April 7, 2014

Adventures of the Place de la Concorde Obelisk

The Luxor Obelisk at Place de la Concorde
You can't miss it. The Luxor obelisk rises 75 feet from the center of the Place de la Concorde in Paris, taller than anything in the neighborhood.
I have passed this gold-tipped monolith a thousand times, on its little island in the middle of frenzied Paris traffic.
I noted it as one of those odd Paris monuments—a bit discordant with its surroundings, but somehow fitting in—like the Louvre Pyramid; the too colorful, externally piped Pompidou Center; and the mother of them all, the Eiffel Tower.
Though I formed fleeting impressions of the obelisk, I never really stopped or studied. Just how did a 250-ton piece of granite make its way to Paris using the tools available in the early 19th century?
The story unfolds like an epic adventure film. Read on ...

Story by Meredith Mullins with permission of OIC Moments.

March 31, 2014

An Easy Way to Satisfy Your Cravings

There can be many reasons why people decide to leave their home countries and make the move to France, with work, lifestyle or simply to get away to start a new life being just a few of them.   Since day to day life in France can be very different, there’s always a transition period where people have to adapt to their new lifestyle.  Not surprisingly, food often plays a big part in how at home someone feels.  

WICE staff member, Joyce Rubin, shares a similar sentiment:  "As exciting as it is living in a foreign city, there are certain American and English foods that I miss and want to eat all the time. Like pancakes, buffalo wings, cheese covered potato wedges, Indian curries from England, etc. I think this miss/crave of a culture is something that is part of you that will never change so it is important to find how to overcome these misses/cravings when they are not easily accessible."

Some people, especially fussy eaters, find it particularly difficult to adapt to living in a different country without their favorite foods from back home.  Fortunately France has an abundance of exquisite delicious foods, so adopting French foods as your own is usually not a difficult task. 

However, old eating habits are hard to break and regardless of the endless supply of mouth-watering buttered croissants, sometimes you just have to have your old faithfuls from back home.   To satisfy these cravings, some people resort to traveling mules to fill their luggage with grocery list goodies.  Visiting family and friends wind up not having enough space for their own clothes, as cupcake frosting and favorite salad dressings weigh bags to their 23 kilo limit.  

But there’s got to be an easier way.  

March 23, 2014

Help Wanted: Feathermaster at the Lido

The best feathers in Paris are at The Lido
© Meredith Mullins
When I first learned that there was a Feathermaster at the Lido, I admit to rolling my eyes a bit. However, when I toured backstage and saw nearly 600 costumes for the current show, most of which had feathers, there was no further doubt. 

Of course, there needs to be a full-time feathermaster. Why would there not be?

If you've ever wanted to know more about being a Feathermaster (who hasn't?), read on …

Post by Meredith Mullins, with permission of OIC Moments.

March 13, 2014

WICE Visual Arts: Spotlight on Alastair Arthur

WICE presents its Up Close and Personal series to give you an insider view of the fascinating members and staff who make up this remarkable association.  This week's focus is on Alastair Arthur, WICE's coordinator for its Film courses and events. 

photography film classes paris
Alastair Arthur

Why did you move to Paris and what do you do here?

paris photography film classes
photo by Alastair Arthur
My wife was initially on a short-term assignment in Paris while I continued to live and work in England. When her company wanted to extend her assignment significantly we decided to accept and move to Paris long-term. It seemed too good an opportunity to turn down!
I run my own photography business www.alastairarthur.com, offering portrait sessions for families, couples and individuals in Paris and the UK. I also coordinate the film courses for WICE as part of the Visual Arts team, and I'm a trustee with Unseen, an amazing anti-human-trafficking charity that started in my hometown of Bristol.

February 12, 2014

Behind the Seams of French Lingerie

Image copyright 
Marie-Pascale Mayette 
With Valentine's Day approaching, chocolates, flowers, and lingerie are getting a lot of attention.  Most of us can describe all of the types of flowers we like, and our favorite kinds of chocolates, but how much do we know about lingerie?   Luckily for us, Kate Kemp-Griffin, Associate Editor, France, for The Lingerie Journal has arranged for an exclusive tour of the ins and outs of the world of lingerie, where you will have the privilege of meeting the Creative Directors of two leading French lingerie brands.  On this tour, you will be sure to learn just what it is that makes French lingerie so special.

The Paris Lingerie Tour - Behind the Seams of French Lingerie -  March 4th, 2014
Image courtesy of
This amazing tour starts at the luxury Bon Marché department store in the 7th arrondissement, whose impressive lingerie collections will leave you marveling at all of the variety of the different designers.  See the differences in quality, styles, fabrics, and designers' specialties, as you admire the diverse brands.   You will also be treated to the incredible experience of having the Creative Director, of the designer brand Simone Pérèle, present the Spring 2014 collection.  Simone Pérèle’s collections have a tradition of elegance and design details that the Creative Director will shed light on.  Imagine getting to ask questions to the person who’s creating the lingerie style trends that will ultimately wind up in your boudoir!

January 28, 2014

Money Matters for Women

Already the first month of 2014 has passed us by.  How many of you are still sticking to your plans and resolutions for this new year?  If you're like most people, money-related goals probably figure pretty high on your list of things to accomplish in 2014.  Unfortunately for some people, getting their finances in order and planning for the future can be a challenge.  Add the complexities of living abroad and having to navigate financial systems and tax laws of different countries and you've got a daunting task to accomplish.  To help clarify and facilitate successful financial planning for both personal and professional endeavors, WICE is presenting for the fourth time, its popular Money Matters for Women seminar, on Saturday, February 8th, 2014. 

The Money Matters for Women seminar has valuable information for everybody, regardless of your current financial situation.    The diverse speaker topics will inform and empower you to be able to make the right decisions to take control and achieve your goals of financial stability and prosperity.   And even if you've already mastered managing your finances and are a sophisticated investor, you can come and learn about the new changes in financial and tax laws (such as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act for Americans residing in France -FATCA) and how they can affect your financial future. 

January 20, 2014

Exclusive Tour of the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées

Back by popular demand, WICE is again offering an exclusive opportunity to visit the beautiful Art Deco Théâtre des Champs-Elysées – prestigious home of the Orchestre National de France.  Built in 1913, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées’ understated façade hides the artistically stunning interior.  On this guided tour, you will go behind the scenes to learn about the illustrative history of this theater – including why it’s not actually located on the Champs-Elysées - as well as admire all of its artistic adornments.  The design by the Perret brothers, artwork by Maurice Denis, Antoine Bourdelle, and Edouard Vuillard, and lights by René Lalique all work together to create a harmonious theater of beauty.