Friday, April 30, 2010

May Day Muguet

I've been getting quite a few questions about May Day (or Labor Day) from our guests so I thought I would write a quick blog about what to expect for May 1.

As most people know, the French take workers rights very seriously (hence the strikes you hear about from time to time). Because of that, La Fête du Travail is a public holiday that is observed almost as strictly as Christmas. You can see the unions march in a lively parade around the Bastille to campaign for and to celebrate workers rights. In honor of this, most places will be closed, but you will still find a few brasseries or bars open. The best thing to do is to just wander the city and take in the sights (maybe go see the parade at Bastille, then wander up towards the canal for a picnic!).

Monday, April 26, 2010

pique-nique time!

It is officially picnic season here in Paris now that the sun has FINALLY decided to come out. Picnicking may not be something most tourists would think to do, but it definitely brings a nice break (or end) to the day. There are many places in Paris to have a great “pique-nique” as the French say, but I certainly do have a few favorites that I thought I would share. So grab a blanket, a bottle of rosé (don't forget your corkscrew!), a baguette, some delightfully smelly french cheese and head out to enjoy some of the green spaces Paris has to offer!

Parc du Champs de Mars

Since the Eiffel Tower is usually one of the first images that pops into someone’s head when they think about Paris, I thought I would start here. One of the largest parks in Paris and you definitely can’t beat the view. The park is named after the Roman God of war and apparently it was once used as a military training field. Now, the only training going on is maybe a game of Frisbee!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rethink, Reuse, Recycle - A New Look in Fashion

Heading to the movies one evening, I came upon a store-front that caught my eye. It was full of very interesting looking handbags. I know you are thinking well you are a woman so of course you would be interested in bags. And while I do have my fair share of bags tucked away under my bed, that is not why the store caught my attention.

The bags were funky, different and actually not particularly my personal style but definitely worth a second look. So I planned to go back and thought - "hmm, maybe this would make for interesting blog fuel."

The concept is simple, while giving a new life to previously used material, Recycl'ere is doing their part to preserve our future. The idea came from its owner and founder Lyne Beaulieu who is a transplanted Québecoise who came up with the idea while still in Canada and thought that it would be a wonderful idea to take material that was either itself destined to be recycled by large companies or just tossed out, to make fashionable unique accessories that don't have that recycled look and therefore accessible to all. Lucky for us she decided to bring this idea to Paris.

What are the bags made of? The material used is primarily PVC advertising posters. Yes, that's right - those large posters that you see draped over the Gallery Lafayette's exterior or over a building under construction are wash, cut and shaped into these spectacular new designs. Other materials used are inner tubes of tires, flags etc. But they don't just make bags, there have belts, pencil cases and other handy items.

Who makes the bags? Well this is the other side to Recly'ere's mission - social consciousness. The raw material is collected at the store, washed, cut and ready for the couturiers. The final products are made in an atelier outside Paris, called L'ESAT (formerly CAT - Centre d'Aide par le Travail pour l'insertion professionelle), which solely employees handicapped individuals in Chennevières-sur-Marne.

The store opened 4 months ago and is an atelier where you can also find original art work from other environmentally minded artists who make lamps, tableaux, and other decorative pieces from recycled material.

The store has a garage like feel to it and that is exactly what Lyne and her husband Claude wanted to represent - a funky, fun industrial meets chic concept. So drop by and check it out and when you buy a bag there (as we know you will), you can feel proud that you are making a difference one bag at a time.

16, Ave St Ouen
75018 Paris
Metro: La Fourche (line 13)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

La Conserverie - Canned Made Good

When you mention to anyone that a restaurant/bar is only serving canned and preserved foods, you may get some raised eyebrows and some serious disbelief particularly if you tell them that it is actually very good!

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