Monday, 26 March 2012

Food. Always. Mmm.

What have I been up to, you ask? Well. Eating. And drinking! Coffee, mostly. Discovering. Being highly sugared for the most part. Thursday: Cafe Gourmand experience, grocery shopping. Friday: Struggled with my hair for several hours, went to A Cafe Chat Noir (Not... THE one though), wandered around getting the makin's for sandwiches, found another place that had Cafe Gourmand (Called... Cafe Delice here) so I could share the magic with Kendra, went to the Social Club for dancing and was a little disappointed. Saturday: Went to a Parisian Starbucks (5 Euro for a Macchiato?), went to the Hunger Games movie (with french subtitles!) and hung out at Pont Neuf and Pont des Arts for a little bit. Sunday: Confused like crazy by the time change, went for an amazing lunch picnic with Kendra, walked down to Ile Saint Louis for some Bertillon ice cream (As did half of Paris!), hung out with an actor friend and tried a fresh lime juice drink (Holy moses, a wee bit tart) and then Skyped all night! It was a pretty tame last couple days, but my Mom is dropping into Paris in a couple of hours and we're gonna go tourist crazy on this city so... tame-ness was necessary! PHOTOS! Cause that's all anybody REALLY wants :)!

Cafe Gourmand: Little coffee with a selection of the Cafe's desserts. SUBLIME! 

The little tiramisu was so gosh-darn cute I might have struggled to eat it if I didn't have the sweet tooth I do. The little creme brulee was amazing and perfect and mmm...

Cafe! Mmm...

The aftermath. That little black package is a fancy-pants chocolate covered... sorry, "enrobed", almond.

And that was pretty much all I did that day! I hung out at the Cafe (Cafe Royale Exelmans) for a little bit. The waiter seemed a little miffed that I didn't order food. I got super awkward when I walked in because I didn't know how to ask whether I sat myself or waited, and I didn't see anyone. The lady buying cigarettes at the tobacco counter helped me out though. I think she said I was there to eat, maybe that's why the waiter was annoyed. But I originally was thinking of eating, but then I got excited and wanted to jump right to dessert. How do people wait?! Then when I paid the waiter was very nice, and chatted with me a little in English. An older man over heard our chat and was like, "You're from Canada? My daughter is in Quebec!" and so we chatted a little more, both having to stop and clarify what certain words meant every once and a while. Eventually, the waiter (Olivier!) was like, "Why are you talking to my girlfriend!?" which was so cute, and then the man (George!) said that if I was ever in trouble I could just come by the cafe, leave a message with Olivier, and Olivier would deliver it to him (Cause he is there all the time!). Cute little turn of events! Then when I left I walked on down to the Carrefour to do some grocery shopping and pick up more minutes for my phone plan (TERRIBLE idea to get the Carrefour plan over just a standard one, cause the only place I can get minutes is this one store in Paris). Ended up buying this tray of 5 croissants and 5 pain au chocolate's for 2.90 which fed me for a couple days so that was AWESOME!

Kendra and I got all excited when we saw a Cafe called Chat Noir by Hotel De'ville. We walked in and immediately you know it's not the right place cause it's kinda seedy and all they have is coffee. Cheap coffee! Hot coffee! Fast Coffee! But not really... good coffee. So I got a Cafe Creme as per usual, cause I don't know how to order anything else. It was MASSIVE, which was great, except we kind of wanted to leave so I ended up downing it and being sufficiently high on caffeine for the whole evening. As of yet, the creme at Cafe de Flore is still the best I've had.

That evening after exhaustive searching we finally found a cafe with Cafe Gourmand. Around the Marais-ish area we were in the night everywhere was a dinner place that had Cafe Gourmand and you couldn't get JUST dessert cause... it was a restaurant. We got "desole"d out of one restaurant when we ordered. Finally we see this smokey bar/cafe place with Cafe Delice. I asked the waiter what it was and the description was exactly the same as Cafe Gourmand so we went with it. Fun side note, he stood REALLY close to my face. Like... inches. I was leaning back because if I'd leaned forward we would have hit faces. That was an awkward moment. The Cafe Delice came with a definitely-out-of-a-can fruit salad which I was NOT impressed about at all! But the little slice of Opera cake was exciting. This one cost significantly more than the one I had at my local cafe, and I think I would go back to Exelmans before going back to this place. 

