Monthly Archives: February 2012

My Gay Paris: New Photography Exhibition at the Jeu de Paume

Paris’ place at the centre of the art world hardly needs any introduction, and we’re certainly going to remind you that the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and the Centre Pompidou (to put them in chronological order) are all worth a visit if you’re a first time visitor to Paris.  If you needed another excuse, all three are within easy reach of the Marais (especially the last).

Checkered Past

But if photography is your thing, rather than painting and sculpture, then you might prefer the Jeu de Paume, a gallery with an interesting past in the north-west corner of the Jardin des Tuilieries. Originally opened in 1861 to house real tennis courts (the game is called ‘jeu de paume’ in French, hence the name), it became home to art works stolen from Jewish owners during the German occupation of Paris in the Second World War. After the war, it showcased some of France’s finest impressionist paintings, which subsequently became the backbone of the Musée d’Orsay’s collection across the river.

Retrospectives

Now, though, it specialises in photography, usually offering retrospectives to two or three individual photographers per year, as well as a more varied programme in a series of smaller galleries.

Last year’s Diane Arbus retrospective at the Jeu de Paume photography gallery was a sell-out success, with her black-and-white photos of some of the darker, seedier elements of 1950s and 1960s Americana seeming strangely out of place in the middle of the Tuileries.

Diane Arbus Child with a toy hand grenade in Central Park, N.Y.C. 1962It seems the curators are keen to repeat their success with their latest retrospective, which covers work by Berenice Abbott, another female American photographer. Born in 1898, Abbott came to Paris to learn her trade in the 1920s, shooting alongside Man Ray before becoming a successful portrait photographer.

Some of her best-known work, however, is found in the ‘Changing New York’ series, a collection commissioned as part of Roosevelt’s New Deal programme. If some of the photos seem familiar, that’s partly because they’ve achieved iconic status in their own right, but also because they are as fresh a look at New York City as they were eighty years ago. And as with Arbus, seeing these very American photographs in the centre of Paris makes for an arresting contrast.

WHAT: ‘Berenice Abbott (1898-1991), Photographs’ temporary exhibition
WHERE: Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, 1, place de la Concorde, métro Concorde
WHEN: until 29 April 2012 (other exhibitions to follow)

My Gay Paris: Our Date with a French Chef

A cookery class makes a great gift because everybody who takes part not only learns something but also has a chance to meet new people.  We tried the Les diners d’Eloïse here in Paris a few weeks ago and here’s our review.

The Location

The class takes place at 8, rue de Valois, a great location in the very heart of Paris, just a few minutes from the Louvre and a couple of minutes’ walk from rue Saint-Honoré.

The teaching kitchen is huge, especially when there aren’t many people—there were only 18 of us—and is absolutely gorgeous.   The team also hire it out for events.

The Lesson

Our chef was called Thomas, and after introducing everybody, he kitted us out with disposable aprons and chefs’ hats—not the sexiest outfit ever!

Our menu was based around spices, and involved three different dishes: a starter of salmon tartare with garam masala, pineapple and a dill sauce; a main course of duck roasted with honey and spices alongside fried mushrooms and coriander and a dessert of chocolate mousse with Tonka beans and roast figs.

We were divided into two groups.  The chef demonstrated what we needed to do, before everybody returned to their own station to repeat his actions, with varying degrees of succes.  We used the same pattern all evening.

There was a great atmosphere, and everybody got along well with the other students.  Despite, or because of, our various mistakes, everybody ended up laughing and talking together.

To make sure nobody was left out, we wrote our names on our chef’s hats (which is about the only thing they were were good for!)

Given how much fun everybody was having, nobody had any problem with the chef giving the slowest tables forfeits, like chopping the onions.

Once everything was ready, we sat down to enjoy the fruits of our labour!

Alternatively …

The company diners d’Eloïse also runs an at-home catering service.  You can reserve a chef who will come to your apartment and cook for you.

He’ll bring all the ingredients he needs, as well as wine to suit each course.

If you’re motivated, you can help, but otherwise he’ll get on with it and serve your meal when you’re finished.  And when your personal chef leaves, the kitchen will be as tidy as when he started.

The main advantage of this approach is that you can choose exactly what you want to eat.

Our Verdict

We thought the class was a great way to learn the basics, like how to choose the right ingredients and prepare them to make a delicious meal for our friends or that special someone.

We also had a chance to meet some interesting new people, and some of us even picked up a few numbers …

My Gay Paris : A new french gay idol, the model Kevin

 A new model has become a gay icon after the campaign of Absolu Living.  Absolu Living is the leading provider of gay accommodation in Paris and Nice, and is a company proud to serve gay men, lesbians and their friends.

