Tag Archives: paris

The Kooples: kooky couple ads

15 Mar

The hot fashion name on everyone’s lips this season is The Kooples.

The Parisian brand’s popular ad campaign features real-life couples dressed in its trademark classic tailoring with a grungey edge.

couple kooples ad french fashion

A couple wearing the Kooples: clever ad campaign

I’m sure you’ve seen the ads – The Kooples has recently expanded to the UK. The idea is that people in long-term relationships often borrow each other’s clothes; think androgynous separates you can mix and match for an edgy look.

Minimal and chic with a rocker vibe best sums up the clothes. If you haven’t yet ventured into one of London‘s flagship stores, do so now. It’s pricey, but quality.

It comes as no real surprise that the clothing line’s founders are the three Elisha brothers, also behind the very chic Comptoir des Cotonniers – famous for featuring mother and daughter pairs in their ads.

But what of the ads? For Spring 2012, they’ve brought in a host of famous faces. Pete Doherty sums up the overall look very nicely.

But my favourite is Fréderic Beigbeder. This is quite the coup (in my humble opinion.)

frederic beigbeder kooples lara pub

The Kooples 2012 ad featuring Beigbeder

The famous French critic, author and personality is best known for his self-deprecating sense of humour. That and being caught snorting coke on a car bonnet at 3am. He has no shame, but is generally loved for his larger than life persona.

The poster features the 47-year-old posing with his lovely 21-year-old (ahem…) girlfriend, Lara, next to the words: “Fréderic et Lara en couple pour 3 ans. Au moins.”

The joke is completely lost in the ad translations I’ve seen across the pond. The Kooples is riding on the success of Beigbeder’s directorial debut, “L’amour dure trois ans.” The January box office hit is based upon his own bestselling novel of the same name. It’s very funny, you should read it.

film beigbeder l'amour dure trois ans

L'amour dure trois ans

The pessimistic premise of the book/film is that love doesn’t last more than three years. Beigbeder is completely convinced by this depressing mantra… but is of course proved wrong. The slogan is therefore a joke.

It made me chuckle, anyway. Perhaps you have to be French.


Take a tour of famous Paris film locations

10 Mar

Paris’s iconic landmarks and cobbled streets make the perfect film backdrop. With over 900 film shoots taking place in the capital every year, it’s a director’s dream.

From well-known sights to hidden gems, film buffs can easily retrace the steps of their favourite movie characters. Get your walking shoes on and take a trip around some of the city’s most famous film locations with our guided tour.

Here are our top five must-see places:

Le pont Bir-Hakeim
from Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception’
(metro: Bir-Hakeim)

The Bir-Hakeim bridge inception

The Bir-Hakeim bridge

Begin your day with a walk across the Seine on the Pont Bir-Hakeim. This double-decker bridge saw Ellen Page and Leonardo Dicaprio bend the laws of physics in one of ‘Inception”s eerie dream sequences. You might not be able to move the bridge with your mind, but you will get a good view of Paris. For the romantics amongst you, it’s also where Marlon Brando meets Maria Schneider in ‘Last Tango in Paris.’

Montmartre – Café des Deux Moulins
from Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s ‘Amélie Poulain’
15 rue Lepic (metro: Blanche)

CAFE des deux moulins amelie poulain

Amélie's Café des Deux Moulins

Next stop: the winding streets of Montmartre for a bite to eat in Amélie Poulain’s legendary café. The décor may have changed, but the authentic French atmosphere and service have remained the same. Fans of the film will delight in this tourist haven – and don’t forget to sample her trademark crême brulée for dessert.

L’Avenue des Champs Elysées
From Stanley Donan’s ‘Funny Face’
(metro: Charles de Gaulle)

Now it’s time to conquer Paris’s most famous sights. Look no further than the musical number ‘Bonjour, Paris!’ from ‘Funny Face.’ Make like Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire: march down the Champs Elysées from the Arc de Triomphe down to la Place de la Concorde, through the Tuileries then down by the banks of the Seine. Extra points if you can name all the sights in this clip:

L’Hôtel du Nord
From Marcel Carné’s ‘Hôtel du Nord’
102 quai de Jemmapes (metro: République)

hotel du nord marcel carne

L'Hôtel du Nord

Relive the 1938 French classic in the Hôtel du Nord‘s restaurant. The ideal venue for a candlelit evening meal, the iconic hotel has retained all its glamour and charm. Relax on the terrace with some traditional French food after a hard day’s exploring. Nestled along the Canal Saint-Martin’s banks, the area is also perfect for an evening stroll.

