November 30, 2016

What to wear?

What to wear? That is the question when you receive an invitation from Italian embassy. Because no matter how you dress, the Italian fashionistas will ALWAYS be one step ahead of you in terms of style.

When in doubt wear black trousers and a white silk blouse. High heels, the higher the better and a trendy handbag. You can never go wrong with that!

I like accessories but am not very skilled at making them do the right thing. They should be a statement which completes any outfit and gives its wearer the chance to convey her own sense of style. I do statements through colour. However, if you want to keep pace with the latest fashion trends and change your look, wearing fashionable dresses are not enough. In order to get a stylish look you should also choose accessories that match your dress and for this you need to follow the latest trends in accessories.

All this to tell you the Italian embassy was spectacular as was the exhibit we had been invited to: "Leonardo in Francia"

Comemorating Leonardo da Vinci's death 500 years ago with an extraordinary exhibit of his works collected from France and Italy.

Inside the Italian Embassy in Paris known as l'Hôtel de la Rochefoucauld-Doudeauville

Felling like Alice in Wonderland

Stepping into another century

November 29, 2016

Appreciate every extra day

The sun is shining, the sky is blue, so just let me unglue myself from the screen and pop out for a quick run. Dressed in my boy's Under Armour cold gear not minding the 4°C a bit, putting my best smile on and pulling the black winter fleece cap over my ears, greeting my neighbour who is lugging bags of woollen blankets out the door (her horses are cold!), I am happy and appreciative of every extra day of lovely light and sunshine before the long, grey, depressing Parisian winter hits.

Le pont Bir-Hakeim where you get insulted by bike riders
should you dare to run on their path... really?!?

Newly weds just loooove to take their picture from this spot

Running up and down l'ile aux cygnes makes you feel like Rocky himself

Running around the local soccer pitch...

... to reach Les Champs de Mars

No time to rest, the sun will be gone before you know it!

November 27, 2016

Just a regular Sunday in Paris

A Sunday morning lie-in
after a delicious Thanksgiving dinner "entre amis" the night before...

... a scrumptious lunch of leftovers...

... followed by a jog under the Eiffel Tower!

The perfect Parisian Sunday and it didn't even rain!

November 26, 2016

11 girls and 192 km

How can two people go on the pilgrimage route of Santiago and manage to take nine friends with them?

It all started with a reunion dinner in September, a special occasion for which some of us had flown in from abroad. We joked about the fact that two ladies of our Sex and the City gang had signed up for a 9-day hike. It seemed as if they were about to bite a bigger piece than they could chew.

Well, I will admit up front by saying I am in total awe. They did it! Eight days of solid hiking through rugged Spanish country side. 20 to 30 km a day.... and we are no spring chickens I might add... BUT ... they succeeded with flying colours arriving at Santiago de Compostela today with tired limbs and huge smiles.

You are wondering how did we accompany them? A Whatsapp group was created and every morning we'd wake up to the deep voice describing the march ahead accompanied by a short video clip with a high pitched giggle in the background. Every night they would find our well wishes, photos and video greetings that the nine of us would send them from Madrid, Paris, London, Lisbon, Miami, New York and even Buenos Aires. They couldn't have asked for a more International fan club!

We cheered them on with messages during their long walking hours telling them they were beautiful and strong. We rooted for the local Galician mamma who cooked dinner for them on one of their stops, we warned them about the charming Italian they kept on bumping into every day.

We sent them pictures of yummy cappuccinos, relaxing manicures, walks through London parks, drives through Madrid rainfalls, French demonstrations, American skylines and Argentinean countrysides. In return we received more smiles and more giggles along with soundtracks of animal farms and photos of bridges, rivers, village signs and starchy food, shots of breathtaking views and insightful perspectives of their daily routes.

Ladies, in spirit we were on that trek with you every single day. I speak for the whole gang when I say we are in total admiration of your achievement. And to be totally honest a little jealous of your enduring positivity throughout your journey. Not once did we witness even the slightest sense of humour failure ... but then again as the saying goes: what happens on the Camino de Santiago, stays in Camino de Santiago.

During that week, one of us sold her family house, I held a major launch event I had been working towards for months and the luckiest one of us got engaged! We will have a lot of catching up to do next time we get together.

Day one and 192 km to go...

... but with a view like this...

... il "Camino" is worth it!

Enchanted woods

 A little good vibes from the pink lady 

The Argentinean perspective

A hostel with the right attitude

Picturesque Spanish town

Endless path towards Santiago de Compostela...

... compared to the French reality that same day.

November 24, 2016

A walk around the block

You gotta love living in Paris when you discover a tour that actually takes you around your own block and 90 minutes are not enough to cover all the history that surrounds you.

The weather was typical Parisian and the grey drizzle was in no way tempting Expat hubby and I to venture out on a Sunday afternoon.  However, in view of the artists' open doors of the 16th arrondissement this weekend, I had come across a guided tour not of our neighbourhood but of our block, literally, we are talking about a radius of 200 meters.

The young and energetic guide told us enthusiastically about the origins of the hill of Chaillot and how the foundations for the Trocadero came to be as well as it's evolution over the five Universal expositions of 1855, 1867, 1878, 1889 and 1900.

The original realisation of the old Trocadero Palace designed in 1878 by the architects Gabriel Davioud and Jules Bourdain was destroyed for the Exposition internationale des Arts et des Techniques appliqués à la Vie moderne of 1937 and replaced by the structure as it is seen until today.

