Saturday, November 28, 2009

French Stereotypes

I've lived here for four years and have found many of the French stereotypes to be at least somewhat true. I guess like most things, there is a grain of truth to be found in the continuing existence of some stereotypes. For example, most French people do drink a lot of wine, though usually not at once; a large percentage of the population can be seen carrying a baguette at the end of the day; stinky cheese is usually served at the end of dinner; it seems as though more than half of the population smokes and for the most part, body odor seems to be the norm here. Of course, there are a lot of good stereotypes which are true about the French: they enjoy a heated debate, love art and philosophy, are well-versed in the art of conversation and relaxation and have a fantastic relationship with pleasure (food, wine, appreciation of leisure, etc.).

However, there is one stereotype I find to be particularly true and absolutely annoying. The French are undeniably rude. Certainly not everyone is unpleasant all of the time and I am sure that there are lovely people floating around who never, ever have a rude moment, but I have found an overall disregard for the normal politeness to be the norm here. Perhaps I am too sensitive (after all I was raised in a place where politeness is the ONLY art form), but I am not the first, nor will I be the last to point this out; as a generalization, it seems the Froggies go out of their way sometimes to be particularly unpleasant.

Two recent examples come to mind (the first of which prompted this post). The other day, a new friend and I were on the stationary bikes at the gym. We were talking, in English as we are both Americans, about random things. I would like to point out that we were having a quiet discussion about completely non-offensive things, like exercise and traveling. An older French woman sat down on the bike next to us, looked at us, smiled and then proceeded to tell us that we talk too loud, that she hates our accent and would like us to stop talking and that every Saturday we bother her, basically insisting that we immediately stop speaking. There were about 20 other available bikes, but she sat next to us so she could spew forth this anti-social poison. She even went to the trouble to involve a trainer, ineffectively tattling on us in order to get her point across. Oh, and my friend and I had only met the previous week and had been to the gym together twice, so the crap about us always being rude was a total load of poppycock. I've traveled a lot and I can honestly say, France is one of the few places where somebody would go out of their way to sit next to me in order to tell me I was bothering them.

The second thing was a bit more painful because it involved people I actually know and like. Last week in an attempt to celebrate Thanksgiving with my students (all of whom are older than 30), I made four pumpkin pies to take to work. I handed out 30 slices of homemade (from scratch) pumpkin pie. To be perfectly frank, it was one of the best recipes I have ever tried. Nothing fancy, just fresh pumpkin, condensed sweetened milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and vanilla and eggs. Well, out of the 30 people I gave the pie to at work, two thanked me. TWO PEOPLE said thank you. That's it. I woke up at five in the morning, baked four pies individually in my little microscopic oven and I got two mercis. Even that wouldn't have been so bad if it had just ended like that, but no, the French can't keep opinions to themselves. I had eight people tell me it was disgusting, four people throw it in the trash in front of me and most of the rest ate a bite and looked at me with a pained expression, like the idea of eating something so different from what they are used to would kill them.

I've not always had the best relationship with the French. And if I am completely honest, it has been a supreme effort on my part to remain open-minded (at times failing miserably) through this strange journey of mine. But I try because I do believe there must be some reason why the French lifestyle is respected throughout the world. However, sometimes it just doesn't seem worth it, like maybe there are just personality types that do not belong in certain countries and maybe I have the type of personality that just doesn't sync with France.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Eiffel Tower Celebrates 120 Years


Normal, nightly light show

For some reason, the city of Paris has decided to celebrate the Eiffel Tower's 120th birthday. I don't really know why the powers that be chose this particular number to celebrate, but they have, and boy, what a show!

I've read different accounts as to how many lights are used, but the number I have seen most frequently is 400. Apparently, they are using LED lights to spotlight the different colors on the Eiffel Tower.

Normally, the show lasts for ten minutes every hour on the hour at night. There are tons of twinkling lights and it is really breathtaking to behold. But until December 31st, there will be an additional 'show' of colored, patterned lights four times a night, on the hour, beginning at 8.

