All posts tagged: city

Fall Nature Walk

The fall is our favorite season in Paris and we love making the most of it before winter comes. After those infamous long August vacations, September is the time to embrace la rentrée – or “back to school” – and there is a new and exciting energy throughout the city which continues through the autumn months. With this fresh start come new projects, ideas, businesses, and everyone feels recharged and ready to explore. Not to mention the weather: crisp, sunny fall days highlight Paris at it’s best, and inspire all kinds of adventures. One of our favorite things to do is take a fall nature walk, either in one of the many parks or just along an area with trees and greenery. As the leaves are changing, the urban landscape comes to life and this type of walk can be just what you need to clear your mind and get inspired by your surroundings. Prompt: take a fall nature walk in one of the places we recommend or your favorite outdoor spot. Absorb the nature and your …

Paris in August

Spending August in Paris and not sure how to survive the boulangerie closings, the Parisian exodus and the empty streets? Don’t worry, we have your back! Below are some of our suggestions to keep your creative juices and morale up in the midst of a Parisian August. Picnics No summer in Paris (let alone August) is complete without a few full-fledged picnics, lying out into the late afternoon on a towel, drinking picnic wine (aka cheap rosé or white) and running your bare feet through the grass. Some of our favorite spots — Buttes Chaumont (bonus: it’s open all night this summer), Canal de la Villette (if you prefer no grass), Jardin des Plantes, Square du Vert Galant. Courtyard of the Swedish Institute A new favorite summer spot, the courtyard of the Swedish Institute in the 4th offers free lawn chairs (in exchange, you have to check out a book from their pop-up library with an ID). Their stand serves up bagels, cinnamon rolls and refreshingly cold iced tea. If you lay back and open …

Best Winter activities to do in Paris

When it’s cold, rainy and grey in Paris, it can be hard to feel motivated to go outside and do things. Here are just a few ideas of some indoor activities for the Winter time. 1. Explore Paris’ covered galleries (les passages couverts) Dating back to the 18th and 19th century, these glass roofed shopping galleries offer shelter from the rain and transport you to a different time. Wander through Galerie Vivienne and adjacent Galerie Colbert absorbing the elegant architecture, mosaic floor, and chic boutiques. Be sure to check out A Priori Thé in Galerie Vivienne. One of the best places in Paris for cream tea and real scones.           2. Drink mint tea at the Paris Mosque Just across the street from the Jardin des Plantes in the 5e arrondissement is La Mosquée de Paris and its restaurant and tea room. The tea room is a very popular spot where waiters bring around 2€ cups of steaming hot, sugary mint tea. For those with a real sweet tooth, you can also choose traditional …

Museum Musings

Ekphrasis: a literary description of or commentary on a visual work of art (Merriam-Webster) For this creative adventure we decided to take a classic Paris activity–a museum visit– and get something more out of it than just looking at some pretty art. We asked ourselves: How do we best engage with a museum? How do we really get impacted and inspired by it?  How do we really feel a work of art? Prompt:  Pick a museum with an exhibition that interests you or somewhere you’ve never been. Take some time to explore and notice what artworks jump out at you, instead of scanning through the entire exhibit. Try to sit with the work of art that speaks to you most for 20 minutes or more and let your mind wander. If feeling inspired, take it a level further and pull out a notebook. Sketch the painting or simply write free-associations that come to mind, something you could turn back to later as a seed for a poem or short story. Our creative adventure: We chose …

A guide to vernissages (small art viewings) in Paris

Looking for something cultural, free, interesting and fun to do on a Thursday night? We’ve been there. There are hundreds of art galleries in Paris and when they open new exhibitions, they almost always host an opening, with the artist and often drinks (read: free wine) and snacks. These openings can be pretty easy to find with some research by looking at your favorite gallery’s website, or just doing a Google search. Here are a couple sites we’ve found useful:  Slash/Paris , l’officiel des spectacles. Another way to find interesting vernissages is to follow local cultural institutes in Paris on Facebook or take a look at their websites. The Finnish Institute and Swedish Institute in particular often host public openings for Scandinavian artists. Or if the mood strikes on a Thursday night, you can wander around the 3rd (especially Rue Notre Dame de Nazareth or Rue Volta) and will undoubtedly find an inviting, free opening to duck into.         This Thursday, we checked out the opening for French-Iranian artist Sépànd Danesh’s “Des Ruines pour …

