Monthly Archives: July 2013

Au Revoir Paris!

Until next year!

(The Paris Blog)

Top 13 of the Top 100 Books list

This is the mother of all Top 100 Greatest books list. 

Redditor scerakor has compiled a PDF on Scripd. Its a 4 page document that you can download and print to take with you on your next bookstore expedition. Just note, the font is super, super, super tiny. If you have Adobe, I’d recommend converting it to an Excel document so that you can enlarge the font a bit. 

Now, to spend the rest of my afternoon marking off which titles I’ve read and which I need to read…

This post has its roots in a post from /r/booklists which linked to a blog post about the “Top 10 Top 100 Book Lists”. This post linked to 10+ “Top 100” book lists from sources such as TIME magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Modern Library, etc. They were all in such different formats, and such different ways of being presented that I wanted to amalgamate all of these into one master “list” in order to compare them (thirteen lists in total since I also added in the first 100 of the Reddit’s 200 favorite books). I have since thrown this into a pdf file on Scribd if anyone is interested. My next step was to compare each of these and see what books are most recommended in top lists. I omitted two lists (100 most influential books ever written and 100 Major works of creative nonfiction) since there was VERY LITTLE overlap between the other lists which were primarily fiction. I made one giant list that combined 11 “Top 100” Book Lists. The complete table, again available as a PDF on Scribd lists all the books I’m the left hand column and all the lists along the top. An ‘X’ denotes that the book was included in that list regardless of position. The books are sorted vertically by the number of lists in which the book is included.

My two worlds connect

France, meet Armenia. Now go make something awesome!

I came across this cool little item on one of my favorite blogs, The Paris Blog.

Its an odor killer, in its simplest form.

Papier D’Armenie, a sweet-smelling room deodorizer, magically rids a space of cooking smells, moldy smells and, amazingly, cigarette smoke. It’s similar to incense, but comes in a packet of 2″ x 3″ chits of paper. Each burns for a short amount of time, kidnapping funk as it wafts away.

The killer ingredient in it is styrax. In the late 1800s, Auguste Ponsat, a Frenchman, observed in Armenia that people would burn the dried sap of styrax shrubs to freshen up a smelly home. Ponsat developed paper pages coated with styrax resin. Papier d’Armenie has been manufactured in Montrouge, a southern suburb of Paris, ever since.

A few years ago, a lighter, more floral variation of Papier D’Armenie was introduced (it’s the bluish cover with the bird illustration). And now a third version has been introduced. Today at the hardware store, I spotted “La Rose.” (Can a Karl Lagerfeld collab be far behind?) In typical French style, the booklets are as chic as they are useful. Can you think of any other country whose room deodorizer makes an appropriate souvenir gift?

Paris A to Z: L is for

L is for Le Louvre

You may have noticed that K is missing. Well, I couldn’t think of anything for K, and I didn’t have time to look anything up, so there you have it. Don’t hold it against me!

The Louvre is one of Paris’ famed museums. Although I preferred the Musee d’Orsay because the latter museum houses one of the largest Impressionist collections. The Louvre does have its attractions though (The Mona Lisa being one)

The Louvre in Paris

You can find the Louvre in the 1st arrondissement on the Right Bank of the Seine river. Nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st  century are exhibited over an area of 60,600 square metres (652,300 square feet). (Wikipedia)

What I think is cool about the museum is that it is housed in an old fortress built in the 12th Century. Louis XIV decided to relocate himself to the Palace of Versailles and the Louvre Palace became a showcase of the royal collection as of 1682. Nearly one hundred years later in 1793, it became a national art museum and the private royal collection became open to public viewing.

The Louvre has three wings that contain its 35,000 piece collection; The Sully Wing, The Richilieu Wing and the Denon Wing.

As insider’s tip for those who don’t have time to go in the museum. The Louvre Metro stop features replicas of the art in the subway. The collection changes regularly, so you can always find a new piece of art to see. Sadly, all the pieces were mid-transit when I was in Paris, so I didn’t get to see anything.

