Month: July 2012

Paris Urban Beach -‘Paris Plages’ 2012

As of tomorrow, the 20th of July, the banks of the Seine transform into a series of beaches – complete with spaces for volleyball, folding chairs, umbrella’s and all seaside accouterments. The city becomes coastal for a short breath of four weeks or so. The temporary Parisian shore spans from the Louvre to Pont du Sully – and for water sports enthusiasts, the area around the Bassin de la Villette in the 19eme offers another beach which is adapted to allow for rowing, kayaking, pedal boats, dinghies and such. Ice cream trucks are also thrown into the mix to flame the maritime illusion. I caught a glimpse of the process of turning parts of the riverside into a set of ‘plages’ and it underscored what makes Paris unlike many other cities: The ability to experiment with the new while retaining what already makes the city one of the most loved. Part of the success of the city in innovation boils down to visionary leadership under the mayor, Bertrand Delanoe. Yet, perhaps more so, it is …

Parisian Soundtrack: Street music under summer sunshine

One of the joys of Paris in the summer is the ubiquity of street music. Well, depending on your tolerance levels for a soundtracked city experience. The city serves as a muse to countless artists who respond to their creative impulses, breaking out in song, dance and other forms of artistic expression in several of the cities public spaces. It is an interesting use of such spaces which perhaps somewhat reflects what Greco-Roman urban planners had in mind in conscptualising the use of public spaces as places to meet for various reasons. With television, internet, youtube, et al.. the purpose of public squares has become somewhat progressively problematic. In Paris, however, it seems as though artists have claimed a bit of the right to use free spaces to entertain. Admittedly, not all of the streetside acts are entertaining and pleasant to everyone, but they usually are quite well made and of a god standard. I”ve been to a few European towns were the standard of street entertainment could be improved upon. The city of Paris …

Moroccan Pastilla in Paris : Recipe (and Restaurant?)

It has been almost a month since I returned from a short break to Morocco but I dearly miss the food.I would return to Morocco simply to eat. And, in particular, to eat Bastiya/ Pastilla, the dish that I gorged upon in obscene quantities. Until my next trip to Morocco, I will have to bring Morocco to Paris and look for it here. One step that I’m taking is trading next Sunday’s Roast for Pastilla. I’ll trust this most delightful and educational video to be a guide to prepare next Sunday’s Moroccan style lunch: A dear friend who empathises deeply with the acute culinary fixation that I developed for Moroccan food also recommended the restaurant of the Grand mosque of Paris. Hopefully a trip to the Grand Mosque at 39 Rue Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire – 75005 Paris will prove to be as delightful as I already imagine it will be…Cannot wait!!