Category: books/magazines

April 28th, 2011 by ptinfrance

Are you ready for Lesson 8 in L’anglais sans peine (English Without Pain)? If you missed my Lesson 1 blog post, see it here as well as read about what English Without Pain is.

Here’s lesson 8: I have a surprise for you in my pocket…
english without pain lecon lesson 8
Am I the only one who thinks this is absolutely hilarious?!

Posted in books/magazines, funny, language, weird Tagged with: , , , , ,

September 14th, 2010 by ptinfrance

French people over the age of 45 or so, who’ve tried to study English, will all be able to say “My tailor is rich.” Some might not be able to say much more than that, but by God they can at least say that and that might come in handy…some day! I’ve met many people who’ve proudly recited this line to me. I never know how to respond.

This most absurd and utterly useless phrase is the very first lesson from a book called, L’anglais sans peine (English Without Pain). It’s a book that a lot of French people owned, and I recently found it at my in-laws! My dad in law can’t say too much more than “my tailor is rich.” How many more times will we all laugh when he says that to me? I don’t know.

The book is pure gold in its datedness, silliness and just plain wrongness and it’s something I must share here, albeit in little blog posts.

Here’s the cartoon that goes with lesson Number 1: My Tailor is Rich. From where the author pulled this out of, I can’t say.
my tailor is rich, english lesson for the french
More to follow I hope.

Posted in books/magazines, funny, language, weird Tagged with: , , , ,

March 8th, 2010 by ptinfrance

ces impossibles francais
We barely watched any of the Winter Olympics this year but did catch a few minutes of the biathlon (target shooting, cross country skiing) one night. The French athlete, 23 year-old Vincent Jay had apparently been in the lead for a long time and remained in first place as the race continued. Then, my sweetie says, “He’s going to crack and lose.” Me: “Wha? Don’t you want him to win?” “Yeah, but he’s going to lose. I know it and everyone in France watching right now are saying the same thing.” Me: “They said he just won the gold medal yesterday.” Him: “He got lucky. The French ALWAYS lose.” Me: “No they don’t.” Him: “Yes they do.” Me: “Where is your Olympic spirit!? I want him to win! You know, this collective Franco-negativity consciousness is going to MAKE him lose.” Him: “Wish all you want, It ain’t gonna happen.”

It turned out in the end Jay dropped to third right before the finish, but at least won the bronze medal. Him: “See, I told you. The French choke in the end.” Me: “!!!” Him: “You should’ve known.” Me: “Living here this long, I’ll eat pizza with a fork and knife, and I’ll drink morning coffee from a bowl, but expect failure without exception? NO.” Him: “What can I say? C’est plus fort que moi.”

This was another one of many clashes of cultures we experience: American Optimism (realistic or not) vs. The Undying French Pessimism (among other things). I call it “Ces impossibles Français,” which happens to be the name of a book recently released. I had to get it once I heard about it, although I haven’t gotten too much into it yet. Written by a French Canadian (Louis-Bernard Robitaille) who has been living in France for over 30 years now, it promises to be a light-hearted, warm and funny read, I think particularly for expats living with an impossible Français, or any expat living in France. Note: The book’s in French.

Posted in books/magazines, cultural differences, daily life, people, tips Tagged with: ,

April 20th, 2009 by ptinfrance

Boudin noir? Poulet rôti? Moules Frites? Un moelleux au chocolat? How ’bout some foie gras or a nice juicy côte de boeuf? I know you’ve been dying for a tête de veau, haven’t you? When you travel all the way to Paris, does it ever occur to you to hit the pavement in search of a croque monsieur? I mean, a really, really good croque monsieur? Well, the best one in Paris has truffles in it. I would travel all the way to Paris for that. If it was really exceptional, I wouldn’t even mind if it didn’t have any truffles. At the same time, I can’t imagine going to a fancy restaurant for a croque monsieur but hey, the best club sandwich in Paris is supposedly from Georges V, and I bet it is not a bon marché. I wouldn’t want to pay too much for a club sandwich, but my sweetie probably would. He LOVES club sammiches. Anyway, on to the book.

Je me ferais bien un… is a new Paris restaurant guide book in French written by Valérie Expert and Véronique André, and is a little different from most other Paris restaurant guides. The authors made it a mission to try a significant number of restaurants (they say they tried them all but c’mon) in Paris to find the best places for the French’s 52 most favorite foods and dishes suitable for all budgets. So in many cases you can choose a dish or dessert, for example, and find the best couscous from a fancy restaurant, a mid-range bistro or a budget restaurant.
steak in france

The book is organized in alphabetical order. So during those times when you say to yourself, “Je me ferais bien un… / I feel like a…” just look for the dish in the book you feel like eating then go from there. We can’t wait to try out the recommendations! Will their listings for the best hamburger pass our test? We will see about that. Oui, by the way, the hamburger is apparently a favorite among the French.

