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Cinéma en plein air 2012

22 Aug

No thunderstorms yesterday, the weather forecast apparently has not been that accurate. But the temperatures have dropped to a far more pleasant level and today the sky over Paris is blue, blue, blue.

Ideal for a movie night outdoors. Just as every year, the 2012 version of the “Cinéma en plein air”, titled “Métamorphoses”, at the Parc de la Villette will entertain you with a best-of of recent film as well as beloved, sometimes rare, classics and international highlights.

Good to know: the films are all shown in their original language version with French subtitles.

Before it ends on August 26, the Cinéma en plein air will screen quite a few more jewels of film history.

Today: Being John Malkovich by Spike Jonze, USA 1999

Thursday, August 23: L’Esquive by Abdellatif Kechiche, France 2003

Friday, August 24: L’Invasion des profanateurs de sépulture (Invasion of the Body Snatchers) by Don Siegel, USA 1956

I have never watched the movie in this black-and-white version (as in the movie poster above), I only know the recent version and the amazing makes-your-teeth-chatter version with Donald Sutherland. Hope I will get a chance to see it!

Saturday, August 25: Superman by Richard Donner, USA 1978

Sunday, August 26: Hair by Miloš Forman, USA 1979

The screening of the movies starts at nightfall, entry is free.

Additional information:

Find the PDF-version of the Cinéma en plein air programme here (in French).

Métro: Porte de Pantin (Grande Halle) : Ligne 5 – Bobigny – Place d’Italie

Porte de la Villette : Ligne 7 – Villejuif-Louis Aragon / La Courneuve

Parc de la Villette, full address and map here.

La Mer à Paris – Paris Plages at the Bassin de la Villette

13 Aug

I am njoying a warm evening in Switzerland before returning to Paris tomorrow.

One of the highlights that I am looking forward to is visiting Paris Plages again; two beaches right in the city of Paris.

Held from July 20 to August 19, 2012, and already in its 11th year, Paris Plages is well-known and loved by many. I recommend to skip the Pont Neuf Plage though and head right to Paris Plage at La Villette Bassin.

This is by far the more charming Plage, it is less crowded, has a more relaxed feel to it and an especially large area dedicated to children’s entertainment. Still it is spacious enough for adults sans children to enjoy calm and relaxing beach-time without too much of a hullabaloo.

It is the perfect gathering place for people of all ages for trying out new activities, for socializing, eating, drinking and simply for having fun.

Villette Plage for grown-ups

Restaurants, shuttle boats, ballroom dance classes (mostly attended by the not-so-young- anymore-but-young-at-hearts) where people of every age stop by, admiring the, mostly, graceful dancers. Just look at people’s faces in the picture below; if you want to see happy and loved-up couples, you will find them there.

There will also be a performance of Molière’s “Le malade imaginaire” on water on  August 15 – 17. For the more nautically-inclined there is the Nautical Centre at the Quai de la Loire where you can also book boat rides, there are pedal boats (big favourite for many, me included), typical French Petanque games, table football – and to start your day in a serene mood, you may attend one of the Tai-chi classes held every morning from 10 am to 12 pm (also at Paris Plage Pont Neuf).

I’ve taken the “aerial view” picture from atop the canal’s highest bridge, from which you have a great view over the whole Plage.

Villette Plage for children

Slides, Zip Wires, beach games, water zorbs, a pirate ship, science workshops in collaboration with la Cité de la Science, a mini-golf course and more.

Find detailed information about both Paris Plages here (in English and French) and details about the canal and the different events around it here (in French only).

Wishing you a great Summer holiday in Paris!

Rock en Seine

9 Aug

Official Rock en Seine Poster

Rock en Seine – is there a better reason for Parisians to head back to Paris after a long holiday?

Join them for this star-studded music festival held at the beautiful Domaine de Saint-Cloud, a former nature preserve and today a vast park with French Château (of course…), Rock en Seine will entertain the crowds for three days, August 24 – 26, 2012.

The 3-day passes are already sold out, but single-day passes are still available here.

The Black Keys, Placebo, Green Day, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and The Dandy Warhols will heat up the Summer days and nights even more, supported by the bands responsible for some of the most catchy tunes in the last months: Mark Sheeran, Foster the People, Miike Snow, Yeti Lane and the ethereal, yet deep sound of cult Icelanders Sigur Rós.

Some of our (not really insider anymore) voice crushes are also performing: dEus, Owlle, the Black Seeds (check out “Frostbite”), Bass Drum of Death (name reminds me of Death Cab for Cutie, but they’re definitely good festival material), Kimbra and her magical voice,  and of course Granville, solid, easy-going Summer music.

