Sunday, June 2, 2013

This is perfect! I moved into my second apartment yesterday (a different apartment and arrondisement each month).

Living room window

There is something so right about this one. I didn't realize it at first. It is very noisy - looking out on one of the main drags of Paris (Blvd. Montparnasse). There's a Century 21 office right across the street and a McDonald's a block away, but by the next morning I realized that I finally felt as though I were in Paris.

This one's for Alix - yes that's the dreaded
Montparnasse Tower lurking behind the tree
as seen from my window

The other apartment was in such a picturesque area and plenty of "real" Parisians live there, but there were so many tourists! There are plenty of tourists here, but it feels more like the city that Parisians experience. I immediately feel more comfortable and relaxed, even though it is so busy and noisy (loud music coming through the window as I write). I'm glad that Alix got to experience the other area. I think it was perfect for someone who has never been here, but now I'm immediately happier.

Musee de Antoine Bourdelle

Three blocks away is one of my favorite little museums in the old studio of Antoine Bourdelle - a protege of Rodin. I needed to kill some time while the cleaning woman got the apartment ready. I love this museum for the place itself, not because I'm so enamored of Bourdelle's work. Unfortunately, my favorite room was closed for a private lecture - but the museum is free and so close that I can stop by anytime.

Window of Bourdelle's studio

I have to stop taking pictures of windows. I could spend my whole time here taking pictures of windows!

In one of the Bourdelle Museum gardens

I was feeling sick to my stomach for a couple of days before I left the other apartment. I had eaten at a cafe after going to a poetry reading and my steak had been served with a green peppercorn sauce that had tasted exactly like the cleaning liquid used in public bathrooms smells. I had taken a tiny taste and wondered if I'd been mistaken, so I took another taste. Oh my god, it was like tasting Lysol! I didn't eat any more - luckily it was in a separate bowl but maybe it was why I was sick. All the rest of the meal was fine.

The view up the street

Anyway, I didn't eat for a while and had a lot of food left in the refrigerator, so I hauled it to the new apartment. When I got back after the trip to the museum, it was all gone - unopened bottle of wine, a melon, ham, cheese, butter, jam, etc. The cleaning woman had taken it all! So I had to head out and buy it all over again.

Me in my new apartment -
I actually thought I was smiling -
maybe I'm not capable of raising the corners of my mouth!

Something interesting about this place is that there's no true privacy. The curtains in the living room and the bedroom are very gauzy - letting in lots of light (Alix would not have been able to sleep) and if someone were trying to see you, I'm sure they could. But the shower has a big window at the end of it and no curtain or shade and it looks out on a courtyard with lots of apartments looking on to it. Only a few windows look on the shower directly, but a few is enough!

Bedroom window

I took a shower today and all the windows I could see were closed up tight with shutters. Whether that is a Sunday thing - maybe business windows - I'll find out tomorrow!

Perry Eaton - Sugpiaq Alutiiq (Kodiak Alaska) artist

When I last posted on the blog, the sun had come out and I was going to an art opening and a poetry reading. I was hoping it would be dry. By the time I got out of the Metro, it was raining and it never stopped. I went to an exhibit of the work of three artists from Alaska - recommended to me by Pat Partnow - one of my roommates freshman year in college (who hosted out mini-reunion in Anchorage last summer). I just love the masks (Pat has a beautiful one at her home - with loons - that I covet!). I had a wonderful talk with Perry, who explained the cosmology behind the masks. What I didn't think to ask him was how he ended up with the non-native name Eaton - the name of my Welsh ancestors.

Unopened peonies at a shop
near the art gallery

I was late getting to the poetry reading - the Metro station where I was supposed to transfer was closed and I had to take a circuitous route - and I didn't hear the full reading by Heather Hartley, the poet I'd gone to hear. But what I heard, I liked a lot - one more chapbook added to the collection! The reading was in a cafe with a glass roof and when the second poet was reading, the skies totally opened up with a clap of thunder and it got a little difficult to hear. I didn't care for the second poet, who was totally enthralled with herself and seemed sure that she was blessing us with her presence. Forgive me if I'm wrong and being snotty. (Went to a reading like that in Sebastopol once - gag me!)

Sacre Coeur in the rain

One of the nice things about the rain is that it certainly clears out the crowds. These steps are normally covered with people - day and night. There would normally be fifty people on that reflection!

