Christmas Markets in Paris 2018

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La Defense © F. Eckert

Paris’ Christmas markets are among the things that make the holiday special. The markets are found all over the city from the Notre Dame to the Place Saint Sulpice to the Hotel de Ville. But the biggest (10,000 meters) and most diversified market (200 stalls) is found at Paris’ La Défense. 

The earliest Christmas markets date back to the late middle ages and have their origin in Germany. The Dresden “Striezelmarkt”  is said to be the oldest Christmas market and was first held in the 15th century. The Bautzen Christmas market and the Vienna “December Market” are supposed to be even older dating back to the 13th century. It was in 1570 when the Christmas market tradition found its way into Alsace, France’s easternmost region bordering Germany.

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Paris cemeteries…where the saints go marching

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Oscar Wilde’s grave

November in Paris begins with yet another long weekend away from work – le pont de la Toussaint (All Saints Day) – one of many strewn along the French calendar year. As Paris florists bring out their stock of chrysanthemum for the annual commemoration of Parisians now gone, and as other Parisians pack their cars and pile up at the exits of the city for yet another frantic weekend on France’s chock-a-block highways, why not use this most appropriate time of year for a less stressful outing to one of the capital’s cemeteries. This should be completed with the purchase of Georges Brassens’ “La Ballade des Cimetières,” a perfect way to record your outing and do your French homework. Continue reading “Paris cemeteries…where the saints go marching”

Willy Ronis Revisited

Black and white photography fans remember Willy Ronis (1910-2009) for his lyric post war photographs depicting working class Parisians of the Belleville and Ménilmontant neighborhoods. His photo book “Belleville Ménilmontant” is a beloved classic. Now, nearly a decade after his death, Ronis’ photographs are being exhibited back in Paris’ 20th arrondissement where many of the pictures were originally taken (at the Pavillon Carré de Baudouin until January 02, 2019). Continue reading “Willy Ronis Revisited”

Paris Exhibition Explores Data Visualization

Moritz Stefaner’s “Multiplicy”

With the Cambridge Analytica scandal one might not be in the mood for seeing an exhibition about visualizing data while visiting Paris, but the “123 data” exhibition at the Fondation EDF is a “smiley face” showing what creators are doing with data. The exhibition is both fun and informative while making the argument that data is not just a threat to our private lives and means to enrich powerful corporations, but also a source of inspiration for artists. Continue reading “Paris Exhibition Explores Data Visualization”

Can My Kid Cope with French Schools?

ImageQ: I am moving from the States to Paris in the fall with my 6-year-old son who will attend a French public school. Since he doesn’t speak any French I worry that he’ll be traumatized when he realizes he can neither understand a thing, nor make himself understood. How can I make the transition easier for him? A: Children learn languages faster than their parents. They are far less self-conscious about making mistakes than adults are, and make frequent use of body language that is pretty much similar across cultures. Still, to help the process along, here are a few suggestions. Continue reading “Can My Kid Cope with French Schools?”