Lycra in Paris and a giant cupcake in London!

I took a few days out of London to visit Paris , my second favourite city and one which makes a fabulous side trip from London. We’ve been many times for long weekends or just for a long lunch which is really easy now that the journey time can take as little as 2 hours and 15 minutes. The lycra was in abundance thanks (if that’s the right word!) to the Tour de France racing through Paris for the finale on the Champs-Elysees on Sunday. We had a front perch on the road near Notre Dame to see the cyclists flash past in a 10 second blur of bright colour and wheels. A Brit won the day in Paris but overall scoring meant a Spaniard took the crown in 2009 as there are 2o other hard days’ work to take into account. Great meals, lots of pastis and good doses of culture added to the fun.

Life in London’s been busy and topped by a giant cupcake which was sighted in Covent Garden as a special guest at their regular Thursday real food market. How big you ask, well it was 2 metres by 1.25 metres and was big enough to offer over 2000 people a decent sized slice, brought to them by Culinary Olympic winner Michelle Wibowo. I saw it, it was huge and took forever to cut up.

More cerebral delights were tucked away in the massive Westfield shopping centre in small Getty Images collection of glorious celebrity photographs by Terry O’Neill. From Paul Newman and Lee Marvin’s publicity shots to the casual snap of the Rolling Stones in a BBC canteen, they were arresting photos.

One local monthly event for us Notting Hill-ers is Book Slam which moved venue for July so had to be checked out. Book Slam is a live event and mixes poetry, book reading and music. We dropped into the Tabernacle, the new venue and also home of Notting Hill carnival, to see a performance poet (Luke Wright) and the novelist David Nicholls. We gave the new venue the thumbs up and even bought the book as it was signed and the reading had got us hooked.

I can’t end without a mention of a restaurant or bar and for this blog it’s the Champagne Bar at St Pancras International which makes a fitting start to any Eurostar train trip to Paris. It’s the longest champagne bar in Europe and for those who have to ask the question – there is no clear answer to who holds the world award! From the bar you can enjoy St Pancras which has been renovated to become a wonderful and beautiful station.

londonliving blog will be coming to you on a weekly basis from now on as there is just too much to fit in each fortnight and I’ll be able to do every entry a bit more justice. Hope you’re enjoying it so far.

Bye for now.

Sons et lumieres

Paris was a delight – the sun on the river, the outdoors Rodin museum where there is space to think and a space for The Thinker, not too busy and the Eiffel tour lit up in glorious blue each evening and sparkling for 10 minutes on the hour which is quite magical.

London fell a little short on the ‘lumieres’ front as Kenwood open air concerts, back after a year’s break due to residents’ complaints, was good on the music but no fireworks. Something about protected bats being disturbed – well, they’ve survived at least 20 years of Kenwood fireworks, but what do I know except that it wasn’t quite the same. And, they’ve moved the site away from the lake. However, the classical pieces were great andOmara Portuondo was doing her Buena Vista stuff and it was dry 2 weeks running if you ignore the very small shower on week one…

Other sons et lumieres – an installation on the South Bank where you can walk amoung tall thin speaker like structures which have music coming out and light patterns going up and down them. Apparently as you move around them you affect the light and sounds but we couldn’t work it out at all.

The final ‘lumiere’? The appearance of the sun! Not constantly but enough to feel a bit like summer and get that awful sweaty feel on the tube , yes summer must be here so I’m off to soak up some light.