09 July 2011

The Marilyn Monroe You've Never Seen

Exhibit on rare photos of the iconic star by Eddie Feingersh, running until October 7.

La Maison des Etats-Unis
3, rue Casssette (Metro: Saint-Sulpice)
Entree Libre

29 June 2011

Anish Kapoor's Monumenta 2011

I was dying to see this exhibit. Before I even decided if I was willing to spend my euros for Monumenta, a certain someone must have heard my thoughts and posted an ad in Freecycle that she's giving away a pass for the exhibit.

I went twice. The first try, I came almost closing time so it was too late to view the inside of the installation. I decided to come back the next day which was also the last day. I had to endure long queues for hours twice- the first line to enter Grand Palais, the other to see the interior of the installation.

It was extraordinary. One of the best exhibits I've seen in my life. Absolute goosebumps. As it was the last day there was a concert and poetry reading happening inside. It was a touching scene, as if I was in another dimension. For few minutes, I lost my sense of time and orientation.

The long queues were worth it.

14 May 2011

La Nuit des Musees 2011

This year's destination: Les Arts Decoratifs.

I took advantage of the event not only to visit the museum for the first time, but also to see Ralph Lauren's automobile collection.

Verdict: 1)The cars are sinfully beautiful! I seriously drooled. 2)Les Arts Decoratifs is officially one of my favorite museums.

Coffee samplers from Cafe San Marco

12 April 2011

Free Cone Day

April 12 marks this year's Free Cone Day. From 13h to 19h, Ben & Jerry's gave away free scoops of ice cream to thank its customers, as well as to celebrate its 33 years in the business.

I had mine in Mint Choc Chunk

10 April 2011

Fountains of Thirst

To die from thirst in Paris would never be a good excuse because those green fountains with four lovely female statues found all over the city were not built for ornamental reasons. They exist to quench thirst.

There are 108 so-called Fontaines Wallace with potable water trickling down from their domed tops. They were named after the philanthropist who donated the first fifty drinking fountains to Paris in 1872.

29 March 2011

Perks of Being Young: Free Haircut

The first ever haircut I had in France was free. I was a bum then, still very much an expert in converting peso to euro and euro to peso, like it was some kind of natural mind exercise. The friend of my ex-landlady who's a hairstylist offered to cut my hair for free, provided he would have a free-hand on cutting my hair. He told me that most of his girl clients prefer long hair and he kinda missed turning hair to short lengths and experimenting on edgy looks.

Naturally, I didn't have a problem with that. I volunteered my head freely, with all my heart and soul, not caring at all if he would murder it. In the Philippines, I often permit strangers to experiment on my hair. Most of them were students who need guinea pigs to chop or color hair. Mind you, I don't have the best hair or a beautifully-sculpted head, but I have the kindest heart to those who are in need...

...of hair.

In Paris, there are also several beauty schools who are in dire need of guinea pigs. Some of them offer cuts for free or a contribution of 5 or 10 euros. Not bad considering most haircuts for women are priced at 35 euros on the average.

If you're game and are willing to trade the future of your tresses for the future of aspiring Parisian coiffeurs/coiffeuses, consult this list for the hair academy nearest you:

Eric Stipa Centre de perfectionnement
5 euros for shampoo+cut+brushing for girls
by appointment on Mondays and Tuesdays
79 Avenue Ledru Rollin 75012
0821 23 16 15

Toni & Guy Academie
haircuts and styling for free for 18-30 year old
by appointment from Mondays-Thursdays
122 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore 75001
01 40 20 15 93

Jean-Louis Deforges
10 euros for haircut
by appointment from Tuesdays-Fridays
71 blvd. Richard-Lenoir
01 43 55 56 67

Jean Louis David
Shampoo, haircut, brushing free
5 rue Cambon 75001
01 42 97 51 71

Camille Albane
for female under 40s
39 Ave. Franklin d. Roosevelt 75008
01 43 59 31 32

Centre de Formation Jacques Dessange
for 16-45 years old
51 rue du Rocher 75008
01 44 70 08 08

Jean Claude Biguine
4.55 euros participation fee
10 rue Marbeuf 75008
01 47 23 97 23

Centre de Perfectionnement Franck Provost
All ages accepted except those with curly hair
10 euros for female, 8 euros for male
36 rue Laugier 75017
01 56 21 10 50

Centre Techniques Revlon
for 18-25 years old
26-28 rue de Paradis 75010
01 47 70 65 15

ABC Ecole de Coiffure
free for kids until 6 years old
105 blvd. Magenta 75010
01 53 20 45 50

Centre Jean-Marc Maniatis
free for female 18-25 years old
12 rue du Four 75006
01 46 34 79 83

L'oreal PRO
14 rue Royal

Ecole Internationale de Coiffure
76 rue Reaumur 75002

services from 5-30 euros
156 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis 75010
01 53 35 53 35

Espace Eugene Perma
services at 7.60 euros for under 18s
6 rue d'Athenes 75009
01 40 23 23 66

Franck de Roche Academie
free haircut on presentation of coupon
55 rue du faubourg st.-antoine 75001
01 43 46 05 00


23 March 2011

Social Security for the Freelancers

Tough life for a freelancer. It's a road less traveled thus, there's a lack of enough information on the processes, legalities and benefits on being one.

