Sunday 20 July 2008

Faber and Faber Creative Writing Course Paris

Paris has always attracted a large number of expatriate writers. Gertrude Stein Ernest Hemmingway, Paul Auster Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Samuel Beckett to name but a few have headed for the French capital in search of cultural enrichment and literary inspiration .

In my time here in Paris I have met so many aspiring writers eager to ply their trade that it seems that you can’t swing a baguette without knocking off a pair wire rimmed spectacles.

If you do have literary pretensions then there are many opportunities to read your work and share you experiences with other writers here in Paris. You could, for example, attend the open mic poetry and writing evenings at Spoken Word.

Even if you don’t live in Paris but you are serious about your writing you might like to make a special trip for the Inaugural Faber Academy Creative Writing Course (Thursday 9 October to Sunday 12 October 2008). An intensive 4 day course with tuition from Tobias Hill and Jeanette Winterson and taking place at Shakespeare’s bookshop.

Find out more details on Faber’s splendid new-look website

Friday 18 July 2008

Autolib Paris

Warning Idiot
Originally uploaded by malias.

Hot on the heels of the velib bike rental scheme in Paris. The mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoƫ. has produced a new scheme to provide electric cars that can be picked up and deposited anywhere in the city and the outskirts..

The Autolib system as it is to be called will begin its operation at the end of 2009 and will involve 4000 carbon neutral electric cars when you pick up the car a computer will let you know of an available parking space at your destination. Some of the the details of the scheme are yet to be decided such as how much it will cost. One report says that the price will be around €200-€250 per month for around 60 miles of driving.

The reaction to the Autolib proposal has been mixed. On the one hand, the system is aimed to reduce still further the need for an individual or a family to own its own car in Paris. However, some, including the Green party, are more sceptical arguing that a car is still a car no matter how green it seems and people should be encouraged to use the Metro, buses and bicycles without clogging up the streets of Paris with yet more vehicles.

Saturday 12 July 2008

La Tour Saint-Jacques Paris

One of Paris' outstanding monuments has finally become visible after many years hidden from public view. The Tour Saint-Jacques (96, Rue Rivoli 75004 Paris Metro Chatelet) has been shrouded in scaffolding for the last 7 years for restoration before finally being revealed in all its former splendour on the 10th July. The tower is in the neo gothic style and is all that remains of the Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie church that was built between 1509 to 1523. The church was paid for by the wealthy butcher wholesalers from the nearby Chatelet market.

The total cost of the restoration is around 8.3 million Euros. Once the work is complete there will be access the possibility of climbing to the top of the tower to enjoy a spectacular view.

Happy Birthday Velib

On the 15th July it will be one year since the Velib , the public bicycle renting system, was introduced in Paris. On the whole it's been a fantastic success and with oil prices soaring I can only see its popularity increasing.

Inevitably there have been a few teething problems but I think these will soon be overcome. Long may it continue.