Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Best of Paris and LeWeb - how Sarko learned to stop worrying and love le Net

It's the time for end of the year Best of lists - maybe you think not another and well you might, but in case not, here goes a highly subjective list of places in Paris that rate high for me. They mean something on a personal and research level and I've been to each one.
Cafes - how can you pick one best cafe in a city with thousands of cafe's? So here's a rating based on ambiance, clientele, location and not necessarily the service. Or friendly waiters.
Cafe le Rotonde on boulevard Saint Ouen 18th - a place for locals with a tabac inside (cigarettes, phone cards, car registration) and horse betting booth in the back. Why? Because it's on my corner, a lady sells le Dimanche every Sunday outside and the man behind the counter, Marcel, finally knows my name after seven years.
Bistro - Ma Bourgoyne in Place des Vosges run by an Auvergnat family for many generations. Tourists come but on a winter night with the 17th century arcades above one, the dish of hot Tart Tatin steaming with melted buttered sugar caramelized over apples and only the residents walking their dogs it doesn't get better.
Shoe shops - low end but with every high end style below twelve Euros are the shoe shops stringing rue du Faubourg du Temple, a hilly bustling street leading up to Belleville. Every color, style and heel height you see in the pages of ELLE but not the prices. Or leather.
Felafel - l'as du Felafel on rue des Rosiers - there's a line and it's always crowded since NYT wrote about it but I've been coming here since it was one room and seen the third generation running the cash register. Consistent and wonderful felafel and killer harissa.
Fresh Oysters - le Baron Rouge a wine bar of Marche d'Aligre the oldest market in Paris. Fresh Britanny oysters brought in that morning.
Library - The 17th century library built by Cardinal Richilieu on the Left Bank...impossible to concentrate when murals and ceiling frescoes by Delacroix compete for my attention.

Now to LeWeb a conference held last week in Paris and this bit from NYT about Google is interesting. Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France acted like old friends. Karl Lagerfeld, the head designer at Chanel, introduced a new online-only fashion brand and the TingTings gave a private concert at the Louvre for a gathering of the global digerati at the LeWeb technology conference. For a few days last week it seemed that France had stopped worrying and learned to love the Internet.Mr. Schmidt demonstrated Silicon Valley’s proficiency for multitasking, shuttling between Brussels, where he met with European Commission antitrust regulators, and Paris, where he opened the Internet giant’s new headquarters for southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Google’s move from a plain office building into a palatial, 107,640-square-foot building that once served as the headquarters of a French railroad is the most visible sign of the company’s campaign to woo Mr. Sarkozy and other French politicians, who have often complained about the disruptive effects of the company’s technology. All that, Mr. Sarkozy said last week, is “the past. Why am I here?” he said during a talk with Mr. Schmidt, to celebrate the opening of the site. “Why, as president, have I come to Google? It’s a big deal. It wasn’t easy. But I greatly admire American vitality. I have been criticized enough.”
The good feelings, at least as they were expressed publicly, seemed to be mutual, with a beaming Mr. Schmidt declaring at one Paris appearance: “We love France.”
At LeWeb various times the stage was taken over by dancers, a magician and even a man who had run the Tokyo marathon with a Rube Goldberg-style device that helped him carry four iPhones, a laptop computer and other technology, all of which enabled him to stream the entire race, from multiple angles, live over the Internet. Mr. Lagerfeld also disclosed a love for technology — or, at least, for the accessorizing potential of certain kinds of gadgets. In an appearance at LeWeb, he said he had no time for e-mail, but added that he owned dozens of iPhones, iPads and iPods. Can't you just see Karl's upcoming leather quilted Chanel iPad carrier next?
Cara - Tuesday


  1. Your post was perfect timing. My son, who leaves for Slovenia in a few days and is stopping over in Paris on his return, asked his papa for suggestions on what's happening in Paris. Now I'll just paste a link to your piece on my distinctly non-Chanel glad iPad and, voila, be an instantly with-it daddy! Thanks for the hand, Cara.

  2. Very welcome Jeffrey. It's rumored Google will digitize the Louvre's holdings but no one will confirm that. Lots of dealings in the background. But to undertake compiling ALL those objets d'art in the basement would take years. Probably stuff they don't even know they have...wish him fun in Paris!

  3. Great list. I know all those places and can second those recommendations. Sorry I missed the LeWeb conference. It sounds terribly, if I may, "French". I'm with Mr. Schmidt, "We love France."