November 30, 2013

Life is like riding a bike

Life is like riding a bicycle, we have to keep moving to stay in balance

November 29, 2013

A simple French medical exam

One morning I open my mail to find an invitation for a complete medical examination by the French health insurance. This did not come as a complete surprise since France has a strong socialist tradition which sticks to its system, although not always when you need it to.

Don't get me started on how I struggled to receive my Carte Vital, a green card that contains all of my health insurance information. In France, everyone is entitled to health insurance to cover the cost of medical care. I therefore took them up on this kind invitation, registered online and was given a meeting in two weeks time.

Having skipped breakfast today, I arrived at noon - starving - to start my medical gymkhana.

I diligently filled in three questionaires and then waited... and waited. Half an hour later I was taken off for blood tests and a urintest. For the first time in my life I submitted to an electrocardiogramme and an audiotest. I was told that my heart rate was very low and that I was far from needing a hearing aid. The dentist was pleased with my teeth. Thank you Mum & Dad for all those braces so many years ago. The vision test on the other hand was a disaster. I do own a pair of glasses which I never wear and therefore did not even think of taking along to the check-up. The very humourous but strict ophthalmologist said he would not sit in a car with me if I drove! Ooooops! Is it really that bad?

My two hour visit was wrapped up by an interview with a very young lady doctor who - with a strong Balkan accent - informed me that all my values were normal (Wow, that was fast! In Switzerland I usually wait a week before I get lab results) and that I was perfectly healthy.

All in all, I must admit that this medical was rather impressive. French are scientifics at heart and this morning's check-up was pretty comprehensive and methodical. The French are not great at bureaucracy but they sure know how to work the system. I just wish all this efficiency would proove itself worthy under stressful emergency situations instead of during a simple, relaxed, preventive routine examination.

When ONLY two hours later - heading home with my results feeling chuffed - I heard a man in the lift complaining it had taken four hours for the whole spiel, all of a sudden, I just considered myself plain lucky!

November 28, 2013

My Parisian essentials

After having lived in Paris for over two years now, I can honestly say, I have the city pretty sussed. These are the things I have learnt and cannot do without:

1. Navigo
2. I-phone
3. Google Maps App
4. Digital camera
5. Scarf
6. Lipstick
7. Flat ballerinas or boots (black)
8. Designer handbag (black)
9. Sunglasses
10. My CB for impulse shopping
11. Proof of identity/current living address
12. Loose change for a clochard or a metro musician
13. Bottled water
14. Umbrella
15. Audiobook
16. Earphones
17. Fooding App
18. Tissues
19. Attitude (always)
20. Anything black 

Walk fast and with a purpose even if you have all the time in the world and have no clue where you are headed. This is why you need good walking shoes and a Google Maps app which includes the Metro stops. The monthly Navigo abonnement will get you around town in an instant especially if you download the Metro app. When looking into black space while riding the tube, pull out your earphones and listen to your favourite audiobook of the month. Having conquered a seat in the crowded underground, you might want to pull out a tissue of your designer handbag while your hands are free. Don't forget to just your lipstick in the window reflection.

Pull your scarf tighter when you run up the stairs and into the cold wind howling through the metro entrance. Pop on your sunglasses even though the sky is a grey drizzle. Remember you live in the capital of fashion. Pull out your umbrella to avoid your hair going frizzy. No matter the season, in Paris the threat of rain should not be taken lightly. Smile at the hobo and give him your change. He needs it more than you do!

Take a sip of your water while deciding which trendy lunch spot you'll discover thanks to Paris' fantastic fooding app. Your girlfriends will be mighty impressed with your insider knowledge. Flick out your CB credit card for an item you absolutely cannot live without and make sure you do it with an attitude.

Whatever you decide to wear make sure it is black and take lots of pictures of the city of lights!

November 27, 2013

A glamourous night out

Last week I stepped into the world of "Esprit Dior"at the Grand Palais. I do love the exhibits that are featured in this magnificent glass-domed roof building constructed for the World Fair of 1900. That's Paris for you. The past is part of the present and you are reminded of it every minute of the day in the city of luxury.

The event was all about the first perfume created by Christian Dior in 1947. I was lucky enough to attend the opening night of “Esprit Dior, Miss Dior” which turned the spotlight on the French brand’s signature fragrance as well as on the history of Dior and the couturier’s sources of inspiration and artistic influences.

15 female artists were asked to create a work that touches upon some aspect of the emblematic fragrance, drawing inspiration from the bottle and its bow, the juice itself or the face of Miss Dior, Natalie Portman. Honestly, I preferred Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich or Elizabeth Tayor as a CD icons to the stars of today.

As well as recounting the story of Miss Dior, the exhibition delved into the history of the couture house through a presentation of archival documents and photos and Dior couture gowns.

All in all, a refreshing take on a Parisian classic which transported me into the world of Hollywood stars, present and past!

November 26, 2013

Christmas is just around the corner

Time is flying by and in less than a month it is Christmas already. It seems like we just returned from the Toussaint break and before that it seemed we had just gotten back from summer holidays.

Having a rather mild autumn definately improved the Parisians' mood and the trees along the avenues are still showing off the most wonderful foliage of red and orange shades.

