All posts tagged: creativity

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 …

Photo a Day

For this daily creativity break we chose to take a photo every day for a month (work days only) in the same spot on our commute. The point of this exercise is to observe something we see everyday in a new light by freezing the moment in time.       Try it yourself and then ask these questions: What is the same each day? What is different? What do you notice that you haven’t noticed before? Why did you choose this spot? See below for our photos! Annie: Nora:

Scent Mapping

        It has been said that smell is the strongest sense tied to memory. Whenever I return to Paris, it’s the scents that trigger my memory first. For this creativity break, we invite you to follow your nose by mapping your daily commute. What are the smells that strike you the most? Baking bread, laundry detergent, the impermeable cloud of cigarette smoke? Focus on this sense. See how it changes the way you experience your environment and if it changes the places or people you pass by everyday. If you want to use this prompt as a creativity or meditation break, end here. If you want to take it further, we encourage you to map out your commute and the smells you encounter along the way. Take a look at our maps and reflections below: Nora: I wouldn’t say that smell is my strongest sense, but it’s hard not to notice the pungent smells that are emitted from Parisian streets. My favorite smell of Paris is the one of freshly baked bread …

Nuit Blanche October 3rd 2015

Nuit Blanche, the annual night of art installations, performances, and events in Paris is not to be missed! Organized by the Marie de Paris, it’s a night of culture and exploration that unites artists from around the world. Many of the installations (often featuring light and sound) allow visitors to discover parts of Paris that are typically inaccessible, such as abandoned train stations and construction sites. For curious, creative adventurers like us, this night is a dream come true! Here I’ve chosen to highlight a few areas and installations that I’m particularly excited about this year, and share my tips for a successful Nuit Blanche based on two years of experience. It can appear a bit overwhelming, so I recommend focusing on one or two areas. Follow my advice or create your own path, but this night is not to be missed! Most of the installations are on the Right Bank this year. We plan to focus on the PARCOURS NORD-EST Any time an artist takes over a train station, I’m interested. Unsure what to expect, this should be an exciting place to start. …

Rainy Day in Paris

Rain is a common occurrence in Paris and often unexpected. It can be sunny one moment and then the sky will open up and you will be drenched! But there are plenty of things to do in Paris in the rain, and the city takes on a kind of beautiful melancholy. Idea 1: KB Cafeshop + drawing exercise           Situated in the ever more hipster South Pigalle, KB Cafeshop boasts great coffee, sandwiches and homemade desserts. The close quarters of the tables provides a great opportunity for eavesdropping and observing fellow patrons. Creativity Break: “blind” drawing While enjoying your coffee, start people watching. Pick out someone who looks interesting and as discreetly as possible draw a portrait of them. Important: DO NOT look down at the paper. Keep your eyes on your subject until you have finished. (we found it a little awkward to stare at random strangers, so feel free to look around while drawing, just don’t look down!) Hopefully you’ll be pleasantly surprised by your Picasso-esque results. Nora: Annie: …

Proust and a dream house

On a lazy afternoon head to your favorite cafe, park, or any other place where you feel comfortable and can spend an extended amount of time. Feel free to bring a friend. Bring the Proust questionnaire (questions about your personality and aspirations) with you and choose at least 8 to ask yourself and your companion. Take your time, but go with your gut when answering. You may find out something you didn’t know about yourself or your friend. Note: We picked Le Pavillion des Canaux in the 19th arrondissement. Situated on the Bassin de la Villette, this coffee shop/clubhouse is filled with funky furnishings and comfortable corners. We especially liked the repurposed bathtub option. At one time a private house, and with the rooms still intact, you will feel at home spending all day reading/writing/chatting or daydreaming. Annie Favorite object at le Pavillon: Nora Favorite object at le Pavillon :