Home » Newsletter Archives » Newsletter #77: March 2007
Newsletter Archives

Newsletter #77: March 2007

vintage Paris photo

***If you subscribe to my newsletter, you received this in February in your email box.***

Secrets of Paris Newsletter #77: February 27, 2007

IN THIS ISSUE:

* Heather’s News
*24/7 Package Delivery Pick-Up
* Useful Info for Americans in France
* Free WiFi at the Palais de Tokyo
* Reserve Your Parking Space at the Airport Online
* Getting Your RER Ticket Into Paris from Roissy-CDG
* Bureaucratic Progress!
* Info People Suck
* Learn to Make Your Own Chocolates
* Bundle Up if You Go to the Grand Palais!
* Free Contemporary Art Tours
* Free “Rencontres” at the Opéra Bastille
* How to Make an X-Wing out of Two Metro Tickets
* Own One of the Most Famous Café Chairs in Paris
* French Porcelain
* Champs Elysées Shopping Map
* Multi-brand Designer Boutique
* Cheapie Car Rental
* Discount Luxury Shopping Online

* Heather’s News

There are flowers in the gardens of the Place d’Italie. They smell very nice, too. Throughout the balmy month of February, I watched the buds grow and then finally open up one warm afternoon (it was in the 50s!!) Today is not particularly warm. It’s been raining, windy and grey. But it’s not exactly cold either. I can’t see my breath. I don’t have to wear gloves. My heat isn’t working again but I don’t really think its cold enough to bother the concierge about it quite yet. So winter seems to have lasted about two weeks this year (unless you include that freak winter month of August). Why does it seem that I start every newsletter with the Weird Weather Report? Better question, why is the weather always so weird? Is Al right? Are we doomed? Hard to get too concerned when the flowers are blooming. Enjoy the weather while you can, because who knows what tomorrow will bring! – Heather

Secrets to Make Life Easier

*24/7 Package Delivery Pick-Up
Ever have a total nightmare with package delivery because you’re never home? The concierge seems to be wearing the clothes that you ordered but never received? The UPS man didn’t have the building code so now you have to wait another week for them to deliver? There’s another solution, through Colissimo, called Cityssimo. Any package that you have delivered by Colissimo (therefore, unfortunately, coming from France only) is sent to one of the seven Espace Colis throughout Paris and placed in a locker. You then receive an email telling you where it is and the code to get it out of the locker at any time (24/7) over the next five days. Cool, eh? Now if they could do this with ALL deliveries, life would be grand, eh?

http://www.cityssimo.fr/

* Useful Info for Americans in France
The US government now has a new, streamlined web page for Americans living abroad. Go to http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Americans_Abroad.shtml and you’ll find details on topics ranging from dual citizenship to voting overseas.

* Free WiFi at the Palais de Tokyo
The Palais de Tokyo – Espace de Création Contemporaine has launched Tokyo-Ozone, a free, super-high-speed WiFi zone within (and surrounding) its premises. For now you need to bring your own laptop, but stay tuned for laptop rentals coming soon. Just boot up and log in (you just need to check a box agreeing not to do “bad stuff” on their network) to surf for free. The Palais de Tokyo is open noon-midnight except Mondays, and has a café, bar, and restaurant in addition to the exhibition spaces (which require a fee to enter). http://www.tokyo-ozone.net/

* Reserve Your Parking Space at the Airport Online

Life just got a little easier for those of you parking your car at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle. For a fee of €12-20 (depending on the length of your car’s stay) you get an assigned spot – a good one at the front! You pay this online and get the special code that you use to get into the reserved area. Then you pay the actual parking fee as usual on your way out. A great time-saver for those stressful departures!

http://www.aeroportsdeparis.fr

* Getting Your RER Ticket Into Paris from Roissy-CDG
There are two options: stand in the often long line, or use the automated machines. Problem is, the machines only work with coins (no bills) or with credit cards that have a microchip (“puce”), which excludes most North American cards. To help you out, there’s now a bill changer just inside the doors of the ticket window for the Ile-de-France and Paris trains (you’ll see it if you get in the line to buy your ticket from a human). Things just got a little easier. Sigh.

* Bureaucratic Progress!

Do you live in France? Are you thinking of it but all of your friends are scaring you off with tales of bureaucratic nightmares? Many of the tedious things that everyone used to have to stand in line for (usually multiple times) can now be done online! This includes getting the carte grise (registration) for your car, filling out birth certificates, changing your address (this took me two years the old fashioned way), requests for European insurance cards, calculating taxes, looking up your health care reimbursements, etc. Go on the website and watch the cute little cartoons (“La Maison d’Adèle”) showing how it works. https://www.administration24h24.gouv.fr/

* Info People Suck
Sometimes the person who is supposed to be the most help is the one who knows the least. I went to the airport earlier this month to pick up something for a friend. The person I was picking it up from wasn’t coming into Paris, so he was simply going to give me the package and we would part ways. Unfortunately, the little key on the luggage lock was stuck, and finally broke off. It was 9pm. My friend needed the package (which had her factory’s prototypes for a trade show taking place the next morning), and he delivery guy couldn’t give me the whole suitcase because his things were in there, too. So we go to the Information desk to ask if they have bolt cutters. The girl just shrugged and didn’t even bother to look concerned for us. Finally, I saw three guys in airport jumpsuits and tool belts walking by. “Excuse me,” (I say in French) “Do you know where we can find bolt cutters to get this lock open?” They tell us to go back into the baggage claim area for the lost luggage office. There’s a huge sign forbidding people to go back in (for customs security), but we wander in and someone in the lost luggage office helps us right away, calling around to find out how to get the bolt cutters, or “pince monseigneur”, from the secure area to where we were (you apparently can’t just these go wandering around the airport, for obvious reasons). Less than ten minutes later and the suitcase was opened, and I was on my way back into town with the prototypes. Just goes to show for every shrugging imbecile there is at least one super-helpful and friendly person out there. Courage!

