Friday, January 16, 2009

Paris Dreaming

I've been dreaming of Paris a lot lately. I'm always thinking of Paris, or perhaps some other far away place, but usually Paris. More so lately. I don't have the holidays to distract me. Even during the holidays, I was fantasizing about spending them in Paris. But now it's just cold and grey and since Paris is often cold and grey, I think of Paris more. And spring is coming and both my visits have been in the spring so that makes me think of Paris. And I'm finally reading the latest Cara Black Paris mystery, so that reminds me of Paris. And friends of ours just came back from France which just happens to be where Paris is, fancy that ....and drinking lots of hot tea which of course..... REMINDS ME OF PARIS. Okay, so you get the picture. Pretty much everything reminds me of Paris. Now that we've got that firmly established, let's move on. To some photos of Paris.

I thought instead of wandering the entire city, I'd show you a bit of Montmartre today. Not because I've been thinking of that part of Paris specifically, but because I haven't shared these photos yet and it is one of my favorite areas in the city.

Originally it was considered outside the city, or at least, on the outskirts. It's that hill up there in the top lefthand corner of the photo. For the more Paris neophytes among you, that's the Seine you're overlooking. And look at all those windows dotting all those buildings. It reminds me of a giant white honeycomb. Which is an apropos comparison, now that I think about it. A busy place, buzzing with activity, and all those little hives/streets filled with treasures just waiting to be savored.

Here's a close up of it's most famous feature - Sacré-Coeur . It's also famous for being an artistic community. You've probably heard of a few of the more famous residents - Van Gogh, Monet, Dali, Picasso....

It's also home of many windy streets and these beautiful, if steep, steps. This one doesn't look too difficult to climb.

However, some of them are more challenging.

Here's one up near the top of the butte. See the city far below? It's easier to see how high it truly is from the top than from the bottom looking up.

Some areas are full of tourists. Here's a peek at the Basilica above a tourist filled but still pretty street. Check out the racks of post cards! And the cute little black cat above a shop called Le Chat Noir.

Of course it's not all tourists. Locals too. Here's a bridal shower group wandering the streets.

Sam and Kyla in the foreground, this is a plaza filled with artists selling their work, most of it, sadly, appealed to the most average taste of tourists. A few were more interesting. Some concentrated on painting portraits of people they could coerce or yank off the street. It must have been a very different art scene long ago. Maybe some of that bohemian lifestyle still lives, off on the edges or hidden away in lofts. Maybe it's moved someplace entirely, someplace less discovered.

There are quieter streets, residential streets. I sort of liked the "backside" of the hill better. Yes, I know, a double standard, to be a tourist but want to get away from the tourists. We met lots of nice people who happened to be tourists too, and we did our share of prowling the tourist spots, but the longer we stayed in the city the more we noticed it and felt "more at home" in the less popular areas.

Some Montmartre neighborhoods were even quieter.

Paris is a perfect travel destination but I can understand why so many people desire an even closer relationship with it and make it their home. Between the grandeur and the quiet corners, the bling and the soft details, it would take a lifetime, maybe several lifetimes, to know it all.

Me, my camera, Paris - I can't think of anything else that would make me happier in this world. Well, yes, I can - enough euros to stop occasionally at one of the many tea rooms throughout the city. All the walking makes one thirsty.

If I lived in Paris, if I got tired of company, I could have tea in my own little hidden garden. It would be nice to be tucked away like this. I'm certain this sort of spot would be completely out of my price range. But this is a fantasy, so let's not worry about tiny details like that, shall we?

Or maybe I'd like to live on the top floor of one of these buildings, overlooking this quiet bit of green on one side and a view of the city above it. Even though it was April in this photo, it still looks rather late winter, with no green on the tree branches yet.

But this is Paris, so there's always a chandelier of sparkling light and a boutique de fleurs somewhere nearby to brighten my spirit. Maybe an armload of those tall purple ones in the front of the window, wrapped in paper and tied with a pretty ribbon. I'd have to hurry home to recut the stems and put them in a vase of water. Unless I lived in a tiny studio, then maybe just a tussy mussy sized handful of those pink and white flowers near the door.

Well, what do we have here? A few Alice in Wonderland sized flowers right out on the street. Maybe I'd stop for a bit of lunch first. I'm sure my fresh flowers would last for a while longer in the cool air.

Will you look at the time! I've dreamed away half the afternoon here, in my little bit of cyber Paris. I guess it's time to shake my head loose, put the kettle on, and get down to brightening up my real house. No flowers, but I could put on some cheerful music and dust away a bit of the grey.


Blogger Belita Rose said...

I can't wait to go!!! Let's just spend most our time in Paris, I'm fine with that!

7:16 PM  
Anonymous Barbara S. said...

LOVED your post today!! Wouldn't mind being there myself!

7:34 PM  
Blogger Connie Carpenter Macko said...

I would happily join you for tea in your garden... provided you didn't mind just a wee bit of company!

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anam Cara said...

I've been following your blogs for about a year now and have loved every post! (and can relate to the majority of them!) My hubby and I are planning a trip to Paris in October 2010 - for our 5 year anniversary and to (belatedly) celebrate my 50th birthday. I'm picking up lots of trip ideas from reading your blog ~ thank you!
I see you like to read Cara Black - me too! If you haven't already read it, you might enjoy "The Girl With No Shadow" (the sequel to "Chocolat") by Joanne Harris; it's set in Montmartre!
Thank you for your wonderful blogs ~ please keep your posts coming!

1:34 PM  
Blogger Laume said...

Anam Cara - gosh, you made my day! What a sweet comment. I wish you had a link to your name though, so I could come visit and "meet" you. I heard about the sequel to Chocolat a few months ago and I'm anxiously awaiting the paperback which is coming out soon.

2:50 PM  

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