Posts Tagged ‘luxembourg gardens’

Flanneur

July 22, 2018

Which means, “one who strolls,” in French.

Or something like that.

Google it if you’re not sure.

I am fairly certain, but my French is not that great.

It’s good, but not great.

I know enough French to get me in trouble, its assumed by my accent and the way I talk that I do speak it fairly well, but as I explained to a new English-speaking friend today, I get caught up in trying to say the right word and the rapid fire Parisians are three sentences ahead of me while I am still thinking of the word for “dressing room.”

Which is “cabine,” if you wanted to know, and I did remember, but not before the sales person figured out my French was not as good as assumed.

I actually didn’t really buy anything today, well, food, not that much is open on Sundays.

Oh.

There were tons of shops open in the Marais, but nothing really called to me, except, heh, the shops that weren’t open.

Sunday in Paris is a family day, a rest day, most places are closed and I decided early on today that I would do my best to take it easy today too.

I mean.

I still walked like seven miles, but at an easy, relaxed pace and I did end up taking the Metro home from my final destination as I wasn’t feeling like walking fourteen miles.

I could have, it’s still light out, the sun has not set and it’s nearly 9p.m.

Gorgeous light in the apartment.

My last night alone here, the family returns in the morning.

Then!

I’m off to the South of France at lunchtime.

I’m very excited.

It will be nice to be on a train for a little while, the ride is about three and a half hours, and it will be fantastic to see a new city.

My friend knows the area well, we are staying at her favorite hotel in Marseilles, which has a view of the port.

We will go to the big museum there and have a nice dinner, I’m sure, and on Tuesday we will be taking a car to the markets in Aix-en-Provence, then on the way back to Marseilles we will be going swimming in, I forget the exact French word for it, some secret little beach on the Mediterranean.

So stoked.

My friends return in the morning and I’ve been instructed to be ready to leave for the train station by lunch time.

Not going to be a problem, I’ll just be packing a few summer dresses, my toiletries, and my bathing suit.

I still cannot believe I will be swimming in the Mediterranean Sea!

So happy.

And.

Honestly, I could use a break from Paris.

I know.

What?

Did I say.

I have had this feeling before, I did last time I came, at one point in my trip, I’m done with the crowds, I’m done with being stared at on the Metro (I have a lot of tattoos and though one sees them a bit more than they used to, it is very rare to see a woman with as many tattoos as I have, and it’s warm, I’m showing a lot of skin, not obscenely, by no means, but it’s unusual, and man, I get the looks), I’m done with snotty French waiters.

Not all waiters are horrible.

But I usually have one or two that are assholes and I got that one today at a cafe I met a friend at on Rue Madame.

It’s a damn cute cafe though.

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I had my “usual.”

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I like coffee.

And I like the sparkling water.

I just finished up one now.

Nothing says I’m on vacation like the two of them together.

Plus.

Taking the time to sit still and enjoy them.

I tried to sit a little more today, but it can be hard, my brain tells me that I must go and go quickly and get in as much as possible and do, do, do.

A human doing, not a human being.

But today I let myself sleep in, I laid in bed after I woke up until 10 a.m.

Then a nice long shower, a leisurely breakfast, and some laundry, so nice to have laundry here, I am super grateful for that and not having to cart it to the mat down the block or up and down five flights of stairs.

Then coffee and writing.

I didn’t leave the house until after noon.

I decided I didn’t need to do the Louvre, that had been my sort of “plan” but that I could just walk and see where it led me.

I walked through the Marais.

I walked to the Seine.

It was gorgeous.

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I mean.

Come on.

I walked and walked and walked.

Then I crossed over this bridge and went into the Latin Quarter, which I don’t much like, way too many tourists, way too many, but it was on my way to where I was meeting my friend and I realized that I had plenty of time to just walk all the way there without being rushed.

And.

I stumbled upon the Cluny Museum!

Never having been, I popped in for a wonderfully air-conditioned visit and saw the famous tapestries.

