September 30, 2009
My mom and dad have arrived (I am delighted). And hop, they've already been on my tour of Ile de la Cité. Did you know (they did not), for example, that Notre Dame in the height of Medieval times was painted inside and out vibrant colors? Like this (below)? Statues everywhere in Disneyland colors.
I also tell the story of Louis IX, who, in the 13th c. built Sainte-Chapelle as a shrine for his most famous and important relic - the crown of thorns, obtained in Constantinople. (The crown = 135,000 livres, Sainte-Chapelle = 60,000). We went into Sainte-Chapelle and gawked at the stained glass shrine.
September 28, 2009
Such a restaurant. Il faut y aller. Really should go. Paris hot-spot for quite some time, but it still beckons a nice crowd and serves divine food à la Paris/Tokyo hybrid variety. On the 5th and 6th floors of l'Immeuble Pont Neuf, the view is as winning as the food.
And our company won it all - Emma and Davide. Emma, our British component - refined and beautiful. Davide, the Italian man - who loves his motorbike and trendy spots in Paris. Xavier, yes the Frenchman who, even here, ordered fois gras. And me, l'Americaine who marveled at it all - positive and smiling. Xavier remarked that we were indeed good representatives of our respective nations.
KONG | 1, rue du Pont Neuf 75001 Paris
September 25, 2009
Autumn at Du Pain et Des Idées (merci Emma), where the motto is: "Parce que la boulangerie est affaire d'amour et de poésie..."
Fresh fig tarts are in abundance and they are so scrumptious.
And lemon zesty squares...
And then over to the Tuileries where autumn means des marrons, which are bountiful and Marguerite scavenges through the piles of leaves for them...and makes lines and groupings on the green metal chairs.
...and where she sits atop the shoulders of lovely women and waves...
...and we spin around in the late sunshine...
...and then fall in the grass cracking up.
In her kitchen window Marie has hung a piece of white linen. The sunlight bleeds through and turns a softer hue. Marie becomes a shadow in its relief. The planted rosemary sambas on the hem of the white fiber to the wind and the changing sun.
September 23, 2009
I have this new job where I give tours to people on l'Île de la Cité - it is through this company and it is a pretty good gig because groups tend to be only 4 or 5 people (sometimes just one other person). We start in front of the Palais de Justice and talk about the origins of the island and who lived their first and who came through up to the French Revolution. Then I get to tell gruesome tales about the Revolution. For example, the one about Marie Antoinette's best friend (Princesse de Lamballe) who was ripped into pieces by the French mob and then beheaded. Her head was then fixed on a spike and paraded under the windows of Marie Antoinette's cell. And then her limbs were shot from canons (for emphasis). These people were angry.
Anyway, more about that later, but at the moment there is a splendid collection of little cars - police and firemen vehicles on l'Île de la Cité. If you are lucky (more likely than not), you'll get to see contemporary policemen posing with/in front of/on top of the vehicles. They were having a great time when I was there. I have no idea what these cars/motorcycles are, but I am pretty sure I know a guy who will be able to identify them without blinking (Xavier, that is you).
September 22, 2009
Walked past the most amazing pair of eyes today. They had been plastered onto the stone of the walls of the Seine, just next to my favorite tree. Plastered = using the same method as the dudes who put up advertisement posters in the metro - long-handled brushes and big buckets of water. The dudes doing it looked totally at ease and must have had city approval, it was broad daylight.
My brother Marc sent me the reference and the artist:
From the site:
Famed French photographer JR (Juxtapoz #97) has an exhibition coming up in Paris as part of his 28 Millimeters project, titled Women Are Heroes. JR’s Women series has become a global experience as much as it is a feat in photographic greatness.
The show will run from October 3rd to November 2nd, 2009.
Ile Saint-Louis and Pont Louis-Philippe
Pavillon de l’Arsenal (Nuit Blanche until October 23)
Paris – 4th arrondissement city hall (Nuit Blanche)
With the commitment of Dominique Bertinotti, Mayor of the 4th arrondissement of Paris
And the support of the City of Paris: http://www.juxtapoz.com/Current/jr-solo-show-in-paris
Thanks Marc, with this context the images on the bridge are so much more meaningful.
And another great link from a reader who emailed me about the process: http://www.womenareheroes-paris.net/fr/category/collage/
September 21, 2009
Ah, yes - a new bout of strikes is here. La belle France. Currently, it is the postal workers - they refuse to deliver mail today and tomorrow, claiming that they are totally opposed to privatization in any way of la poste. And then it will be the railways...expect strikes on transit October 7.
On days like today you can turn on French television and find forecasts, like the weather, but for strikes. That way, you can plan your transit schedule, anything you need to mail, and all sorts of other things that have suddenly become impossible to do, in advance. Also, there is a convenient site to reference for all your strike queries: greves.org. Sacré Français!
These photos actually depict a manifestation - not to be confused with une grève (strike). If you watch the video below, it was a manifestation to liberate Palestine. My favorite part about manifestations like this one (and strikes often look similar, but strikes mean people are also not going to work and preventing a bunch of other people from going about their business) is the police factor. Look at these dudes. They are into it. At this particular manifestation, there were more police than there were people manifesting. To me, that is a serious commitment to upholding the right of the people to publicly make their case. I don't really get how this group convinced that many police people to be behind (and in front) of them (and their cause), but every time it looks like this.
I think it must be like a parade; they book their spot weeks in advance with the police. And then the police work it, they really do. They go to the length of barricading our road all the time for the purpose.
For all of these parades/manifestations I have a front seat - our balcony. I take the time to soak it all in. And it happens all the time. And yes, they are saying Liberate Palestine and Go Hezbollah (that is, of course, a very large Palestinian flag) - chants you may not have the opportunity to hear on the streets of a US town...
September 20, 2009
We were at the family house in Baugé this weekend...
These three were the entertainment. The three cousins played for hours out in the little stone house at the back of the garden - they even got stuck out there when a big rainstorm came in and there they stayed, sheltered under the little roof; they ate meals with 'les grands,' where we found that Marguerite had suddenly acquired the habit of yelling across the table whenever she had something to announce (we think it may have to do with being in a class of 28 kids at school); and to top it off, they slept in the same room - a dream sleepover, where Louise read stories to all.
I love Baugé for its details - for the multicolored grapevines...
And the chocolate fondant in its tiny glass, which was brought to the table and announced as a dish in which many people were going to have to indulge (there are 4 spoons hovering)...an announcement at which I smiled and giggled internally until I dipped my tiny spoon in and licked it. Three itsy-bitsy bites - that was all I could manage.
The Virgin Mary, keeping watch over the sparse garden.
And of course the main reason Baugé is delightful...the Joly family:
Xavier and I visited the local hardware store in town, "Espace Emeraude," where this chap proudly displays the gear:
And we purchased matching coveralls. Electric blue. These are going to come in handy.