Fun Stuff to Do

* Learn to Make Your Own Chocolates
The Atelier des Chefs (with locations in the 8th, the 15th, and in both Haussmann department stores, Printemps and Galeries Lafayette) will be conducting chocolate classes for Easter (including a class on making chocolate Easter eggs!) beginning in April. These sell out quickly, so bookmark the link to be able to reserve a spot as soon as they appear on the calendar. http://www.atelierdeschefs.com

* Bundle Up if You Go to the Grand Palais!

Somehow I
only ever visited the exhibitions under the monumental glass atrium of the Grand Palais during nice weather. So I never noticed…there’s no HEAT! I guess it would be impossible to heat the immense space under the dome (and I imagine in summer it would be like an oven), but darnit they should warn people! I went to see the Egyptian treasures exhibit last month and was so cold I only stayed 15 minutes. A shame considering the tickets with reservations and audioguides comes out to €15/person. Of course, now that spring is here (!!) it’s probably no big deal. Just keep it in mind for your next visit. http://www.rmn.fr/gngp-gb/

* Free Contemporary Art Tours
The Maison Rouge (Fondation Antoine de Galbert) just off the Canal de l’Arsenal (M° Bastille) has free guided tours of their current exhibitions (the next one starts March 30 through April 22, John Menick’s “Occupation”) every Saturday and Sunday at 4pm by art students. www.lamaisonrouge.org

* Free “Rencontres” at the Opéra Bastille
Every Thursday afternoon from 1-2pm are the Opéra Bastille’s “Casse Croût Rencontres”, where you get to meet the one of the opera artists or personalities (last month was the star ballerina, for example), see a documentary projection (on March 1st is one about Susan Graham), or listen to live chamber music from the Orchestre de l’Opéra (next one is March 8). Entry is free, and the bar is open a half hour in advance so everyone can go get a snack/sandwich or other “casse-croût” to eat during the event. No reservations needed. http://www.operadeparis.fr/Saison0607/CasseCroute.asp

* How to Make an X-Wing out of Two Metro Tickets
This is so cool I just had to share it. Hubert de Lartigue’s step-by-step directions on how to make an X-Wing fighter jet out of two metro tickets – without using glue. Bilingual directions. Enjoy!

http://www.cfsl.net/?forum=viewtopic.php%3Ft%3D22455

Shopping

* Own One of the Most Famous Café Chairs in Paris

The famous St-Germain-des-Prés café Les Deux Magots is selling their iconic — numbered — chairs “ancien modèle remis en état neuf, vente à l’unité (for info call 01 45 48 33 86)” http://www.lesdeuxmagots.fr

* French Porcelain

Virebent is one of the last remaining porcelain manufacturers who produces their wares in France. They do contemporary tableware, vases, lights, decorations, and enameled ceramics. You can check out their catalog online or visit their showroom on 7 rue Bréguet, 11th. http://www.virebent.com

* Champs Elysées Shopping Map
If you really want to get some power shopping done without wasting any time (or just want to know which metro station is closest to Ladurée), then check out this new online map of the Avenue des Champs-Elysées (click on “beta version” for the moment). The links at the top of the page go to individual shops and places to eat.

http://www.champselysees.org/

* Multi-brand Designer Boutique
If you’re looking for some high-end shopping without the crowds, try the Avenue Victor Hugo in the 16th, starting at the Etoile/Arc de Triomphe end with Céline, all the way to the Place Victor Hugo. A good boutique to note is Arnaud de Malignac (46 avenue Victor Hugo), which carries a good selection of Blumarine, Dolce & Gabbana, Robert Cavalli, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and Moschino in a cozy, casual environment.

* Cheapie Car Rental

A new budget alternative to easyCar is UCAR (http://www.ucar-location.com), which has rates s low as €30/day for a compact car (100km included), less for rentals longer than a week. They also rent minivans (great for those trips to IKEA). A link to keep handy!

* Discount Luxury Shopping Online

Brand Alley (http://www.brandalley.com/) sells clothing 30%-70% off designer from Tara Jarmon, Marc Jacobs, La Perla, Lolita Lempicka, Lanvin, Dolce & Gabbana, etc.

Winaretta (http://www.winaretta.com/) specializes in high-end bags and accessories.

1 Comment

Click here to post a comment

Have something to say? Join the conversation!

  • Hello Heather,I have been reading your BLOG 4 hours in a row tonight.Meanwhile I have forgotten all my current to-do’s.It was worth it!Thank you & keep up the good work.Lex van BuurenBike-A-Round Paris.