A suncatcher/hanging I gave to PJ for his birthday yesterday. It is a fairy resting on a crescent moon. I found it when I went shopping a couple months ago at the Marché aux Fleurs.
I’ve taken a week off of blogging at my site here after officially completing the writing of 63,523 words for this blog during the month of November during the NaNoWriMo challenge. I was pretty pooped after all that writing. Still, I have missed coming here and posting with great frequency and voluminocity. According to spell-check, “voluminocity” is not a word. I am sure it is supposed to be something boring like “volume” or “voluminousness.” Yup, those ones check out. But “voluminocity” feels like a good word — a combo of “volume” and “velocity.” That’s the word I want to describe what I felt like for the month of November here.
Now, as to organizing my thoughts and so on here for a post today. *Throws up hands in futility* No way. It is just not going to happen. I am, per usual, going to be all over the place. I have bookmarks and open tabs on my browser just waiting for a mention here. Like so many Post-It Notes randomly stuck to my internal thought landscape, I cannot seem to make semblance of them. So I might as well just jump in and write about some of the things on my brain today and this past week.
For weeks now, I have wanted to update my blogroll on my top page of this blog. I finally went through my Google Reader (GR) and put links in for the blogs I have been frequenting the most of late via subscriptions in GR.
I am totally sold on GR to organize my blog reading, by the way. If you have not tried it, you should. I just discovered it is really hard to copy a link for GR without logging out. You should go to reader.google.com. There is an article endorsing it here, too: Top 100 Tools – Google Reader. If you already have a G Mail account, you can log in and start adding subscriptions. I have yet to figure out how to organize my subscriptions there, but just having them in a list in all one place is tremendous!
I hope you will check out the blogroll, though. There are some really great blogs there on not only Paris, but on gluten-free living and also blogs I like, just because I do. I will add more as there are a few I think I might have missed in GR, and also as I pick up on more interesting blogs to share. If you would like to share a favorite “must read” blog with me, too, please do.
One of my listed blogs in my blogroll of sites I read about Paris is BonjourParis.com. I have not subscribed to the site as the subscription fee is a bit steep for me right now, but I do get their free email updates each week. I really enjoy reading the articles posted there, and I think it is one of the better sites giving information about Paris. There were a couple of articles of great interest to me that I have wanted to link and write about.
Remarkable French Women
First was this article written by Jesse Kornbluth, “Sixteen Remarkable Parisian Women“. Kornbluth reviews the book Paris and her Remarkable Women: A Guide by Lorraine Liscio. Out of the 16, Kornbluth highlights Camille Claudel and mentions Genevieve (the patron saint of Paris), Christine de Pizan (the first professional woman writer in France), Emilie de Breuteil (Madame du Chatelet, Voltaire’s lover), Elisabeth Le Brun (known for her portraits of Marie Antoinette) and Simone de Beauvoir, the last woman written about in the book by Liscio.
I just added it to my Amazon wish list. I doubt anyone ever looks at that list but for me :), but I like knowing it is there for future reference. For the day when I am rich and famous and can buy books at Amazon.
Colette and Chéri
Next was an article also by Jesse Kornbluth about the French author Colette. In a post called “Chéri and The Last of Chéri” Kornbluth details the racy-for-its-day-and-age (and perhaps today, too!), novels Chéri, and it’s companion sequel The Last of Chéri (sold as one novel at Amazon).
Chéri is the story of Léa de Lonval and her young lover Fred — known by his nickname, Chéri — the son of her former courtesan rival, Charlotte Peloux. The tale of what unravels once Chéri is set to be wed to a suitable girl closer to his age.
I really enjoyed reading Kornbluth’s review for one, but also, earlier this year, a film version starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Rupert Friend (Keira Knightley’s BF, if the gossip columnists are still up-to-date) directed by Stephen Frears was released.
I enjoyed the film. It was a well-done period piece, which means it looked very pretty. Kathy Bates played Madame Paloux, and I always enjoy her performances. Michelle Pfeiffer at 50 is luminous, and Rupert Friend plays Chéri with just the right touch of youth and wealthy spoiledness. It’s definitely a chick flick — lots of period frou-frou clothing and people talking in British accents. Some people would be bored to tears with it, I am certain (heh, like PJ who put in in the DVD player to fall asleep to). I enjoyed Colette’s novel brought to life.
What’s more is that I discovered cinema walks for Paris. PJ actually found the link for me at the Maire de Paris website, Paris.fr. The cinema walks guide page is here: Parcours cinéma (Paris Film Trails). The downloadable PDF file for the movie version of Chéri and The Last of Chéri by Stephen Frears is here: Chéri Paris Film Trail PDF.
Other Paris Film Trails include Le Petit Nicolas, La Môme (the French title of La Vie en Rose, with Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard as singer Edith Piaf), Cédric Klapisch’s Paris, and Rush Hour 3 (*giggle* starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker).
I’d like to try one of these walks myself soon. Of course if I do, you will know about it here. 🙂
New Friends & Christmastime in Paris
I have met a French friend! She is actually not my first French friend, but is a friend of that French friend. (LOL – cracking myself up here.)
PJ dated some when we were trying to work out how and when a relationship with one another might be possible. One of the women he went out with is named Karine. A couple of weekends ago, I went to her birthday party. While there I met another of her friends named Priscilla.
This past week Priscilla and I met for coffee and we decided to go and have a look at the decorated windows at the two department stores the Galaries Lafayette and Printemps, which are on the Right Bank in the 9th arrondissement on Boulevard Haussmann (yeah, the guy who re-did all of Paris at the behest of Napoleon III, thus making Paris what it looks like today).