The next morning after our Foray into the Social Club (dance club with a good reputation), we got ourselves some classic Starbucks beverages. About the Social Club: It was a retro music night 60's through 90's. It probably would have been super fun if we were french and/or hammered. We were so excited for the 90's DJ to come on and when he finally did he basically was playing his iTune's playlist of french 90's lyric-less electronica. Which was awful. So we left after about two minute with no hesitation. Luckily, we went by this crepe guy who Kendra goes to all the time who operates 24/7 and he gave us ours for free and then some! Kendra gave him a 10 euro bill, and then he gave her 10 euro and some change back and gave her a wink! AWESOME! Anyways, Starbucks! It tasted exactly the same, if not less coffee-y (maybe I'm used to getting double-shots...). But the barista-man (what IS the male name for barista? Is there one?) was so nice, and excited about my name, that I did't even care that it cost basically double what it does back home. Actually, I did care. But... what do you do after they've started making it?!

Kendra got a legit opera cake to cross off her Paris bucket list. 
We then went to the Hunger Games and I cried like a little baby. It was really good! French cinema's are weird though, cause the screen was so far away from the audience with this carpeted area in between the front row and the screen but... no one... sat on it.... so WHY?! Also, the screen was smalled than what I'm used to and kind of concave. Very different to look at when there is nothing on the screen but once the movie started I noticed none of these things. Also, I got kettle corn popcorn. And after eating like three handfuls, I almost felt full. Which is CRAZY cause I can usually absentmindedly down a whole regular popcorn myself at a theatre. I'm finally developing normal eating habits! Or maybe it's because my body can recognise that this popcorn here is actually FOOD.

The next day we did a Sunday picnic at Trocadero. Brie, pesto, tomato, lettuce baguette sandwiches and almond stuffed olives and oranges and these two delightful pastries that I forgot to photograph cause... well... you know the story. One was basically a little vanilla cake (I could have sworn it said something about "pomme" by it... hmm...) and the other was a raisin-y cinnamon-y wheel thing with custard in it. Om nom nom! The Boulanger said, "Bien Dimanche!" which I didn't realise was a greeting so I said, "Oui!" to which he laughed at me. Good thing he wasn't insulted! 

There was a crazy line-up for Bertillon ice cream on Ile Saint Louis, but that was to be expected. I wasn't quite prepared for how long the crazy line-up then took. It was like an hour! For ice cream! But it was damn good ice cream. Even if it hadn't ending up being amazing, I would have pretended it was because of that wait. I panicked when I ordered, and I was so worried I'd get conflicting flavors so I just got two scoops of chocolate with raspberry creme chantilly on top -- AMAZING! The Chantilly cream was good as it was, but then there was ice cream under it! Which I tried to savor, but it was so good I basically gobbled it. Kendra got coconut and pear with her raspberry cream. She thought it through a little better than me for a unique experience. I contemplated salted caramel and amaretto praline and others, but I was so worried something would clash with my chantilly! Anyways, disaster averted.

Afterwards I bolted back to Trocadero for drinks with my new friend Michel. When we finally found a cafe that was not crazy expensive we sat down and the girl beside me had this very refreshing kind of lemonade-looking drink so I asked for the same. It came out as a glass of fresh lime juice with a side of water and some sugar. I guess the idea is you ix it yourself, but I was so worried I'd do it wrong that I was tentative with both additives. I ended up adding all of both because OH MAN that stuff was tart! Very refreshing! But... I don't know if I'd go for as huge of a glass next time!

Anyways, that is all! I must get ready to meet my mommy at the airport! WEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!

A bientot! Bisous!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

My brain got art-attacked

Tuesday: Went to the George Pompidou Centre but it was closed; wandered towards Hotel De'ville for a free expedition; browsed the BHV; went to the Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (long name) for a couple amazing hours; went to Trocadero for some views; and then walked around looking for a Pierre Hermes where there wasn't one (no free Macarons for us, boo). Wednesday: went to the Gare du Nord to figure out Eurail stuff and just ended up buying reservations to visit Bradon in Groningen; wandered around looked for a store with only knowing the metro stop -- lost; wandered around a sketchy neighborhood where I would have been living had my first apartment foray turned out (bullet = dodged); went back to George Pompidou, got in for free because I flashed my youth card, spent six blissful hours wandering; and met up with Kendra and followed my guide book to this indian food restaurant (Krishna Bhavan) around the Gare du Nord area where we accidentally both tipped a good 25% when service was probably included. 

