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Mori Yoshida

Mori Yoshida came up on my radar earlier this year, when I was researching this year’s crop of galette des rois but didn’t quite make the cut (it was a tough decision!). Its location is really not far from where we live, yet somehow I am only stepping into its door recently. With friends are coming over for dinner, I wanted to share some treats with them, plus I feel less guilty about picking up 5-6 different items in one go ;)

Mori Yoshida

Mori Yoshida

Helmed by a young Japanese pastry chef which gave its shop his name, its sleek interior the image of perfect Japanese minimalism, its space clean and airy, and of course, its display shelves hunger-provoking. I admit, I walked in with some expectation of Japanese flavours (think matcha, yuzu, azuki) in his pastries but lo and behold, French classics and fruity creations reign the day.

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Project 365 – Week 50

A couple more weeks to the end of the year, so a couple more weeks to wrapping up this series of Project 365. I’m currently considering if I will proceed with another one next year or not, and if I do, how should I do it? Always the same old dilemma – what should be the theme of the project? Photos of “a step a day”? Photos of colour of the month? Any other suggestion?

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Postcards

9 Dec: I mentioned recently about doors in Paris being varied and relatively unique, and see what I found today – postcards depicting the very thing! I particularly love those with heads of mystic beasts but the simpler ones are not too shabby either. There is no such door knocker for my building though, as the door is a glass one. Perhaps I should start a collection of such photos, hmmm…

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Project 365 – Week 48

We enter the last month of the year without much fanfare. I have, afterall, been holed up a good bit at home this week, working on finishing up a few courses on Coursera. Many final assignments are due this week, and as we enter into the exam period, a little revision is in order too. I am happy that the courses have so far gone well (bar the little assignment incident last week), and found them rather interesting to boot too.

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Lady Liberty

25 Nov: On the River Seine, a Lady Liberty stands at the end of the artificial islet of Île aux Cygnes. This sister of the Statue of Liberty in New York stands at 22m, about one-fourth of the statue gifted to America, and they are oriented to face one another across the ocean. I am seeing this more regularly nowadays since it’s located right next to Beaugrenelle, and as we all know, I can’t seem to stay away from M&S Food Hall. She is quite a beauty, isn’t she?

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Project 365 – Week 47

I guess it’s the season. Christmas decorations are starting to crop up all over the city, and shop windows are also being changed for a twist of seasonal cheers and a few touches of festive glitters. I’m starting to look into my list of Christmas gifts to get, and in the next days orders shall be made online. This way, gifts can be delivered directly to my in-laws’ (where I’ll be spending Christmas this year) and I would not have a million and one thing to carry in the train. Win-win.

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Door grill

18 Nov: Doors of Paris can be impressively ornated. Solid timber doors with its various knockers, glass doors framed by stylised lines, metal grills with classic motifs like this one above. While cherubs are adorable and make fine adornment, my favourite is to see two side of the grills with couple looking at each other, the man at the centre of one side of the grill, and the woman at the centre of the other side. Come to think of it, I should photograph such pair one of these days, so I can share it here.

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Project 365 – Week 41

It is somewhat disorientating to be back in Paris when I’m still in semi-Asian mode. You know, like wanting to eat noodles or nasi lemak first thing in the morning, craving for dim sum in the afternoon, longing for late-night supper, lamenting the lack of time to play more with my niece and my nephew, missing my family in general… Poor F had had an overdose of Asian food though (my family was feeding him ALL the time) and had decreed that we would be eating European fare for the coming weeks.

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Happy Hours

7 Oct: Many bars around Paris have some kind of happy hours offer nowadays, but sadly, not at my favourite cocktail hangout… and sometimes, I wish happy hours in Paris can be more like the happy hours in I used to enjoy in Milan. Strictly speaking, it’s not happy hours per se, but l’aperitivo, the time for a pre-dinner drink. Traditionally a good selection of snacks/food are also available and usually included in the price of the drink. Classic options include olives, chips, pizza and pasta but some upscale places would even serve fruits, antipasti, savoury pastries and more!

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Project 365 – Week 37

I must be out of my mind. I’ve signed up for online courses that are starting pretty much at the same time as my main vacation this year. Since this is my first dip into such uncharted territory, I am not sure how much commitment would be required of me. Not only that, I have also planned for a fortnight of internet detox, so that’s unlikely going to be helpful either!

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Hôtel de Ville

9 Sep: The parvis of Hôtel de Ville is always busy. Centrally located, it is subject to tens of thousand pairs of footsteps daily, and yet rather curiously, I hardly go anywhere near it unless I’m searching for an ice cream fix. More specifically, when I want some delicious gelato of Pozzetto. I grumbled that the building is too large to be photographed (come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever posted a photo of it in this blog…) but frankly, I should have tried harder. How about starting with just a little part of it for now?

