My First Miss.Tic!

No, of course I’m not admitting to my first mistake. When I do finally make one however, you’ll be the first to know. Promise.

I’ve read a lot about French street artist Miss.Tic over the years, seen photos of many of her creations and thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit of her work that I stumbled upon in Berlin last fall. But it wasn’t until last month that I finally saw an original by this Parisian on her home turf. It even features a bike! And I love her hair. :)  Enjoy.

For more here’s a great site in French and an interview with English subtitles.

Orozco’s Citroen and a Creative Commons Update

I’ve never been much of a car guy. I have one but the last time I put gas in the tank was in April. Of 2011. I didn’t have my first set of wheels until I was 23, an enormous town car that I drove into the ground on the dirt back roads of southeast Ohio. I later drove a Yugo around those same Appalachian foothills for five years. That remains the only new car I ever bought. And this remains the only car I even remotely covet.

It’s Voiture Citroen DS 19 which sculptor Gabriel Orozco famously trisected and reassembled in 1970. An old friend used to say that I was one of the select few who could actually look good driving a Yugo. She’d no doubt be weak in the knees if she saw me driving around in this.

This was shot at the Airs de Paris exhibit at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in the summer of 2007, one of just under 1,600 photos on my flickr stream that I’ve made available under a Creative Commons license. I only ask that credit is given exactly as specified with each photo. Strictly non-commercial, please. Follow the links if you’re not sure.

There are now just over 3,000 photos on my flickr stream, and they are for the most part grouped in sets geographically, with 20+ countries and nearly 40 bigger cities currently listed. That’s one place to start looking. I’m also fairly anal about tagging, so if your mind works in a way remotely similar to mine (my heartfelt sympathies go out to you), you can also hunt around on the tags page.

For previous updates, check the creative commons tag here on Piran Café.

Anyone have any CC experiences they’d like to share? Good or bad? I’d love to hear ‘em!

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No Right Turn

I spotted quite a few cool decal/sticker-like things on signs in Paris last month. This modified No Right Turn is my modest prediction for today’s run-off election between Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande.

Here’s another, with a very Parisian working man theme going on. By the way, this was image No. 3000 on my flickr stream:)

And here’s a link to a previous post chock full of 2012 French campaign signs.

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Attention Travel Guidebook Consumers: How Important are Upscale Dog Boutique Recommendations to you?

Like this one for Un Chien Dans le Marais, a shop in Paris that apparently does such a good job meeting spoiled dogs’ most demanding needs that it merits Lonely Planet‘s seal of approval?

I have no idea what the context here is but I was reminded of these pics I snapped a few weeks ago of this pooch outfit shop by a discussion on the.ego.tripper where the.e.t. discusses a recent disappointing episode with Lonely Planet’s India guides. And wondered if Lonely Planet was getting a bit over-the-top commercially.

From the shop’s point of view, any publicity is probably good publicity. For Lonely Planet it’s a tidbit for their readers who like to shop for their spoiled dogs in Paris. And another sticker on another window.

I just found it odd.

Odd enough to take pause, snap a few pictures and post them here when the first opportunity arose. Along with a link to the shop and LP’s description on their site.

Oh. My. Dog! God! I guess that was the point.

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(Mostly) Latin Quarter Bookstore Stroll

Independent bookshop subsidies? Oh yeah, I’ll drink to that.

During a stroll past bookshops and between wine bars stops in the Latin Quarter a few years ago, a colleague, a crusty reporter for a daily paper, told me that independent bookstores in that area of the French capital were subsidized by the local and national governments. I wondered how such an idea would go over in a place like Cleveland.

Some of the subsidies, he said, took the form of low interest loans. There were also tax breaks and incentives available, as well as cheap below-market rate rents in otherwise very pricey areas. Like the Left Bank’s Latin Quarter, still considered the city’s intellectual lifeline, where the goal of an independent government agency was to preserve book-related commerce and fend off the high end designer apparel shops that were encroaching the area. One thing Paris didn’t need, the argument apparently went, was more clothing boutiques in a neighborhood that witnessed nearly half of its independent bookstores disappear between 2000 and 2010. No not very Sorbonne-like.

I don’t know if austerity measures and Sarkozy era budget cuts have affected these subsidies in the time since –I hope not. But if another casual stroll through the same area last month is an indication, it appears they haven’t.

