VIP Girls Night at the Races!

Champagne and Petit Fours at the track I got invited to a fun VIP treatment soirée at the racetrack at the Vincennes Hippodrome recently, and so I thought I’d make a girls-night-out of it and brought along my best friend. And we had a ball!

An Evening At The Races from Prete Moi Paris on Vimeo.

It was a Tuesday night, and Tuesday nights are not typically packed with excitement… so this was a welcome spark to the week topped off with an AMAZING sunset (the sun had been somewhat of a rare thing this Spring).

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Priceless Paris & Roland Garros

I was invited recently to experience “Priceless Paris” with Mastercard‘s new concept (I was invited through Happy Curious) to the Roland Garros tennis stadium for the annual French tournament (what the Anglophones call the French Open). I have NEVER been to a tennis match, nor am I a huge sports fan. I like sports when “my” team is winning the finals, or when it’s the Olympics. But it’s not every day I get invited to major world sporting events and the Roland Garros tournament is quite prestigious, so I thought I better go! Continue reading

Coupe d’été : Row Boat Regatta n° II

The second annual Row Boat Regatta hosted by Prête-Moi Paris almost didn’t happen.

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Originally scheduled for June 18th, I began scrutinizing the weather forecasts a week and a half before that date. None of them looked positive. Thundershowers. Not good weather to paddle around on the lake under! The day before, the weather forecast was so disheartening that I canceled the regatta and rescheduled. When I woke the next morning and looked out the window I saw bright sun streaming through the clouds. I shook my fist and cursed the sky to pour down rain. It did eventually that afternoon, in violent bursts with strong gusts of wind, so I felt quite validated in canceling the regatta.

The rain date came around and the same anxiety over the weather came over my head like a little pooh-bear rain cloud the week before. And some weather reports predicted rain, others did not. I said to hell with it, I’ll be there rain or shine! And if no one else shows up, I’ll have a bottle of rosé champagne to pop and I will serve myself glass after glass of champagne in a rain filled row boat if I have to! (Very dramatic, I know… It’s all part of the rough life I live as an expat blogger in Paris). 😉

Well the day came and the contestants showed. A small crowd of ten, we  claimed our picnic spot on the island, and the rowers set about figuring out how to man the oars. Sab, from the meet up group Paris if You Please who helped me organize the event, came with his lovely wife and adorably squish-able son. Other contestants, Satyam and Linda tried the strategy of let the others drink a few glasses of wine first in order to gain advantage over what they hoped would be some pretty swerving rowing… Steve’s strategy was to have a past career as a professional rower, that helps a lot. Estela and Sly played it cool and cute, pretending they were there only for the romantic aspect (being the newly weds that they are). In the end Steve’s boat won and they shared their champagne all around!

And not a drop of rain fell the entire time!!!

Cheers to all who joined in the fun and see you next year!

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Bouges tes fesses!

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Move your behind!

The ministry of health wants to get the French moving.

France has been preoccupied lately about the rising national weight and a depreciation in people’s general health from lack of exercise and unhealthy diets. So they have launched a campaign to convince people to move their derrières a little more often. A healthier population means less funding poured into the health department, n’est-ce pas? Yes!

But….

I feel their campaign is slightly flawed, or if not flawed, it is slightly unrealistic for a couple reasons.

BUT FIRST let’s see what the ministry of public health has to say about health, weight and physical activity norms:

A study,  on physical and sedentary activity, by Anne Vuillemin, Hélène Escalon, Claire Bossard, published in the Baromètre Santé 2008 by inpes (institution national de prévention et d’éducation pour la santé) finds that “Out of the totality of the subjects aged 12-75 years old who were questioned for the study by telephone, 62.6% of these individuals are a normal weight, 28.3% are overweight and 9.1% are obese *17 (*17. The norms of the International Obsesity Task force (IOTF) were used for people aged 12 to 17). In the 15-75 age group, the distribution of physical activity according to the context varies in function of body size” …

“In the 15-75 age group, 49,3%  feel their weight is normal, 44,5% estimate themselves to be overweight and 6.2% feel they are too thin. But the level of physical activity doesn’t appear to be significantly different according to ones body image. Even if the differences are not large, the amount of time spent doing a physical activity tends to be higher for people who find they are of a normal weight (149 minutes per day) than for those who who see themselves as too thin or too fat, these people declaring an equivalent amount (130 minutes per day).”

“Physical activity in the workplace is the most common source of activity, but this percentage passes from 43.5% for individuals who have a normal body size, to 50% to people who are overweight and 54.3% for people who are obese. People who are obese tend to claim less physical activity in their leisure time (14.8%) and more physical activity linked to commuting and getting around (30.9%). Indeed, for subjects of the study with a normal body size, leisure and commuting represent around 28% of their total physical activity. These proportions are respectively 23.5% and 26.5% for individuals who are overweight.”

NEXT let’s examine their campaign posters and signs :

These signs are scattered around town, and I have to admit that when I first saw them, I assumed they were to help out the tourists (although for tourists they can be mighty helpful!) there are in fact to get people to walk more often. This is, in my opinion the most practical and realistic part of the campaign. But mostly for it’s orientation help. But I do admit, if I had to chose between a stuffy, stressful 2 minute bus ride, and a brisk 10 minute walk, I’d probably opt for the walk (unless I was late of course, which many Parisians often are). 😉

These posters (at the top of the post & below) that can be seen around town are a little more far fetched (pun intended) in my opinion, and here are the reasons why I find this campaign, although well-intentioned, somewhat unrealistic for the general population :

According to this image, all of this person’s habitual activities are within walking distance that is less than a half hour. Most people don’t live that close to walk to work or school in 10-20 minutes. SOME people live that close on the metro, but a large majority of people have an average 30-45 minute commute by public transportation, which could easily translate into 1-2 hours of walking.

