Month: November 2010

Vapiano!

After moving to Paris, one of the things that this blogger missed was a certain chain of unique “Pizza/Pasta Bars”, Vapiano. The concept behind Vapiano is accessibly chic – an effortlessly sophisticated place to go out that still manages to pull of being accessible and humble. Vapiano itself desribes itself perfectly as “an innovative European concept serving made-to-order fire roasted pizzas, fresh, house-made pasta and hand tossed gourmet salads. An established concept with more than 30 worldwide locations and another 100 in development in the United States, Europe and the Middle East, Vapiano puts a new spin on the dining experience with its urban upscale Italian decor and its modern customer service.” The great news is that the first pizza/pasta bar is now open in Paris! Well, technically in an up scale suburb of Paris at 2 Place du Dôme, 92800 Puteaux – which is in the big commercial centre for that part of Paris, the Centre Commercial des Quartre Temp. The ambience and experience of going out to Vapiano – and the food border …

From the lips of a legend: Ave Maria – Deanna Durbin

Stumbled across an old clip of Deanna Durbin, who reportedly now lives somewhere on the outskirts of Paris. She built a sound career in film in the 30s, and acted alongside names as big as Judy Garland. After her career took a turn, she slowly eased out of public life andnow lives here, and is to some extent immortalized as a young, hollywood beauty on screen for the rest of film history.

St. Germain l’Auxerrois

These are images taken from St. Germain l’Auxerrois that arguably has the most impressive stained glass windows in Paris. These stunning works of art apparently survived the French revolution and several other threats to the building’s integrity. The building itself dates as far back as the 7th Century and used to hold substantial political significance as the parish of France’s monarchs who used the Louvre as a palace. This would have made St Germain l’auxerrois significant between the 12th to the 18th Century. As a work of art and a sacred space – the building itself is quite stunning and has a beautiful side chapel that could work as a place of solitude or a corner to grab a moment of calm. However, some historians are quick to note that the history of this still active parish has not been entirely positive – given that the ringing of its bell was a signal to set off the persecution and slaughter of Hugenots in 1572. Nonetheless, appreciating this as a place that embraced within its walls …

General Petraeus at Sciences Po: Of Killer Rabbits and Afghanistan

Today General Patraeus who heads the NATO effort in Afghanistan gave a compelling, humble assessment of the campaign’s progress in Afghanistan at Sciences Po. I was fortunate to go along and hear him speak. While I recorded some video footage, the quality is extremely poor and not suitable for posting here. Anyhow, Gen Petraeus spoke candidly on the track record of NATO partners in Afghanistan, painting a sober, nuanced picture of how well the campaign is fairing. He painted a portrait of mixed success and tried to bring the audience to an appreciation of the regional and practical challenges of running such a campaign. While there remained significant work to be done in “suffocating” insurgent networks , cutting them off from the various crutches that support their existence – his metaphor not mine – through what he referred to as an “anaconda’ approach to counter-insurgency: There were some notable gains in the battle for the minds and hearts of Afghans, according to Petraeus. The number of kids in schools had leapt from under 1 million …