Here’s the list of dishes included in the book, if you were wondering: andouillette, assiette de légumes, baba, bar, blanquette de veau, boudin noir, caesar salad, cassoulet, choucroute, club sandwich, côte de boeuf, couscous, crêpes, croque-monsieur, eclairs/religieuses, foie de veau, foie gras, gambas, gigot d’agneau, gibier, hachis parmentier, hamburger, île flottante, langoustines, magret de canard, mille-feuille, moelleux au chocolat, moules-frites, os à moelle, oeuf/omelette, paris-brest, pâtes, petit salé aux lentilles, pigeon, pieds de porc grillés, pizza, plateau de fruits de mer, poulet roti, pot-au-feu, raie, risotto, ris de veau, salade thaï, sole, soufflé, sushi/sashimi, souple chinoise, tapas, tartare, tarte au pommes, tête de veau, truffe.

Je me ferais bien un…

Posted in advice, books/magazines, daily life, food and drinks, news, paris, restaurants, reviews, tips, travel and places, travel tip

March 6th, 2009 by ptinfrance

michelin red guide paris france restaurants 2009 From newsweek:

“This week brought the release of the new Michelin Red Guide, prompting foodies to run and see which chefs had been awarded stars—the top honor in restaurant criticism.

The guide, whose English edition arrives mid-May, sells 1.3 million copies a year in its various editions.

Its star system rewards expensive restaurants, of course. But the guide also has a lesser-known rating for affordable restaurants. Toward the back of the guide, there’s the “Bib Gourmand” section in which Michelin recognizes places that offer excellent three-course meals for less than €35 ($44) each.

This year, 47 Paris restos are on the Bib Gourmand list—a record. Many of these spots are new additions to the list. My favorites include:

• Le Baratin,, 3 rue Jouye Rouve, 20th arrondissement, 011-33/1-43-49-39-70

• Le Bistrot Paul Bert, 18 rue Paul Bert, 11th arrondissement, 011-33/1-43-72-24-01

• La Cantine du Troquet, 101 rue de l’Ouest, 14th arrondissement, 011-33/1-45-40-04-98.

• L’Entêtée, 4 rue Danville, 14th arrondissement, 011-33/1-40-47-56-81

The above restaurants are not open every day of the week, so call ahead to confirm and to see if reservations are needed.”

More about The Michelin Red Guide France 2009

Posted in books/magazines, food and drinks, MOF Meilleur Ouvrier de France, news, paris, restaurants, reviews, tips, travel and places, travel tip, wine

January 5th, 2009 by ptinfrance

america's oldest french bookstore is closing!

“America’s most famous French bookstore will close its doors this year after 73 years in business, unable to bear a staggering rent increase in New York’s Rockefeller Center.

Outside the Librairie de France, hordes of tourists take pictures of the Center, its ice-skating rink and tree, but inside one of the first retail tenants, the shelves are slowly emptied of books.

The reason for closing this venerable institution located at one of America’s most cherished retail addresses is a simple, albeit familiar one: the rent, which is due in September, is rising, from 360,000 dollars to a million dollars per year.

Online book sales at bargain prices and declining interest in foreign-language books have also affected the landmark Fifth Avenue business.

And in another sign of the times, most shoppers these days come to the area in search of clothes, cosmetics or electronics.

“Of course, we sell for 20 dollars a book that costs five euros (seven dollars) in Paris, but there are also shipping fees for online orders,” says Emmanuel Molho, who manages the family-run bookstore with his two children.

“No, what changed is the whole bookstore culture and the Rockefeller Center has become no more than just a commercial center…”

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Posted in articles, books/magazines, daily life, news, outside of France, shopping

December 22nd, 2008 by ptinfrance


“Francophobes who cast all French as neurotically hostile to anything foreign would be wise to upgrade their perceptions. Last week, the supposed champions of shrill nationalism responded with a Gallic shrug to the news that France’s legendary Michelin guide will be edited by a German. The clichéd image of France as a bastion of macho swagger took a beating as well: the bible’s new boss is a woman.

