June 23- Summertime in Paris: the quartier Bibliothèque

Dear June,

don’t tell me you don’t like this kind of open-air cafés and restaurants that open during summertime close to the concert-ships or “bateau-concerts” such as the Nix Nox, the Batofar and others. There are a lot of events organized around and on them. This time I am talking about the 13 arrondissement of Paris, close to the National Library, the “Bibliothèque François Mitterand”.

You can also have lunch and coffee, sunbathe, if it is a sunny day. It is just wonderful to stay close to the river, on a chaise-long, listen to the music and live the illusion of a holiday by the sea.

Anyway, here is where I took one of the artists who arrived in Paris from Ireland, and who participates in a future performance. A nice, quiet person with a lot of fire, I first met two years ago. We talked about his recent work.

Then, it was question of our personal life: he had a second child in the last couple of years. How about you April? Eh… I haven’t had any, nor a stable boyfriend, job, nor a sense of material security for the future. I am in love with B, I haven’t even kissed yet. But I like what I do, and as a bonus, I can have a café by the river whenever I want.

Ok, the truth is, I like my life, but an improvement in any of these fields could be very welcome.

I could have added: I am also part of the fantasy of foreign artists I work with, who would like to live an adventure with me, as an ingredient of their trip to Paris. Not you, dear Irish, you are very serious. But I had a recent experience with a Dutch, who wasn’t satisfied with photos, wine tasting and art.

I am flattered to be chosen as the ingredient for someone’s romantic fantasy, but I hope they don’t mind I have other plans for myself 🙂




June 14- Saturday at Café Germain

Dear June,

this is the place where I ended up Saturday night with a friend, in order to have a drink; I actually ordered an orange juice despite the nice cocktails they serve, for a change. Actually we had been looking for a place to watch one of the World Cup’s football matches. Am I a football fun? Not exactly. The World Cup is the rare case I become interested in it. Because I like the festive ambiance in the cafés and bars. And because there is a narrative easy to follow. The whole world is involved. Like a big party!

But we thought the bars with a television set were too crowded. Or too dark. Or the spot we found not comfortable enough. So we arrived at the Café Germain, at the Saint-Germain des Près where there was no football match. I find the ambiance a bit cold there, but probably because I am not a regular. It was more festive outside on the street, where people were going to smoke. I don’t smoke and the night was chilly. We had to settle somewhere.

This is a good spot for actors, producers, and probably the right place for me to be. But I was not feeling particularly sociable, that is why I was not satisfied anywhere. B was not present in my favorite café at lunch time. Had he been scared by my sms the day before? Was I not sweet enough? Was he involved in a relationship? Was he not interested in me? Not interested in women in general?

A wise blog-friend, JF, who commented my previous post, suggested that talking about relationships is not the right approach, and that he had not even kissed his wife before marriage. Neither have I been kissed by B, yet. We have only exchanged various “bises”: the French greeting kisses on the other person’s cheeks.

The other major topic of the day has been that a lot of businesses suggest temporary job contracts, and you have to constantly be on your guard.

Is it the same for relationships? How about quality? Duration?

How do we create something that lasts?



Cafe Germain  - Costes - Paris - 2

June 2- Where to go with a date in Paris

Hello June,

My working plan was a bit shaken today since two of my invited artists cannot make it for the date they were supposed to be present. I will find a solution tomorrow.

But I have a piece of information for you, if you want to go on a date in Paris. A restaurant with a romantic air about it: Monteverdi, in the Saint-Germain area, where I often go. It is very cosy, and I stopped to check it as I was walking by: I pictured myself there, exchanging passionate looks with the object of my affection while I am sipping red wine.

Is the cooking good? I haven’t tasted it yet. It is kind of expensive and I don’t know if this is the best Italian restaurant. But such a great scenery for the play I have in mind!

The romantic scene where we have just discovered that even if we seemed to have come from a different background, we share something, very deep. The taste of the pasta can go unnoticed. Or almost. Emotions don’t need words. The sound of the piano is enough.

Is daydreaming a way to escape reality or to shape it? After all, we need to know what we want, in order to recognize it when we see it.

Do I have more chances to go on a date with B at a restaurant like Monteverdi, or to a playground with his little kid? For some reason, the second scenario is more realistic to me.

