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


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 FĂȘte de la Musique and Nuit Blanche they just let loose. For the FĂȘte 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.