L’Eglise Saint-Étienne-du-Mont
From Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’
(metro: Cardinal Lemoine)

saint etienne du mont midnight in paris


Finish your tour as the clock strikes twelve, sitting on the steps of the Saint-Étienne-du-Mont church. Owen Wilson combed the whole of Paris in Woody Allen’s ode to the city, yet this church is one of the lesser known sights from the film. Home to the tombs of Racine and Pascal, you too can bask in the nocturnal joie de vivre celebrated in ‘Midnight in Paris.’

Want more walks? The Mairie de Paris has put together walking tour suggestions for cinephiles to relive their favourite movies, from ‘Hugo Cabret’ to ‘La Mome.’

The perfect macaroon

4 Mar

Mmmm macaroons. This French delicacy is the creme of the crop when it comes to teatime snacks. The British may have finger sandwiches and scones, but the French do macaroons to perfection.

A mountain of macaroons

A macaroon is an almond biscuit sandwiched together with ganache or fruit preserves. They come in a rainbow assortment of colours and flavours, from chocolate to rose via lemon and almond.

These bite-sized treats are available at every good patisserie, but for the official stamp of quality look no further than Ladurée. In 1862, Ernest Louis Laduree opened the original bakery at 16 rue Royale in Paris. Upon his wife’s advice, it was soon transformed into the venue par excellence for socialites to gossip over a cup of tea.

laduree patisserie france

The Ladurée logo

Pierre Lafontaine, Ernest’s heir, whisked up the first macaroon and the rest is history. Ladurée now has branches all over Europe and has evolved into France’s top bakery/tearoom/shop/restaurant/chocolatier.

Ladurée macaroons are so amazing because they are: A-beautiful, B- luxurious and C-delicious.

A box of macaroons makes the perfect souvenir gift from your trip to Paris – handy, since you can even pick them up from CDG airport.

If you’re not heading to Paris any time soon, here’s how to recreate the mini treats in your own home courtesy of the Daily Mail Online. Follow head chef Philippe Andrieu’s recipe for a chic tea party.

laduree macaroons

Too good to eat


480g icing sugar
280g ground almonds
7 egg whites
A few drops of flavoured food colouring such as strawberry


1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. Mix the icing sugar and ground almonds in a food processor until you have a fine powder. Sift to remove any lumps.
3. Beat the egg whites, adding the food colouring as you go. Quickly and carefully add the almond-sugar mixture.
4. With a wooden spoon, mix from the centre of the bowl outwards, turning the container as you go. You want to achieve a smooth, lightly coloured mixture.
5. Using a piping bag with a centimetre-wide nozzle, pipe three centimetre-wide macaroons onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
6. Cook for eight to nine minutes, leaving the door of the oven slightly ajar.
7. Remove the macaroons from the oven. Pour a little water between the baking tray and the greaseproof paper – this makes the macaroons easier to lift off when they have cooled.
8. Sandwich the macaroons using marmalade, raspberry jam or whipped cream to serve.

TIP: Leave the finished macaroons for 24 hours in the fridge. This allows the flavours and texture to develop and intensify


Musée Rodin

3 Mar

Time for some art.

If you’re after a spot of culture this Spring, look no further than the Musée Rodin. Tucked away in Paris’s 7th arrondissement, a few streets from the Musée D’Orsay, it’s the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon.

The Musée Rodin's gardens

The museum contains the largest collection of Rodin’s sculptures, which have been on display to the public since 1919. Allegorical and mythologically inspired works are dotted around the Hotel Biron’s gardens and within the 18th century mansion itself. Chances are you won’t know much about the classically inspired sculptor (1840-1917) so the museum provides a crash course on the artist.

But it’s the museum’s garden which makes the place unmissable. Stroll along the 3 hectares of shady pathways admiring the sculptures, have a spot of lunch in the outdoor cafe or you could even play a game of ‘pétanque’ in the sun.

The Thinker, lost in thought

The Gates of Hell and The Burghers of Calais are amongst his most recognised works. Not to mention the iconic The Thinker. Rodin placed his sculptures around the elaborate gardens because he believed: “Nature and Antiquity are the two great sources of life for an artist. In any event, Antiquity implies nature. It is its truth and its smile.”

Plus, the museum’s temporary exhibition of 300 drawings, ‘Capturing the model’, shows Rodin’s talent in a different light. Discover his obsession with the human form and movement in the drawings which took up the latter part of his career.

Visiting the museum for the first time since having seen the delightful ‘Midnight in Paris’, I couldn’t help but think of this scene… Hopefully you won’t be visiting with a friend as pedantic as Paul, and the tour guide won’t be Carla Bruni-Sarkozy either. You do get a nice glimpse of the garden in this clip though!

