Posts Tagged ‘the Seine’

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!

 

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The Light

July 21, 2018

Today was magic.

The light all day long.

Extraordinaire.

I was blown away by all the different kinds of it.

The light on the Seine.

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And in the sky above the Eiffel Tower as I crossed Pont Alma, a “pont” is a bridge, on my way to the American Church to see some friends this evening.

The light was also amazing coming through the church windows, but well, I don’t take pictures in churches, at least not most of the time.

I was happy to traipse through the light tonight after leaving the church to head to the Metro to go to the 11th Arrondisment to, yes, another place filled with light.

L’Atelier des Lumieres.

Oh my God.

It was extraordinary.

I mean.

I cannot quite put words to it, but there were often tears on my face as I sat in the dark listening to the beautiful music they scored the works of Klimt to as the light and color and shapes melted and merged and coalesced into all these beautiful paintings that I am so very, very fond of.

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Klimt is one of my favorite artists.

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So when I stumbled upon this show a few weeks back I made a mental note to myself that I would go.

And I went.

And I went after a fairly packed day of stuff previous to it, but it was perfect to go, it was actually a nice thing to do after my full day, as I sat still for close to an hour watching the show.

Previous to the show I had been at the aforementioned church way across town.

Before that a visit to Marche aux Enfant Rouge for a roasted chicken, cherries, apricots and a beautiful nectarine.

Before that shopping in the Marais.

I scored a dress!

I can’t believe I scored a dress in Paris.

It’s not always the easiest place for me to shop.

I was very, very, very happy to get the dress.

Before the shopping?

Art.

Lots and lots and lots of art.

I went to the Musee Pompidou.

They had a great exhibition from the 1930s on architecture and furniture and then I gamboled through the permanent galleries and stumbled quiet without knowing it, unto the most beautiful art film I think I may have ever seen.

It was called “The Silence of Ani,” by Francis Alys.

It was stunning and I can’t even do it justice, but it was like watching a poem unwind.

Here’s a Vimeo of it, it’s about thirteen minutes long and well worth it.

Imagine seeing it in the middle of Paris, in the afternoon with no one else in the theater with you.

Superb does not do it justice.

And before the museum?

Yes I did.

I got a tattoo.

heh.

At Abraxas, where I have gotten all my Paris tattoos, on Rue St. Merrie in the Marais.

Speaking of all the light, here’s a shot of the tattoo after my long day of running around the city, just as the sun was setting in the kitchen window of the fifth floor walk up.

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And though there are probably a lot more things I can say about today.

I am also light-headed with the tiredness.

I think I will call it a night and let myself rest for a while and nibble on some of those delicious cherries I got from the market today.

Bisous!

 

Nocturne

May 18, 2017

Just out of a super hot shower and swaddled in blankets tucked away in the prow of the sleeping quarters on the houseboat listening to Chopin.

It is sweet and dreamy and all things rainy night in Paris.

I am finally not wet and cold.

It rained.

It poured.

It was a deluge.

I had Mike Doughty’s “Sad Girl Walking in the Rain” stuck in my head for hours.

However.

I was not sad.

I was dreamy.

I was bemused.

I was looking at all the things.

I was seeing the poetry in the wet cobblestones.

In the unexpected flair of a red rain poncho covering an old man as he pedaled his bicycle along the Seine.

I saw the heavy-headed peonies, blushing pink and sweet underneath the floral shop awning, drowsed with rain and nodding on their pale green stems.

I smelled roses, drunk with rain and walked underneath flowering chestnut trees.

I got wet.

Oh.

I got so wet.

Drenched.

Doused.

Soaked.

And yet.

My heart felt light and I strode along the avenues, occasionally lost and adrift in the details of the weather and in the welter of my soul as it beat against my rib cage, sometimes it lives there, underneath my heart, just behind my rib cage, a plummeting bird singing a song, sad and melancholic, beautiful and lyric and like the timpani softly chiming it sings a song just to me.

I was not sad.

I was not melancholic.

I was steered toward that direction once or twice when the rain seemed to overtake me and my feet got wet, but the lightness in me kept me warm.

I was surprised to find, when I finally took shelter in a cafe bistro, that my hands were so cold from clasping the umbrella handle that I could not bend my fingers properly.

I had a quiet dinner in a small bistro on Rue de Bac.

Roast chicken and roasted vegetables, sweet and savory in their juices, a Comte cheese plate with a simple mixed green salad and a few drops of balsamic vinaigrette, a small bottle of Perrier, and a cafe creme.

I sat and almost became melancholic and I can feel a sad story trying to escape my heart and perhaps it is just the poesies of the art I saw earlier still nestled there, but I did not let myself drift there.

You are not alone in Paris having dinner you are with yourself and your company is lovely.

