Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures


Barcelona primer

My top recommendation to people going to Barcelona is to visit the Palau de la Música Català since it doesn’t get enough love. Antoni Gaudí was great, but after living in BCN for a while, I actually grew to like the work of his Modernisme contemporary Lluís Domènech i Montaner better and the Palau is his most impressive work.

The downside is that it’s owned by a private foundation so the only way to see inside it is to take their tour. Despite what the website says, there isn’t an English tour guide available for all the advertised times, so I stress that you need to get there early and sign up for whatever English slot they have. If you’re a brave soul, sign up for whatever time is available as just looking at all the details (like blown glass on the bannisters) will be enough.

My favorite part, the stained glass sun ceiling.

My favorite part, the stained glass sun ceiling.

You also can’t take photos inside since the foundation owns the copyright on all images, but Rob Whitworth somehow managed to get in and included many shots in this great Barcelona video. The Palau part starts at 48 seconds in.

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Barcelona GO! from Rob Whitworth on Vimeo.


More adventures in Parisian real estate

Do you think you’re efficient? Are you able to keep an eye on your breakfast while taking a shower? I didn’t think so, but now you can! For only 699€ a month, you can do everything in one space instead of wasting all that time walking across rooms. Toilet sold separately. (Really. It’s in the hallway.)

Appart Adventures kitchen shower 699€

Do you ever take a bath and wonder, “Man, I really wish I could look at the lower half of my body while I’m wet and naked”? Well, now you can! This bathroom comes equipped with the latest in vanity technology — a mirror at crotch level!

Appart mirror

Ladies and gentlemen, look at this kitchen! It’s a chef’s dream! The completely renovated space has all-new appliances including a dish washer, oven with electric cooktop and a full-size fridge! There’s ample storage for all your gadgets and culinary tools. It’s a perfect space! Except the living area is the size of a full mattress and a twin mattress squeezed together. (That is to say, there is no space for actual living.)

Appart Parfait 2

This one may be a personal choice as I don’t like humanoid anythings — dolls, puppets, mannequins, clowns, etc. — possibly due to mean tricks my asshole siblings pulled on me when I was little … but this poorly translated ad totally bothered me for days since I couldn’t stop imaging the horror of what it depicts: a puppet greeting you at the door every day. It’s like some sick Stephen King business.

Pantin is a town outside Paris…and a kind of articulated shadow puppet thingy.

Pantin is a town outside Paris…and a kind of articulated shadow puppet thingy.

Finally, two places that actually have many things going for them. In the first, sadly, one of those features was not an elevator (it’s a sixth floor).

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In the last, the problems are that I can’t afford it and I also hate spiral staircases, but man, those windows are something.

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Architectural weirdness

Does anyone know what’s happening structurally under these buildings? They are located along the train tracks that lead to Saint Lazare station. The photo was taken from the Rue de Rome.

I understand (on some level) that these supports exist to protect the buildings from the vibrations of passing trains, but I’m curious about what, if anything, is inside. Like, is there storage in there? Parking garages?

Rue de Rome buildings


A Day at the Opéra

I don’t care much for the Marx brothers, but sun glinting off gold can charm even me.Opera 1

This is the older of the two opera houses in Paris, known as L’Opéra Garnier (or Palais Garnier) after its architect, Charles Garnier. He is not, as far as I can tell, related in any way to the hair care line which shares his name (now owned by French company L’Oréal).Opera 2

The building, located in the 9th district, was partially opened in 1867 for the International Exposition. It officially opened in 1875 and stands as one of the great examples of Haussmannian architecture.


Not on my watch

Lego, design, fun. I’m all about these things.

I’ve mentioned stuff that’s against my religion before, so I thought I should clarify exactly what I believe in. The basic tenets of my religion are practicality and efficiency. Also highly praised: a clean design aesthetic.




Some Things Which Are Against My Religion

Sofa beds
Round tables
Small dogs
Rubber bands
Slice toasters
Brass, gold, bronze or copper hardware
Decorative pillows anything
Animal prints
3/4-length sleeves
Bath mats

What do you have a grudge against?