Market, Moules, Meat, and More

For this week’s creative adventure we decided to get inspired by one of Paris’ largest and most celebrated outdoor food markets and challenge ourselves in the kitchen. Dinner party challenge: Think about a recipe or dish that holds some meaning for you. What is a dish that you’ve always wanted to make but have been too scared to try? Or the meal that your parents made for you growing up that instantly transports you back home? Don’t plan a meal that you know you have perfected. Challenge yourself instead to cook a dish that will make you feel something, be it nostalgia or pride. Make a day out of your dinner by shopping for ingredients at a local market (where prices are cheaper and food is fresher than in chain grocery stores). Wander around the stalls looking for not just any parsley, but “the most beautiful parsley” (as our favorite vegetable guy described it). Turn off your phone and take your time. Market Recommendation: The Marché Bastille takes place weekly on Thursdays and Sundays from …

Window Sketch

For this creativity break, take a picture of a window that you like visually or that intrigues you in some way. Maybe it’s a window you pass daily, or one that stands out in an unfamiliar area. Write a short character sketch about who you think lives inside, what they do, or what goes on behind the window. It can be a more formalized short story, or simply a free form writing exercise in imagination. bonus: send us your photo and text and we’ll publish a collection of window sketches from around the world!  Nora: Behind the orange and white striped windows lived Cornelius. He spent his days selling popcorn at a movie theater, and at night he chain smoked, wrote bad poems, and sometimes tried to paint in search of the romanticized “starving artist in paris” life he had read about so many times. He’d been squatting in this abandoned building for 3 weeks, eating tuna out of a can, and trying not to start a fire with the candles scattered all over the room–so far …

Brassaï Paris by Night

Brassaï né Gyula Halász (1899, Hungary) became a widely celebrated photographer in the 1930’s and 40’s known for his iconic images of Paris. His first books, Paris de Nuit captures eerie and beautiful images of the city. Do it yourself: If you’re inspired to explore Paris at night, try to create images with a similar mood. -Pick a day with rainy or misty weather for a similar wet, glowing ambiance (perfect in the Winter!) -Find areas that are well lit to capture street lamps and their reflections -Start out along the Seine at one of Paris’ many iconic bridges -Shoot in black in white if possible -Use your camera’s night settings, or a high speed film (ISO 800, 1600, 3200) for the low light conditions Have fun! -Nora

All the old familiar places

It’s a strange reality of living in cities that neighborhoods where you spent most of your weekdays or weekend nights are relegated to places you once went, bars whose names you struggle to remember. You move to a new apartment, a different neighborhood attracts your attention, and subconsciously, you have moved on from that place and that time. Prompt: Pick a cozy café or place where you can lean back and reflect for a while. We chose Nuage Café, a co-working space in the 5th, where you pay for the time you spend there (4 euros per hour) with unlimited coffee, tea and snacks. The upstairs nooks (where you’re required to take your shoes off) with floor cushions are a great place to write and work. Think back on a neighborhood that had some significance to you (we picked the 5th arrondissement in Paris). Write a list of places (including bars, restaurants, apartments, spots where you kissed someone or broke someone’s heart) that hold meaning to you or that you simply like in that neighborhood. …

One week later

“elle (Paris) est battu par les flots, mais ne sombre pas // she is tossed by the waves but does not sink” It’s hard to know what to write after something like this happens, but we both felt like a post about the events of November 13th, 2015 was necessary particularly for our own healing. This post is very personal, but in line with why we started this blog, we hope to inspire Parisians, expats, and people in big cities everywhere to go out and live, have fun, and do the things you love to do as much as possible. -A & N Annie: Last year, when I was living in a box of an apartment (my sister likened it to an “efficiency apartment”, my dad to a sailboat) in the 11th, near Oberkampf, I would walk around at night, go running during the day, and feel removed and freed from the obligations of work and life. The neighborhood wasn’t like the ones I had lived in before or what I had envisioned as “Paris.” There are …