I sat and looked at the rain falling outside, the umbrella stand tilted over, heavy with parpluies, the round wooden bistro chairs tucked underneath tables, more peonies and pink roses on the bar, the old man who tumbled by underneath a large yellow and red and blue golf umbrella, chased by the rain towards home, I presume.

I tasted the cafe creme and once caught my own eye in the long mirror to my side and thought, who is that beauty?

Oh.

Ha.

It’s me.

And that made me, for a moment soften and sadden for all those times when my company was not enough for me, not knowing how rich and good it is, and I longed for another and there was no other and I was alone in Paris eating my steak tartar in a bistro years ago somewhere in the 9th arrondissement in the rain.

Oh.

Paris in the rain, you can be so sad and lonely.

Or.

You can shine with lustre like a rare pearl, polished in the fiery embers of the red lights reflected in the wet street pavement.

I am never alone when I am with Paris.

We are lovers.

Yes.

My own secret language of dreams, and do you really wonder why I have it tattooed on my chest, dream, in French, that is.

I saw you as I walked back to the house boat after my lovely well curated little meal, a single swan in the Seine, in the rain, long graceful neck slightly curved beneath the weight of the glory of being its own perfect self.

Perhaps I too am like that.

In moments here and there.

In the light that reflects from the raindrops, in the light that is cast from the bateaux mouche as they traverse the river up and down, constantly ferrying souls to and fro.

There are times I am lonely.

Yet.

I am never alone.

Unfettered and loved.

I am here.

I am there.

I am in the notes of revery between the keys on the piano, the soft hand strikes the ivory and music resonates, pearling into the air about me like staccato raindrops on the roof of the houseboat.

And so.

I go forward.

Warm now.

Sheltered from the rain.

But not quite a part from it.

As it, like the music, like the painting that blew my heart out in the Musee L’Orangerie today, blew it out, devoured it, rendered it changed and altered and smashed my face with soft tears that drifted shamelessly down my face, awestruck in the face of such grace, is now ground into me.

The rain.

The poetry.

The Chopin.

The art.

The city.

A swan of desire upon my fevered face.

I shall not forget soon.

No.

I shall not.

This blasphemous joy.

Let’s Go Out in The Sunshine

May 15, 2017

But before I do.

Let me write my morning pages on the deck of the houseboat and eat a plum.

In my long black, sleeveless dress with my bare feet (well, one bare foot, my right ankle was still wrapped up in its Ace bandage) up on a wooden deck chair.

Still need to rest my ankle when and where I can.

It’s not nearly as bad, but I can tell when it starts to get cranky and then, it’s time to sit, rest, let it go, not push too hard.

I have sat far more this trip than I ever have any prior time here.

I have to say.

It’s damn nice.

I’m not so freaked out that I’m not going to get to have the experiences I want to have.

In fact.

I’m pretty ok with whatever experiences that I continue to have here as they have been simply marvelous.

I will never forget sitting on the deck and drinking coffee and watching the Batobus go by with their tops heavy with tourists.

Not ever.

Nor the way the tree dander floated on the wind along the Seine as I walked the river this afternoon perusing the book sellers.

I picked up a couple of really great postcards and had some nice chats with vendors.

I walked from the houseboat down past Notre Dame and had lunch on Ile St. Louis.

I finally got the crappy Paris service that folks complain about, but I also recognize that I perhaps went too long before having my lunch.

Sometimes the walking just pulls me along and I have to go another block, see another building, watch another couple entwined around one another.

Paris.

You are so enchanting.

I feel enchanted being here.

Like I am in a fairy tale.

I made up for the crap service at lunch by finding a fabulous cafe on the edge of the Marais with bright blue chairs and red tables and had the most fabulous lemonade I have ever had.

And.

A cafe creme.

When in Paris.

ALL THE CAFE CREME PLEASE!

It’s my splurge.

The lemonade was so tart it made my whole face pucker, it had no sugar, which is right up my alley, since I don’t do sugar, but the crushed ice and the big sprig of mint made it a savory, refreshing and delicious.

Sitting in the sunshine didn’t hurt either.

After some slow sipping and sitting I wandered the Marais.

And.

Yes.

Yes, I did.

I hit the fucking jackpot.

I found a papeterie that carried a ton of Claire Fontaine notebooks.

I bought six.

Heh.

I am a very, very, very happy girl.

I also swung into Abraxas Tattoo.

Yes.

I will be getting another tattoo.

You know.

That’s what I do.

I will be going in Wednesday at 3:30p.m.

I will probably do a big swing through the Pompidou prior to getting the tattoo.

I am getting Anticonformiste in script on my left forearm.

A visiting tattoo artist from Nepal, Manish, super kind and we had a great chat about when I was going to come in and what I wanted, will be doing the work for me.

