Sixty-Five November 2011
Is this really going to be our winter home?
Pinch me so I know I’m not dreaming.
before we get into Paris, we had some other adventures.
And what adventures!
off we grabbed the train and met Bernard and Judy, our oldest and dearest
friends, in Poitiers in the west of France.
Bernard is writing a book about one of the battles fought here (there
have been several over the centuries). The
weather cooperated beautifully and we walked the battlefield in warm sunshine as
he did his research. We picnicked (or
“fait un pique-nique” as the French say) under lovely old shade trees along winding
brooks and rivers. There seems to
be a ruined chateau or abbey around almost every bend in the road.
(Click on the photo for a larger view; use Back to return to text)
of “chateau,” Bernard chose one spectacular chateau for our accommodation.
Not only is the chateau itself fabulous, the restaurant sports a few
Michelin stars, too. Needless to say, we dined elegantly. But the real joy
of the reunion was just being with our friends who never cease to make us laugh
no more returned home from Poitiers than our next adventure began: our niece
Rachel came to visit with her daughter, Audrey.
Audrey is 9 and was our guest for a week while Mom returned to work.
Sharon and Audrey have a shared passion: Fashion!
So all week the two of them traipsed from one end of Paris’ fashion
parade to the other, window shopping. There
was the obligatory trip through the Louvre, of course, and several other
distractions which included Le Musee de Chocolat, various trips to nearby
playgrounds and a few bead and buttons shops but the rest of the week was
Fashion. They even attended the
weekly fashion show at Galeries Lafayette, the glitzy department store.
her week’s vacation with us, Audrey had to return to school.
So we rented a car and drove her back to Landstuhl, Germany and
reluctantly gave her back to her parents. We
all had a fabulous week together, if an exhausting one.
week to catch up and our next set of friends arrived. Joyce is Sharon’s oldest friend from high school. She came
with her husband, Ron. Ron has an
old friend and business partner who lives in Paris, and they stayed with him at
his elegant home in the 16th arrondissement, clear across the city
from us. Each day we would meet
either here or there and walk/talk the day away.
Again, the weather cooperated beautifully so we were able to go where and
when the mood of the moment directed. We
even biked all the way across Paris for a ride through the Bois de Boulogne.
If you know Paris, try to imagine riding a bicycle through the traffic at
Arc de Triomphe or Place de la Concorde! (It
only took 3 days to recover from the trauma.)
visitors we have been getting to know our new neighborhood.
We have found our favorite boulangerie now, so life can begin.
Everywhere we turn there is something new to see or experience.
We are constantly bowled over by the architecture throughout the city.
From one corner to the next you can shoot a dozen photos. Sharon has an
obsession for windows, doorways, iron railings and almost anything French!
came running home one morning almost unable to breathe. She had just discovered
that we live a stone’s throw from Place des Vosges. Place des Vosges
is the 17th century perfectly symmetrical square of thirty-six
identical houses built under the reign of Henry IV for himself and his
government. Supposedly, the more important cabinet members lived nearest to the
King. (Turns out, his wife lived in
the diagonal corner, about as far away as one can get.) The buildings themselves are grand. It is a real escape
from city noise where pigeons guard their fountains and people swarm to the
quiet arcades and cafes.
we’re really wildly fulfilled aesthetically and culturally. The
week we arrived we became “Friends of the Louvre” so we can pop in any time.
have a wonderful book that takes us walking to the “Unexplored Paris.”
Here’s an example. Ever hear of a caryatid? It is a sculpted female
figure used as a column in a building. This
one is a favorite. She is called
“Lady with a Bag”, holding a sprig of myrrh in one hand and a small handbag
in the other. She offers a
reassuring representation of charity, ever ready to give to the needy.
also Loïe Fuller, the famous 1880s dancer who was described "not as just a
dancer but the essence of undulating movement floating through
light." She fascinated many, including Pierre Roche who depicted her
as the dance artist she was with her cheerful disposition. These
sculptures were later incorporated into a fifth floor balcony on a Left Bank
have we shown you what we wake up to every morning?
That pinch hurt, so I guess we’re not dreaming after all.