Sunday, August 29, 2010

La Rentrée - Back to School and Back to Work

So it's that time of year when you start to put away your bathing suit and flip flops and trade them in for your Fall attire - or if you are lucky you get to squeeze out another half-month of Summer-like weather.

Paris which thinned out in terms of the locals this August is filling up once again and if the news is any indication the roads are massively busy with those returning from their various vacation points across the country. In fact as I write this I am currently awaiting guests who are driving into Paris and are already 2.5 hours late!

For some the transition back to work and school is not difficult perhaps because they weren't one of the many French to have left for 3-4 straight weeks of holidays. For others it is more difficult - take my friend who I was to meet today for a drink and learned via SMS that she was bored (having just gotten back yesterday from her vacation), so has taken off to Aix-en-Provence till Tuesday! The luck!

I remember the end of Summer vacation when I was in school, used to be (and probably still is), cause for mixed emotions. Excitement about a new year, new shoes, new clothes, new books and old friends as well as melancholy over the departure of long days without homework, ice-cream, warm sunshine and all the other wonderful things we associate with Summer.

Over the years the "Back to School" sales and displays seem to have turned up earlier and earlier. No sooner have you packed your bags to head to the beach, than some store has already put up a sign telling you the ever approaching school year is once again on the horizon.

The magazine covers start announcing what you can expect in the "new year", what's hot, what's not, who did what last Summer ("I know what YOU did last Summer"), and the best tricks for a peaceful re-entry back into reality.

It really does feel like a new year of sorts where we start making resolutions to burn off the fat from the excesses of a thoroughly enjoyed holiday of fun, sun and sand or plan out our social and cultural calendars with dinner plans, theater tickets, concerts and art lessons. We are spoiled with choice in the city of Paris which so kindly delivers into all our mailboxes a small magazine full of great tips for our return.

"La Rentrée" - the French term for Back to School, need not be a stressful one. You can stretch out that Summer feeling by slowly easing yourself back into the game. Have brunch at a nice cafe or restaurant. Meet friends for a drink. Enjoy those nice picnics in the park every chance you get.

What are your ideas for a successful "Rentrée"?

In the next post, you'll find a list of some events and other useful links for a successful rentrée.

Photos: Doisneau,, Y. Oshodi

Ideas for a successful Rentrée - Fall in Paris

Here are some links to happenings in Paris this Fall as well as some of our suggestions for a successful Rentrée.

Idea #1: Go to brunch with friends
I found a nice site all about brunch in Paris. The prices vary as well as the ideas of what a brunch is. We tried out La Cave des Dames, 64 rue des Dames

Idea #2: Get a massage
Another site from I think the same people as above: (only in French but full of addresses so easy to navigate)

Idea #3: Take part in one of the many events coming up this Fall in Paris
This list is not at all exhaustive. You can visit the Tourist bureaus site for information on events in the city at

Idea # 4: Attend a Concert, the ballet, the Opera and other cultural events presented throughout the city.

*** indicates events in the neighborhoods where Feels Like Home in Paris rents properties

Reporters sans frontières (reporters without borders) - the Petit Palais will be exhibiting the photos of Pierre Boulat and his daughter Alexandra ranging from photos of slums in Nanterre in the 1950s to photos of Afghan women or the Gaza strip. - Boulat Expo from 9 September till the 27th of Februrary 2011 at the Petit Palais.

Jimi is back in Paris. For fans of Jimi Hendricks you won't want to miss the exhibition in his honor 40 years after his disappearance: From 16 september to 16 December prochain, the stylists Maurice Renoma and Yazid Manou, present Jimi Hendrix regrouping 10 photographers : Jean-Noël Coghe, Alain Dister, Claude Gassian, Bob Lampard, Jean-Pierre Leloir, Gered Mankowitz, Dominique Petrolacci, Jean-Louis Rancurel, Christian Rose.
Renoma Gallery
129 bis, rue de la Pompe
75016 Paris

***D'Anvers au Abbesses - From the 19-21 of November the artists of Paris 9th and 18th district open their doors to the public. This event allows you to explore the world of Paris' painters, sculptors, photographers and visual artists in the heart of their ateliers.


