Ikea Dreams and Paris Journeys


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.

Tess’ Place


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.

The details:

Bibliothèque Richilieu
58 Rue de Richelieu, 75002 Paris
Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sunday, noon – 7 p.m.
Closed Mondays and public holidays
Full price: 7 €
Reduced price: 5 €



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).

Stopping Here

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

Categories: Cross-Cultural Living, Ghetto Paris Living, Life in Paris, Movies in Paris, Paris Adventures, Paris Blogging, Paris Friends, Personal Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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34 thoughts on “Ikea Dreams and Paris Journeys

  1. 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.

    see ya….Deb

    • Hi Debbie! I hope life in Toronto is treating you well. I shall be by to your place in the bloghood shortly to see how things are going. (I just peeked. Mom hair, lol. Oh yeah, I have some comments I’ll leave about that! 😉 )

      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 was seriously giggling at this because A) the thing about having kids and not wanting to invest in expensive furniture is so spot on, but B) I also kept thinking, “It is pretty sad that my blog is about how I cannot afford freakin’ IKEA.” Hahaha! *sigh* It’s so true, though, that Ikea makes it possible on even a shoestring budget to accessorize and freshen things up.

      Thanks for the continued enthusiasm for me to write what I think. 🙂 I was thinking some more about what I wrote vis-à-vis the whole meany macaron thing up there. I know I certainly don’t want to come across as snobby about people who have a narrower lens, perhaps a limited view of Paris. It definitely has a place for people — we don’t always need the reality TV-type of perspective. It never hurt to do a little dreaming, and for a lot of people Paris is a dream-like place. I’m not out to attack that, just to share an alternative point-of-view. I guess I just wanted to reiterate that. Anyways, thanks for the support in it all.

      Hope you got back to work all right, and thanks for the well-wishes with the MIL’s visit!

  2. Pagan

    You know, these pictures are amazing. I can’t imagine what is more awesome…my view of the amazing mountains out my window or Tess’s view of T.E.

    Lucky womens us to have such amazing eye candy eh?

    Love your candid openness about everything…tmi does NOT exist in your world. LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!

    • Hi Peanut! 🙂

      There are days when I totally vote for your view of the Rockies, kiddo. That is a view I miss all too much and which I took for granted, for certain. I guess the cool part is now that we are in an age of digital photography and the ‘net, we can SHARE! Yay! We are lucky.

      Thanks for the props on the continued TMI in blogging, too. Life’s too short to worry a lot about what others think and perceive, isn’t it. (Although I wish I would not have to remind myself so much about that, haha!)

      Thank you for reading here and commenting, friend.

  3. Karin! Ahhh.. a woman after my own heart with the long-winded posts. Love ’em.

    But I had to pop in here and talk about Paris Je t’aime. I love that movie, love it, love it, love it. And the chapter with Juliette Binoche and her son is by far the most powerful. When I first saw it, I bawled and bawled (as you well know, I have a son I adore in Loosh-form). Then I skipped back and watched it again and bawled some more.

    I would love to see the location for myself but I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to control myself. It struck a chord, I guess you could say. As did the whole movie.

    Those who gush constantly about Paris either aren’t in touch with the real Paris or, as you said, are coming back around after a falling out. Paris is a real place, not a dreamland, and I appreciate your acknowledgment of that!

    Toodles, girl

    • So glad you could make it by the neighborhood, MJ! I have your blog open on a tab, too that sounds like we’re hangin’ in a bar, lol), but before I got too involved in everyone else’s places on the web, I thought I had better stick around my place and acknowledge comments.

      I’m so glad you love Paris J’taime, too!! For someone (meaning: me) who tries to stay unaffected by the gushy side of Paris, I sure do love that film to bits and could watch it again and again (and I do). The one that always makes my bawl my eyes out, ever since I first saw it in theaters, is the Spanish-speaking (singing) mommy that leaves her own son in daycare while she goes to act as nanny for a wealthy 16th arr. family. *choke* Oh man, gets me even just thinking about it. And I *adore* the one at the end with Carol, who is the postal worker from Denver who visits Paris. I often feel like Carol, lol. Oh so many good stories in that movie!

