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Randomly: Quartier du Jardin des Plantes

It was too beautiful a day to head home straight away after our visit to the Panthéon. F and I let our feet did the choosing, and found ourselves heading westward, passing École Polytechnique, walking along rue Monge before weaving past a few smaller streets to arrive at the entrance of the Jardin des Plantes. And oh, finding the Russian restaurant which we went to when we first met had now been replaced with a Portuguese canteen. That’s Paris for you: so much that’s familiar yet things change all the time.

Quartier du Jardin des Plantes

Quartier du Jardin des Plantes

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Postcards: Panthéon Paris (FR)

As a mausoleum goes, the Panthéon is a gorgeous one. Recently, four heroes and heroines of the Resistance were newly interred by the President of the Republic – although two of them were symbolic interments – and as part of the celebration, the Panthéon was free to visit over a few days. We took advantage of it to visit the building itself, rather than jostling through the long queues at the crypt.

Panthéon

Panthéon

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Postcards: Saint Étienne du Mont (FR)

Despite my propensity to peek into churches, big or small, as I come across them, for some reason, I have never stepped into the Saint Étienne du Mont. Semi-hidden in the shadow of the Panthéon, the church, or rather its steps, is becoming pretty well-known after Gil set off in vintage car for his adventures in Midnight in Paris. Shall we pop over for a quick visit?

Saint Étienne du Mont

Saint Étienne du Mont

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Project 365 – Week 52

Another round of Project 365 more or less completed, even though we have a couple more days to go to end the year. I’ll put those two photos towards the first week of the next project, so to keep the week running nicely from Monday to Sunday. Still hesitating though over the set up for the new series, and I don’t even have quite as much time as I thought to ponder over it, because F and I are moving to a new apartment and there are tons to do!

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Christmas baubble

23 Dec: While presents that we bought have been safely delivered, they remain unwrapped. Cue: a morning spent covering up gifts with papers that will quickly be shredded into pieces on Christmas day. This glass baubble reminds me of how fragile trees are in our current environment, to be torn down, often without much second thought. I normally do not wrap presents – I’d rather put them in reusable paperbags – but since F’s nieces won’t understand such concept, I make my peace with the wrapping paper use and vow to be more vigiland with my effort to stay green.

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Project 365 – Week 46

I have a couple more posts on Malaysia to come, then we’ll be back to talking more about Paris and other random things. In a way I’m rather pleased that I’ve managed to write up about the various trips before I forget more of the details, even if they are already a little later than usual. You don’t mind it too much, do you? ;)

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Window decoration

11 Nov: This has got to win some sort of window-dressing award! It’s like someone has gone to a bric-a-brac and came back with a random selection of things – Kennedy-like bust, miniature pig to go above its head, a selection of transportation methods and plushies as company… I’m still not completely sure how to interpret the pig over one’s head thing though. Do you have any theory?

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Project 365 – Week 36

May I say just how much I am looking forward to my vacation? All things finalised, booked, printed and nitty-gritty details all updated to my TripIt app, I guess that means we are all set. The only thing that I know I won’t be able to realistically achieve is to schedule blog posts during my absence, so there’s going to be a whole lot of back-dated posts in the next few weeks…

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Afterworks

2 Sep: The first time someone suggested that we go to an “afterworks” I was rather confused, especially since the invitation was issued in French. The explanation that was given to me sounded like a Friday evening blowout party at a club, something not particularly my kind of thing, so I declined. For me, an outing after work is more aligned towards a group at a local pub where we can chill, have a drink or two, chit chat, and maybe then decide if to go on an impromptu dinner together or not. (I sound old and sooo not hip, isn’t it?)