And, since we’re talking French Robot Mixeurs here, I have to mention: The Bots! Nice name – fun sound.

Find detailed instructions on how to get to the festival / map here.

Now let’s hope for good weather to round up the festival season.

Ps. Did you notice the great retro-style illustrations on the Rock en Seine web page? They’re by graphic designer Thomas Baas and I think they deserve to be highlighted, check out his Portfolio here.

Degas, Ballet and a Trip to Paris

19 Nov

Little street in the Marais

In honor of famous French impressionist painter Degas, grand master in depicting human motion, the Royal Academy of Arts in London is presenting ‘Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement’. The exhibition will be open until December 11, 2011.

Santa Baby, we’ve been awful good girls, but we probably don’t need you this year: There are two competitions with fantastic prizes, related to the exhibition.

The Royal academy has teamed up with UK-based company French Sole. The company’s founder and designer Jane Winkworth has created a unique collection of ballet flats based on Degas’s color palette and works, especially his ‘Little Dancer Aged Fourteen” sculpture. Cute detail: The Little Dancer is also featured on the shoe’s mirrored silver sole. Love them? Enter the Royal Academy’s competition.

Reading a blog about the City of Love and Fashion is fun, but visiting is even better. TimeOut London celebrates the Degas exhibition with another exciting competition. Unfortunately this second competition is open to UK-residents only. So if you’re from the UK you may become the lucky winner of a weekend trip for two to Paris. The package includes flights and two nights at four star hotel The Regina opposite the Louvre and the Jardins des Tuileries, plus two-day Museum Passes.

Soon you may be enjoying Paris in winter or getting admiring glances at your beautiful jewel encrusted new shoes. Good luck!

Brunch at ‘Le Loir dans la Théière’

2 Nov

Brunch Loire et la Théière

The wind is twirling the leaves around, bye-bye summer, hello autumn! There’s a beautiful mood in the Parisian streets right now.

The only downside: in the summer months energy levels have been so high, they were brushing the clouds, whereas at the moment the thought of sleeping in on weekends is just too tempting.

If there’s a reason to get up, it’s for a luscious brunch at Le Loir dans la Théière, “the dormouse in the teapot”. Queuing mandatory on weekends, and once inside expect to be stacked on top of each other, but it’s worth it, brunch heaven awaits you!

Look at all the delicacies in the first picture: croissants, pain au chocolat, marmelades, scrambled eggs with bacon, freshly pressed orange juice, café au lait, tea, and in front of me a salad du paysan, “farmer’s salad”, a salad with artichoke cores and grilled ham.

Loir Meringue Tarte

Le Loir dans la Théière is a mix between a cozy café and a pâtisserie, there’s a buffet with a big selection of fruit-, cream- and chocolate cakes and delicious French tartes. So it’s probably a crime only to photograph the trademark lemon meringue tarte.  It’s huge and oh so good!  Immerge yourself in inches of fluffy meringue and creamy lemon curd right down to the crispy crust.

One of my best friends, who was visiting me in Paris, and I shared this dessert dream. I’m sure she still dreams about it – I do.

Le Loir dans la Théière

3, rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris, France

4th arrondissement,

Metro: Saint Paul

Frame Notre Dame with Bananas and Roses

12 Oct

Notre Dame Bananas

While visiting Paris it is almost mandatory to add a photo of Notre Dame to your collection.

Make your photos unique by snapping them through a special frame. E.g. the Eiffel Tower through the metal construction of the Passerelle Debilly (especially nice at dusk when the bridge is illuminated) or through the flowers of the Musée du Quai Branly and Notre Dame through a lush wreath of violet and yellow flowers with red roses and a finish of banana leaves.

The banana plant and roses frame with Notre Dame peeking through is at Square René Viviani (see this map for location and metro stations), which is a beautiful little square, with lots of greenery and many benches inviting you to sit down and take a little break. The square has a rather eventful history involving a tale of a curse by pagan witches, it has been a cemetery once, you can find remains from the 19th century restoration of Notre Dame around and you may also come across Paris’ oldest tree, which is about 400 years old. Learn more of all this on Wikipedia.

NotDame booths across the street

Despite some of the rather spooky elements in the square’s history, this mini-park offers a wonderfully relaxing and peaceful atmosphere. Continue your walk along the Seine into the direction of the Louvre or visit the Île de la Cité to discover Notre Dame up close.

You may come across the little Pont de l’Archevêché, leading up to Notre Dame, the pont is adorned with thousands of love locks. Couples proclaim and immortalize their love by attaching to the bridge padlocks with their names on them. Every now and then the city tries to remove these love tokens (also from other bridges like the famous Pont des Arts), but the lovebirds from allover the world never give up and  it seems that the “cadenas d’amour” will stay for yet another time to come.

