Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Montparnasse

Today, I went to visit another of the interesting areas of Paris. Last year, I visited the Montparnasse area almost every day on my way to my class at Reid Hall. I passed by the fountain at the end of the Marco Polo Square. The Fontaine de l'Observatoire is very interesting: four women of different continents holding up a globe with the signs of the zodiac surrounded by fishes and turtles (one of which has been spray-painted a bright green). The Jardin de Marco Polo is surrounded by a fence.

Last year, I had a class on French culture that was held between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm.  My friend, Janet was meeting me after my class. Janet,who does not speak French, was intent on the fountain and did not notice the gardienne locking the gate at 7:00. When I arrived to meet her, she was locked in the park.  Eventually, we caught up with the gardienne and Janet was sternly reprimanded and released.
A very interesting fountain

Today, I went to Montparnasse shopping centre. The C&A store is good for buying inexpensive items of clothing, hosiery and accessories. I made a couple of small purchases and left to find a restaurant for lunch. There are many restaurants on Blvd Montparnasse ranging from pizzerias to famous restaurants:La Coupole, Le Dôme and La Closerie des Lilas. I chose a Lebanese restaurant called Noura

I have walked past this restaurant often and did not know that it is the original restaurant of a famous chain of Lebanese eateries. If you want a splurge, they also operate Zyriab on the 9th floor of the Institut du Monde Arabe. I ordered the vegetarian plate which came with hummus, dolmades, tabouli
and some other vegetarian treats. There was freshly baked pita and I had a Lebanese beer. There was more than I could eat for under 20 euros. I ate inside but there is a lovely garden for a sunny day.

The Montparnasse tower does not fit in the neighbourhood at all but last year Monsieur and I went up to view the city. You get a great view on a clear day. It doesn't cost much and there are not usually lineups. In La Cimetière de Montparnasse, you will find the graves of many writers, composers and philosophers. Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Baudelaire, Camille Saint-Saëns are all interred here.
The tour is very visible.
On Saturday and Wednesday, you can visit the Edgar Quinet Market. This market has all kinds of produce, charcuterie, traiteurs as well as some items of clothing. Last year, when I was here longer, I bought household items, hosiery and some very inexpensive articles of clothing at street markets.


Shirts for 15 euros is a good price
The Boulevard Montparnasse is now an unpretentious mixture of movie theatres, restaurants and small shops but during the years between the world wars, it was the quartier of those who enjoyed the freedom and creativity of Paris life.


Childen's programmes
All sorts of children's book
My favourite children's bookstore, Tschann-Jeunesse, is at the corner of La Chevreuse and Montparnasse. If you are looking for a wonderful selection of French children's books, this is the place.














Sunday, April 28, 2013

Last Sunday in Paris

What to do on my last Sunday in Paris? It was 38 degrees Fahrenheit this morning and I had the property manager turn off the heating last week.  This is the first apartment that I have had to pay for the gas, so I didn't want to waste it. The apartment is old with leaky single pane windows so this morning was very brisk. I made a little breakfast of coffee, cheese and Wasa crackers, got under the covers and played Funtrivia. Funtrivia is a retired teacher-librarian addiction.  I grew up as a "walking encyclopedia", worked in public libraries for 6 years and school libraries for 25 years. Can you imagine how many questions I have answered in my life?

There is a lovely organic market on the Boulevard Raspail on Sunday. Although I already have mâche, beets and asparagus, I went to take a look. I didn't buy anything but some lilacs from a gypsy.
Lilacs look lovely on the fireplace.
After returning home to put the lilacs in water, I wandered towards rue St. Germain. Passing Les Deux Magots and Place Jean-Paul and Simone, I decided to have lunch at Le Pré aux Clercs. Barb and I had visited this area before and I thought this restaurant worth another visit. I had the grilled monkfish with un verre de Sancerre and un petit café. It was worth revisiting!
Worth a visit!