The few French press accounts that did appear stuck to Michelin’s own rather laconic communiqué announcing the appointment of German executive…” continue reading

Posted in books/magazines, daily life, food and drinks, news, people, travel tip

November 1st, 2008 by ptinfrance

comment chier au bureau
Remember the book, Comment Chier dans le bois (How to Shit in the Woods)? How could you forget? Was camping not your cup of tea? That’s ok because now you can read Comment chier au bureau (How to take a sh*t at work). A quirky, humorous lesson book written anonymously by two office workers. Ok, written by “Mats and Enzo,” which sounds like the names of their dogs or cats. This silly book is 144 pages filled with tips, strategies and rules to respect in the bathroom at work, which can help, in fact, advance employees’ careers!

Comment chier au bureau will be available at on November 10.

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Posted in books/magazines, daily life, funny, news, products, shopping, tips

November 1st, 2008 by ptinfrance

chateau de villette

From the luxurypropertyblog:

“A lot of movie fans travel to see the filming site of their favorite flick. And Chateau de Villette is no exception. Many fans of The Da Vinci Code movie starring Tom Hanks have visited this 185 estate about 35 minutes northwest of Paris. It was featured as Sir Leigh Teabing’s home. (Teabing was played by Ian McKellan.)

And it’s for sale for an undisclosed amount.

The main house has eleven bedrooms and bathrooms (with 18 beds and 17 baths total), all of which were remodeled within the last 10 years, according to public information. The Chateau was designed by architect Francois Mansart in 1668 for Louis XIV’s Venetian ambassador. The gardens were designed by Le Notre and spread out behind the home.

Villette is considered on of the most significant historical chateaux in France. It was designed around the same time as Versailles, earning it the nickname “Le Petite Versailles.” The dining room features an original 17th-century carved stone buffet and the limestone entry hall harkens back to the 17th century as well. The gourmet kitchen was installed in 2001. It also has two service kitchens and a banquet room.

And if that’s not enough, it has a gym, billiard room, library, music salon, and a grand staircase. The property also boasts a chapel and reception room for hosting weddings, a greenhouse, and horse stables. Many more modern amenities have been added to the property as well: wireless internet, a swimming pool, a tennis court. It basically has just about everything you could want. Including plenty of privacy. Gee, why didn’t Brad and Angelina just buy it instead of renting someplace else?” [source]

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Posted in books/magazines, news, shopping, tips

October 27th, 2008 by ptinfrance

Monsieur le président must be a money magnet because the same publishers (Pascal Petiot Editions) of the famous Sarkozy Voodoo Doll is ready to release a book of games based on the presidential couple, and their history. In this book of games you’ll find puzzles and games filled with funny and playful references and anecdotes of Nicolas and Carla, etal. I bet you can’t wait to get your hands on this, can you? You’ll have to wait ’til next Monday. It’ll be available on November 6 for 8.5 euros.


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Posted in books/magazines, games/software/tech, news, people, politics, weird

October 12th, 2008 by ptinfrance

According to an advice author French women don’t sleep alone because they have a knack for attracting men. Apparently, American women don’t have this knack. Um. Ok.

From topnews:

French women have “an effortless gift for attracting men” that American ladies lack and need to learn, says author Jamie Cat Callan, in her forthcoming advice book.

In her “ French Women Don’t Sleep Alone”, which is due to hit the shelves in March, the writer tries to guide American ladies to learn from their French rivals who have a natural flair of pulling men.

“French women don”t listen to Dr. Phil”s advice,” the New York Post quoted Callan, as saying in the book.

It said: “They don”t worry about the care and feeding of their boyfriends . . . American women are trying too hard – and the results have been grim.

“On the contrary, French women”s love lives are romantic, sensual, playful, complicated, intense and positively epic.”

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Posted in advice, books/magazines, conspiracy theories, cultural differences, daily life, news, people, weird

September 24th, 2008 by ptinfrance

french expressions involving parsley persil
My book arrived in the mail today! A French expressions dictionary is perfect for my lack of attention span these days. Just open up a random page and learn something quickly. And voilà, quoi.

Some of the first items we fell upon were unknown to my sweetie, so there’s a good chance that many expressions in this book will not be that practical because even French people aren’t familiar with them. However, there are definitely some silly ones, good for a laugh. Here’s one I thought was fun, and like many French expressions, involves food.

avoir le persil qui dépasse du cabas – to have parsley overflowing from a basket (or grocery bag) – means that your pubic hair is exposed (because your bathing suit is too small or you haven’t shaved depending on your perspective). Example: Je ne peux pas aller à la piscine, j’ai le persil qui dépasse du cabas ! (I can’t go to the pool because my pubic hair is showing! (or because I haven’t shaved!))

