Original Eiffel Tower
CC0 Paris Musées / Musée Carnavalet

Paris will host the summer Olympic Games in 2024. It was also the site of the Olympic Games in 1900 (the second Olympiad) and 1924 (the movie « Chariots of Fire » Olympics). Like other cities hosting the Games, Paris wants to put on a show on top of the spectacle that the city offers every day.

Somehow, major events in the city, whether in celebration or in sorrow, require doing something with the Eiffel Tower. For the Olympics, the project is to repaint the tower yellow, brown, and golden. This will mean painting its 18,000 pieces and 2.5 million rivets. When the tower was first built for the 1889 World’s Fair, it was painted red. In 1907, Eiffel said that he wanted it painted yellow, brown, and golden, and those remained the colors for the first half of the 20th century.

Most buildings in Paris are considered historical, this means they are protected and modifications are rarely allowed. When I wanted to replace the windows in my apartment, the company that would build and install them had to measure the size of each window, pane of glass, and of the mullions and muntins. This because they had to look exactly the same as the old ones for the renovation to be allowed.

But; it’s OK for the Eiffel Tower to change color: it’s one of the things about living in this city that makes you say, « go figure. »

Our beloved tower has a knack of surviving human folly. Built in 1889 for a world's fair, it was originally scheduled to be torn down after the end of the fair. At the end of WWII it was one of the monuments that almost got leveled under the orders of Hitler! But somehow she has managed to resist the times.

The city of Paris uses the lighting of the tower to show support for different causes, while advertising by private companies has almost been non-existent here are some exceptions: In 1926, when the tower was still operated by the Eiffel family, Citroên advertised their automobiles.

In 2017, the Paris Saint-Germain soccer team paid 50,000 euros to have their acquisition of Neymar, the Brazilian star, feted in the red and blue team colors for a couple hours!!! Any company may use the image of the tower for free for their advertising provided that it’s a daytime photo. When the lights are on at night, they need to have the authorization of the city and they have to pay for it.

In 2011, the Ginger Engineering Company wanted to make the Eiffel Tower into a planter for four years. Plants would have covered all four sides for its entire 357 yard height. That was about 600,000 plants plus 12 tons of rubber tubing to keep the plants watered. The engineers estimated this would add 378 tons to the weight of the Eiffel Tower.

You might well ask why they wanted to do this.

Answer: the company wanted to create a carbon negative building; they wanted to have Paris be the first city in the world to do this; and as we all know, the Eiffel Tower symbolizes Paris. With this project, the 7 million annual visitors to the Eiffel Tower would not just have been visiting the Eiffel Tower, they would have been involved in eco-tourism.

According to the engineers, the Eiffel Tower produces 84.2 tons of carbon dioxide. With the 600 thousand plants, 87.8 tons would have been absorbed.

Ginger claimed to have the support of the Paris mayor and the national Minister of the Environment but then a funny thing happened. The story appeared in the news. The stories politicians would rather not see in the news are more likely to appear than the stories they'd like to see. The Mayor issued a statement saying that he had not yet decided whether to support the project and as you might have guessed, the project became a part of history that most everyone ignores.

Now you know; when you come to Paris make sure to take pictures to immortalise the Eiffel Tower of "your time", because there’s no guarantee it will look the same in the future.

By Eliot Goldman

StrollsParis tips:

1- After a visit to the Tower you might consider a moment of calm, you can find this by the hidden waterfall between the Musée de l'homme, rue Benjamin Franklin and rue le Tasse, the hidden side of Trocadero garden. You can watch our facebook live tour we did on June 13th 2021 to know where this is: https://fb.me/e/1435QZ490

2- The Paris Aquarium, in the Trocadero gardens, is a great place to bring your kids.

"Aquarium de Paris" 5 rue Albert de Mun, Paris 75016.

Metro Trocadero, Lines 6 and 9

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I recently read the article, « The French Twist, » by Lauren Collins in The New Yorker magazine. The article described a new food craze in France, the Tacos. Although adding an « s » at the end of a word makes it plural in French as it does in English and other languages, in this case, «Tacos» is singular — one tacos. And before you get too excited thinking that maybe decent Mexican food is now available in Paris: sorry, but the French tacos has as much relation to a Mexican taco as say a Mexican sparkling white wine labeled Champagne has to the real thing.

But what is it? The article describes it as a soft flour tortilla containing meat (beef or chicken), French fries, a choice of relishes and sauces, and a cheese sauce. The whole thing is then folded into a rectangular shape and grilled. At least, there’s a tortilla.

What makes this interesting is that it raises the question of , »What is French cuisine ? ». We all know, or think we know anyway, what French cuisine is. We can reel off the classic dishes such as canard à l’orange, foie gras, quenelles de brochet, boeuf bourguignon, crepes suzette, bouillabaisse, mousse au chocolat, etc. All of these dishes and many others were created in France and then served in French restaurants around the world because gourmet dining became synonymous with a meal in a French restaurant if you were lucky enough to have one nearby.

The tacos was also created in France, in the suburbs of Lyon. Lyon is not just anyplace when it comes to how seriously the residents and restaurant professionals take culinary traditions.

Dirt, by Bill Buford

One of my favourite recent

reads is the book: Dirt, by Bill Buford.