Paris A to Z: J is for…

J is for Jardin

If Paris is known of anything besides: wine, cheese, 2 hours lunches, and the Eiffel Tower, it is its wonderfully kept gardens. Of which there are plenty. France takes a lot of pride in its well groomed parks, enough to hire park police to ensure that no one trespasses on the grass. There are actually days when you are allowed on the grass, and days where no one can set foot on the lawns. Like the symmetrical architecture Baron Haussmann brought with his buildings, the gardens follow the same concept. Very linear, very flat, and very, very pristine.

The more popular gardens:

Famous gardens in Paris: Tuileries Gardens Jardin de Tuileries

Luxembourg Gardens and Palace in Paris Jardin du Luxemburg

I loved the garden in the backyard of the Rodin museum. You can see it featured heavily in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. The best part of this garden is the amazing view of the Eiffel Tower in the background.

Musee Rodin

Coveting the cute…le bebe Francaise

So many adorable French baby goods out there! I wish I had the space for all of these.


2. Circus Baby Dinner Set


3. Light Bulb glow in the dark Wall Stickers

4. The Lovers

5. Sailboat knit pullover for baby, boy


  1. Baby Aspen Monsieur Le Squeak Plush Mouse and Blanket Gift Set (
  2. Circus Theme Dinner Set (
  3. Lightbulb Glow in the Dark Wall Stickers (
  4. The Lovers Handmade Baby Mobile (
  5. Sailboat Knit Pullover (

Paris A to Z: I is for…

I is for Île de la Cité

Located on the Seine and one of Rick Steve’s Historic Walks, the Île de la Cité is one of two little islands located within the city of Paris.

Set up around the 3rd century B.C. In 52 A.D., after being plundered by the Romans, the settlement was rebuilt as the Roman city of Lutetia…Later, from the 6th through the 14th centuries, the kings of France lived on the Île de la Cité. A palace, constructed during Merovingian times (5th to 8th century A.D.), was built at the western end of the island, allowing the island to remain an important political center through the Middle Ages. In the 10th century, a cathedral – one that would be the predecessor to the famous Notre Dame – was erected on the island. (A View on Paris)

At one point, all of Paris resided on this one little island. That is why it  remains the heart of Paris. All road distances in France are calculated from the 0 km point located in the square facing Notre-Dame’s pair of western towers. On the Île de la Cité, you will find:

  • Notre Dame Cathedral – built from 1163
  • Pont Neuf – inaugurated it in 1607
  • Ancien Cloître- The oldest remaining residential quarter, that evaded Baron Haussmann’s gentrification mission
  • Palais de Justice – Modern day Supreme Court built in the 18th Century. The remains are found in the St. Chappelle Church which is where Marie Antoinette was held prior to her execution by guillotine.
  • Place de Dauphine – A cute little residential park
  • (

A Town Like Paris by Bryce Corbett

A town like Paris : falling in love in the City of lightA Town Like Paris: Falling in Love in the City of Light by Bryce Corbett
Age: Adult
Genre: Nonfiction/Memoir/Paris
Source: Overdrive
Format: Ebook
Find this book at your local library

Stuck in a rut in London, Australian native Bryce Corbett applies on a whim to a position he is highly unqualified for in Paris. For reasons he can’t figure out, he is given the position and is soon on his way to the City of Light, the city where he has dreamt of living for years. Once in Paris, his adventures are nothing short of hilarious. The type that makes you shake your head in wonder.

I wonder if Bryce Corbett and Stephen Clarke ever met for a cafe while in Paris? Fans of Clarke will enjoy Corbett’s wry wit, his male perspective on the most romantic city in Europe, as well as his lack of aspirations towards work, and his overdrive commitment to drinking, partying and falling in love with the Lido showgirl, Shay.