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Posted in books/magazines, conversations, daily life, funny

September 18th, 2008 by ptinfrance

on va le dire comme ca french expressions dictionaryI was recently at a dinner party and someone recommended that I get some DVDs of Raymond Devos, a famous stand-up comedian (as well as a humorist, clown and “fake” Belgian). She thought I’d really enjoy his humor. Immediately, another person in the group blurted, “She’s not going to understand that!” and continues, “there are too many expressions that will just go past her.”

Obviously, I didn’t appreciate his asinine comment at all. Admittedly, he may have been right about what he said, but he shouldn’t have said that JACKASS comment out loud. What a jerk.

He is now on my HATE list.

Anyway, last night on the news, they announced the release of a new dictionary called, On va le dire comme ca, and I had to get it! I just ordered it even though it is 30 euros. It’s sort of the first of its kind, apparently, and explains 5000 French expressions and sayings (in French). As a non-native French speaker who is always trying to learn new words and expressions, this kind of information comes slowly, and painfully, like in conversations. And it doesn’t help when I immediately forget what they mean.

With this dictionary, it’ll be nice to have most if not all expressions I’ll ever come across, conveniently located in one book.

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Posted in books/magazines, conversations, cultural differences, daily life, language, news, products, shopping

September 4th, 2008 by ptinfrance

paris guide iphone app
Tired of shlepping your guide books around Paris? If you have an iPhone, you might want look into Frommer’s Paris Guide, which fits nicely on your favorite mobile phone from Apple. This is basically the hard copy guide book, but in a digital and more convenient format.

While we’re on the subject of i-things, Apple is rumored to be announcing new iPods next Tuesday, September 9, so keep an eye out for that. By the way, iPod Touches are basically iPhones without the phone (but with internet), so most (if not all) iPhone apps should be able to work on these.

Frommer’s Paris iPhone App (You must have iTunes installed on your Mac or PC to view this)

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Posted in books/magazines, games/software/tech, news, paris, travel and places, travel tip

July 8th, 2008 by ptinfrance

how to shit in the forest book title frenchNature et Decouverte, a French equivalent of The Nature Company, sure knows how to get your attention. While we were waiting at the cash register, we laughed at this book, displayed right at the entrance of the store. The book is called, Comment chier dans les bois, which means, “How to Shit in the Woods.” Yeah, we were tempted to get it but realized we already know how to do so.

Actually, it’s a book pour une approche environnementale d’un art perdu. that takes an environmental approach to a lost art.

Makes me wonder about how many are sold based on shock value.


Posted in books/magazines, daily life, environment, funny, nature

June 22nd, 2008 by ptinfrance

big sizes have arrived in france obesity is here
Remember recently how the media was reporting that France was heading for U.S. obesity levels? Well. It has arrived. I saw this store for large sizes 44 to 52, which is alarmingly huge. We’re used to seeing these stores in the U.S. where obesity is commonplace and has been for decades, but in France, it’s fairly new. I hope it’s a temporary thing.

I like that the French stores take a more “soft” and kind approach, and never say, “larger,” “bigger” or even “plus” sizes – even if they are for overweight and obese people. Toscan is a spinoff from Armand Thiery, but when we were shopping at H&M in this very same mall (Cap Sud) in Avignon, they had a large size section, which is relatively new.

What does this mean about France?

1. People are FAT! And are getting fatter! 42% of French women are overweight. The rate of adult obesity is 25%. With children, there was an overall overweight and obesity prevalence of 17.8%, with an overweight and obesity prevalence of 25.3% in boys and 16.5% in girls aged 11-14 years and 16.7% for boys and 16.5% for girls in the 15-17 year age group (from a 2007 study). 

2. The French can no longer indulge in disdain toward the U.S. when it comes to obesity. Don’t they LOVE to show supersize, bulging, ripply, jiggly Americans on TV!? That’s over, TF1.

3. French people are beginning to eat more processed foods. The weak buying power has forced many people to shop the center of the supermarket – meaning, the cheaper but more caloric items versus the fresh foods, which are found in the periphery of the market that are more expensive, less caloric but more healthful.

4. There is a need to monitor what kinds of foods get imported into France. Example, do they need to bring in GMO cereals ladened with corn syrup, trans fats, and other (as Michael Pollan likes to call them,) “food-like substances”? This is the government’s role: to protect its citizens.

5.  Risk Factors associated with obesity – will increase health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure in adults and children. This will also decrease the overall lifespan of the French.