Here is Priscilla at the Buttes Chaumont park. She had never been there before. She is from one of Paris’ suburbs and just never had been in the area much. I was happy to show it to her!
We took the Métro Line 7 from Stalingrad to M° Chausée d’Antin La Fayette. That stop exits directly on Blvd Hausmann.
From Google Maps: View Larger Map
Here are some of the photos I took that afternoon/evening. You can see the full set at Flickr at this link.
Dolls with Gifts
The Galaries Lafayette Lights
Lights and Ornaments
Lush Window Displays
The Printemps theme was a Russian Christmas.
Printemps, from the corner of Rue Tronchet and Boulevard Haussman.
Just before Priscilla and I headed south on Rue Tronchet, there was a man creating this work of art on the sidewalk with pastels. It was several feet high (maybe 12? So, about 4 meters or so).
Everything there is done up in pink. They are purveyors of everything from wines, coffee, and loose tea to chocolates; from foie gras to mustards and macarons. It’s pretty much a (weathly) Foodie Heaven. No, I did not buy and try anything. It was not only the cash, but the food intolerances keeping me at bay this time.
I have to say that the smell of the teas was phenomenal.
We stopped in to look at the Thé Mariage Frères at the Place de la Madeleine as well. The store there is really unique in its set up, a much more intimate setting for a tea shop than the one on Rue Fabourgh Saint-Honoré, which Tess and I visited. It did not smell as good as Fauchon, but I liked the atmosphere there because of the intimacy. It was a little more “touristy” than the one in the 8th arr., though.
Paris writer Meg Zimbeck has written a little about Fauchon for her Budget Travel postings here, Brigitte Bardot on an Eclair, and here, Food Gifts that are Light on Everything But Calories. I have her blog listed on the blogrolls I updated today, too. Check her out; she has a wealth of info on the city.
Priscilla and I are trading languages. She wants help with her fluency in English, and I just plain need to learn French, so we are a good match. She is job-hunting now, and is doing a lot of interviews, but I think we are going to meet again tomorrow.
More Christmas Lights in Paris
Last week, PJ and I also saw these scenes as we went to see films at the UGC Georges V and Normandie on the Champs-Elysées.
Looking down to the Place de La Concorde.
Not lit up for Christmas, but the captured light on the sidewalks looking towards the l’Arc de Triomphe reflects nicely.
Pedestrians across from the UCG Normandie.
And the simpler, yet still beautiful lights on the streets near our neighborhood.
It is feeling right to stop here. I still have some thoughts, such as sharing about some of the films PJ and I have seen, like a Paris premiere showing of “Where the Wild Things Are” with director Spike Jonze and actor Max Records introducing the picture, and “The Road” with Viggo Mortensen. I have other stuff on the brain, too, like getting into order my Flickr photo sets and descriptions, something I am sorely not good at doing. I have some thoughts on professionalism and ambition concerning that, and my photography, and keep thinking about this from Oscar Wilde I heard in a movie or TV show (maybe CSI?) in the past couple of days: “Ambition is the last refuge of failure” (source here). Hahahaha! Love Oscar.
Yeah, anyways, I guess I am just feeling by looking at what other people do with their Flickr accounts and blogs, I really fall short of what I *could* be doing, but then I think about the wonderful Wilde quote up there and think, “Meh.” To be less than ambitious is not a bad thing.
I hope some of these photos have inspired you, though. I know a lot of people that just cannot abide the holiday season with all its hooplah any more. I get it; I can be Scrooge-y, too. But this year? I am feeling the sprouts of holiday liking growing in my heart, kind of like this bulb of garlic I planted in our pretty pathetic planters outside our window:
It was a bulb that started to sprout that I stuck in there kind of as a joke, just to see what would happen. I mean, these are what’s in our planters right now:
but more dead (there were two Impatiens plants in it at one time, a pink and purple).
I know, I know, I should throw some geraniums or something in there. What can I say? PJ and I are seriously, SERIOUSLY ghetto when it comes right down to it. Kinda white trashy is what we are in a lot of respects and here we are, living in the city that represents the very ANTITHESIS of white trash and ghetto, HA! Part of me feels this ghetto-esqueness with pride, like TAKE THAT, snooty Paris! We are ghetto and we belong here, too!!
I mean, that is the angle I should take this blog. Ghetto Paris Living: How to do it. Hee hee hee hee!
Anyways, we are pretty normal is all I am saying and the other Paris blogs out there seem to take this kind of fancy-shmancy attitude because people want to believe in some kind of DREAM about Paris that sort of exists, and a lot of blogs “out there” emphasize and promote this dreamlike quality (not naming names here, but you can probably guess which ones by a quick glance at that blogroll have posted). When it comes right down to it, I do not want that kind of a blog.
I just don’t.
So hmmmmm, before I get going on that bunny trail, I had better sign off. But at least you know where my head is at with this whole Paris blog thing these days. I’m kind of grumpy with it, in fact. Okay. Maybe later this week I can wax prosaic with all of that. In the meantime, you kids be good.
Over and out.
an alien parisienne
Updated — Wednesday 9 December
These are the Impatiens during this past summer. I posted this photo on my second blog here, and I was re-reading it this morning as I linked it in a comment to Ken down in the comments. I had to laugh! They looked so very pretty. So I thought I would post this photo here in this blog, again. They were a one year anniversary (from when I moved in with him) present from PJ. I know Impatiens are not supposed to last very long, but I keep hoping it is not a portend. I think we need to get some sturdier perennials in those planters, eh?? 🙂