Sunday strolls (Musuems and McDonalds edition)

Yesterday’s Sunday stroll took me to Porte d’Auteuil where I discovered the Jardins des Serres d’Auteuil or the Botanic Gardens. Strolling around the gardens, I felt like a lady of leisure back in the day when women wore large frivolous hats and long flowing dresses and parasols. Of course I was wearing none of these but I did have my brolly on me as luck would have it, it began to lash out of the heavens. Luckily I had time to get a walk in around the gardens before hand and admire the gargoyles, the wonderful variety of flowers (in all colours imaginable) and the classic greenhouses that provided the backdrop.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Later on in the afternoon I decided to visit the Museum of Architecture at Trocadero (Le Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine). This was an especially unique museum as it basically features the facades and scaled down models of some of France’s most famous architectural masterpieces. It was a really interesting use of an indoor space to showcase features of buildings that we are only used to seeing in an outdoor setting. Plus, the view from the windows, especially on the 2nd floor where the space is dedicated to the evolution of more modern architecture, is not only amazing (see below) but also very fitting, as can see the variety of iconic buildings across Paris, from the Eiffel Tower to Invalides to Tour Montparnasse.

Image

Image

And what would a day at the museum be without a stop off in McDonalds to end another fun Sunday in Paris. 🙂

Hope you all had a nice Sunday! x

Advertisements

A dose of culture in Paris

The last few days have been some of the most enjoyable I have had since moving to Paris. A friend of mine was over and with two days off work, we set out to do Paris as the Parisians do. On Sunday evening we went to see a film/docufilm called La Cours de Babel which followed a classroom of international students who all recently came to France for various reasons and showed their journey of learning French throughout the school year. This film was very like Entre les Murs in ways but as it was real life it was less dramatic but was just as compelling to watch as we saw students with real life problems such as making friends, dealing with learning difficulties and general cultural differences. 

Image

Yesterday my friend suggested that we take a walk along La Coulée Verte, which is a ‘secret garden’ style walk that goes along the old train line in Daumesnil (10eme) all the way to Bois de Vincennes. I had walked past these viaducts at least twice before. They now accomodate cool art and antique stores but I had never realised that there was a pathway above these viaducts which give an elevated view of the busy streets below whilst walking through rooftop gardens with arched trellises. 

Image Image Image

In the evening we went to a jazz show (hopefully the first of many) in a club called New Morning, near Chateau d’Eau, also in the 10th arrondissement. The artist was Mohamed Abozekry who plays Middle Eastern styled music with three other musicians on a mix of bass, guitar and percussion. My friend and I were completely mesmerised by the unique sound and raw talent of the group especially Abozekry who hails from Egypt and for such a young age has the skill of someone with years of experience.

Image

Today we wandered around St Michel, spending an hour or so in the Gibert bookshop. I forgot how great these bookshops are, they sell more books than I can handle and at very affordable prices (thanks to the abundance of second hand books for sale in very good condition). We then crossed the bridge to Hôtel de Ville where we went to the Brassai photo exhibition ‘Pour l’amour de Paris’ which showcased a variety of Brassai’s black and white stills of Paris, from the city of lights at night to couples getting close in the capital as well as images of the circus and female nudes. 

I would like to dedicate this particular post to my colleague and now good friend who I had an amazing few days in Paris with and who has been fantastic company and whose kind words and encouragement have motivated me to continue with this blog and other creative endeavours. Thank you! 🙂

 

 

Weekend of “Salons” in Paris

Image

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend two fairs (or ‘salons’ as they call them in France), one for my own interest and the other for work. Le Salon du Livre or Book Fair was on in the Porte de Versailles and has received constant media coverage since opening on the 20th March. I decided to set aside a good two and a half hours to explore this fair for the first time and that was just about enough. The Salon du Livre is more than just a book fair as it groups bookworms, authors, publishers, and those with special interests such as cuisine, comic books and art under one roof. Upon entering the exhibition space, I was rather overwhelmed by the size of the space (in technical terms, it’s HUGE) and the amount of books everywhere, from every theme, author, nationality etc. To put it short I was a kid in a sweet shop…or more simply, myself in a giant book shop!

Image  Image Image

Particular highlights for me were the destination stands such as Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia who each had their own space dedicated to authors from those regions as well as cookbooks and “beaux livres” or beautifully illustrated coffee table books. There was also an exhibition area dedicated to the French author and illustrator Sempé who is best known for children’s series Le Petit Nicolas but has also illustrated for The New Yorker. His works were on display as well as some “beaux livres” and charming postcards with magical illustrations of Paris and New York. The ‘gastronome’ section was a particular delight as there were great bargains to be found among recipe books. I picked up a book by Elle à table on roasts, which I will now put to use after finally buying a mini-oven just a fortnight ago. It was also interesting to see a number of independent publishers and e-publishers there promoting their services to budding writers. With the emergence of electronic reading devices and the internet as means of discovering new authors, it is definitely encouraging to see the available options for when I finally get round to writing my book.

Image

 

Bargain at just €6!

Whilst I didn’t see the point in buying books for the sake of it at the fair (especially as many were not at reduced price) I did buy a second book on home beauty remedies which can be made with stuff lying in your kitchen cupboard.

Image

Straight after the Salon du Livre, I made my way across to the Salon du Tourisme (France’s largest holiday show) for work purposes. This was my second year to take part but has never felt like work to me. I relish in the opportunity to speak face to face with the public and encourage them to visit our beautiful country. It also provides me with the chance to visit other stands and plan my own holiday wish list. I love seeing the other stands such as those North African countries where there is live music and people in traditional clothing and the chance to taste world delicacies such as baklava and delicious mint tea! 

Image Image Image

This week the Salon du Dessin will open in Paris on the 26th of March and although pricey (€15 entry) it is only once a year and as drawings are my most favourite aspect of visual art, I am eager to go and see what kind of creative inspiration it may bring.