Posted in books/magazines, cultural differences, daily life, food and drinks, shopping, signs, weird

April 20th, 2008 by ptinfrance

e reader for newspapers france
Jumping on the e-reading bandwagon like Kindle (except without a keyboard), Orange and partners Le Monde, Le Parisien, Les Echos, L’Equipe and Télérama are joining together to offer a wireless, touch screen mobile e-newspaper reader that resembles a flat, black Etch a Sketch (sans knobs). They are still testing the product.

The Read&Go has a storage capacity of 1 Gb – more than 200 newspapers – and also contains a e-library of thirty or so books (literature, comic strips, children’s and practical publications, etc.) provided by Feedbooks, Médiatoon (Dargaud, Dupuis, Lombard et Kana) and Mango editions.

I’m still waiting for an e-reader for my Nintendo DS. I’d use that!

More info here (pdf)


Posted in books/magazines, daily life, games/software/tech, news, products

February 21st, 2008 by ptinfrance

special edition moleskine notebooks new
Just released! These Moleskine Van Gogh Special Edition Sketch Books are normally only available at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam but now you can get them at Amazon.

Just like the Moleskine notebooks that famous artists uses, each book is covered in colored silk and features 40 sheets of heavy duty off-white drawing paper. The trademark Moleskine pocket is in the back cover and there is a sturdy elastic band that holds the book closed when not in use.

Get one now:

Moleskine Van Gogh Special Edition Sketch Books

About Moleskine and related links:
Moleskine Notebooks are French Again
Sketched Paris Guide Book
2008 Limited Edition Moleskines are Out!
Sketched Paris Guidebook Part Deux

Posted in art/culture/design, books/magazines, daily life, news, products, shopping

February 4th, 2008 by ptinfrance

les deux plateaux columns pillars palais royal paris france
If you stroll through the Palais-Royal in Paris you’ll come across the shiny metallic fountain sculptures of Pol Bury, which are a welcoming sight and a nice example of old and new blending well with each other. However, you then stumble upon something else that only a crazed artist obsessed with black and white stripes could only dream of. Oui, I’m talking about the 260 striped marble pillars, which are part of a permanent sculpture installation at the Palais-Royal’s open courtyard where there previously was a parking lot. They sort of slap you in the face and leave welts of black and white on you. Forever.

You can thank contemporary artist, Daniel Buren, aka The Stripe Guy, for that striping striking monochrome art. You can also send a merci to Francois Mitterand, (may he rest …where ever he’s resting) – for having commissioned The Stripe Guy’s columns in 1985. Named Les Deux Plateaux (the two levels), it has a underground level covered by metal grilles. On this level water is supposed to flow and at night the columns/pillars are meant to be illuminated by floodlights. The upper columns are on the street level in the south courtyard.

Today, the lights don’t work and there is no water flowing happily beneath. In fact the water stopped about seven years ago. Instead of water, there’s trash. The Stripe Guy is not happy about this! He’s accused the French government of vandalizing his work with neglect and the pillars are dingy which makes the contrast of black and white less striping striking. Daniel Buren would like Les Deux Plateaux dismantled, as it’s really only half an art piece, with the working half in a state of disrepair. Dismantling it would cost about the same as restoring it (about € 3 million) but if restored, it would need regular maintenance. Is it worth it?

Ok, ok. So I’m not a huge fan. But, I do like how it looks from Google Earth.
palais royal from google earth

Related: books: Daniel Buren by Daniel Buren (release date March 1), Daniel Buren, slideshow of the work-in-progress

Posted in art/culture/design, books/magazines, paris, people, travel and places

December 16th, 2007 by ptinfrance

kindle amazon philippe starck

Some are calling Kindle an amazing reading device from Amazon, but others, like French Designer Philippe Starck, have some issues with its design. I hate to admit it (seeing that Philippe Starck designed this) but I don’t find this digital book reader a very pretty designed gadget either. Watch the video here.

More about Kindle

Posted in books/magazines, games/software/tech, shopping, tv and movies

December 12th, 2007 by ptinfrance

amazon france

A French court ruled that must stop its free delivery.

The court gave Amazon 10 days to start charging for the delivery of books, which should at least allow the company to maintain the offer through the end-of-year gift-giving season. After that, it must pay a fine of €1,000 (US$1,470) per day that it continues to offer free delivery. It must also pay €100,000 in compensation to the booksellers’ union.

Retail prices, particularly of books, are tightly regulated in France. (read the article from MacWorld)

A Sidenote: Amazon France offers books in English!