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They were beautiful and it was a sweet little detour.

After that I walked over to the Luxembourg Gardens, but needing food I kept my eyes open for the right place to grab a bite.

And lo and behold!

A miracle!

Not only a new organic, locally sourced restaurant, but one with beautiful flowers everywhere, and, and, and!

A non-smoking terrace!

All the cafes, well, except this one, have smoking areas on the terrace, and everyone it seems, smokes, except my friend, thank God, and I made the grave mistake my first night eating outside and my food might as well have been dipped in nicotine.

It was gross.

And I used to be a smoker, so that’s saying something.

But this little spot, was no smoking and I was really happy.

The food was surprisingly good and the terrace was super pretty.

The service was a little spotty, but that was obviously because it was a new restaurant, turns out they’ve only been open three weeks, and I was more than happy to be patient about it.

Which I’m grateful for, because when my food did arrive, the waitress got my order wrong the first go around, it was superb.

Best lunch I’ve had here since I landed.

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A really beautiful crustless Quiche with vegetables, a green salad and these delicious sausages.

That and the atmosphere, made me super happy.

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And then I walked through the Luxembourg Gardens before meeting my friend at Cafe Madame.

A sweet, slow, “lazy” day.

Heh.

I still walked 15, 418 steps and climbed 15 flights of stairs.

And now.

Well.

It’s time for dinner and getting ready for my trip tomorrow.

I hope your Sunday is as lovely as mine was.

Bon soir!

 

Friends!

May 14, 2017

I got to see so many friends today, it was almost overwhelming.

And.

It was utterly fucking awesome.

I ran into a lot of the Paris folks that I knew from my time living here and it was just wonderful to double kiss cheeks and catch up in person instead of on Facebook and to touch and smell and see them in three-dimensional time.

I felt very embraced and loved and it was so sweet.

I also got to spend a very special time with a dear friend who was traveling and we overlapped here in the City of Lights and had a walk through the Luxembourg Gardens and then sat at a cafe and talked all things love, life, dancing, friends, music, travel.

The many and numerous big smiles I had on my face today were perhaps too many to count.

I put a few pictures up on my Insta and facecrack pages, but to give one a little idea, let’s just say that the day really couldn’t have started better than to have cafe au lait on the roof top deck of the house boat across the Seine from the Musee D’Orsay.

It really still stuns me that I am here on this boat having a vacation in Paris.

I am here and it is very real and it is slower than I have done the travel here before, said sprain still sprained, although not as bad to get about, lots of ibuprofen, stopping when I need to and taking the Metro instead of walking places I would have normally walked to.

After I left my friend I was walking back from the Luxembourg Gardens to Metro St. Suplice and I had a brief moment of thinking, oh, I should walk back, the light is so damn pretty and I almost did.

Then.

I stopped.

Knock it off.

Don’t stress it out walking too far, take the Metro and rest for a little while before heading out to dinner.

And I actually took my own advice.

I still have a week here and I don’t want to blow out my ankle by trying to force myself to move faster or do more than I am.

It’s ok to go slow.

Sometimes it’s quite lovely to go slow.

To take in all the details.

The patch of weedy dandelions growing out of a seraphim on the top of the Medici Fountain in the Luxembourg Gardens.

The sculpture that caught my eye in one of the government houses, that was framed in the window and it was a rear shot and it was hilarious, a gorgeous white marble mooning from two stories up.

I laughed so hard.

It was art and it was farce all at the same time.

The light on the windows of the Palais Royal Louvre at Sunset.

The Japanese girls walking hand in hand wearing the prettiest platform espadrilles and their perfectly manicured toenails, one girl had dark eggplant on her toes, the other a bright cerulean blue.

The sound of a marching procession coming down the Quai D’Orsay, horns and drums and military dressage, it was today that the new French president was inaugurated.

The swirl of cream on the top of my lobster bisque at lunch and the dark roux of the bisque, thick and rich and velvet brown.

