Tag Archives: Paris

Aujourd’hui

Today is France’s National Day. Although I don’t usually like to take part in nationalistic celebrations, I’ve decided to pay a tribute to Paris (for a change) and list my favorite places from when I lived there in a bilingual post.

A cause de la Fête Nationale de France j’ai décidé d’écrire ce post bilingue pour rendre un hommage à Paris. Malgré mon malaise par rapport à ce type de célébration, je fais ici une petite liste des lieux que j’aimais le plus quand j’y habitais.

  1. Café du Centre Culturel Suédois. I know, I know. It’s still connected to Scandinavia, but this tiny café is so cozy and has such delicious cakes it was a delight just being there. Je sais, je sais. C’est un espace quand-même lié à la Scandinavie, mais il s’agit d’un tout petit café si agréable avec des tartes si bonnes que c’est une vraie délice d’y être.
  2. Le Pink Flamingo. The best and most stylish pizzeria in Paris. This lovely kitsch spot serves the most interesting pizza flavors in wonderful, unpretentious atmosphere. Voilà la meilleure et la plus branchée pizzeria de Paris. C’est kitsch, c’est chouette et on y sert les pizzas les plus intéressants de la ville.
  3. Pop In. My favorite bar/club of the city. Indie music, nice atmosphere & great drinks. The dancefloor is quite good; unfortunately it closes at 2 am. Keep an eye for the concerts; interesting groups have played there. De la musique indie rock, des boissons super et une ambience cool. La piste de dance est plutôt bien, mais malheureusement on la ferme à 2 du matin. A faire attention aux groupes qui jouent là-bas.

No matter how big my issues with living in Paris might be, there are still some very nice places to check out and people to be met. Just remember to avoid the obvious.

Même si j’ai mes problèmes par rapport à Paris, je crois qu’on y trouve quand-même des lieux très sympas et des gens bien intéressants. Il faut juste se rappeler qu’en s’agissant de la capitale, on doit absolument éviter les choix évidents.

Allez!

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Paris in January: no, thanks.

Paris has beautiful monuments. Paris has great food in lovely restaurants. The cultural life (exhibitions, concerts, festivals) in the French capital is unparalleled. Yet, when I was about to leave the city, I thought to myself: “I never wish to return to this place”. Why?

The answer is simple: Paris is great for tourists, on the surface. If you dig deeper, you’ll find it’s much more boring than quite many places around the globe.

An undeniable example of this is the living situation. Apartments in the city are obscenely expensive but most of the places are incredibly small with bad heating and mobility issues. I’ve visited houses in Brazilian favelas which are much more comfortable and less run-down than most of the places I went to in Paris. Even luxurious apartments are small in comparison to Brazil or the USA.

Nevertheless, on the outside everything looks so beautiful and charming it really does fool one’s impression. Living in Paris, especially in the winter, has quite an oppressive feeling to it, because one feels cornered in those tiny apartments and the rainy and cold weather is totally unwelcoming.

When the museums, art galleries and the likes close, one really has no option. Dreadful.

This is a good reminder for those weak moments when one wishes to go back to a certain lifestyle out of pure nostalgia. In such a situation, the best answer is a plain “Thanks, but no, thanks“.

Come and see

There’s nothing like a refreshing trip to a city of culture to brighten up one’s ideas about life in general.

I was amazed (yet again) with the number of options for night time fun in São Paulo.

I’ve said this before and I don’t mind repeating it: Brazilians really, really know how to party like no one else on the planet.

Paris, Berlin, London and New York are nothing compared to the excitement and fun there exists in a Brazilian city like São Paulo.

The city of fun

Just come and see.

Geometrical architectural

Right this moment, there is a combination in Paris which can mesmerize even the most demanding beauty lover: the Fondation Cartier‘s exhibition on Beatriz Milhazes, the geometrical color-loving painter from Brazil.

Ice Grape, by Beatriz MilhazesThe eye-catching expression of joy translated in bright circles and intersections of geometrical figures suits the Jean Nouvel museum just perfectly. The simplicity of the museum’s glass exterior and its gentle take on reflection function like an aquarium for Milhazes’ works: the art is contained yet beautifully shown in a very large scale.

