A (Hipstamatic) Psychogeographical walk in Montmartre

La basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre

Un verre de Viognier, Domaine des Salices, J&F Lurton.

Encre de Chine shop window

A window shutter hold-back (Exquisite design for something so simple)

A window shutter hold-back

Boîte aux lettres

Boîte aux lettres

Un verre de 14cl de Beaujolais-Villages (sans sulfite, non filtré) pour 3,60€ – A cheap and healthy alternative to daily supplements

Un verre de 14cl de Beaujolais-Villages (sans sulfite, non filtre?) pour 3,60€

Mesrine: Ennemi public no. 1.

The two-film story of Mesrine, starring Vincent Cassel , is quite violent – I’ve only seen the first part, and there’s a great Montréal connection.

The address of Le Lapin Agile (22 Rue Saules, 75018 Paris. 01 46 06 85 87)

The address of Le Lapin Agile

Paris is expanding!

Where Amelie worked… (I miss her dearly)

Where Amelie worked...

A vine twisting around a metal fence-post

A vine twisting around a metal fence-post

Le Lapin Agile: Veille?es vers 21 heures sauf le lundi

Late shows around 9pm except Mondays. (I saw a show here 20 years ago.)

Le Lapin Agile: Veille?es vers 21 heures sauf le lundi

Vintage sign

Elvis here is probably some French personality – he looks familiar.

Château Rouge, where I lived for 2 years, 20 years ago

I just can’t believe it has been 20 years.

After staying for a couple of months in a company-supplied apartment near the Château de Vincennes area (Southeast), I moved to 13, Rue de Suez near the Château Rouge métro (Northeast). It was, and is, an African and North African neighbourhood. People I worked with were relieved every day that I arrived (late) for work – they were worried I wouldn’t survive. While it was not what you think Paris is, it was a safe area – I never had any trouble and never saw a fight. The worst that happened, happened once: my roommate Yasmeen was whistled at.

I lived on the fifth floor – no elevator. I actually exercised for a bit (the Canadian Army 5BX method) and was so energetic that I ran up the stairs and sometimes found myself on the sixth floor!

I took a walk around the neighbourhood, and after 20 years, just like the rest of Paris, some things are the same and some things have changed. I’ve done this so you don’t have to.

There is a story about Oscar Wilde living (and dying, I think) in a hotel near here. I’ll have to do some research on this.

The entrance to métro Château Rouge, which I used every day for two years. There used to be a boulangerie here where I would buy two croissants every day for my journey to work. Because I was a regular customer, the croissant girl would slip an extra free croissant in the bag. When I said I didn’t need a third croissant, she would say to give it to the homeless – but I never found the homeless up at that hour!

The entrance to métro Château Rouge


The launderette I frequented is no more – it was very convenient, where I could have my clothes washed and folded for an unreasonable fee, though it seemed they beat the clothes to a pulp. It was the only launderette in which I saw someone reading the Holy Quran. Next to the launderette is this little resto, where one could find the cheapest couscous in the city.

au rendez-vous des amis


The market street, Rue Dejean

The market street, Rue Dejean


13, Rue de Suez. Tug on my coat-sleeve and I’ll tell you about a fire that broke out in the apartment next to mine.

13, Rue de Suez


Navel is an Indian resto on Rue de Suez (I can’t believe it’s still here). I was so excited to find an Indian restaurant five steps from home, but soon found that the Marks & Spencer frozen Indian meals tasted better!

Navel, specialités curry et tandoori


Shopfronts are quite different here (many are closed on Mondays).


Chez Willy & Fatou

Suez Bazar

Viande à Gogo


Two things that have changed: every shop is either a hair extension place or a mobile phone store.

Blvd Barbès is Mobile Central

Hair extensions


Manifestation organizé par le Fédération Française des Motards en Colère

French motorcyclists are mad as hell because of recent changes on highways, including removal of highway traffic radar warning signs – the government claims road safety as the reason. 30,000 motards were expected to hit the streets of cities all over France. There certainly were thousands in Paris. The government also wants to force motards to wear yellow fluorescent vests and install extra-large licence plates…

It appears this is a Sarkozy initiative: Le Figaro 23/06/2011

Motard en colère

“Charlotte Perriand – de la photographie au design” at the Petit Palais

I saw a fantastic exhibition at the Petit Palais museum today: “Charlotte Perriand – de la photographie au design”. A French photographer and designer working mainly from the 1930’s to the 1970’s, her photography is stunning and her furniture design is amazing.

My favourite pavement…

Rue Montorgeuil is a fantastic market street with cheese shops, bakeries, fish stores, wine shops, produce and flower shops. It’s a very hip neighbourhood. There’s a Starbucks that I hope the smart people avoid comme la peste. The area has my favourite pavement. Small, square stones are arranged in a wavy pattern – the streets are dark, the sidewalks are light.

Street walking



The pavement (Taken in 2006)
Market street scene

Market street scene

On the road

Antraigues-sur-Volane et le Pont de la Tourrasse

On the D578

On the D578

Cycling is very popular here. Anke and Bart bike up to 70 km of these up and down roads!

These two guys were probably not aware what was up ahead…

The Tour Cycliste Féminin International Ardèche went by us at a terrific speed!

Tour Cycliste Féminin International Ardèche

Tour Cycliste Féminin International Ardèche

Mont Gerbier de Jonc. The mountains of this area are remnants of volcanic craters. These geological formations are called “sucs”. Anke and Bob climbed this thing a couple of days ago!

Mont Gerbier de Jonc

Visiting Bart

Bart is a gentle, generous 55 year old Dutchman that has been visiting La Roche for 45 years. His house is isolated from the rest of the hamlet. He bought it a few years ago and has restored it on his own. He has no electricity but has a spring that provides excellent, healthy water. Everything has to be hauled up via a rocky path on the mountain, including the cast iron stoves!

Bart Huis

Faux-vintage interior scenes

Bart Huis interior


Getaway to the Ardeche

The day after I arrived, I hurtled off by TGV to visit Anke and Bob in the Ardeche in the southwest. About 600 km in 2.5 hours – I’ll never see anything like this in Canada in my lifetime (I used to belong to a ‘high-speed rail in Canada’ forum, but realized the futility…)

They have a beautiful home in a 12-house hamlet called La Roche de Juvinas, which is a 2 hour drive from the TGV station of Valence. It’s a restored stone farmhouse, a very nice balance of the old and new. The hamlet is gorgeous as is the rest of the Ardeche. Very interesting scenery – remains of volcanic activity millions of years ago. All the mountains in the area were worked on by people a long time ago – they terraced the mountain sides by building stone walls so they could eke out a sustenance farming life – dead at 30 because of the backbreaking work. We went on a long hike that was a lot fun and visited a couple of small towns in the area. Feet are OK, though hiking boots are necessary in the area.

La Roche de Juvinas

La Roche (Google Maps)

La Roche pathway

La Roche pathway

A pathway in the forest (damaged by wild pigs that root for grubs)

A pathway in the forest

Almost all the trees planted in the mountains of Ardeche are châtaignier, the chestnut trees that have edible chestnuts

Edible chestnuts

Rocks – the only building material

Rocks, the only building material