Tag Archives: France

The Year of the Water Snake 2013 – Chinese New Year in Paris

17 Feb

Nian beasts and the red lanterns and drums used to scare them away

Whereas our own New Year’s Celebrations have long passed, the Chinese New Year Celebrations are in full swing and the year of the Water Snake has just begun.

Paris’ “Chinatown” is the largest one in Europe and there are New Year Festivities taking place in the 3rd, 11th and 13th arrondissement, the ones in the 13th offering the biggest parade to visitors, find its route and the Métro stations (Place d’Italie, Porte d’Ivry…) here.

The Dragons are awake

The dragon in the 13th will open its eyes at 1:00 pm for the  New Year’s Parade on Sunday, February 17, 2013, and start dancing down the streets followed by his fellow dragon friends, chasing their mythic pearl. I am always amazed on how realistic its movements look, fluttering through the air, twirling around, it definitely looks like a real being.

Colorful embroidered costumesWhat at first appears to be  a furrier, stumpier version of the dragons are in fact no dragons, but the Nian. The Nian was said to be a cruel monster, living under the sea or in the mountains. Every year for the Spring festivities / Chinese New Year it would appear and chase people because, unfortunately, his favorite dish was humans. The Nian’s terrible reign didn’t last forever though. A wise monk came up with the idea to turn the tables on the monster the next time it appeared, fighting it by lighting fireworks and firecrackers and beating empty bowls, plates and gongs, making an awful noise and frightening the beast.

Up!

The Nian tried to flee, but wherever it went it was greeted with more noise, the people often wearing red, as this color scared the Nian even more. According to some of the legends, the Nian was eventually killed, according to others it never dared returning to the village ever again and peace was restored.

The red lanterns you see hanging everywhere during the Chinese New Year’s week and the firecrackers used still date back to these ancient stories and shall forever bar the Nian from doing harm again.

Crunch Bob

The acrylic Nians you spot during our modern parades don’t really scare us anymore, but don’t forget what they stand for and root for the right team, the Nians are the baddies, the Dragons will bring you luck.

More of my pictures from previous years' Chinese New Year celebrations and this year's poster

The Chinese New Year Celebrations and the colorful costumes and traditional rites bring color and fun to the still cold and harsh Winter days, still, two things you should consider in order for you to have a great time:

1)   There will be many, MANY people, as you see in the pictures below, if you’re a woman you’re lucky, wear heels, you’ll have a much better view. And if you don’t like huge crowds and overflowing streets, don’t go, really, it’s madness

2)   Authenticity. Over the past years, the amount of advertising has risen drastically, almost everything is endorsed by anything, and even many of the lanterns and balloons are branded (phone companies, airlines…), it just clashes with the ancient traditions and kind of gnaws on its ceremoniousness.

Gold Proc p

A happy Chinese New Year to you all! After the turbulent Year of the Dragon, Chinese astrologists expect the Year of the Water Snake to be a calmer and luckier year. Now that sounds great, let’s cross our fingers.

Did I mention the huge crowd of people..?

Paris in a Gift Box

7 Nov
Etsy ByOhFiddleSticks

Is there a cuter way to say bonjour? ByOhFiddleStick's Melissa and Jen have designed this jewel of a tank top, which is also available as a onesie. If it was adult size I'd wear it myself.

Doesn’t it seem that in early November Christmas is still far away? The leaves are changing color, it has gotten chillier outside and Christmas decoration keeps popping up in stores; but it’s still almost two months until the 25th of December.

But then, all of a sudden, the big day is here and Santa is knocking at the door. ‘How did time fly by so fast?’ is what I’m asking myself every year.

So it’s a good time to start browsing for presents for loved-ones now.

Etsy GraceHesterDesigns

Languages made easy, with these artfully composed prints for children and grown-ups alike. In Grace’s shop you’ll discover color charts, nursery rhymes, colors and the days of the week in French, English, Korean, German – you’ll be spoilt for choice. By GraceHesterDesigns

True to the blog, I aimed at finding Paris-themed gifts, and in this post it’s all about sweet surprises for kids and babies. Where to find experts on the matter? On Etsy of course. And its EtsyKids is an international team consisting of many talented and creative minds (and hands..!) sewing, painting, gluing and drawing stylish creations for little ones.

