Archive for the 'TIPs (This is Paris)' Category

Lost in Frenchlation

The screening room at Studio 28. Photo courtesy of Lost in Frenchlation.

Friends!

I arrived in Paris, just in time for a heatwave and the last round of legislative voting.

I also finally made it to an event I’ve been invited to for well over a year.

Rarely do I make plans for the same day I land (jetlag, anyone?), but the evening’s opportunity was too good to pass up.

The garden tea room at Cinema Studio 28. Photo courtesy of Lost in Frenchlation.

Lost in Frenchlation has a simple mission: bring renowned French films to a broader audience by screening French films with English subtitles.

The Franco-Australian pair behind Lost in Frenchlation, Manon and Matt. Photo courtesy of Lost in Frenchlation.

When you think about it, the idea makes total sense. Film is such an important part of French culture and there are so many international folks in Paris. Unless you’re completely fluent, it can be difficult to follow a movie in your non-native tongue. Lost in Frenchlation allows easier access to current French films, as well as providing a convivial cocktail before or after for a full social night.

Events are held at Studio 28, the oldest screening room in Paris.

I was happy to get a chance to check out LIF, whose popularity has grown quickly. They were right about there being quite a market for their offerings! (Lost in Translation is currently nominated for “best reoccurring event in Paris” by Expatriates Magazine. The young organization had also just held their first event in London the previous night.)

I admit it was the specific film and event that had me particularly intrigued and gave me the energy to fight the fatigue upon my arrival to attend.

On Friday, June 16, the film on tap was Le Concours, a documentary about the strenuous entrance exam to La Fémis, one of the most prestigious film schools in the world. The director of the film, Claire Simon, was on hand afterward for a Q&A.


The film’s trailer, (only available in French – see why Lost in Frenchlation is needed?)

Le Concours was great – I could do a whole separate post about the movie itself! But needless to say it’s quite an experience to get a truly inside look at the highly competitive selection process of such an institution (A thousand candidates applied for 60 spots).


A clip from the film – *with* English subtitles!

The film lends itself to all kinds of juicy questions about art, subjectivity, inequality, and elitism. (Simon made a compelling remark in the Q&A about France “constantly recreating a gentry” – whoa, we could dig into that one for ages!).

Continue reading ‘Lost in Frenchlation’

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Eiffel Tower Excitement

So you know I’m committed to offbeat adventures and seeing the City of Light in new ways. But I watched this video and wondered: would I be willing to do this?

(Email readers, you’ll have to click to the blog to view. You might want to turn down your sound if you’re at work, too!).

In honor of the French Open, Perrier (of sparkling water fame), erected a zipline from the Eiffel Tower that has you hurtling up to 55 miles/hour at 375 feet high. (Apparently tennis balls reach a similar speed. Um, yeah. Interesting connection).

You can practice your French with this video showcasing more stunts from the Iron Lady:

So, question of the day: Would you test this zipline?

This exciting experiment is free, but only open until June 11. (Which, phew! I’ll just miss it so you won’t know if I’m too timid to try!)

Write-in Paris (WIP) !

Boulevard Voltaire. Photo by Sean Fitzroy.

Boulevard Voltaire. Photo by Sean Fitzroy.

Closed shops with handwritten notes on their shuttered doors announcing vacation, emptier streets so tempting the urge to walk in the middle of them sometimes overtakes. Cafes are even more relaxed than usual. Linger, linger.

But crowds still appear in parks with picnic baskets and blankets to watch outdoor movies. Sunny enough this year, too, for Paris Plages (ends this Sunday). The tourist sites must be packed, as well, though I haven’t been anywhere near those for awhile.

It’s August in Paris. A slow, delicious month. Counterintuitively to some, it’s my favorite one. I love working during this time. Less pressure in the air as others holiday, I feel as if I’m getting ahead.

Corner cafe. Photo by Michele Filgate.

Corner cafe. Photo by Michele Filgate.

I’ve come up with an idea, friends, and I’m excited to share. I hope you will join if you can.

Starting in September, I will begin hosting “write-in” sessions in my home. Not a workshop. Not a class. Rather “communal scribble sessions in the City of Light.”

So often, the biggest challenge in writing is the most basic of steps: sitting down and staying there to do it. I think a lot about why it’s so hard to keep one’s butt in the chair – resistance, doubt, distractions, fear.

I know I’m not alone. It’s a solitary act, writing. And yet we, writers, are a tribe.

What if I created a community specifically to foster collective creative energy in a supportive environment? Offered a cozy space to focus on projects, our concentration on solo work buoyed by a group?

