Le Floris Brasserie, 44 rue Jean-Baptiste, Pigalle 75009
Paul and I went here to kill time before an appointment a couple of weeks ago.
Greetings everyone! It’s Tuesday again, a day that is becoming my “default day” to try to post something. Still trying to find my rhythm here on An Alien Parisienne. Sometimes the only way into a rhythm is just to jump in, huh, so here I go. *SPLASH*
Today I thought I would go through Flickr and choose some photos to show and share some stories. There is no central blog topic that is itching to be written about inside of me, although I have a couple of Paris Walks I’ve done in the past month, one with PJ and the other with Peter of Peter’s Paris. I’m just not in the headspace nor do I have the time to really do either justice in an all-out post right now, though, so I am going to just touch on where we went very briefly and recap some of the things I have done in recent weeks, since Easter weekend. I may be able to do something more comprehensive later. I hope I do. I want to make all the little Google map images with stars marking the places to go and so on. I like doing those! It’s not for now, though.
In addition, as you may recall, the fMIL is arriving, hopefully at the end of the week, depending on how flights have recovered from Eyjafjallajökull’s (say that, three times fast) ash cloud, which froze air travel for five days as fears of airplanes’ flying though the plume and getting silica in the engines and crashing were justified. Hopefully her flight will be on track by that time. I’m glad I don’t work in the airline industry right now, though. Ugh. What a mess…
I’m still in cleaning mode, too. Laundry has been washed for the week (one small load of whites remains), the tub has been scrubbed, I’m hopefully finishing the floors this afternoon, and the toilet and sink will be cleaned tomorrow, after PJ shaves, which always leaves gunky junk in the sink. Not criticizing — just saying. Those of you with dudes in your life who don’t wear beards and therefore shave know what I’m talking about. Just a part of life. Even in Paris. Imagine that — toilets and sinks need cleaning, even in a place like Paris. Can you imagine?! (That’s all oozing with sarcasm, just in case you were taking all of that seriously. *snort* I am rolling my eyes, too!)
What I am getting at is that I just need to POST already, as I have other things I want to get done.
I already shared this photo on the previous blog. It really is such a pretty one of the Tour Eiffel, huh, so I thought I would show it again. It’s the view from my friend Tess’ apartment in the 16th arrondissement.
What I keep thinking about is how darn cute my friend Tess’ new place is. She recently moved into a two room apartment from a one room studio, which was furnished and so she had to leave the furnishings behind. What this also meant for Tess is that she got to start from scratch and get everything brand-spanking new from Ikea to set up her new place. At the beginning of the month, I went to visit her at her new apartment and took some photos as it was just so darn cute. I am so happy she is in a new place! It was a needed change for her, and the vibe of her new apartment is so much better than before.
The idea of her getting to furnish her place from scratch at Ikea sends me into paroxysms of both pleasure and jealousy! So there you go, two of the Seven Deadlies are covered with this story. (Greed and Envy, for sure. I could probably even stretch into Extravagance/Lust and Gluttony, too, considering where the story goes.)
Check out how cute everything is! (Photos below.) I seriously covet some of her stuff. Ohhhhh! To start from scratch and have all new Ikea stuff!! I don’t want to go all complain-y and TMI on you, but I keep an Ikea catalog in the bathroom and it’s my go-to book when I am in repose dans les toilettes (it sounds nicer in French, huh). While I look, I sit and bemoan the condition of some of the stuff in the apartment where we live, which is Shabby Chic (emphasis on “shabby”) and composed of “divorce spoils.” When Paul and his Expresso divided things up, I can imagine her having said to herself, “Hmmm. He can have that. I want something new.” I have seen the photo albums circa 2000-2002 and looking at the photos of when they lived together, I say to myself, “Huh. There’re those chairs that are now falling apart. Oh and that rug. Wow, that’s been around that long, huh. Ohhhh, so that’s where that bedspread came from!” Yeah, I think she pretty much dumped a lot of the older, crappier stuff on Paul. Not because she is a horrible person or anything. Just practical. Plus, I know about all of this because I have done this. Married and divorced twice, I am, and I know how these things work. I, too, have gone the route of, “Let him have that. It means I can get something new.” Expresso was just being smart (although clearly karma has bitten me on the butt with this one, huh. Ha).