Unfortunately my pictures do not do it justice. Let me just say, it was cold and windy and I had to pee really, really bad but I stayed until the entire show was over (5 minutes for the regular lights and then an additional 12 for the special display).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Armistice Day

Thanks to all the brave men and women serving their countries throughout the world. Of course, I want to express special graditude to the Americans but don't want to forget the sacrifices other make either. So a big, heartfelt thanks to all those in uniform!

I honestly had every intention of going to the Arc de Triomphe today to see Sarko and Merkel lay a wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier but a very rich dinner (raclette: fatty, stinky cheese melted in an awesome table grill, served over potatoes and a multitude of hams-none of which does my tummy any favors) eaten late last night prevented me from keeping my schedule today. Instead of being up and out the door by 8:30, I slinked to the gym at 11:30...not a productive morning for me. Although on the way to the gym, I was pleased to several bouquets placed on historic plaques in remembrance of those who died during the country's several wars.


I have to admit, the relationship between German and France surprised me when I first arrived, considering the recent history of the two countries. I expected the Frogs to hate the former invaders but haven't found that to be so. For the most part, the Germans and French seem to like each other very much. Culturally, there is at least one television station which promotes the Franco-German relationship through joint ventures and politically they agree on almost everything. I guess it is normal to try to get along with your neighbors but it seems to me that the French and Germans go out of their way to heal the wounds of the past. Bravo!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Fun With Pornographic Cake Toppers

Warning: The picture is at the bottom of this post so if you don't want to see it, you should NOT scroll down.

So I've been carrying around my camera the past few days because I have the lofty goal of catching the celebratory light show at the Eiffel Tower. I've seen pictures and it looks really awesome but since I have until the end of December to see it, I've managed to find an excuse every night to go home before the 8 o'clock show. I know, lame, but it is so cold these days that I just can't seem to make myself stay out just for the purpose of taking pictures of ol' Tour Eiffel. Hopefully this will be the week.

Anyway, in the meantime, I've gotten some, um, interesting photos of Paris. I do a lot of walking and by that, I mean close to 2 or 3 miles a day outside the gym so I see various things a lot of normal folks miss like: the space invaders on buildings all over the city, crazy street art, homeless people fornicating (where else are they going to?), all sorts of demonstration/manifestations, etc, but this is the first time I've seen the crazy cake toppers pictured below. And just to be perfectly clear, this store is on a major street, at a major intersection. I walk by it all the time and never, ever have I seen the wares that were in the window this weekend. Mickey, Hello Kitty!, Barbie yes, but the very accurate genitalia on the second shelf, no.

Now I realize that I am exactly the type of person who would buy stuff like this for a prank or to shock someone, but I absolutely expect to go into some dark, dank, seedy room to buy such an item, not stand in front of the window and point it out to the nice old lady who hand crafts them (okay, I am sure it is a mold, but still!). I just can't help but wonder, is there such a huge market for them that they have to be in the front window right next to St. Nick?

Friday, October 30, 2009

La Defense

I don't know if I've ever actually posted pictures of La Defense or not so here are some of the 'business district of Paris, although it is not actually in the city. Anyway, here is a quick pictorial of where I work. I tried to take the pictures on a non-rainy day, but it's Paris and it's Autumn so the likelihood of that happening is rare.

If you are not into modern building, then you probably wouldn't appreciate La Defense, but I love this area. Most of the buildings are quite artistic (I didn't get a shot of my favorite which is bent).
And being France, there is plenty of artwork sprinkled throughout the area, both modern (Calder) and classical. I believe there are three fountains which are quite pleasant in summer, not so nice in winter.
I should also point out that while La Defense is cram-packed from 8a.m. - 7p.m. every workday, it is a ghost town on the weekend and at night. About the only attraction then is the fabulous Quatre Temps mall and the American style grocery store Auchan.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Brussels!

Belgian Waffle anyone?