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Project 365 – Week 35

Blink, blink. September has just turned up, the French population is gearing up for la rentrée while I, well, dealing with a bunch of paperwork actually. That, and finalising the details of my upcoming holiday. In the mean time, I’m suffering from writer’s block and find it very difficult to put words to paper (or to WordPress, in this case). Please excuse me while I search for my inner wannabe-writer…

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Carved façade

26 Aug: There are the typical Haussmanian buildings, and then there are a whole lot of variations of non-Haussmanian too. I don’t think I was too far away from Pont d’Alma when I took this shot, just because it’s quirky enough to be different from its neighbours. I’ve been trying to search for more information on this architectural style, but haven’t have much luck so far. I may need to dig deeper, or whip up the thick book of Parisian architecture bible that F bought a long time ago. It’s a very interesting book, but just a bit too much French for me to read, so it’s work instead of fun reading.

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Project 365 – Week 32

Having two cameras, one dSLR and one PnS, is a good thing. Depending on the situation and the size of the bag I’m carrying, I can opt to bring one or the other, or both. The downside, however, is I’m hitting more or less the same range of image number on both cameras. When it comes to organising them, I had to be very careful not to let any overwriting from happening. My folder system goes by the event name, and photos from both cameras could potentially end up in the same folder. I should reset the count for one of them.

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Cat

5 Aug: This kitty in real life look like a grey fluffy ball, loves to be petted, super duper cute, but for some reason, when I tried to photograph it, it gave me this serious big cat-like look. I guess it didn’t want to appear too adorable, and it was not too adorable indeed when it jumped on me at breakfast table one morning. It went straight onto my lap and leaving some scratch mark even though I tried to lift it up as quickly as I could. See, I was wearing shorts… ouch!

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Project 365 – Week 31

This week, I discovered that being a translator is probably not a career alternative I should pursue. My friends, in the spirit of keeping things bilingual for their wedding, had asked me to help out with certain tasks (e.g. translating wedding ceremony programme, speeches), and working from English into French, oh dear… I am lucky I have other wonderful friends around me who helped to proofread my translations, and I also roped F into translating some particularly tricky texts. What would I do without them?

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Street art

29 Jul: This piece of street art reminds me of the sculpture of Le Passe-Muraille to commemorate Marcel Aymé that can be found in Montmartre. The main differences? This is on the other side of the wall, thus forming a continuation of sort to the sculpture, and this is a very modern take, for I don’t think hoodie fits into the setting of Aymé’s story. Disclaimer: I don’t know if the artist intended this as an echo to Le Passe-Muraille. Total speculation on my part.

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Project 365 – Week 29

What a scorcher of a week. With temperature hitting high 20s and pushing into 30s, we are pretty much melting in the city. I guess most of Europe is really not equipped for dealing with such high temperature. In UK, roads were melting! This is the time that reminds me just how amazing the inventions of fans and air-conditioners are. And freezer to keep ice cubes.

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St Sulpice

15 Jul: Passing through St Sulpice in the evening is one of F’s favourite thing to do in Paris. He shuns the cathedral of Notre Dame (and its accompanying crowd), preferring instead to gaze at St Sulpice bathed in the shades of red and orange, and with just a handful few passerby, perhaps a few who also linger and happily sit on the benches surrounding the square in front of the church. The sound of the water from the Fontaine St Sulpice is calming, making us feel like we’re somewhere else and not in the busiest city in France.

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Project 365 – Week 28

I am pondering, how is it that I seem to have less time to do everything that I want to do when the reality is that I should have more time? Have I taken on too much for myself to handle, or am I becoming less efficient nowadays, or what? I feel like I need to sit down and devise a better system for my personal research project but at the same time worry that this would be an even bigger time blackhole than how it already is. Tough.

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Carrot cupcakes

8 Jul: It has been a while since I baked. For my friend’s house-moving yesterday, I decided to whip up a large batch of carrot cupcakes to remember the day by, and to also feed the helpers who were set to shift her belongings some 900m away to the new apartment. To up the nuttiness ante, I used chopped hazelnut instead of the usual walnut. Topped it up with some cream cheese icing and we were good to go – gnom, gnom. These two were the last of the cupcakes when it occurred to me that I should at least take a photo or two!