Love Locks Pont

Unlike the padlocks, the autumnal leaves are not staying, hurry up and snap your very special framed photo now, to eternalize your very own love for Paris.

Watermelon Sherbet with White Nectarine, Rose Petals and Champagne

1 Oct

Watermelon and White Nectarine Sherbet with Rose Petals and Champagne

One recent afternoon, while strolling through the sunny streets, I came across wonderfully juicy white nectarines. Together with watermelon, red rose petals, a hint of pineapple mint and with the addition of champagne jelly by famous French gourmet food company Fauchon, you can create a sorbet fit for kings and queens. Serve after a romantic dinner for two or impress your friends with this luxurious treat after a nice evening together.

Watermelon Sherbet with White Nectarine, Red Rose Petals and Champagne

Ingredients (serves four):

3 medium or 4 small sweet, mellow, white nectarines

1 piece watermelon (about the same weight as the nectarines)

1 jar  (=115 g / 4 oz) Fauchon Geleé au Champagne

0.05 liter/litre (=about 1 espresso cup) Pêche de Vigne* -juice

1 rose, petals only, plus 4 whole rose blossoms to garnish, if you like (make sure only to use untreated, pesticide-free roses).

1 twig pineapple mint

White nectarine, watermelon, rose


Carefully wash the petals of 1 rose and tease the petals apart, into tiny pieces (do not cut the petals, tis will „hurt“ the petals and the edges of the petal pieces won’t look nice).

Put the rose 4 other whole rose petals aside, to later garnish the sherbet.

Wash the pineapple mint, and chop 4-5 leaves of it into tiny pieces. Put the rest of the pineapple mint aside, to later garnish the sherbet.

Mix half of the rose petal pieces with half of the champagne jelly. Slowly melt this mixture in a small pan (do not cook), until the jelly’s texture resembles that of medium-runny honey, then take the pan off the cooktop, cover and leave to cool for about ½ hour. Then add the chopped pineapple mint. Cover. Leave to marinate for another 30 minutes.

Pre-cool a very shallow stainless steel container/tin in the freezer (or use an ice cream machine).

In the meantime, wash the white nectarines, remove the pits and cut into small pieces (I leave the skin/peel on). Remove the melon seeds and cut the melon into pieces, then put all the pieces into a bowl or a high container.

Now half the remaining half of the champagne jelly, then add one of these halves of it to the nectarine and watermelon pieces, together with half of the Pêche the Vigne juice.With a food processor/blender (the famous robot mixeur) blend these ingredients until you get a pulpy consistency > there should still be tiny(!) pieces of melon left, do not mash it until there is only juice remaining. If needed, little by little add the rest of the Pêche de Vigne juice, to make blending easier.

Then add the marinated rose petals in champagne jelly to the blended pulp and also stir in the rest of the rose petal pieces.

Taste and little by little add the rest of the champagne jelly until your desired sweetness. Put everything into the ice cream machine but if you don’t have one, continue as follows:

Remove the stainless steel tin from the freezer and evenly spread the Sherbet pulp into it, about 2 cm / 0.8 inches, freeze.

After 30 minutes, take the tin out of the freezer and with the help of 2 forks stir everything through vigorously, then spread the Sherbet evenly out again and put the tin back into the freezer. Every 20 – 30 minutes, repeat the stirring-through, this prevents the formation of big ice crystals.


Using two forks or an ice cream scoop divide the slightly thawed and stirred again sherbet into 4 Martini glasses. Garnish with the pineapple mint leaves and whole roses (see picture).

Bon appétit!

Tips and suggestions:

*Pêche de vigne:  Peach variety with an especially rich flavor, originally winemakers planted these among the vines, as a natural prevention of fungi. You can use regular peach juice or raspberry juice instead.

Use white grape jelly instead of champagne jelly, as an alcohol-free alternative or if you can’t find champagne jelly.

Use lemon balm or regular mint instead of pineapple mint.

The sherbet is best served on the same day, but you can also freeze it overnight.

Before serving, stir again and let the sherbet slightly thaw, to bring out its full flavor.

Price range: Luxurious

Level of difficutly: Easy, no special cooking skills needed, needs time though

Where to get the ingredients: If you’re currently not in Paris, here you can find an overview on where to find Fauchon-delicacies around the world.

In Paris, many shops stock Fauchon products, but the main Fauchon store is 24-26 place de la Madeleine, in the 8th arr.

If you’re VEGGIE/VEGAN: The sherbet is vegan, but the champagne jelly might contain traces of milk (it says on the jar).