The red glass that I filled with water that looked like a blooming rose on the white table-cloth.

The man with the French bulldog at the cafe who had a tattoo of said French bulldog on the back of his leg.

The sunlight coming through a stone edifice window at St. Suplice.

The small children wearing black riding helmets on the ponies in the park.

The boys and girls around the fountain in the middle of the Luxembourg Gardens with their long poles pushing the little wooden sail boats with red and blue sails, back and forth across the water.

The smell of perfume, Chanel No 5, wafting over me from a woman exciting the Metro at Place de la Concorde.

The box trimmed trees at the edges of the Luxembourg Garden.

The blue sky reflected in the water of the Seine.

The greens and blues rippling together.

The spats of rain and the sunshine that followed.

The blue Parisian sky.

The lights of the Eiffel Tower catching me off guard as they began to glitter on the top of the hour.

So many gorgeous little details.

God is in the details.

The white creamy froth on top of a cafe creme.

The butter burr of an older woman’s accent as she ordered her vin rouge at the cafe.

The delicate dressing that was just warmed over the butter lettuce salad I had with my steak tartar at lunch.

I am sure that I am missing so many other things.

As.

The detail girl is very tired now and needs to be wrapping this up.

Time for bed my darlings.

My friends.

Je t’aim toi beaucoup.

I wish you a bon soir.

And the sweetest dreams.

Bisoux.

 

Boarding

May 12, 2017

Not that I will be boarding soon, I have about an hour and thirty minutes before my plane starts to board.

But.

I am in the boarding area to London.

Where I will have an hour layover and then.

Yes.

Paris.

I will arrive in Paris tomorrow at 5:15p.m.

About 24 hours from right now.

Of course, Paris is 12 hours ahead and the time traveling is not actually 24 hours.

There is some time travel happening.

In a manner of speaking.

My flight to London is 11 hours 45 minutes.

Yawn.

That’s a long time.

I hopefully will take a very big nap.

I am nervous about my ankle, it’s hard to travel with a sprain, the air pressure in the cabin, having it lower than it should be, I should have it elevated as much as I can, but that’s not going to happen.

I am also sitting in the boarding area early hoping to chat with the flight crew.

I want to see if I can switch seats.

I’m in the middle.

I have done a long flight in the middle before, but not with a bad ankle.

I am going to see if they have anything in first class, smile real big and bat my eyes.

Although, I’m not one to really use feminine wiles to get my way, a smile, and a please and a thank you generally go far.

I use my manners more than anything else.

I doubt it will happen, but I will ask.

Can’t hurt to ask.

And.

I will ask for getting on early so that I don’t have to hobble on with every one else.

I definitely needed extra time to get through security.

I kept my shoes on and my ankle brace on and the security did a pat down and a chemical swipe of my shoes.

It was rather funny, but I wasn’t in a hurry and I was glad that they let me keep my shoes on.

I have my ankle wrapped pretty well and my plain Jane sensible walking shoes on.

I do hope that I will be able to do the museums and to be able to get to some spots that I want to.

Fuck.

At this moment I have completely changed my thoughts and plans regarding my flight, I am sitting in the boarding area next to a very loud woman who is reciting a great deal of evangelical text at great volume.

Listen lady.

It’s too late to save me.

I’ve already saved myself.

Take your proselytizing and go elsewhere.

PS.

I can’t hear you anymore now that I put on my oversized Head Candy noise cancelling headphones.

All I can here is the playlist my French friend put together for me.

“Pour Carmen.”

Merci bein mon amie, je t’aime trop la musique.

I also have been doing the internet fall into a hole looking at all the fun stuff that is happening in Paris this upcoming weekend and week.

I almost got into to the pop up sauna that is at the Moulin Rouge, but it was fully booked.

Oh well.

There are plenty of things to do.

I have been popping around the Time Out Paris magazine.

It’s fun to pursue all the things.

I don’t actually have any agenda anymore.

I can’t do Paris the way that I have done in previous years, at a full tilt boogie.

