French culture and language were present in my life since as long as I can remember, even though I was born in Portugal and raised there part of my childhood. Before moving to France for good at 24 years old, I was already familiar with the country and it’s ways. Or at least I thought so… Paris has been my home now for almost 9 years, but it wasn’t always easy to understand the subtilities of the French ways. I have my suspicions that even after living here for 50 years, there will always be some things that I will never quite understand.
This is one of the reasons why I enjoy reading books about Paris. Many are written by people who are not French and have a totally different perspective (even if it’s often American or British). The problem is that most of the times, these books seem quite unrealistic. We have the ones who tell us about a fairytale Paris à la Amélie Poulain where everything is perfect and romantic (nothing against all this, I do enjoy Amélie Poulain, even if I never understood how she could pay that beautiful flat in Montmartre with her waitress salary); and the other kind of story, where you can find only negative things, for instance: all French people are rude and arrogant. I do know a couple of ones that fit the bill, but most of them are really quite nice.
Unsurprisingly, some of my favourite books about Paris are related to cooking/food. I recently discovered two books that were really fun and they tells us about the good and the bad times around here, which I really appreciated.
I’ve been a lurker at David Lebovitz’s blog for ages. His good humor and yummy recipes are two excellent reasons to follow his adventures in culinary world. If you live in Paris or you are thinking to visit, David has always a good advice. We both live in the same neighborhood and it was nice to read about places that I know well. We do have different perspectives about some points, but it’s all about personal experiences, so nothing that spoiled the fun in this book. It’s obvious that David loves Paris but he’s far from being blind to it’s faults. Oh and the recipes are … irresistible !
Sweet Life in Paris was a very good surprise and quite honestly a charming voice that touched me more than I was expecting. It was fun to follow Elizabeth Bard‘s life in Paris, but also her relationship with a French guy. Could see myself in some of those situations… I had some really good laughs imagining some scenes and thinking that I had exactly the same problem. It’s always good to know you’re not the only one not quite understanding French life.
Recently, I saw this TV show and I was immediately hooked: The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo. I loved how she cooks in her minuscule kitchen (the true Parisian reality !) with such passion and enthusiam. I already order her book and can’t wait to test some of her recipes. Those who are in love for French cooking and good shows, will certainly enjoy the adventures of this quirky and fun British cook.
I know I’m late about this announcement but I’ve been terribly busy and I’m desperately trying to catch up with everything. A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to make part of the fabulous team of Historical Tapestry, a must-read blog for all those addicted to historical fiction like myself. I can’t wait to write my reviews, I’m so excited! I picked a book already; right now I’m reading Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross. So far, so good!
Also, since I change of job recently I don’t have any summer vacation… I have to admit I love to stay in Paris during August. Many Parisians run away from town and the streets are almost empty. Quite a change from the rest of the year! For the occasion, my dear half bought me a bunch of books about cooking and Paris (and a few more he knew I would enjoy). He knows how passionate I am about both. Now I know what to do during my next weekends.;-)
A month ago, I posted some images about Tim Burton new movie, Alice in Wonderland. They were simply gorgeous! By coincidence, I found in my neighbourhood a little store with lots of lovely objects (many bentos and Japanese products) called Bird on the Wire. I spotted an irresistible mug with a little dish designed by Shinzi Katoh about Alice in Wonderland. I love mugs so I bought it right away!
Finally a photo of my naughty Mr. Kiwi snooping on our neighbours. He has no shame!
Today we are celebrating la Fête de la Federation. But it’s also the birthday of the storming of the Bastille. Since I live in the neighborhood, I confess that I often wonder how the Bastille would look like today if it wasn’t demolished.
We can still find some remains in one of the metro stations (line 5, the orange one), along the Henri IV Boulevard for instance and there’s also a special pavement who draws the original outline of the fortress (see here). The descriptions of the Bastille are so impressive that I can’t help searching for old drawings, paintings and photos to see the evolution of the square.
Even today, the Bastille Square is one of the most active places of the Paris. Manifestation, strikes, protests, markets, concerts and any other kind of celebration, this seems to be the place everyone turn to.
To have a even better ideia of the changes, you can visit the following sites:
Two amazing costume exhibitions are being held right now here in Paris and Versailles and I’m very much excited to visit them both.
The first at the Galliera Museum (aka the Museum of Fashion of Paris) opened already last year and will close its doors at the end of April. The theme is The Empire of the Crinoline, a collection of over 300 beautiful gowns (and accessories) from 1852 to 1870.
(Robe de jour griffée Worth & Bobergh, vers 1869. Faille de soie verte.
Sponsored by Chanel, they manage to reunite an impressive collection of court costumes of all around Europe from 1650 to the beginning of the 19th century. This is something I certainly don’t want to miss! I just saw some pictures in a magazine article and I immediately visit the official site. I’m still in complete awe… The wedding gown of Edwige Elisabeth Charlotte de Holstein-Gottorp, the gown made by Mlle Rose Bertin or even the diamond necklace of the queen Amélie Auguste are simply stunning pieces.
If you’re curious, download the “dossier de presse” and you can know all about the costumes in the exhibition.
This past week I was playing tourist with a friend of mine who came to visit. We were all over town rediscovering our favorite places like Le Marais or even Little Tokyo but our best walks were in Le Père Lachaise (one of the most beautiful places in Paris) and the Château de Versailles. No matter how many times I go there, it always feels like the first. Can’t wait to return!