Monday, April 29, 2013

City Windows...Paris

I love the many ways the French get creative
about dressing up their street-level windows.

Big city living can be a challenge
and when there's not much of a balcony for greenery, 

or a way to keep peering eyes from the street level out,
they use what they can. 

A little window box goes a long way
when the soul needs transport. 

And then, of course, there are the upper level window boxes... 

And everywhere you look, beauty upon beauty. 
So many windows, so little time! 

(Photos copyright: Kirsten Steen)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Guest Blogging at Relyn's today

I am guest blogging over at the lovely Relyn's blog today
about my passion for Paris! 

Please stop by and visit. 
Relyn, besides being a fabulous human,
is an inspiring teacher, a passionate photographer and mother
and a world class list maker! 

(Photo copyright: Kirsten Steen)  

Monday, April 22, 2013

Rue du Dragon

I loved this shot!
And this little beauty is found at the corner of Rue de Grenelle and Rue du Dragon
just off Rue de Sevres in the 6th. 
(Or just up Rue du Dragon from Blvd. St. Germain in case you've filled up at-- 
or taken the obligatory peek in-- Les Deux Magots or Cafe de Flore.)

One of the things I love about walking in Paris:
these little finds are everywhere! 

I'll be guest blogging later this week about my passion for Paris.
I'll let you know where and when. 
In the meantime, 
bonne journee et a tout a l'heure. 

(Photo copyright: Kirsten Steen)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Jean Paul Sartre- D. April 15, 1980

Besides being 'Tax Day', 
and now and forever the day of the Boston Marathon bombing,
it is also the anniversary of the death of Jean Paul Sartre
in 1980 at the age of 74. 

A French existentialist philosopher, writer and activist,
(born June 21st, 1905)
he is known for so many different literary, political and philosophical works,
I won't even try to name them all. 

What I did not know about him
(and one of the things I love about blogging--the learning aspect)
is that in his early years, he was a serious prankster.
And in later life, an anarchist. 

In 1927, he and some of his school friends
set up a media prank involving Charles Lindbergh's name
after his famous New York-Paris flight.
Newspapers carried the word that Lindbergh was to be awarded an honorary degree
from Sartre's Ecole Normale.
Thousands of spectators, including the media, flocked to witness history,
only to learn later they were fooled by 
a Lindbergh look-alike. 

Two years later, Sartre met the woman who would become his lifelong partner,
Simone de Beauvoir.
 Their list of lovers is a rather sordid tale
including another tidbit I didn't know: that of de Beauvoir losing her teaching license for seducing, and sharing, students with Sartre.
She turned down Sartre's proposals of marriage on more than one occasion. 
And died April 14th, 1986. 
It is here,
 at the Cimetiere de Montparnasse, 
that they lie together for eternity. 

(Photos copyright: Kirsten Steen)
Merci, Wikipedia!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Les Francais Miserables?

Depressed? Paranoid? Suicidal?
Ok, I knew they were whiners,
complainers about EVERYTHING. 
But how is it possible that with such INSPIRATIONAL ARCHITECTURE,

such gastronomic LUSCIOUSNESS,

such BEAUTY, 


MACARONS for heaven's sake,

and LADUREE...

and of course one must also mention the 
short work weeks, universal health care, five+ weeks of vacation,
cheese, red wine, Sauterne and foie gras
and on and on and on...
How is it possible that the French are considered 
the most depressed country
in all of Europe?

A recent study has shown that, even with the best of everything,
the French are the most unhappy, distrustful, depressed people.

Apparently the highest suicide rate in Europe, 
the highest number of anti-depressants eaten like bon bons,
according to a report by Claudia Senik of the Paris School of Economics, 
  is due to a lifetime of training that begins with primary school. 
Harshly critical teachers and heavy competition early on
create an atmosphere of low self-esteem, pessimism and distrust 
that lasts throughout their lives. 
Encouragement, praise and general cheerfulness are frowned upon
leaving an entire culture with a feeling of mediocrity and insignificance.  

And all this time, 
I thought their highly vocalized distaste for every other culture on the planet
was a national feeling of superiority.
But as usual, it's not really about us.
It's about them. 

Next time you see a French person on the street,
give them a warm smile 
(and disregard the scowl.) 
Apparently, they need it. 

To read more on the subject, 
go to Sophie Pilgrim's blog.

(Photos copyright: Kirsten Steen)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Paris Pop Ups

A friend recently told me about a new Pop Up restaurant
 in Paris just near the base of the Eiffel Tower called 180,
so named because it will be open only 180 days. 

Pop Up Eateries are the newest craze in Paris
with chefs, new or seasoned, finding short-term spaces for limited-time-only meals
set in whatever works: warehouses, former restaurants, someone's apartment. 

Some chefs are looking to build their culinary career or reputation
while young chefs may want to curb the high cost of opening a traditional restaurant.
Others are simply looking to expand their creativity and innovation,
offering a gourmet yet affordable dining experience.

A few even hope to take the craze outside of Paris
with package deals which will include train tickets, accommodations 
and a Meet the Chef or Winemaker evening.

180 is located on the 10th floor of the Pullman Hotel 
with a rare restaurant view of the Eiffel Tower. 
To see some some great photos of the view, 
click HERE.

For an even more hip dining experience in Paris, try
Pullman Hotel, 10th Floor
22, rue Jean Rey, 15th Arrondissemtent
Nightly: 6pm-2am
Until July 7, 2013

(Photo copyright: Kirsten Steen)