Musée Rodin, Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5.45pm. ‘Capturing the model’ runs til 1 April.

A musical ode to Paris

22 Jan

What better than a tune to bring back memories of a place?

Lise – ‘Paris’:

Quirky French singer Lise puts her own musical stamp on Paris. Lovely video and a lovely girl (whom I was lucky enough to meet.)

Joe Dassin – ‘Champs Elysees’:

This classic French anthem makes me want to skip along the Champs with a grin on my face.

Patrick Bruel – ‘Mon Amant de Saint-Jean’:

A great cover of the original song, with a nostalgic nod to happier times.

Paris, the city of love

15 Feb

With Valentine’s day approaching, Paris is the destination of choice for many couples this February. But is Paris really the city of love?

It is difficult to pinpoint why the capital has gained such a world famous reputation for being romantic. Bright lights, beautiful sights and classic architecture certainly help, but are no different to many other European cities.
Rather, it is the city’s portrayal in popular culture, music and film which has helped maintain this tradition through the ages.

view of pont des arts paris

Le Pont des Arts is perceived as a romantic Parisien location

One blogger attempts to come to grips with the reasons, and sensibly concludes that people thinking Paris is romantic makes it all the more romantic.

However, all you romantics out there need not despair.

Le Pont des Arts has become famous for its array of padlocks attached to the bridge’s railings. Loved-up couples from all over the world have taken to hanging padlocks with their names on to the bridge and throwing the key into the Seine.

This symbolic act of love has captured the hearts of many and at last count there were over 1,600 padlocks since the trend took off in 2008. The Pont de l’’Evêché and the Passerelle Léopold-Senghor also have a small number of padlocks on display.

However, it has proved controversial as Paris’s city council are less than happy about the phenomenon. Many of the love lockets also mysteriously disappeared overnight last May.

love padlocks on pont des arts

Padlocks on the Pont des Arts: a symbol of love

Photographers and tourists alike have been inspired by this tradition: so if you find yourself in Paris this Spring, make sure to leave your mark.

Your views about France

8 Feb

It’s over to you…What do you like/dislike about France?

“I like the food in France, the countryside, the Alps, the southern beaches, the coffee, the ice cream, the wine. I dislike the roads, especially how you have to give way to people turning out!” Sophie Askew.

“I love the sarcastic/cynical sense of humour, and the fact that generally we bitch about everything but in a light way not in an annoying grumpy way, but dislike the utter arrogance of certain groups in France, and the very rigid elite education system where only the name of your school matters.” Claire Marx.

bottle of french red wine

Quality French wine comes top of the league

“Dislike: dog poo. Like: Their general ‘je m’en fous’ attitude. Nicola Hebden.

“I like the food…the duck stuff (aka confit de canard.) Wandering through Paris is very nice, especially when it was sunny on the Champs Elysees. Can’t think of any dislikes…” Will Miles.

“The food and wine being amazing, living on bread and cheese/wine being acceptable. I guess people can be a bit off/rude? Paris also feels very exclusive, it’s easy to feel like an uncool tourist.” Lucy Thackray.

“I love the food, the beauty of the cities and countryside, the language, the dress sense, the amazing culture… I dislike the elitist education system, the fact that the arts are undervalued career-wise, the unfriendliness/rudeness (especially when it comes to customer service/bureaucracy), the closed-minded mentality and snobbishness of some people.” Emilie Jarrett.

“I’ve only been once but loved skiing in Chamonix!” Robbie Lesbriel.

“I think the place the food takes in france’s traditions is really important. The way it frames the day and makes wine drinking a civil thing… Also the cafe culture instead of pubs avoids the binge drinking problem we have in the UK!” Margot Jourdan.

“The timelesness of it and the pride in tradition and culture…but mostly the FOOD.” Harri Davies.

sign banning dog poo

Dog poo is one of people's pet peeves in Paris

“I LOVE the food. The fact you can get good wine at a cheap price. The cafe culture, and all the lovely gardens (but maybe that’s more Paris). The art collections too. On the downside, thesnobisme, the strikes, the french shrug and those godawful puffa jackets.” Lucy Smail.

“Likes: pain au chocolat, cheese and wine. Dislikes: the prominence of mullets (in the North of France anyway) and denim + denim combos.” Andy McNicoll.

“Pommes frites and mayonnaise! And of course the French accents.” Rebecca Prescott.

“Hate: the dog poo everywhere, the tramps in the south, the greves and politicised students and rude Parisiens. Love: the food, the importance of family, Sancerre, the language (that’s my favourite), the trains that are like Harry Potter and the TGV and the wine.” Hollie Bond.

Feel free to add more!