Sometimes, I think a male perspective on Paris is just the right book. Girls tend to sugarcoat, or go into purple prose when it comes to Paris’ charms, but guys are more direct and like to focus on the negatives of the city. I do have to say, that I am insanely jealous of his situation. Being paid to live in a city, albeit he didn’t care for his work at all, but the means to an end, provided him with up to 6 years of Parisian life.

His stories are funny, and well chronicled. From the escapades of dating, to the foibles of dealing with the French bureaucracy, to starting a mildly popular band that plays in the bars of the city, Corbett’s prose seems genuine. Although at times I wondered if he fluffed up the story just to heighten the hilarity. His descriptions of the people, the places and events that took place in Paris had me laughing out loud or shaking my head in wonder. The chapters are short, but there are quite a few of them. A few felt repetitive, and some just dragged on, but for the most part, this is a highly entertaining read.

Paris A to Z: H is for…

H is for Georges-Eugène Haussmann, commonly known as Baron Haussmann. He is best known as the civic planner who redesigned the narrow Rues of Paris with grand boulevards. He was commissioned by Napoleon III to modernize the city  in 1852. Its funny to think that the Paris we see today, is less than a 100 years old in its visuals. I wonder what the old streets of Paris used to look like? The narrow roads that took you nowhere, or pushed you through claustrophobic little alleyways.

parisBetween 1853 and 1870, Paris took a turn for the new under Haussmann’s watchful eye. How did he redesign the city? He razed many of the old, twisting streets and rundown apartment houses, replacing them with the wide, tree-lined boulevards and expansive gardens.  Haussmann’s plan also included uniform building heights, grand boulevards, and anchoring elements including the Arc de Triomphe and the Grand Opera House, all of which is what Paris is known for today in regards to architecture.

Books on Haussmann

1.Transforming Paris : the life and labors of Baron... by David P Jordan 2.Haussmann : his life and times, and the making... by Michel Carmona 3.Paris reborn : Napoléon III, Baron Haussmann,... by Stephane Kirkland 4.The man who made Paris Paris : the illustrated... by Willet Weeks

  1. Transforming Paris : the life and labors of Baron Haussmann
  2. Haussmann : his life and times, and the making of modern Paris
  3. Paris reborn : Napoléon III, Baron Haussmann, and the quest to build a modern city
  4. The man who made Paris Paris : the illustrated biography of Georges-Eugene Haussmann

Video Clip – The Transformation of Paris

Paris A to Z: G is for…

G is for Jean-Luc Godard


Jean-Luc Godard is a French-Swiss film director, best known for his non-traditional ventures into cinema in the 1960s. He was a part of the New Wave cinema, which drastically broke away from traditional movie plotlines. Part of my Paris In July Celebration is to watch one or two Godard films. I was hoping to have watched one by the time of this post, but that didn’t happen as planned.

Born: December 3, 1930, Paris France

Beginning with his groundbreaking 1959 feature debut A Bout de Souffle, Godard revolutionized the motion picture form, freeing the medium from the shackles of its long-accepted cinematic language by rewriting the rules of narrative, continuity, sound, and camera work. Later in his career, he also challenged the common means of feature production, distribution, and exhibition, all in an effort to subvert the conventions of the Hollywood formula to create a new kind of film. (NY Times)

While studying ethnology at the Sorbonne, Godard actually spent most of his time at the ciné-club with Francois Truffaut and Jacques Rivette, who would later be key elements in establishing the Nouvelle Vague movement in cinema.

The three created the Gazette du cinéma which ran for 5 issues. Godard wrote critical pieces often under the name Hans Lucas. He later wrote film criticism for Les Cahiers du Cinéma. He made his first French film in 1957, Tous les garçons s’appellent Patrick, but it wasn’t until Breathless (A Bout de Souffle) was created when his stardom rose and he became a major figure in the film industry’s New Wave direction.

Additional Resources


The Godard Experience – a well detailed media class webpage with information on Godard, includes a biographical timeline of his life up to 1970.

Jean-Luc Godard Official Website