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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 34

Finally, the works in our neighbour’s apartment terminated so no more loud drilling, hammering, and the likes. Sadly, the traffic is also coming back to the city, so one form of noise replaces another. On the plus side, some of our favourite restaurants are/will be re-opening after being away for several weeks, so I’m looking forward to a break in cooking and baking. Ah, such is the ebb of city life. ;)

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Off Gare de l'Est

19 Aug: We are a couple of days away from the full moon, and this is a significant one in the Chinese calendar. According to the Chinese custom, it marks the height of the Hungry Ghost Festival, and if I was still living with my grandparents, they’d be telling me right now not to stay out late so I won’t encounter any roaming spirit. But hey, I live in Paris, the sun doesn’t set in the early summer evening. I also don’t see various festival-associated offerings and rituals performed, so I don’t get spooked quite as much. Instead, I am out with my friends, and we’re all appreciative of just how big the moon seems tonight.

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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 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 27

Paris is greeted by sunshine, going into the second half of the year. Hurrah! Sure, there were intermittent clouds and grey sky this week, but blue is becoming prominent too. A massive dose of sunshine is also due our way in the coming days, so to “celebrate” I’ve been exploring around town a bit more than I have been in the past few weeks. We also hosted a couple of visitors early in the week so they were brought to just about all of the main sights possible within the time constraint.

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La Maison Rose

1 Jul: The village of Montmartre is undoubtedly busier than usual, but there are still quiet corners to be found. La Maison Rose (i.e. The Pink House) is located right around the corner from the Montmartre Museum and the last vineyard of Montmartre, and the streets nearby could easily take you away from the crowds. A few steps in and you’ll find yourself pretty much on your own, basking in the fact that you’re still in Paris but it feels far, far away from the madding crowd.

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Project 365 – Week 23

With a blink of an eye, we’re nearly half-way through the year. It feels like it should be summer already, but the weather is not showing signs of this sort, preferring to swing to and fro between a real scorcher of a day and a horribly wet one. Elsewhere, heavy rain had flooded numerous central European cities and towns, and those in the French Riviera were greeted by tornadoes! Sort of make me glad that we’re only dealing with either sunshine or rain in Paris.

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Hotel Belloy

3 Jun: The beauty of buildings in Paris often lies in lines and symmetry, but that doesn’t necessarily means something square or rectangular. Instead, they radiate in accordance to the layout of the streets. Paris doesn’t do organised repetitive blocks, which inevitably means a large number of apartments come with irregular shapes and could render them quite tricky to decorate on the interior or to maximise whatever little space there is in an apartment. Small hotels would have an even tougher time trying to fit, say, an ensuite bathroom in…

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Project 365 – Week 18

What a day today has been. The emotional rollercoaster evoked by the general election in Malaysia, which undermined the true spirit of fair and clean election, was followed by the disenchantment that the popular vote didn’t translate into electoral win (because, you know, when the margin is small and one does 5 recounts to include “forgotten” ballot papers, one suddenly wins and that’s the end of recount!). Malaysians deserve more than polarising rhetorics from the ruling party, race-based politics, vigilantism against phantom voters, and bald faced lies propagated through the government-controlled media… :(

On the positive side, voters are more aware of their rights and more politically involved than ever – in the past, many didn’t even care because they felt change was a hopeless quest. They know better now. Their voices will be heard louder in the coming years. For now, time to look onward and upward.

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Column sculpture

29 Apr: There are many sculptures tucked within the Jardin des Tuileries and it seems I’m still discovering new ones each time I popped over for a stroll. Today’s find is one simply entitled Column, by Antony Cragg. Tucked just behind the Jeu de Paume, had I not been at the WHSmith to look for books and then decided to take a small walk, I may still not be aware of its existence!

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Project 365 – Week 7

I have just realised, while I’m keeping up with this photo project, I am falling behind with my reading. A whooping seven weeks into the year and I’ve just finished my third English book, never mind none in French yet. And rather frantically, I haven’t been able to find my public library card either. A spring cleaning is seriously needed because I’m hoping to make this year the one where I make full use of the libraries around Paris instead of buying more books when I have no space to store them.

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Winter sunset

11 Feb: Frédéric often tells me how much he loves the winter sky, specifically the softer colour hue at the end of a fine day. This evening was one of those where you couldn’t take your eyes off the horizon, where shades of colours blended into one harmonious palate. I wasn’t the only one who stood rooted at a spot looking up – a number of people on my Twitter were excitingly sharing their photos of this beautiful evening.