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Project 365 – Week 25

Summer officially kicked in in the later part of the week but whoever up there who’s supposed to dish out the correct weather condition seems to have missed the memo. We started the week with crazy storm and there were reports that some parts of Ile de France were hit by large pebble-sized hailstones, then we had a bright sunny day, just to get another day of storm, followed by a day torrential rain before clearing up in the afternoon. Trying to fit all the awful weather in before it turned 21 June and really need to get into summer mode?

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Impressionist photo

17 Jun: Paris plunged into darkness today. There was raging thunderstorm all morning that I was pondering if I should even stay online or shut down the laptop. The lightning could be seen running all the way from the sky down to the earth, and this is not a common sight. Right around 11am, barely a slither of natural light remained and it felt like night. I love this shot because it reminds me of the quality of Impressionism. Peer closely, it’s mostly random water blobs. Step away and perhaps you’ll start to see what I saw in my apartment that memorable moment.

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Project 365 – Week 19

There’s a change in the pace of my personal life this week, and instead of slowing it down a notch to catch a breather, it got cranked up to include reasonable amount of travelling for a couple of weeks. We just came back from the region of Lorraine where we attended a wedding over the long weekend, just to unpack and repack today for a week in Ireland. All these travelling is going to test my resolution when it comes to this blog’s schedule – I have opted not to travel with a laptop and I’m not normally someone who plans post(s) in advance either. Guess I will have to learn the how-to now, stat!

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Parisian terrace

6 May: It is May but the sunshine pretty much comes and goes, its level measurable by the amount of people sitting at the cafe terraces for a drink or two. On a good day, it could be a real challenge scoring a table from an already tightly packed terrace, never mind the best effort afterwards not to wince when presented with the bill that appears to have packed in also a cost for the beaming sunlight onto your table. Often (just often, not all the time), it’s worth it though.

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Les flâneuses of the Left Bank

Edna and I met up on Thursday for a Vietnamese lunch not too far away from Nation. As the sky cleared up for the afternoon while we searched for something sweet – we ended up in Grom for some gelati – an afternoon flânerie was definitely in order.

We explored parts of the 5th and 6th arrondissements, the two neighbourhoods often featured in this blog. Afterall, these are my regular stomping grounds, where I work and live. I am always excited to show them off to everyone and here I am, showing them off to you too! ;)

(Note: the first three photos were taken in Nation, and the rest in the 5th and 6th arrondissements; hover over images for captions)

Flowers

Le Triomphe de la République

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Project 365 – Week 17

Now that spring has truly arrived, a massive spring cleaning is required chez nous. Not that we’re normally incredibly messy people, just that we had workmen in for a good few days fixing and repainting the windows. The layers of dust that settled on just about every surface had me cringing silently, so a top-to-bottom cleaning is definitely required. Still, I’m taking a little break to bring you the latest round-up of Project 365.

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Keith Haring

22 Apr: A Keith Haring retrospective is currently running in the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. For a week, the métro station of Alma Marceau was transformed into a cultural station, showcasing some posters of this pop-art master, featuring the iconic jelly bean-like figures in striking bold colours or in black and white. This exhibition – themed Political Lines – is on my to-visit list, and if you are in Paris, you shouldn’t miss it either.

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Project 365 – Week 16

This has been a week full of sunshine and bright sky, and the occasional downpour hasn’t dampened the mood at all. I find myself taking a lot more pictures than I normally would; as Sarah pointed out a few days ago, everything looks better with the sun. Without further ado, the photos from week no 16 of the year.

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La Tour Montparnasse

15 May: Not a lot of people have love for the Tour Montparnasse. It is deemed ugly, and Parisians normally joke that the best view in Paris is the one from the top of the tower, as this is the only place one doesn’t see the tower itself. Yes, it is out of place given the architectural style of the buildings in the surrounding, but I don’t think it should be so villified. Besides, for me, this is great for giving people direction on where my neighbourhood is. “See that tall tower over there? I live just around the corner from it.”

