France, Day 7: Paris

We filmed one of the most amaz­ing sub­jects today. Our top­ics have been exact­ly the things I’d want to expe­ri­ence if I was in a new city. I’ve only been here a week, but it feels more like a month cause I’ve seen and done so much.

Paris is such a cos­mopoli­tan city. Every region of France has their own spe­cial­ty — whether it’s a cheese, wine, fruit, or pas­try — but Paris has them all. The more I get to know it, the more it reminds me of Hong Kong: dirty1, busy, small, crowd­ed, old, loud, and absolute­ly charm­ing.

apple chausson

Apple chaus­son, a spe­cial­ty of the bak­ery, made with half a fresh apple baked inside instead of apple­sauce which is what most bak­eries do.

escargot pastries

Escargot” pas­tries. The green is choco­late pis­tache (crème pâtis­sière à la pis­tache et pépites de choco­lat sur pâte à croissant…I watched as a bit of wine was poured into the bat­ter, and you can real­ly taste it in this one), yel­lo is cit­ron nougat (crème pâtis­sière cit­ron­née et éclats de nougat de Montélimar sur pâte à crois­sant), and pink is aux pra­lines (crème pâtis­sière, aman­des caramélisées — my favourite and a spe­cial­ty of Lyon).

The shoot­ing sched­ule can be some­what gru­el­ing when com­bined with the oppres­sive­ness of the heat. Every day I come back to the hotel exhaust­ed, rarely with a chance to catch up on sleep, but I keep push­ing on. It’s amaz­ing what our bod­ies can do when we sim­ply don’t have time to be tired.

smoke break

Seems like there’s some­one tak­ing a smoke break on every cor­ner. The bicy­cles are part of a pub­lic sys­tem run by the city, where they can be rent­ed by hour or by day, but the first half hour is free if you return it with­in that time.

auvergne pie

Pàté de pomme de terre from Auvergne, stuffed with gar­lic pota­to slices, crème fraîche, and chives.

feeding ducks

This woman fran­ti­cal­ly ripped her bread and threw it for the ducks as if the two young men watch­ing were about to mug her.


Bobun: mélange chaud-froid de salade, men­the, soja, vir­mi­celles de riz, bœf sauté aux oignons, le tout arrosé de la sauce mai­son. My first time try­ing Cambodian food (and man was it deli­cious). Similar to pho, and very light.

For the last half of my stay, Karin booked me a room at Paris-Oasis, as she want­ed me to expe­ri­ence a com­fort­able life in a real Parisian home. It’s more of a guest house than a hotel, as each room is unique (and there are only five), con­vert­ed from a block of apart­ments in Montparnasse. There’s a love­ly court­yard, and my room has it’s own fridge (with com­pli­men­ta­ry drinks, even a beer), espres­so mak­er, ket­tle, an HDTV with a few hun­dred chan­nels, and a lit­tle dish full of can­dy on my desk. Perhaps one of the best parts is that it’s on the ground floor; I’ve climbed more stairs since I’ve been here than in the last year, as ele­va­tors are too bulky here and the build­ings too old.

It takes a set of two keys and two codes to get into my room from the out­side.

Paris Oasis - Ersi room

I don’t want to say “inspired by” Mondrian as much as “ripped-off”. The bed is adjustable by remote con­trol and I was more impressed by this than I should have been.

Paris Oasis - Ersi bathroom

I love this sink! It’s so huge and deep. Also, because the stand­ing water lev­el is so low in the toi­let, every bath­room has a toi­let brush.

  1. There’s dog shit on almost every side­walk, and men both young and old have no prob­lem pulling their pants down and pee­ing on the side of the street. []


  1. Public pee­ing?! Good lord that’s nasty. And dog shit on the side­walk… *sigh* Irresponsible dog own­ers.

    I love the room! Seems very cozy. I espe­cial­ly like the wall col­or in the bath­room.

  2. I always love the way the pas­tries look, but apples… hm… I don’t know.… the pin­wheely ones look awe­some!

    Bun (the rice noo­dle sal­ad) is Vietnamese, actu­al­ly, as far as I know. It’s a sta­ple for me!

    My hus­band was just recent­ly com­plain­ing why Europeans always use ultra mod­ern plain fur­nish­ings (like the Mondrian chair and wall there), when they have such great, rich old archi­tec­ture on the out­sides. Did the peo­ple you were with seem to crave moder­ni­ty?

    This all makes me want to flee back there.…

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