Wine, cooking, dancing and French conversation

I just added three new Paris Activities pages to the Resource Guide today (and it's about time, sheesh!):

- Food & Wine 
A selection of wine tasting courses and cooking classes in Paris.

- Conversation
Practice your French and meet the locals and international expats.

- Dancing
Learn a few new moves or show off the ones you already have! 

What was the happy occaison? I finally got a chance to meet Theresa Murphy of La Cucina di Terresa, and attend one of her classes. Here are some photos of our lovely evening.

The ingredients: all organic, fresh, local produce.












Our hostess Theresa, showing us how it's done. 

The ladies watching carefully (with our glasses of wine).

Shucking fresh peas...

...For our 'Risi e Bisi' à la Theresa (she specializes in risotto).

Hungry now? Find info about her classes in the Food & Wine section.


Updated Calendar

Lots of exciting events happening in May, check out the calendar for regular updates.


Political Speechwriter Pens Voyeur's Guide to Parisian Women

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...) 


Newsletter #82: May 2008

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!

Click to read more ...


French Leave (to Lisbon)

Castles and ruins in Sintra, Portugal.

I don't normally go on vacation unless it's "work" related or back to the US to see friends and family, but I haven't taken a day off work since last May, and after a few "you're really pale" comments and a prescription from my doctor to "Go on vacation somewhere warm and don't do anything" I finally escaped the wet and chilly city of Paris -- sans laptop -- for a week's break in Lisbon, Portugal, with my friend Amy (who came to escape Minneapolis weather). It was supposed to be raining the day we arrived, but we never had one drop. A bit overcast the first few days while we toured around old Lisbon, and burning hot sun the last two days when we visited Sintra, Belem, and the beach at Cascais. Lisbon is a crumbly city far past its glory days, but still beautiful with its old tiled facades, winding streets (where San Francisco style trolleys make the rounds), and refreshingly inexpensive food/drink and taxis. Getting around was super easy (and cheap) with the metro, trolley, bus and train. Highly recommended, our two hotels, the Four Seasons Ritz (expensive but worth it for the rooftop fitness center, spa, and the amazing views) and Pouso dos Anjos (the fun and funky budget option with private gardens).

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 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.


Daft Hands


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.