Rome, Sola, Studio Harcourt & Street Crime …

Spent a wonderful week in Rome, something I look forward to every year. They are definitely my people in that city. Worked the film festival there but managed to sneak out into the city whenever I had a break.

Adrian Brody and girlfriend – Rome Film Festival

Rome Film Festival

Rome Film Festival

Sly – Rome Film Festival

Rome Film Festival

Rome Film Festival

Rome Film Festival

Rome Film Festival

Rome Film Festival

Rome Film Festival

Rome Film Festival

Rome Film Festival

Rome Film Festival

Rome Film Festival

Rome Film Festival

Rome Film Festival

Rome Film Festival

Rome Film Festival

Had a spectacularly good birthday lunch (thanks to M) at a Franco-Japanese restaurant called Sola. There were 5 or 6 course, each one beautifully prepared with exquisite flavor combinations. I ate things I would never usually eat, like caramelized foie gras with grilled corn on polenta. Very highly recommended that you try this place if you’re in town. One more thing: they have Japanese style dining (on mats on the ground) downstairs and French style (on tables) upstairs.

Beautiful Franco-Japanese Food – Sola Restaurant

Had an opportunity to tour and watch a photo session at the most famous luxury photo studio in Paris. It’s a beautiful facility located right near the Grand Palais and I enjoyed watching how they operate. The studio took a small group of us through their history, gave us a demonstration of how they apply make-up on the model and then walked us through a photo shoot session.

Preparing model with makeup – Studio Harcourt

A couple of friends of mine came to town and we spent a really nice day exploring the city. We sat to have a coffee at the Marché Saint-Germain when 3 young gypsy girls came over to our table and pushed some papers in front of us asking us to sign a petition. I’ve seen this routine all over Paris so I told my friends to secure their sunglasses and camera since these gypsies are experts at stealing things. We shooed them away and a few seconds later, I mentioned to my friends that these gypsies have been stealing people’s mobile phones from restaurant tables all over Paris. At that moment, they both looked down at the table and sure enough, BOTH of their iPhones were gone.

I jumped up and ran out of the building and ran down the street and luckily found the 3 young girls, probably ranging in age from 12 to 15 years old. Don’t know why they didn’t run away quickly after exiting the building because they had plenty of time to escape with $1000 worth of electronics. I was able to bear hug all 3 of them as they each started to plead their case, emptying their jacket pockets to try and show me that they didn’t have the phones. Then they did something very odd. All 3 of them pull down their pants, including their underwear, as if trying to say “look, we don’t have your phones”. Don’t know exactly what their strategy was but it did throw me off a bit; I guess that was the goal. I have to say it did make me feel uncomfortable to be bear-hugging 3 young teenage girls with their panties pulled down on a public street in Paris. Maybe they were trying to get people to think I was assaulting them or something.

I didn’t know exactly how I was going to get all 3 of them back into the marché but thankfully a couple of men seated at the table next to us figured out what was going on and ran out to help me. Each of us brought one of the girls back inside. Once they realized they were not going to escape, one of the girls reached into her pocket and handed me both iPhones. I was really happily surprised because I figured they’d either already passed them off to someone or put the phones somewhere. But we got lucky this time. Once we brought the girls back into the marché, one of the employees of the Brioche Dorée pastry shop in the marché took control and secured the girls while waiting for the police to arrive.

Gypsies secured by Brioche Dore employees – Marche Saint-Germain

One of the girls got away and then we left, knowing that there’s nothing the police can really do to these kids. It’s frustrating that this is happening more and more often in Paris and it’s also sad that such young children are being used to commit crimes like this. But word to the wise: while Paris is a very safe city in terms of violent crime (almost non-existent), petty street crime is becoming more and more common. If you come for a visit, never leave your phone on the table at a restaurant because you’d be surprised how skilled these gypsies are at pilfering them.

Some photos of the week:

Best gelato on earth – Fatamorgana – Rome

Harley in his “Prince” coat

Church in evening light – Rome

Italians watching soccer – Rome

Nun with guitar – Rome

Woman on phone in Piazza Flaminia – Rome

Arm Light – Studio Harcourt

Steve P & Pam – Place Dauphine


One response to this post.

  1. Wow! Good job getting your phones back. You know I was accosted at an ATM in ST Germain Blvd a couple years ago by 2 gypsy girls. They played “tug of War” with me. They didn’t get my money though! I fought back & grabbed my $ before they could. It’s so frustrating that they use kids to steal & France can’t or won’t do anything about it.


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