Nope.

I will be going slow.

I will be soaking in the City of Lights.

I shall be walking slow.

Moving slow.

Seeing it all.

Taking it in.

I’ll still go to plenty of museums, how can I not, but I will be pretty strategic about it, I don’t think I will do the Louvre, I mean, I may, but only a few certain parts, I will have to pick maybe one wing and then one floor instead of trying to do two of the wings, it’s just miles of walking and I don’t have miles of walking in me.

I figure I will find my spot and sit and stare at some art and get my fill.

Fuck.

I don’t know what I am going to do.

I am just going.

I mean I really do have to toss out all the ideas I had about what I would be up to.

I have to scale way back.

But.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing for me.

A little restraint.

That can be a good thing.

I know I will have an amazing time and I know I will have adventures.

I will meet people, I will see old friends.

In fact, I have a date to go to Rue Madame with a friend on Sunday and catch up with him and some fellows and then off to stroll, hobble, around Les Jardins de Luxembourg.

That’s the Luxembourg Gardens, if you didn’t figure that out.

I will definitely be sitting still more than I have in the past and I am thinking I may use the buses a lot more than when I lived there, the stairs up and down the Metro are going to be hard.

I can’t dash.

So, maybe staying street level most the time.

And going places where I can really get a lot of bang for my buck, like the city center, the Marais, etc.

Ah.

It’s all good.

I’m ok.

I get to go, my ankle wasn’t so badly sprained that I can’t get out of bed.

I mean, had it been as severe as the one I sustained three years ago I would have been fucked.

I probably would have cancelled the trip.

So.

I am grateful, super grateful, for that and I will not bitch or complain.

I shall take the experience as it has been given to me with a great big smile and a very sincere Merci bien.

Trop merci.

Merci beaucoup.

Ooh.

The flight crew is coming in.

Got to jet.

Er.

Hobble off.

Into the sunset.

See you in Paris!

Trop bisoux pour toi.

xxxxxx

Sweet Heart

March 8, 2017

That’s what I was called today.

Not by a lover.

Nor a friend.

Not a cat call.

Not someone trying to get something from me.

Nope.

MY BOSS.

That was in response to a message I had sent.

For offereing to make dinner and sending the mom and dad fun pictures of the charges at the park on the slide.

“You’re such a sweetheart!”

I’ll take that.

It feels really quite nice to be in my job right now, it’s been just a touch over two months and I really feel a part of.

Sometimes that can be challenging as I am navigating waters I haven’t had much experience with, English as a second language for the kids, but I’m figuring it out and it’s been an adventure.

Most times I don’t have a problem when my family speaks in their mother tongue.

In fact, it’s kind of nice to not know what someone is saying.

Their language is not a romance language.

I know I’m being vague, but I have a signed confidentiality agreement and I feel like if I go into too many details it would not be cool.

I’ll leave it at I’m happy to be with them and I feel very appreciated.

Which just makes me want to do a better job.

I am grateful for them.

I have been grateful for every job that I have had, regardless of conflict or challenge, because they have led here and here is pretty fucking awesome.

I feel good.

I feel serene.

I feel easy in my skin.

I have my school work ready for this upcoming weekend of classes.

I was able to run some personal errands today at work, while running errands for the family, and I was able to grab some toiletries and household things I’ll need for over the weekend.

I was able to run to the grocery store after work before doing the deal and get some fruit and veggies and almond milk to have in the house to supplement the food I made over the weekend for class.

I even got to sneak in a visit with a friend who I have not seen in a little while who I have been trying to hang out with.

Totally serendipitous and partially because I had a cancellation tonight.

My person and I were supposed to meet, but he got the flu and I ended up having a tiny chunk of time that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

I connected with my friend, got to get my “I’m going to Paris in May,” dork on, and then when the clock was getting late, scoot on out the door, hop on my scooter and zoom zip across town.

And now I’m home.

Cozy.

Sipping hot tea and blogging.

