Wednesday 26 November 2008

Shakespeare bookshop Paris tea party

A few years back, while rummaging around the dusty bookshelves of Shakespeare's bookshop on Paris' left bank on a Sunday afternoon, I was approached by the young male shop assistant with a rather gentrified English accent. "Would you like to come and join us for some tea upstairs" he announced.

I've never knowingly turned down the offer of a cup of tea so I climbed the rickety staircase passing through stacks of second hand books passed the old typewriter and numerous cats until I stumbled upon a small group of people sitting around chatting and sipping tea from chipped porcelain cups.

This was my first experience of the Shakespeare bookshop tea party a Paris Institution that's been going on for many, many years. Everyone is welcome, you'll find tourists, customers from the bookshop and Parisians who turn up to practise their English. It's supposed to take place every Sunday at 4pm but these days George, the nonogenerian owner, is sometimes too tired to hold the tea party so it's best to check at the desk first.

Sunday 9 November 2008

Cafe des Phares Paris

There is an ancient Chinese proverb which goes "talk does not cook rice". Very wise but in these modern times it is possible to purchase pre-prepared cooked rice in many Asian establishments offering a take away service. So, with the time you save you can indulge in more talking.

At the Philo café at Cafe des Phares, 7, Place de la Bastille 75004 Paris every Sunday between 11am and 1pm you can join a debate in French on a different philosophical topic each week.

Even if your French is not great you can still come along and watch the debate unfold. Sometimes, it the arguments get a bit heated and the tempers frayed. The scene is typically French and the place is popular with locals and tourists and tourists alike despite the language barrier.

Wednesday 5 November 2008

US Elects its new Leader

Newspapers showing Obama as US President
Originally uploaded by jaimelondonboy.

Today is a day of rejoicing not only in America but in much of the rest of the world too. Goodbye (and good riddens) to George W. Bush. Obama is an extremely popular choice as the new US president. Let's hope he lives up to expectations. This is my favourite quote of the day:

"Dear rest of the world,
We didn't fuck it up.

Sunday 2 November 2008

Where to Watch the US Election 2008 in Paris

Peligro Cocodrilos
Originally uploaded by malias.

If Europeans could vote then there would be a landslide victory for Barack Obama in the forthcoming American election. Here in Paris I haven't yet met a single Frenchman who would vote for MacCain. But there is a kind of Irony, at least in France and Germany, in that abroad they support the left wing candidate but in their own countries it's the right wing that got elected (in Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel respectively).

Anyway Europeans cannot vote but they can take part in the election night parties that are taking place here in Paris. The "official" election night party is at the cinéqua, Bureau des Élections Américaines 02 avenue des Nations Unies 75016 PARIS. You should note however, that this event will set you back 120 Euros.

Elsewhere, if you're looking for more low key and affordable events you could try the all night party at the "Breakfast in America" American diner (rue des Ecoles, Paris 75005).

If you're looking for a more partisan crowd (if that's possible) then you could join the "Obama Campaign Victory Party" at Palais Maillot, 2, Place de La Porte Maillot. 5 Euros entrance.

Wherever you go it's going to be a long night but an historic one.