Let me explain the exclamation point in the title. I went to Brussels last weekend (with a friend and to visit another friend who lives there) and had an amazing time despite having a swollen tongue for the majority of the visit. I was lucky enough to stay sans charge because my friend's mother-in-law owns a chambre d'hote so essential it was a 'free' trip.

It's a lovely city and a great representation of Europe-good as it is the E.U. capital. Normally I would give a brief history of the city and add a few interesting factoids, but I think for this post, I will let the photos speak for the city. Suffice it to say, it is full of interesting, international, nice people, great beer, good food and awesome views. I really hope I get to go back and see more of this fantastic city (it's only about 1.5 hours by train from gay Paree).

Public transportation can be so much fun in Europe!

I just love these old churches. I can't get enough of them!

Church sign in all the 'major' languages of the city.

Lovely stained glass windows inside the church.

Manneken pis: famous statue near the Royal Plaza. There was an incredibly crowd around him everyday. Tourist are very lucky to see him 'dressed up' like this. The real challenge is to find his dog and girlfriend.

A celebration of Chinese culture and art?

The breathtaking Royal Square

More of the Square

View of the Centre Ville

Cool building, isn't it?

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Rain, Rain and More Rain

Paris at this time of year is not pretty or beautiful. Everyone is back from vacation and back to work. The days get drastically shorter and the rain comes. And the rain just smears all the dirt around, making traveling through the city more than a little unpleasant. Yesterday I got soaked walking from work to the metro. All things considered, this time period in Gay Paree makes me want to move someplace tropical.

However, there are a lot of interesting things to do. All the concert halls start their new season with interesting plays, ballets, symphonies, etc. The first weekend of October is Nuit Blanche which literally means 'sleepless night' but is in fact a celebration of art, or at least it is supposed to be. All of the museums are open until the wee hours of the morning and there are tons of people on the streets all night.
But for some reason everyone treats the night as a big party. I've gone out every year except this year and have noticed that a rather large number of people get totally tanked. For the most part, I find the French really responsible (boring) concerning alcohol consumption. They have 1- 2 glasses with meals and that's it, but during the Fête de la Musique and Nuit Blanche they just let loose. For the Fête de la Musique I understand the party mentality, but for Nuit Blanche? I just don't get how art appreciation and drinking go together. Maybe I am missing something but when I go to museums the only thing that makes me want to drink is the suffocating amount of people.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Market Day

A gianormous Arkansas tomato

When I first moved to Paris from Cergy (horrible, terrible place), I used to go to the open air markets for all of my fruits and vegetables. The produce is better at these markets than at supermarkets and the atmosphere is very vivant and animée. However, I fell out of the habit because it eats up a large part of my day (there are about 40 produce stands at my market and I am a tightwad so I spend about an hour price checking), I can never just buy one of anything and it is usually very crowded unless it is early in the morning.

Today though, I grabbed my bags, opting to leave the granny shopping cart at home which turned out to be a mistake, and headed to the market. I just wanted figs (I have eaten about 5 kilos since coming back from vacation), broccoli and mushrooms. I ended up with a kilo of figs, a kilo of mushrooms, 4 peaches, a kilo of red peppers, green beans, a kilo of grapes, a kilo of tomatoes and no broccoli. I don't know what happens to me when I go to the market but I never buy just what I want. I end up with random things like beets or fennel because it just all looks so good. So now for the next two or three days I will be stuffing myself with fresh produce, not a bad thing, I know, but a silly lesson I should have learned several times over by now.

If you are coming to France, I suggest you find one of these markets as they are a wonderful experience and a great French lesson combined. I am sure you can find a listing for the markets in other towns (all places have them) but if you are coming to Paris, you can find the dates and times of all area markets on this site: Paris markets.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Je suis une 'Country' Fille au Cœur

Fountain at Jardin du Luxembourg-I guess the guy is monitoring the fish-Ain't it purty?

So this reentré has been very difficult. I don't really know why except for the fact that I had an awesome vacation in the States. And now I acutely miss it and all the great and horrible things that make it the "States". It doesn't help that I came back to terrible weather. But luckily I don't have time to brood because I jumped right back into to work, seeing friends and visiting museums.

