From Fashion to the Zoo, just one step!

Going to the zoo is the closest thing to getting into a time capsule and being a kid again. Loved both the San Fransisco and Toronto Zoos where animals looked well taken care of.

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The Zoo de Vincennes is 15 minutes away from the heart of the city. When rebuilding the zoo, their aim was to have the animals live in natural enclosures that look like their wild habitats. I think they achieved that. The place reopened its doors in 2014.

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The Rock at the zoo reminded me of a movie … I’m sure you remember which. Loved my visit. Continue reading →

Spice up your Parisian life!

At the boutique Epicerie du Monde-Izreal  (“Spice Shop of the World”), in the Marais, every savoury, spicy, salty, or indescribable flavour that has ever hit your tastebuds hangs out here.

IMG_7777_FotorJust step inside and close your eyes. It’s a culinary pilgrimage. In a few minutes, you’ll be traveling through Tehran, Marrakech, Bombay, Istanbul, Dakar, Cairo, Hebron, Beirut, Rome, Athens or many other fantastic places ! Continue reading →

Strolling alongside Monsieur Hermès

 

The site of the venue is on the Left Bank of the Seine, almost across from The Orsay Museum.

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I was welcomed by two lovely Parisian smiles.

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 The ephemeral exhibit is about the art of strolling. Indeed, strolling is the Parisian’s second nature. Everything in Paris invites to stroll. Streets, buildings, shops, store fronts and cafés are conceived to encourage this oh-so-French-custom, not to waste time but on the contrary, to rediscover time. Continue reading →

A Dream of Humanity on the banks of the Seine

A gigantic photo exhibition now covers the walls along the banks of the Seine in Paris.

IMG_7570The 370-metre long panorama includes photos representing humanity and diversity as well as seven key words translated into languages from all around the world: respect, peace, solidarity, friendship, dignity, hospitality and hope.

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The exhibit includes photos taken by my All-Time-Favorite-Photojournatist Reza over the past 30 years. Continue reading →

Honey, have you seen my glasses?

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 4.31.08 PMWho hasn’t heard a sarcastic answer to this universal question?

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the average person misplaces his glasses up to nine items a day! 

My sunglasses have ants in pants and can’t keep still. Let’s follow their journey…

Le Rostand, Place Edmond Rostand, Paris 75006

Le Rostand, Place Edmond Rostand, Paris 75006

Le Petit Poucet, Ile de la Jatte , Neuilly

 Le Petit Poucet, Îles de la Jatte , Neuilly

MoRoCo,99 Yorkville Ave, Toronto, ON M5R 3K3, Canada

MoRoCo,99 Yorkville Ave, Toronto, ON M5R 3K3, Canada

Continue reading →

From Boulevard Raspail to Congo

 

Initiated in 1984 by Alain Dominique Perrin, President of Cartier International at the time, on a suggestion by the artist César, and directed by Hervé Chandès, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain is a unique example of corporate philanthropy in France.

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Since moving to Paris in 1994, the Fondation Cartier has been housed in an airy building filled with light that was designed by the architect Jean Nouvel. In this unique setting, exhibitions, conferences and artistic productions come to life.

IMG_7144At once a creative space for artists and a place where art and the general public can meet, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain is dedicated to promoting and raising public awareness of contemporary art. Continue reading →

“François and I”

I had mentioned that I studied architecture at the Beaux Arts , during President Francois Mitterrand’s first term from 1981 to 1988. He was then re-elected for a second presidential term and held office until 1995. Ok, now is the time when you wonder and ask what does it have to do with me ?IMG_7096Regardless of his political aspirations, Mitterrand had an architectural vision. The Grands Projets was an architectural program to provide modern monuments in Paris, the city of monuments, symbolizing France’s role in art, politics, and economy at the end of the 20th century. Mitterrand viewed the civic building projects, estimated at the time to cost the Government of France 15.7 billion francs, both as a revitalisation of the city, as well as contemporary architecture compatible with Socialist Party politics. The scale of the project and its ambitious nature was compared to the major building schemes of Louis XIV. Continue reading →

The Mothership of Vintage in Paris

Paris has been ruling the high seas of fashion for more than three centuries.  Having said that, there are three things which are always certain: Death, Taxes and people complaining about the price, coverage and sometimes the very existence of Fashion.IMG_4810Paris, a city known for its sizable population of bobo (bourgeois-bohème) fashionistas, abounds with vintage boutiques however the festival of vintage-finds takes place once a year at the Carreau du Temple.  Continue reading →

Le parfum at the Palais Royal

Art is at every street corner in Paris and often, these street corners happen to be prestigious sites. It is the case of this outdoor exhibit:” Le Parfum dans tous les sens”.

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Created by the Cardinal Richelieu in 1633, the Palais Royal and its gardens, just a short walk from the Louvre, housed royal families up until the Palace of Versailles was built. Prestigious and peaceful, the gardens are surrounded by a superb futuristic architecture with contemporary sculptures by Buren and Bury.

