Wednesday, June 8, 2011
The Parisian in Us All...
I found myself subconsciously singing this gorgeous Judy Collins song as I tripped my way through this exquisite city. Enjoy this from the Smothers Brothers Show, no less.
There's a magic tile in the sidewalk situated in front of Notre Dame Cathedral. My first time there we were instructed by Denis (pronounced DEN-EEE), our courier, to twirl on the tile which would ensure our return another time to Paris. This was my FIFTH trip to Paris! Am I a BELIEVER??? OUI..oh, so very oui. This city is beautiful beyond description. Magic and breath-takingly beautiful.
We found this puppeteer on a Seine bridge behind Notre Dame. His marrionette was made from a bicycle tire!
These guys were a bachelor party! I smelled them from afar--not booze surprisingly, but just plain musky body odor! That indicated the longevity of their party! We also saw a wedding party at the base of the Eiffel Tower as the tour bus breezed by--one groom and TWO brides! A nice Utah touch...ha ha.
A pleasant park beneath the apartment where Victor Hugo gave us Les Miserables.
Yes, this is a mole emerging from a mound of dirt! Art? Oh, YES!!
We watched a priest play with these children just outside of Sacre Coeur where we listened to mass. They were playing "BACON!"!!!! I play that game all the time with my students, and my daughter-in-law and I have designs on marketing the thing!
Andrea and I arose early one morning to walk to this cemetery just minutes from our hotel at Montparnasse.
The windmill at the Moulin Rouge on a walking tour we took. From here we walked through the most extensive and exotic "Red Light District", I'm sorry to report.
I wanted to pack this carousel home as well as the fresh orange juice machine in our hotel!
Highlights of Paris: perfume factory tour, authentic crepes wrapped around a raw egg, the 4 minutes of twinkly lights they've added to the Eiffel Tower which come on on the hour after dark, a very very informative guide at Versailles, the newly-redone Orangerie which houses Monet's water lilies and a plethora of other impressionists, people watching on the Champs Elysses, Rodin's The Thinker and ice cream in that museum's spectacular garden, and as usual, the French children. Unfortunately I had a Paco-sized hole I carried around the whole time. Not only did I miss Paco my best friend and romantic partner and Paco the Speaker of French, but I completely mourned for Paco the Travel Maximizer. No one does it like he does...no one.
And now for the wrap-up and a couple of observations: Traveling around is an art and not a science. A trip takes you. No matter how much you plan and prepare, traveling is still one of the last great frontier adventures! One's paradigms are challenged, and our ego and ethnocentricities get a good rattling. I love to watch the people and imagine their lives in great detail--even people in the subways. I can quickly craft a whole persona and world for people at a glance. Great fun. London repeatedly gets called the World's Greatest City. I've always held out that New York is, but this time I think I'm jumping on the bandwagon. Paris, on the other hand, is just the essential embodiment of mankind's best efforts to live beautifully--the food, the way people dress, how they greet each other, the art, the fountains, the statuary, the language, the lights, the parks, the churches, and the ambience. Say what you will about the French, their culture is exquisite. I may feel like a water buffalo dressed in gunny sacks when I visit, but I am not baffoon enough to not recognize a truly artistic way of life. Chapeaus off to them.
And a personal note: where do you want to go? Let's figure out a way for you to get there. I twirled on that tile on behalf of everyone I know...