Month: December 2010

Saint Sylvestre/New Years Eve in Paris

It’s New Year’s Eve, or ‘la Saint-Sylvestre’ in Paris and in keeping with tradition, there are a few things to expect of tonight/today – the eating of New Years’ Eve staples – foie gras, papillotes and the drinking of mulled wine along with crucial, sparkling white alcoholic beverages to usher in 2011! There is no excuse whatsoever to not join in tonight’s festivities. The city provides a very enabling environment for celebration and the ushering in of a new year tailored to the tastes of this beautiful, cosmopolitan organism that is called Paris! There is plenty on queue that can be easily accessed through google – it’s quite fun to get educated on New Year’s Eve traditions here, and all that I can say is that I’m excited and privileged to be here. Well, apart from the prospect of being witness to young men with overly high levels of testosterone burning people’s cars in honour of the New Year – pretty much everything else seems open to the possibilities of a terrific New Years Eve …

Pivotal Paris Politics – 2010 France in Retrospect

It’s the enf of yet another year – and in keeping with the season, lonely editors and reporters, and dedicated ones too – take this down time to pull together the highlights of the past year. often compelling them into the “best of…’ whatever it is books, movies … whatever it is …of the year. Living in Paris has been very interesting politically. Being at the centre of a very centralised political entity – Paris is where most of the news happens in France. Given several cultural and historical factors – Paris is not only the de jure and de facto political, cutural, historical centre of France – it holds a monopoly over the entire country’s political agenda. At least this is what the past year’s news stories seem to confirm. France 24 describes 2010 as the ” year of unrest and soul-searching in France, marked by political scandals, painful social reforms, a crackdown on Roma migrants and heated debates on national identity and the “burqa ban”. ” in this look at the “Big Stories …

Rising River Seine

France 24 among others reports on the river Seine recording exceptionally high water levels – apparently the highest since 1910. There isn’t much evidence of any official acknowledgement of an imminent flooding of the Seine’s banks (or any apparent bursting of the river toward the streets of central Paris!) – but should it happen, that should make for some interesting times in the city. Click here for an interesting France24 piece on the rising Seine.

"Metrostop Paris" by Gregor Dallas

I recently picked up an entertaining read that I knew would be interesting from line one of Chapter one which reads “The best time to visit Metrostop No. 1, Denfert-Rochereau is in the morning of Paris’s first day at work, which for most people in Paris is on a Tuesday.” Call it love at first line. This book is an engaging. light- read that takes the reader on a history tour of twelve metro stops around the city. The book strikes a great balance between offering insights of the city that are of historic value while offering entertaining anecdotes and tales of the city that this blogger is head over heels about. Greg Dallas’ “Metrostop Paris: History from the City’s Heart” is a worhtwhile read for all Paris lovers and great bed side reading, or better still a great read to take on the metro to the various stops described by Dallas. Amazon.com describes the book perfectly: “The book includes visits to Paris’s catacombs at ‘Hell’s Gate’, the literary cafés and old jazz cellars of …