Thursday, May 30, 2013

Surprise! Pouring rain today. Actually, they're predicting a spate of good weather. That will be a first. The month of May was washed out.

Jules Verne themed carousel at Parc Monceau

I bought myself a little point and shoot camera, which I figured I'd eventually turn over to Ellen because she wants one, but, of course, all the instructions and warnings and settings are in French, which is hard enough for me and would be harder for her.  Half the time I don't know what the camera is telling me.

Parc Monceau

I decided to check out Parc Monceau - I'd never been there on previous visits to Paris. It is a lovely park created for rich people and their children in a neighborhood for, of course, the rich. It's quite beautiful, as is the neighborhood. It was after school and the park was filled with children of all ages, running and playing pickup soccer and having a grand time. The only ones on their cellphones were the parents and nannies.

The side of a car with street reflections

The park is full of benches and there were lots of adults just sitting and relaxing - enjoying the break from the rain. I sat for a long time, too. Lovely to have nowhere to be and nothing to do.

Still a few tulips left

Right outside the park gates, representatives of Kraft (boo! hiss!) were handing out free packets of Oreos along with discount coupons. They did make sure they had the permission of an adult before handing them to kids. There were lots of Oreos being eaten in the park. I know that France has banned GMOs, though I don't know the details, and wondered if these Oreos could possibly be GMO-free. And if they are, shouldn't we be able to get them, too? I've been studying the package, but can't figure it out. It's in many languages, but not in English, and the print is so tiny I can't read much of it anyway. 

Lots of great windows in Paris

There's a huge Magpie - at least I think that's what it is - on a branch right outside my window at the moment. There are always lots of wood pigeons, as well, and they are always on tiny branches which barely hold them. They always look as though they should be thinking of moving to something more secure, but they never do.

View from where I'm sitting - on a sunnier day

One of the nice things about this apartment is how many birds there are. They start up a chorus every day before sunrise - about 4:30 am - and it always wakes me up. I listen for a little while and then go back to sleep. It's lovely.

More Parisian windows

Yesterday I went out to St. Denis, just outside the city, to see the Basilique St. Denis, where most of the kings and queens are buried and dedicated to the patron saint of Paris.

I do love cathedrals

St. Denis is one of the earliest examples of Gothic architecture. I think that the people who came up with these cathedrals were certainly inspired, though whether divinely so is open to question. Every time I'm in one, my atheist self can understand the inspiration religious people feel when they are in one. I just love visiting them.

 Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette worshipping

Needless to say, I'm not so thrilled with what the "church" did to betray the average person's awe. It does remind me of the Bush administration and their choice of the phrase "Shock and Awe" to describe the bombing of Iraq and all the religious implications in that choice of the word "awe."

 Not easy to see - but this is the final resting
place of Marie Antoinette (for Alix)

It was interesting to sit outside this cathedral at a cafe across the square. The area is heavily Muslim and it is a bit of jolt to see them walking past this bit of French history.

St. Denis

Paris is a greater mix of cultures than even New York, I think. I've seen quite a few people stopped by the police here - in the Metro, on the streets, in their cars - and the people stopped have always been people of color. These French cops seem to go their American counterparts one better. And, of course, the only criminals I've encountered were lily white.

More St. Denis

Divine right of kings, I guess.

Walking the rue de Rivoli, on my way to a poetry reading,
after the Metro broke down

I went to another poetry reading at an English pub. I can't remember the names of the poets (though I could look them up). One was from Sweden, though he now writes in English. I found him a little too flip, but pleasant enough to listen to. The other was a woman from England. I enjoyed her a lot more - she had a long poem and a dream and a convertible, which was fun and clever and thought-provoking at the same time. She had come over from London just for the one day to recite.

More Parisian windows

There was also a photography exhibit which was embarrassing to see, it was so amateurish. Every single photograph would have been deleted from my camera - actually would never have been taken in the first place.

Music at the cafe on the corner

On the way home, I stopped for a while at the cafe on the corner where a man was playing his guitar and people were dancing in the street. Even when the weather is not great, things like this happen here.

Everything is "around the corner"
from this apartment

I love the way almost every block has its pool of light coming from a cafe. The action spills out on to the street because the places are so small - though I imagine that could be a problem for people living nearby. Unless it's raining, the cafes seem to be busy every night of the week.

The remaining windmills of Montmartre

Not the best time of day for a shot of these windmills, but I love the geometry. I have never seen the movie "Amelie" but the restaurant below the closer windmill is supposed to be where she worked.

Looking down on my favorite spot
for a glass of wine

This restaurant/cafe is halfway up the hill from the Abbesses Metro station - the one I use the most. Though it's mostly tourists, just like at the top of the hill, it has less of a frantic "aren't we excited we're in Paris?" feel to it. Probably because my glass of Chiroubles costs 6.5 euros instead of 5.

My glass of Chiroubles

The terrace looks down the hill and between some buildings and out over Paris, but you have to look closely to see the church spires and the gold dome. You could be almost anywhere, except where would there be blooming red chestnut trees overhead, the studio of Picasso off to the right, someone in the distance playing "La Vie en Rose" on an accordion, the German tourists next to you communicating in English with the French waiter, the cobblestones, and the spot where a young couple stole your camera right down the block?

 The cafe if you look up

I'm headed out to an art opening and a poetry reading and it looks as though the skies are clearing - I hope. The places aren't anywhere near each other and several convoluted metro transfers apart.

Of course


  1. It does not seem to matter what kind of camera you have in your hands, you are an inspired photographer. Beautiful - from angle to color you see beyond the vision of most.

    Yous is a nostalgic trip for me .... thank you, Kathy

    1. Thank you, Kathy. You know I love it, but I claim no credit for the windows that are blue and pink and yellow, all in the same photo! Glad it happened, but how?! Sometimes you just get lucky.

  2. I don't understand the appeal of good religious art and music for us atheists either, but it is so compelling. I think the real spirituality

  3. ...and sincerity of the artists is what is so appealing. Plus, as secular people, we can equate beauty with the natural world. Sorry for the

  4. ...split up post, but I keep getting booted! Your photos do look great.