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Colonnes de Buren

The Colonnes de Buren were designed by artist Daniel Duren and are situated in the courtyard, near the garden and Ministry of Culture. The 260 black and white striped octagonal columns are definitely worth a visit and are one of the symbols of Paris. Continue reading →

Rome Sweet Rome

I fell in love with Rome the moment I set foot on its grounds some 40 years ago. The sunlight, the soft salty breeze, the ochre colour of the soil, the cacophony of sounds and the smell of flour floating in the air were enough elements to convince all my senses subito pronto! Rome talks directly to your senses before engaging your brain. So without further  delay, let me take you along on a little spring stroll in the street of Rome Sweet Rome.

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Romulus and Remus, founders of the city of Rome.

IMG_6382 IMG_6369 IMG_6295Stunning view of the Spanish Steps from via Condotti. Too bad a Longchamps add covers the facade of the Trinita dei Monti Church. Continue reading →

L’Enfant terrible of fashion and the striped jersey

Between myth and reality, the Parisian Chic continues to seduce. Parisian style radiates an air of self-assuredness, that indefinable je ne sais quoi that initially seems so elusive, and yet at the same time almost appears simple, uncontrived, perhaps effortless.

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The DNA of the Parisian chic can be summarized in these few items:

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A vintage Chanel chain, a striped jersey, a perfect Rouge, Repetto’s flats, a trench and a little black handbag.

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Amélie-Audrey is perhaps a good example and so is

092512_ib_jean_seberg_02Jean Seberg who adopted France as her second country. Continue reading →

A Sunny Sunday at the Campus

What a lovely day. Lady Spring is definitely showing her graceful face and aura.IMG_4859

I decided to head towards the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris . Ever since the Middle Ages the University of Paris has always welcomed students from all over the world in what they used to call the “College of Nations”. When the international university campus in Paris was created in 1925 it continued this tradition of the Paris universities: a tradition of welcome.

IMG_4854The Campus has a lush park open, obviously, to students but also to the general public. 

IMG_4851Perfect day for a picnic Continue reading →

Nice, la Belle.

Nice, Promenade des Anglais. Vincent Lindenau

What comes to mind when visiting Nice? Let’s see…. La Promenade des Anglais, 

b794b29c1e9f9275763246e633af35c6La Salade Niçoise,

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Le Negresco

But also that “coolitude” ( cool+ attitude) depicted by the nonchalance life style of rich and beautiful people.

George Hoyningen-Huene for Vogue magazine Juillet 1930

George Hoyningen-Huene for Vogue magazine Juillet 1930

Continue reading →

Magnum

When speaking of Magnum, for some, this is what comes to mind:

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For a younger crowd, a Magnum is …

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Un pêcher mignon.

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Or, Tom Selleck, Magnum, P. I – cute detective series my mom loved to watch in the eighties.

 I somehow relate to all three images above. But today, let’s focus on photography Photography, as a passion and hobby, was revealed to me recently. I always had a very acute sensibility for images without ever considering looking thru the lens. One of the major reasons being the lack of time. As a single mother, I had my hands full with my beautiful and gorgeous children (that’s how an unbiased mother sounds like). I am a passionate mother, which often drives my children crazy but this is another chapter …). Today, things are different. I think I achieved a percept I always stood by: “Give your children roots of responsibility and wings of independence”. In other words, I am left with TIME. That precious element which often lacks in our lives. Continue reading →

The golden triangle

If there is one spot in Paris that translates Exquisite Elegance, it would be the area shaped as a triangle; the Pont Alexandre III at a corner, the Petit Palais on one side and the Grand Palais on the other side of this upside down isosceles triangle.

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Le Petit Palais is a masterpiece of beautiful classic and balanced proportions.

IMG_4646“Les Bas Fonds du Baroque, La Rome du Vice et de la Misère” exhibit is attracting many visitors.

facadedetail.jpgLe Grand Palais , a chef d’oeuvre. The structure was built in the style of Beaux-Arts architecture as taught by the École des Beaux-Arts of Paris. Continue reading →

Madrid is Loco!

If Paris and Madrid were to be compared to two women, I’d choose respectively Catherine Deneuve and Rossy de Palma.

While Catherine Deneuve represents elegance, sophistication and class,

ef88f4ddd03801752263ad645f4f7687Rossy de Palma is boisterous, oozes conviviality and is genuinely emotional and vibrant, just like Madrid.

1e2a8a7a6bbdb3345002ef92c44caa18Having said that, let me take you on a stroll thru Madrid then you’ll be the judge of it.

Bear and the Madroño Tree, heraldic symbol of Madrid

Bear and the Madroño Tree, heraldic symbol of Madrid

Continue reading →

Fabulousness – and frustration.

