Thursday
Jun222006

Around Bercy

Last week I took a walk around the Parc de Bercy (12th). After opening just over a decade ago, the park and its gardens finally have a "lived in" feel. All of the flowers are in bloom, the trees shrubs have grown big enough to provide plenty of shade, and even the ducks seem to be at home now.

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The Rose Garden at Bercy Park.
 
Being new, and slightly off the beaten track, the park is usually one of the quietest in Paris, the perfect place to hide with your lover in a leafy corner.

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A leafy trail.

But the tranquility may be short-lived, since the new Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir is set to open next month, linking the François Mitterrand Library (and MK2 cinema and entertainment complex) directly to the park.

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The new bridge and the library towers in the background.

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The bridge connects to the park at the top of these stairs (that's a cascading fountain running down the center).

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The Bercy vineyard and Maison du Jardinage in the back.
 
Bercy Park used to be part of the old wine bottling district of Paris. Wine used to arrive in big barrels from all over France via the Seine, then were stored and bottled in the stone warehouses, or chais, at Bercy (which was outside the city limits until the 1860s).  See some old photos here. This industry prospered until the early 2Oth century, when wines started to be bottled "at the château" instead. 
 
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The "Potager", an educational garden for students within the park.
 
The whole district, completely run down by the 1990s, was completely transformed with a park, sports stadium, entertainment complex, and office buildings (including the enormous FISC tax-collector's HQ). Some of the original chais, cobblestones and buildings were preserved in the park. There are also several plane trees that are over 100 years old.
 
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This historic building is now the Maison du Jardinage, open in the afternoon.
 
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The pond and duck houses. Trees in the back disguise the Bercy Village shopping center.

The park is divided into two sections by a busy street, but two foot bridges make it easy to cross. At the far side of the park is Bercy Village, with cafés, shops and a movie theatre.
 
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One of the resident water fowl near the lily pond.

 


 

 

Wednesday
Jun212006

Looking for something to do this weekend? Check out the calendar!

I just added a ton of new events to the Secrets of Paris Calendar for this weekend, so go have a peek!

Wednesday
Jun212006

Eiffel Tower Memorabilia Auction

Now here's an event that doesn't happen every day: there's going to be an auction of Eiffel Tower memorabilia on the Eiffel Tower Monday night! There are over 500 lots, all featuring the Eiffel Tower, the architect Gustave Eiffel, and the Universal Expo of 1889 in photos, objects, magazines, drawings, etc. dating up to the 1930s.

June 26, 6pm-10pm, First Level of the Eiffel Tower.
The lots will be on display the same day from 9:30am-4pm.
Free entrance to the auction.

Tuesday
Jun202006

"Left Bank Waltz" Book Launch

00book.jpgOn June 14 Elaine Lewis gave a reading and signed her new book, Left Bank Waltz, at the Abbey Bookshop. It's a true story about her struggle to open -- and keep open -- the Australian Book Store on the Quai des Grands Augustins, 6th:

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From the publisher:

At a time in her life when friends were retiring and spending time with their grandchildren, a night out in Paris while she visited her musician son inspired Elaine Lewis to dream of a daring venture in this most enchanting of cities. Her vision was more than just fanciful. After doing the necessary research and groundwork, Elaine packed her bags and left Australia to open, on the Left Bank, the first Australian bookshop in central Paris.

But when some bumbling and nasty French bureaucrats threatened to close down the shop, Elaine and her many staunch supporters were faced with a battle against the establishment that quickly became stranger than fiction .

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A huge turnout for the reading.


 

 

Saturday
Jun172006

Who are these smiling fools?

What's with all of the big toothy grins? Is this a toothpaste conference or something? Well....yes.

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Wine Expert Olivier (testing the Champagne) et moi (drinking it). On the left, some crazy dude who snuck in.

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Bernard (Flouride Poster Boy 2006) and his Mise-en-Scène specialist François.


This is part of my glamorous journalism career, attend press events like the Fluocaril 60th anniversary event at Le Paris-Paris club. When I received the invitation I was a bit confused at first, because I don't often write about teeth. But it turns out part of the soirée included a runway show of Gentry de Paris' sexy nightgowns (brushing teeth being an activity one tends to do in their PJs, of course). At least half of the people there turned out to be FOGs (Friends of Lady Gentry, the one dancing in the green dress).


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Lady Gentry and her ladies-in-waiting dancing after the show.
 

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Gentry's Legal Eagle (left) and Marc (International Playboy) enjoying the benefits of the FOG lifestyle.

And what do they serve us at a toothpaste press conference while they're showing us slides of rotting teeth? You guessed it: mini chocolate eclaires, chocolate-dipped strawberries, macarons, and Champagne! (would journalists show up for carrots? hell no!) After the short presentation and runway show, we got to stay the rest of the night to dance, drink, and clean off the petit-four trays. 

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Good for your teeth.


I should mention, for the heck of it, that Flocaril now makes a special toothpaste to use before bed, "Fluocaril Nuit". It would be worth having a day toothpaste and a night toothpaste (because we all have such huuuuge apartments in Paris) if the night toothpaste would get rid of the "morning after" party breath that no amount of pre-bed brushing seems to eliminate.

And an idea for all of you scientists out there to start working on: why not just find a way to put flouride in Champagne and macarons? Without ruining the taste, of course... 

 

Saturday
Jun172006

Hidden Rose Garden

Ahhh...the roses are looking splendid! Can any of you guess where this rose garden can be found?

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Hint 1: it's in a central part of the city, but you can only reach it on foot

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Hint 2: There's nothing else in the garden but roses, a small patch of lawn (usually full of sunbathers), and a small water fountain.