Friday, July 30, 2010

Le Doulos

Instead of taking French lessons at a school, online or with the Rosetta Stone, I am taping French movies on my DVR and watching them (usually on a Sunday night). Here was my most recent fare ...

Le Doulos

One of the meanings of the French "le doulos" is "hat," and hats convey an abundance of meaning in this spare, stark Jean-Pierre Melville excursion into film noir, Gallic style. For example, simply offering a hat to a hat-check girl gives Melville the opportunity to linger hesitantly on the object in question, just long enough to cause a slight discomfort. Melville is similarly in love with lights and shadows, with obscuring and revealing, appropriate for a film like Doulos in which the intricate plot keeps the viewer guessing as to what is going on and who is doing what to whom. Nicolas Hayer's brooding black-and-white cinematography aids Melville enormously in creating the tense atmosphere that is all-important to this subtly exciting film of loyalty and betrayal. Special mention must be made of the centerpiece interrogation scene, an eight-and-a-half minute marvel filmed in one take in which the camera and the actors dance around each other with nary a false step. Special credit, too, must go to the marvelous cast, especially Jean-Paul Belmondo's ambiguous Silien and Serge Reggiani's determined yet thoughtful Faugel. Though some fans of American noir may find Le Doulos a trifle too existential, most will appreciate the skill with which it has been made. ~ Craig Butler, All Movie Guide

Ladies, you will enjoy Jean-Paul Belmondo...

She's beautiful. She sings. She has POWER. She is ...

... Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, France's First Lady. See what she is up to now, and with whom!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

En venir au fait or I hope this doesn't happen to me ...

Ooooops ...
 (That's a "no battery" sign on the camera!)

I have two cameras that I plan to bring with me on my upcoming trip to Paris. One runs on alkaline batteries - it's my old trusty Nikon camera. The newer camera (a Sony) doesn't - it charges up by plugging into a wall outlet. My plan was to take both cameras fully charged, plus a Flip video camera (fully charged) and snap/film away, getting however many shots/minutes of footage that arsenal of photography equipment would give me. And that would be it. Hopefully, it would be enough to last my whole trip, which is only a week. If I used up everything, I could always buy a disposable old-fashioned camera, right? Why am I thinking of doing this? Well, the thing is I don't plan to bring adapters with me on the trip, so I won't be able to plug in and recharge anything. And I won't be able to download any shots on a computer because I'm not bringing my laptop. I might have to rethink my strategy. But that is the plan anyway. I wasn't planning on using my cell phone in Paris either.

The fact is, very soon I am going to have to get down to brass tacks (en venir au fait) and get my financial stuff together, buy adapters, etc. For now, I've been daydreaming about the trip and doing some minor shopping for clothes, shoes, and so on. Time to get serious and get my euros, get my MAC card ready, get my camera strategy together and decide to bring adapters or not.

Until Paris! Only 56 days. Wow ... the time is really flying by.

Monday, July 26, 2010

What does this look like?

It's a knitted dish towel, 100% cotton and machine washable. My friend in Australia made it for me.

But when I look at it, I see ...

you guessed it ...

The Eiffel Tower!

And it is actually LESS than two months until my Paris trip. I hope I don't start hallucinating other Paris sites as the days get closer. Because we ARE having a heat wave in Bensalem, PA.

This has been a hot summer in France, too. Why, earlier this month, the world's biggest cake MELTED in Paris.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

From Gene To Lucy - In Paris

So far, my FAVORITE French movie is An American in Paris, starring the incomparable Gene Kelly and beautiful Leslie Caron. The movie captures what Five Months Until Paris blog readers say they love most about The City of Light ...
 ... its incredibly contagious atmosphere, where hope seems to spring eternal. If you haven't seen this movie, do so immediately and be in for a delight that's even better than a freshly baked macaron

An American in Paris was made in 1951 - and it undoubtedly influenced this next bit of entertainment I'd like to share with you. From the same time period, here's a little humor - I Love Lucy style - about Paris. And as you'll see, should you get in trouble, you'd better be able to speak French! The shenanigans start here in an I Love Lucy Paris at Last episode that aired in 1956. In this episode, Lucy thinks she's discovered an unknown, struggling artist much like Gene Kelly's artist character in An American in Paris. Turns out Lucy's artist find is a fraud, out to take her francs - which by the way are counterfeit!

When Lucy is caught passing counterfeit francs (before there even was such a thing as the euro) at a outdoor cafe, she's whisked off to a Paris jail. In this clip, Ricky comes to her rescue at the jail and tries to help her out.