With this past divorce for me, however, everyone got everything — I gave away almost everything I had, and moved into PJs place, which was already (what is the nicest way to write this?)… established.
I always feel a little bad when I write stuff like this and then PJ can read it. I don’t want it to come across as criticism. It’s not. Not exactly, anyways. It just is what it is. There are some facts of life I have just had to accept related to moving to Paris, and I’ve mostly been getting my head around it all.
For Parisians, we’re poor, and not getting any richer. Sure, compared to some folks in Asia and Africa, or in under-developed Central or South America, we are living like kings. We don’t have a dirt floor and we sleep on beds. There are many in the world who do not have as much. But in the Parisian scheme of things, we’re lower-middle class. Or maybe upper lower-class. No, we’re not in the true ghetto housing projects with six people living in a room that is 25 m². But we are in the kind of lowly 19th arrondissment, living in a subsidized apartment over a very noisy Portuguese bar and supper club, which has all kinds of riff-raff hanging around it into the wee hours. No, it’s not Barbès nor Pigalle, which are slightly “worse” areas. And where we are located in the 19th is certainly not scary or horrible by any means. But the ritzy 16th or the swanky 7th arrondissement it ain’t.
Anyway, what I am getting at is it’s not like PJ nor I have been in a position to get rid of everything that is old, worn, and out-of-date — the divorce “leftovers” — and replace it all with new things. We just cannot do anything differently at this present time. I have re-arranged and cleaned this place as much as is humanly possible to restore some lost luster. But I’d love to strip the gross wallpaper off the walls and paint and have the windows and flooring replaced, and then get all new furnishings (from Ikea!) to boot — it really is in dire need of a remodel on this scale. But with PJ’s salary and the Paris cost-of-living, it is not to be. We’re either both going to have to get serious about writing that Great American Novel or faithfully buying lotto tickets as that’s the only way that maybe at least the re-painting will happen.
Having written all that, I am grateful that we have a home. It has everything we need, honestly. No, it’s not a cute, Hausmann-era typical Parisian apartment with decorative molding and quaint, quirky features (check out what I found when I Googled “typical Parisian apartment.” *SNORT* Yeah… but no. Those pictures are so not our place, haha!). But it is a home with love inside of it, and a home that is kept as clean and organized as I can get it. And we are warm, and dry, and it meets out basic human needs. It’s all good, when it gets right down to it.
I still have Ikea Dreams, though. *sigh*
Back to Tess’ place after all that rumination.
These are photos of just the one front “sitting room.” I did not take photos of the room where she sleeps, cooks, and where she also has a small bathroom (which is actually in her apartment this time and not down the hall! Cool stuff to have a bathroom actually in your apartment. Yeah, city living at its finest!). That room was very cute, too.
These are her table and chairs.
Here’s a little table near the entryway. Okay, make that near the “door.” Not really an “entryway” in a place that is very cozy like hers. 🙂
A teeny tiny fireplace and a fold-out chair/bed.
I love the little decorative touches in her place.
And here is the lovely Tess!
That’s one of the tilty windows built into the eave. Yeah, to get the photo of the Eiffel Tower up there, I had to get up into the window in Tess’ bedroom/kitchen, and lean out to get the view. I had to stand on her sofa bed in the other room to get the shot.
Here is the view out of the window under which Tess is sitting.
This is the view just to the left of the Eiffel Tower.
This is another wider view that shows how one has to look out of her window to catch the ET.
Tess’ place is as cute and and as delightful as she is. I feel so fortunate to have become her friend! She is so very kind. Having met her makes me believe in things like serendipity and synchronicity and reminds me that this planet can be a very good place to be. Tess is full of love and light, and I have wanted to express my good fortune in meeting her (yet again. She has been a faithful companion for many journeys posted on this blog, which, if you go back to past posts, you will see for yourself. Thanks to her, I have gotten out and about in Paris!).