So the tacos was created in France, but does that make it French? Interesting question, because the chef (or chefs - there’s a dispute) who created it was / were French citizens of North African origin and had not been trained in classical French cuisine. Does that mean that a dish created by French citizens living in France is not French cuisine if the creators weren’t classically trained?

There are a lot of restaurants in Paris (lucky us) because eating well is an important part of life in France and a lot of tourists come here hoping to have memorably good meals in addition to seeing the Mona Lisa. Personal opinion: I prefer a really good meal to being in the crowd trying to see the Mona Lisa — sorry Leonardo. For French restaurants, there are restaurants, brasseries, and bistros. There are also restaurants for the cuisines of other nations: Chinese, Japanese (mostly sushi), Korean, Italian, Turkish (kebabs), Lebanese, Greek, etc. In the years that we’ve been here, there has a progression of food fads such as hamburgers, bagels, and Poke bowls, but these have been in restaurants set up to take advantage of the fad and serve mostly that.

And yes, the French eat pizza and hamburgers but with a knife and fork: please don’t laugh or stare when you notice it. These food fad restaurants or restaurants serving non-French cuisine, however, are not the places frequented by the French for the really special meal. No, for the really special meal, there are really special (French) restaurants. The others represent a different set of flavors or copious amounts of food for very little money. Does this mean that French restaurants are always more expensive? No — we have suggestions below. Do we think you should eat only in restaurants serving French food? No, that’s up to you. I happen to like couscous and sushi as do the French.

Here are a few tips on choosing a good restaurant:

  • If the restaurant staff is outside the restaurant inviting you to come in, don’t go there.

  • Try to avoid the restaurants that are closest to the tourist sites, although we can give restaurant recommendations near tourist sites.

  • If you’re staying in a hotel that has a concierge, ask him or her for a recommendation

  • If you want to go to a Michelin-starred restaurant, you’ll need to make a reservation before coming here

And some favourite restaurants:

For game and wild mushrooms in season Au Petit Marguery, 9 blvd du Port-Royal 75013

For couscous : La Corniche, 77 blvd de Courcelles 75008

For seafood : La Brasserie Lorraine, 2 Place de Ternes 75017

For a special meal :

La Closerie des Lilas, 171 blvd du Montparnasse 75006

Les Zygomates, 7 rue de Capri 75012

I wish you a Bon Appétit!

by Eliot Goldman

#parisfood #parisgastronomy #wheretoeatinparis #iloveparis #paristacos #frenchtacos #foodies #parisforfoodies

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The Beatles, Édith Piaf, David Bowie, Jacques Brel, Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and Pink Floyd are some of the greatest names to set foot at the stage of L’Olympia.

One of the most iconic venues in Paris since its re-opening in 1954, Olympia Hall was the most popular rock venue through the 60’s and continues hosting the best musicians of all genres today.

Like all venues, this long period of cancelled performances has been very difficult, but L'Olympia has survived tough times including 2 World Wars, so 2020 events should not end with this incredible place.

The music hall had closed on Mars 11. After 200 lonely days, L’Olympia opened its doors last Sunday, September 6th, with an emotionally-charged performance by Brigitte Fontaine. With all-new safety restrictions, a closed bar, social distancing measures, and plenty of hand sanitiser the show was another success!

Depending on the show, L’Olympia can remove the seats on the bottom pit for standing crowds so it can host up to 3000 people (2,000 for fully-seated events). This morning, we were told by the person working at the ticket booth that at their upcoming concerts the maximum number of people will be 1,300. Attendants who go together will be allowed to sit together, but social distancing rules will apply for the different parties.

We will perhaps be attending the concert of Mayra Andrade on September 23rd, but the show has not been confirmed yet. Anyhow, it is a good sign for this historic venue to adapt and allow some to enjoy the music that has been missing from our lives. It is always a good idea to check L'Olympia’s programme before your next visit to Paris because you never know what memorable performances await at the legendary stage. To further understand the significance of this venue as a trailblazer in the industry, let us remember some key moments of its history:

It was already in 1888, Joseph Oller, founder of the Moulin Rouge, who opened what would eventually become L’Olympia’s stage located at 28, Boulevard des Capucines. Just 300 meters away from the Paris Opera Garnier. Operating under a different name then, L'Olympia saw many operas, concerts and ballets until the economic crisis of 1929 halted the production of live shows. At that point the venue was transformed into a cinema and it was even used to house soldiers during the dark times of the Second World War. However, the stage would be restored to receive a new historic period of artistic expression.

In 1954 the new Olympia opened its doors with a new image but with the same classic seating arrangement configuration from before. The "O" of Olympia’s new logo is a Parisian symbol and represents the design of the capital's ring road.

In this metaphor, international artists understood that stepping into its stage meant stepping into Paris and local artists as their home. Many managements focused on different acts and often committed to the talent of an artist.

Like in 1961 when Édith Piaf held the stage over the course of three months or in 1964 when the young Beatles performed twice per day during three weeks before their North American tour (a total of forty-one performances)!

A classic that should certainly be considered for your next visit to Paris! https://www.olympiahall.com/programmation/

#parisatnight #parisprivatetour #parisnight #parisiannight #discoverparis #parismusic #parisconcert #whattodoinparis #weloveparis #iloveparis #Olympiaparis #parisclassics

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