The campaign features a sexy Kevin model posing in various locations one of their apartments.

We talk about him on the web

The photographer is Franck Mijales.  Several media or blog talk of Kevin as the site of daily Homorazzi or Manhunt Daily  or Boy Culture.
We are sure that new projects will present this to him as a result of these sexy photos.

My Gay Paris: Fast, Free HIV Testing In The City

When you’re planning a visit to a romantic city like Paris, we’re sure HIV is the last thing on your mind. But if you’re visiting the Marais, chances are you’re here to go out and have a few drinks, which can of course sometimes leave you doing something that you worry about the next morning.

There are plenty of other places online offering tips to help keep your sex life safe (and sexy, for that matter), but we do like to tell you what’s on offer in Paris. And sometimes that can mean you want to get a HIV test—without waiting around.

If you’re a visitor from out of town, you likely won’t have your own doctor here in Paris, or time to visit a clinic for a test, where the results can take up to a week to arrive.

Luckily, though, there are two locations close to the centre of the Marais where you can get tested at the weekend, and have the results in just half an hour.

Checkpoint

The first is a specialist centre called ‘Checkpoint’ just a few minutes’ walk from the Marais, open to men who have sex with men aged at least 18 (that should cover most people reading this blog!). On Tuesdays and Thursdays you need to make an appointment (by calling ahead of time, so you’ll need some French), but on Mondsays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, you can show up whenever you like. Staffed by a specialist team, you’ll need to give a drop of blood and then wait thirty minutes to receive the results as well as personal advice based on the outcome of your test.

WHAT: Checkpoint HIV Testing Centre
WHERE: 36, rue Geoffroy l’Asnier — métro : Saint Paul
WHEN: Mondays 8 am to 12:30 pm, Wednesdays 1 pm to 10 pm and Fridays and Saturdays 12 noon to 6 pm; by appointment Tuesdays and Thursdays

Figuier Testing Centre

This is one of a network of free, anonymous HIV testing centres run by the City of Paris, with other branches found around the city. It’s open six days a week for appointments, but even then, you don’t need to give a name if you’d prefer to remain anonymous. If even that is too much hassle, then you can show up in the afternoons, but be warned, it can get busy.

WHAT: Figuier HIV Testing Centre
WHERE: 2, rue du Figuier — métro : Saint Paul
WHEN: from Monday to Friday, from 1:30 pm to 6:30 pm; by appointment at other times

For more info about both centres, including contact details, you can read this page on gay blog VeryFriendly.fr (in French).

My Gay Paris: Paris Goes Crazy For Designer Burgers, Part 1

Despite its German origins, the hamburger is a fundamentally American meal. Indeed, a simple beef patty slung between two pieces of bread and served with a generous helping of fries is one of the most quintessentially American dishes you can get, and French tourists generally can’t wait to try the real deal when they visit.

Of course, opinions vary as to whether including cheese, bacon, or salad or any one of a number of other extras adds to or detracts from the overall effect, but it’s a simple, down-to-earth comfort food that is now loved by fans the world over.

It might not fit with the idea of classic French haute cuisine, but burgers are popular here too. In fact, they always have been: the presence of pricier, classier alternatives, only seems to drive the French ever more willing to indulge their junk-food cravings with a Big Mac.

Labour of Love

A new type of burger craze is sweeping the capital, though. A handful of high-end restaurants have sprung up in Paris offering a much classier type of burger. These aren’t thrown together production line affairs, but a real labour of love, often made by chefs who manage to combine their love for the American burger with French savoir-faire and the best local ingredients.

Over the past few months, a couple of new joints have opened up offering (almost) nothing but ‘designer’ burgers, while other restaurants, keen to keep up with the trend, have also added burgers to their menu. There are so many places you can try a quality burger that a recent article by French newspaper Le Figaro covered the trend their list of favourites ran to a dozen venues.

Here are a couple of our favourites you can try:

Le Camion Qui Fume — various locations

Not a restaurant per se, but a New York-style food truck, with burgers costing around 8€. You’ll need to look online to find out where it’s stopping, but it makes regular visits both to the place de la Madeleine and outside the Point Ephémère, one of our favourite places to drink and dance in the city.

Blend – 44, rue d’Argout

Not too far from the Marais, the chefs here aren’t afraid to straying off the beaten track with some recipes, adding spinach to their burgers, making their own ketchup or offering fries made with sweet potatoes.

Le Floréal — 150, avenue Parmentier

This place doesn’t just do burgers, it’s also a lively bistrot and trendy bar where the neighbourhood’s coolest cats come to see and be seen. The end of the bar extends beyond the front door leaving a mini streetside terrace that is absolutely heaving in the summer. You’ll probably want to enjoy your burger a table inside!