Despite the museum being closed Tuesday, we still got a sweet view of the amazing fountain art.

Stumbled upon this little gem: a 70's vintage boutique. We had to leave right away otherwise I would have spent everything I own. PURPLE!

The free exhibit at Hotel De'Ville. It was a neat photography exhibit, but both of us were missing some part of the why-this-is-important puzzle. Out of context, it just looked like a collection of photos spanning a time frame that didn't really document anything despite being taken in the same area. It was very confusing. I felt very left out because people would be like, "ooooooh!", I'd look, and it'd be like... "Oh! Another aerial picture of a market from 1956!?" Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris!



I would love to have the memory to explain why I thought evidence of my viewing ALL these pieces of art needed to be documented. I recognized every artist's name, so I'd get stoked. Then there would explanations of the movement on the wall, and I'd get more stoked -- contextualizing gets me stoked. But... alas... so much learning in a day means I basically remember nothing except, this stuff is beautiful.

Mirror picture! But not necessarily on purpose!

I am so fascinated by the combinations of colors artists think of when they see skin. Like... REALLY! Look at that! How did your brain see that?! Amazing. 

Again... ahhhh! So breathtaking!

LOVED seeing the incredible difference between these modern sculptures and the collection at the Orsay. I love this ones legs. A lot. So different.


Again. How the heck, do those brush strokes, of solid color, combine in someone's brain to create a whole? One day!

Some stuff makes me laugh. Like this one. Condensation cube! Of course it's art, it's fascinating. But this guy thought to present it that way. Love it love it love it.

I also really love that it's impossible to photograph how cool this guy was. I saw something like this at the Pompidou on Thursday too. It's really hard to look at, like it messes with your perception of dimensions. It's a canvas with tiny micro-stripes on in with this array of metal rods hanging in front of it. It's really not something you can describe, but it is dizzying and awesome.

Art made of bark. So gorgeous ah.

I can't even begin to describe why I loved all of these, but... y'all need to check out this museum! It's all laud out movement-by-movement and it explains it all and it's FREE!

Sweet staircase down to the basement installations.

Room of phonebooks. I looked this guy up after the fact and I guess this piece, like a lot of his stuff, is meant to represent to huge mass of people in this world figuratively in one small place. I guess, to make the space feel full of the people because of their presence in the artifacts? I really wanted to pick up the Alberta phone book and see if my family name was in it. Picking yourself out of billions is a natural instinct, I think. There were tables, and benches in a room of books... but it's an exhibit! So conflicted!

More examples of his stuff. (Artist: Christian Boltanski)

FAVORITE! Just watch the videa, imagine that it keeps going with more and more absurd items for like an hour. So awesome. I am giggling because... well... it's funny. It's also kind of... not funny... which made me like it more.
After that jolly experience we walk to the other room and see this. I didn't photograph or record anything to document it because... kind of was in shock I'd say. So entranced and horrified and emotional and... ugh! Read the blurb on the website. I can't do it justice.

More fun room!

Then we left without having seen any of the paid exhibits ... which means there is so much more to see still! Also, next door is Palais Tokyo which we will have to do one day. 

Beautiful evening at Trocadero. This is spring... what summer must be like!

I don't do a blog entry without food. This pear tart was so delicious I ate it in like a minute while trying desperately to savor it! The bottom was all cocoa-y. Mmm... I think maybe it was a little burnt... but... I think it made it better.

Next day at Pompidou! It's quite the ordeal getting up there through all the escalators but it's so neat. It was just REALLY hot when I went cause the sun was beating down on these plastic chambers full of sweaty people. Bah. 


Pretty awesome GIANT sculpture. Anything even slightly hinting at Alice in Wonderland, even if it isn't the artist's intentional and just my own connection, get's me pretty excited. The artist has some sort of biological sciences background which he uses to create sculptures which communicate a series of hallucinogenic reactions via the mushrooms that can cause them. So... Cool...

This one had three (I think) versions/stories of one encounter as told from different perspectives all connecting at one point while filling this space.

