It's been called a sex guide, but Pierre-Louis Colin's book "Guide des jolies femmes de Paris" is actually a sightseeing guide...that is, if the sights are Parisian women. According to an article in France 24, Colin dismisses Anglo-Saxon political correctness and boldly states that the freedom to contemplate the beauty of women is a key part of French culture. "In this troubled century, while from America come the echoes of another moral order, the responsibility of the contemplator is immense: in his respectful courtesy depends a part of the survival of our civilisation of liberty, of gentleness, and of grace. May this guide contribute to the success of this high mission," Colin wrote.
I'm all for admiring the beauty of women and the general appreciation the French have for "just looking" in general, but I'm not sure looking up women's skirts as they go up a spiral staircase is really "respectful courtesy". It seems more like the desperate measure of an awkward adolescent who is too afraid to actually talk to women (and having studied political science in Paris the same time as Colin, I can say that our classmates were/are not exactly the socially suave Parisian men that you might imagine).
But hey, I'm obviously thrilled to see another Parisian book about sex and pretty ladies. Maybe they'll be looking for a publisher to bring out the English translation. ;-)
(And if you're curious what the French think...)
In this newsletter: * Heather’s News * The 104th Annual Paris Fair * Dining & Nightlife News & Reviews * Movies in Paris * Marie-Antoinette at the Grand Palais * Free Museum Night on May 17 * Dining Reviews * Paris Nightlife: Free Jazz * Paris Nightlife: Champagne Bar * Nightlife News * TV Show Seeks American Artists/Writers/Musicians * Free Book Exchange * Paris Pet Bakery Now Delivers * Japanese Toilets on the Champs-Elysées * More Newsletters, Please!
Castles and ruins in Sintra, Portugal.
Being on vacation, I let Amy (and Rick Steves' Guide) lead the way.
Drinking a 1975 Porto (at 11am...I love vacation!)
Some of the beautiful tiled facades.
And a peacock hanging out.
A monument to the great sea explorers of the past...in the background the April 25 Bridge (inspired by the Golden Gate Bridge and named for their Liberation Day, April 25, 1974) and the Christ statue that inspired the famous Christo Redentor in Rio de Janeiro.
Yes, I got burnt, but it was worth it!
PS: Many Portuguese families emigrated to France during the dictatorship that ruled from 1910 until 1974, and now make up the largest community of foreign origin in France (Algerians make up the second largest). Read the interesting article about it here.
PPS: "French Leave" is actually a phrase meaning "to leave without permission or announcing one's departure". Read about it here.
Because Daft Punk are from Paris.
Because the talented dude who did this video goes to Carleton College (my alma mater).
Because I don't feel like writing about the Torch's harried trip across Paris this Monday.
Because who doesn't want to dance when this song comes on?
PS: This YouTube has had millions of hits, and the guy who made it appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show.
Olivier refills the glasses...
The latest soirée for the lonely hearts of Paris is Wine Dating, organized by the team at O-Château. It's basically a wine tasting for singles in an impressive setting, the top (56th) floor of the Tour Montparnasse. I've been in Paris since 1995 and had never bothered visiting this tourist attraction, despite the very correct observation that "at least when you're in it you won't have to look at it." It was pretty cool to see Paris from such heights without the wind (we stayed inside because it's freezing in Paris right now, but there's also an outdoor viewing platform).
The Wine Dating room at the Tour de Montparnasse.
Not a bad view!
People began arriving for the Wine Dating, some with friends, some on their own, all ages, many nationalities (I was at a table with three French people, a British expat and a Mexican airline pilot). We were assigned tables so that the male-female ratio was correct, and welcomed with flutes of pink Champagne.
I was at the Claude François table.
There were three wines tasted, a white and two reds. The O-Château tastings are usually in English, but the wine dating was in French. Only a few people spoke no French at all, but there were quite a few bilingual Parisians to help out. And really, it's a wine tasting...who needs to understand the sommelier's lesson as long as the wine keeps flowing? (just kidding Olivier!)
"I've found that wine helps a lot when it comes to meeting girls," said the Olivier, O-Château's founder, when explaining how he came up with the idea. Aside from the actual drinking, each table also formed a team in the wine quiz afterwards (my table won the honor of being dead last...we may have had too many refills and not enough water...the blood is thinner at that altitude).
Check out the sparlking Eiffel Tower in the back! Très romantique, non?
At the end of the tasting, there was a buffet of cheese and coldcuts, and most of the people were still standing around chatting amicably when I had to take my leave a half hour later. The Wine Dating takes place the first Monday of each month, the fee is €35/person, sign up directly online.