The Eiffel Tower without a queu
  • 04
  • Jul
  • 2010
Alternative Eiffel

Alternative Eiffel

If you like a more leisure way of admiring the Eiffel Tower,  book a table at Les Ombres, the rooftop restaurant of the Musée du Quai Branly. The restaurant has a glass ceiling. So while dining on French classics such as foie gras, oysters, and grilled steak, you can admire the beauty and architecture of the Eiffel Tower. The view is at its most magical at night, when the tower glows .

At dinner as a lot of restaurants in Paris it can be quiet expensive but there are excellent deals to be had at lunchtime . Or you can just head to the adjoining salon de thé to toast your savvy tourist skills with an alfresco flute of Champagne or a fine tea.

Les Ombres, Musée du quai branly, 27 quai branly ,75007 Paris, tel. + 33 1 47 53 68 00, M° Iéna / Alma-Marceau / Bir Hakeim

Cars that ate Paris are given the boot
  • 17
  • May
  • 2010

By H.Samuel  in the Sydney Morning Herald 17-18 April 2010 out of the Telegraph, London

Roads along the Seine are to be closed after 43 years in an attempt to return the backs to their ” former beauty”.

The roads were built by Georges Pompidou as part of his great “expressway program”. Up to 70000 cars a day travel along the Seine’s left bank on what is known as the Pompidou expressway, a dual carriage way along the right bank built in ’67. Pompidou was an arid motorist who once declared : “The French love their cars.”

The banks have been UNESCO World Heritage site since ’92. Delanoe, the mayor of Paris who introduced Paris-Plage when the banks become a temporary beach every summer, said that removing cars from sections of the riverbank would help cut pollution and boost the capital’s international standing. He declared war on the “unacceptable hegemony” of cars, introducing new trams, bike and bus lanes and the Velib cycle rental scheme since 2001.The move have been welcomed by most non-motorists but car- and taxidrivers have complained that congestion has become intolerable.

Undeterred, he planned to pedestrianise a 2 Km stretch on the left bank from Orsay to Pont de l’Alma near the Eiffel Tower by 2012. There are also plans to include steps down to the water, as well as gardens ,walkways, green “islets” and a botanic garden.

To avoid gridlocks, cars will not be totally banned from the right bank, but the expressway will become a boulevard with traffic lights and bike and pedestrian areas.

“The idea is to transform an urban autoroute into a living space with areas where there will be no cars” said Delanoe.

Etiquette in Paris: 15 Things Every Visitor Should Know
  • 15
  • Apr
  • 2010

Read at the Frommer’s travelblog last month :


One of the best ways to avoid being a stranger is to learn a little of the local language.

The French may appear prickly at first to English-speaking visitors, but it usually helps if you make an effort to speak a little French. A simple, friendly bonjour (hello) will do, as will asking if the person you’re greeting speaks English (parlez-vous anglais?).

Be patient, and speak English slowly—but not loudly.

A phrase book and language-tape set can help get you started.

Etiquette in Paris: 15 Things Every Visitor Should Know
  • 10
  • Apr
  • 2010

Read at the Frommer’s travelblog last month :

Out on the Town

When visiting a French home, don’t expect to be invited into the kitchen or to take a house tour. The French have a very definite sense of personal space, and you’ll be escorted to what are considered the guest areas. If you’re invited to dinner, be sure to bring a gift, such as wine, champagne, flowers, or chocolates.

Table manners are often considered a litmus test of your character or upbringing. When dining out, note that the French fill wineglasses only until they are half full—it’s considered bad manners to fill it to the brim. They never serve themselves before serving the rest of the table. During a meal, keep both hands above the table, and keep your elbows off the table.

Bread is broken, never cut, and is placed next to the plate, never on the plate. When slicing a cheese, don’t cut off the point (or “nose”).

Coffee or tea is ordered after dessert, instead of with dessert. (In fact, coffee and tea usually aren’t ordered with any courses during meals, except breakfast.)

Checks are often split evenly between couples or individuals, even if someone ordered only a salad and others had a full meal.

Eating on the street is generally frowned on—though with the onslaught of Starbucks you can sometimes see people drinking coffee on the go.