Cool Tiffany Chandelier

Today I went to the Musée du Luxembourg to see the Tiffany exhibit. It was nice, but definitely not worth the 11 euros I paid for the ticket. I managed to take about 30 pictures before I was told photography wasn't allowed (what can I say, there were no signs).

One of two rooms of the exhibit

It was a pathetically small exhibit. I read all the of the informative blurbs and really studied some of the pieces and was completely done in 35 minutes. Another annoying thing was that everything was in French. Granted it was pretty easy French (I understood about 95%), but for all the t
ourists who don't speak French, well I guess the museum made a lot of extra money off them by offering the audio guide for 4.50...such a racket!

My favorite lamp of the exhibit

I wouldn't recommend the exhibit only because the price is the same for Louvre and D'Orsay and they are much more exciting and interesting. However, it was nice seeing Tiffany pieces and learning how Tiffany came to be Tiffany & Co, but as I said, I am a country girl at heart and couldn't help but think, "It's just a bunch of broken glass glued together."


Thursday, September 17, 2009

I'm Back

My country alter-ego

I hope everyone had a good summer. I had a great vacation in the States and enjoyed every minute of my French duration vacation (more than five weeks). I had hoped to blog some while I was home, but I really just didn't have the time. Between going to the gym, visiting with friends and family and all the shopping I did, there wasn't a moment to spare.

The transition back to Paris was hard the first day. I was sad to be back and the weather is completely depressing at the moment, but after the second day and a full day of jet-lagged work, Paris seemed more welcoming. Plus I have some big plans for this year in Paris so I am looking forward to getting everything in motion.

I hope everyone had a great summer and the return to school, work, real life, etc. wasn't too hard.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hiatus

I apologize for not posting or visiting my favorite blogs. I am on vacation and have been having so much fun that the internet has become a distant memory. I will be posting photos of Arkansas life (I know, excitement can hardly be contained) soon. I hope everyone is having a good summer. I can't wait to catch up on everyone's posts.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Interesting Photos from Paris

I am not being neglectful, I promise. I am just incredibly busy with work. Everyone is preparing to flee Paris for the month of August, so I've been run ragged with work and social events. Instead of posting anything meaningful, here are a few 'cool' photos I caught with my crappy phone.

My street's homeless man's digs. Don't know how he expects to actually watch the television as there is not an electrically outlet.


One of the many reasons I love Paris. This advertisement is sponsored by the Mayor of Paris. Imagine such an ad in the U.S. Yeah, I can't either. At first, I really liked it because it is cheeky and a bit classy but after I thought about it for a while...well, why is it the woman's best friend? Shouldn't it also be the man's best friend?


My neighborhood bonbon vendor's hub. Notice the 'I want crack from Noy York' and 'I got macaroni cheese.' No idea what the little vandals were thinking.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bastille Day

French firemen taking a hard-earned break from chatting up women.

I am sure most of you know that the 14th of July is Bastille day, the fête nationale celebrated by French people (and those of us residing in France). In Paris, there is a pretty standard military parade down Avenue des Champs-Élysées complete with military planes flying overhead. I've been to this parade a few times and while it is grand and on a lovely avenue, I just wasn't feeling it this year.

For the past 24 years there has also been a huge fireworks display around the Eiffel tower. This year marked the 25th anniversary. Johny Hallyday performed in front of a crowd of one million (according to papers) screaming fans and then there were a lot of fireworks. But again, I just wasn't feeling it this year. Will I regret not going in the years to come, maybe, but I doubt it. Really, how cool can fireworks be? And that crowd, not for all the tea in China and I really, really love tea.

What did I do, you might ask. A big bowl of nothing. Went to the park for some exercise, caught some sun, read and just enjoyed the one day when silence reined in my apartment.

