the Paris High Line

Perfect weather this weekend: 10°C with abundant sunshine, and even though I’m finalizing the formatting of my book (you have to do everything yourself these days; the author is also the layout artist, designer, proofreader, promoter and lots of other things), I will take time out, later in the day, to walk at least a portion of the High Line.


It’s not really called the Paris High Line, it’s called la Promenade plantée or la Coulée verte, but New York City’s High Line project was inspired by the Parisian Promenade plantée (tree-lined walkway), completed in 1993.


Contrary to the NYC promenade which is 1.45 miles long (2.33 km), the Paris promenade is 3 miles long (4.8-kilometer). The diversity of plants as well as architectural styles, mostly dwellings, that you pass by is interesting. A slice of Paris.  The photo below is a bamboo grove.


(This post was written a few years ago) – I can’t tell you how relaxing and enjoyable it was to stroll along at your own pace, feeling the sun on your face and hearing the birds chirping.No cars, no noisy scooters…just joggers, pedestrians, space and nature. Because I went fairly early this morning, there weren’t many people. But I hear it gets quite crowded on Sunday afternoons. Too bad I live on the other side of the city, otherwise I’d be here all the time.


Picknicking Parisians and below that, a happy walker (me, a few years ago.)


When you reach the end, you turn right at some point and come out onto the avenue Daumesnil. Here’s the original “Viaduc de Bastille” constructed in 1859 and which carried the railways of the Paris-Bastille-Vincennes train line. Now they are design shops and artist workshops. The promenade runs along the top of the viaduc.



the Eiffel Tower lights up with colors of Ukraine

For 3 nights, starting tonight, and in solidarity with the Ukranian people, the Eiffel Tower lights up blue and yellow.

Here in Europe, we’re all glued to our screens watching the news, aghast. Putin sounds demented. And Macron … what was that 5-hour long-table session all about? A complete waste of everybody’s time.

I have Ukranian roots, as it turns out. While researching my family history, late in life, I learned that my maternal great-grandfather, Myer Cohen, came from the Russian town of Bielaia Tserkov, now in Ukraine. With his Belarusian wife, Annie, they settled in England towards the end of the nineteenth century. My middle name, Ann, comes from my Belarusian great-grandmother.

Just some trivia I thought I’d throw in.

Anyway, the 8 pm news is coming on and I’m going to watch it. Have a pleasant weekend.

clean as Swiss snow

If anybody wonders why more than half of the world’s population is pissed off, the article below could shed some light on that. In one word: venality. It sure pisses me off.


teargas and turmoil on the Champs-Elysées

Police officers are seen on the Champs-Elysees avenue as cars try to block the traffic during their “Convoi de la liberte” (The Freedom Convoy), a vehicular convoy to protest coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine and restrictions in Paris, France, February 12, 2022. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Late yesterday, the Champs-Elysées was enveloped in smoke caused by tear gas fired from canisters. An effective method to disperse crowds, it burns not only your eyes, but your nose and throat. Another method the police used was to bring in vehicle-removal trucks to literally lift the offending parked cars right off the street and take them to the city pound. I’m not sure how much it costs to get your car back. (I don’t own a car.)

French anti-riot policemen detain a man on the Champs Elysees in Paris on February 12, 2022 as convoys of protesters so called “Convoi de la Liberte” arrived in the French capital. – Thousands of protesters in convoys, inspired by Canadian truckers paralysing border traffic with the US, were heading to Paris from across France on February 11, with some hoping to blockade the capital in opposition to Covid-19 restrictions despite police warnings to back off. The protesters include many anti-Covid vaccination activists, but also people protesting against fast-rising energy prices that they say are making it impossible for low-income families to make ends meet. (Photo by Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP)

According to this morning’s tweet from the Paris police, 97 protesters were “apprehended” (stop and search) and 513 were “verbalized” (issued a fine). 81 people are in custody.

placed in police custody for “organization of a prohibited demonstration” and “participation in a group formed with a view to committing violence”.

The general consensus is that the French “Freedom Convoy” protesters failed in their attempt to reproduce the Canadian model. By this morning (Sunday) they were gone, some to go back home, others to head north to Brussels where another demonstration is scheduled for tomorrow.

President Macron heaved a sigh of relief, no doubt. He has other issues on the table. Also, this year is a presidential election year beginning on April 10. 

Below, the first video shows police removing cars from the Champs yesterday. The second video shows cops “apprehending” protesters and firing tea gas into the crowd.


the Freedom Convoy is coming (or has already arrived) in Paris!

