• Kayaking and sailing on the Seine near Bas de Marie - Pont Sully - Paris Colleen's Paris
    Let's Explore,  Seeing Paris

    Paris Plages 2023 is Open with Swimming in the Seine

    On July 8, 2023 kayaks and sailboats were gliding on the Seine. About 25 Parisians, including city hall employees, were diving in and swimming between the Pont Sully and the Pont Marie bridges. Mayor Anne Hidalgo gave the signal. With this move, she is officially promoting Seine swimming for the Paris Olympics 2024. The Seine will then reopen to the public in 2025. The Seine has been closed to swimming since 1923. Mayor Jacques Chirac optimistically predicted cleaning up the Seine starting in 1988. It has taken three decades to get started. Sunday, walking along the Quai de Béthune (Bras de Marie) and below the Quai des Célestins, swimmers in bathing suits, caps…

  • 1924 Le Grand Escalier Printemps Haussmann reopened 2023
    Let's Explore

    Printemps Haussmann Reopens Le Grand Escalier

    Opening the daily newspaper, Le Parisien, the photo of a magnificent staircase in Printemps Haussmann met my eyes. After forty years, Printemps Haussmann reopened Le Grand Escalier (the Great Staircase). Get lost in the mirrors that reflect and the balustrades that twist to infinity. A major renovation project is complete. Forty years after Printemps closed off the staircase in the rotunda, the beautifully refurbished 1924 staircase once again reaches to the 7ème ciel (the seventh heaven) the rooftop. The staircase reopened Thursday, June 1, 2023. The only way to reach Le Grand Escalier is through the Caumartin women’s building. Excited to see the renovation, I entered the Caumartin rotunda, crossed the mosaic floor to…

  • Foire de Paris 2023 Concours Lépine Pavillon 1
    Events and Trade Shows

    Inventions and Fun at Foire de Paris 2023

    Where can you see 400 inventions for 2023 under one roof? My first stop at the Foire de Paris, the Lépine Competition (Concours Lépine, Pavillon 1 Porte de Versailles). My favorite inventions this year involved reading with an LED light and page holder held with your thumb, silicon fabric storage bags, phone holder for taking notes, the petanque ball retriever, device to attach a bracelet with one hand, and the sweatshirt backpack. The Lépine competition has been active for 122 years. On the Lépine website, step back in time for all the inventions since 1901, including the braille typewriter, the washing machine, ballpoint pen, lawn mower, air humidifier, artificial heart,…

  • image from Arts in the City and Air BnB for a night at the Opera Garnier colleensparis.com
    Let's Explore,  Monuments

    Spend the night in the Opera Garnier? 

    Glancing at the Arts in the City‘s newsletter, the headline “Reservez une nuit d’hôtel à l’ Opéra Garnier” (Reserve a night at the Opera Garnier) caught my eye. Mark your calendar and keep your computer open! Reservations open March 1 at 6 pm (CET-Paris).  The first date to reserve is July 16. Sit down for the next piece of information: 37 Euros a night. The Opera National de Paris  and Air BnB are collaborating for an extraordinary experience: a one-night stay in the Box of Honor. This loge (box) usually reserved for visiting dignitaries (without the bed, of course). Additional, fun information about the event “Guests will sleep in the largest opera box in the Palais Garnier – the Box of Honour – a…

  • Storefront Arts et Lumières with MailDrop, Mr. Bringas and the lamps colleensparis.com
    Let's Explore,  Neighborhoods,  Shopping/FleaMarkets/Organic

    Finding Treasure Around the Corner in the Bastille

    Have you ever wanted a specific, stylish item? And you searched until you found it? My search was for finding the hanging lamp treasure that would fit in with my 1890s library ceiling. No flea market was needed. The treasure was literally, around the corner from my apartment in the Bastille. I looked through the window of a vintage lamp store. After 27 years, I finally pushed open the door of Arts et Lumières, looked around, looked up and fell in love. Once I made the decision about buying the lamp, I took my time. Uuntil one day, the signs Tout doit Disparaitre (Everything Must Go) and Déstockage Massif (Clearance…

  • Detail of no parking handicap and other signs BHV Quincaillerie Hardware department colleensparis.com
    Let's Explore,  Life in Paris & France

    Humorous wall and door signs at BHV

    Are you looking for that very Made in France gift or souvenir with a touch of humor? Have you thought about a French door sign? Yes or no, visit a quincaillerie (hardware store) or BHV (Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville). The department store, BHV has a hardware department with many humorous wall and door sign choices such as house numbers, door signs, occupation, WhatsApp neighbourhood watch, etc. I have known about these signs for a long time, but it was a question that spurred me to share this information. Paul, a Colleen’s Paris readers, asked recently if BHV, was still selling the blue and red Jour/Nuit (day/night) no parking signs.…

  • Printemps Christmas Window Circus Theme 2022 Colleen's Paris
    Christmas,  Going Out

    Printemps and Galeries Lafayette Christmas 2022 Windows in Paris

    Have you ever felt a bit of pressure to beat the clock? Looking at my photos, I found Boulevard Haussmann’s Printemps and Galeries Lafayette Christmas 2022 window, interior and sunset photos waiting for a story. As I write this, it is New Year’s Eve and 2023 is only hours away!! This year Printemps definitely won the Paris Christmas window display in the Colleen’s Paris opinion survey with their circus theme. Printemps also kept the wooden steps for the shorter members of society to see and enjoy the window displays. Galeries Lafayette did not keep the steps; maybe because of their theme: Planet Fir Tree (Planète sapin). All the trees were…

  • Edouard Dubufe et Rosa Bonheur (1857) Portrait of Rosa Bonheur Colleen's Paris
    Let's Explore,  Museum exhibitions

    Rosa Bonheur Looking Into The Souls of Animals

    Rosa Bonheur married art—”It is my husband, my world, the air that I breathe. I do not feel anything else. I cannot think of anything else.” For Rosa Bonheur, animals were that art and the eyes of animals were the windows to their souls. The Musée d’Orsay presents this retrospective on her “marriage” for you until January 15, 2023. A friend mentioned wanting to see Rosa Bonheur. A browser search of the name suggested three drinking spots in the Parisian suburbs (guinguettes) named Rosa Bonheur. With more digging, I found out she was a French animal portraitist, sculptor, illustrator, photographer, independent female, admired icon of Buffalo Bill Cody, and first…

  • Line up of Nutcracker Toy Soldiers at Jardin des Tuileries Colleen's Paris
    Christmas,  Going Out

    Christmas Magic Begins at Jardin des Tuileries Market

    What greets you when you enter the Annual Christmas Market at the Tuileries Gardens?  Nutcracker Soldiers. And before the market opens? Where are they? Hidden, waiting to get out in the open. I noticed them while crossing the gardens on November 18. My eyes fell upon rows of black hats. The trove of Nutcracker Soldiers holding horns or standing at attention were lined up. Their expressive eyes were waiting for a magic moment. The magic moment I later learned was November 19, 2022, the opening day for the Magic of Christmas market (La Magie de Noël aux Tuileries). The Nutcracker Soldiers reminded me of the Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s funerary…