Palais du Trocadero built for l'exposition universelle de 1878

We walked around the Palais under the pouring rain listening intently to all the guide's anecdotes. We continued down the road to marvel at August Perret architectural feat who had built the first modern reinforced concrete apartment building in Paris on rue Benjamin Franklin in 1903-04. As the architect himself would have said: "Construction is the architect's mother tongue; the architect is a poet who thinks and speaks in construction."

After a brief wonder into the Passy Cemetery, we ended up admiring the Aga Khan's townhouse on rue Scheffer which had been renovated by René Herbst between 1930 and 1932. The original building dated from 1891 and was realized by the architect E. Barberot on behalf of the painter Guillain.

Who knew what famous celebrities and spiritual leaders lived in the hood. You never know, next time I might bump into royalty at the local supermarket.

Reflection on the esplanade

Trendiest café in town behind those windows

High tea for the tourists while the street vendours are out of business 

Entrance of the Musée de l'Homme

Walked passed this wall thousands of times without noticing that each relief represents a continent.



August Perret's most famous piece of architecture...

... and 50 m down the road another marvellous example of 1930 architecture.

This is a regular Parisian entrance portal!

Cimetière de Passy, no watering needed today.

Splendid Art Deco glass panels ornating the former Aga Khan's residence

Rain, rain go away... come again another day!

November 18, 2016

J'ai le droit!

Someone is protesting outside my window. A small rally has gathered in front of the embassy located right across from our apartment and every Friday the nationals of this country come to protest and make themselves heard hoping to make a difference. Problem is all the neighbours need to put up with the chants and protests being bellowed through the loudspeakers.

I am in no mood for this today. I  actually feel like a little rant myself, so lady move out the way: it is my turn!

It happens usually six months after having moved. I get the blues and start feeling homesick for the place we came from. And like clockwork I am sitting in my new home wishing I could move back to our old apartment. Don't get me wrong this place is lovely - and admittedly it is only 1km down the road from where we used to live - but since we have moved in we've had two water leaks (one of which major), two doors don't close anymore, a window is about to become unhinged, the neighbour above throws her washing water out the window and half of it ends up in my flat when the windows are open, the staircase is being repainted with workers paying little attention to what they are doing... and now the lady is having hysterics in front of the embassy.

Being in Paris, means that every time you want to complain or look for a solution to a problem, you will be shouted at, sneered at, belittled, insulted or just not taken seriously. I am fed up with being attacked from the word go, tired of the aggressive attitude that prevails in this city, so, so, so weary of having to defend my reasoning or actions to people who think that by shouting they can prove they are in the right.

If I hear another person say: "Nous avons le droit" or worse "Vous n'avez pas le droit" I am going to scream!

So, you know what: J'ai le droit to have a rant about Parisian attitude and having said that I will now move on and keep fighting because only the fittest survive in this big city jungle.

November 8, 2016

It's gonna be a long night...

So, I've been glued to CNN TV since lunchtime and if - over the past months - the world got more than an earful of the US election whether we liked it or not, I have definitely had an overdose by now.

However, I have cast my vote and sent it in to the New York State Board of Elections and at this point am ready to receive the result and move on.

As I watched both candidates voting this morning in New York, I realise we all absorbed so much more about US politics than we ever thought possible or even necessary after incessantly being bombarded by the media. Thanks to Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton we might even have learnt more about US politics than we know about our own home country's.

My kids certainly got a huge lesson in US politics and world history. We had talks about ethics, feminism and chivalry. Why, my daughter just came home and showed me Barak Obama's one and only Snapchat of the day!

So, yes, we re all fired up and are ready for a long night before we hit the Parent-Teacher conferences tomorrow at school!

November 7, 2016

A sunny Sunday autumn afternoon

Yesterday was one of those days that Parisians greatly appreciate for they know that what lays ahead are months and months of drizzle and grey skies. Therefore not only were the tourists out in full force, the locals also were enjoying every minute and soaking up the rays of sunshine. 

I might be mistaken but did I just see a Parisian smile?!? 

November 6th and the sun is out!

An abandoned entrance of the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Madame de Fer in her autumn dress

The Grand Palais, is one of the most iconic Parisian monuments. Built for the 1900 Exposition Universelle, it is recognizable by its large glass dome flanked by the French flag. This architectural masterpiece of stone, steel and glass has been listed as a historical monument since 2000. 

The Pont Alexandre III is classified as a French Monument historique.

This kinetic sculpture was created by Belgian artist Pol Bury. The chrome balls gently move up and down with the rhythm of the water while reflecting the passersby.
Since 1990, the traditional noon-cannon sounds every day.

In 1781, the Duc d'Orléans, later known as Philippe-Egalitié, who also owned the Parc Monceau, commissioned architect Victor Louis to enlarge the palace and shrink the garden, allowing for the construction of houses with regular arcaded facades on three sides of the Palais Royal garden.

While Philippe-Egalitié opened the Jardin du Palais Royal to the public, he prohibited it to the police. It thereby became a place of liberty not found anywhere else in Paris and a gathering place for intellectuals and artists.

Time for a break!

Just found the perfect spot for a coffee.

The Stravinsky Fountain is a whimsical public fountain ornamented with sixteen works of sculpture, moving and spraying water, representing the works of composer Igor Stravinsky. It was created in 1983 by Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely and his partner Niki de Saint Phalle.

Street Art has become the latest craze in Paris.

St-Paul-St-Louis is a seventeenth-century church situated in the Marais neighborhood of Paris. The domed church was built by the Jesuits after a design inspired by that of the Gesù church in Rome.

This is when I fall in love with Paris every time... when the Eiffel Tower starts to sparkle!

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