Listening to St. Germaine and dreaming about my trip.

I am so excited to get to go again.

I am remiss that my friend, with whom I had planned the trip won’t be able to go, but hey, she’s got a great reason, she’s close to term with twins and can’t fly.

So.

Yeah.

She’ll be staying here.

I’m sad that I won’t get to experience Paris with her, but I’m cool on my own in Paris, I get along just fine.

And I will have friends there.

Because I have friends that live there and folks I know in the fellowship.

And a friend of mine will be visiting there with his mom.

He was supposed to come and visit me when I was living there but we missed each other.

I’ll get to be his tour guide for him and his mom for a few days, I think they overlap and are either going to London or Rome part of the time I’m in Paris.

I will be there ten days.

Ten days.

Dreamy sigh.

In May.

Another big dreamy sigh.

I’m so happy I’ll be going in spring, especially since the last two times I was there was during winter and it was cold.

And dark.

And grey.

I remember a dear friend of mine saying to me when I moved back how happy she was that I was back in San Francisco, in California, in the sun, that all the pictures I had taken in Paris when I lived there were lovely, but so grey and dark and depressing.

Paris is dark, grey, cold and depressing in the winter.

It is true.

Romantic, gothic, gorgeous.

But.

Cold, dark, and depressing for sure.

So to get to go in May, when the nights are shorter, the days are longer, and the weather is warmer.

Yes.

And more yes please.

Walks along the Seine.

Trips to the Jeu de Paume–the modern art photography museum.

Walks through the Tuilleries.

Walks in the Luxembourg Gardens.

Walks in Bois de Bologne.

Walks in the Marais.

Walks, and walks, and more walks.

And then.

Sitting in cafes.

Drinking cafe creme and people watching.

Then.

More walking.

The marches, the markets, the brocantes, the flea markets, the book stalls, the vintage clothes and jewelry.

Oh yes, that too.

And.

I have friends who are musicians.

I need to go to some nightclubs.

I didn’t do that too much when I lived there, although I did go to one big underground show that blew my lid off.

I knew the dj who was spinning and had no clue the venue was going to be so big and so packed.

It was amazing.

I also know a jazz saxophonist, a blues singer and a jazz singer.

I could get some late night jazz on in Paris.

Yes.

Oh, yes, I could.

I will also get myself a couple of things that I didn’t get to when I was there last.

I need another hat.

I want a market basket purse from either Marche des Rouge Enfants in the Marais or another canvas sack from Le Merle Moquer, my favorite bookstore in Paris.

And something small and whimsical from Fleux, a store in the Marais that has amazing household items, reminds me a tiny bit of Ikea, but super cool, chic, fun, unusual things.

I got my hot pink bunny Pylon bank there when I was living in Paris.

And.

When I was last there I scored a pickle jar lamp that has a miniature Eiffel Tower on the bottom of it.

It is just so quaint and sweet and I adore it.

I turn it on and it always makes me smile.

Ah.

So much to smile about.

Life.

Well.

Life is fucking good.

That’s what.

Seriously.

Life.

Is.

So.

Damn.

Good.

Go To Sleep Little Baby

March 25, 2013

I can hear the sound track to O Brother Where Art Thou in my head right now as I cradle a small 11 month old to my chest.

He has lovely blue eyes swathed with the longest lashes, his mouth is parted slightly, cupid bow pink, bottom just a little glisten of shine on it, breath slow, steady, in, out.  He is warm.

I am ready.

No, not to have one.

I am ready for a break.

It has been a long day.

I joined the family at 1 p.m. today to accompany the mom to the Luxembourg Gardens.

It is 11 p.m. right now and I am still with the kids.

I had thought I would have a little down time in the middle of the day to recuperate, relax, and let down the guard a little.

“Sugar, switch hands with me,” I said taking the little girls paw in mine as we transferred Metro stops and walked along the platform.

I am paid to be vigilant.

I am probably hyper vigilant.