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Paris sous la neige

Overnight, Paris underwent a most magnificent transformation.

I got up really early this morning, put on layers of clothes and headed out when it was still dark outside. The plan was to get to a couple of spots within the city where snow would not be cleared away too quickly, and while they were tourist-free. I should have a good couple of hours to try to grab some photos of a Parisian winter wonderland.

January snow in Paris

January snow in Paris

January snow in Paris

January snow in Paris

January snow in Paris

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Project 365 – Week 2

This has been a tough week to be motivated to go out and play photographer. For the most part of the week, I was battling a horrible cold and cough (which includes a couple of “home arrest” days to try to get better) while staring out the window at what looked like the most dull weather for the longest time.

At the rate things are going, I may have to do something drastic, like buying new dresses and scarves in multiple bright colours? Anyway, without further ado, here are the photos of this week.

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Galettes des rois

7 Jan: Truth be told – I completely forgot about Project 365 today, but by mere coincidence, I have one photo in my camera and two in my smartphone – all of the same thing: galette des rois. I’m sure you don’t need me to go into details as to why would I possibly want to take so many photos of galette des rois… Even then, my mind was not on task, thus capturing mere out of focus images. I was eager to put down the cameras and eat!

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Day 355: Fairylights and stars

It seems I’ve been heading towards the food hall of La Grande Épicerie a little too often in the last week or so (these lights are those outside of Le Bon Marché, the mothership of above-mentioned food hall) and I couldn’t help it. There are so much goodies to be had that if it’s not for the price tag, I could see myself shopping here regularly. Good thing I can’t afford them that much on a day-to-day basis.

However, for the festive season, it’s a good place to hit to find all sorts of delicious treats that makes fantastic edible gifts. I’ve pretty much shop for most of my presents for my family and friends here, apart from some caramels and chocolates from either Pierre Hermé or Jacques Genin. Last week, my housemate had to pull me away from the shelves, so today, I went alone, mouahahaha.

Ps: in fairness, there shouldn’t be any complain re my shopping tonight since it was mainly for items for our Christmas dinner ;)

Day 344: Golden Invalides

With the recent move, I needed to look for the closest market(s) to me where I can do my regular fruits and vegetable shopping. One of them being the Breteuil-Saxe market that’s held every Thursday and Saturday, at the tip of the (imaginary) axes where Champ de Mars and Les Invalides meet in southward direction.

It does mean the setting is simply idyllic on a morning like today, where golden ray bounces of the dome of Les Invalides while on the other hand, one could shop while admiring Eiffel Tower at the same time. If this is not one of the ways to celebrate the fabulous life of a Parisien(ne), I don’t know what else it could be. Especially for one who loves food. And I’m doubly pleased that my vegetable producer from my old regular market also sets up stall at this one. He was certainly surprised to see me here this morning!

Day 307: Pont Alexandre III

It seems the end of daylight savings is going to be very challenging for me from now on, at least for the next two months, in getting decent photos for Project 365. And you may be getting a lot of night shots too, which means I really would need to learn how to use and optimise the camera for low-light conditions and start carrying a baby tripod with me everywhere. It’s not the same now compared to earlier in the year, when my movement was not constrained by working hours.

My attempt today was tricky at best. It was slightly drizzly and I have forgotten my tripod. Still, moving on, I took myself towards Invalides and decided it could be nice to try to photograph Pont Alexandre III by night, in the direction of the Grand Palais. As I stood there, the drizzle became progressively heavier but I played on with various settings. I had to pack up when it started to pour. I thought I managed a decent shot but I’m still not particularly happy with this one because it’s not as “crisp” as I’d like it to be.

Day 302: Montmartre spying continues

Remember my recent greedy/wild photography mission? Here’s a new shot of Montmartre and Sacré-Cœur, and today the view point is none other than the newly-opened 5th floor gallery of Musée d’Orsay! After a week of strike action by the staff of the museum, it finally reopened on Thursday and I made good use of my MuséO card to gain entrance for a look at the new gallery.

From this shot, in the foreground, you can see Jardin des Tuileries in full autumn glory and the adjacent buildings of rue de Rivoli. But note the tiny golden statue at the left hand side, just peeking above the roofs. I’ve tried magnifying the photo to check, but couldn’t quite make it out. I’m deducing one of the golden sculptures above Opéra Garnier, but I can’t be absolutely certain. There’s something odd that makes me doubt this deduction. It needs further confirmation.