Posted in articles, books/magazines, news, products, shopping

December 11th, 2007 by ptinfrance

We finally got around to seeing Ratatouille, which I think was one of Pixar’s best works on a variety of levels. But all-in-all, it’s essentially a very cute, heart-warm-and-fuzzy story with amazing production value.the art of ratatouilleNow I (sort of) realize why the popularity of pet rats has exploded in France. Elsewhere too, I imagine. Eiuw, though.

Anyway, since it’s gift giving time, here’s another suggestion for a nice alternative to getting the DVD of Ratatouille.

How about getting instead: The Art of Ratatouille for the Ratatouille fan who is more artistically inclined? Perfect for someone who wants to take a peek behind the scenes.

The Art of Ratatouille includes more than 200 storyboards, full-color pastels, digital and pencil sketches, character studies, maquettes, etc. Also, quotes from the director, artists, animators, and production team reveal the genius at work inside the studio.

Note: There’s also a Limited Edition of The Art of Ratatouille for collectors.

Posted in art/culture/design, books/magazines, tv and movies

December 9th, 2007 by ptinfrance

These unique walking tour books will make great holiday gifts for the people passionate about Paris, its architecture, and history and who are interested in exploring places where famous writers, painters, kings and queens hung out in the City of Light.

napoleon josephine paris.jpgWalks Through Napoleon & Josephine’s Paris allows you to see the Paris of today and yesterday, simultaneously. Not only can you visit some of the same shops and restaurants that the Emperor and Empress used to frequent, but you will also find yourself being sidetracked (time and time again) by other historical sites and famous places of today that you will inevitably pass along the way.
marie antoinette's paris walksWalks Through Marie Antoinette’s Paris has photos that you may not have seen anywhere else, the information about Marie Antoinette is a history enthusiast’s treat. The size of the book, which adds to it’s charm, is suitable to take with you as it guides you along in the footsteps of Marie Antoinette.
impressionists paris walking tourThe Impressionists’ Paris: Walking Tours of the Artists’ Studios, Homes, and the Sites They Painted allows travelers to venture beyond the museum walls and trace the footsteps of these great artists, including Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Edouard Manet, just to name a few. Three city walking tours–surprisingly manageable considering the city’s size–cover not only the sites depicted in many of their paintings, but also the studios in which they worked, the buildings where they lived, and–this being Paris–the cafes in which they gathered.
historic restaurants of parisThe Historic Restaurants of Paris: A Guide to Century-Old Cafes, Bistros, and Gourmet Food Shops First sentence of the book: Marcel Proust, who was transported back to childhood with the taste of a tea cake known as a madeleine, was among the early regular customers at this chic salon de the that faces the Tuileries Gardens…
hemmingway's paris walking tourWalks In Hemingway’s Paris: A Guide To Paris For The Literary Traveler 7 walks take the reader to every Hemingway (and Fitzgerald) site in Paris. The walks include wonderful quotations from many of Hemingway’s novels, short stories, and his memoir of Paris.
picasso's paris walking tourPicasso’s Paris: Walking Tours of the Artist’s Life in the City Pablo Picasso’s presence still can be felt in Paris. Four walking tours follow the painter from the gaslit garrets of fin-de-siècle Montmartre to the Left Bank quarter where he sat out the Nazi Occupation. Both art book and travel guide, this pocketable volume identifies the sites where Picasso created some of his best-known masterpieces and describes his celebrated circle of friends, among them Gertrude Stein, Henri Matisse, Jean Cocteau, and Coco Chanel.
literary cafes of parisLiterary Cafes of Paris
Away from the tourist throngs, the reader can people watch and sip for literally hours reflecting upon Hemingway at the Brasserie Lipp, Picasso at the Cafe de Flore, Shirer at the Brasserie Balzar and so much more.
lost paris walk tourWalks Through Lost Paris: A Journey Into the Heart of Historic Paris chronicles Paris’s great periods of urban reconstruction through four walking tours. With a special focus on the work of Georges-Eugene Haussmann, this book provides a history of each site along with the motives behind the urban redesign and the reactions of Parisians who witnessed it. Detailed maps take you through a city whose changes were captured by photographers and artists in each stage. Hundreds of color photos, diagrams, and engravings splendidly survey the massive transformation that resulted in the Paris of today.
quiet corners of paris walking toursQuiet Corners of Paris 81 often overlooked, always beautiful, locales: hidden villas, winding lanes, little-known 19th-century passages, serene gardens, and cobblestone courtyards. Some of the places have breathtaking views, others are filled with historic and architectural details, from stone archways, garden follies, boxwood mazes, ornamental statuary, stained glass, and Renaissance fountains.