***Vents sur le Canal- The 10th of October come and enjoy concerts and fanfare along the Canal St Martin in the 10th district between 2:00 PM and 7 PM

***Bastille Quartier Libre - from the 8th till the 10th of October, this new festival brought to you by the artists and venders of the 11th district, bring you an eclectic event including improvisational theatre, concerts and dance shows. This event takes place at Place de la Bastille and in rue de La Roquette

The FNAC (Fnactickets)is a great resource for concerts in Paris particularly if you are having trouble navigating the site:

Here are a few concert dates

Linkin Park - 25 October, Bercy
Guns N' Roses - 13 September, Bercy
Ozzy Osbourne - 20 September, Bercy
Limp Bizkit - 8 September, l'Olympia

Lady Gaga - 22 October, Bercy
Gorillaz - 14 November, Le Zenith
U2 - 18 September, Stade de France
Morcheeba - 11-12 October, Le Bataclan (I'm going!!!!)
Shakira - 6 December, Bercy
Kool and the Gang + Chic - 11 October, Le Zenith

Method Man & Redman- 11 November, Elysee Montmartre
Michael Buble, 27 October, Bercy
Alice Russel "Session acoustique" 5 September, La Cigale
Seu Jorge and Almaz - 22 October, La Cigale

Bharati - mix of dance, music and traditions of India, 28 October till 19 December (I've seen it before and really enjoyed it)
Paquita - Classical ballet at the Opera Garnier, 19 October - 7 November
Angelin Preljocaj - Contemporary Choreographer present "Le Songe de Médée" (Based on Euripides' Medea)- Opera Garnier, 1 October - 22 October
Swan Lake - Opera Bastille, 5 May 2010- 1 May 2011

Food & Drink
Salon du Chocolat - 28 October to 1 November, Porte de Versailles
***Fête de Vendanges - right in our beloved Montmartre, the 77th edition of la Fête de Vendanges brings concerts, shows and gastronomic-humoristic evenings, a ball for the kids and the traditional parade through Paris' 18th district. 6-10 October
*** Gastronomie de Cocagne - Come and enjoy the taste of the Southwest of France over the course of 3 days and enjoy some live music on the Quai Montebello which faces Notre Dame (just minutes from the Grande Dame apartment). This market brings together producers of wine, foie gras, fruits and vegetables and cheese. September 17-19

Now that's a lot to digest so I'll leave you to it.

Paris is a wonderful city to visit at any time of the year so we hope to see you soon.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Last days of the YSL retrospective

If you are a fan of fashion and are in Paris this weekend, don't forget not to miss the last days of the Yves Saint Laurent retrospective at the Petit Palais. And if you can't make it, you can see a short clip about it here:

Yves Saint Laurent au Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux Arts
envoyé par mairiedeparis. - Regardez plus de courts métrages.

What: Yves Saint Laurent Retrospective
Where: Petit Palais
Métro : Champs-Elysées-Clemenceau (ligne 1 or 13) or Concorde (ligne 1, 8 or 12)
RER : line C, station Invalides ; line A, station Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile
Bus : 42,72, 73, 80, 93
When: Through Sunday, 29 August. (Hours are Friday & Sunday: until 18H, Saturday until 23h)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ciao Paris! Exploring Paris on a Vespa

When I've traveled to Rome or Barcelona, renting a scooter was always simple and easy and I had several options to choose from. I often wondered if the same sort of system existed in Paris and some of our guests have been inquiring as well.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New phone booths in Paris?

If you've been walking around some of the more touristy districts of Paris, you may have noticed an unusual looking stand welcoming you to have a look with its big orange BONJOUR. Part computer, part phone, the prototype from Orange (formerly France Telecom) debuted on April 9th 2010, for a trial period of 6 months to test out a new more modern phone booth in the city.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Happiness in the Butte de Chaumont - Rosa Bonheur

I keep telling people, "You have to go to the Butte de Chaumont" - is anyone listening? In Paris' 19th district many tourists may never even have heard of it, perhaps because it is one of the Parisian's best kept secrets. Why? Well this large green space which we talked about in a previous blog piece is a wonderful place to picnic albeit that you may be sitting on a incline in some parts of the park, it is still a place that attracts many Parisians on a sunny day in our beloved capital.

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