I expect that the tattoo won’t take but an hour.

So I may do the Pompidou after.

But the Pompidou I will do.

Tomorrow I will start the museum circuit.

I have the four-day museum pass and Saturday I have plans to go with a friend to Clingancort on Saturday and well, Sunday, I fly home.

But let’s not talk about Sunday yet.

Today is just Monday.

So.

Back to the Marais, back to my strolls.

Oh.

The reminds me, since I’ll be in the Marais again on Wednesday I should pop into the Marche aux Rouge Enfants.

The Market by the Red Children.

It is located by a former orphanage where the children wore red coats.

Thus the name.

It is a gigantic food market.

Closed on Mondays, so no journeying though the stalls, but it will be open on Wednesday.

I am feeling that is where I will be getting my lunch and maybe taking it to Place Vosges to eat before getting inked up.

Not a plan, but a thought, I make no plans, they melt away, I am just letting myself really experience Paris.

Walking through the Marais I also swung into a couple of stores and yes, I found the perfect black sundress.

Superb!

I am very happy to have found it, not too pricey, 59 Euro, and my goal of finding a dress in Paris is complete.

It almost never happens that fast.

In one day I found my dress, all my postcards, put a deposit down on a new tattoo, and got Claire Fontaine notebooks!

I am set.

I want for nothing.

The rest is icing on the cake.

Tomorrow I will start the round of museums and get the Paris Museum Pass activated by going to the D’Orsay.

The Orangerie is closed, so I might pop into the Louvre as well, there is a Vermeer exhibition happening that I would love to see.

No pressure to do the Louvre in entirety, not that I could, it is so enormous, I can’t even express it, over two city block long, two wings of art, each wing having four floors, there is no way I will ever see everything in the Louvre, ever.

Not that I need to either, I have seen the things that I want and even the infamous, and tiny, Mona Lisa, but the big draws are always too much for me to deal with, too many people, I like the smaller rooms and galleries.

But the Vermeer looks like a really good show, so definitely I will go to that.

Plus.

I know the “secret” entrance to the Louvre in the Tuilleries that helps to skip the massive lines that are the queue for the entrance under the I M Pei Pyramid.

So.

Just a quick zip in and out.

And no agenda.

Really.

I am so happy to be here and I am having a fabulous time.

Really relaxing and slowing down and enjoying the delicious sun and the walking and the houseboat and the cafe creme.

Heh.

Always that.

Bon soir mes amies.

A demain.

Trop grosse bixous!

Who’s Life Is This?

May 13, 2017

I said to my friend as I sat on the deck of the houseboat we’re sharing on the Seine, eating my salad in the sun slanting golden through the clouds over Le Grand Palais.

My friend pithily replied, “it’s yours.”

Oh shit.

It is.

I felt my heart swell up with gratitude and tears well in my eyes.

The tears they always well easy, but sitting on top of a houseboat in the middle of the Seine, located at Place de la Concorde/Champs Elysees, I felt blown up with joy.

This is my life.

And I’m on a houseboat in Paris.

It’s a pretty fucking amazing life, this.

I say it all the time, luckiest girl in the world, but it really feels that way, I can also see challenging things as lucky too, I have perspective, part of the reason why it felt so shocking to me is how I left when I moved away from Paris.

Broke.

Or.

How I left it last Christmas.

Heartbroken.

To just be sitting on the top deck, under an awning, waving at the Bateaux Mouche going by with their decks heavy with tourists, eating my dinner, in Paris.

In Paris.

It astounds.

I am grateful to be here, ready to be settled in one spot for a while.

It’s felt like non-stop moving at certain points and I’m happy to be moored for the rest of my time here.

I got up super early this morning.

Which was not my intention.

NOT AT ALL.

But.

I woke up at 4 a.m. wide awake.

And as much as I tried I couldn’t go back to sleep.

I rolled around, drifting in and out of thoughts, half dreams, revery, but never sunk back into sleep.

So.

I got up at 5:30a.m. and took a super hot shower, god I love hotels for super hot showers, plus huge over head rainfall shower heads, and let the water wash away the travel and the weary and washed out my hair.

Oh my God.

People.

My hair.

It’s huge.

The humidity isn’t bad, but it’s greater than what I am used to in San Francisco.

I have a lot of hair.

But right now.

It feels like.

I have.

A LOT.

It’s pretty huge.

It, my hair, has led to some interesting conversations, mostly with men, actually, all with men.

I got propositioned this morning as I left the hotel to take a morning stroll around Pere LaChaise Cemetery.

I mean.

I was basically offered cunnilingus for breakfast.

I was like.

Wow.

Paris.

It’s 7 a.m.