But this week the cold weather has arrived and with it the wrought up nerves and impatient honking that this city' dwellers are renowned for.

It also seems the entire city is on a shopping spree. I can't believe the French are so organized as to be Christmas shopping but there is definiately a great deal of consumption going on.

I took myself down to the Grands Magasins to check out the infamous Christmas window displays of Galleries Lafayettes and Printemps as well as the Christmas lights along the Champs Elysées. I am not exaggerating when I say I could harldy get past the tremendous crowds on Saturday evening, let alone get a glimps of the wonderful Christmas windows.

Galleries Lafayette in the pink

A glimps down Boulevard Haussmann

Printemps' Christmas teddy bears dressed in Prada

The Galleries Lafayettes tell the story of Lilly by Marc Jacobs

Touch of America

Never a spot without tourist souvenirs

Arc de Triomph in Christmas spirit 

Looking down the Champs Elysées

November 25, 2013

A picturesque weekend in Rome

Dinner is served

A midnight walk 

Butterfly fantasy

Tempting menu

Romantic Roman touch

Captivated by the fire artist

Trastevere by night

Treading in Audrey Hepburn's footsteps

Throwing a lucky cent into the Fontana di Trevi

Just look at those sunshades!

Following Napoli's treasure

Spot the carabinieri

Gelato, gelato and more gelato

La Madonna is omnipresent

 A place to have your portrait taken 

Piazza Navone

Quartiere Celio

A different take on the Colosseo

So much to see, so little time!

November 18, 2013

Cultivating that friendship garden

So, I have not been very active with my writing, admittedly. However, this is a good sign, since it means I have been too busy doing other things.

Indeed, we have been cultivating our garden of friendship. We have travelled to Rome to visit one of Expat Girl's friends whose Mummy happens to be a friend of mine too. A real girls' weekend... and what a delight it was.

Expat boy preferred travelling to Napoli to see his Nonna since Daddy was off on a bachelor party in Madrid for the weekend cultivating his childhood friendships.

A truely globetrotting family. Although we rarely split up like this, we all had to admit, that we did thoroughly enjoy our respective time away. When your home continually moves, the only constant in your life - apart from your family - are your friends. My hubby and I have always put our friends very high on our priority list - even before meeting eachother - and there our friends have remained. However, a friendship needs to be looked after and nurtured just like a plant, otherwise it will die.

The kids have somehow picked up on this and in turn created their own ties, to the various places we've lived in, through their own friendships. Expat boy's best friends has been by his side since he was four years old. He lives in Madrid. Expat girls BFF has followed her since age three. She calls Lugano her home. Oh, did I mention, I have known my BFF since age four? Her home is England. To us, it all makes perfect sense. Some might argue that a friendship cannot be a true bond if you don't see eachother on a regular bases... but who is to judge... and furthermore... a regular bases can mean once or twice a year or even a decade.

I must add that facebook has made it a whole bunch easier to keep up with your friends - and it is a regular feature in our household - but nothing beats a hearty, warm, bearhug where tears spring to your eyes yet your face is one huge smile. In that precise moment time stands still and a thousand words cannot express that ecstatic feeling of happiness of being close to your best buddy once again and experiencing the joy and sensation of true friendship.

November 14, 2013

A day in the life of a Parisienne

Today, I did what all my friends at home think I do. Well, maybe I DO do what all my friends at home think I do, but there is more to the story.... but that is an entirely different chapter.

Anyways, this morning I walked myself from school drop-off to the newly re-opend Fashion museum, under pouring rain needless to say. I had rounded up a couple of friends who did not know each other, two of whom had just arrived in Paris from other parts of the world. You see, you never know when your paths cross again. I had therefore decided to gather my favourite people in one place to join me on my adventures, hoping that they would hit it off together.

The Fashion museum was a hit. What girl would not enjoy an exhibition that inspires your reverie of red-carpet haute-de-couture dresses?

After four long years of renovations, Paris's Palais Galleria finally reopened its doors, treating its first visitors to an in depth and stunning look at the influential Paris-based couturier Azzedine Alaia.

A masterpiece of staging, the 70 dresses on display seem to hover in space, buoyed by transparent dress forms cut precisely to the lines of each garment and underscoring the sculptural quality of the dresses. Dresses that ONLY fit Naomi Campbell and the likes, of course.

We had to concentrate very hard to keep our hands behind our backs for our fingers were itching to touch the fabrics and stroke the patterns of these mind-blowing creations.

I couldn't help noticing the doorman wearing a tie that was colour coordinated with his orange socks!

To top off our tour what better place to have lunch than the fashionable Restaurant Monsieur Bleu inside the Palais de Tokyo across the street?

Seemed to me, we unveiled the Parisiennes' local cafeteria judging by the ladies' wardrobes and number of facial retouches and perfected hairdos. Much to my surprise the service was excellent, an unusual characteristic in a super-trendy Parisian restaurant.

My friends hit it off and it felt good to see four people close to me - from totally different stages in my life - bond and exchange their stories.

Oddly enough, one of the subjects we discussed was about how stepping out of your comfort zone makes you more creative because you need to find new reference points. Well, girls I have chosen you to become my new Parisian reference points. Let the adventures begin!

Now I am off for my manicure...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...