      I’d go with you to Place des Victoires and hold your hand if you want. 🙂 I do have to say, it looks a lot different in person than in the film. They made the Place look much more small and intimate in the movie, and it is actually very open, with a large, traffic-y roundabout in real life. I find the intimacy of the film version of the Place adds to the poignancy. It looks sufficiently different in real life that I think you could handle it. Maybe it would be a good thing to do the next time you feel the need for catharsis, eh? 😉

      Paris is a real place, not a dreamland, and I appreciate your acknowledgment of that!

      Thank you. It’s funny: I really do feel like I am kind of on a mission to ensure that *someone* is keepin’ it real about Parisland, because I feel like someone has to!! Maybe it has to do with something about the pressure of living up to perfection. Maybe it is because a lot of the “Paris” that people present is this perfect kind of place. I feel that pressure for perfection is unbearable, in life and in blogging. I don’t want to wreck the dream (I know I am being repetitive here, but I guess I feel a need to convince myself, haha), but I want to make sure that people aren’t overindulging in unrealistic expectations, either.

      Plus, I get kind of sick of people saying things like, “You are so LUCKY to live in Paris! I wish *I* could do that!!” There is a part of me that wants to let people know it is not all roses, and heck, they *could* do it, if they really wanted to. Then they would discover some of the realities that make the place tick and perhaps not be singing the same tune. I think most people who are honest with themselves and who live in this city (and in other parts of France, too) feel some of this.

      I appreciate you so, MJ, so thanks for visiting. I’ll be by your place soon, too.

  4. Hi Karin,
    Glad to see you enjoying Paris so much. As you know the British and Germans love France, which is why we invaded it so often (there is a line in Henry V which said as much).

    We don’t have an IKEA in New Zealand. When I returned to the UK last time my Wife made me go every weekend to the IKEA in Cardiff, and she walked around, softly weeping.

    I am glad you have found your niche amongst our French cousins. Do you feel at home?

    • Mr. Mike! All the way from NZ! Thank you for coming by. I’m so glad you made it here.

      A little public service announcement for Mike: Mike’s house is up for sale in NZ and it is GORGEOUS. So if you are in the market for a home in New Zealand (Napier), check it out.

      As you know the British and Germans love France, which is why we invaded it so often (there is a line in Henry V which said as much).

      Hee hee hee! No kidding. 🙂

      There is still no Ikea in Denver, Colorado, either. The only times I have been close to one is when I lived in Dallas, TX for 10 months and there was one in Frisco, just north of Dallas. I have always had to pine for Ikea from afar. Now it is complicated to get to Ikea, because even though there are three or four within about a half-hour (by car) of me, we have no car. No way to buy more than kitchen accessories as it all has to come back by one bus, a train, and a subway. *sigh* Soooo close, and yet so far. This cracked me up, but only as I empathize completely:

      When I returned to the UK last time my Wife made me go every weekend to the IKEA in Cardiff, and she walked around, softly weeping.

      BTW, my love to Jacqui. I think of her often and should say so on FB more often, but I don’t. I hope you come back here and read this so you can tell her I said “hi” too and wish her love and light!

      Do I feel at home? In some ways, yes. I feel pretty much at home in our actual home, established divorce leftover shabby chic notwithstanding, hahaha! Really, though, I have made my mark here in our home and I do feel it is OURS. As far as feeling home in Paris? Hmmm. It really still does not feel like my kind of place, but part of this blog is for me to try to make my peace with that. It’s working so far. Ask me in 10 more years, though! Then we’ll see what I have to say, eh?

      Be well, Mike, and thanks for dropping by.

  5. Kate

    You know I love reading you… love seeing “your Paris”. Now I feel guilty about not posting all the downtown ABQ photos I took the other day! Oh well, you are so much more industrious than I am!

    • Hi Kate!

      You know I love reading you… love seeing “your Paris”.

      I’m so glad. And it really means a lot to me that you are here, still reading. You’ve read my Tulsa adventures, my Dallas and Denver ones (although those were kind of short-lived) and now my Paris ones, too. I am so glad I have you around. I’m glad you enjoy being here, as much as I enjoy all of your blogs (and whoooaaaa! When did you get a WordPress one?!? LOL. Okay. I’m there in just a few…)

      Industrious? Oh Kate, c’mon!! You are the most industrious blogger I know! You totally win when it comes to industrious!! I would like to see the ABQ photos, though, hahaha. Do you have a Flickr page? (Like what you need is another place to have stuff, lol. But I’d go look there if we were connected; Just sayin’.)