I’m going to wait though, and grab a cafe creme before entertaining that thought.

Yeesh.

I also was told by a way too friendly taxi cab drive that I had an amazing smile.

Thanks.

Now stop looking at me in the rearview window and drive, you’re making me nervous.

I’m pretty friendly and gregarious and sometimes I forget that doesn’t always translate here.

Smile?

Sure.

You must be a hooker and want to blow me in my cab and pay an extra fare.

Douche bag.

I also forgot, and it took me longer than it has in the past to pick up on it, I don’t think about it at all living in San Francissco, that I have tattoos.

And.

It’s warmer than the last two times I was in Pairs, I was here over two different winters I was not showing any skin.

And though I am not showing a lot, one can see that I am sporting more tattoos than the average bear.

As I was standing in the lobby to check out of my super hip boutique hotel the woman at the front was telling the other clerk that his tattoos were too big and that she couldn’t get anymore if she ever wanted to have a job outside of working at Mama Shelter.

I wanted to intervene, in French, and say something, but I played restraint of pen and tongue, nobody asked for my fucking opinion.

But.

Folks here definitely have some ideas about what tattoos mean.

Whore.

Anyway.

Like I care.

Like I give a fat god damn.

I am sitting on a houseboat in the Seine writing my blog.

This life, my life, is so fucking amazing and you know, I’ll probably go get another tattoo while I’m here, because, well, that’s what I do.

Heh.

I get to do whatever I want, well, as long as I accept the consequences.

So, I smile, and I’m joyful and if that means I get some over reaching flirting once in a while I can deal or stares or comments.

It isn’t any of my business what people think of me.

Shit.

It’s none of my business what I think of me.

I don’t always think well of myself, so I try not to think too much of myself.

Just enough.

Just barely enough.

But.

The truth is, I am more than enough and I deserve to be here and I work really motherfucking hard.

I’m happy to be on a boat in the Seine rocking on the waves of the boats rolling by.

It’s an experience I quietly dreamed about my first time walking the Seine by myself in Paris in 2007.

Seeing all the houseboats, dreaming about owning one or renting one.

When the cab dropped me off I had gotten there early and I knew which one it was by the photos from the reservation, but no one was around, just the tabby cat sunning itself on the deck.

I stood for a while, then the cat got curious, as they do, and came over and gave me the once over and deigned to let me stroke him and then I just said, fuck it, and hopped on the boat.

Standing with a goofy too big smile on my face in the brilliant afternoon sun over Paris.

On a boat.

I’m just going to keep going with this.

It will fade off I am sure.

But for right now.

Well.

Basking.

Just glowing with it.

All the things.

For.

The luckiest girl in the world.

Me.

I Am Super

December 21, 2015

Ridiculously tired.

I should not even be posting a blog.

But.

I did get online and I did want to report that I am safe, alive, well, and once again in love with the City of Lights.

Paris.

Ma cherie.

So achingly beautiful.

Paris, it’s true.

Je t’aime.

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New Dress

November 10, 2015

Finally.

I returned a dress weeks ago and finally just got the access to the return on Modcloth.

I have been itching to get a new frock, but what with the scooter purchase and the unexpected, “hey let’s go to Paris for Christmas!” I have been loath to lay out any money for a new dress.

I want a new dress.

For Paris.

For my birthday.

Because it’s Monday.

Because maybe I want to wear it somewhere.

Not that I have a date or plans, but you never know.

I am still debating popping into the ARTumnal event on the 21st.

We shall see.

If so, then this is definitely the dress for it.

Or just to have a dress.

It’s nice to have something coming in the mail.

I won’t be spending anything else this month on clothes.

I am trying to keep it all to a dull roar.

Technically I could drop up to $200 on clothes this month, that’s what I put into my spending plan, but that was before Christmas in Paris and frankly, well, I would rather buy things in Paris than buy new clothes here.

Notebooks.

I am getting myself a gang of Clarefontaine notebooks.  I see the occasionally here in the city, Flax will carry them, but they don’t tend to carry the collections or the special issued ones.  I suppose I could just order them online, but there is something special about buying notebooks in Paris.

I will definitely be purchasing a special notebook for the trip, me and my glue stick are ready.

“Whenever you go on a trip, grab a glue stick and paste in things to a little notebook, so you can see everything you did while you were there,” a very good friend of mine, who travels a lot, told me this years ago and I do exactly that.

Where ever I am, Paris, Burning Man, London, Rome, New York, I stick and paste little things from my travels in that notebook.

I discovered, in my great hunt for my passport, so many of my notebooks from Paris.

I was a gog at all the places i went, all the little tickets and postcards and strip photos from photo booths in Metro stations, with ribbons and match book covers, with the Metro tickets and airplane boarding passes, the reciepts from museums and the ocassional business card or note from someone I had met.