Speaking of getting out and about…
I know, I know. This would be the PERFECT place to end this post! Just perfect. About 1,800 words, it has a clean beginning, middle, and end, a single theme — a nice and tidy post it would be if I stopped now. But this is ME here, and I have to push it to the next level, because OMG, it is almost MAY and I’m losing control of all the things I want to share about APRIL already! Just let me clear out what’s in my Karin Brain, lest I explode, all right? 😉
Paul did something wonderful on Easter Monday and again this past weekend with me. We got out and about to see some things in Paris which I had not yet seen.
I have written before about the difficulties of living with someone who has been a Paris resident for 20 years (see “Paris as Girlfriend versus Wife versus Potential Best Friend” in this blog here). A lot of people who write “Paris Blogs” (at least from what I have seen “out there” and I am practically making a career of it at this point) have been here ten or fewer years, or actually do not even live in the city at all — they are frequent visitors. They are still in the stages of being in early love with the city. There are some blogs that do not fit this pattern. Some of these are blogs born of a re-discovering of Paris, of falling in love again with her.
A few blogs I read can fit into the category of mine here (or what I like to think of is my kind of blog — the reluctant Parisian, or the one searching for the atypical and off-the-beaten path Paris). They are written by people who either want to write something unique about Paris and not just about the same five major places over and over and over (and OH MY GOD, enough with the macarons already!! *sigh* That is being kind of mean as I am thinking of certain bloggers whom I read regularly in spite of myself, and even *I* have written about macarons, just like all the other popular kids, but I am truly kind of fed up of the brou-haha about them. Can I get an “AMEN”?). Or, they are blogs written by people whose love for Paris was not a “love at first sight” story and the appreciation has come more slowly and on different terms that the kind of blogs by the Paris Cheerleading Squad here at Paris Blog High School. I am thinking of these two in particular: Invisible Paris and Paris (Im)perfect. They are not really typical “Paris Blogs” and are very refreshing in their perspectives.
Okay, where this is going is this: I have not really read many blogs where an American having lived here for more than 20 years is gushing about the cool places to sightsee and get out and about. A notable exception is Peter of Peter’s Paris. He has lived in the City of Light for 35+ years and blogs with a passion about Paris’ notable as well as humble locations. But I know from having spoken with him that he is a person like I described above: a person who fell in love with Paris again in the past couple of years, post-retirement and in seeking something fulfilling with which to occupy his time. His story is perhaps like Paul’s might be in 15 more years: he is the man who engaged in the Métro, boulot, dodo cycle for a lot of his waking adult life in Paris until one day, BOOM. He had the time and impetus to renew his vows of dedication to the city. Still, Peter is not a “gusher.” He is genuinely interested in handing down a legacy of all that Paris has to offer: unusual, historical, and not-so-well-known locations in addition to the standard fare.
When it comes to Paris, Paul has seen and done just about everything, and not just once. So, when he is willing to get out and about with me, it is something special. Yes, we did go to some of the more well-known places. And yes, I am going to gush a little bit. I am, I realize, a bit of a hypocrite. But I admit it, so I’m not *really* one, right? 😉
Here’s what we did:
We went to the Métro station at the Palais-Royal at the Place de Colette. (Wiki)
We went to the Palais-Royal (Wiki) to see Les Colonnes de Buren (the striped columns by artist Daniel Buren there in the photos). Some people don’t like them or think they don’t fit in with their setting. They have been controversial since their installation. I really like them, though, and I think they echo the architecture around them very nicely. To me it is a good mix of modern abstract art with the older architecture. I think they are cool. 🙂
See how the light and shadow of the building’s columns are echoed in the Buren columns? I really understood what the artist was “going for.” People were having loads of fun in the central square, too. It’s a great place.
Here’s the Jardin du Palais Royal:
This is the nearby Place des Victoires, which I have wanted to see as it appears in the movie Paris J’taime and I am trying to see all the places that were in the film. The Place des Victoires was in the segment with Juliette Binoche and Willem Dafoe, the one where the mother’s son has died and a cowboy comes to take him to heaven.
