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The smell of love

There are places in Paris that are real treasures.These places you can discover only by accident. Or if you know someone who knows someone. They are outside exposure. Despite being located in the most popular areas of the city. Because the real Paris is a hidden Paris.

Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré. A stone’s throw from the Palais de l’Elysée. Here was born the scent created because of love.

Arriving in the elegant courtyard. Kind of universe of luxury, calm and voluptuousness that makes You forget the noises  on the other side of the street. Nice woman inviting gesture encourages You to look inside. This is Patricia Meyer, daughter of Rose Desgranges. She welcomes You in this beautiful case of bricks and satin,  where is proposed a single perfume and begins the recount incredible story.

“It was my mother’s.She arrived to Paris in 1940 at the age of 16 and became a” small hand “at the Figaro Club, a renowned hairdressing salon, right here at 70 rue du Faubourg St Honoré. That’s when she met my father.I grew up in the apartments just above,, -says Madame Meyer.

The owner Mr Albert falls in love with Rose. He is 29 years old and their age gap worries Rose’s mother.  Rose is in love too. However, Mr Albert remains a man very courted by women and it annoys so prodigiously Rose so she resigns. Mr Albert understands that she is the only woman of his life. He goes in search of her and the request for marriage. Rose’s mother doesn’t agree, but Rose is in love and endowed with a sacred character. We are in 1945.  The end of the war. They marry in July.

For the 35 years of his lover, Albert decides to compose a perfume. Former chemist, he elaborates a juice of rose, iris and jasmine, at the same time tender and full of character. At the hairdressing salon, customers rush to know this mysterious scent. But Rose doesnt want to share it. It’s so personal and unique! Finally, the customers claim it so  Rose and Albert decide to market it in 1961. Provided that it’s never sold in another place. Rose installs a perfume fountain in the courtyard and places a drop of her elixir on ladies’ handkerchiefs. The entire Faubourg St Honore street is filled with the scent of “Rose Desgranges”!
Her small shop becomes the showcase for the “French-style fragrance”.

In 2013, a time when inventiveness in the olfactory world was everything, the descendants of Rose Desgranges (daughters and granddaughter) nurtured the idea of rekindling the flame of a perfume that encapsulated their childhood years. They thus decided to retrace half a century of French perfume-making and pay tribute to this exceptional creation.

Now everybody can come here to listen to this story and to know that smell.

 

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Today in Paris : The Eiffel Tower strike

Matthew and Nathan are two little boys from Indonesia fascinated by science and architecture. Their big dream was to see Paris from the Eiffel Tower just before Xmas. Excited we went to the Eiffel Tower to fulfill this dream. We walked through the security checks  and…  unpleasant surprise. The guy from the security staff informs us that the Eiffel Tower is closed due to a strike of its employees. I asked two employees Eiffel Tower how long the strike will last. They don’t know. As the Eiffel Tower workers  strike every year for various reasons I ask them what is the reason their strike this time.  They don’t know and advise me to ask this question their boss.

As finaly I found out Unions CGT and FO representing the 300-person staff of the tower announced a strike in protest against the “sterility of social dialogue” in the company and “the lack of transparency of strategic decision” made by SETE, Society for the Exploitation of the Eiffel Tower.

This is the third time in six months when the tower is closed. On the Eiffel Tower webside there is no clear information about how long the strike will last. The information about the strike is  dimly visible.

Usually,  in winter The Eiffel Tower receives around 6,000 visitors daily.Many of them reserved a luxurious dinner or breakfast at the Eiffel Tower several months in advance. Representatives of the Eiffel Tower make sure that money will be returned.The only question is who will reward them  disappointment ?

Undaunted defeat at the Eiffel Tower small tourists from Indonesia admired the art of the Louvre. They wanted to see the former royal gardens and the oldest park in Paris Tuileries…which was closed because of another strike. Fortunately the team of Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre workers don’t strike at the moment so the two little boys from Indonesia were happy in Paris. In spite of the strike on the Eiffel Tower.

 

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Today in Paris :l’ Oriental

Paris has many places which surprise you. A l’ Oriental is one of them. In the elegant galleries of the Palais Royal Garden, just five minutes from the Louvre there is a surprising little shop, unusual for more than one reason.

First, it has been here since 1818,so it’s one of the oldest establishments in the french capital. Then, it has a very small space and very full: it’s a real bric-a-brac,  filled with pipes of all kinds. Inside, there are not only pipes, but also a lot of tobacco-related objects, as well as antique jewelry. A small museum in short, which exhibits paintings, engravings, cigarette-holders and tobacco pots.