Posted in art/culture/design, books/magazines, celebs, paris, shopping, travel and places

December 6th, 2007 by ptinfrance

It’s already December, which means you have a couple of weeks to get in all of your holiday shopping. I don’t mean to nag, but you should do that now, unless you like doing that last minute crazy psycho shopper madness. Since this is a site about France, I’ll be suggesting France/French related items. Here’s Part I. I got this idea from my very good friend’s 5 year old daughter, who fell madly in love with Paris and France after reading the classic children’s book, Madeline. I started looking for other books and DVDs about France for kids and came up with these:

this is parisThis is Paris

This is Paris takes kids on a really fun tour of famous buildings, beautiful gardens, cafés, and the Parisians-artists, and even thousands of cats. Young readers will travel along the banks of the Seine, through the galleries of the Louvre, and to the top of the Eiffel Tower.

the little prince activity bookThe Little Prince Fun and Adventure

Inspired by the famous tale by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, kids will discover a whole galaxy of board games, mazes, connect-the-dot puzzles, finger puppets, masks, coloring pages, and more activities – all the while learning about everyone’s favorite little prince.

postmark parisPostmark Paris: A Story in Stamps

Ten-year-old Leslie tells her story of living in Paris for a year, illustrating this appealing odyssey with postage stamps.

Monsieur Saguette and His BaguetteMonsieur Saguette and His Baguette

Monsieur Saguette, on the way home, transforms his ordinary baguette into something extraordinary. (No matter how tempting it is to find an innuendo here, just remember this is really a kids story…)

The Magical Garden of Claude MonetThe Magical Garden of Claude Monet

A great way to introduce kids to famous artists, this is a story about a little girl who thinks that Monet is the gardener and is immersed in his gardens at Giverny.

The Truffle HunterThe Truffle Hunter

The story of an inept pig who is abandoned in the forest where she finds true love in the form of Raoul, a wild boar. Raoul teaches her the lost art of truffling, whereupon she returns to her home with a fine chef. But she has also learned the value of freedom.With charming style the book tells of problems that reveal hidden opportunities.

The Cat Who Walked Across FranceThe Cat Who Walked Across France

A cute cat in France travels through lavendar fields, palatial castles, canals, Paris and beyond.


A bicycle riding Parisian mouse named Anatole makes his living by tasting the cheese in a cheese factory and leaving notes about its quality. This story makes me wonder if it was the inspiration for Ratatouille.

Katie and the Mona LisaKatie and the Mona Lisa

Katie convinces a sad Mona Lisa to leave her portrait in order to regain her famous smile. Katie leads her to several other famous Italian Renaissance works.

Let's Learn French Coloring BookLet’s Learn French Coloring Book

This introduces kids ages 3 to 6 to every day French vocabulary using the same simple techniques that help children build vocabulary in their native language.

French for ChildrenFrench for Children

Cute, catchy songs and the humorous, serial adventures of SuperCat captivate the imagination and foster language acquisition. The set in the series contains an 80-page full-color activity book coordinated with two 60-minute CDs as well as a Parent/Instructor CD packed with helpful tips.

Click here for more kids books about France

Posted in art/culture/design, books/magazines, daily life, kids, paris, people, shopping, travel and places

December 5th, 2007 by ptinfrance

From AFP:

l'enfer at the national library franceAn eye-popping array of rutting satyrs, tumescent aristocrats and lusty 18th-century shepherdesses went on display in Paris on Tuesday, as France’s National Library lifted the veil on its collection of long-censored erotica.For the first time since it was catalogued in the 1830s, the library’s special pornographic section — officially entitled ‘Enfer‘ (Hell) — has been revealed in all its priapic glory. Such is the graphic nature of the material that under-16 year-olds are barred.

Some 350 books, engravings, photographs and curiosities — the oldest a 14th-century manuscript illustration of a nun picking the fruit of a phallus-tree — bear witness to man’s insatiable instinct for the lurid intimacies of the flesh

Closed to the public before

Overall more than 2000 works — including books by the Marquis de Sade, Jean Genet and Guillaume Apollinaire — were marked with the library inscription ‘Enfer’ until the department’s closure at the end of the 1960s. It meant they were off-limits to the reading public.

“Today the ‘Enfer’ section is still the focus of all sorts of false rumours and fantasies, even though it no longer exists. This exhibition is to set the record straight,” said curator Raymond-Josue Seckel.