SO COOL! I wish I could flip this video :(

Description photographed below! This was a giant wall. I noticed a lot of contemporary art was HUGE!

Funny story behind this one. So this room (see photographed description below video) had a film go every 8 minutes. I watched it 4 times. The fourth time was when Kendra and I met up and I was like, "You have got to see this thing." Now, what I had seen the first three times was not what Kenda and I ended up watching. What I had seen the first three times, was what is below...
Yea. Blank screen. Except in the white-room-going-to-black-eyes-losing-focus chaos that my haven't-eaten-all-day mind was going through, I straight up hallucinated the sweetest videos ever. And, because of the description (below), I honestly thought it was the most brilliant concept ever. So, what I saw, was kind of northern lights-esque, which when trying to focus on the dark screen was hard to see (duh...) but when I let my eyes focus a-la-Magic-Eye there were rainbow lights and stuff! It was so bad ass, and clearly different every time and so fleeting that I thought this computer was creating a random sequence of Magic-Eye projections which your brain would only accept if you stopped searching for them. So I was stoked stoked stoked on 'getting it', to the point that I shared this discovery with a couple who were like... ok... stupid exhibit. They went back to watch it again after they talked with me. Hey! Maybe all you need is to believe! 
So when I wanted to share this experience with Kendra, all of a sudden the video was working. And there were actual videos. Maybe these videos would have been cool if I hadn't seen what my brain created all by itself earlier. I was so disappointed! Also, embarrassed that I had shared my version of events. Also, excited, that my brain is that creative all by itself! Anyways, that was my funny story.

This 'table' thing was created by a computer by being laser-ed out of something like 200 pieces of plywood which were there glued together by hand. So neat. It's cool seeing how art can evolve with technology! 

Coolest. Thing. Ever. I hope you can read the description (below), but this sound installation blew my mind. I love what people think of! It's so exciting! New ideas, everywhere! We haven't thought of everything yet ;)

More cool computer assisted sculpture. I love how math and programming and stuff I don't understand helped create this neat-o room-filling piece.  

You walk into this cave room thing and all sound is gone. SO COOL! Then the piano there made me instantly want to hop the barrier and see what it would sound like. Sometimes artists are mean and put those things there to mess with excitable people like me. Not cool man. Also... what is in the other part of the room!!? Does it sound the same? AH!

This guy had a card-file-thing of the process of creating something all lined out in this piece. Each card had a category with descriptions of events that lead to creating the piece itself. Such a cool idea. I hope you can read the one below.

Below: Cool stuff.

90% these were drunk people. It smelt boozy.

There had to be one of these! Sorry... I'm sure if I could understand the concept, context, intellectualism-behind-this I might be able to appreciate a solid canvas... but I don't understand, therefor I call this artist Lucky.

SO COOL AH! There is an exhibit right now called like Vintage or Retro or something like that with these vintage/retro living room set ups of random films. I watched a Samuel Beckett performance on film, a news story from the 60's, raunchy nude performance art, experiments, soap operas -- amazing! I spent a good hour alone in here, and I didn't finish a single video. You could spend a day here, easily.

THEN! There is archive access on computer to watch some of 100's of videos! It's all categorized, so I watched a bunch of movement stuff. Free movement archives FILLED with new vocabulary? Yes. Please. I will be back frequently.

Lucky me, on my switch from the Contemporary wing to the modern wing I caught this beautiful sight.

Picasso lalala!

The centre has panoramic views too! EVERYWHERE! I could have found my way out there, but I had art to see. I was on a mission.

Amazing. Description below below of this movement. I just really loved this piece. Hence, close-ups.

DALI AH! Penises hehehe. Stood behind an asian man contemplating this for five-ten minutes.  

This concept (Trapped something?) was that by capturing something exactly as found and changing the plane (from horizontal to vertical) it became art. Love.

Picasso ahhh!

This thing was really high up so my zoom on my camera is EPIC! At this point I had stopped reading stuff cause my brain was mush, but this was just plain cool.

Then we went for Indian. Mmm...

We accidentaly ordered that giant rice platter in the center when trying to just order rice for our curries. Too funny. Luckily, it was delicious. We ended up also ordering some plain rice to go along with our curry, but by then we were dying of exploding tummys. 


And so was my last two days. Mmm! Now I have to figure out what today will be!

Bisous! Au revoir.