Etsy NotyBaby

Stylish babies and toddlers will love Maria’s aqua blanket featuring white Eiffel Towers adorned with lush flower bouquets. Beautifully backed with cuddly minky fabric. By NotyBaby

Paris and French style is always à la mode and handmade spells “special” like nothing else. Whether you’re currently in Paris or anywhere else around the globe, these cheerful designs will instantly put you in a French mood.

Etsy Chichiboulie

Living in France, Gretchen is an expert when it comes to French design. Chichiboulie's elaborate prints not only take you to Paris, but invite you to a trip across the sea to London and lead you into a colorful fairy-tale world. > P.s. Don’t miss her wonderful collection of printables.

It hasn’t been easy choosing from the many Paris-designs by EtsyKids members; using the search terms EtsyKids and Paris or France you will find many more beautifully crafted items.

Etsy PrettyBowtique

If you like being creative yourself, you will love Sandi’s pink Paris sealed bottle caps. Turn them into hair bows, magnets, decorate a photo frame, the possibilities are endless. By PrettyBowtique

A little word of warning though: if you have shopped on Etsy before, you know that once you start browsing all the great Etsy-things you just can’t stop…

Etsy HappyBabeeAndBeeyond

Baby’s first trip to Paris. Melinda’s bib features “le métro”, pretty Parisian cafés, little bistros, French poodles and of course the famous Eiffel Tower. By HappyBabeeAndBeeyond

Featured EtsyKids Team sellers:

ByOhFiddleSticks

GraceHesterDesigns

NotyBaby

Chichiboulie

PrettyBowtique

HappyBabeeAndBeeyond

Special thanks to Jocelyn of TheLittleLoveBug

… and this is the EtsyKids Team blog.

Your very own Chalet in the Alps

5 Nov

Lace and Gingham

Turn your home into a French Chalet by adding a few rustic accents.

Follow your own ideas or easily sew lace ribbons to gingham placemats, pillow covers or throws. Instant Chalet charm!

If you are dreaming about a holiday in the French Alps and want to spend a bit more, “Les Fermes de Marie” in the Megève region might be the place for you. The Fermes, a cluster of beautiful wooden Chalets offer cozy mountain-style rooms from basic ones to junior suites. Or rent one of the two private Chalets; the bigger one offering 400 m2 / 4.300 ft2 of pure luxury, five en-suite rooms, bath tubs with a view, a fireside lounge, private patio – and after a day in the snow the professional staff of Marie’s luxury “Pure Altitude Spa” will visit you and offer a range of treatments in your Chalet’s private Spa area with Jacuzzi and fitness center.

Can this get even better? Yes! You’re in France, Dionysian pleasure included, of course!

And what would good wine be without delicious food? There are many restaurants to try. For those who would like  to follow in Julia Child’s footsteps and take home the secrets of French cuisine, Les Fermes de Marie also offers cooking lessons .

Snowy mountains, various winter sports, first-class service and culinary excellence, this is Holiday Heaven come true!

Movies Outdoor at The Parc de la Villette

11 Aug

If you like going to the movies but don’t feel like spending Summer nights inside, enjoy your favorite movies al fresco.

One of the most popular places for outdoor-film happenings in Paris is the Parc de la Villette. Browse through the program and choose from a wide selection of indies and film classics in their original version. If the weather gods are in a mellow mood nothing beats the laidback atmosphere and the beauty of the starry sky above while enjoying a great movie.

Another good thing: It’s free, but you may rent a deckchair for 7 €.

Cinema en plein air, until August 21, 2011, Tuesday to Sunday, after nightfall, Parc de la Vilette, Prairie du Triangle (find it here).

Welcome To Paris

11 Aug

Bonjour,

I’m wishing you a great time discovering Paris and hope that you will find lots of useful information on the city. During my time here I have filled my notebook with so many addresses and places which I will be happy to share with you. I still haven’t seen everything and always discover something new.

Whether you are visiting Paris for the first time, have already been here several times or are sitting in your office and dream-travelling right now, I will do my best to let the city come to life for you and keep my fingers crossed that the travel fairy will soon be ringing your doorbell, freshly printed tickets to Paris in her hands.

Greetings from Paris,

Nikky