaces on the busiest roads and in the most touristic areas, but just to be sure, make sure you check this complete list. (a PDF document in French. Payant = with charge, Gratuit = without charge!)
Monday, August 2, 2010
Their featured address for August? Le Grenier à Pain in the Rue des Abbesses, winner of this year's 'best baguette in Paris' competition!