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Project 365 – Week 15

It was as if winter morphed overnight into summer, and today we’ve been enjoying unprecedented (for this spring anyway) a temperature hitting upward of 25°C! Despite having more work to finish up, I decided to give myself a break in the afternoon and went out for a cycle and a walk at the parks instead. The photos will come in a day or two, when I have time to go through them. In the mean time, here are the photos taken through this week.

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Cafe terrace

8 Apr: I have a confession to make. In all the years that I’ve visited Paris and that I have been living in Paris, I could count with one hand just how often I took up a seat at a cafe terrace. A little shocking? Perhaps. Afterall, Paris is the perfect city to score the front seats of the sidewalks and watch the world goes by. Perhaps I should make it my goal this summer to at least have tea or a meal al fresco, at the open terrace.

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Project 365 – Week 13

This round up is being posted later than usual. Despite last weekend being a long one, I was busy playing host (to a visiting friend) and tourist at the same time. My friend left this morning so I guess it’s time to get back to normalcy. Work to tease out, reading to catch up on, photos to sort, and blog entries to post. And oh, making up for lost sleeping time now that we’ve lost an hour to daylight saving. ;)

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Flowers

25 Mar: This bouquet of flowers reminds me of Wexford – the sunny southeast of Ireland – of which the official county colours are yellow/gold and purple. Ironically, there is very little sunshine in Paris at the moment that Wexford may well be seeing more of the fireball in the sky than here. Still, this vibrant combination does cheer the day up a little. To the big guy up there: hello, we’d like spring whenever you are ready to send it our way?

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Project 365 – Week 12

One of the big news circulating in the last couple of weeks has been on the imminent death of Google Reader. It may be a non-issue to many people (how many of you here read this blog via Google Reader as I advised last year, or do you subscribe to the email notification?) but to the more techy crowd, this represents a more serious problem. It’s an issue of trust. A number of Google Products have been retired in relatively short period of time (cf The Google Graveyard), and it is chipping away the goodwill of its users, many of whom have worked hard to build a techno-ecosystem that’s most efficient for their use. To have random tools taken away from this network of utilities is jarring to say the least. Last year, I was sad to hear about the shut down of iGoogle but there was over a year’s notice to transition the content elsewhere. With Google Reader, it’s reduced to mere 3 months. At least, you could still, for now, use Google Takeout to download all data that you want to keep.

Ps: I apologise for the lacklustre photos for the week. The lack of sunshine really shows how dull things can get…

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Paris

18 Mar: There is a typical “feel” of Paris which everyone could pinpoint out right away. In my humble opinion, it stems in large part from the architecture introduced by Baron Haussmann, which incorporates these distinct rooftop styles. The top floor with grey exterior, corresponding windows to the maid’s rooms, and terracotta chimneys that emit white fumes when there’s a nip in the air. If you are lucky, peeking through your rooftop view, you may well see some of the most well-known monuments, including the grand dame in iron, la Tour Eiffel.

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Project 365 – Week 11

This week’s selection of photos is perhaps one of the most eclectic yet. Some day, I have so much to choose from it’s actually hard to figure which to include for this weekly project round-up. Other day, limited option as I shot something on the go quickly. Then of course there were the two days of snow, but I have other non-snowy photos to share for those days, just so you’re not tired of seeing snowy pictures on this blog again.

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Parisian cafe window

11 March: Oooooo hot beverages… After the wonderfully warm Saturday, the weather turned rainy on Sunday evening and cooooold on Monday. Snow had arrived on the northern parts of the country, so it was just a matter of time before it made its way to Ile-de-France. Nothing like a cuppa something warm to keep one going. And at home, I even have a supply of Horlick’s now thanks to a friend who gifted a jar to me.

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Project 365 – Week 10

This has been a week of small victories. Getting my carte vitale, progressing positively with my project at work, celebrating the anniversary of my move to Paris, semi-plotting meet-ups with friends who live elsewhere (including Malaysia and Australia!) and pencilling in diary the dates to host them. I love it when things run smoothly. Only one big last administration hurdle for the year looms big – I’m heading to the Préfécture in a few days. Fingers crossed, all will be well.