Beatriz is one of the only Brazilian artists working these days who seem to be able to express Brazilianness through a medium that is not music. She has said that she wishes to combine all influence she’s taken in all through her life, be it art from her own country, from Latin America or even Portuguese barroque, and make it her own visual translation of painting. Appropriating multiple influences and transforming them into something new is a very Brazilian characteristic.

Convergingly, Jean Nouvel’s remarkable creations that make us rethink architecture integration are a fresh breeze into the building era’s air. Two of my favorite buildings in Paris (namely the Fondation Cartier building and the Institut du Monde Arabe) integrate so well with their surroundings and yet have a clear identity connected to their purpose that it is just impossible not to appreciate them.

For those who want to delight in color, shape & architecture, this exhibition is the place to be in Paris. It’s on until June 21, so there’s quite some time for you to shun the clichés of Paris and still have a great aesthetic time.

Sick and poor in Paris

I’m now officially sick and weak with it. It is very bad timing for me since this is my very last week in Paris. Not that I intended to do a lot more of sightseeing or go partying wildly (there is no money for that anyways), but it would have been nice to have at least some energy to say goodbye to people in a proper manner…

(illustration by Whitney Sherman)

Sick (illustration by Whitney Sherman)

 I know it’s not chic to be sick but it is even worse to be ill and poor inParis. I had some wonderful plans about a luscious farewell party with celebrities, models, designers, musicians and a first class French buffet and now it’s all just what it has actually always been: a dream.

Nevertheless, the campaign is still on: Give me ideas for making quick money (donations also encouraged) and thou shalt be sent to heaven.

You would just have to wait and see.

Bibliothèque, Lachapelle and axé

What a nice afternoon we had today. After almost being driven mad by my full-of-shallow-subjects and übertalkative roommate, I decided to go for a walk or maybe find a place to read something – I was in desperate need of some depth and some piece and quiet as well.

As usual, I went for the most designed pleasant reading space in Paris, the Bibliothèque d’information of the Pompidou Center. It is beautiful, incredibly clean-looking and very comprehensive book-wise. It is for free (you have to pay to use quite some libraries in Paris), open until late in the evening and it welcomes everybody.

With my mind recharched with my favorite cerebral stimulating subjects (Semitic and Indo-European languages for today) I felt I was ready for something a little less brainy but just as equally important: a little bit of color from David Lachapelle‘s latest exhibition.

Alek Wek for Lachapelle
Alek Wek for David Lachapelle

It was called a “Retrospective’ of his work, and I went expecting to see some of his very first works as well, as the title implied. Unfortunately  there wasn’t much of that phase, there were mostly famous pictures taken by him which most of us had already seen. Put me in a cross and write RNRI on top of it, but I just feel that his latest works lack a bit of creativity and freshness – a very strong I’ve-seen-it-all-before sensation struck as I looked at those pictures. Maybe I’m also on a very puritan period of my opinion-making, but isn’t there anything else other than sex and religion to shock people?

My word du jour: newness.
And for my beloved friends in Brazil (Lachapelle’s strong colors reminded me of it): have a great Carnaval! I’ll be sipping some champagne and eating French cheese with the thought of all of you. Muito axé!

Back to Paris

Whenever I travel and have to come back to Paris an enormous influx of mixed feelings falls upon me. Do I really enjoy living here? Is it really that great? I know everyone expects me to just adore it and talk about how wonderful it is to live in the city of flashing lights, but that’s just not how I feel most of the time.

Yes, it is pretty. And that’s pretty much all there is to it. (I’m sorry if I have just destroyed somebody’s dream).

I am positive I won’t be the first person to state that Parisians are not nice or friendly, although I’ve learned to recognize that some of them are really cool.

Luckily for me, this time I’m really feeling good about being back. And I won’t let any type of French bad mood get to me. To help me accomplish that I shall visit the exposition of David Lachapelle which is on as I write. Bright colors always cheer one up, or is it night liquor?

Paris as I'd like to remeber it

Paris as I'd like to remember it: sunny

I’ll let the city show me.