However, the night before. Well that is another story. You see, the 14th juillet is proceeded by the Bal des Pompiers. Now that was something else. This year was the first year I attended the firemen's ball and I really hope I get to go to another. Theoretically, it is a neighborhood gathering at the local fire station with food, games and a band. Technically, I think it is just an excuse for the firemen to chat up pretty girls and vice versa. But whatever. It was great fun. I danced all night to mostly old American songs and just a little accordian music.

video

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Shopping in Paris

There are national sales in France twice a year. All the stores participate in these sales and if you are diligent, you can find super bargains. Normally, I wait until the very end, the troisième réduction but this year I have been spending money like I actually have some (which I don't). I have been to BHV and Galeries Lafayette way too much recently. To date, I have bought several items of the underwear persuation, too much jewelry, some dresses and some hair product, but not shoes which I desperately need. Seems my feet are way too big to squash into the petit French shoes.

On a funny note...One day I tried on a bra without looking at the price and only after I had taken it off realized it was 275 euros. That's about 350 dollars. I almost had a heart attack, although I must admit, I think it made me a better person. Needless to say, I did not buy it.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Independence Day in Parc Monceau

Cake made by a fellow expat and good friend.

July 4th is a special day for all of us Expats. We miss the bbq, the fireworks, the time spent with families, the day off work, etc. Usually we try to get together and have a picnic somewhere nice, like one of the many (although small) Parisian parks. Often there are several groups of Americans picnicing and it is a nice way to celebrate La Vie Americain in Paris. This year, we had a lot of Frenchies and Canadians who crashed our picnic, but the more the merrier, although at one point we (not me) and the Canadians did get into a bit of a pissing contest.

My friend Kally and I have spent the last three Independence days together. One of those years was in Romania (we were really creative with that cake, using flavored yogurt which resulted in a very pastel looking cake). Anyway, I realized how cool it is that although I've now spent 4 Independence days outside of the U.S., I've always managed to celebrate with cool people.

I hope everyone else got to celebrate with cool people, ate a lot and watched lots of fireworks.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Something Cool

Annual American Festival in Jardin d'Acclimatation

Since I've lived in Paris, I've seen lots of really cool things, been to a lot of awesome museums, visited interesting buildings and have just thoroughly enjoyed the art of exploring and discovery. But the longer I live here, the more I realize that people hardly ever take the full advantage of their city, town or village. I know every time I mention some of my favorite places in Paris (Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, Les Egouts de Paris, Musée d'Orsay, etc.) I am completely shocked to find that a lot of French people haven't ever seen these places. I just can't imagine living in a place as interesting as Paris and not seeing everything. I am still disappointment in my lack of completing my original goal of visiting all the metro stops.

Anyway, my blog has never really been that interactive, but I would love to know something cool about your town, city, state, village or community. I realize that while I do know Paris rather well, I have no real grasp of the history of my hometown and that makes me a little sad. So go on, tell me something amazing about where you live.

Friday, June 05, 2009

William Blake at the Petit Palais

Garden at the Petit Palais

It’s springtime in Paris and once again, I am hopelessly enamored with this city. It’s amazing how in just one week the weather completely changes as well as the attitude of the inhabitants.

Inside the Petit Palais

All of a sudden, we have fantastic temperatures and lots of sun. Last night the sun did not set until after 9. I am often amazed what copious amounts of sun will do to my attitude. It’s all I can do to keep from hugging perfect strangers and walking around with a silly smile on my face.

Blake's artwork


Anyway, enough with all the gushing. I’ve been busy these past few weeks doing lots of cultural things. One of my best visits was to the Petit Palais. For some odd reason, I’ve never been, although I’ve been to the Grand Palais, which is right across the street many, many times.


Some of the permanent collection


Currently there is an exposition of William Blake’s drawings and etchings. Being the nerd that I am, I had to go. I have distinct memories of reading Blake’s poetry and couldn’t miss the chance to see some of his visual representations of his writings.


Tiny, tiny etching of Blake's (Songs of Innocence)


Luckily for me, I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to take photos, so I was able to snap a few before the security guards yelled at me (I would have never taken photos in the first place had I seen the sign).