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Walking down spiral stairs

4 Mar: One of the busiest day yet. It really was home -> work -> home kind of day, without any time for detour. Luckily F offered to cook dinner and deal with all the washing up. And so you are stucked with a photo from Sunday actually. We took advantage of the free monument visit Sunday and went to the Arc de Triomphe. On our way down, I couldn’t resist taking a pause to grab a couple of photos. Since it was relatively dark, I needed longer exposure time, resulting in the ghost-like moving feet as other visitors walked past me to descend the monument.

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Project 365 – Week 9

Another gear has kicked in at work and the next two months will be full-throttle busy. I’m not yet sure how it will affect this project, but don’t be surprised if the photos are shot mostly between places I pass between home and lab instead of other Parisian neighbourhoods. The blame for lack of leisure reading now sits squarely on work too. I’m doing so much project-related reading that I have little wish to read more while at home…

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Paris snowy rooftop

25 Feb: It snowed overnight so first thing I did upon arriving at work this morning was to head straight for the top floor of the building. As it was still snowing at that time, the view was not as crisp and clear as I’d like. You could just about make out where the Eiffel Tower and the dome of the Invalides are in the shot. Oh how I wish I have an office on this floor of the building…

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Project 365 – Week 8

This winter has been the bane of my health and I am really tired of it. It seems I’m falling ill nearly every month, and this week has been the worse yet. The irony is that I’ve had a restful week last week and was preparing for a solid week of work and planning etc, only to be thwarted suddenly by a crippling flu. I had to stay put for a couple of days at home. Boo.

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Cherry blossom

18 Feb: Seeing cherry blossoms makes me happy. It just does, and I can’t explain why. Maybe it’s the imminent arrival of spring (never mind that the weather forecast for the rest of the week would be coooooold). Maybe it’s the wispy splash of soft pink. Maybe it’s its association with Chinese New Year. Maybe it’s the reminder of the beautiful view I used to get from my studio in Cité U.

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Project 365 – Week 6

It has been a strange kind of week, which I couldn’t quite put my fingers on. The days rolled by quickly and yet everything felt stretched out in time. And weekend, well, it just disappeared. Maybe that’s a sign I’ve spent way too much time on the phone (well, plenty of calls to be made to family to send my Chinese New Year greetings) and watching rugby (nail-biting, and ultimately disappointed that both France and Ireland fared poorly)?

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Miniature orchestra

4 Feb: Just how cute is this set of window display? It is a miniature orchestra set, most of the items smaller than my palm! The shop itself is one selling actual size musical instruments, mainly string instruments. Jean Pavie – Luthier can be found on Quai de la Tournelle, and this shop itself has been in operation for nearly 30 years. Creating is a work of art here, and there aren’t many of them around anymore nowadays.

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Project 365 – Week 5

As I’ve promised previously, back to normal transmission. I’m glad that the days are getting longer, but I’m a tad frustrated too that I’m rather busy at work so by the time I’m out of the office, it’s dark outside. There’s a limit to how far I can go without being home too late for dinner either. I must try harder to get more variations!

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Musée Curie

28 Jan: The first woman to ever receive a Nobel Prize, Marie Curie was an extraordinary scientist. She won not only one, but a second Nobel, and both in different disciplines (Physics and Chemistry). Her former lab has now been transformed into a small museum and it was also here where her daughter and son-in-law made new discovery that went on to win another Nobel Prize for themselves. The museum is open Wednesday to Saturday in the afternoon from 1pm to 5pm. The admission is free. (I must come back when it’s open one of these days!)

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Project 365 – Week 4

Am I having alternate good and bad week with this project? Sometimes I even ponder if I know what I’m doing anymore… Perhaps it was also my state of mind – I started the week with a terrible backache, which tapered off but got me more cautious about overdoing it, about going out in the cold. Booo.