Groping my way into the French bureaucracy, I bounced like a ping pong ball until I hit bull's eye. It took me a long time though. All I wanted was a Securite Sociale number, but every time I applied for one, I would be rejected because I didn't have fiche du paie in my hands. Just invoices of my "services". It was a case nobody was able to help solve until I went to the doctor to get a prescription. She found it odd that I was already a year in France and I still didn't have my social security. So she scheduled me a meeting with a social worker who became the key to my chicken or egg dilemma. According to the social worker, I should go straight to RSI (Regime Social Independants) since I am not a salaried employee.

So I headed to RSI with high hopes of finally owning those magic security numbers. To my disappointment (I almost cried), I once again hit another wall. The receptionist was looking for my freelance registration papers, which of course I didn't have at that time because I didn't know how/where/when to do it. For more than a year, I was living in ignorance. Apparently you have to first register before you start doing your activities as a freelance or entrepreneur.

With a little bit of research, I discovered Auto-Entrepreneur and the processes on how to become one. Arrows pointed me to Chambre de Commerce and so I went. Another wall. But fortunately it was the last wall before I was officially registered in my profession. Under the nature of my activities, I rightly belong under the umbrella of Chambre de Metiers et de l'Artisanat de Paris. I could actually register online as an Auto-Entrepreneur, but I prefer human contact as I had lots of questions.

To register as an Auto-Entrepreneur, you can either fill up the registration forms in the AE website or in person at the relevant Centre de Formalities de Enterprises, along with a copy of your carte de sejour. Few days after, you will receive a recepisse of your registration. Afterwards, a mail from INSEE with your SIREN and SIRET, as well as mail from Ministere du Budget des Comptes Publics de la Fonction Publique et de la Reforme de L'etat.

With these 3 mails filling up my letterbox, my days as a bubble were over and so I braved RSI once again and applied for my securite sociale.

To register in RSI you'd need the following:
-Carte de Sejour
-INSEE copy
-copy of your Auto-Entrepreneur application form

For further reading on the subject of Auto-entrepreneur:

20 March 2011

Sahaja Yoga

In this really chaotic world, a taste of peace is sometimes quite pricey. So when one discovers that in an expensive city like Paris, yoga courses are offered for free, it's a little bit like err... nirvana.

Sahaja Yoga, through its volunteers, teaches the secrets on how to achieve inner peace. Don't expect the trendy stretching yoga exercises though as meditation is the core of the courses.

There are two centers in Paris offering meditation courses in French as well as in English. Sahaja Yoga also has centers outside of Paris.

Monday 19h30-21h (in French for students)
Tuesdays 14h-18h/19h30-21h (French)
Wednesdays 19h30-21h (French)
Fridays 18h30-20h (English)
Saturdays 14h30-16h (French)
Espace Fontanelle
38, rue Fondary
75015 Paris (Metro: Emile Zola)

Tuesdays 19h-20h30 (Introductory course in French)
21, rue Cave
75018 Paris (Metro: Chateau Rouge)

Free FLE Classes in 18eme

If you live in 18eme or Saint-Ouen, you will discover that Le Centre d'Animation Binet is a good place to sharpen your oral and written French. The center offers Cours de Francais Langue Etrangere (FLE) free of charge, without compromising on the quality of teaching.

With my classmates and Catherine on a guided tour of Montmartre

Classes for beginners are on Tuesdays, while the advanced classes are on Thursdays and Fridays, 9h-12h/ 14h-16h.

Le Centre d'Animation Binet
66, rue Rene Binet
75018 Paris
01 42 55 69 74

If you don't live in the 18th or Saint-Ouen, consult this guide for other organizations offering FLE courses for very minimal fees.

Rue Muller by Nescafe

From March 10-20, Nescafe transforms the house of artist/comedian Nicolas Ullmann into a house of fun and relaxation. Pairing free cups of coffee with the perfect coffee experience that one would perhaps never forget. Right in the heart of 6 rue Muller, workshops, projections and concerts are happening and beautiful people are chatting and getting a good dose of caffeine.

KaraRocké with Nicolas Hullman