In light of the world’s events that jolt us on a daily basis, this post might seem redundant. Just in the past few weeks, we had to deal with an insane number of  tragedies: Charlie, the Baga massacre by Boko Haram, ongoing debates on islamophobia and antisemitism then Shaima al-Sabbagh, a 32-year-old mother-of-one, who is shot in the head by police in Cairo on Saturday and Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger who’s punishment of 1,000 lashes is an outrage. Senator John McCain who eulogized King Abdullah as “a vocal advocate for peace, speaking out against violence in the Middle East”. John Kerry describing the late monarch as “a brave partner in fighting violent extremism” and “a proponent of peace”. Not to be outdone, Vice President Joe Biden released a statement mourning Abdullah and announced that he would be personally leading a presidential delegation to offer condolences on his passing…. just to name a few of the appalling episodes that fill our everyday life , so yes, my posting might come as superfluous to some, none the less,  I need to immerse myself in positivity in order to move on, to believe in good rather than evil and to trust.

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To quote Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder and director of the renowned UK charity Kids Company, “Continuous exposure of violence actually changes the structure of a child’s brain”. Perhaps, not only a child’s but also adults’.

A first clue as where we’ll go strolling in this post.

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Musée Picasso! Continue reading →

An accidental tourist

Having lived in North America for the past 20 years, I had forgotten how much one walks in Paris! Perhaps this is also the secret of Parisians being so slim and fit.

kiraz-les-parisiennes-8  Kiraz and Gruau are my all time favorite illustrators. They both depict the Parisienne just as one would “envision” them.

Rene Gruau

Rene Gruau

Paris is, of course, a walker’s city. But which direction to take? And to what destinations? Does it really matter? Hold on to le file d’Ariane and let me show you a few fun things and sights … Continue reading →

Discovering a new gem in Paris

Revelation of the week

IMG_5649Since I have moved to Paris, every week, if not every day, I come across a novelty. This city has an astronomical heritage while in constant evolution. This week, I discovered a museum I had never heard of before: Le Palais de La Porte Dorée.

IMG_5621Ranked among the historic buildings since 1987, Le Palais de la Porte Dorée is a unique building in the panorama of Parisian architecture .

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Albert Laprade designed a synthesis of contemperary Art Deco style of the French classical architecture, and loosely inspired elements of arts from the “colonies” (A group of emigrants or their descendants who settle in a distant territory but remain subject to or closely associated with the parent country). Continue reading →

Hats off Mr Gehry,

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Frank Owen Gehry (February 28, 1929) is a Canadian (Toronto, Ontario s’il vous plait!)  Pritzker Prize-winning starchitect based in Los Angeles.

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Frank Gehry with the model of the Louis Vuitton Foundation building

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Frank Gehry’s appearance in the Simpsons

Last October, The Louis Vuitton foundation opened its doors in Paris. The building was commissioned by Bernard Arnault, the chairman and C.E.O. of the luxury-goods conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessey Louis Vuitton.

IMG_4261Le Bois de Boulogne was the designated site. More precisely: 8, Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi. Poor Gandhi, he’d be dancing the foxtrot in his grave knowing the project cost: $143 million! Continue reading →

An intimate Saint Sylvester in Paris

  Every household in Paris has a “poussette de marché”. This essential utensil can make or break a family!

IMG_4232I am all geared up for my expedition. But first, i have to extend my New Year wishes to our dear concierge Mme Gomes who decorated the hall with great taste. La conciège is an emblematic figure in our daily life when living in Paris. I suspect ours is the one who inspired the french novelist Muriel Barbery when writing The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

IMG_4233My destination: La Rue Daguerre

IMG_4244This boulangerie is a piece of art. Continue reading →

Christmas in Istanbul

Although I am aware I planned to dedicate this blog to Paris however if you have read the  “About me” section, you’d understand how I am consumed with wanderlust.

“All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost.”― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Detail- Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul

IMG_5487But most importantly, I am not keen on mandatory celebrations and festivities. I shy away form them. I’d rather celebrate any given day and make it a special day. Therefore I chose I fly away from Paris-la- Belle and spend Christmas in Istanbul … not Constantinople!

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Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, dancing.

I had vague memories of traveling there as a child. My fascination with Istanbul came to me in my early twenties, after reading “La nuit du Serail” de Michel de Grèce and then ” De la part de la Princesse Morte” de Kenizé Mourad. These historical novels had all the right components to enhance my already sharp ability of dreaming! Continue reading →

December 16- Mother’s Day in Iran

Mother’s Day is celebrated in various countries around the world though in each country the date on which it is celebrated may vary.

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Most countries celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May.

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The early history of Mother’s Day dates back to Persians, Greeks, and Romans. Celebrating love in general and expressing love and respect towards mother in Persian Culture trace back to pre-Zoroastrian era, long before Zoroaster’s time. Continue reading →

Le Petit Palais- A glimpse at Reza’s exhibition

On my way to The Petit Palais

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Le Pont Alexandre III and its surroundings are the quintessence of French elegance. The bridge is lavishly decorated with lampposts and sculptures of cherubs and nymphs. entreedumusee.jpg

Detail of the Palais

IMG_3768Reza is for me an Icon with a capital I. He photographs conflicts, revolutions, human catastrophes and the beauty of humanity. Continue reading →