Until Paris ... only 69 days to go!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Are you bringing your iPhone to Paris?

Bring The Paris Apartment iPhone app with you, too - it's called The Keys to The Fleas, and it's your guide to finding where all the great flea markets are all around the City of Light.

A lifetime of shopping the Paris markets has given author Claudia Strasser the chance to explore the labyrinth of French flea markets and brocantes. With her new flea market app, Keys to the Fleas, Paris, she shares her passion, years of research and trade secrets with you.

Whether you're planning a shopping trip or just want to daydream, this app will be your best friend and travel companion. You'll have the Keys to the Fleas in the palm of your hand.

It's got in-depth information on the Paris markets and brocantes by location & date, along with Métro stops, maps, and beautiful photos. It also includes some of great markets on the outskirts too so you can plan day trips easily.

And for the icing on le gâteau, she reveals where the bargains are stashed and how to ship it all home without hassle the way the pros do!
- From iTunes Preview of The Keys to The Fleas iPhone app
Get it here and visit Claudia's blog here.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Mon Chemisier d'Eté

I love my mother. I was wearing this new top that I had just bought at Macy's.

It wasn't even on sale, and I couldn't use my Star Rewards discount card for money off on it. I didn't care. I liked it a lot, I told her. She said she liked it too. A lot.

And when I wore it a second time she said, "Oh, you're wearing that nice top I like. It's so pretty. It looks like a Monet painting!"

And then I realized why I really bought it.

Oh, I won't be wearing this top when I go to Paris in September. But I plan to wear it a lot this summer, while I anticipate this wonderful upcoming trip. 

Until Paris ... only 75 more days to go!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Laurence de Monaghan in Claire's Knee

What I want now ... me too!
I don't know about you, but forget Claire's Knee. I wish my I had thighs like that that didn't touch!

To get the whole look ...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Of Passports, Photographs and Memories

I took a few moments over the holiday weekend to dig up my old passports ... all three of them. The first passport was from when I was 16 years old; I'll spare you the photos. It was for my first trip "abroad" in 1976 to England, to visit my pen pal who lived in the northern city of Hull. We had a grand time backpacking through the Yorkshire Moors and looking off the cliffs to the North Sea and visiting the seaside town of Scarborough.
The second passport was for my trip to Spain with a dear friend from childhood. We visited her old college friends in Madrid, where she studied as an exchange student. We saw David Bowie in concert during his Glass Spider tour with Peter Frampton. It was the summer of 1988.

The third passport was primarily for trips to and from Canada, when my fiance worked there.
The fourth passport is for Paris, France. It's ready and waiting to be stamped. But I wanted to dig up my old passports because a special photograph was tied up with them. It's shown above, a Polaroid that my pen pal from England took and sent me way back when she and I were just teenagers.
I remember receiving it and thinking, "Wow!" Because my friend was only 15 years old when she went to Paris and photographed the Eiffel Tower. How adventurous, how lucky she was to live so close to that metropolitan and cultural center of life. I suppose it's what sparked in my a desire to go there myself.

My pen pal from England and I still keep in touch with birthday and Christmas cards. And I can't wait to send her the photo of the Eiffel Tower that I will take in 2010!

Until Paris ...

PS The price of passports in the US goes up on Tuesday July 13th, fyi!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Life meets TV meets Sorority Life - Again!

I told you about my obsession with Sorority Life, a Social Network game where we get to go to PARIS and have fun, buy glam, and pick fights. (If  not, just click the label below to catch up). Anyway, as part of my get-ready-for-the-big-trip-to-Paris doings, I taped and watched Sex in The City: An American Girl in Paris (Part Une) on Sunday night, which was excellent! I missed that episode and its follow-up (Part Deux) when they originally aired. OK ... so what did Carrie wear to Paris? And did she eat macarons? Well, she arrived "on the scene" at her hotel in Paris wearing an adorable striped dress and hat. Here's the dress on Carrie ...
And here's the dress on my Sorority Life "doll." The dress is new glam that was just added today.
Can you say "Kismet"?! Now ... how do I get a dress like that in real life?

Here's some of the Sex and The City: An American Girl in Paris (Part Une) episode, for your viewing pleasure.

Until Paris ... I'm counting days now, not months.

From the BBC series on Paris, Blood and Chocolate (Part 2 of 3). Enjoy!

Streets of Paris - I shot this the day I left Paris, on a rainy September morning.

Small group Paris tours for women