Do I mind? Not really. The most important ingredient, is love, and to share important things in each-other’s life. It could be members of their family, a hobby, a taste in food, travelling, watching a dvd, whatever.

When feelings are present, any place becomes enchanting.

And life is tasteful.



May 25- Profiles: books and writers

Dear May,

yes, I was at the café “Les Editeurs”, but not at 14.00 in the afternoon. I went there in the evening for a drink. It is one of my favorite St-Germain places, too bad it is going to be closed for renovation from June 1st to August 1st.

As an avid reader, I decided to read three books at the same time, from the closest shelf. The best way to wait for a friend that would join me. Yes, it is unrealistic. And disrespectful to the authors. It is as if you are coming and going in three lectures, slapping the door every time. Or, to be even more vulgar, as if I were changing tv channel.

So, my apologies to the authors.

ShalmanRushdi’s book, “Midnight’s Children”, published in 1980, on India’s transition from colonialism to an independent State, captured my attention. I decided to return to him.

Paul-Loup Sulitzer. His 2011 book “the empire of the water lily”, starts in China and is an adventure involving the local mafia, the Triad.

Jean-Barthélémy Bokassa and Olivier Keavel. Their book is on men and women with the objective to marry a millionaire and the way to achieve it.

Isn’t it amazing how different authors and books can co-exist on the same book-shelf? In the same way different people walk on the street at a certain moment.

I didn’t have time to read the books. But it was as if they were presenting three types of authors and their destinies. Shalman Rushdie, a literary award-winning author, who has been sentenced to death by Khomeini in 1989.

Paul-Loup Sulitzer, a business-man and a millionaire. He has been accused of using as a ghostwriter for some of his books Loup Durand, according to Wikipedia (http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul-Loup_Sulitzer).  A best-selling author, writing finance-fiction.

And finally the other two authors who present themselves as experts of the millionaire whereabouts: the grandson of an African dictator, and Olivier Keravel, a journalist.

At least, this is the information I found googling them.

But my point is, if there are so many sorts of books published, and so different author profiles, we have a choice:

On the kind of author we are going to become.


May 14- at the Kurdish restaurant

Hello May,

yes, I went out again tonight, what do you mean it is the middle of the week? It was the birthday of a good friend, you just can’t say no in this occasion!

At first I thought we were to go to a Turkish restaurant, but finally it ended up being Kurdish: “Zagros” named after the chain of mountains in Kurdistan. It is situated close to metro Père Lachaise. Very nice lamp with eggplants, by the way.

M invited friends she has made in different settings, so I practically didn’t know anyone but her. I got there at 21.30, and was among the first of the group, the other six friends came after 10.00. We were a mixture of French, Greek, Kurdish, Turkish, Iranian, Americans. There was one person she was particularly eager to see: a Kurdish musician, who would play traditional instruments. He arrived late, a real star, and after having drunk some wine, smoked and eaten, he played the Tanbur and sung nostalgic love songs.

It was beautiful.

We forgot our everyday questions, the music was enough to create a unity between people who had never met before.

Everyday questions, as for example: what will happen if all the men I am interested in come to my summer event?  Two of them seemed decided to do so, this afternoon.

Can I handle this?

Of course I can!




Photo from: http://francois.aichelbaum.com/restaurant-zagros-du-mediterranneen-au-pere-lachaise/

May 11- tranformation and self-love

Dear Sunday May,

I was to have tea with a Chinese friend, but canceled it because there were things I needed to work on this afternoon. He was so kind to say: never mind April, another time!

I couldn’t have finished in the morning, for the simple reason that I woke up late, after having been out last night. So my Sunday started practically after 12.00 when I decided to take my computer and go out in one of my usual Sunday headquarters. Just a parenthesis to specify that certain cafés are closed on Sundays in Paris, so for a café-lover as me, I need a Sunday hangout.

The first step, is usually a café where I meet up with a group of friends who leave at about 13.00 to have lunch elsewhere. So, I skipped this step and went directly to the second. It is a place where I often have lunch, tiny, with good prices and friendly waiters. Great cocktails at night.

I worked a lot, talked to a friend who joined me at some point. Chatted with the guy next table who wanted to know if he looked fine in his jeans.

