Archive for June, 2011

Fete de la Musique/Bon Iver in Paris

It’s Fete de la Musique today, when bands, choirs, shower singers – whoever wants! – take to the streets and make song.

I wish I had time to go frolic, but I’m in a flurry of activity getting ready to leave for the States. I’m looking forward to it (I mean *really* looking forward to it), but it’s going to be intense. I fly into New York right into weekend wedding fun, then travel up to Vermont for my final writing residency of my MFA program. I’ll be giving a lecture on James Baldwin’s time in Paris, as well as giving a reading, in addition to the workshops, readings, and lectures that already comprise the packed 10-days of residency.

I’ve been cleaning all day getting my apartment ready for friends & renters who will be staying while I’m away. I popped out for some errands, and the music party had already begun. A rock drummer was tapping out beats in my corner cafe. At a bar down the road, a rock band was setting up equipment and testing their sound. Across the street in front of the Indian restaurant a Music and Meditation yoga group was chanting.

A young man (he actually was tall, dark, and handsome) from the group saw me eyeing the information they had put out (the word “free” usually gets me to stop) and he asked if I wanted the “experience” of meditation.

Um, maybe, I said.

How about now? he said.

Continue reading ‘Fete de la Musique/Bon Iver in Paris’


New Girls’ Guide to Paris Article: Hotel des Academies et des Arts

The lobby of the Hotel des Academies et des Arts

Hello hello,

I have a new article over at Girls’ Guide to Paris if anyone wants to take a gander.

I thought I’d share the story behind the story, too. (Oh! Could that be a new feature? Let’s put it in quotes then: “the story behind the story.”)

One of Jerome Mesnager's figures having fun

So I got to visit this boutique hotel on the Left Bank – not far from the Luxembourg Gardens – called the Hotel des Academies et des Arts. A cute couple, Laurent and Charlotte Inchauspé, owns the small design hotel and gave “carte blanche” to renowned street artist Jerome Mesnager to do whatever he desired with the space. A modest group (6-7) writers were invited for a tour and to meet the artist in person.

The wellness room at the hotel

It soon became clear I was the only anglophone present. All of the other invitees were French bloggers and/or journalists. Question: could I cover a story entirely in French for the first time?

Continue reading ‘New Girls’ Guide to Paris Article: Hotel des Academies et des Arts’

Monumenta at the Grand Palais

Since 2007, the Grand Palais has hosted an annual exhibition called “Monumenta.” The French Ministry for Culture and Communication invites an international artist to create a new work designed specifically for the nave of the impressive space.

This year Indian artist Anish Kapoor has created something that truly lives up to the expos’s name. His piece “Leviathan” for Monumenta 2011 is…well…monumental.

Yeah. You’re seeing correctly.

Here’s another shot of tiny people next to the great big art object:

For the record, I don’t mean tiny people in that they’re small. No, they’re normal-sized people next to a friggin’ humongous installation. We’re supposed to say size doesn’t matter, but come on. It really kind of does, right? Visiting the exhibition was definitely an awesome experience.

First, though, you start inside the giant installation.

This was sort of like being inside a giant red womb.

One of the neat things about the Grand Palais is its huge glass dome. As the light changed (it was a cloudy day, with shots of sunshine in passing moments), both the appearance and feel of the object itself changed. When the light streamed in, what looked at first opaque soon transformed, as we could now see the metal armature of the building itself.

The womb was all well and good, but we were ready to get out into the world. And as with birth, nothing really prepares you for what the world actually has in store.

Continue reading ‘Monumenta at the Grand Palais’

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Paris by Night

My body would have it otherwise, but my mind comes alive at night. Something about the dark sparks new ideas and thoughts; my best shot at writing is during the witching hours.

This video taps into that strange magical energy. And the City of Light at night! What a sight! (Um, yeah, see I’m writing this in the middle of the day – wake me up again in a few hours so I can come up with something original).

No need to say much, though. Just watch and enjoy!

Une nuit Parisienne (Paris by night) from manemos on Vimeo.

Tasty Treats (?)

You might have caught the news a few months ago that French gastronomy was officially added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. This honor of the country’s cuisine and its cultural place was filed in the “intangible” category.

I’ll let foodies have it out about what such a recognition even means, but I’d just like to display an exhibit of one questionable “food” item I recently spotted in my local Leader Price (low-cost supermarket).

Um...yum? Oh wait, I mean...YUCK!

“Intangible” wouldn’t quite be the right word for cheeseburger chips, though it somehow seems fitting. Incomprehensible, maybe?

For the record, there are French delicacies I find disgusting. Andouillette is, of course, my prime example. Basically, we’re talking pig intestines. As Wikipedia so helpfully elucidates:

“As with all tripe sausages, andouillettes are an acquired taste. Their strong smell can be reminiscent of feces and may offend people unaccustomed to the dish.”

Come now. Since when has the smell of feces been a bad thing?

When I worked at Expedia, we had a nice resto/cafe/epicerie next door, Gus (L’Atelier Gourmand), where we’d often go for lunch. Their hot food at the buffet really was kind of gourmet (for a buffet).

So often though, I’d stare down the main option of the day. “Innards,” I’d say. I just could not eat innards.

I’m not sure how I got from cheeseburger chips to innards, but anyway…here we are!

Should I unleash the floodgates? Why not? Let us know your personal gross-out food in the comments and we’ll all have a good chuckle/upchuck.

P.S. The people in line at the supermarket seemed quite confused as to why I was taking a photo of those chips. Am I the only one who thinks the picture of that cheeseburger is hilarious? “Oui, au gout de vivre moins cher,” indeed. (Crude translation: yes to the taste of living cheaply).

P.P.S. Of course, living in France rocks for food, too. Heck, 3-year olds eat better than I do most days. Check out this video about gourmet school lunches here.

paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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