Christmas in Paris – oh the lights!

Each year business associations get together with town halls to illuminate our holiday season evenings. A large portion of the budget comes from the businesses on the illuminated streets. On rue de Sevrès and Saint Placide this is quite clear as the names of the businesses are actually suspended in luminous red letters as part of the decoration. Most of the other displays however are simply for the beauty of the lights and the gaiety that they provide to shopping areas. Nearly all are done with LED technology to keep costs and energy use to a minimum. There are about 100 streets and many monuments which are illuminated in Paris. The lights will be on through the first week in January. Here’s a few of our favorite displays. Christmas in Paris Light Trails Lumières en Seine One of two new light display this year comes to Paris from Germany. It's a new concept called a light trail or Christmas garden. It's titled Lumières en Seine and is on display every night at the Parc de …
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Discover 90+ Ways You Know You’re Becoming French

90+ Ways You Know You're Becoming French This cute little book that fits in your hand was inspired from the original article 20 Ways You Know You're Becoming French The article got such good response from our readers that author Shari Leslie Segall had the great idea to make it into a book. We teamed up with an artist  for watercolor illustrations and thought up more than 90+ points that are ways you know you are becoming French. Such as: would never conceive of a holiday menu without foie gras, oysters and glazed chestnuts ask everyone you know about their recent/upcoming vacances know who Marianne is Judith, an American in Paris since the 1990s, had this to say after reading the book 90+ Ways You Know You're Becoming French:

"This is really funny--I actually improved my quality of life from "Becoming French". The one about saying bonjour to the bus driver and not your neighbor? I realized I didn't often greet the bus driver so …

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The Saints on the map of Paris

Whether you walk across Paris or look at the metro or street map, you often see places named after a Saint. Such familiar names as St Genevieve, St Denis, St Vincent de Paul etc... Have you ever wondered who were these saints on the map of Paris and what their history was? We did! Here is a bit of history on the Saints on the map of Paris.

Sainte Geneviève

Logically the patron saint of Paris, St. Geneviève, is the one you come across most often. Her statue by Paul Landowski graces the Pont de La Tournelle in the 4th district. There is also one in Jardin du Luxembourg. She is on the front of Notre Dame as well. The Catholic church is celebrating the 1600th anniversary of Genevieve this year. A relic, her index finger, and her sarcophagus is in a chapel dedicated to her in the church of St Etienne du Mont a church in the 5th arrondissement on the Montagne Sainte Geneviève where she lived and prayed.

She was born in Nanterre in about the …
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Celebrate Mother’s Day in France

An outing for Mother's Day might be to the Mothers monument in Paris 13th. Some consider the Monument aux Mères Françaises in the eponym park at 21 boulevard Kellermann to be austere and soviet-styled, but we must take into consideration that it was inaugurated in 1938 and thus view it in context of the between the wars depression era.  The sculptures laud Mothers after the tragic loss of so many men and boys in the first world war and encourage them to stay at home to care for the family.The monument was renovated in 2013 and the cleaned sculpture is much less sad looking. There are 5 sculpted groups by artists Pierre d'Euville, Henri Bouchard et Alexandre Descatoire. The three texts on the momument are by Albert Lebrun, Edmond Labbé and Victor Hugo. Plants and flowers brighten this little garden in the 13th arrondissement. It is perhaps not the prettiest sculpture from today's viewpoint, but do you know any other cities that honor their mothers with a monument? In that way Fr…
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Parisian Bread and Pastry: Historic, lovely, delicious

The idea of Parisian Bread and Pastry is obvious, but these are exceptional and historical. Important for their history and longevity, these Parisian Bread and Pastry places, that one must visit, also have invented their special iconic pastry, loaf or decor.

