Category Archives: Paris Lifestyle

Parisian café spotting

Yeah, if there are such things as ‘plane spotting’, ‘train spotting’ etc, for me, it’s Café-spotting that I love doing when in Paris.

Truly, the Café is a hub of French society.  It is where the locals meet up, drink, socialize, read a book, do their favorite activity which is “People-Watching” and more important is, to relax.

It is also a place to get a lot of inspiration from – in the decorating department!  I just love oggling at the interior displays, also at the façades.

And since I am in Paris for few days, here are some of the photos I’ve taken so far.  I shall add some more while here.



This is the café just opposite our hotel.  At 8 in the morning,  the chic-looking waitress (oh, that’s the number one quality in hiring you!) is taking the chairs one by one., ready to welcome the first customer of the day.



Customers must look cool, if not chic, in order to blend well with the Café crowd..

Seats are arranged “watching-a-movie” style.  Indeed, this is the place to watch the world go by.

If they are sitting there for their ‘people-watching’ activity, then us, the passers-by, are also doing the same!

Sitting in cafés is one of the most relaxing sightseeing activity in Paris..

If you have watched Angelina Jolie’s film, “The Tourist”, this is where she sat sipping coffee, smoking a cigarette, and burned the note on an ashtray..

Ooppsss… this is not a café but it’s possible that at daytime it could be one.

On our way home last night, I took one last shot of a neighbouring café.  Yes, they could stay till late!

Home sweet home….. in Paris

I’ve been looking forward to this since last week.  It’s H’s business trip to Paris and he asked me to come.

Since we moved to England in the beginning of June, we had been living the British way of life – unpalatable food, beer culture, now-it’s-freezing-now-it’s-burning kind of weather- but we’re getting used to it.  And now that the chance to visit Paris has come, I realize I have been missing a lot of the good things in life for the last three months.  Cheaper wine for one thing, good food for another..

This is the hotel where we will be staying for the next three nights.  It’s not far from the Place de la Republique so I will have a ball photoscouting..!

Baguette served before a meal, cold water for free, wine served in dainty glasses…




…..dining al fresco on a mild summer evening without the boisterous laughter nor the clinking of gigantic glasses of beer….aahh, that’s Paris and France for you….I think I should write a book entitled, “A tale of two countries”.  With the many observations I have noted between England and France for the last decade or so, it’s about time I put thoughts into paper!

Even an insignificant corner of the city oozes with romance when you sit next to your loved one.  This is a blurred photo but you can tell the atmosphere of the scene.

A free concert at the Hotel de Soubise

18 January 2013

If you love classical music, you want to listen to top quality concerts in opulent surroundings but don’t want to spend a single penny, then you can have this in a breeze in Paris!  That’s what I just experienced the other day – and regularly experiencing,  in fact – thanks to the Association of Jeunes Talents which organizes free (as well as chargeable) concerts around prestigious places in the capital.

I am an avid fan of the association and have been  following  their  concerts at Petit Palais   but it was just recently that I learned about their other venue – the Hotel de Soubise in Archives Nationales in the heart of the Marais.  Naturally, as one who is deeply passionate in seeing the interiors of French  architectural masterpieces, this is a chance I should not miss.



The concert was held at the  Chambre du Prince (Prince Salon) where elegance and refinery are a great feast to the senses!

You get in there hoping to lift your spirits with beautiful music but you get more than what you expected! The beautiful decorations around you are more than enough to feed your whole being, pressing you to cry,”Thank heavens, I live in Paris!”

The performer that day is a very talented lady, Hélène Diot, only aged 25, and is already a winner of numerous international competitions!  She played the harpsicord with fingers so light  they are almost floating above the keys!

Incidentally, when watching a concert, particularly if the instrument being used is a piano – or a harpsicord in this case – you are better off sitting on the side where you can  see the musician’s fingers hitting the keyboard as that is how you will get to appreciate the performance better.



The harpsichord was probably invented in the late Middle Ages.  Like a piano, it is played by means of a keyboard but the sound is produced by plucked strings that are activated when you press the keys.  It was widely used in Renaissance and Baroque music and is now making a revival.

It  looks like a piano but its oddly long shape differentiates it from a piano.

This luxurious chandelier had me counting the candle-like lights while listening to the music.  How many – there are actually 12 in total!


The Hotel de Soubise is a 14th century manor house which changed ownership several times until it was acquired by the State and made it the official headquarters of the Archives Nationales.  Some rooms like this Salon du Prince are used for expositions and concerts.

Such splendour and beauty!


Marble fireplaces, gilded mirrors, ornately designed panels, the murals on the walls…all these built and decorated by Boffrand from 1735.