As far as the market is concerned, yes there are many withing a few minutes by foot, but with rising food costs, more and more people are forced to go farther from home to find the less expensive large supermarkets.

Friends’ homes and cafés may certainly be found in your own neighborhood and thus withing a few minutes walking, but mpst people, at least the Parisians, that I know have a much longer commute time in transportation, than this poster says by foot.

In oder for this concept to be more realistic and adaptable, central housing in city centers needs to be more affordable for the general public, if we want the general public to lose weight and be more active. The neighborhood commerces “commerces de proximité” also need to be more affordable; for Paris this isn’t too much of a problem for many neighborhoods, but there many mini-marts that open up where the local specialty food shops were (the fish monger, the butcher, the cheese shop) and major market chains are gobbling up the food business… The major market chains certainly have low prices and great ad campaigns to get shoppers in their doors, but the disappearing specialty stores promote a more balanced style of eating, shopping, cooking, and interacting with the community. The rise in supermarkets also gives rise in consumption of pre-packeged, industrial foods, that help augment the problems of obesity and poor eating habits.

So, you would think that this “bouger 30 minutes par jour” campaign would be effective in aiding the national weight and health issues, it may be feasible for a SMALL percentage of the population, and may raise awareness on how much exercise individuals get but as far as effectiveness, but well, we’ll have to let the campaign run it’s course (hahaha) to see how well it helps lower the country’s cholesteral levels.
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En attendant Chéri – Waiting for Chéri

When chéri-amour (sweetie-pie) is coming home from several days away on business what does any self defined parisienne, do in anticipation?

1. Clean house…okay fine but the ironing can wait.
2. é-pi-la-tion… in other words undergo the torturous ritual of tearing the small hairs off of one’s legs. Oh joy. But the smooth skin après is a temptation tool with incredible powers!
3. That old golden rule that our grandmothers told is is still true…the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. A little love-cake baking is in order.
4. Determined not to be defined only as a maid, temptress and fée de cuisine… the parisienne heads out to see an art expo that not only is quite interesting to her and at the top of her to-do list, but can add a little more to her conversation. She doesn’t want to bore chéri with a recount of the socks that have missing pairs. Not that she actually counted them herself while doing the laundry. Really! She didn’t. I promise.
5. Pilates class… to um stay in shape… Oh and it helps maintain a nice level of flexibility! Which is good for… for…, for many things. (Address shared by the always perfectly shaped, Dita Von Tease, in Vogue août 2010).

And then finally at 9:30pm he arrives and the parisienne is in an exhausted slumber on the couch, spent from too much anticipation! Good thing it’s Sunday tomorrow!

Les fous du Zumba – Zumba crazies!

It’s like an exercise class turned dance party! And people are nuts for it!

Set to latin and international music, zumba, as one friend put it, makes your body think it’s getting a work-out, but your brain thinks it’s getting a dance class. Oh yeah!!!

It’s wild it’s crazy, and it’s a lot of fun. People laugh and yell and smile their way through a zumba session. And the zumba craze is sweeping the nation. Everybody is raving about how fun it is and how great you feel after! Plus, you burn some major calories.

Even if you don’t have a lot of coordination, you can still take a zumba class. Your moves may not be as fabulous as the teacher’s, but no one is paying attention to your silly, unpracticed hip roll; they are all having a great time dancing themselves.

I personally prefer classes where there is less influence on the hip hop moves and music, but some like that. I like it spicy and very hot, hot, hot! I even had a little sample with a teacher that gave a Fosse-show-tunes feel…now THAT I loved!

But a good zumba teacher just has an extremely high amount of energy, and a huge contagious smile.

If you are in Paris and want to try it for free, Paris Plage is hosting a zumba session on Monday evenings, until Paris Plage is over (Aug. 20th). Below the Pont Sully, from 6pm to 9pm.

If you aren’t in Paris for Paris Plage, try it for a 10€ trial class at the Academie Internationale de Danse

Go have fun and zumba your self into better shape!

On se ‘foot’ du monde = Talk to the hand!

November 18th, France and Ireland duked it out in a soccer match for the qualifying games of the World Cup. In overtime, the two teams were head to head, and the next score would call the winner. As France took possesion of the ball and moved in for the goal, Thierry Henry’s hand is seen on video handling the ball helping keeping it in play and is able to pass it on for the the winning goal. I have imbedded a youtube video that points it out clearly. The handling is obvious and the goal should not have been validated, but the referee seemed to ignore the foul-play. Henry has since been dubbed by the Irish, “Le Cheat” and his action called the “Hand of the frog”.


But wait…
Thierry Henry has come out and publicly stated on Friday, that he believes a rematch would be the most fair thing to do. Except that decision is not up to him. He also said
“Naturally I am uncomfortable with the way that we won the match and I am deeply sorry for the Irish team who truly merits to be in South Africa” (South Africa being the next qualifying game).
This sounds quite noble of the French soccer star.
But the FIFA (France’s football federation) has so far refused a replay that has been requested by Ireland and encouraged by Henry. French politicians have even chimed in, and a rematch doesn’t seem so likely. What are French politicians doing preoccupying themselves with the sport anyway?

Veuillez installer Flash Player pour lire la vidéo

Sounds like somebody’s got their hand in someone else’s pockets.

There is no more grace in sports.