The first golden age of French erotica was the 17th century — when titanically-endowed figures from the Greek pantheon were shown doing things to each other that certainly did not figure in the conventional myths and legends.

A hundred years later the novel was born and a secret book called ‘Therese Philosophe’ (Therese the Philosopher) lay discreetly on many a nobleman’s bookshelf. Harbinger of the enduring ‘Confessions’ genre, it told of a girl’s sexual awakening through the perusal of pornography.

Cruelty, crime and obscene delights

Contemporary police documents show the troubles encountered by another novel, ‘The History of Dom Bugger’, whose publisher was sent to the Bastille. As indeed was the Marquis de Sade, whose ‘Justine’ published in 1791 brought sex into new contact with…

Continue reading

Note: The exposition continues at the Bibliothèque nationale de France until March 2, 2008. Quai François-Mauriac 75706 Paris (13th), Tél : 33(0)1 53 79 59 59 – Under 16-year olds are not permitted; 7 euros entrance fee; Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10am to 7pm; Sundays 1pm- 7pm.

Posted in art/culture/design, books/magazines, events, history, news, paris

October 20th, 2007 by ptinfrance

great book of chocolate david lebovitz
American expat and Pastry chef, David Lebovitz, will be signing copies of his books, The Perfect Scoop and The Great Book of Chocolate in Paris tomorrow, Sunday, October 21. Please try to make it to this rare event. You can also bring your own books or purchase new ones on-site.

Where? Details are here

Posted in books/magazines, food and drinks, paris, people

October 9th, 2007 by ptinfrance

ancient calculus manuscript by greek mathmatician archimedes

“For seventy years, a prayer book moldered in the closet of a family in France, passed down from one generation to the next. Its mildewed parchment pages were stiff and contorted, tarnished by burn marks and waxy smudges. Behind the text of the prayers, faint Greek letters marched in lines up the page, with an occasional diagram disappearing into the spine.

The owners wondered if the strange book might have some value, so they took it to Christie’s Auction House of London. And in 1998, Christie’s auctioned it off—for two million dollars.

For this was not just a prayer book. The faint Greek inscriptions and accompanying diagrams were, in fact, the only surviving copies of several works by the great Greek mathematician Archimedes…”

Read the full article

Posted in books/magazines, history, news, weird

October 8th, 2007 by ptinfrance

harry potter magico bus

In conjunction with the French October 26 release of Harry Potter et les Reliques de la Mort (Deathly Hallows), the publisher, Gallimard, is organizing la Tournée du MagicoBus Harry Potter, a Magic bus tour that will stop by major cities in France to meet young Harry Potter fans. From October 17th through the 26th, fans will be able to take part in magical activities and games inside the bus. All participants will receive a poster. Three big winners per city will receive a diploma from Gallimard jeunesse and a collection of novels including the 7th Harry Potter tome. You must have a ticket to enter the Magicobus (Available at participating bookstores). Here’s the bus schedule:

Oct 17 – Lille – place Rihour
Oct 18 – Nancy – porte Desilles
Oct 19 – Lyon – place Louis-Pradel
Oct 20 – Aix-en-Provence – place Batard (Cité du Livre)
Oct 21 – Montpellier – esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle
Oct 22 – Toulouse – rue de Metz /rue des Arts
Oct 23 – Bordeaux – place dal Victoire
Oct 24 – Nantes – place de Bretagne
Oct 25 – Paris – rue Sébastien-Bottin
Oct 26 – Paris – parvis Montparnasse 9am / place du Châtelet 3pm

[via Univers HP]

Links: Gallimard, Official Press Release

Posted in books/magazines, cars/bikes/etc, events

September 7th, 2007 by ptinfrance

Not that it’ll change anything or even prevent anyone from using this term, but a French Police Union is taking Le Petit Robert dictionary to court for including a reference to police as “connard de flic” (f*cking pig) in its latest 2008 edition. The union is demanding that this item be removed from the dictionary but the company Le Petit Robert states they, “would not under any circumstance allow its choices to be dictated by external pressures….it is not intended to disparage or dishonour anyone but to describe language in all of its richness and multiple usages, from its most elevated form to the colloquial.


Posted in books/magazines, language, weird

September 5th, 2007 by ptinfrance

mona lisa gallery

Talented and silly illustrators world-wide were asked to contribute their take on the Mona Lisa at Nick Mag’s Magazine Gallery – but this prompted a Mona Lisa meme at Drawn! Submit your version of Mona Lisa there. [related: Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa Men Have Framed You]

Posted in art/culture/design, books/magazines