There is a statue of Guillaume Apollinaire, the freest spirit that ever existed,  outside l'Eglise St. Germain-des-Prés. The first church on this site was built in 542 AD by Childebert to house a piece of the true cross brought from Spain.
A voice of Surrealism.
If you are a Canadian, you might be interested to know that Bishop Laval was consecrated first Bishop of New France in  this church. There is a plaque on the wall, but I wasn't able to photograph it. In the Place de J-P et Simone, there some messieurs d'un certain âge who were playing music. They didn't look like they were needy just entertaining the passersby.
These gentlemen were enjoying themselves
Clothing stores are closed on Sunday in Paris so it is a good day to window shop. I love the colours orange and coral so if I were rich and thin (I am neither), there are many outfits to buy.
If I shop my closet, I can probably do this look.




I have orange jeans and a khaki linen blazer.
I lust after these boots. Every time I pass them, they call out to me.
Another thing that I do not want to carry home is books. The first French language book that I ever owned was the Gouvernement de France book award that I received on graduation: Episodes et Récits du Premier Empire. It's in the boxes that Monsieur LB is whining about. But I spotted a book today that I would enjoy at home.
I love history.
 Heading home, I notice a queue on the sidewalk. It is outside Pierre Hermé, a pâtisserie et confiserie, not a place to buy scarves. I decide to buy something just to compare to Gérard Mulot.
Emotion ou macaron? Which one should I eat today?
Sunday in Paris is like heaven on earth. I can't imagine that it would be boring in any arrondissement but in the sixth, it's about shopping and eating.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Solitary Sojourner

I see myself as a sojourner rather than a tourist in Paris now.  I no longer feel guilty spending a morning doing laundry and reading. I have a favourite market, coiffeur and a few favourite restaurants. I have been in Paris for six weeks and in this apartment for 3 weeks. I have learned to accept it after buying a few household items.

Almost every day, I walk through the Jardin du Luxembourg. I love to see the flowers and to watch the  people. Sometimes I visit a church, have a reflective moment and light a candle for all of those that I love. Although I am alone, I am connected in my heart and via all sorts of modern communication devices with my family and friends. Through blogging, I feel that I am sharing my life with a lot of new friends and look forward each morning to reading of the activities of others.  Every day, I spend time reading about travel plans, retirement, losses, gardens, shopping trips, books and reflections on daily living.

My cousin asked if I get lonely when I am by myself. The answer is "no" because I never really feel alone. I find that the people of Paris are very friendly if you take to time to speak with them. In a neighbourhood, you see the same shopkeepers every day. Next week, I am going to visit Aurélie again,
I have two visits with Isabelle, a hair appointment and quite a few details to attend to before I leave for Prague. My life here has taken on a rhythm that I enjoy.

Today is my parent's 62nd wedding anniversary. My mother's house sold Thursday so she now knows that she will be moving. She keeps using the term "getting rid of" and I wish that she could see the process in a more positive way, perhaps "redistributing". Our lives are not our things. She is not getting rid of 62 years. This morning, I found a new blog Be More with Less. We can still be sentimental without all of the stuff. That being said, I still want to go through the family books. There are some that I may read and then donate to The Friends of the Library. Monsieur is still going on about my boxes of books from my university days. I will go through them some day.

I solved the camera problem. It's ISO and it's a short-coming of this camera. Dull skies and lack of stabilization make it a fair-weather friend. I think that I will take a photography course for seniors when I go home.

Bonne Week-End and I look forward to hearing about your week-end plans!




Friday, April 26, 2013

Curvy Paris

If you wear a North American size 12, 14 or 16, you will be une grande taille in France. But don't despair, there are little shops in most neighbourhoods that provide lots of choice for "les femmes d'un certain âge." In my neighbourhood, you will not see these shops on rue Cherche-Midi but if you wander along rue St.Placide or rue de Rennes, you will spot them tucked discreetly among the other shops.