I was able to remember so much just by flipping through the journals.

So.

Yes.

Notebooks.

And stickers.

Yeah.

Whatever.

I like stickers and I always try to get some from where I travel to.

The museum stores normally have some fantastic ones that you just don’t see anywhere else.

My trip in 2007 I got some phenomenal stickers from the Pompidou, I was just astounded at the whimsy and artistry of them and I never saw them anywhere else again.

But they are in my notebook.

I want as well, a market bag.

I lost my Merle Moqueur tote bag, I think in a Uber one day coming home from school being totally exhausted and stupid I think I left it in the front seat, so I need to replace that.

I would love to go to that bookstore, it’s a great one and definitely my favorite in the city.

Even though all the kids go to Shakespeare and Company, which has its appeal, but it’s a definite tourist stop and Le Merle Moqueur was just a neighborhood bookstore with a great selection of books and paper goods and I got two strands of paper cut outs there that I still have hanging in my house–one of the Eiffel Tower and paper hearts in yellow and orange by my chaise lounge and the other of pale green birds hanging in my bathroom.

I may get another set of paper cut outs.

They are sweet and not a lot of money to buy.

I also will get a hat.

It’s Paris.

You have to get a hat in Paris.

Well.

I have to get a hat in Paris.

I always get great compliments on the cabbie hat I got in the city my visit in 2007.

I still have it and whenever I wear it I do feel just a kiss of Paris.

The last time I wore it to school my friend who gave me a ride said, “nice hat!  You look very French today.”

“I bought it in Paris,” I replied with a smile and adjusted the brim.

“Of course you did.”

I chuckle.

Oh!

I want some tea.

Definitely.

Tea.

From Mariage Freres.

The Earl Grey.

So yummy.

I remember the first time I had it, visiting my person up in Pacific Heights and she was someone who travelled frequently to Paris, being in fashion, how could she not, and she made me a cup and it was divine.

Just a kiss of milk and heaven in a cup.

Yeah, I take a tin home with me for sure.

Perhaps some perfume from duty-free on the way back out, another bottle of Chanel Egoiste.

I still have some from the Chanel Boutique down on Maiden Lane, but it will be gone soon enough and it’s always nice to have a bottle I bought in Paris, in the airport as the size of bottle I want won’t go through security.

Postcards are on the list.

I will send myself one.

I will send many to friends and family.

It’s what I do.

I love snail mail.

There’s something so lovely and deliberate about sitting down and writing a little note and thinking about the person I am writing to, then the placing of the stamp, sealed with a kiss, the dropping it in the post and letting her go.

The time it takes for mail to get from France to here will be longer than the time I am in Paris, so sending myself a postcard is like a lovely little reminder of the adventures I had while away.

Perhaps a small poster from the booksellers along the Seine.

I pair of earrings.

That is always something I do.

I still have the pair I bought at a brocante (flea market) at Square D’Anvers one of the last weekends I was in Paris.

I always think of walking around that market and the sunshine, it was a warm April day, last weekend in April and it was almost hot and the cafes were overflowing and the music of French being spoken all around me, soon.

Soon.

I will be there again.

I am looking forward to it.

And I will be well dressed for it!

I’ll Buy The Ticket

November 3, 2015

If you find us a place to stay.

Oh my fucking God.

I am now on a mission people.

I was chatting with a friend tonight who has not really been to Paris, except to fly through Charles De Gaulle on his way home to San Francisco, who has some vacation time he has to use before the end of the year.

Paris came up.

We looked at tickets.

I talked his ear off.

Art, art, art.

Museum, museum, museum.

I showed him photos of my bicycle in Paris, cafes I used to hang out at, places I walked around, the Rodin museum, the Louvre, the Palais de Tokyo, Musee D’Orsay.

Oh.

My.

God.

SERIOUSLY?

Seriously.

I could be leaving for Paris two days after my birthday and be there the week of Christmas.

My heart just is leaping about my chest.

The Eiffel Tower at night with glitter lights splashed all over it.

Sitting in Odette and Aime over a cafe creme.

Going to the market at Square D’Anvers.

Apples.

Rabbit sausages in a paper packet from the rotisserie.

The ferris wheel in Place de la Concorde.

The one I never got around to riding on, although I so wanted to on my 40th birthday, but I was taken out to a birthday dinner in the Belleville and wasn’t able to make it to the ferris wheel.

I would go this time.

Oh.

Walking through the Tuilleries at dusk.

Going to see old friends at the American Church and crossing over Point d’Alma to the American Cathedral and heading up Rue George V.

Sacre Couer, midnight mass on Christmas Eve.

The singing in Latin.

