Paris Adventures

My Life as a Nancy Drew Mystery Novel

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La Fontaine Gaillon – Restaurant owned by Gérard Depardieu near the Opéra Garnier, July 2, 2010

Greetings, Readers. I hope you are all staying cool this summer. Or, if you are in the southern hemisphere, warm this winter. 🙂 Don’t want to forget my friends “down under” who are in the middle of the winter season.

Paris finally got HOT.

After a fairly cool and rainy 4th of July weekend, Paris has warmed up again to the pitch of about 35° C-ish through the rest of the week (and then some, as I am taking several days to write this post), which for those of you stuck in Fahrenheit mode is about 95°. Paris is a lot like the East Coast and Mid-West of the United States: muggy. Humid. There is no such thing as a “dry heat” in Paris. It’s sticky. They don’t use “heat indexes” here, so I have no idea how much warmer the humidity makes a city like Paris, but I do know this — Paris is not an air conditioned place. We don’t have it in our apartment, and it does not really exist in public or private buildings as a general rule. Grocery stores usually have it, I’m sure to keep the food from spoiling too fast. Movie theaters have it, most of the time. Sometimes it is not working as well as it could, and one sweats a little in the theaters.  I know that the Métro system *has* to have some kind of ventilation system, and occasionally one can feel a slight shift of air when transversing the tunnels, but mostly the Métro is a system of sweat and stink, and the subway cars are sweltering, oppressive buckets of stewing humanity that leave a person feeling like a limp, fusty washrag that’s been left in the corner of the tub too long.

Yeah, like that. (Thank you, Thesaurus.com.)

It is not pleasant.

As I sit in my attractive cloister, writing away like the femme écrivain that I am (heh *SNORT*), I have to say I am not too uncomfortable. I have a fan aimed at my back, I keep a supply of ice going in the freezer, and homemade iced tea quenches my thirst. I keep a gallon Ziploc bag in the freezer. It holds two trays of ice. I empty the trays into the bag each morning, use the ice through the day, then once the two trays have frozen again in by afternoon, I empty them out once more, use those two trays in the evening, and then re-do the whole process the next day. I use a lot of ice for when one makes iced tea from scratch, the tea has to be both diluted and cooled down and ice is perfect for this. While the post I linked in up there notes how someone can make iced tea in bulk, I sometimes just make it by the glass, steeping a concentrate (2 teabags per 10 ounces/300 ml) in a mug and then pouring it over a glassful of ice.

I like my ice. But even with these cooling measures, Paris life is still very warm.

For more about what I have been up to, keep reading. Have that glass of rosé on ice, or iced tea ready to go. You know me (although if this is your first time reading, you may not. My posts generally average a healthy 3,000 words. But there are lots of pretty pictures. Love it or leave it, is what I say! With a smile… :)).

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Opéra Garnier, 9èmè arrondissement, July 2, 2010

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Categories: Cross-Cultural Living, Gluten-Free Recipes, Life in Paris, Paris Adventures, Paris Monuments | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The End of May, Part Two


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The Tour Eiffel – June 7, 2010

With the best of intentions, I hoped to post this at the beginning of last week, but it turns out that it is happening now, just as we are about a week and a half from the end of  June. On the good side of that, I have been busy this past week, and have even more about which to write, and that means this blog is working to the ends for which I started it: to find a deeper, broader life for myself here in Paris. What it also means is that I have less and less time to write and post. Thus is the never-ending blogger’s dilemma: when you have time to write, there is not much to write about, but when you have a lot about which to write, there is less time to do so. It’s a pickle, ain’t it. 🙂

At any rate, without further ado, here is Part Two of The End of May.

I realized, of course, as I was writing this post that it should really be called The Beginning of June (and is now, with situational irony, being posted at the end of June). Ah well, May ended on a Monday and then the rest of the week was June. It all blends and blurs, doesn’t it. To catch you up, if you don’t have time to read the previous post, I wrote about the various adventures I’d had with some of my friends here in Paris. I wrote about my friends with much gratitude. I am sincerely grateful for the friends I have made here so far. I realized as I was writing about the things I had done in those final days of May (and the beginning of June, too) that friendship has really been the best thing about living in a city like Paris. I realize this is pretty much true of all cities and places where we live and breathe and have our being. It is often (and so it should be) the people who are with us and share our lives that have more meaning than any famous museum, pastry, or monument.

Did any of you ever see the movie or read the book Into the Wild? I saw and loved the movie. I remember the ending of the film, for which I will just give the barest details here in case you have not seen it and don’t want the ending spoiled. The protagonist, “Alexander Supertramp” aka Christopher McCandless, writes in a journal of sorts (in the margins of Dr. Zhivago, a little research turns out), “Happiness only real when shared.”

Photo found at mykdh’s tmblr page: Things I Love – January 15, 2010

It is the grand lesson he learns in the story — the moral, if you will.  I find that in my life this is absolutely true. I think one of the reasons I had so much trouble the first year I lived here in Paris was that I really did not have many people with whom I could experience Paris. It’s really not as much fun for me to visit museums and cafés and monuments by myself. It’s just a lot more fun when you have someone to hold your hand, really or metaphorically, while you see and do things. Sure, I have had to “man up” and find my own Paris cojones and get out there to see and do things on my own. I just like it a lot better when there is someone else to do things with.

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Categories: Blog Friends, Ghetto Paris Living, Museums in Paris, Paris Adventures, Paris Beauty, Paris Blogging, Paris Dining Gluten-Free, Paris Friends, Personal Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The End of May, Part One

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A little nod to «Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulin» — in the Butte Bergeyre Community Garden, 75019 Paris

So, the last we all gathered here together was the post before my guest post for Misadventures with Andi in which I chronicled the story of how I got to Paris. It was May 19 and it was my 42nd birthday.  About three weeks has passed since then and I have been itching to write about some of the things I have been doing. I decided the best way to go about this would be to create some photo collages and write about how it is that friendship in Paris is one of the things I love the best about Paris. Each person who has reached out in friendship to me has helped me fall a little more in love with the city. Helping myself “bloom where I am planted,” to use the very accurate if worn out expression, is exactly the purpose of this blog, and my friends have been helping me to do that. I want to share with you what has been going on to those ends here in P-Town the past three weeks.

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Categories: Food Intolerances, Life in Paris, Paris Adventures, Paris Beauty, Paris Friends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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