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Striking farmers march from Paris's place de la Republique to Nation on April 27, 2010

Never mind drag racing, tractor racing down boulevard Voltaire in Paris’s 11th arrondissement is the new hottest sport! I’ve never seen tractors reach such speeds and careen down a boulevard like sports cars. These French farmers, as unhappy as they are vis-a-vis French and EU policy towards agriculture, are certainly having the time of their lives honking their horns, launching fireworks, and racing their tractors.

With the slogan “Sarkozy! L’agriculture doit-elle payer le prix?” – Sarkozy! Must agriculture pay the price? plastered on each monster tractor, the strike protests the drop in farmer’s salaries and the uncertainty of their future regarding EU regulation on agriculture. No less than 1,300 tractors and 5,000 farmers are currently marching defiantly down my street to protest their rights in what is a collapsing agricultural market…fireworks, whistles, sirens and all.

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A far cry from documentary photography, the photo exhibition presented by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France entitled “Rose, c’est Paris,” by Bettina Rheims and Serge Bramly, is an erotic black and white surrealist fantasy. Taking place across the patchwork landscape of Paris – Montmartre, Palais de Justice, the Observatory – one follows the fictional search of “B.” a blond bombshell trying to uncover the wherabouts of her twin sister Rose.

"Rose, c’est Paris. Joyau de l’art gothique." © Bettina Rheims. Courtesy Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris

Bramly’s narrative is spun throughout four short intriguing movie segments which present a series of small enigmatic theories regarding what happened to Rose – kidnapping, victim of a conspiracy, an affair gone wrong – each providing a context for the mysterious and often haunted photos of Ms. Rheims. B. encounters the likes of a volutoptous Monica Belucci, a stoic and almost frumpy Charlotte Rampling, a haughty Valerie Lemercier and an Ines Sastre as hindu dancer…characters that also represent the intimate circle of friends of Rheims and Bramly.

B. and the ghost of Rose appear more often naked than clothed,  and a provocative nudity abounds in these edgy photos…enough to redden the cheeks. Yet despite its weird and blatant display of female sexuality, there is a certain  preservation of the classical beauty of the naked female form. The body seems to always remain the center focus of the photos, drawing the viewer in with its milky white contrast to the gray and black shadows of Paris.

"Rose, c’est Paris. Joyau de l’art gothique." © Bettina Rheims. Courtesy Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris

There is also an unmistakable harkening to Marcel Duchamp, a French Dadaist of the early 1900’s, with it’s title “Rose, c’est Paris,” and Duchamp’s fictive character Rrose Selavy (Rose c’est la vie). One photo exclusively mentions the artist in its title while displaying the ghost of Rose or B. languidly lying amonst the most banal utillitarian objects found in a warehouse such as lightbulbs, electric cords, and planks of wood.

However more subtly is Rheims photograph of a nude woman stopping the timer as she wins a chess game against a man looking suspiciously a lot like Mr. Duchamp in a photo he posed in for photographer Julian Wasser.

Photograph of Marcel Duchamp and Eve Babitz posing for the photographer Julian Wasser during the Duchamp retrospective at the Pasadena Museum of Art, 1963

The mystery, the audacity, the creativity, and the intrigue  of Rheims and Bramly’s photography trump the daily grind and bustle of Paris and revive the capital as a place full of questions and curiosities that have no answers, a sensual city that is not without its cruelness, and moreover a place that nourishes and inspires the artist’s soul.

Practical Information:

Rose, c’est Paris

Richelieu (Metro Bourse)

Tuesday-Saturday from 10h to 19h

Sunday from 12h-19h

Adult 7 euros

Under 26, 5 euros

 

http://www.bnf.fr/fr/evenements_et_culture/calendrier_expositions/f.rose_cest_paris.html

Maje Stock

Maje Stock

For those of you who have great taste, but usually have to settle for some good ole leche vitrine (translated directly as window licking…love that so much better than window shopping) at some of Paris’s trendiest boutiques, fret no more…

Spread out across Paris lie the outlet versions of Maje, Sandro, Zadig & Voltaire, and many many more. The collections offered are usually fin serie (leftover stock from the previous season) but can also be current collections. The ideal time to go is when new stock is delivered, so I have indicated the dates that I know, and will put the rest for the others as soon as I get it.

I have found some major steals, and usually have no regrets. The thing to be aware of is that at some places, trying clothing on is not encouraged, and changing rooms are not even provided. Be sure to wear something that you can try clothes over, a dress with tights for example works well as you can try jeans over the tights.

— And need I mention that shopping at these places during the soldes is even more exciting?   Happy Shopping!!!