      Take care and I will see you here or there or anywhere, eh? 😉

    • (Ohhhhh! The WP is a private one. Got it. 🙂 I am actually kind of relieved, lol. Meaning: I have enough trouble keeping up with you in the other places, too. ;-))

  6. “Today I thought I would go through Flickr and choose some photos to show and share some stories”
    I’ve threatened to do this, but have yet to follow through.

    Has the ash cloud otherwise impacted there? Dust in the air? fMIL is gonna want the grandkids around during her visit, but that’s gonna make for one crowded apartment.

    There is poor and then there is that wonderful picture you took of the encampment under that bridge. Just sayin’.

    Three year relationship, everything was hers going in and hers coming back out. Starting from scratch is a lifestyle for me.

    ” We’re either both going to have to get serious about writing that Great American Novel or faithfully buying lotto tickets”

    There are an amazing number of great American writers who’s talents fermented in Paris, but as I remember it was by living “hand-to-mouth”.

    ” 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.”

    Oh man, I’ve got to see this movie, it sounds to Wim Wenders.

    “Please note: there are lots of photos of naked ladies in this exhibition.”

    Is this a warning or advertizement?

    • I’ve threatened to do this, but have yet to follow through.

      I really was intending to just pick my five best photos so far and write *short* stories about them each, but that is sooooo not what happened!! I would like to get to that place, though, as I think I would like it. Just doooo eeeeeet!!

      No gray skies or ashy anything here in Paris. It has been beautiful and difficult to imagine that a volcano has even been spewing ash at all.

      For those of you reading, here is what Ken is writing about:
      Métro Jaures - Canal Saint Martin
      A homeless camp under the bridge. If you go look at it on Flickr a little bigger, you can see better what it is. With the good weather I have been seeing more and more homeless camped on the streets.

      There are an amazing number of great American writers who’s talents fermented in Paris, but as I remember it was by living “hand-to-mouth”.

      I was seriously thinking about just this, Ken, when I wrote this! A Moveable Feast shows how Hem and wife and Bumby were just eking out a bare existence. I know this was true of Fitzgerald, too. Anyway, I guess we could romanticize that we are living the poor, starving artist life in Paree. Rather, it just seems like we are kind of losers, hahaha. I mean that in the best way. I don’t mind being a loser in society’s eyes, honestly. I know I am a very rich person in my interior world and my emotional and spiritual world, and that is what it is all about, IMHO.

      I had to look up Wim Wenders — saw it was the director of Wings of Desire. I remember Helena Bonham Carter was in that, and I think I saw it long ago, but I don’t remember it. The whole thing with Paris, J’taime is that it is 18 different writers and directors creating short film stories set in an around the different districts of Paris. In the short stories they try to capture the essence of that district. The stories are individual and just barely connect in most instances (except for a few connections that are shown at the very end of the movie). So it is not even a full-length film — it is more like 18 short films tied together in that they are all about Paris. Not sure how Wim Wenders that is, except maybe the one story taking place in Place des Victoires.

      Warning. Advertisement. Whichever your heart desires, Ken!! 🙂

      Thank you, as always, for reading. 🙂

      • Just a sample of the beauty that is Wim Wenders:

      • Thanks, Ken, for the video information! I’ll be checking those out and let you know if there are any connections.

      • mainly the angel comforting the man on the subway, but I love the rich cinamatography of his color work and that last clip shows the attention to minute detail adding to the story.

  7. Wow, great post and photos, too. I enjoy reading about your inner and outer journeys regarding Paris — will add you to my blogroll and hope that’s OK!

    Thanks for leading me to Peter’s blog as well – looks excellent.

    Cheers and happy writing and blogging 🙂

    • Hi Carolyn!!

      I still did not make it to see if your lock is on the Pont des Arts! I have a sticky note with the instructions to go and check it out, though!!

      Thank you so very much, really and truly, for adding me to your blogroll. I really appreciate that. And yes, Peter’s blog is a wonderful, wonderful place to read — so informative and fantastic photos, too. I think you will love it!

      See you over at “your place” soon, and hope your week is going well.

