August 29, 2007

Meeting the French

Yesterday I signed up for a tour and talk by a jewellry designer and artist in the 12th arrondisement in the program called “Meet the Parisians at work“. The idea is that you get out and meet the locals, learn a little about what they do or what they’re passionate about and discover new neighbourhoods etc. It’s a great idea. I went along to my meet, not really knowing what to expect, and when I got there found that I was the only one who had signed up. It was a bit disappointing at first but after about 2 minutes I realised how lucky I was. I learnt all about the forgotten history of the Berber people by my guide who paints and designs jewellry and bags and lamps and more using the Berber phonetic language that has disappeared through the ages, merged first into the Roman empire and christianity and next by the Arabs and Islam. It was extremely interesting, not exactly what I expected, but a great way to spend a Tuesday afternoon in Paris.

Friday morning I’m going to go and learn how to make chocolate or marrons glacés…

filles at 8:44 am

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August 23, 2007

Wet weather reading…

I started the Frederick Forsyth novel ‘The Afghan’ today while it was rhythmically pissing down with rain outside. Somehow we skipped summer this year. Fabulous spring, next to no summer and here we are at the END of fall already, time to change the duvet to the full strength already. It’s a lot like Glasgow weather actually, maybe it’s following us about?

Anyway, I started my book that I picked up for half price at the WH Smith at the Eurostar terminal, and then, because it just rained and rained and rained, I finished it.

I even learn’t something interesting from the fiction… did you know that ‘talib’ means student and ‘taliban’ is the plural? A fountain of information, and very entertaining to boot and I hadn’t even heard of it before now despite the claim slashed across the cover of it being “The new international bestseller”.

And now I’m late, I’m meeting some friends on the rue Montmartre for an apperitif…

filles at 8:03 pm

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August 20, 2007

Global Cities

We saw a fab exhibition at the Tate Modern on Sunday “Global Cities“. The introduction states that more than 50% of us now live in cities and, according to the UN, this number is set to rise to 75% by 2050. A century ago only 10% of the planet’s population lived in cities.

The exhibition attempts to encourage us to take account of the scale and pace of this change and consider its consequences on the way we live and the decisions we take. It examines the social and spatial conditions in ten large, dynamic cities spread across the globe: Cairo, Istanbul, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Tokyo. Cities are changing. There are now over 20 mega-city regions with more than ten million people. There are also nearly 450 city regions with over one million residents. Together they house more than one billion people in a relatively small surface of the earth. This footprint, as you can imagine, will have a direct impact on climate change and the ecological balance of the planet.

The figures are amazing. The exhibition was amazing. If you can, get down to see it – it finishes August 27th, Tate Modern London. I have a couple of copies of the exhibition in booklet form if anyone’s interested I can send one to you…

filles at 4:34 pm

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August 17, 2007

the football team (minus 1)

Dan and the girls have left today, returning to Courcelles. We had a great time with them both in Paris and on our jaunt around Normandy and Brittany. One of our not so brilliant ideas was to visit the Mont St Michel on the weekend of the 15 August. Busiest time of year, it took 2 hours to get out of the parking lot at 7pm!
The family
We’re off to London at 6.30am tomorrow, for our birthday weekend gift….

filles at 6:04 pm

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August 11, 2007


Paris is empty. It’s only tourists flowing through it’s streets at the moment. Most of the good restaurants have gone on vacation, same for the boulangeries, florists, and cafes. The few residents left commiserate together as they queue up for bread at the only bakery still open on our street…

So today, we do as the Parisians do, we’re heading out of Paris, up north to discover Normandy and Brittany with Michelle’s brother Daniel and his family who have been visiting over the last few days. We’ve got a hectic itinerary, Rouen, Honfleur, Granville, Mont St Michel, St Malo, Dinan and Rennes – sprinkled with tourist drives, hill walks, bird sanctuary tours, cathedrals and castles. 6 in a mini-bus. It’s going to be fun!

filles at 8:43 am

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August 7, 2007

2 days of sunshine

We stopped to see this photo exhibition on our gentle stroll around the Marais on Saturday afternoon before taking the outdoor escalators and having a glass of rose on the terrace of Restaurant Georges (you can drag the cursor to see the view) at the top of the George Pompidou centre with a view out over the city of Paris. Magnificent. Another one of those moments when you have to pinch yourself, we actually live here in this city…

filles at 8:37 am

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August 4, 2007

Sooooo nice!

We’re surrounded by people who are “sooo nice!”. I’m getting sick of saying it. “They are so nice”, “you have to meet our friends, they are soooo nice”, “such lovely people, soooo nice”, “really, really nice”. It hasn’t just started, we noticed it first in Glasgow, but it’s definitely happening more and more. The more people we meet, the more we say it. Michelle and I were talking this morning about what a nice evening we had last night at a surprise party in the 14th. We took along an aussie couple, who are really, really nice, to meet a french couple who we went away with to Italy, who are really, really nice and on top of that they met a cast of french characters who were all, yep you guessed, “soooo nice!”.

From now on we’ve decided, the rule is: everyone is really, really nice. We’re going to try and stop saying “soooo nice” because it’s starting to sound like we actually believe most people are not really, really nice, which is in fact as we’ve discovered, not actually the norm! So, unless we find people start contradicting the rule and aren’t conforming to our norm… assume everyone I mention hereinafter is (for one last time) soooo nice!

filles at 10:23 am

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