Still Standing Tall

Did you hear the one about the lady who married the Eiffel Tower? No, really. Erika La Tour Eiffel had had other infatuations with objects, including Lance, the bow with which she became an archery champion, and the Berlin Wall. But, now in her late 30s, she tossed those over and promised  to love, honor, and obey the tower in an intimate  ceremony in Paris. She duly changed her name to reflect her marital status. A photo showed the smiling, comely newlywed hugging her riveted husband, who maintained a dignified reserve. Admittedly,  said Erika, there is a bit of a problem in the marriage: “The issue of intimacy, or rather lack of it.” Continue reading “Still Standing Tall”

Woody Allen on Life and Filmmaking

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Woody Allen and Hayley Atwell © Wild Bunch

Woody Allen’s film “Cassandra’s Dream” is a story of death and guilt set in contemporary London. It tells the tale of two brothers (Ewan McGregor, Colin Farrell) who while attempting to improve their miserable lives fall into dire straits with predictable unfortunate consequences. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival where Woody Allen made the following comments.

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Cara Black’s Paris Murders

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Cara Black © Dennis Hearne

Leafing through a book behind a pillar in the American Library in Paris, mystery writer Cara Black seemed herself a bit of a private investigator uncovering clues far from the prying eyes of the crowd. Moments later she would give a presentation on her inspiration, her research, and the development of her much-abused yet still youthful protagonist Aimée Leduc, the hero of her thirteen mystery novels all set in Paris. And from talking with Black about her craft, it becomes clear that she puts together books the way Aimee Leduc uncovers mysteries. Continue reading “Cara Black’s Paris Murders”

To Tu Or Not To Tu

Politeness, friendliness, and formality at its most French —The French revel in their complications despite the frequent inconvenience of getting tangled in them. For one thing, it confirms their cherished impression that they are unique on earth, a blest condition known locally as the French Exception. For another, it makes everybody else jump through Gallic hoops to do things their way. Even Charles de Gaulle, who occasionally admitted to despising his compatriots as unworthy of his idea of France, asked in a moment of exasperation, “How can you govern a country with over 300 kinds of cheese?” Continue reading “To Tu Or Not To Tu”

Canal Saint-Martin

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Canal St Martin © Atherton

With its swinging footbridges and tree-lined quais teeming with people on long hot summer afternoons, the Canal Saint-Martin is yet another example of how appealing Paris is when it lives up to its clichés. Rooted in the city’s industrial past, today the canal offers plenty of opportunities for biking, sightseeing, and enjoying Parisian life at its most relaxed.

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E-Dehillerin, Paris’ Aladdin’s Cave for Chefs

The discreet, green façade of the store makes no effort to pull in a crowd and some of the cooking implements in the window look tired.  Yet if the light catches in just the right way, you might spot a gleam of copper through the open door.  If you have a food-loving bone in your body, you’ll feel a flutter of excitement and decide that this unassuming place merits a look. Continue reading “E-Dehillerin, Paris’ Aladdin’s Cave for Chefs”

La Dolce Vita…Parisian Style

French sweet wines for the holidays

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Taverne Henri IV © WA Dudley

Mystified by the sweet wines of the cellar?  A stranger to the liquoureux section?  French holiday meals provide the fare with which to pair sweet wines. Some sweet wines are sweet because their juices became sweet on the vine. These are called vins doux naturels(VDN), with examples like Sauternes, Vouvray Moelleux, and Coteaux du Layon.  Others are sweet because alcohol was added to the wine after the winemaking; these are vins fortifiés.  Examples of the fortified kind are Maury, Banyuls, and Rivesaltes.  Fortified wines generally have an alcohol content higher than wine but less spirits. Continue reading “La Dolce Vita…Parisian Style”

French Digestifs

Uncorking the mysteries

Image You know the scene: after finishing a great French meal, you’re feeling a little tipsy and definitely very full. You find yourself being offered more to drink. This time, the bottles your host opens bear mysterious labels: Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados, Eau de Vie, Crême, Genepy, Cointreau,. What is in those bottles?  Why are they only served after dinner?  Known as digestifs, these French after-dinner drinks are served after a meal because that is when your stomach is full enough to handle their high alcohol content (at least 35%)! Continue reading “French Digestifs”

Paris’Back Street Disquaires

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OCD © Neil Atherton

Crackly vinyl is making a comeback… 
There’s more to music shopping than just paying for an album – it’s a lifestyle. High street record stores will never be able to buy identity or attitude. That’s why right now, second-hand CD shops and specialist boutiques are the places to hang out at. And even good old crackly vinyl is making a comeback. So where better to hunt for these authentic sounds than Paris’ back street disquaires, where knowledge, personality and individual music-lovers rule supreme. In these smaller haunts, you can rummage for records, chat with the clerk and feel the atmosphere of the music – be it opera or punk. Now’s the time to discover a new neighborhood, some new people and definitely some new music… Continue reading “Paris’Back Street Disquaires”