Portrait of the greatest poet in English history - Milton by William Blake


Even if it weren’t for the exhibit, I would have enjoyed the visit because the Petit Palais is wonderful. There is a great café in the tiny garden and the overall layout of the museum is beautiful. I will definitely go back soon.


Monday, May 25, 2009

St. Germain en-Laye

Chateau at St. Germain

I went to St. Germain en-Laye with my friend the other day to visit her hospital bound husband. It was a holiday so I didn't expect anything to be open, but surprisingly the town was buzzing. It's a really cute place and has a very large expat community because of the American school. I can't say I would recommend making a special trip out there, but if you live in Paris or the suburbs, it's a nice little break from the 'city'.


I took this photo of the hospital in order to catch its dilapidated state but the photo is a little flattering. Trust me, it was horrifying! And the nurses, orderlies, etc. were not wearing gloves. I know I am a little obsessed with germs, but give me a break!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Gripes, Part Two

For the French, the month of May is packed full of holidays and since I work here, the same also applies to my work schedule even though I am not technically in the French system. Almost every week has at least one bank holiday and often when the holiday falls on a Thursday, the French will take Friday off as well. All these vacation days have allowed me to do lots of things and I do intend to post about the exhibits I've seen and all about my several lazy afternoons, but not in this post. Unfortunately, this post is going to be another rant, but after this one, I promise to post some pictures of Paris and talk about good things.

So I mentioned before that my building is going through its 10 year resurfacing process. Well, along the way, we are also experiencing plumbing and electrical updates. Not so much fun when the water is turned off for 9-10 hours each day. And yes, normally most people would be at work between 8 and 6 but since this is May, many of us aren't. I digress, but this information will be necessary later. One night, I came home rather late (11:30) and found I was locked out of my apartment. My landlord lives in the building so I called him and when he didn't answer, I knocked on his door, which he didn't answer. Luckily for me, I had a nice friend who was still awake who told me I could crash at her house. I ran to catch the last metro and then ran to catch my connecting metro (last one being around midnight). For my entertainment, there were a bunch of drunken guys on the metro who desperately wanted to tell me how much the U.S. sucks, how crappy Americans are, etc. This is a relatively common occurrence, so I am never offended, just annoyed by being yelled at. When I got off, they got off with me and continued to harass me and block my way. After being locked out, running to catch the metro and being harassed by a bunch of thugs, you can imagine I wasn't in the best of moods.

The next day I didn't get into my apartment until 4:30. Turns out, the plumber had locked my bottom lock after checking to see if my water was working properly. Locking the bottom lock is a big no-no because the mechanism in said lock is older than God and just refuses to function properly. It took two men to unlock the door (one lifting the door up to align the lock and the other using some kind of tool to get a better grip on the key).

Fast-forward to 1 a.m. I went to my friend's new apartment for a drink and some nibbles. THE drink turned into 3 bottles of wine between two and I had to stumble home. My friend's apartment is in an interesting area...interesting during the day, downright frightening at night. A guy grabbed me two feet away from my friend's doorway and wouldn't let go of me. He insisted on walking me home, holding my hand, kissing me, etc. Now, I know had I been sober I could have neutralized the situation sooner or at least handled it a bit better, but being rather drunk, I couldn't suss out how to extract myself from his grip. I finally got home and literally had to throw my entire body weight against my entryway door to keep the bastard from following me into my apartment building. Very, very scary stuff.

But, the bad stuff doesn't end there. The next day, I went with my friend to a neighboring city to visit her hospital-bound husband. On my return journey, I noticed a man staring at me. It made me very uncomfortable so I decided to switch cars at a stop. Of course he followed me and continued to stare at me and make me uncomfortable. When I got off at Chatelet (biggest stop in Paris), he followed me and actually approached me and asked for my phone number. When I wouldn't answer or acknowledge him (it really is best not to engage these types of people), he started touching my arm. I tried to get away from him; I even stopped, turned around, changed course, etc., but he just would not leave me alone. Not wanting a repeat of the night before, I decided to stay in the station until I could get rid of the guy. I found a transportation cop and in what I am sure was very bad French, told him I was scared, that the man had been following me, staring at me, touching me for a while and that I was worried he would follow me home. I repeated that I was scared about 10 times, in case my accent and bad conjugation was unintelligible. The cop's response? Perhaps he just likes you. And with that, the cop walked away, leaving me with my newly acquired stalker. Now, if I had be watching this on television, it would have been funny, but as it happened to me, let me assure you, it was not.