Since 1999, the house is run by Rakel van Kotte.  She was originally a non-smoker but  has finally set about it, for the customers and by taste.  She is friendly and always has for you good advice. I looked in here once intrigued by the photograph of John Paul II in the shop window. I don’t regret.

Rakel van Kotte told me about the Pope’s visit to this shop thirty years ago. Also Luciano Pavarotti was  a customer of this store. If you want to have the original souvenir from Paris  take a look here !

19, galerie de Chartres (Palais-Royal)
75001 Paris

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A few facts about the Louvre

A lot of people thought that the Louvre as a big museum  where it’s impossible to not get lost, the home of the Mona Lisa and that would be enough.The Louvre can be tame. Here are some not commonly known facts about the Louvre :

  1. You can glimpse remnants of the original medieval moat

    Though the 13th-century fortress built by King Philippe Augustus was destroyed. Nobody didn’t know about until the eighties when archeologists excavated the original moat 23 feet below the Cour Carré during construction of the glass pyramid. Today you can peek at it in the medieval part of the Sully wing.

  2. The museum’s largest painting is in the same room as the Mona Lisa

    The Mona Lisa may be the Louvre’s most famous painting, but many people don’t realize that the museum’s largest painting is actually in the same room. The Wedding Feast at Cana by Venetian Renaissance master Veronese  depicts Christ’s first miracle of transforming water to wine.

  3. The Louvre is still acquiring additional works

    Even though the museum’s collection only includes art made until the 19th century, it’s still acquiring works as two portraits by Rembrandt—the master painter’s only full-length portraits.

    4.The museum employs 2,290 staff members, including 65 curators and 145 conservationists. ( 1,200 of those staff members are security guards). The Louvre even has its own squad of 48 firefighters on call 24 hours a day.

     This monumental museum contains many secrets inside its hallowed halls, just waiting to be discovered so don’t  go straight to  the Mona Lisa.

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American election in French

Full of positive energy and with a bit of adrenaline we went with my American friend who living in Paris watch on live stream American race on armchair in the White House . In a beautiful building of the French radio in Paris. My friend dressed for this special occasion cap which provides for whom he voted. As a native Polish, in addition journalist I was in the position of an observer of events.Our first surprise at the entrance to the beautiful building of the French radio sparked  fact that in this American historical night event are participating almost only French. The second shocking annotation was  that they treat  American  presidential election as a football match. Beer pours streams and you can hear discussions about weekend more than political. In one of the rooms Dj mixes electronic pieces (Considering that we are in a beautiful building of the French radio he could play better ) In the course of beer discover that all they cheer completely the opposite player than the one whose name is on the cap of my friend. In the course of the beer situation is getting dangerous. Girl demonstratively turns butts raises cap on the forehead of my friend. Another asks stupid questions because she is totally drunk. We decide to evacuate this democracy.

 

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Born to run :How Mr. Springsteen proved that he is a great writer

 

13626382_10210409140891293_289495251153045309_nThere are artists who shine briefly and fade away. Only a few people in the world are made of stainless. Bruce Springsteen is one of them. When you see him on stage with a guitar,   You know one thing for sure: This  guy is created by God to play and sing.  Thanks to him one plain Monday became the most unusual day’s  of life for me and 18.000 other people.

When friend invited me to the Bruce Springsteen concert at Paris Bercy Arena  I supposed that it will be a great event but didn’t know what exactly awaits me. Concert was suddenly interrupted by a huge power outage.  Alarms went off. Then announcements in five languages  informed to evacuate. Nobody from 18.000 fans left. The band kept playing without amps.While the technicians try behind the scene to resolve the problem, The Boss whole wet with sweat began to sign autographs and waving the sign on the back “5 minutes” in order to wait in the crowd delirium. With the power re-set and amps restored, he played “Dancing in the Dark”. Total show time was 3hrs 45 minutes. I saw a few good concerts in my life but something like this never before. Since this time I was wondered how he  is able literally give everything as if this concert was to be his last? And repeat the same thing the next day.

The answer to this question  you can find in a recently published book  Born to run. Rockman found time between the concerts and has described his life in five hundred pages. It took him seven years. Don’t be afraid of the volume. This is a book which you read in one breath. Springsteen tells here for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work and shows.Also, why the song “Born to Run” reveals more than we previously realized.

Writing about yourself is a funny business, – The Boss notes in his book. But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise, to show the reader his mind. In these pages, I’ve tried to do this.