Reflection of Sacre Coeur

Probably my last photo of Sacre Coeur - unless I take one with Andrew, since he's really looking forward to seeing it. Andrew is learning about god - growing up in an atheist/agnostic household, god's not discussed much - because he's learning about the churches he'll be seeing when he's here. He told Ellen that he believes in god and that god sometimes rides a bicycle.

Oops, no, maybe this is my last Sacre Coeur photo

I guess I'll try to clear out some of my other Montmartre photos while I ramble on.

My camera was stolen right under these windows

I don't know how many of you have read any Annie Proulx - I'd only read Shipping News years ago and enjoyed it and I know my Aunt Connie doesn't like her, though I think that has something to do with her personally. Anyway, I just read Bird Cloud and, let me tell you, don't bother. Poorly written and boring - no I'm really not interested in the endless saga of searching for someone to give you the perfect finish for your custom concrete floors (don't you love hearing this from someone who is writing a blog about her daily doings?!)

The Amelie restaurant windmill

Anyway, I read it because it is "a memoir of place" and I usually like those. I found myself incredibly bored with that place. I followed it up with Willa Cather's My Antonia - which I'd read about 50 years ago - and that was a true memoir of place. She could write about looking at nothing but grass and really make you feel it. What a contrast!

Flower shop on the back side of Montmartre

But I'm writing about the book because she gives a few incidents that remind me that the government used to occasionally work for "us" and against the "rich!" Sometimes. There was a time (probably is again) when Wyoming - where the book takes place - was "a haven for eagle killers." In the 60's and 70's they killed so many that there were piles of them - claimed the eagles were killing the sheep. The FBI actually set up a sting to catch the killers (all rich and powerful men). Now, of course, the stings are against people who would dare to spy on and report such things. Total flip of the system.

More graffiti

Anyway, the Dept. of the Interior began the prosecution of one of the more prominent men (can you imagine such a thing today - aren't eagles an exploitable resource?), though he died in an automobile accident before the trial. But what's important to note is that the killings almost completely stopped after that prosecution started. Sounds as though we need a little more prosecution of prominent men, not the harassment of people who report on the mistreatment of animals in slaughterhouses and the like!

Stall at the all-organic farmers market

Today I went to an organic picnic held in a park along the Seine. I wasn't exactly in a position to bring food I'd made, so I went to the all-organic farmers market held every Sunday a short distance from my new apartment (there are others around the city on different days). I bought a pissaladiere (onion tart) and some organic wine for the picnic and bought some wild maritime lavender honey for myself.

People hanging out at the Taste organic picnic
- there were lots of strawberries

Since I'm not someone who goes up to people I don't know and introduces myself - I need Alix or Alice or almost anyone else (except Ellen) for that - so I just sat down and ate by myself. But shortly a woman (just a few years older than I am) sat down next to me and asked in French if I minded. Turns out that, though she's lived in Paris since 1979, before that she lived in Occidental for ten years. So we had a great time talking about all the things we had in common - she's a friend of JJ's at The Sitting Room (The Sitting Room is still her official US address). We had lots of tangential stuff and we ended up talking for hours.

  Taste organic picnic

Anyway, I had a good time, though I didn't talk with anyone else. I did try to introduce myself to the guy who organized it, but he was too busy. There were the usual "my dog's more important than anyone" French people - letting dogs off leash and creating havoc. One dog stuck his head in someone's bag and found a bowl of food, so the dog owner pulled the bowl out and gave it to the dog!

Blurry French bee on a Philadelphus - no Round-Up, I presume

Dogs are apparently allowed everywhere here - the Metro, restaurants, etc. - and they are often off-leash. I've watched them wander into the street in front of cars without any alarm from their owners. And the makes aren't altered - wouldn't want to deny them their masculinity. There is a sign put up by the sanitation department that says "We're very good, but we aren't miracle workers. We can't follow you around and pick up after your dog."

Sacre Coeur again

Okay, I promise, this is the last, but I love the colors and can't remember whether I've already posted it.

Old sign outside a bookstore -
must once have been a tailor

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for taking us into your life in Paris. Every photo and experience you post brings up something for me there too. I am so happy for you and your experiences. Your photos continue to dazzle my eyes and blow my mind. Health problems raise new challenges and fears for me so tripping through Paris with you is a special delight. I've walked and photographed so many of the streets you show us here and I'm really glad you are at Montparnasse - as crazy as it is there, there is something special about that area. My friend Denise lived about a 10 minute walk up rue des Rennes from there. Kathy