I answered yes. This triggered a thought about liking, or loving oneself and self-transformation. Being liked, loved by others, is so important, we are ready to do almost anything to assure this love. Write a blog, become a rock star, sacrifice for others:

But how do we like ourselves? We can choose nice-cut jeans. We can eat well, buy ourselves beautiful things, or things that others consider valuable. We can become very accomplished, beautiful, rich, famous, helpful, powerful.

But is this liking or loving oneself? How about the desire for change? Is it based on self-love or self-hate?

In my case, I think self-love is to accept I have valuable things to offer and not feel diminished every time I ask others to join a project, an idea or even a date. If they yes, fine. If they say no, it is fine also.

If I ask for an approval I risk liking myself less every time I get a negative answer.

If I concentrate in co-creating, I am conscious of having something valuable to offer, but so do others. It is just different, that is why we are complementary.

Finding the right partner-s is necessary to love, grow, transform and create.

PS. Thank you Kimberly for the post on liking yourself! http://kimberlyharding.wordpress.com/



May 6- Paris and relationships: past, present and future

Hello May,

what’s up? You were changing moods today: from rainy to sunny and windy. We didn’t know how to dress. I was almost running to get back home from my meeting with an old University classmate. She is currently living in Geneva, and came to Paris for a few days. It was nice to catch up. It has been three years since we last met; she had come with her husband. This time, we could have some girl-talk. I suggested the Rotonde, for a drink, a mythical restaurant of Montparnasse, the area were artists had taken their headquarters, at the beginning of 20th century.

She then asked me to take a look at another place she knew -a bar, ‘the Scott’- named after Scott Fitzgerald who used to hang around in this area, with Hemingway. It was as if we were going back to the Montparnasse of the 1920s and 30s; or as if we were entering Woody Allen’s film on Paris. She told me about an old fortune teller who had grasped her hand.

We looked from the window. I was almost relieved that the fortune teller was not there. I don’t know if I would have liked him to start mumbling something.

After a brief summary of my love life, as we were walking, my friend concluded that I am in love with love; that I prefer romantic fantasies to living with someone who will get on my nerves every day.

I guess everybody can get in our nerves at some point. But I believe there are people who are happy to be with each other, even if they fight from time to time. Was she judging based on her experience? Is she really happy with her husband?

I love being in love, but I don’t want to indulge into fantasies. It is like the Montparnasse of the past; it is ok to go there for a while, with a tourist friend, to spend an hour in this scenery. It is like watching a film. Paris has a past, but also a present and a future. Even when it comes to the architecture. Take the pyramid in front of the Louvre museum, as an example.

I love being in love with someone I can hold, and who holds me back. Imagination is here to spice our lives.

Oh, what did I do concerning work? I have advanced on the project proposal today, but worked from home. I will go to the Platform when I will feel strong enough.

The photo is coming from : http://www.itaste.com/list/restaurant/fr/paris-6eme/la-rotonde-montparnasse.html



May 5- on hybrid relationships: brownie cheesecake

Hello dear sunny May,

I spent big part of the day preparing a proposal for my Parisian mentor. He is just back from New York, he told me, jet lagged.

My idea for the proposal, is to use a project, I worked on last year and take it to the next level. Create a fusion with my mentor’s former experience. A hybrid, in a way.

I already had a project partner, L. He is a few years older, charming, dynamic, an example of a great guy. Married with three kids, and always busy. No wonder why. He leaves big part of the responsibility to me, since he is involved in other events also.

I avoided the Platform, because I didn’t want to run into irrelevant people. I stayed in my neighborhood, did research online, looked into books, magazines, talked to people, in order to get ready.

And yes, I went to a café with a nice ambiance, to put things together and eat a patisserie, a wonderful hybrid of cheese cake and brownie. It definitely stimulated my brain cells.

L was on the phone, he teased me about my blogging activity: I should use all my time to advance with the project! If only he knew I had also been daydreaming about B, the café guy that I have not seen in his usual place this Saturday! Things seemed to go well, – we are on speaking terms- and then I panicked and acted cold. He seemed wonderful, what if he was and I fell in love with him? After all, we don’t have a similar background.

But in the same way, a brownie and a cheese cake were not meant to fuse. Hybrid situations can be very successful after all.

P.S. The photo of Rose Bakery where I went, comes from this blog: http://thekitchenaroundthecorner.com/2013/08/07/rose-bakery-au-bon-marche/#comments

Rose Bakery au Bon Marché