Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Music: Free Jazz in the Marais - Paris

The Cave Du 38Riv is a great underground jazz club in the Marais, right on the rue de Rivoli and near the Hotel de Ville.

On Monday nights at 8:30pm, check out the free "Jam Sessions" with all sorts of accomplished musicians. Last night there were instruments ranging from the trombone, to the clarinet, flute, piano, base, guitar, French horn, drums, even an accordion player and a man who could make sounds like a trumpet simply using his lips!

It is an informal atmosphere, with various musicians standing up and taking turns playing the main melody, or matching off against each other, note for note in a friendly sort of competition, as we saw last night between two talented clarinet players. It is incredible to see these people who are obviously so passionate about music, just hear a note and a beat, and just start to improvise into incredible music. This is what Jazz is meant to be - full of energy and alive, rather than what can often be something slick, pre-determined and lacking soul (seemingly made with no other purpose than to be played in the background of Starbucks!) Here you will find nothing but the authentic, and it will make you feel like times before that you have only read about.

Grab a drink in the back (€4 for a glass of wine, €5 baguette sandwiches looked tasty if you are hungry), find a seat and enjoy! There are also jazz concerts at the venue (check out the website for the schedule), as well as Acoustic Jam Sessions on Thursdays, 8:30pm. A new category of Jam Sessions is set to open up for Friday nights at 10:30pm as well. So, you have many choices to be entertained musically!
Stephanie Swinton How to be Fabulous
Stephanie Swinton How to be Fabulous
Cave du 38 Riv'
38 rue de Rivoli, 75004 Paris, France
Reservations (for concerts):

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Culture: Happy Bastille Day!

July 14th is a fun day to celebrate when in France! There are various activities throughout the day, and when the sun goes down, fireworks by the Eiffel Tower. Luckily it didn't rain the entire day and there were some nice views of airplanes and helicopters flying in formation, not to mention, many French flags flying on all the buildings.
Stephanie Swinton How to be Fabulous
Stephanie Swinton How to be Fabulous
Stephanie Swinton How to be Fabulous
Stephanie Swinton How to be Fabulous

Friday, July 6, 2012

Party with the Mayor in Paris! AmCham Summer Garden Party

The American Chamber of Commerce in Paris (AmCham) held a beautiful Garden Party the other night with the Mayor of the 7th arrondissement of Paris. In attendance were alumni from several American universities, various professionals working with French and American companies, and of course the mayor Rachida Dati, who gave a speech.

The building is so beautiful, with paintings and decorative touches everywhere. There is a huge garden out in the back, where a live band was playing. Champagne and pretty appetizers were on hand, and the sun cooperated to make it a lovely event.
Stephanie Swinton How to be Fabulous
Stephanie Swinton How to be Fabulous
Stephanie Swinton How to be Fabulous
Stephanie Swinton How to be Fabulous
Check out the AmCham website for information on other events coming up in Paris:
American Chamber of Commerce in Paris

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The 4th of July in Paris

The 4th of July this year was a busy day, spent with my MBA group in Paris, where we worked all day on research and project planning. A table in the bar area at the Hotel Costes allowed us to tune in to what is trendy in fashion at the moment, while still working on our documents, and encouraging brainstorming! Next to us was a designer talking about making dresses for Lady Gaga who was interviewing with all sorts of Paris Fashion Week types (Yes, we were eavesdropping!)

Plan to spend €8 for a non-alcoholic drink, but it is a great place to work as it is not noisy and crowded like Starbucks can be. There is free WiFi, no reservations are needed for the bar area, and you can stay as long as you please. Also check out the perfume store that part of the hotel, where fragranced air is blown through folded paper, for a novel experience.

After Mystery Shopping visits, we ended the day at another trendy spot - retail concept store Colette. They always have great window displays, and this time the window was devoted to the Fendi Baguette handbag - one row of exceptional bags in this style, and four rows of sculpted metal bags. There is a new book that was released to commemorate the history of the bag as well.

The day ended with a gathering of Americans, celebrating the US holiday here in Paris - complete with beer and hot dogs.
Stephanie Swinton How to be Fabulous 
Stephanie Swinton How to be Fabulous
Stephanie Swinton How to be Fabulous
Stephanie Swinton How to be Fabulous
Hotel Costes
239 Rue Saint-Honoré  75001 Paris
01 42 44 50 00

213 Rue Saint-Honoré  75001 Paris
01 55 35 33 90

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Art: The Case of the Blue Shirts - Performance Art Occurrence in Paris!

So the exciting thing in Paris at the moment is that it is both Fashion Week and that les Soldes (the twice yearly sales throughout all the stores) are happening right now!

Apparently taking advantage of these chic and cool people being in town, this guy has set himself in what looks like a building under rennovation, over in Le Marais, in a kind of fashion themed art installation.

At first there is nothing unique about this building under scaffolding, but as you get closer you might notice the entire structure is covered with blue collar shirts, hanging neatly in rows. Then you might notice the classical music playing rather loudly, and see it is coming from the main entrance to a dark shop that takes up the ground floor of the building.

As you walk closer you see a sign-in book with a pen to the right, along with a plate with money in it sitting on an old chair to the left. Then you notice several hand-written cardboard signs on the window, and you are suddenly reminded of the people in the metros and streets who might have one such sign asking for help.

Then you notice in the display window in the dark, is a forlorn looking man, sitting on a chair, with his hand held out in the gesture of asking for money. His look seems old-fashioned, like the way people would have dressed in another era. Then in fact there is a second outreached hand nearby - this one is plastic and not attached to a body, and propped up on a small block.

So we can only guess what all of this means. Perhaps it is a commentary on the ability of a person to work and make a living, and the shirts and signs and even the man would be symbolic.

In any case it was interesting to stumble upon this and see people in the streets stopping to look (and some walking by without noticing anything at all!) It is a cool idea to take over a whole building like that, and turn it into an artistic statement, and get people to ponder the meaning of what they are seeing.

Monday, July 2, 2012

NYU Alumni Global Passport

NYU just started this great new initiative to connect all the Global Alumni from NYU! NYU has fantastic Study Abroad programs in so many interesting countries, so you are really able to spend a lot of time learning from other cultures. I had such an amazing time during my undergraduate years at NYU studying Art History and Architecture and minoring in French, and studied abroad in London and Paris, where I met some of my best friends.

Of course I must say studying and living in Paris, and traveling around France and Europe, I knew I had to come back, and now here I am for the ESSEC MBA in International Luxury Brand Management! It was fun to reminisce about all of the fun times at NYU, as one of the first Alumni interviewed for the new site. Here are the pictures they used:

Stephanie Swinton How to be Fabulous
Dubai at a "Souk" traditional marketplace.
Stephanie Swinton How to be Fabulous
Rome at Fendi Headquarters.
Check out the article, where you can also find out more information about the program if you are an NYU Alumnus: Stephanie Swinton's Profile for NYU Alumni Global Passport.