Graffiti in Paris

There seems to be more and more graffiti in Paris and I hate most of it, but a few are interesting and even amusing. Some of these graffiti “artists” have become famous in Paris and are culture pop stars invited to parties, that sort of thing. One of these is Nemo. What I like about his graffiti is that is is always different. He always has the same objects: a man in a hat, a cat, a blue bird, an umbrella and a red ballon. However, they are always doing something different.


Here he is in the corner of a Marais building.


This was also in the Marais.

Lollipops: Fashion Assessories in Paris

Lollipops is a chain of stores in Paris selling fashion assessories such as purses, belts, shoes, scarves and hats. I have a personal interest in Lollipops in that it is the creation of my husband’s daughter and her husband. I am amazed at the creativity behind it all and feel so proud when I see one of her purses being carried by someone on the metro. I want to tell them my connection and that I know who designed the purse they are carrying although I have nothing at all to do with it all-none of my genes at play there. There are 5 locations of the stores in Paris and many all over the world-except for the States. Marjorie, the designer, recently renovated the store on Rue Tiquetonne and we came to take a look and watch a photo shoot being done there for the summer catalogue.


This is a corner inside the store with its cute couch and some of the accessories here and there.


Here is the model in front of the store. I especially like the dog. It obeyed his owner and stood there all perky and cute, although shiverying. It was a freezing day and I’m sure the model froze in her short shorts. As soon as they gave her a break, she dropped the leash and rushed inside the store leaving the dog just standing there. Its owner hurried over to pick it up. She gave me several dirty looks while I was taking my own photos. Maybe she thought I should be paying her.

The Jewish Quarter of the Marais

In the Marais is an old Jewish Quarter although it is mainly only one street, Rue de Rosiers, that people visit. I think it is probably quickly losing its ancient feel and becoming modern as there are now a few fashionable shops there but it is still fascinating to visit.


There are several bakeries that always draw my eye. I love the look of this bread. There are also fabulous looking desserts that I haven’t tried yet but I have had a few sandwiches on bagels that were great.


There are many falafal places on Rue de Rosiers. This is the best one according to clients I’ve had there before. A falafal is pita bread stuffed with mainly shredded cabbage and fried balls of chickpeas. It’s very good. The one with chicken is even better. This place is always crowded and people are always in line outside to get their falafel to go.


It’s hard to tell, but this sign is on a shop that also sells falafal. I think the shop must have started as something else. Maybe mexican food?


This store, Goldenbergs, is a very famous and well-known Jewish delicatessen. It was started by a Jewish refuge from Hungary so they have Hungarian dishes in the restaurant in the back such as Hungarian goulash and Beef Stroganoff, both of which are very good. The place has recently changed ownership after being in the family for years but they have kept the menu the same. It was closed for renovation last week and I am wondering what changes they will be making. In 1982 there was a shooting(probably anti-Jewish) in which 6 people were killed. They never caught who did it. There is still a bullet hole in a wall there and a plaque on the wall listing the victims.


This is a tiny little Jewish synogogue down a side street. Rather interesting looking. I once had a male Jewish client invited to some sort of religious ceremony as we stood on Rue de Rosiers. His wife and I stood there with no invitation. I thought, “What are we, invisible?” I think probably just unimportant to very religious Jewish men.

Walking in the Marais

The Marais is a fabulous neighborhood little visited by tourists. It became a very fashionable place to live after the king, Henri IV, built a residence there at Place des Vosges. The whole area is peppered with Hotels, or mansions, and not alot was destroyed in the name of progress, although there had been plans at one time.


This is the back entry to the church, St Paul St Louis. The interior of the church is truly lovely and worth a stop. Note the concrete objects going along each side of the alley against the walls–these were to stop carriage wheels from hitting the walls. I imagine a few people used them to protect feet and knees as well as a carriage passed.


Up another alley further down rue St Paul, is one of my favorite fountains. I seldom see water going into it, but I love its elegance. Nearby is a memorial to a family who lived here and of which five family members where taken to a Germain concentration camp where they died.


The reason I’ve put this photo up is to show something common in Europe. The little shutters underneath each window are there as they allow air to enter a little chamber on the other side. This is where items such as milk and butter were kept to keep them cool before the days of refrigeration. We had one in our apartment as well but blocked it off when we remolded our kitchen as air, dust and bugs came in.

Christmas Decoration in Paris

As in the States, the stores in Paris start gearing up for Christmas in November. One of the pleasures of living in Paris is walking down the streets and looking in windows at the Christmas decorations.


This is in the window of our neighborhood Printemps Department Store. The larger store in the opera area has fabulous windows with all sorts of moving characters. These little bears had wires attached to various arms or leggs so did some moving, as in lifting a teacup or something similar. I love the little bears and they are for sale in the store but I balk at the price of 25 Euros. They are very soft and I’d love to get one for my young grandchildren but I don’t think it will happen. I saw some darling clothes as well by the designer Kenzo, such as a little pajama with roses strewn all over but it was 90 Euros. I have trouble spending 90 Euros on myself much less someone who will outgrow their clothes in a matter of months, so I passed.


This isn’t very Christmasy, but I like this paint can looking container holding four small bottles of Champagne. Veuve Cliquot Champagne is just about the best you can get and, when my ship comes in, it will be my champagne of choice.


Normally, Fauchon, a high-end gourmet food store, has really great decorations for Christmas but I don’t really like this post board. The gold lips just don’t do it for me. There is another one across the way with ribbons flowing across the face of a man and they look like they are coming out of his nose. I thought it was rather disgusting looking. In the evening nearby Madeleine church looks really great with lavender and gold lighting. And Hediard across the way is decorated in white lights and red bows.

A Change of Career

On an interesting small street leading into Place des Vosges named Pas de la Mule (this was a step used to get up on mules or horses, now gone) is a little store simply named Andre Bissonnet. The owner came from a family of butchers which once operated out of this store. He, however, is a musician with a love of ancient musical instruments. In fact, inside the window, up above, is a metal bar which meat used to hang from, now holding various horns. I always look in the window when I pass as it is full of musical instruments that I either don’t know or they are very oldsand made of wood and painted beautifully. One day I looked in and he opened the door and invited me in. He normally opens in the afternoon for a couple of hours, starting at two. I asked about a couple of instruments and he played them for me. One of them was the hurdy gurdy. For some reason, I have heard this name before. I think in an old song. Here is a description of the hurdy gurdy:
To describe the hurdy-gurdy is a challenge; one might call it a sort of mechanical violin. It is strapped to the midriff of the player, who can be seated or standing. Whereas a fiddler draws a bow across a violin’s strings, a hurdy-gurdy player uses the right hand to turn a crank, which is attached via a metal shaft to a wheel (usually of wood) mounted within the instrument. As the wheel turns, its edge, which is coated with rosin, rubs against the strings causing them to vibrate: a continuous circular bow. This steady bowing action, when applied to the drone strings, helps create the hurdy-gurdy’s bagpipe-like sound. The player’s left hand, like that of the fiddler, produces the melody. Instead of pressing strings against a finger board, however, the fingers press sliding keys which cause the melody string(s) to be shortened and therefore to increase in pitch.
Anyway, he played it for me, using a violin bow on the right side, and playing a small keyboard on the other.


Here he is playing the hurdy gurdy. His store is number 6.


And here is a shot of the nearby Place des Vosges that I changed in photoshop.