Why this blog?

To understand why this blog was created and where it got its name, start here

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy Birthday Philippe

Each year at this time I think back to the birth of my son Philippe who was born in Paris on the 31st of December, 1975. I remember the day as if it was yesterday. And I wish him a wonderful birthday in Portland, Oregon.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Frank Gehry in Paris

The Fondation Louis Vuitton commissioned architect Frank Gehry to create a building designed to showcase its collection of modern art and to provide a platform in Paris for twenty-first century art and culture.

The exterior of the building with its 13,500 m2 of curving glass panels has just been completed, although the interior will not open to the public until autumn, 2014.

Weather conditions were perfect yesterday afternoon for a photo-visit. I thought my architect-daughter-in-law Rachel would enjoy seeing some pictures.
 The building is located next to the Jardin d'Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne. Gehry imagined a "glass sailing ship" that would reflect the natural beauty of the forest.

A technology marvel. And one that will surely become an icon in the years to come.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve

No white Christmas this year. Just rain - thanks to the storm "Dirk" that brought high winds, rain, and mild temperatures to Paris today. Good weather for taking pictures before coming home to Christmas Eve dinner.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas lights in Paris

We are not doing very much Christmas shopping this year; we're saving our pennies for travel in 2014. That doesn't mean we can't go window shopping or enjoy the Christmas lights on the Champs Élysées.
One of Patrice's favorite shops - haha!
No money for dinner at Fouquet's
The view is always great, though.
The giant ferris wheel in the place de la Concorde
Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Autumn in the Bois de Boulogne

We're having some fine weather here in Paris. This Sunday we traveled across to the opposite (west) side of Paris to take a bike ride in the Bois de Boulogne.

The trees haven't yet given up all of their autumn colors . . .
And biking is good for Patrice's knee . .  .

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Les Étangs de Hollande

On Sunday afternoon we had lunch with Patrice's granddaughter Léa who lives in the suburbs southwest of Paris. On the way home we drove through the forest of Rambouillet. We stopped to take a walk along the Étangs (ponds) de Hollande which were built during the reign of Louis XIV to bring water to the fountains in the Parc de Versailles.

As we drove home through Paris, I couldn't help talking one more photo of the Eiffel Tower. I know it's a cliché, but I still pinch myself when I pass by. I can't believe I actually live here.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving is virtually unknown in Paris. It's just another Thursday. You don't see turkeys in the markets, nor cranberries, sweet potatoes, or pumpkin pie.

This year we decided to host a Thanskgiving dinner for my friends Dominique and Emmanuel and their three kids. Seven people for dinner in our tiny apartment - but that's what Thanksgiving is all about.

The first challenge was finding traditional foods and then finding a way to cook the turkey and several other dishes in my tiny oven. The solution? We have an excellent butcher nearby and were able to order a turkey which they roasted for us. Patrice had never eaten (or carved) a turkey before.

French pastry shops offer dozens of tasty desserts but they've never heard of pumpkin pie, so I decided to make one from scratch. I found a recipe and then had to translate into the metric system: How many grams in a teaspoon of cinnamon? How many milliliters in 12 ounces of cream? You get the idea.

However, everything turned out just fine as you can see in the photos below.
Serving the turkey which my guests had never eaten before

Dominique and daughter Claudia

Melissa and her father Emmanuel
Dominique, Claudia, Paolo and me
 I hope your Thanksgiving was as happy as ours.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Horses on the march

As I've mentioned before, we live near the Place de la Nation which is a frequent site of marches and demonstrations. Yesterday, it was horses and riders who were marching to protest a proposed tax increase on riding lessons.

Will the government back down? I don't know. But the marches provide us with interesting photo opportunities.
Police on horseback awaiting the march

Friday, November 22, 2013


When we couldn't find a small side table with the right dimensions to fit in a tiny space beside our couch, Patrice decided to build one himself. He loves to bricoler (tinker or Do-it-yourself). I've mentioned his building talents before. And even though we have just a small space in the cellar, he's got it all equipped for small projects.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


I need a new pair of shoes for winter, and if you've followed this blog before you'll know that I'm not big on fashion or shopping for shoes. However, I just couldn't help stopping to check out the shoes in this shop on the Blvd Saint Germain in a trendy area of Paris.
With a hefty price tag of 750 Euros (~$1000!) and a bad knee, I'm not likely to buy a pair like this any time soon. ;-)  But you can find anything in Paris . . .

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Our bi-weekly outdoor market always offers tasty delicacies - often direct from the farm or from the sea. Last Saturday I discovered a new stand devoted to escargots (snails).

So I brought some home for dinner.  Yumm.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


This week's photo excursion took us to Reims, the capital of the Champagne region of France about 100 miles east of Paris. The city of Reims was heavily damaged during the war of 1914-1918 and doesn't have quite the charm of some of France's older towns. However, it is home to Notre-Dame de Reims - one of the loveliest gothic cathedrals in the country. Rebuilt in the 12th century, it bears a resemblance to Notre-Dame in Paris. The cathedral is best known as the site of the coronation of 30 French kings between 1027 and 1825.

Notre-Dame de Reims was bombed during WWI and lost its roof and many of its stained glass windows. It was rebuilt following the war - largely financed by John D. Rockefeller.

The "smiling angel" adorns one of the main portals

Many of the cathedral's original statues and treasures have been removed to the nearby Palais de Tau.

No visit to Champagne would be complete without a tour of the vineyards in the surrounding countryside.

We didn't do any tasting, but we did pick up couple of boxes of champagne from a producer that we know in Ambonnay. Yumm.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Photo expo - again!

I am honored to participate in another WICE-sponsored art exhibit. The photo below, taken last year during a trip to China with my son Eric, will be on display in the WICE offices here in Paris until January 19th.
Sunset on the Li river in Guilin

Brassaï : Pour l'amour de Paris

A new exposition has just opened at the Hôtel de Ville here in Paris. It features the iconic photos of Brassaï whose real name was Gyula Halász (1899-1984). Brassaï loved Paris and its inhabitants. The bulk of the exposition features photos from the 1930s with numerous photos of Paris at night and in the fog. There is a timelessness to these photos that is extraordinary.

The photos will be on display until March 8, 2014. Entrance is free. If you're not planning a trip to Paris, you can download a free application and read more about the exposition (in French) here.