Website Connects Parisian Cooks and Diners

Image: Super Marmite

The New York Times: Globespotters, 29/04/2011

In a city famous for its cuisine, it can sometimes be difficult to find a decent meal in Paris with a price that’s easy to stomach. Olivier Desmoulin, a co-creator of Super Marmite, is trying to make it a little easier, via the magic of crowd-sourcing and GPS.

Super Marmite is a Web site that invites budding chefs to share the contents of their marmites (French for cooking pot) with their hungry neighbors. Users list the culinary treat they’re preparing that night, set a price (usually 3 to 8 euros, about $5 to $11) and arrange where to pick it up, or invite guests to eat with them.

In a few months the site has grown rapidly in popularity among locals, as well as visitors keen to meet and eat with some real Parisians. Continue reading “Website Connects Parisian Cooks and Diners”

Two Kentridge Shows Come to Paris

Image: John Hodgkiss; courtesy of William Kentridge

The New York Times: Globespotters, 10/08/2010

“The past is never dead,” wrote William Faulkner, “it is not even past.” At “William Kentridge — Five Themes,” which runs until Sept. 5 at the Jeu de Paume in Paris, the past is a constant and ambiguous presence. Arriving in Paris after a well-received run at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the exhibition is a brief overview of the South African artist’s career, featuring 40 works completed in a variety of mediums — animated films, drawings, prints and models.

At the museum (1, place de la Concorde; 33-1-47-03-12-50; jeudepaume.org), the exhibition unfolds chronologically, an ironic if welcome hint of structure amid the temporal uncertainty of the work. Early pieces feature fictional characters and are marked by a political tone, while in recent work, like Mr. Kentridge’s production of the Shostakovich opera “The Nose,” there’s a lighter approach, with the focus switching to the artist and the creative process itself. Continue reading “Two Kentridge Shows Come to Paris”

Biking the Nostalgic Way in Paris

Image: Aidan Mac Guill

The New York Times: Globespotters, 29/07/2010

The French love to cycle, and something in the Parisian psyche in particular is drawn to the elegant design and liberating spirit of the bicycle. Two college friends, Hugo Badia and Eddy Delgado, have turned this love into a thriving business.

Mr. Badia and Mr. Delgado travel the French countryside in search of unwanted, unusual bicycles. Back in their shop, Vélo Vintage (58 rue du Ruisseau; 33-6-13-13-42-27; velo-vintage.com) in the 18th Arrondissement, they fully recondition them. Painted in striking colors and given names like “Arcade,” “Cambridge” and “La Perle,” the bikes are available for between 80 and 250 euros (about $100 to $315, at $1.25 to the euro). It’s cheap compared with  prices for new bikes in Paris — a top-of-the-line set of wheels might set you back upwards of 1,000 euros — but the two still turn a healthy profit each month.

The pair first started the project as a hobby in college. Working out of their apartment their initial clients were friends, but demand quickly began to outstrip supply. “It started with two bikes, then 10, then 20,” Mr. Badia recalled. “We decided we needed to find a shop.” Continue reading “Biking the Nostalgic Way in Paris”