I finally found a female employee and after walking with her a bit, the man left me alone, but still, scary. Anyway, those were my three bad days. Hopefully that adage, "bad things happen in threes," will prove itself true and I will have nothing but sunshiny days for a bit.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Full of Gripes

All the buildings in Paris must be resurfaced, repainted, cleaned, etc. every ten years. Technically I know this, but until they started cleaning mine, I didn't actually KNOW this. For the past three weeks, about four men have been building the scaffolding (just building it, mind you) and I do believe I might go crazy.

They start everyday at 7:30, which is incredibly surprising because nothing 'starts' at 7:30 in France, and they bang metal until about 10, at which time, they take an hour break. Then they bang around for another hour or so and take a two-hour break. (Honestly, if it weren't for the ridiculously long breaks, I wouldn't know I was in France.) Then at 2 they come back and start again, but with much less vigor, and continue until 5.

It's just waking up to banging metal or the noise that is driving me insane, it's the fact that I now have no natural sunlight in my apartment. And I am sure it is going to be like that for the duration of the summer which really, really depresses me. I won't be able to open my curtains (leering workmen abound) or my windows so if it ever gets hot, I will have no air. Things like this make me think Paris isn't as charming as it seems.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Blog Award


I would like to thank Jules at Lovely Las Vegas for her kind shout out and this award. It is the first blog award I've received. I looked at the rules for this award:

*List 7 Things That Make You Awe-Summm!
*Pass It On To 7 Bloggers Who Are Awe-Summm!
*Be Sure To Tag Your Awe-Summm Bloggers To Let Them Know!
*Then Link Back To The Queen That Tagged You

I'm afraid it is quite difficult to list 7 awesome things about my blog. I can only come up with two things: the pictures and it has basically served as a complaint forum for me over the years (kept me sane).

I can however, list 7 awesome blogs. Here they are:

Jen at Expat Travels for her great photography and for being such a great gal!

Lotus at Lotus Reads for giving me great reading ideas and a whole new set of friends.

Pardon my French for being a fellow expat to commiserate with over the years and for her insight on having a child in France.

Random Attention Disorder for giving us all a look at life in a Corsican village.

Betty C. at La France Profonde whom I have just recently discovered but still really appreciate her photos and commentary.

Starbender at This S#%t drives me CRAZY!!! for always making me chuckle.

And most recently Buffalodick for the great recipes.

And again, a big thank you to Jules and her great blog!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

T.A.G.

Lately, it seems like I've been going to museums and art exhibits a lot, well at least more than usual. This isn't a bad thing as Paris is definitely a city that caters to art lovers, but I keep forgetting to post pictures from all of the visits.

One of the most fascinating and most recent ones was the T.A.G. exhibit at Grand Palais. It displayed a collection of graffiti art collected by some type of art historian/profiteer (not really sure which because I couldn't understand everything he said) in a really awesome space in one of the smaller sections of G.P. With the exception of my visit to l'Orangerie, it was the longest I have ever queued for art.

Anyway, this man found some of the best known 'artists' throughout the world (but mainly NYC), gave them two panels each and told them to 'tag' one and paint their interpretation of love on the other.

Not being too into graffiti, I thought this exhibit was going to be a waste of time, but I was pleasantly surprised. I actually really appreciated all of the colors and designs and came to realize that some of the little delinquents who deface public property are indeed artists.

And while I am still not crazy about randomly damaging walls, metro, buildings, etc., it was nice to see that a lot of these people are crazy romantics. Yeah, sure there were a few paintings with messages of 'love kills', but for the most part, it was all hearts and butterflies. Who knew?