City of Love

The immense and almighty Notre Dame de Paris

I have been busy retracing the many steps of the monuments of Paris these past few days, so not much time for reading, although I did manage to finish Barbara Kingsolver’s excellent ‘Prodigal Summer’ which I will write more of soon and following on from this glorious visit to Paris, I am now immersed in Hemingway’s ‘A Moveable Feast’ keeping me in Paris for a few more days yet, albeit the 1920’s.

If you need any more proof that Paris is indeed the city of love, check out this superb photo I took of that beautiful feminine monument ‘La Tour Eiffel’, is that not a beautiful heart shining down on the population?

We took an evening stroll up to the Sacre Cœur cathedral, two minutes from where we were staying.  In fact I was babysitting that evening while friends from New Zealand were at a Bruce Springsteen concert, I have to say it was the best night looking after 3 children ever, practicing french phrases during dinner and an impressive after dinner promenade to one of the city’s marvels.

Here is a detail from one of the tower walls of L’Arc de Triomphe. I love the dramatic detail of the sculptures and wall friezes.

Despite the beautiful blue skies you see, it did indeed rain every day I was in Paris, it reminded me a little of New Zealand, that rain, sun, rain, sun, beautiful green trees.

However, something that only Paris can offer, her history of monarchs, uprisings, revolutions and battles and 60,000 square metres of art works in one museum alone and then there’s the people watching, all chairs facing the street for the best view, it’s amazing what you observe and overhear during the downing of une noisette (small coffee with a dash of milk).

Now back in Aix-en-Provence where the temperatures are consistently hot and as I got out of the car, I am greeted by the incessant noise of the cicadas, who have long announced the debut of summer and witnessed the emergence of one of these gigantic insects from its chrysalis on the wall right next to me, the moment before he too joined that eternal cacophony of sound reminiscent of the season.

*

Au revoir Paris, je reviens bientôt.

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41 thoughts on “City of Love

  1. Oh how lovely! I envy you your vistas and scenic splendours of a city I have been dreaming of visiting for far too many years! And now I find that my protagonist is insisting that a good portion of her tale takes place there. Alas, I must make do with writers, like your good self, who share their experiences with the rest of us poor souls!!! 🙂
    Actually I am assembling quite a collection of books about Paris, both now and back in the 20’s and 30’s.
    Like you I absolutely loved Prodigal Summer, though when I went searching for it again after Claire’s posting of course I cannot find it. Obviously loaned it out to someone……

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  2. It sounds like you had a wonderful time. And what a neat idea to read A Moveable Feast while actually in Paris! Have you seen Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris? If so, what did you think of it?

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    • Yes, I watched it on a flight one year ago and did love the time travel aspect, Woody Allen definitely in the dream fulfilment stage of life reaquainting with his favourite aspects of many of Europe’s wonderful locations, Barcelona, London, Paris – I think Italy is next 🙂

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  3. Oh your post makes me want to go back to Paris! I read A Moveable Feast (on your recommendation) when I was in Paris in February and was so absorbed in it that my daughter kept on asking me when we could go out and eat, I was just waving a hand and saying ‘Later.’
    Looking forward to seeing what you think of A Prodigal Summer, I remember being completely swept away by the sheer energy of her writing.

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    • I think it was just as well I started ‘A Moveable Feast’ on the return journey, partly to enjoy Paris just as she is and part not wanting to leave the effect of ‘Prodigal Summer’ behind, it could easily have continued for me long after the last chapter.

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  4. As they say in Midnight In Paris, that beautiful city is even more magical in the rain. It sounds like you made every moment count. So now I must add ‘Prodigal Summer’ to the TBR tower and take ‘A Moveable Feast’ off the bookshelf for a reread. You do inspire me! (We saw Allen’s new To Rome With Love last week … IMHO not as good as MIP but still delightful!)

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  5. Sounds like fun! No gargoyle pictures, *phew*

    I can’t imagine what it is like to walk amongst so much history. Just visiting the Plains of Abraham in Quebec left me with an eerie feeling tied to the past.

    Welcome back…

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    • No gargoyles no, and yes, it is a little alien like (us being the aliens) to be in the presence of such grandeur and to imagine it as being something that was lived and not something dreamlike, its almost fantasy like in the age we now live in.

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  6. Looks like you had a great time!! The next time you come up tell me and I’ll try to me up with you. Hope you managed to get a few sunny rays. The weather in the north has been the absolute worst!!! Sure you’re going back to the sunny south. When you get there could you try to send us some sun here? Thanks!!! Looking forward to the post on A Moveable Feast! 🙂

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    • Now wouldn’t that be a treat, seeking out the more writerly haunts of Paris with you Didi 🙂 I might have to start planning my next visit to Paris and the itinerary I would choose, much less monumental and more in the path of great intellects than monarchs I do believe.

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      • Sounds great! I’d love to join you. It would be a great excuse to get off work a little. I’m so anticipating my vacation time and it doesn’t seem to be coming quick enough. I’m plugging through my reading because I’m working so much and the nasty weather doesn’t help.

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  7. Wonderful evocation of Paris here. I’ll probably never see the city myself, but oh it would be lovely…. I’ll just have to live vicariously and read about it. 🙂

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    • That is exactly how I do much of travelling these days, through reading and bringing back the memories of wonderful places I have been by writing about them, although I am already thinking about reading Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul in anticipation of a visit in May next year.

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  8. I fully expect you’ll be time traveling soon, a la ‘Midnight in Paris.’ Montmartre and Sacre Coeur have some magical pull on me whenever I visit (though it’s been years now). Of course, the Eiffel Tower at night is another kind of magic. Lucky you to be there. Lucky us to get this glimpse of your trip.

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    • Yes where would I go if I could time travel I wonder? The future or the past? I am tempted by the future, the great unknown, a future in which we live in a more matriarchal society 🙂 or is that just between the pages of a novel I would love to write I wonder?

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    • It has another fabulous aspect from the other side, but the sky and the clouds were so amazing in this and other shots, you really get a sense of grandeur. I’ll never forget the first time I entered Notre Dame and heard the sound of gregorian chanting, it was an unreal atmosphere, quite magnificent.

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  9. Between your wonderful travelogue and my new interest in G. Tillion and the French resistance I plan to book a mini trip to Paris in the late winter 2013 ( low season!). I still have a lot of “french” reading to do!

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