Day 195: Fireworks of 14 Juillet

Despite being a frequent visitors to Paris (and France) in the past, I have actually never been here before for La Fête Nationale. We don’t call it Bastille Day here and in fact it may even confuses the French – “c’est quoi, le Bastille Day?” So, my first celebration, and although I skipped the military parade in the morning, I was at Champ de Mars (with a few thousand others) to enjoy the fireworks in the evening.

My friends and I got there early to bag ourselves a sweet spot at the feet of the equestrian sculpture of Marechal Joffre, having a spot of picnic and chit chatting while enjoying a pretty decent free concert prior to the start of the fireworks. As the sky got darker, the Eiffel Tower started lighting up while I played with a few settings on my camera, capturing something like above, which I thought was really cool. The fireworks finally began just after 10pm, and for about 40 minutes, we were treated to a visual feast of bangs and sparkles, dancing to the songs of Broadway Musicals. Two words – über impressive!

(For additional photos, see here)

Day 175: Ah la la…

“Ah la la” is definitely phrase of the day.

The temperature is set to soar this weekend from low 20°C to some 32-35°C. It will then stay so for 2-3 days before another massive plummet back to around mid-20s °C. Insane? Just the thought of it… and I’ve been told by friends that Paris would easily feel like a city-wide sauna during the heatwave.

I’ve also been warned that travelling by public transport that’s packed would be equivalent to cramming oneself into a pre-heated oven. It would be better if I would consider alternative displacement methods, such as by foot or by bike (the Velib’). This is when I am glad that I have taken up an annual Velib’ subscription. Now, I just need to be brave enough to cycle with all the traffic around!

Day 127: Sculptures of Miró

I <3 Miró. I first fell in love with him when I was in London, standing in one of the many rooms of Tate Modern, gazing at Message d’ami (Message from a friend). I was immediately smitten. What started as an attempt to get acquainted with modern art (I used to be a tad scathing about modern art movement) became a day of exploration and unspoken connection. That day, I learned a true lesson in the beauty of keeping an open mind and giving things a try. At least once.

At Musée Maillol, an exhibition of Miró’s sculptures is currently taking place and it is so good to see the familiar elements of his paintings also reflected in the sculptures. The one thing missing is the bold colour blocks, given most of the sculptures were casted in bronze and not cured in any other way. I miss those vibrant colours. There are a couple of coloured preparatory sketches in exhibition, along with 2-3 paintings proper, but that’s too few for my liking.

In writing this blog post, I discovered that another Miró exhibition is currently running in Tate Modern, which assembles paintings from public and private collection (what a coup!). I need to now find some free time to Eurostar myself over to London. Oh where in my calendar can I fit this in…?

Day 90: La Tour Eiffel

Start of week 4 since the big move, and I still haven’t posted any photo of famous Parisian landmark, so this evening, after work, I took some time to traverse west of the city in order to grab a photo of the infamous La Tour Eiffel by night. It was a rather impromptu decision, so I don’t have my mini tripod with me to help steady the shot. This turned out reasonably well but the sparkly version, not so great.

I took the bus to cross the city and it makes sense – no métro changes plus I get to see the view above ground. The 7th arrondissement used to be sort of my “home” ground in Paris, and as we passed some of the more familiar streets, I started to feel all very nostalgic of the neighbourhood. I should try to come back more often, and find time to get to Champs-Elysées somehow. I may have been travelling in and out of the city (and now all moved here) but it has been a very long time since I was at the stylish thoroughfare. 2-3 years perhaps?

Day 78: This is strike country

Weekend numero deux in Paris and it is a cooooold Saturday despite the sunny blue sky. This morning, I conquered the communal laundry machine and dryer (yay) with the help of my neighbour and I am also all set for a weekend at the museums, thanks to Chloé’s mum who furnished us with a Télérama pass which entitles free entry (for up to 4 person) to selected museums both today and tomorrow.

But first thing first – la manif. Purportedly one of French’s favourite pastimes (apart from la grève), the educators are on the demonstration path this time round, starting from Luxembourg. When I went past, they were just getting themselves organised, with brightly coloured balloons, gigantic banners, oversized puppets, and photographers are swarming the place, amateurs (like me) and professionals alike.

I didn’t stay around. Instead I was away to the Musée du Quai Branly and Musée d’Art Moderne, near the neighbourhood of the Eiffel Tower. I know, I know, I haven’t yet taken a single photograph of that iconic Parisian structure since I got here. It’ll come, at some stage. Just not today. Stories of the museums to come separately when I have a bit more time to write. Plenty of accompanying photos as well. ;)


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