My Paris Stories

After silent night, a splendid day

Paris in winter is quite an unsung tale. We know "April in Paris" or Paris "au mois de mai", yet the most amazing time of the year is Christmas, the 25th of December: no traffic, no people, it's just the city - and you.

My Paris Stories

Oysters on a holy night

Once upon a time, when traditions were intact and people weren’t living globally but just in their own proper village, they shared customs without debate. These days are gone, yet in a funny way Paris stands quite firm when it comes to Christmas eve and the highly important question: What should we have for dinner?

My Paris Stories

Sumptuous French heritage with an Asian twist

You might think this is just another luxury hotel in Paris. But it’s not. Walk in and you will feel like you’re in a time warp. The meticulously restored Palais Iéna used to be the private residence of Prince Roland Bonaparte – and it still looks that way.

My Paris Stories

King Karl posing in a window

What’s this? Is it a joke or is it a puppet? Not at all. It’s Karl Lagerfeld, the real deal, posing in a window of department store “Bon Marché”.

My Paris Stories

Meet Michael Jackson

Still looking for a special Christmas gift? What about a never-seen-before portrait of Michael Jackson? Tomorrow, on 13th of December, several portraits of the legend of pop taken by French photographer Arno Bani will be auctioned in Paris.

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Shopping Chinatown

Don’t be surprised if you feel like you're in Chinatown when you book a flight to Paris for your Christmas shopping spree. The Chinese tourists have taken over – and the sales managers here love it!

My Paris Stories

A Winter’s Tale

The French capital is under siege right now, you wouldn’t believe your eyes: is this Davos? Courchevel? Austria? It’s Paris – covered with a beautiful blanket of snow.

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"The man to shoot"

An aging heiress, an angry daughter and a society photographer, those were the ingredients of a legal family clash that France has never seen before. But it’s all over now: Liliane Bettencourt, the heiress of L’Oréal, the wealthiest woman in France, finally reconciles with her daughter.

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Francis Kurkdjians wonderland of scents

Windows have their own poetry in Paris. The other day I was literally shocked by the beauty of one. I was walking along rue Alger and by pure chance I passed the boutique of perfumer Francis Kurkdjian.

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Chill out with Monet

Everybody loves Monet. The old, the young, even the dogs! Looks like our four-legged friends somehow have a better understanding of the painter.

My Paris Stories

Another Bastille Day

First of December, strangely, is this single day of the year when AIDS is on our minds. A lot of iconic landmarks across the world were bathed in red light yesterday marking Worlds AIDS Day. In Paris, the city hall has been chosen to symbolize the battle against the disease.

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The naked emperor

Sometimes, I have to confess, I feel a bit sorry for President Nicolas Sarkozy. You don’t agree? Come one, don’t be so hard with him, imagine for one second being in his shoes.

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Observing the big fish in the pool

Imagine this: Hermès crossed the Seine. And this is not exactly what I would call a cakewalk. After all, there are traditions in Paris. There is geography. And geography is linked to sociology.

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The price of beauty

Have you ever dreamed of moving to Paris? Or at least dreamed of a "pied à terre", as the French call a second home? Just a tiny little apartment under the roofs of Paris with a view on the Eiffel Tower? Something modest, adequate, but still romantic?

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Cooking under the watchful eye of Moscow

France is a country full of strange things and habits. One of them is the famous MOF. Pardon me? MOF, yes. It's about people who really know what they're doing.

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Dancing houses

In Paris, there’s so many hidden beauties off the beaten track that a life is not long enough to visit or describe them all. Here’s just one random example for this observation, you’ll stumble upon many more wherever you visit: it’s the area around metro station "La Muette" in the 16th arrondissement.

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Paris is photography paradise

When the rainy season starts and Paris is getting cold, grey and unavoidably uninviting, you better feed your mind with some food for the soul and the eyes.

My Paris Stories

Join the everlasting meal

What is the common point between the scene on the photo right here and, let’s say, Azerbaijani carpet weaving? No idea?

My Paris Stories

Public Puppets

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Then Paris is not the right city for you. Here, let's face it, the holy night is just another source for better profits. So beware: the x-mas frenzy has just begun.

