FIAC 2014

Paris had a lot of art to see. There’s a reason that the Musée du Louvre is just a synonymous as the Eiffel Tower in evoking images of the city of Paris. Art is important to French culture, and there’s plenty of it to go around.

One thing I appreciate about Paris is that while there are numerous art museums throughout the city that charge an entrance fee, there also is a spirit to make art accessible to everyone. This manifests itself in a variety of ways, but one is the cultural events the city sponsors. 

Autumn brings about one of those events to town, called FIAC (Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain). This international art festival holds its main event in the Grand Palais (which took place this year from October 23-26). I’ve never been inside for the event because the hefty 35 euro entry fee is a bit steep for me. Luckily though, the festivities are accessible for those unable or unwilling to cough up the dough. The festival exhibits installations “hors les murs” (outside the walls) namely in the Jardin des Tuileries, Jardin des Plantes, and a few other locations throughout the city that are free for the public to see and enjoy.

Last year I absolutely loved exploring the Jardin des Tuileries and admiring all the artwork on display. This year, the festival raised a fuss when the unveiling of the installation in Place Vendome created quite the scandal. (Read more on the outrage over the green “Christmas tree” on France 24’s news article here, and why the artist got slapped in the face three times...)

Controversial art aside, this year I honestly wasn’t as impressed with the art I saw during my walks through the Jardin des Plantes and Jardin des Tuileries. But I still want to share with you some of my favorites. And even though I didn’t find the selection of art as interesting this year, I do have to credit the event for getting me out on a lovely afternoon just to enjoy Paris in autumn, and also gave me the motivation to see two beautiful sunsets.

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Happy November!

Bon lundi!

Isn't it easy to become busy? For the longest time, I've wanted to believe busyness is a result of circumstances. Where I'm from in the northeastern US, it's entirely too easy to become sucked into cramming more into a day. I thought that a change of scenery to a more laid-back Europe would help free myself of busyness. I thought leaving a traditional 9-5 job would provide lots of free time and space.

And you know what? I still find my days packed full, and I still can feel stressed out about completing everything I want to accomplish. I can't blame circumstances anymore for this, so it's clearly something I can control if I make the effort. 

I'm still working hard over here, but one thing I'm learning these days is to grant myself some space. A little time to just be and enjoy, guilt-free. No pressure to be busy or productive or checking off boxes on a list. We've been gifted a phenomenally gorgeous autumn so far in Paris, and a lovely start to November. So I decided that make sure to take some time to appreciate the beauty around me for the sheer joy of having the opportunity to do so.

Take a seat at Jardin des Plantes, Paris

I hope you are having a wonderful start to your November, and are taking some time to embrace it as well! What do you do to manage "busyness" and work/life balance?

Park it in Paris: Jardin des Plantes

In the "Park it in Paris" series, I write about the city's parks - some of the best spots to relax, people-watch, and mingle with the locals.

The fact that Paris is divided by a river has set the stage for the age-old debate of Left Bank versus Right Bank. At least we can say that the city's beginnings took place on the neutral ground of Île de la Cité, and it remains the heart of Paris. (If you stand in the square facing Notre Dame Cathedral, in Place du Parvis de Notre-Dame, look for the star plaque on the ground. All route distances from Paris are measured from that marker.) I like to imagine that when the city was ready to expand off the island, it was the time when the two camps were formed.

I will admit that I am a Right Bank girl all the way. I live on that side and spend most of my time there. If I didn't have friends who live on the Left Bank, it would be easy for me to go weeks with crossing over a bridge. 

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