He  managed this attempt superbly. You should read this book. Like songs of Springsteen you have to hear.  To understand something simple about what we forget. If You will work hard You  will realize your dreams. No matter whether you want to be:  a rock star or a writer.  Bruce Springsteen decided that he will take a life of music, when – the age of seven – saw on television Elvis Presley. Since then systematically sought to achieve this dream. Six years later,  mother bought him  first electric guitar, which henceforth Springsteen created his first songs. With this book you will understand also that to be a real star it’s mean to have the courage to admit to depression and a difficult relationship with  father. Don’t pretend to be a tough guy who is made of steel. Springsteen writes like he is playing and singing : frankly.   It’s precisely composed on the phenomenon The Boss as an artist and as a human.

So therefore there are several good reasons to read ,, Born to run,, apart from the most important thing : To find out how simple boy from New Jersey  changed  history of the music and  now, after dozens of years on the stage became a equally good writer as a musician.

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Paris : Visit or not to visit

Beautiful late summer  in Paris. Tourist season. But something is not as it should be. Passing the most frequented by tourists paths I don’t see crowds which were there at that time a few years earlier.

One family from California which I show Paris a couple of days ago gave me the answer to the question -Why. The answer  is – the bad press. I was a bit surprised by their febrile questions in e-mails before they arrived to Paris if they will be safe. Totally safe they spent one week enjoying the French food and sights. Before leaving they told  that Paris they saw is quite different from what they see on the news.   Paris is doing well!

The river Seine is not rising up to the front doors of the Louvre. We were there and we had a ball walking the halls and seeing the famous paintings. Yes -we are getting the most rain in 100 years in Paris this year.  But You might want to bring an umbrella, no?
Sure, there is extra, visible security around to remind us that there are bad people in the world and we need to be aware of it. But at least they’re here looking out for us. They will ask to check your bag and maybe run a wand over your body. It might have you standing in line a few minutes longer, but I promise, you’ll get to your destination.
And the strikes. Let’s talk about that. It’s a national past time in France. If we didn’t have strikes, I’d think something was wrong with the French. Is the timing bad? Of course it is. But you are still going to be able to use public transportation and take the TGV to Nice and other parts of the country.In addition, you have a chance to see unusual events as on the picture below. (This was a strike of French women against violence)
So things might be running a little slower, but they’re  running.
So – Come to Paris !  There is still the best cheese, wine and  great art.
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How I track Hemingway in Paris

Frozen  I peered into my favorite Shakespeare an Co librairie.  I reached for the book of Ernest Hemingway A Moveable Feast .This is one of my favorite books

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man,

Hemingway once wrote,

then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

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These words of the master give me an idea. I decided to take a stroll trail of the writer.

Hemingway moved to Paris with his first wife, Hadley, in 1921. The young couple lived in an apartment on the rue Cardinale Lemoine in Paris’ 5th arrondissement. The apartment was sparse, with no running water and a bathroom that consisted of little more than a bucket.Is a Paris standard even now. This not prevent the writer to have a cats.

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During their time in Paris, the Hemingways became acquainted with other ex-pats living in the city. Composing the famous “Lost Generation,” these artists, including Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, Picasso and James Joyce, became central to Hemingway’s growth as a writer.

The couple left Paris in 1923, when Hadley discovered she was pregnant with their first child. But their absence was short lived: after giving birth in Toronto, the couple brought their baby back to Paris in January of 1924. This second life in Paris ushered in one of Hemingway’s most prolific creative periods. In 1927, Hadley divorced Hemingway after discovering his affair with Pauline Pfeiffer, a fashion reporter. Hemingway and Pfeiffer married only a few months later and left Paris for Key West the following year.

Even though nearly a century has passed since Hemingway lived and wrote in the streets of Paris, his unique version of the city remains: stroll through the windy avenues of the Left Bank, visit the Jardin Luxembourg or sit down at one of his favorite cafés to make Hemingway’s Paris your own.

Here are the stops :

  1. Hotel d’Angleterre

    Ernest Hemingway and Hadley spent their first night in Paris together,here, in room 14—and Ernest returned to the hotel many times after. The hotel still stands, and still allows guests to stay in room 14

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    The hotel is perfectly suitated in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, a short walk from the cafés and bars Hemingway loved.

  2. Les Deux Magot

    Located in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Les Deux Magot was once the meeting place for Paris’ literary elite, including Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre. Hemingway also frequented the café, and even used it as a setting for a meeting place in The Sun Also Rises. Nowadays, you’ll find more tourists than literary minds sitting at the café’s tiny tables, but it’s the perfect place to enjoy people watching on the Left Bank over one of Hemingway’s favorite cocktails, a daiquiri or martini.