The average height for a  French woman is 5'3.7" which means that at almost 5'4, I am not petite and do not have to pay for costly alterations. Sleeves are not too long nor shoulders too broad.  Where I live, outside of Vancouver, many shoppers are Asian, so petite sizes are often sizes 2, 4 and 6. Based on a study commissioned by the French clothing industry, the average weight of a French woman is 137.6 pounds. At only 5'4.8, the average American woman weighs in at 163.4 pounds based on a study by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Personally, I have been walking about four hours of the day and am living on the third floor of a building without an elevator. Since my visitors have left, I have dispensed with the "happy hour",
eat my main meal with a glass of wine at lunch and have a very light dinner. I do find that I am hungry during the night. I love the salades composées at lunch but I steer away from those with too much cheese or charcuterie. Even if you order a three course formule du midi, your servings will not be too large. Although I live next to Poilâne, I have only eaten one croissant during my stay and I appreciate the beauty of countless windows of lovely desserts without feeling a need to consume. This is probably a typical lifestyle for a 60 plus French woman.
Choose any kind of seafood you desire
Cooked chickens with salad for a takeout dinner

Add lots of vegetables

I like to drink Badoit water in between meals.

I have made some purchases, mostly on rue St. Placide.
I chose this coral jacket to go with my floral jean skirt. The band at the waist actually makes me look thinner.
This tunic can be worn with jeans.
Everyone writes about the tendency of French women to wear neutral colours but if you enjoy colour as I do, you will find "les couleurs vives" as well.  Paris is a city rich in diversity with something for everyone.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Today in Le Jardin du Luxembourg

There is a lovely orchard in the Jardin du Luxembourg
Le Jardin du Luxembourg offers something for everyone.  I prefer it to Les Tuileries on La Rive Droite.
Nobody sells Eiffel Tower souvenirs and most people are just enjoying the lovely weather.
Most Paris parks have beehives.
Paris has become aware of the role of bees in the city.

La Femme aux Pommes
This statue, by Jean Terzieff, was placed in the garden in 1937. The sign suggests that this might be the apple of discord, a warning of the war to come.



A game of pétanque
There is tennis, pétanque, yoga, martial arts and running in the park.
Lunch in the Luxembourg
I had lunch today in the Luxembourg. It is over-priced and not especially tasty. A sandwich and a bottle of water by the fountain would be nicer.
Today the sun is on the authorized grass,
I never tire of walking through Le Jardin du Luxembourg. I had my class with Isabelle and we are working on rhythm of language. I only have two more classes so it's lots of poetry and French songs
this week-end.

When I was young, I loved to listen to French songs. This one by Françoise Hardy describes the day perfectly.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Wonderful Day!

A bright corner on rue Montparnasse
Today was one of those beautiful days in Paris. The temperature was 24 degrees celsius and the streets and cafés were full. I did some organizing, studying and writing this morning and set out to meet my last year's teacher at Reid Hall. I wrote about Mildred in February in my post Merci, Madame le Professeur. She is an excellent teacher and a warm, friendly person.

Before heading to Reid Hall, I stop at Le Nemrod, one of the best restaurants on my street. I sit outside and watch the street activity. Clothing has completely changed since yesterday! My salad is another work of art.
Une autre belle salade.

I am reading a book that I found in the apartment, Dreaming in French about the years that Jacqueline Kennedy, Susan Sontag and Angela Davis spent in Paris.  I would have loved to have had a "year abroad" as a young woman but I get to do it now. I've spent 7 months in Paris in the last year and a half so I can't complain.
Jackie, Susan, Angela et moi
Jacqueline Bouvier was fascinated by French literature as I was in my youth and attended classes at Reid Hall where I am going. Susan Sontag came to Paris to experience intellectual and sexual freedom.
Angela Davis came in the early 1960's to study and to escape the restrictions of being black. I bask in the sun, sip my Sauvignon and read my book. Quel bonheur!

Reid Hall is located on rue de la Chevreuse in a building that once was a porcelain factory. It is administered by Columbia University and houses overseas programs for several American universities. The Cours de la Civilisation française de la Sorbonne rents space from Columbia.
Reid Hall

Reid Hall provided a "safe" place for young women to study.