  8. hi…thanks for the visit…I replied there too…..but I don’t want you to think I’m dissing in anyway Ikea or your affordability etc…I LOVE IKEA…the catalogue is beside my chair at all times…it’s just at least here in Toronto if you have too much of it people look down their nose…I think it’s because since everyone has a catalogue they all know exactly what you paid for your furniture…anyway…love ikea

    had to laugh at your maccaron rant…I know exactly who it’s aimed at and while I love her posts some days it’s..”enough with the bloody macs already”…yes they are pretty but talk about fattening and just a little “precious”….me..I’d rather go on about the perfect green beans I had there or the bread…or the oysters and mussels….

    anyway nice to chat ..it beats working…:)

    • Hey Deb — I left a comment on your blog, too, but I don’t feel dissed *at all* about the Ikea comments! I do think it is funny that I feel like Ikea is living the high life of style. 😀 I’m glad to know there are others in my camp!

      I figured you would know the blog to which I was ummm, referring. A little unkindly. *cringe* And I really do “play nice” when I am reading there, and there is *no doubt* she brings a lot of people a lot of joy, and me, too many days. I just commented there that very thing in an anniversary post. I really do not want to be unkind. I know there are people out there that roll their eyes at my blogs because they are so long, and I have no doubt there are folks out there who would moan and rant something along the lines of “I like her writing all right, but it is just so looooong!!” For some people, that is exactly what they like and want more of, so, eh. There is something for everyone! Long live liberty in freedom of blogging style and topics! 🙂

      I did have to get that whole mac thing off my chest, though. Aaack. LOL.

      Hope you had an okay time working and that today is going all right, too!

  9. Shel

    you have awesome stairs, though. 🙂

    • We do have awesome stairs. 🙂 A little dangerous if one is not careful, but they are cool.


  10. Carole

    ” . . . toilets and sinks need cleaning, even in a place like Paris.” But at the end of all that you can hit the streets of Paris and revel in it’s history and lose yourself in it’s beauty. Not many of us have a way, at least not right outside our door, to balance the tedium of our everyday lives. That is a part of what makes your life in Paris so rich. Not trying to be a Paris Cheerleader or anything because I have told you how refreshing I find your blog. 🙂

    LOL about macarons. They certainly are everywhere these days and for many represent Paris as much as la Tour Eiffel, hence their popularity, I think.

    “As you know the British and Germans love France, which is why we invaded it so often” LOL Mike. I blame my German blood for my love of France. And visions of invasion often dance in my head. 😉

    Paris, J’taime depressed me. I identified with the segment with Carol (and I forgot that was her name! Maybe it’s time I start using my other fake name? lol) and hated that it made me feel like such a loser and I mean that in the best way!

    The warning about the exhibit reminded me of the scene in Friends when the guys got free porn and the janitor walks in and says, “that lady’s all kinds of naked.”

    As usual one of your posts have made me ramble on! So much food for thought. Enjoy the visit with your fMIL!

    • Hi Carole! It is true that there is some cool stuff that I can go check out when I am done with cleaning. 🙂 I know you are not trying to be the Paris Cheerleader, but provide insight and a counterpoint — this is what is so great about putting writing out there and then seeing what people have to say in return! We all get a shift in our perspective through interacting with one another, and that’s what it is all about, for me, anyways.

      I have issues about popularity and following the masses, I think, hahahaha! I really do feel like I am back in high school some days with this whole blog thing, and noting what others think is popular. There is a part of me that wants to join in and be a sheep (after all, there is a reason that things become popular, right?) but then once I engage in the popular thing, I get this really oogy feeling and think to myself, “You’re being a SHEEP!” I have a kind of horror about simply being a blind follower of things, macarons included. Maybe I take this all a little too seriously, lol. At any rate, I guess I am just looking for that balance of being unique yet not too separate from humanity. I think that’s something we all grapple with.

      Isn’t Mike a hoot? 🙂

      Paris Je t’aime is pretty French in its outlook, lol. It’s a somber set of films in a lot of ways, isn’t it. Bittersweet. Poignant, in a slightly sad way. I think that is just why I liked it so, too. Yes, I am a bit of an Emo. Heh!

      I just saw that Friends re-run not that long ago! That was a cute episode…

      I’m grateful for your rambling and thank you for coming here to do just that. I’m glad you enjoyed being here, Carole! And thanks — I think the visit with the fMIL will be a good one. I’ll let you all know how it goes. 🙂

  11. Carole

    Oops, just noticed I spelled Paris, Je T’aime wrong!