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La Closerie des Lilas

  Like Les Deux Magots, La Closerie became a watering hole for artistic and literary minds in Paris, and Hemingway went there often to write—he wrote most of The Sun Also Rises there. La Closerie des Lilas was also the first place where Hemingway read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s manuscript of The Great Gatsby.

4) Jardin du Luxembourg

There Hemingway would explore to experience nature in the city. When his family was wanting for the money, he would sometimes hunt pigeons in the Jardin du Luxembourg, snapping their necks and hiding their bodies in his son’s pram. You don’t have to stalk pigeons to experience the Jardin du Luxembourg, however. Stroll around the grounds (it’s the second largest public park in Paris) and admire the shaded alleys and fountains, or visit the Luxembourg Palace which is today houses the French Senate.

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5)

Shakespeare and Company

Anyone fascinated with Hemingway—or any other early modernist English author—should came here : a historic bookstore near the Seine on Paris’ Left Bank.

Started by American expat Sylvia Beach in 1919, the bookstore served as the center for English speaking writers and publishers in post-WWI Paris. Hemingway mentions the shop in his Paris memoir, He writing, “In those days there was no money to buy books. I borrowed books from the rental library of Shakespeare & Company, which was the library and bookstore of Sylvia Beach. On a cold windswept street, this was a warm, cheerful place with a big stove in winter, tables and shelves of books, new books in the window, and photographs on the wall of famous writers both dead and living.” 

Shakespeare and Company was also the first place to publish James Joyce’s classic  -Ulysses. 

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6) Harry’s New York Bar

It was one of the bars Hemingway frequented, near the Paris Opera. This place served as a meeting place for expatriates in the city. The bar itself came from a Manhattan bar that Harry’s original owner, jockey Tod Sloan, had owned previously.

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Snails and the Artist

I have a new friend. He is called Abelino Camacho and he is from Mexico.  He wanted to try how it tastes  snails. I’m not a big fan of snails because they are usually seasoned with a large amount of garlic that makes your breathe fire through the rest of the day but he wanted to try even though of that.  I took him to my favorite restaurant – Cafe St Regis. I loved this place from the first plate of French cheeses which I ate here.   Since that day I know that the food here is first quality. The waiters  may seem not too friendly but it’s just an impression. They are just professional in French-style. Above all, this place is  It’s a perfect reincarnation a classic brasseries. Subway tile, cool lights and big windows to watch Paris.

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Unfortunately all this didn’t help. After two snails Abelino surrendered. He said politely that they are not so bad but he prefers a steak. Even the famous Parisian aperitif- Kir Royal – didn’t help.

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Six plump snails has been still on a plate. I ate one. Neighbors from nearby tables didn’t want to try. At some point Abelino noticed thoughtful guy with a hat who stands at the entrance. I came to him.  I offered him our snails. He agreed. He sat down at our table and he was incredibly sympathetic.  We started an interesting conversation about Paris, life and snails . His name was Brian Morris. He is an artist from New York who was showing his works in Paris. At the end of our conversation he invited us to the opening of his exhibition in Paris.

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As a result all the snails have been eaten up.  I also looked interesting expo interesting artist from NY in Paris.

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Secret Channel Saint Martin

Psst—I’ve got a secret. Exactly how I felt strolling around the Canal Saint-Martin, a 19th century waterway that has quietly transformed from a Napoleon-era industrial channel into the most hip and happening hood in Paris.

Far away from the city center is a charming universe where today’s true Paris happens, completely off the tourist radar. You will not find kitschy shops with miniatures of the Eiffel Tower here. Instead of this You will feel  the smell of fresh bread, which brings you to pure Parisian bakery like this one ;

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For the first time this secret part of Paris showed me long time ago my friend Romeo who knows all the secret addresses of Paris and has motor – the best transport in the Parisian traffic jams.We spent the whole afternoon in Le Comptoir Général, a place reminiscent of some enchanted art garden. You can see a cool exhibition here, to read something interesting, to watch an film, to dance.The list is long.

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For further explore the Canal Saint-Martin area I went alone. I started it from the cafe LE PONT TOURNANT which is a great vantage point for the whole area.  The best knows it  cat Suzi which is a queen of this old French cafe. Thanks to her I peered here. I don’t regret! The owner of this bar lives in this district of Paris from 50 years; He is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge!

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I like to stay ahead of the curve and this tour is no exception.