November in Paris

Last weekend we jaunted over to Paris on Eurostar for an Autumnal long weekend break, a chance to catch a breath in what’s turning out to be a very busy few months. Paris in the fall is always a mixed bag, as the continental weather can get pretty wet and cold but luckily for us the forecast torrential rain held off leaving just a few light showers in its wake. This trip we stayed at Adrien’s beautiful flat in the 10th, near to Gare de l’Est – a fortuitous coincidence as he had his own jaunt off to New York literally an hour after we arrived, so we got to share a brief breakfast before he headed out. A big thanks to him, as it’s one of our favourite areas comprising central location via the walk along the St-Martin canal. Magnifique.

After so many trips to Paris we tend to avoid the tourist activities, instead reverting to a mildly obsessive attempt to see every Parisian Space Invader. Thanks to a previous birthday present of Invader’s Paris invasion guide we now have some highly accurate maps to help us, and guide us around areas of Paris we would otherwise never go near. The stand-out this trip was a long strip of invaders on the edge of Belleville opposite a full-on street market that seemed to specialise in stolen goods and loud arguments and an ethnic mix that reminded me more of Jerusalem than anywhere else. The upshot of our hunt, was that we now know the first ever Invader is no longer there, and that M is better at spotting them.. winning 37 to 32 in new sightings. That puts us having seen about 100 off of the now 1,000 placed in Paris.. so plenty of opportunity to claw back a second frame there.

Other than Parisian street art, of which Invader is flanked by Shepherd Fairey and Faile but little else, we enjoyed some splendid meals. Brunch at Les Enfants Perdues was a set menu joy. Cafe Charlot provided good solid cafe food during the day and traditionally French service. First night we went to La Fidelite where the opulent packed surroundings was highly enjoyable, although my mild food poisoning from the cod was less fun – c’est la vie. On Saturday we went to Hotel du Nord and had a splendid time, highly recommended.

Food aside the highlight of the trip was a visit to Deyrolle, a French institution where you can buy all forms of preserved animals – from butterflies to polar bears and everything in between. Expensive to buy, but fascinating to wander round and proving that however many times you visit Paris, there’s always something new to find and enjoy.

Film: Two Days in Paris (3/5)

Last night we watched the interesting indie flick Two Days in Paris starring/written and produced by Julie Delpy, and co-starring Adam Goldberg. Delpy and Goldberg play a couple who met in New York, but are visiting Delpy’s parents in Paris for a two day stopover at the end of a European trip. Delpy plays an artistic, slightly dippy photographer, and Goldberg a hyper-neurotic, hairy Jewish Interior Designer.

Paris, as always in such films, is the real star here. Beautiful angles of lesser seen arondissments and a wonderful glimpse into real Parisian life and apartments as we follow their whistle stop catch-up with the town Delpy grew up in. Delpy gives us all a look at how life can be if you’re young, artistic and Parisian, all of which plays nicely off the counterfoil of Goldberg’s closed, paranoid and generally rude boyfriend. That said their dynamic is enjoyable to watch, if slightly forced and leaving a feeling you’re watching a movie that Woody Allen might have done were he this young now. No bad thing in itself. That and the fact that most of the characters talk little English and Goldberg makes no real attempt to learn himself gives much of the film its meat, that and the wonderful characters of Delpy’s parents.

Well worth a watch if you like indie European flicks with a Woody-Allenesque feel.