“Inspired” by the protest in Canada, thousands from all across France are descending on Paris tonight (Friday February 11) to voice opposition to the country’s COVID-19 vaccine and public health policies. From Lille in the North and Strasbourg in the East; from Nice, Bayonne and Perpignan in the South, organizers are claiming their goal is to peacefully voice opposition to infringement on their “freedom” and “fundamental rights.” There’s talk of heading to Brussels for a “European convergence” on Monday.

But measures have been put in place to “prevent the blocking of roads, issue fines and arrest those who break this ban,” said police headquarters in a statement. The ban will last over the weekend, from Friday until Monday. Over 7,200 police officers and armored vehicles have been deployed and anti-riot barricades erected on the Champs-Elysees and elsewhere.

The Paris police issued a reminder that obstructing traffic can be punished by a two-year prison sentence, a €4,500 fine, and other measures enabling vehicles to be impounded and driving licences suspended for up to 3 years.

“The organizer of a banned demonstration can be punished by six months’ imprisonment and a fine of €7,500,” the préfecture said, adding that those taking part could receive a fine of €135.

Here’s the logo of the Police Prefecture. Funny that it has the slogan “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” written on it.

What isn’t clear, then, is what the vehicles will do once arrived in the nation’s capital. There won’t be large trucks like in Canada. I just watched the 8 pm news and they seem to be playing it down. Only a few minutes were dedicated to the “Freedom Convoy” (le convoi de la liberté) before moving on to the Russian standoff in Ukraine, the number one focus of attention right now here in Europe.



Kurt Zouma abuses cats. uproar on the soccer field.

I don’t watch football – or soccer, as it’s called back home – so I didn’t have a clue who Kurt Zouma was. And then a video appeared, and all hell broke loose in England (and in France.)

Who is he?

Kurt Zouma is a French professional footballer who plays as a centre-back for Premier League club West Ham United and the France national team. (from Wiki)

Born in Lyon, Zouma lives and plays soccer in England.

What was the video and why did all hell break loose?

Zouma was filmed kicking his cats and throwing objects at them as he chased them around the house. His brother, Yoan, was doing the filming and both of them were laughing. A child is seen in the kitchen of the £2m mansion. Believing these actions to be really funny and wishing to share, the brother posted the video on social media (with laughing emojis.)

The video went viral, the RSPCA was called in and took the cats away, Zouma was fined £250,000 (this only represents two weeks’ pay as he earns £125,000 a week), Adidas dropped their footwear sponsorship with him, the Mayor of London made a public statement against animal cruelty, and more than 160,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the footballer to be prosecuted. Oh, and the brother, Yoan, also a footballer with another club, was ordered to quit.

Professional sports men and women are supposed to be role models.

In France, animal rights’ groups are calling for Zouma to be suspended from the team. A complaint has been filed against him under the French penal code. Tough animal protection laws were introduced in France in 2021, meaning that the “mistreatment of animals” is punishable by up to four years in prison and a fine.

Still laughing, Zouma brothers?


Tom Walker rants

I don’t know if this video is reserved only for New York Times subscribers (I’m a subscriber. Maybe you can find it on YouTube.) If you can watch it, you’ll be rewarded with a marvellous rant from a British actor and comedian who eviscerates not only Boris Johnson but the British Conservative Party. The humorist, whose real name is Tom Walker, draws parallels between Johnson and Trump. We need more people like Walker, speaking out and raging against the social injustices that affect us in life.

beef bourguignon

French comfort food. I think we all need some comfort right now, especially folks in North America (beef-eating folks, that is) who recently endured blizzard and sub-zero weather conditions. A perfect time to stay home and make a hearty, nourishing beef stew.

The last time I made beef bourguignon I nearly burnt down someone’s kitchen. Things had been going well – the chunks of tender beef braised and simmering in a red wine sauce – until I decided to leave the kitchen to take a shower. I thought I had turned down the heat, but because the stove burners were unfamiliar to me – induction as opposed to gas – I had in fact turned up the heat to its highest level. Soon afterwards, billows of black smoke alerted us to the fact that something was amiss, and indeed, the stew had turned to cinders. The cooking pot, utterly ruined, had to be thrown out.

It’s important to buy good quality meat. I paid 11 euros for this yesterday, telling my butcher that I was going to make a bœuf bourguignon for two people. He cut it up for me.

Some people in France serve their beef stew with wide noodles, but I prefer mashed potato or with chunks of cooked potato in the stew itself.

The making of an authentic bœuf bourguignon can be a long procedure, but needn’t be. For example, you don’t have to marinate the beef and vegetables in red wine overnight. There are many videos and recipes to follow on the internet. Here’s one out of many.

Bon appétit !