Stohrer

Nicolas Stohrer, as the story goes, learned his trade as pastry chef in the kitchens of King Stanislas I of Poland who was in exile in the East of France. When the King’s daughter, Marie Leszczynska, married King Louis XV of France, she brought her favorite pâtissier with her to Versailles. Five years later, in 1730, Stohrer opened his own Parisian Bread and Pastry shop on rue Montorgueil where it still is today. The creations at Stohrer are classic, reflecting centuries of French tradition. One of its most celebrated is the Puit d’Amour, or Well of Love, where a base of puff pastry gets topped with bourbon vanilla pastry cream and caramel glaze. “It’s very creamy, very old-fash…

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SOME OTHER PARIS – A totally different look at the City of Lights (Streaming on YouTube)

An unconventional look at current life in the City of Lights, Some Other Parisexamines everything from the Yellow Vest protests to the Parisian art scene through the eyes of expats, immigrants and French citizens. The documentary takes viewers far beyond the Eiffel Tower, past the fancy fashion houses and the haute cuisine. It is an immersive journey through the Paris of artists and intellectuals; inhabitants of a densely populated, expensive city, dodging around the cost of living, tightly packed public transportation, pollution and dog poop on the sidewalk.Directed by James H. Jewell III and executive produced by Kara Jewell, thisdocumentary film features twenty interviews with artists, musicians, poets,novelists, playwrights, radio personalities, a journalist, a real estate broker, a gamer, a charity worker, a costume designer/refugee worker, a sign language tour guide, and a rabbi. Residing in Paris is perhaps the only common denominator this diverse cas…

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International Bookstores in Paris

The most recently opened of the bookstores in Paris, our own Bill & Rosa's Book Room, is composed mainly of used English books (about 4500). We also have a certain number of French language books (about 500). And when we also received books in other languages Norwegian, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Polish we were reminded as to what a cosmopolitan city Paris is. In fact we read recently on the city of Paris' website in carefully inclusive French that the population of the city is composed of 22% Paris-born, someplace else we saw 26% foreign-born and the rest of Parisians are non Parisian French. The international community stems from 176 nationalities. And 3/4 of Parisians think the ideal city is multicultural. This got us to thinking that there must be bookshops that deal in other languages beyond English and French so we set out to see what we could find and composed this list. After the foreign language shops there's a list of English bookstores in Paris and a fe…

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Les Maréchaux?

Les Maréchaux? Why are the boulevards on the edge of Paris (where the Tramway and PC bus run) referred to as “Les maréchaux“? This ring of roads, which totals 39 kilometres and connects the 52 portes de Paris, has different sections each named after a French field marshal. Lannes, Brune, Kellerman… Les boulevards des Maréchaux were originally the military route that gave access to the ramparts, built by Thiers in 1840, which circled Paris protecting it from invaders and sieges. In 1860 Paris annexed the towns on the periphery as well as the ramparts and glacis. A glacis is the open grassy slope on the outside of the ramparts – As with many military terms we use the same word in English, but it comes from Old French glacier ‘to slip’, from glace ‘ice’, based on Latin glacies. The glacis created a wide gap in the expanded urban landscape. The gap was gradually filled in by the ramshackle housing of the less fortunate. In the 1920s and 30s the ramparts were removed and the shanty…
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Paris/France and… colors

Per our May 4, 2019, post, “Paris/France and…” is a new series wherein “and” leads us to categories (such as food groups, the classical elements, etc.) whose subcategories link to the city/country we know and love. Today’s entry focuses on Paris/France and Colors, per the spectrum that might have hung in your high-school physics class back in Blue Ash, Idaho or Yellow Pine, Alabama or Red Lick, Texas.

RED:

If you have not visited the legendary Moulin Rouge (“Red Windmill”) cabaret in person (or even if you have), certainly do so via their website. By the time you’ve clicked on absolutely everything--that’s: absolutely everything--that’s clickable on, you’ll feel as if you’ve just been treated to a whirlwind masterclass on Parisian history, culture, cuisine, facts, and figures (the latter in the numerical and, appropriately, corporeal sense). Whew!

And from author Dale Gershwin:

“On her way to the stairs Leslie …

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Paris/France and Body Parts

Welcome to a new series, which we’re calling “Paris/France and…” --the “and” being categories (such as colors, food groups, the classical elements, and more) whose subcategories we are going to link to the city/country we know and love. And given their reputation for gratification (physical and intellectual), where better to start than with…Paris/France and Body Parts (top down, of course)?

head: Say “head” and you think (with your brain) of “brain.” Say “brain” and you think of “intellect.” Say “intellect” and you have to have been living in a (non-Internet-enabled) cave for the past at least 300 years not to think of the stereotypical Parisian intellectual spending hours at a café, cigarette dangling from wine-kissed lips (this would have to be on the café’s terrasse [outside area] nowadays, as smoking inside cafés, places of business, the métro, etc. has been banned), rambling on and on and on and on and on in intense, profound, arm-gesture-enhance…

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