Mom speaks no French and I have seen us get targeted a few times as possible pick pocket marks.

However, we have been fortunate to be left alone today.  Although when I went off to follow the little girl on the playground and the mom got up and left our bags on the bench I wanted to scream.

That is my life there, lady.

My Iphone, my wallet, my bank card, my id.

Not that there is much in the bank or that anyone is going to be able to do anything with my California Drivers licence, but my heart flew up into my mouth when I saw the bags on the bench.  I don’t care that it is an enclosed park, the fence is only three feet high.  Anyone could have reached over and snagged it all.

My worries for naught, I scooped up our things and packed everything into my messenger bag.

I have been carrying and toting all day today.

I have felt a little more like a pack mule today than a babysitter.

I have gotten one hell of a work out.

Chasing the little girl around the park, then carrying her up and down the stairs of the Metro, riding her on my shoulders as we navigated the sidewalks in Paris, holding her on my lap, and yes, carrying her through two Metro Line transfers and up countless stairs as she slept, completely knocked out, across me.

I locked her bum under my crossed arms, tucked her head into my neck, and just sucked it up and carried her.

Flash forward to getting all of us back to the house and mom and dad and friends have a private art gallery show to go to.  I am in for the evening and after bathing the little boy and making dinner for them, I strapped him into the carrier, where he seems most happy, cleaned up the house, and walked around pacing until he conked out.

The little girl got a video, “Horton Hears a Who” and is sleeping in mom and dad’s bed.

And here I am blogging.

After a late night last night, I had a “date” with a Skype friend, I crashed out hard.

I thought I may have a hard time dropping off as the flirtatiousness of the call had me wired, but I was out like a light, knelt down, said my thanks for the day, climbed into bed, started to go to that place in my head and the next thing you know the room-mate is up making coffee and breakfast.

I got up about fifteen minutes after he left, showered, breakfasted, wrote, and out the door.

And the rest of my day has been consumed by all things child.

Earlier, I had a thought, as I was navigating the best way for us to get to the park (mom has an app that suggested we transfer through Chatelet and take three trains).  No thank you.  I have the experience of having gotten lost enough and taken enough of the trains that I took us on a different route, which had us only taking two trains, avoiding Chatelet and Les Halles completely (huge underground labyrinths of confusion) and going in the “back door” of the park, thereby saving us easily an hour of travel time.

Which meant more time in the park.

I could start a business of being a “travel companion/nanny”.

Got plans to come to Paris?

Have kids?

Let me be your guide.

Of course, having done it now a few times for the family, I can say it is exhausting and I should be charging double what I asked.  Oh well, lesson learned.  And I have no complaints, they have tipped me every shift I have worked for them and are friends of friends, so I am not bitter.

Just exhausted.

That being said, I will make a tidy sum tonight and I will not be working a full day for them tomorrow.  Dad is done with work and declared it a family day.  I am thinking the family can do without me for the afternoon and then mom and dad can have their night out.

Which, fuck my mother, I just realized is going to make Wednesday a rough day.

I have my standing gig with the French miss in Courbevoie.

The gig I get up at 7 a.m. for.

Ugh.

Oh well, just keep repeating to self, restful weekend in the country.

I am going to really try to let it be a restful weekend in the country too.  I have been watching myself make plans to come into the city back and forth like a maniac and just thought to myself, is it worth it?  Maybe I can rearrange the meet ups I have made and actually take the weekend to myself.

I would like to go and sit and read the manuscripts my room-mate brought back from San Francisco.  Sit, with a legal pad and a pen or five, a hot cup of coffee, and a dog at my feet, at the kitchen table and really read them.  Make some notes, then take those bad boys into second draft territory.

I do not expect that I would be able to do the full work of the second draft in the weekend, however, I can read them and make notes and I can get a good jump on the work.

I believe this is the way I want to go.

And maybe a Skype date with a certain someone when my room-mate is not in the house to over hear the giggling coming from the kitchen.

Just a thought.

 


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