WIP websiteI’ve launched Write-In Paris (WIP) and would love for you to take a look. Think of it as a weekly date with your writing in good company. Consider it a membership to a writer’s gym – only this gym is always super fun with like-minded souls. You’ll commit to your writing practice and it’s a promise you’ll want to keep.

I’m looking forward to the rentree now. I can’t wait to put WIP into play!

Please visit the Write-In Paris (WIP) website for full details on schedules and pricing. Then, I hope you sign up!

Thoughts? Ideas? I welcome your suggestions of how to make WIP great and how to spread the word. Thank you!

Paris’ New “Budget Participatif”

This week voting began in a new Paris initiative: for the first time in the city’s history, residents get to choose how to use 5% of the municipal government’s investment budget. This budget participatif, which will amount to 426 million euros over 6 years, was one of mayor Anne Hidalgo’s campaign promises. It’s happening now.

(A quick video on how it works, in French, is below)

Continue reading ‘Paris’ New “Budget Participatif”’

Create What You Seek + The Kale Project

Eiffel Tower in the mistBetween my writing residency and road trip, I’ve been away from Paris for some time. I’ve gotten caught up in other worlds, but the city’s on my mind.

“April in Paris” is one of those phrases that instantly evokes a certain nostalgia. A mood set in three simple words. (Listen to Ella & Louis do their rendition of the song).

I’ll be interested to return to Paris this month (though I’m not rushing my sojourn in Guadeloupe. Bravo to those who figured out my current location from the last post’s clues!). Distance is always great for allowing us to see places we know with fresh eyes. I wonder, too, if Paris – and France – have some new changes in store.

After two rounds of voting, Paris elected its first-ever female mayor, Anne Hidalgo. (Most of France moved to the right politically in the recent municipal elections, but as Paris is so often an exception, the Socialist candidate prevailed there).

Hidalgo was born in Spain, but grew up in Lyon, becoming a French national at the age of 14. She quoted the writer Sacha Guitry in saying: “Being a Parisian is not about being born in Paris, it is about being reborn there.”

Continue reading ‘Create What You Seek + The Kale Project’

Luck and Expectations: Some Thoughts on Moving Abroad

Thinking of moving to Paris? Carpe Diem.

Thinking of moving to Paris? Carpe Diem.

Recently I was tapped as an “expat expert” and asked to contribute a tip about living abroad for an HiFx campaign. At first I balked at being considered an “expert.” But then I reasoned: if experience is what makes someone knowledgeable, then I must know something after 7 years in Paris.

Still, I had trouble coming up with concrete advice. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that everyone’s experience is different. Part of the adventure (and frustration) of life in France is that it’s difficult to pin down the precise rules. Documents asked of one person for a dossier, for example, may not be requested of another.

Art along the Seine

Art along the Seine

In the end, perseverance counts more than anything. My tip, therefore, emphasized attitude, summed up in a few short lines. (You can see the full list of tips here; mine will be added soon).

The topic got me to wondering, though. How could I expand on the lessons I learned moving to the City of Light? I realized expectations and the perception of luck play a major role when I talk to people about moving abroad. Here are some broad thoughts on the subject:

Continue reading ‘Luck and Expectations: Some Thoughts on Moving Abroad’

Quiet Paris (Giveaway!)

Quiet ParisAs if in answer to my pleas, the sun finally appeared in Paris this week. Starting Sunday, spring burst forth fully formed. The city sighed collective relief.

The long walks I alluded to last post obviously bring even more joy now.

In a bout of perfect timing, I also received a new guidebook that champions the wandering approach. The introduction to Siobhan Wall’s Quiet Paris has her musing: “walking around, I wondered whether we are now less familiar with losing our way and coming across places by benign accident rather than preordained design.”

Wall seeks the calmer side to cities, you see, places off the beaten track. Previously she has produced Quiet London and Quiet Amsterdam. But is it really possible to escape the hustle and bustle in Paris, the world’s most popular tourist destination?

I always approach anything promising a “secret” City of Light with a slice of skepticism. Luckily, this sweet little pocket guide soon swiped away any hesitation. It delivers.

While some old standbys certainly appear (the elevated leafy walkway known as the Promenade Plantee was packed this weekend, for instance; ditto, I imagine, Parc Buttes Chaumont), plenty of entries were new to me (the Musee Bourdelle in the fifteenth? The Bibliotheque Marguerite Durand devoted to French women and feminism?)

Author Siobhan Wall

Author Siobhan Wall

After the elegant intro, the guide is divided into 12 sections: museums, libraries, parks & gardens, places to relax, places to worship, shops, restaurants, cafes, bookshops, galleries, cultural centers, and places to stay. At the end is a handy index of places by arrondissement. There are more than 120 listings in all.

Continue reading ‘Quiet Paris (Giveaway!)’


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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