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A sunny February afternoon

My dad’s cousin was in town with a few friends, and they got lucky as the weather turned from grey and dreary to blue and sunny overnight. On their first afternoon, I took them on a long walk and to show off a good number of the city attractions. They probably wondered if I was trying to punish them though, given all the walking they did with me… (Disclaimer: I love exploring Paris by foot and I am also a pretty brisk walker)

This walk also rewarded me by way of photographs that I’d like to share with you. This is Paris, all set to charm and to seduce, that it is hard not to fall in love with it all over again. Then again, as a friend pointed our recently, even in rainy weather, Paris has a way to translate that into a poetic romance.

Luxembourg Gardens

Luxembourg Gardens

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Project 365 – Week 33

I’ve been working on a bit of a side project in recent weeks, and it’s taking me away from writing this blog as regularly as I’d like to. I don’t explore the city as much either, sticking mostly within my own neighbourhood. At the same time though, a neighbour in the building is doing some renovation work, and the constant drilling and hammering proved to be a nuisance and often breaking my concentration. If only my laptop is not one that requires attachment to the mains all the time, then I could head out somewhere new and work out there at the same time. Wouldn’t that be ideal?

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Lightshow at Disneyland

12 Aug: A couple of weeks ago, Chloé and I went to the Disneyland for a little bit of summer fun. However, the day was long and the heat was getting to us too. We skipped the closing lightshow and fireworks for another evening, i.e. this evening! It was a magnificent show, synchronised to the many catchy tunes, featuring well-loved Disney characters. If only they would start the show a little earlier… Pretty much everyone was good to watch the show by 10.15pm, 10.30pm, even 10.45pm, but no, they held off until 11.00pm. It was starting to get chilly without the warmth of the sun, you know.

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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 22

Paris constantly surprises me. Streets that I use on regular basis still contain unknown elements, waiting to be discovered. Double-takes on my part become something I look forward to and I am also gradually more observant, provided I’m not in a hurry or lost in my own little world. I should start exploring them by foot instead of flashing past them on a bike or on the bus.

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Fontaine des Innocents

27 May: In the past, the royal procession of a newly-crowned King of France would enter the city on a route that includes rue St Denis and passing by Châtelet to get to the Palais de la Cité (today used as Palais de Justice). Commemorative monuments (most of them on temporary basis) would be erected along the route and the Fontaine des Innocents was among those erected to welcome the royal entry of King Henry II. Back then, the “fountain” was not free-standing but built against the wall of the former Holy Innocents’ Cemetery (hence the name), with taps to provide water to the citizens of Paris. The “windows” were actually part of the viewing balcony! It was moved to its current location in mid-1800.

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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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Springtime in Paris

Paris, at its heart, is a walking city. It is not very big, approximately 105km² in size (for comparison, London is about 1500km²), and there are many lovely small streets and hidden gardens to explore by foot.

Promenade plantée

Now that the weather has been rather pleasant again after a very long winter, the amounts of time I’ve been spending walking across parks have also increased significantly. I’m also very lucky that Jardin du Luxembourg sits between home and work, so it’s not as if I’m taking massive detours!

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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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It snows in March!

It may says March on the calendar, and we’re a mere week away from official start of spring. However, the weather is anything but that. Between yesterday and today, the temperature plunged to sub-zero level, and in Paris, the snowfall easily measured a good few inches. Not as severe as the northern part of the country, where some places received over 60cm of snow!

As the buses were not running this morning and trying to take the métro would only complicate things for me – there’d be unnecessary distance to travel before changing line and the two lines, which are already normally among the busiest in Paris, would be completely crazy on a day like this when service was reduced and there were even more demand than usual. Besides, it was not a terribly long walk, and I got rewarded with pretty winter scenes to photograph.

Without further ado, snowy Paris in March over two-day period :) (Hover over images for caption)

Walking in the snow

Small lane covered in snow

Frozen icicles

Breakfast

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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 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 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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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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Day 299: L’Acteur grec

Now that autumn leaves are showing their colours, I could not resist going back to Jardin du Luxembourg, to this spot where I have in past love the view it afforded me, with colourful flower beds and the Phanthéon standing proudly in the background.

This sculpture represents a Greek actor in rehearsal, with the manuscript in his hand containing the lines that he ought to learn, and a mask that will disguise his true self once drawn over his face. I do wonder if it is a tragedy that he’s rehearsing for, or perhaps something more cheerful instead?

Day 297: Cœurs de nature en France

I have just got round to look at the photos currently on exhibition along the Jardin du Luxembourg. It started about 6 weeks ago, of which I was away for a good couple of them. Entitled Cœurs de nature en France, this exhibition will run in two waves – the first from 15 September to 4 December, and the second from 6 December to 15 January 2012.

The exhibition is showcasing some of the most spectacular photos of nature of France, be it within the l’Hexagone or the overseas territories. It makes me want to abandon my desk and head out to the natural parks and experience that piece of beauty myself, in person. Then I recall I am not that outdoors-y a person, and I won’t even have the right gear to be out there safely. Still, a girl can always fantasise. Or learn how to survive the great outdoors. ;)

Day 84: Faune dansant

There are statues and sculptures aplenty in Luxembourg Garden, including replica of the Statue of Liberty. Random information of the day: the Statue of Liberty is French by nationality, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and brought to life by Gustave Eiffel, who was assisted by Maurice Koechlin. The completed statue was disassembled and shipped in crates across the ocean before being reassembled – the latter took some six months for the erection to be completed.

Back to the sculpture above. Named “Faune dansant” (i.e. dancing faun), this sculpture of merriment and music can be found close to the site of the Medici Fountain in Luco. Despite the name, the depiction is really that of a satyr rather than a faun, which is half goat, half human. In mythology, satyrs are pipe-carrying and dance-loving creatures. Looking at this sculpture, I half expect woodwind tunes to fill the air, so I can close my eyes and twirl to the melody.

Day 81: Femmes Éternelles

From time to time, photo exhibitions are held along the fence of Jardin du Luxembourg. In conjunction with International Women’s Day a couple of weeks ago, the French Senate together with Olivier Martel brought forth “Femmes Éternelles”, an exhibition of 80 portraits of women from all over the world, with scenes from daily lives to ceremonial events. I have been over to look at them a number of times at this stage. What can I say? I really like them.

One particular photo that touched me most is that of mother and child in hospital, taken in 1987. The baby was living inside a bubble and yet laughing so joyously, a look reflected in the mother’s visage, despite what must have been poignant that she could not yet held her baby close to her without the barrier but keeping her morale high that this would be the good start the child needed. It is a powerful image, even if not as colourful or exotic as other shots of the series.

The exhibition runs until 15 June 2011, and if you can’t make it to Paris between now and then, you can still enjoy the photos from Martel’s website. Which photo inspires you most?


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