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The boy

21 Jan: Ok, this is cheating. This photo was actually taken on the snowy morning of 20 Jan, when F accompanied me to the Louvre and then to Montmartre. I stayed home most of the day to rest my aching back, and as a result, this project was far from my mind until the next morning. Ooops. As compensation, well, I give you F ;) (and he doesn’t even know that he’s going to be featured here!) I have no idea what he was doing either at this very moment – adjusting his neck-protector-against-the-cold thingy, I think.

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Project 365 – Week 3

If week 2 has been a tough one, motivation-wise, week 3 of Project 365 was the opposite. Thanks to a couple of late visits to catch temporary exhibitions that were closing, I found myself allocating some extra time before hand to grab some night photos. I also discovered unlikely photography spot from the very building I work in (!!!) and of course, there was the snowy weekend to round it up prettily.

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Grand Palais by night

14 Jan: It was the final evening of Bohèmes at the Grand Palais. Really, you’d think with a Sésame+, Frédéric and I would have seen this a couple of months back. But no, we kept delaying it. Frédéric even went to see Hopper thrice in the mean time. Just before joining the queue, I hied myself over the Pont Alexandre III to see if I would get a decent photo of the Grand Palais by night. Not bad, right?

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Project 365 – Week 1

In 2012, I took a break from Project 365 after running it for a couple of years – that of 2010 as a personal project known to a handful few friends, and that of 2011 hosted on this very blog itself. During the break, I found myself spending significantly less time exploring parts of Paris which I don’t yet know well, which is a shame really.

It’s time to be more pro-active again, and hopefully with Project 365, I’ll get that extra dose of motivation to be out and about, particularly when it is dark/wet/dull outside and certain neighbourhoods lie just a little far/inconvenient to reach from where I am. Instead of updating photo daily, I will do so as a weekly photo blog post. Enjoy!

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Tour Eiffel from Centre Pompidou

30 Dec: Nico was visiting us and we took the opportunity to hit Dalí retrospective at the Centre Pompidou. We took advantage of late night opening hours to avoid long queues, and while waiting to enter, we were treated to the beautiful view of Paris by night. Eiffel Tower quite easily dominated the skyline.

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Grande Mosquée de Paris

In many parts of the world, mosques are out-of-bound for non-followers. I’ve even known of mosques which clearly sign-posted that non-Muslims are strictly prohibited to enter. Add to the fact that I’m female, getting access to the compound within these mosques would be even trickier, especially in accordance to traditionalists, Muslim women should preferably pray at home, or otherwise be segregated to a separate room or at the back of the prayer hall or behind certain barriers, not side by side with the men.

Of course, that is not always the case. In certain cities or countries, mosques can be visited by non-Muslims outside of prayer sessions, provided certain guidelines such as appropriate attire and respectful observations are adhered to. This is the face of Islam that is encompassing, encouraging deeper understanding than beyond the portrayals in the media which are often misunderstood and maligned, and fostering links with the community at large regardless of the religion its individual practices.

The Great Mosque of Paris (La Grande Mosquée de Paris) is one which doors are open to all. Built in the 1920s in commemoration of the valiant Muslim tirailleurs who fought on France’s behalf, it has even once transformed into a hidden sactuary for Jews who were being persecuted during the Holocaust. Today, it aims to foster community relationships with believers and non-believers alike, and our guide couldn’t emphasise enough that their duty is to forge understanding that Islam is peaceful by nature and unity belies its core teaching.

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Day 349: Livres anciens

The weather is not particularly kind today. There is a predicted strong gust of wind coming our way, and depending on the forecast, it could be anything between 30 km/h to 100 km/h. At least we’re nowhere near the north/west coastal area, which would bear the brunt of things from the look of it.

There is a bookshop near work that specialises in selling rare and antiquarian books. I’ve always find it fascinating to peer into the windows and see what’s “new” and admire the books with period covers and hand-bound volumes. I mean, how many more books nowadays that you see and still bear gold embossed letters with motifs framing their edges? Super cool, I tell ya!


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