(BTW, we just saw the sister film New York, I Love You which is also very good! I liked the Paris one better, but the New York one is not bad. They did repair some of the weaknesses in the French one (not enough cohesion between stories), but it is also less memorable stories than many of the stories in the Paris one, in my opinion. Anyway, it is no Woody Allen movie taking place in NYC — which to me is the epitome of a “New York Movie” — but I thought it captured a present-day look and feel and time and place of that which comprises Manhattan Island. If you see it, and have also seen Paris J’taime, I’d be interested in your opinions on it, too.)
And then we went on to the covered shopping areas in and around the Bourse in the 2nd arrondissment.
If you are interested in making a similar journey, rather than write here all of the “instructions” about where to go and what to see, here is the best article I found online about it all: Les Passages couverts de Paris. You can find the passages on any Paris street map, too, progressing northward from the Palais-Royal area up to the 9th arrondissement. Paul and I found many passages that were open on Easter Monday, although a couple were closed and we had to wind around streets to enter the next one. Some passages may be closed on Sundays and holidays, as well as in evenings, but they are open during daytime business hours and on Saturdays for certain. I need to research a little more about these passages, but I found them really fun to walk through. This is a good rainy-day destination that is not a museum, too, as everything semi-indoors most of the time (meaning, when going from passage to passage, you have to walk outside a little while, but while you are in an individual passage, you are warm and dry).
Bettina Rheims and Serge Bramly Exhibit
Then, this past Sunday we went to see a photographic exhibition of Bettina Rheims and Serge Bramly.
There is some information here at this blog, “Rose, C’est Paris” by Bettina Rheims at Bibliotheque nationale de France, and here at Wayneford’s Posterous.
and at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France site here: Bettina Rheims and Serge Bramly Exhibition.
Please note: there are lots of photos of naked ladies in this exhibition.
Google (word-for-word) Translation: “Some images here on this route are likely to offend public sensibilities.”
Yeah, no sh*t. It’s pretty risqué. I would not bring the kiddies to this one, although Paris being Paris, I did see a little baby about 10 months old or so with his parents at the exhibition. I guess they figured he was too young to really know what was what.
I was just reading about the difference between “nude” and “naked” at Bonjour Paris this past week. The ladies in the photographs were NAKED. Just so’s you know.
The photographs were very well-done. Black and white, they were definitely erotic and evocative, like at this link here (boob alert – so NSFW, although it is an art site and not anything untoward).
Okay, I have to call it quits. I have to run. I’ve run out of time to share what Peter and I did on the 8th of April (which was catch an exhibit of photographer Izis in the Hôtel de Ville and then walk around the Marais). I labeled the photos at this set on Flickr, though, so you can go on a little bit of the tour now. I still hope to write about the journey here in a blog post very soon. It’s possible I will have some time when the fMIL is here. I’m not sure, but I am not counting on it. It will probably be a couple of weeks before I can return to blogging and reading a lot of your blogs, too, although I hope there is a little time for that even while she is here. I just know Paul, the two kids, the fMIL and and I are all going to be competing for computer time, so it is going to be a lot less time that usual for me to read and write.
I hope you will all have a couple of good weeks, and I will see you here again soon!
Over and out.
An Alien Parisienne
well Karin….that’s alota blog girlie….first of all the Ikea thing…that’s me to some extent…my house is full of it..has been for years…and sometimes I wish I could afford better but it’s just so practical when you have kids and those darn Ektorp couches with the slipcovers just make so much sense…I’ll be switching up my navy covers for the white ones come the end of May…bookcases…chairs…end tables..lamps…duvet covers….pillows….(like the one in your friends apartment..the needlepoint one which I covet and now I’m going to get it cause it’s so darn cute)..where am I going with this…oh yeah Ikea…we share that
and I don’t expect you to gush about Paris in your blog…it is where you live and you are bound to see it with different eyes..from the 19th no less….people like me who only see it for a week at a time and only really see all the “great” stuff are bound to be awestruck…..don’t sweat it…write what you really think
anyway I’m supposed to be working…have a nice visit with the MIL but I think she may be waiting a while longer for a flight…that volcanoe doesn’t want to give up.