Maje Outlet Location 1: Deliveries are made on Wednesdays and Fridays

4 rue de Marseille

75010 Paris

Open from 11am to 8pm Tuesdays through Saturday

and 1pm to 7pm on Mondays and Sundays

Maje Outlet Location 2:

Avenue Général Leclerc, next to the Minelli store, exact number unknown. It resembles a small garage

Metro: Mouton-Duvernet

Note: Tags are often ripped, and the ladies working the place are MEAN. Don’t be discouraged though, it is worth the look in a case you find a real gem!

Sandro Outlet Location: Deliveries are made on Mondays and Fridays.

26 rue de Sévigné

75004 Paris

Open from 10:30am to 7pm Tuesday through Saturday

and 1pm to 7:30pm on Sundays

Stock Sandro

Sandro Stock

Zadig and Voltaire Outlet: Deliveries made on average every 10 days.

22 rue Bourg Tibourg

75004 Paris

Chloe Outlet:

5-7 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud

75011 Paris

Metro: Oberkampf

Note: They have bags, clothes, jeans, and SHOES. Shoes are probably the best deal, the rest can still be pricey.

Sweet Paris

Parisien pastries

Tucked away on tiny sides streets in Paris’s Marais district, or inhabiting unassuming street corners, the art of French pastry remains as elusive to local Parisians as it does to visiting tourists. A truly delectable millefeuille, with its layers of finely whipped cream and pastry, or the perfect macaroon, with its velvety innards and delicate crunchy outer shell, will not be found at just any run of the mill boulangerie.

However satisfying your sweet tooth with some of the most elegant, creative, delicious, and inspiring desserts in the City of Lights has just gotten easier. “Sweet Paris,” or “Paris tout Sucre,” is the first iPhone application guide to hit the Apple App store, presenting the most exquisite patisseries and chocolatiers in Paris. Created by web developer Peter Luebken, Sweet Paris was conceived after Luebken moved to Paris and was taken by the gorgeous yet mouth-watering displays of small patisseries in his local arrondissement.

“One of the first things I learned after moving to Paris is that people are really passionate about food. As a sweet lover myself, it took a lot of trying to find the shops in my neighborhood which are above average and really exceptional. As I couldn’t find an app facilitating the search, I started collecting information on the best patisseries/chocolatiers first for my arrondissement, and then for all of Paris – and I have to say it was one of the sweetest undertaking ever.”

Sweet paris screenshots combined

View of application and its mapping device

Search “Sweet Paris” in Apple’s App Store to download it.

Boutique Voy, Canal St. Martin

Boutique Voy, Canal St. Martin

The sweet smells of baking brioche and cream filled confections that flirt with passerbys on the streets of Paris may lead one to believe that this city, with its mouthwatering pastry displays, is indeed an organic health nut’s nightmare.

However, after one butter-filled croissant too many, the search to find tantalizing treats enriched with vitamins and organic pure goodness was on. Located on a small street branching off from Canal Saint-Martin, Voy Alimento has just opened for a Sunday brunch, serving a unforgettable meal that keeps you buzzing all day long.

Boutique Voy, Canal St Martin

Display at Boutique Voy

A boutique, juice bar, and now restaurant in one, Voy is an Ali Baba’s cave of Amazonian power foods that come straight from the rainforest and towering Andes. One can find a delicious raw chocolate bar enhanced with spices and sweetened with agave, or great smoothie additives such as guarana, spirulina, and stevia.

Pascal, the staff chef and nutritionist, is always to eager explain the secrets these unusual foods possess as he cooks before your eyes. Serving everything from a potent hot chocolate called Xocolatl, based on an ancient Aztec recipe, to purple corn pancakes packed with antioxidants, this is a must try for any granola seeking a pain au chocolat substitute.

Voy Alimento

23 rue des vinaigriers

75010 Paris

Tel: 01 42 01 03 44

Voy stands can be found at two organic markets in Paris; one on Saturday morning on Boulevard des Batignolles (metro Rome) or another on Sunday morning on Boulevard Raspail (metro Rennes).

La Grisette de 1830, by J.B. Descomps

Her statue is petite, coquette, and well grey as her name belies. At the tip of a modest park, in the shadow of Place de la Republique,  “La Grisette” piqued my interest several times as I explored my surroundings in the 11eme  and 10eme arrondissement of Paris. Intrigued, I discovered a “grisette” to be an 1800s independent working class woman with intellectual aspirations, a dash of flirtaciousness, and a penchant for art and culture. Feeling a kinship with this modest (if you leave out her allusions to prostitution) and adventurous bohemian, I  decided to finally take up a blog in her name and live Paris with her spirit.

With this in mind, welcome to a young american expat’s world in Paris. I intend to provide my readers with reports of my dandy-isms throughout Paris and elsewhere, my explorations in Parisien fashion, culture, and gastronomie…and well, the occasional political rant. A grisette indulges as she pleases…

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