    • Golly, for all I know, I probably did, too, haha. What you wrote at first looked okay to me. 😀

      • Carole

        I identify with what you wrote about issues of popularity and joining the masses. I feel the same. The thing is, as you noted, timeless and classic things are timeless and classic for a reason. And are not to be confused with trends. Paris and even macarons are part of the classic, timelessness of France and liking either one does not make you a sheep anymore than not liking either one does. There are thousands, millions even who are on one side or the other. LOL. What differentiates each Paris blog is the voice of the blogger. Don’t fall into the trap of feeling your blog has to serve as a “counterpoint” to other blogs. Write your experience as you view it. Pro or con you will not be alone in your opinions. Everything has pretty much been said and done. It’s how you say and do it that makes the difference. Lecture over! 🙂

      • “What differentiates each Paris blog is the voice of the blogger. Don’t fall into the trap of feeling your blog has to serve as a “counterpoint” to other blogs. Write your experience as you view it. Pro or con you will not be alone in your opinions. Everything has pretty much been said and done. It’s how you say and do it that makes the difference.”

        10-4, good buddy. Thank you for the mini-lecture and reminder that this kind of thing is true in ALL of life.

        Now I have Professor Keating in my head, saying things like, “To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

        Ooooh. Weeeoooo. *sniff* I just choked myself up there, reading that quote again. Methinks it is time for a re-watch of that movie again soon. 🙂

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  13. Hi lady,

    Thanks for the shout-out! I am glad to know I have differentiated myself from other Paris blogs – as you have, too, my dear! I’m proud to say, I have NOT ONE post about macarons! (Confession: I actually don’t even really like them. Gasp!)

    You crack me up. I love how you noted a good place to stop…and then kept on going and going! But that’s why people appreciate you – so much in your internal and external worlds to express!

    I can sympathize with the IKEA lust. When we moved from our tiny studio (22m2!) in the 19th to an unfurnished one-bedroom, we actually bought some new stuff! (But not a lot. We’re pretty minimalist/non-consumerist people 🙂 )

    If you need any help quelling your IKEA envy, I can tell you that while the stuff is nice, shopping there can sometimes be a headache. Maybe it’s just me, but me and J always seem to end up having fights there! Hmm, I’ll have to think on that.

    Anyway, see, you’ve got me in the spirit. How long is this comment?

    Anyway, be thankful you’re in the 19th. Others may think it’s lowly (and shabby chic), but we know the awesome places (plus, I was just above Barbes tonight. Puts things in perspective).

    • Sion! Oh my goodness, here it is a month later, and I realize only today that I did not reciprocate on your comment on this post. Carole visited here yesterday (see a couple of posts up) and I got to re-reading here and realized I’d forgotten to reply to you. I am so sorry.

      I’m glad to read you don’t like macarons. LOL. And yes, I did manage to keep going and going. I’m glad to know it is the thing that people appreciate, though! Really — it is nice to know that my brain mush/musings are decent reading.

      TWENTY-TWO SQUARE METERS??? OMG, girl, that is not enough room for a hamster!! The cool thing about IKEA is that they could probably turn that small space into a virtual mansion. I was just looking online for an example link, and could not find where I was looking for, but you know how they take those itty bitty spaces and make everything vertical for an entire house in a box, lol. I think Paris forces a person to be minimalist. In this sense, I wish I could have arrived here a lot sooner. Minimalism is great.

      Yeahhhh, I have had some interesting relationship IKEA experiences, but only when we HAD to get something. When just “window shopping,” buying small things like hangers, and going to have meatballs, it is not such a stressful experience, huh. I cannot imagine actually having to buy FURNITURE there, though! Egads! (lol) I’m sure many a relationship has been tested by the IKEA waters, haha.

      I’m with you: the 19th rocks, and yes, Barbès does put some things into perspective, heh!

      Thank you again for commenting here, Sion, and many apologies for my only just getting to a reply now. 🙂 I really loved receiving your “blomment.”

  14. Reading your blog is a serious commitment! I love your posts, but they are not quick reads. Better suited for a cup of tea and coffee – which makes it a nice break! Every time we come to Paris we try to visit one or two passages. They are so beautiful and I am always amazed that they are often empty!

    • Hi Andi! Well, thanks for being committed! 😉 They are definitely “coffee and tea” blogs, or as I have been told, glass of rosé blogs, too. Or port. Blogger “A Taste of Garlic” referred to that. Yeah, they are more like book chapters than nice and neat 500 word posts, but I can’t seem to help it, so figure, “Why fight it?” 😀

      It’s true, the passages are sometimes really empty. But there are some real treasures to be found in them, and I really hope to go back to the area again soon.

      Thank you for reading, Andi!

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