Eiffel Ice Skating, Cordonnier, Viggo, Vincent, Ben and Marty & Some Restaurants …

Braved the ridiculous wind and cold and headed up to the first level of the Eiffel Tower to shoot the opening of the public ice skating rink they put up there each year. I arrived a bit before the opening and for at least a few moments, I’m pretty sure I was the only non-employee walking around on the tower. It was a bit eery.

Don’t let the image fool you; it shows the 15 seconds of sunshine during that day. The public eventually arrived and then proceeded to spend more time photographing themselves on the ice than actually skating.

Had a nice encounter with a cobbler in my neighborhood. A little “cordonnerie” opened around the corner from my place a few months back and just this week I walked in to ask a question. The man was especially friendly and chatty and when he heard my accent (evidently I have an accent when I speak French), he asked where I was from. When I said LA, he laughed and went on to share a story about some clients of his from LA that have been trying to get him to leave his shop in Paris and go with them to LA to be the cobbler to the stars. The rambling tale, recounted in an enthusiastic African accent, lasted probably 20 minutes and had me thoroughly entertained, especially because the basis of his client’s proposal was the cobbler’s ability to replicate a car key that was allegedly not replicable.

Cobbler of my arrondissement

After listening to his tale, I remembered I happened to have my good camera with me and spontaneously asked him if I could take a few shots of him in his colorful work space. He kindly agreed. A couple of days later I went back into his store and brought him 6 color prints that I made for him. His reaction surprised me; he was really moved by the gesture, so much so that he had tears in his eyes and literally thanked me dozens of times. He even made another customer wait while he continued to thank me profusely; I think the customer rather enjoyed watching me awkwardly attempt to figure out how to gracefully accept his barrage of merci’s in a French-appropriate way. It was a memorable experience.

Much less memorable was going back a few times to the Champs-Elyees to shoot a couple of movie premieres. The first was for David Cronenberg’s film “A Dangerous Method” with Viggo Mortensen and Vincent Cassel; the second was Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” with Sir Ben Kingsley and Marty himself among others.

Viggo Mortensen and Vincent Cassel - A Dangerous Method premiere

Sir Ben Kingsley and Martin Scorsese - Hugo premiere

Visited a few good restaurants recently and thought I’d mention them here. One of the restaurants is quite known by locals and tourist alike. It’s called Le Pre Verre and they really know how to make food. Unfortunately, what they make doesn’t AT ALL correspond to the kinds of things I eat. Here are a few menu items for example:

GRILLED PORK PATE, DATE PUREE WITH VINEGAR
FOIE GRAS WITH BUTTERNUTS
PHEASANT WITH RED CABBAGE AND ORANGE
WILD BOARD STEW, QUINCE AND JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES
SUCKLING PIG POACHED IN SPICY SAUCE AND CABBAGE
ROASTED PINEAPPLE WITH BLACK SESAME ICE CREAM (ok, this one sounds good actually)
SAUTEED RABBIT WITH CUMIN
CHANTERELLE MUSHROOM CAKES WITH KAFFIR LIME LEAVES

Thankfully they had a steak available on the day I went there with some friends so I survived. I even quite enjoyed the spiced, grilled brussel sprouts appetizer.

The next restaurant of note is called L’Etoile du Berger. I’m mentioning it more for the experience of the place than the food. They serve traditional Savoyard dishes like fondue and raclette (where the waiter brings you as many plates of hot melted cheese as you’d like) but with a Vietnamese woman managing the place and an Italian waiter taking care of the customers. The final touch to the ambience is their music, which included Funky Town.

Lastly, Le Comptoir is an organic, California-inspired restaurant serving Lebanese, French, Asian and North African dishes. The restaurant is associated with the Slow Food movement and the food is tasty. One more thing – this place is not to be confused with the more popular Le Comptoir restaurant that is part of the Hotel Relais Saint-Germain near Odeon.

Some photos of the week:

Champ de Mars from Eiffel Tower

The Seine

Hermes Store - rue du Faubourg Sainte-Honore

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner meeting with Sarkozy; he doesn't look like someone you'd like to spend time with does he?

Sarkozy checking out what Merkel has to offer

Continuing demise of the Marais - fake plastic crepes in the window of a new Hello-Kitty-like Japanese creperie

Saint-Gervais Church

Street Art - rue Vieille du Temple

My favorite holiday card of the season - thanks David!

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by The Second Baseman on December 18, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Great shots and interesting blog…Your back in the groove…I’ll have a little Foie Gras with a side of Wild Boar Stew…

    Reply

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