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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 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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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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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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Day 350: Cultural station – (Headless) Ryaba la Poule

It’s time for a new instalment of cultural station, don’t you think? I happened to be on my way to Madeleine today so instead of taking a bus like I normally would, I took the metro instead so I can photograph this panel of stained glass of Ryaba la poule (Ryaba the hen) by Ivan Loubennikov. Unfortunately, in my hurry (I needed to make it for my tango lesson across town), I didn’t notice that poor Ryaba is now headless, oops.

This is the story of Ryaba as inscribed next to the mural:

Il était une fois un vieil homme et sa femme
Ils avaient une petite poule du nom de Ryaba
Un jour elle pondit un œuf extraordinaire : tout en or !
Le vieil homme tenta de le casser : toc toc ! : rien à faire !
Sa femme tenta de le casser : toc toc ! : rien à faire !
Une petite souris qui passait par là fit tomber l’œuf et le brisa
Le vieil homme se mit à pleurer. Sa femme aussi
Alors la petite poule leur dit : ne pleure pas grand père
Ne pleure pas grand-mère
J’en pondrai un à nouveau, mais pas en or…

My attempt at translating this:

Once upon a time there was an old man and his wife
Who had a little hen called Ryaba
One day it lays an extraordinary egg: it’s all in gold!
The old man tried to break it: toc toc!: nothing happened!
His wife tried to break it: toc toc!: nothing happened!
A little mouse in passing knocked the egg down and broke it
The old man began to cry. His wife too
And so the little hen said to them: do not cry grandfather
Do not cry grandmother
I will lay another, but not in gold…

Ps: spot the egg which is reportedly 80kg in weight!

Day 337: Maison de l’Alsace

I am all moved out from Cité U now. The morning was a bit rough, seeing I’m currently a little ill (I have a cold, boo), there was all the packing to do yesterday (how did I accummulate so much things over a mere few months?) and this morning, the big guy up there decided to send me off with ongoing drizzles. Nice. And now there’s also all the unpacking to do too…

Still, it doesn’t mean a girl can’t take a little break and head out for some fresh air. From the new place, I now even have direct buses that goes to Champs-Élysées – perfect for a little photo excursion in continuation of the Christmas theme. Today, I present to you, Maison de l’Alsace, which looks quite like a Christmas present waiting to be unwrapped. Accordingly, if I join the queue to get to the second floor, I will find lots and lots of Alsacian goodies. Hmmm kugelhopf…

Day 335: (Fake) snow day

Ah reader dear, I’m afraid you’re going to be stucked with plenty of Christmas related photos for this month, for they are now probably the most exciting things in town when the weather is otherwise a bit chilly, the sky grey and the days getting shorter and shorter still. You want light? You get Christmassy. And there’s nowhere more Christmassy than Champs-Élysées at the moment.

But it’s not just the street lighting that’s getting all the attention. Shops too are getting innovative to attract attention so more shoppers would hop in along to check out their merchandises. I think This is at Zara (sorry I wasn’t paying too much attention) Morgan and I love how the mannequins are inside a large polymer balloon are in constant swirl of fake snow. It looks like a very good Christmas party that I’d like to take part in, especially if there are dancing involved. ;)

Day 334: Lights of Champs-Élysées

It has been a week since Christmas lightings were up at Champs-Élysées. I have passed them by in the mean time, and I must say I am still not too convinced with this year’s idea of festive street lighting on this famous Parisian thoroughfare. They are rings of lights that changes colour, that’s all. I feel like I’ve been transported into a wrong futuristic movie or something. I’d like the traditional fairylights back, pretty please.

In any case, there is a good reason for me to venture deep into Champs-Élysées today – to check out the newly opened Marks and Spencer, in particular, the food hall! After a decade of absence, M&S is back and it appears they are rather popular. There’s a queue to get in, and once inside, there’s another queue for the food hall. The food hall itself is small, consists of a single aisle with two rows of shelves on either side. Ah I had so much hope for finding things that I’ve been missing but alas, it’s not quite available here just yet.

Day 325: Glühwein

No, I haven’t got a chance to get a taste of this season’s first mulled wine yet, but I will, soon. When I’m not quite as tired as I am at the moment (no thanks to a bizarre sleeping pattern that I couldn’t explain) then perhaps I can get more into the spirits of winter celebration and go all out!

I was passing the Christmas market on Champs-Élysées quickly this evening. It is a little chilly out, so the queue for the mulled wine was not inconsiderable, given this is only a Monday evening. It’s a pity though this stall only sell the wine in Styrofoam cups. It would have been nice to get them in ceramic mugs (great hands-warmer), even if it costs a bit more. The cup can then be kept as souvenirs. That’ll be what I call a strategy from Selling 101.

Day 321: La Grande Roue

Christmas is in the air :D

Last weekend, the cabins for Christmas market were being put in place along the east end of avenue des Champs-Élysées. At the same time, city workers on mini cranes were busy hanging up light fixtures to decorate the trees lining side by side to the cabins. With the temperature dialing in low at 2-4 °C, there is a certain excitement for the winter celebration to come.

Today, a mere few days later, I am seeing a huge Ferris wheel sitting prettily on Place de la Concorde. That caught me by surprised. For some reason, I had it in my head that the Ferris wheel is usually not erected until December, and it’ll be there for about 4-5 weeks. Guess I’m wrong. It’s there now, and they’ll start operating tomorrow until 19 February 2012. A whooping 3 months instead of about one!

The Christmas market at Champs-Élysées itself will be following suit on Saturday 19th, through to 2 January 2012. And for those looking forward to Christmas illuminations of Champs-Élysées in general, don’t forget, Audrey Tautou will be switching on the lights on Wednesday, 23 November, at 6.30pm, in front of l’Atelier Renault.


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