Stand along the Seine

There were dozens of shops, small and slightly less-small, tucked in and around the zigzag streets, with window displays showcasing titles as varied as the shapes of the worn cobblestones underfoot. That was the best part: discovering obscure books and little-known writers whose only appearance in a shop window –ever– will most certainly be somewhere in this corner of Paris.

I have some doubts that this model will ‘save’ the independents from other book buying and selling trends –online sales made up around 7% of book sales in France in recent years– but it’s certainly saved the parts of the Left Bank that are home to the shops from looking like other parts of the world that are starting to look far too much alike.

Most of the shots here were taken in the Latin Quarter. The few taken in the stands along the banks of the Seine are the lone exceptions.

Good indy bookstore karma near the Sorbonne.

With Lenin on the Seine. In this case, the right bank.

Slovenia’s hero Zizek is everywhere.

Shop windows – political passions welcome

Anyone read The End of Work?

What the mood of the day? Dada or Groucho?

Marilyn infatuation knows no boundaries

I bet you didn’t know that Dumas wrote a dictionary of cuisine.


These snaps are this week’s somewhat late contribution for Travel Photo Thursday (#TPThursday on twitter) hosted by Nancie on her website, Budget Travelers Sandbox. When you have few minutes to browse, check out Nancie’s photos and those of others who take part. You’ll see some great photos and visit some wonderful places. The direct link this week is here.

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I saw Tina Louise in Paris Today

And she looked as ravishing as I remembered her on Gilligan’s Island. But what exactly is she doing with that blue thing? And does anyone know what she’s up to these days?

This is the cover of a 26 Sept 1961 issue of Ciné Monde, in which she apparently said (and please excuse the rough translation), “I don’t want to be a doll of flesh.”  Less than three years later she became Ginger, and about a half dozen years after that my first real crush.

I don’t want to become a flesh doll, either. So after a bit of wine shopping in the morning and one last light French lunch in the afternoon, I’ll be heading back home tomorrow evening where a pile of work awaits. Look for a few stories, a handful of photo essays and short video pieces from both Normandy and Paris over the next several weeks.


In less than three weeks Piran Café will be inaugurating a free monthly newsletter. It’ll be loaded with travel tips and wine reviews, updates on CC licensed free-to-use photos, musings on my obsessions of the day, plus an exclusive FREE giveaway EACH month available to subscribers ONLY. Giveaway No. 1:  Sign up now and you’ll be automatically entered to win a FREE major publishing house travel guide of your choice. Drawing is on 1 May, so do it now!


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3quarksdaily: The Accidental Parisian: A Conversation with David Downie

3quarksdaily: The Accidental Parisian: A Conversation with David Downie

Great wide-ranging interview with the author of Paris, Paris: A Journey Into the City of Light. What most sparked my interest was his profound desire to walk, wherever he may be. That’s always been my preference when traveling, in places new, or those seemingly familiar.

Your feet seem to merge with the soil at times. Sometimes you think you can’t move. Sometimes you feel like you’re flying. But you’re always aware of your physical presence as a human — an animal — and as an element in the landscape.


Until I’ve paced out a walk, until I’ve gotten into the landscape or cityscape, I can’t know it. After 25 years in France, I still have to hoof it around to get what’s going on. This must be some extremely primitive reaction to the external world, something that wells up in my caveman soul.

3quarksdaily: The Accidental Parisian: A Conversation with David Downie.

Wilde Tomb

I was in Paris for five days last week – mostly work, little play – but did make the time to finally visit Père Lachaise, the cemetery where Frederic Chopin, Gertrude Stein, Jim Morrison, among other luminaries, are buried. The most interesting tomb is that of Oscar Wilde, whose fans really know how to pay their respects. Here’s a quick slide show I pieced together of the Wilde Tomb.

Dig it! Paris Considering ban on SUVs


An idea that needs to spread throughout Europe. Although given Slovenia’s collective car fetish, I can’t imagine anyone in Ljubljana with the cojones to propose it.

Via Inhabitat and Autoblog Green:

Denis Baupin, an environmental official in the mayor’s office, told RTL Radio that if you’re a Parisian with a gas guzzler, you should “sell it and buy a vehicle that’s compatible with city life. I’m sorry, but having a sport utility vehicle in a city makes no sense.”

You don’t have to own a really big brain to realize that most European cities weren’t made with big cars in mind.

Details are still pretty sketchy, but the ban could go into effect by late this year or early in 2012.

From Montmartre, originally uploaded by pirano.