French is the rule here.
I meet Mildred in my old classroom which looks exactly the same. As it is warm, we go to a brasserie for a cold drink. What a wonderful reunion! We talk about travel, our daughters, art, theatre... for an hour and a half and I realize that I am completely comfortable with my French.  We part ways at the Luxembourg and I promise to call her when I come back to Paris.

J'adore le cinquième!



Ah! les lilas!
My walk to the apartment of La Belle Isabelle is a delight! No longer anxious about getting lost or being late, I enjoy each block. I stroll down rue Cherche-Midi to Rue Assas. I recognized this street from last year so I feel quite confident. I follow rue Auguste Comte past le Jardin du Luxembourg and L'Observatoire, cross Saint Michel and arrive beside last year's parish church, St. Jacques du Haut-Pas and my old street, rue St. Jacques.

The word "echidna" came to mind when I saw this scarf.
I love to look at old scholarly books.
The other side of the rue St. Jacques is a shady academic area where the Ecole Normale Supérieure, the Science faculties and l'Institut Curie are located. Every street is named after a great thinker.                    
Strindberg lived on the rue Assas
In France, les Grandes Ecoles, the schools that educate those who have been selected after having written a national examination, list many Nobel Prize winners among their graduates.  Many of these schools are located in this area. At this point, I usually need to hurry a bit because I could stop and read every sign on every building. I cross Rue Mouffetard, where you can shop for food, clothing, and shoes at reasonable prices. Mostly colourful, inexpensive items and really inexpensive lunches. There are several restaurants on rue du Pot-de-Fer that are worth visiting.  George Orwell lived on Pot-de-Fer.

André-Marie Ampère is the father of electro-magnetism
I arrive for my class at rue L'Epée de Bois, climb the three flights of winding stairs and arrive slightly out of breath. For one hour, I discuss, repeat any words that I mispronounce, learn about contemporary French art and music.  Isabelle is very creative and knowledgeable so our conversations are interesting. It's like visiting a friend in her home but I pay at the end of the hour.  Today she lent me some magazines and showed me a new song on You Tube.



Today, I am going to visit my friend, Aurélie, at her restaurant, La Crêperie de la Pomme d'Amour. The restaurant is at 316 rue St. Jacques.  Last year, I lived at 318 for 5 months and ate my lunch here often.  Aurélie cooks and serves galettes de sarrasin (buckwheat crêpes) with an assortment of fillings. She also makes great salads.  Her prices are under 10 euros so this is a very affordable little restaurant.  Unfortunately, Aurélie tells me that she will be leaving the restaurant business at the end of the year as she is having trouble with her arm. Occasionally, she has help serving but she is pretty much a one-woman restaurant. I eat my crêpe Normande and promise to visit next week before I leave Paris. I can't believe that I am already leaving.  I was spoiled by my last year's visit. As I walk down St. Jacques, I see my hairdresser talking on his mobile and the friendly grocer helping a customer with produce. He has signs about the unsanitary habit of touching his produce.  This neighbourhood is definitely my favourite!

Aurélie at La Pomme de l'Amour
Back home at the apartment,  I read and watch another episode of Mr. Selfridge.
I have grown to like this apartment better.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Le Grenier de Notre Dame

Paris has so many restaurants that I usually just find one in whatever quartier that I am visiting. But not today! I wrote a short French essay and practised my phrases until 11:00am and then I set out across Le Jardin du Luxembourg where the tulips are now blooming and headed for la rue de la Bûcherie to have lunch at Paris' oldest vegetarian restaurant, Le Grenier de Notre Dame.

I don't know how I missed this restaurant last year as it is steps away from the language laboratory on rue Fouarre. Rue Fouarre gets its name from the bales of straw that students sat on to listen their teachers in the Middle ages. This was the earliest classroom of the Latin Quarter.

The restaurant is located on rue de la Bûcherie which is named for being near "le port aux bûches",
where the logs were floated on the river not for its other role as the street of "boucheries".  My classes with Isabelle are paying off. If like me, you enjoy reading, Shakespeare and Company, the famous English language bookstore is nearby. I notice that there is a free lecture on Samuel Beckett Thursday evening.