I would go to my favorite book store in the 20th, Le Merle Moqueur and buy a book or two and also lots of postcards and then promenade through Pere LaChaise cemetery.

I have posted on Facebook, texted a friend, and e-mailed another already before starting this post.

My friend was dead serious.

I find us a place to stay and he’ll buy the tickets.

Holy moly man.

Fuck.

I’m putting out the feelers.

Just to walk around again.

And play tour guide, since I know the city and my friend doesn’t.

It would be fun.

Also, since I was there last I was broke.

So broke and hungry and trying so, so, so hard to make it work and well, everyone here knows the story, it didn’t work, but damn I tried.

I’m grateful it didn’t work.

It wasn’t supposed to, but I leapt and I moved there and I tried it on for size and found it too tight, too constricting, too much effort to just get by, barely, scantily, scraping by.

“I was going to say it, I’m so glad you brought it up, I think it’s time you went home,” she said to me as we finished doing some reading in the book.

I had tears sliding down my face.

I knew she was right.

It was time to go home.

But.

Oh, the humble pie I had to eat.

When I thought I was going to be there so long.

Forever.

Years at least.

A decade probably.

Nope.

Six months.

But still.

How many people give themselves six months in Paris?

Even poor and scraping and just barely getting by, it was six months of walking the streets of one of the most beautiful cities int the world.

Just saying the museum names makes me giddy with delight and childish greed.

I want to eat it.

Let me lick the Kandinsky Accent En Rose in the Pompidou, let me saunter around the Warhol’s at the Musee Moderne.

Let me go to the Musee Marmottan Monet.

Or just let me walk the bridges.

Pont Neuf.

Pont D’Alma.

Walk over the Trocadero and up the stairs to the Passy Metro station.

Or down towards the Seine and out onto the island with the Statue Of Liberty on it.

The things that I would do that I didn’t do or allow myself to do because I was on such a tight budget.

The opera house.

I never did see the Chagall’s there.

Or the new LVMH Gehry museum.

Or eat oysters on the half shell at a cafe.

I could handle that on Christmas eve.

I would go to Cafe Rouge again in the Marais.

I would go to the little shop I found on a twisty, turning, winding bit of road and buy a hat from the millinery shop in the Marais, I believe it might have been on Rue de Victoire, and I felt like I fell down a little rabbit hole of hats and ostrich feathers and fedoras, felts and velvets, and ribbons, and I just touched with such reverence and looking with my eyes and heart.

I swoon thinking about it.

All the sweet treasured spots I have in my heart for the city.

The churches.

The smell of incense and the warmth.

I could always get warm in a church after much walking with cold toes through the streets.

I would go to Place Vosges and sit at the Victor Hugo cafe.

I would have many cafe cremes.

Many, many, many.

I would buy posters and postcards from the book stalls along the Seine.

I would walk through the Garden du Luxembourg at dusk just to hear the gendarmes walking through with their whistles clearing the park.

I would buy some the de Mariage Freres.

Tea.

That is.

I would eat some cheese.

Hello.

And tartar.

Oh.

I would have some tartar thank you very much.

Put it in my mouth.

Sushi face, try steak tartar face.

It’s fun just to sit here and think about the silliness I would get myself up to and sharing it with a friend who’s never been, tres cool.

Oh the delirious thoughts in my head.

The lights at night.

The Christmas lights too.

So beautiful, very different from the United States, but still so pretty.

It would be cold.

But I know what that’s like and I also know to dress warmer then I did when I was living there.

Mwahahahaha.

I just got pinged.

Message from a friend in Paris with a studio near the Eiffel Tower.

She’s looking for a rental, but I bet a good price could happen.

I don’t know that it’s a fit.

But, it’s a start.

And worth investigating.

The hunt is on.

And hey.

If you know of anyone who’s looking to do a San Francisco swap, my friend has a great big gorgeous room in an awesome house out by Ocean Beach, he’s open to a swap.

Hell.

If I could swap my place too I would, but my housemate isn’t into it.

Anyway.

Paris?

Christmas?

What do you say Universe?

I’ve been a really good girl this year.

Pretty, pretty please.

With the Eiffel Tower on top.

Change of Plans

April 13, 2013

Nope.

Not going to do it.

Not going to wait in line.

I know I only have a few more weeks left in Paris, just over two, to be exact, but I cannot bring myself to wait in line for an exhibit, even if it is free, even if it is couture, I just could not do it.

Besides, I was to meet with Corinne at 4 p.m. and I did not have the wiggle room in my schedule to wait even had I wanted to.

I went for a walk along the Seine and did one of my favorite things instead, I perused the book stalls.  I bought some post cards and I got a few small posters.

All for less than 15 Euro.

I also picked up the requested magnet to bring to my friend’s fridge in Rome–ie rent for the three days I am there.

