Our Favourite Paris District: Le Marais

Even though we usually stay in Saint-Germain, when visiting Paris, our favourite part of town is Le Marais (“The Marsh”), the former Jewish quarter, and prior to that the home of the high nobility. We always spend at least a couple of hours sitting on a park bench or (in summer) on the lawn of Place des Vosges, the oldest planned square of the city, dating from 1612. Originally named Place Royale, it was a popular meeting point for the nobility and one of the most fashionable and expensive squares until the Revolution, when most of the nobility moved to the Faubourg Saint-Germain district, just west of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Today, the vaulted arcades house some of Paris’ best art galleries (such as Modus), cool cafes, a lovely perfume shop, and more.    We love the relaxed, laid-back, bohemian atmosphere of the Marais with its many young people, hip fashion shops, and, […]

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One Weekend in Paris

We love this beautiful city and usually go there at least once a year to try to do Paris off the beaten track. It’s so convenient from London, too. It takes us 20 minutes to get to St Pancras, then an hour to allow for check-in/customs (shockingly lax, easy, and quick, but hopefully they know what they’re doing) and a quick bite, then a bit over two hours on the train to Gare du Nord. From there it’s three stops to our hotel of choice, 4-star Trianon Rive Gauche, located in the same street as the Palais du Luxembourg. For Paris, it is ok in terms of space (tiny, but less tiny than some other hotel rooms). We don’t like the fact that they got rid of the shower curtains during their recent revamp (what a silly idea, there are only two fixed glass panes, but with a huge opening […]

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RA Lates: New Soviet World

The Royal Academy of Arts hosted another great RA Lates event on Saturday night.  It was themed on the “Revolution: Russian Art, 1917-1932” exhibition, which is on at the RA until 17 April 2017.   There were actors, playing the role of Bolsheviks and Soviet Commissars, and the curious paying guests, like myself, eager to take part in the “immersive” experience.   And it was an experience. The queuing, the stamping of coupons, the bureaucracy, the “Biomechanical” life drawing class, the rubbery sausages in the communal dining hall at Canteen No. 57.  But we forgot all this as we were treated with a live balalaika performance…    and of course, the telling art of the revolutionary new Soviet world.         Next event: I look forward to the next RA Lates event, taking place on 22 April on the theme of America Dreaming. RA Lates: New Soviet World certainly was a blast. If we have whetted […]

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‘Art’, the Play, Old Vic

We just watched ‘Art‘, the third play by Yasmina Reza, the 57 year old French writer and actress, who has been collecting many prestigious awards over the years (Molière, Tony, and Laurence Olivier Awards for ‘Art’ alone) and who is known for her satirical plays about the middle classes, the two best-known of which are, you guessed it, ‘Art’, and ‘God of Carnage’. ‘Art’ premiered in Paris in 1994 and in London two years later. The play was translated into more than 40 languages. I saw the German version in Munich with my parents and my sister in early 1997 and didn’t like it that much, mainly because my Mom was so uber-enthusiastically ecstatic about it that it put me off (it’s simply not cool to like what your parents like when you’re very young). The English-language adaptation, translated by Christopher Hampton, opened in London’s West End in 1996 and […]

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Japanese pancakes and Samuel Beckett

Perhaps the only thing in common between Samuel Beckett and savoury Japanese pancakes is their simplicity. Last week, we went to Abeno to grab a quick bite before catching Beckett’s “All That Fall” at the Arts Theatre.            Abeno is one of Europe’s only specialist “Okonomi-yaki” (savoury Japanese pancakes) restaurants.  And it was a delight to check it out.  I had the prawn pancake, and hubs had the pork pancake.  They were cooked before us by the proficient staff.  They stayed hot on the stove plates and the flavours were savoury.  Both were delicious, and light to have just before the heavy theatre….                “All That Fall” is a one-act radio play written by Samuel Beckett in 1956.  We were given eye-masks to cover our eyes so we could experience the play as originally intended –  through audio only.  It has a simple […]

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