My Paris Stories

Michel Houellebecq finally wins the Goncourt!

He did it: Michel Houellebecq finally succeeded in killing himself. Over and finished. The writer is dead.

Photo: Thomas Samson, AFP

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The Art of Eating Whale

My concierge often tells strange stories. She knows everything about everyone in the quartier. The other day she told me that she has seen a man imprisoned in an apartment, who, twice a day, lowers a basket.

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Place du Tertre: For artists only

You might have hidden talents and be able to cut a perfect silhouette out of a sheet of paper. Or you are perhaps a virtuous of the brush and never talked about it?

PHOTO: AFP, Loic Venance

My Paris Stories

Salon du Chocolat goes green

In Paris chocolate is green this year. I’m not kidding. The Salon du Chocolat, that opened its doors yesterday, sets this year the trend of Ethics and Chocolate.

Photo: AFP François Guillot

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Where is this leg going?

FIAC, the contemporary Paris art fair, is over. And this is not bad news. Four days are enough. Let’s stop the fuss and let the circus move on.

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The Art of being Part of the Art

Paris in fall is a funny thing: the tribes are relieving one another. The fashion people just left the city. Now the arty ones are here. FIAC is on schedule, the International Contemporary Art Fair.

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Larry Gagosian finally takes Paris

Larry Gagosian is the art world’s greatest businessman. He is smart, he is determined and he doesn’t talk. At least not to journalists. And now he’s here, in Paris.

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Michael Jackson as we've never seen him

Arno Bani is a lucky one. He has a bank safe full of photos of Michael Jackson. Unique photos, never shown. Photos he did himself.

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You can still say it better!

Are you a fashion fan and do you like the sober cuts of German designer Jil Sander? Well, then quickly rush to Opéra, but you’ll better summon up your patience:

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Everybody loves Jacques Chirac

Former French president Jacques Chirac is fond of ancient Asian and African art. People say he is even a real expert when it comes to Chinese porcelain vases. But would you think he’s a friend of contemporary art?

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A Cooking Class Chez Ducasse

Imagine a laboratory, but not a scientific one. Imagine a laboratory examining flavour and food, a kitchen as shiny as red peppers, another one furnished in olive green, a last one shimmering like black truffles.

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Larry Clark: It's Art, not Pornography

They make love, they drink alcohol, they take drugs and they explore their bodies. That’s what they do, the adolescents on the photos of American photographer Larry Clark.

My Paris Stories

Martin Grants Magenta Madness

Is there a name for the colour of these lips? It can’t impossibly just be called pink. All the girls at the Martin Grant show yesterday had lips like this.

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Place de Furstemberg: A World Wonder

Paris is full of surprises. And this is one of it’s best. Imagine you walk down Boulevard Saint-Germain following the crowd like all the others. But you’re sick of it, tired of all the hustle and bustle.

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Paris is a feast

It needs a poet or a painter to grasp the buzzling scene of a Paris street market where vendors of all moods and kinds display their goods like precious fare. Here, between stalls and stands, the riches of the world come altogether and they’re for sale.

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Not Diamonds, just Tutus

This is pure poetry: A paper tutu turning slowly in the window of Parisian shoe-maker Repetto. There is no body, no music, just folded paper in movement. But all the sudden the Parisian hustle and bustle seems to stop.

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A crisis? What crisis?

Paris, the world’s number one tourist destination, had been suffering a lot from the fallout of the financial crisis. Last year, foreign visitors were down about 20% compared to 2008. Crisis-stricken British, US, Chinese and even Russian tourists just stayed at home.

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Pont des Arts

Have you done it? Have you been swearing eternal love and fixed a padlock on the railing of Pont des Arts with your both names graved in? A sign of commitment, of love and of the wish, that your love will last forever? Well, than I have bad news for you:

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Carla for Cannes

This is the kind of story that my concierge loves to tell me: Carla is going to star in a Woody Allen movie. Carla? You must be kidding, I first said. Honestly, I thought my concierge has really got a great imagination. She should never have become a cleaning lady, she should write screenplays.

My Paris Stories

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The Bistro dies

Here are the figures: In the 60s, there were 200 000 Cafés and Bistros in France. There are only 30 000 left today.

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