“What are you going to do in Rome?” I was asked earlier.

Fuck if I know.

I am just going to go.

I know it is a beautiful place, and I hear it is warm and sunny.  I am very much down for the warm and sunny bit.  Since my friend does tour guiding I don’t feel like I have to do much research here, I will show up, get off the plane and let myself be led.

And should I just end up sitting in a cafe, well, then, that’s not too bad either, sitting in a cafe in Rome sounds pretty damn tight actually.

I was going through the Paris tour books in the flat this morning as I ate my oatmeal and had my morning coffee, I was thinking about what I should do and where I should go and I got tired of looking at the photographs, and the suggestions, and the maps, and the go here, do this.

Tired.

I tossed the books aside and said screw it, I am done trying to figure out what more I can do while I am here.  Just being here is enough.

I have done a lot of living here and I have seen a lot of the monuments and like a person who actually lives here I am no longer much of a fan of the places that curate to the tourist.

I do not want to deal with crowds.

I do not want to stand in line.

I am just about museum’ed out.

I have been to the D’Orsay, twice, the Orangerie, the Louvre, the Pompidou, the Rodin, Musee Branly, the Musee Marmottan-Monet, the Dali museum, and Musee Carnvalet.

I think I have pretty much covered what I want to see as far as museums go.

I do not have a desire to see Versailles, though I hear it is worth the trip.

I just do not feel like taking a full day trip outside of Paris, aside from exploring Saint Germain-en-Laye when I go out to Chambourcy in two weeks.  That will be my quiet time retreat to get centered before I return state side.

I found myself plugging in the co-ordinates to the house sitting gig I am doing and Graceland where I will be staying as well as the nanny gig, and I realized, yes, once again my sense of direction is not really direct.

There is a difference between street and avenue in Oakland.

The gig is on 42nd Street.

Graceland is on 51st Avenue.

I google mapped it and it is not 9 blocks away.

Ack.

It is 7.7 miles away.

Well, fuck me.

Then I thought, you know, that’s not so bad.

Fuck me.

Oh well.

Actually, it is not so bad.  It means exercise, and exercise for me is a good thing.  It means riding my bike.  Although I am sure for the first few times out I will probably take BART to get back and forth.  I am actually looking forward to riding.  The legs are a little rusty.

Rain in Paris is lovely and I like walking in it.

Riding my bicycle?

Not so much.

I have my fingers crossed that tomorrow will actually dawn bright and sunny and in the 70s as the weather forecast has promised all week.

There have been pockets of sunshine, got to step out to the park yesterday with the kids in Asniers Sur Seine, but then it blew over and hailed and thundered and flash flood rain and lightening.

It was exciting, but not really bicycle weather.

Should it actually be sunny, I plan on taking out the bike.  I will ride from the 9th into the 7th and hang out there for a while.  I have a commitment to take care of, my last time there, and two coffee dates back to back at La Tour Eiffel Cafe afterwards.

Yes, it is near the Eiffel Tower.

No, I will not be going there.

I was thinking, rather, either a trip out to Bois de Bologne.

Or.

A bicycle ride through the Marais.

I have not been there in a while and the draw of the small streets and the eclectic shops was calling to me as I skirted around Hotel de Ville trying to find the entrance to the couture exhibit.  I did briefly think about popping in and out, but time being tight I decided to just walk the Seine.

Book Stall

Book Stall

I rambled up both the Left and the Right Banks crossing over a couple of the bridges, until I found the spot I got my magnet, posters, and post-cards from.

Then I dropped down the stairs and hit the RER C and went to Pont d’Alma to ramble over to 65 Quai D’Orsay.

After a check in with Corinne and some quality time seeing people I dearly love and cherish.

Funny that, how fast you can connect with someone and create a community and love another, so much, it brings tears to your eyes to even begin to say good-bye.

“You’ll be back,” she said and hugged me tighter.

Yes, I will.

When?

To tell you the truth, I don’t know.

I am uncertain how the rest of this falls out.

I am, however, excited to be still in one spot for a while.  To live and breathe and speak English, to not make an ass out myself in French, to get a manicure/pedicure that does not cost 50 Euro.

50 Euro!

Not that I have gone and done it, that’s just the average price you see listed on the few places that do offer the service.

I am not going to dwell long on what will happen next or where I will go next.

I am still here, still in Paris, still abroad, and despite not really being a tourist, I am putting my tourist pants on. Getting out the camera a little more and really asking myself if there is anything I have not done that I must do.

Stay present minded and enjoy the view is all that really comes up.

The view, well, it’s pretty good.

Here in Paris.

Invalides

Invalides

Gitanes and Coffee

February 19, 2013

“Am I really sitting here in Paris at a cafe with you and Cliff?”  He said with a wide smile on his face, “drinking coffee and smoking Gitanes?”

REALLY?

Yes, yes you are.

Smoking Kills

Smoking Kills

His suitcase was to my left and his plate of quiche was to my right.

“My God!  This tastes amazing!”

He said gleefully, taking another forkfull into his mouth with a wide smile, “does all the food taste this good?”

“It better for as much as it costs,” my friend to my left stated with a wry smile.

I love Bert’s, but it is expensive, unless you are just getting a coffee and there they have it nailed.

1.70 Euro for a cafe Americaine.

That is the cheapest coffee I have found anywhere.

The quiche, however, is another story.

But my friend was happy eating it, then having a coffee and a smoke.  The traffic, both cars and foot, verdant on this sunny day in Paris.

A day fraught with the threaten of Spring.

It is not here, but I feel it just there on the horizon.

The sun was out, it was not grey, I told my friend he brought the good weather with him.

After getting him to his hotel, making plans to meet later in the evening and having already done what I needed to do today to take care of the insanity, as a good friend said, “the monkey is off my back, but the circus is still in town,” I had three hours suddenly on my hands.

I left my friend and decided to take a walk along the Seine.

I got to see the Eiffel Tower from a vantage point I had not seen.

I got photograph happy.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

I walked along discovering new things to see, being swathed in sunshine, giggling, almost out loud, to myself at my sudden freedom to just be taking a walk on a Monday afternoon in Paris.

There were very few people out and I felt as though I had a secret entrée to a part of the city I had not really seen before.

I knew there were tourists about, I could spot one or two of them, but the majority of people I saw were locals doing what locals do, out enjoying the winter bright sun bouncing light gold bangles off the Seine.

I walked toward La Libertie.

I have seen it.

But I had not seen it up close.

I did not realize that there was a little spit of land in the middle of the Seine, a walking park.

On one end La Libertie stood blazing in the light.

La Libertie

La Libertie

 

There were a few people at the foot of the statue sitting with their faces glowing in the sunshine.

The base of the sculpture provided a wind block and caught up the heat of the sun.  A perfect place to sit and smoke a cigarette with a girlfriend.

The men walking their little dogs.

A mother playing with a son.

The water rushing past.

So quiet.

No one had a camera but me.

I felt like I really had stumbled upon a magic spot.

As though there is so little magic in Paris.

This sudden understated surprise, this strip of land in the middle of the river with La Libertie on one end, then the view of the Eiffel Tower on the other.  Down the center a path lined by trees, green moss on the trunks, green grass molding to the hill, faded mint green painted benches.

River Path

River Path

I traipsed slowly along, taking in both sides of the river, happy in my silence.  Smothered in light, saturated with simple happiness.

I practised saying it out loud.

“Je suis hereux.”

I am not sure if that is correct.

But I said it anyway, softly, under my breath.

I am lucky.

I am happy.

I am walking in the pre-Spring afternoon light on some little island in the middle of the Seine that I did not know until I was on it, was there.

I was in a movie.

No, I was in Paris.

No, I am in Paris.

Yes.

I am in Paris.

Then this quiet violin trill rose into the air.

Ah, yes, thank you, I was looking for the score to my soundtrack.

I walked further and saw him, under the bridge, case open in front of him, head bowed, eyes closed in a squint, chin pressed down, he pulled the bow across the strings and the warble of the melody bounced off the roof of the bridge and spilled out in a puddle of notes at my feet as I walked past, batting my eyes at the change from light to dark as I went under the stone archway.

Violinist

Violinist

The song of the violin stayed with me and I walked further, coming to the end of the island I climbed up the stairs and marveled back again at the park, the trees, the sun, the violin music still slipping through the air.

My new favorite place to walk in Paris.

Discovered simply because I said, sure, I will get you back to your hotel, happy to be of service.  And I really am, glad to be a help, grateful that all those days walking and getting lost and navigating the Metro can let me be helpful to another.

Then I discovered my next newest most favorite of places, the bridge way by Metro Line 6 Passy.  It was almost too much goodness.  I kept taking photographs.  I could not stop.

Bridgeway

Bridgeway

The lights especially, the drops of glass, the wrought iron curlicues.

I was enamored.

Lamps

Lamps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Replete with my walk I hopped the Metro back to the house.

I did a quick trip to the market, did a little laundry, downloaded the photographs (I took over 100 today), did some editing on them, then left to return to meet my friend.

We connected, walked, wandered, and whiled away the evening.

It was divine.

Yes, that is you smoking Gitanes and drinking coffee in Paris, and I am so happy I get to show you my city.

It is dazzling.

Dazzle

Dazzle

Welcome, to my home.

 

 

 

 


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