The restaurant is small and very quiet so I was able to read Dreaming in French as I sipped my organic red wine while waiting for my vegetarian cassoulet. I am not vegetarian but I like to enjoy some low-fat options from time to time. Honestly, the cassoulet was more like a bean and vegetable stew with a topping of seitan. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it and felt energetic after my lunch so I wandered through the small streets of the Latin Quarter.

Another nearby shop that you might like to visit isTapisseries de la Bûcherie, a needlepoint shop that has beautiful kits and where you can also buy the finished product. I bought 3 small kits to make a Paris triptych for my bedroom but so far I have not finished them.

Some of the winding streets of the Rive Gauche are not crowded with tourists and you can appreciate that this is where the centre of learning was in the twelfth century. Rue Dante, rue Galande... This is also an area for attending concerts: St. Julien-le-Pauvre and St. Ephrem on rue des Carmes have regular concerts that cost about 27 euros.
My favourite spot behind St. Julien-le-pauvre

I wend my way back to St Germain to pick up some batteries at FNAC and to price a new camera. My pictures are very blurry and I may need a new camera for my Danube trip. I have never bought a camera before so this would be a new undertaking. I pretty much need a point and shoot right now.

I have been promising myself a fine French pastry so I stop on rue de Seine at Gérard Mulot.  I choose an "amaryllis" composed of a macaron of dried fruit, vanilla creme and framboises. I will have it with Kusmi tea after I talk to maman. So much for low fat. Non, je ne regrette rien.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunny Sunday

It's another sunny day in Paris.  One of the members of my study group at home recommended the American Church in Paris to me so I took the #63 bus to attend a service.  Paris sunshine makes me feel happy and free but I was a little surprised when the handsome bus driver remarked that I have a nice smile. Only in Paris! C'est bonne pour les dames d'un certain âge.

The church is interdenominational and a gathering place for expats from around the English-speaking world.  Their organ is spectacular and the choir and the young bell-ringer group provide a rich musical experience. If you visit Paris, this church has free concerts every Sunday afternoon. I enjoy attending church services (English or French speaking) in Paris. The sermon was based on the story of the Good Shepherd and reminded us that the Good Shepherd cares for the weakest  and neediest of his flock. I think of those I know and love who need spiritual help right now and of those on the street with an empty cup who lack food or shelter.

After the service, I continued to walk in the sunshine along the Seine. The white dome of Sacré Coeur was looking down on the city and the gilding of the Pont Alexandre III shone brightly as I passed. I  no longer  feel like a tourist in Paris, just a woman walking home from church.  On the Boulevard Saint Germain, I stopped for une salade sucrée salée and un verre de chablis at A la Dauphine near the Assemblée Nationale. Sitting at a table in the sunshine with my chablis, quelle joie!

I passed a vide-grenier (empty your attic sale) on Boulevard Raspail earlier on the bus so I headed up there to check it out. Clothes, household items, old books, toys...Last year, I bought a Quimper bonbon dish at the vide-grenier held on rue Auguste Comte but I am a year older and my mother is in the process of downsizing so I just enjoy looking at the goods and watching the people.

Empty your attic

Last year, when my dad was in the hospital, I called my mother on Skype every day at 4:00 pm Paris time.  I pay for a version of Skype that I use on my computer to call Mum on her telephone.  She knows that the "unknown" caller at 7:00 am is me.  This year, when Dad has recently passed away, I continue to call her. She is feeling the loss of her partner of 62 years and the uncertainty of having to move to a small apartment and to give up so many of the belongings that she has treasured. My sister is coming to help her move some furniture and mum is dreading it. It is the first time in her adult life that she has lived in a home without Dad. Their anniversary is this week and my sister will be on her way to meet me in Europe. Daughter has been  entrusted with a bottle of champagne to toast her grandparents on the day. Our conversation  today was brief and sad.


Mum and Dad were meant to be together
These last two weeks in Paris, I am devoting to my oral practise so I must do my Eliza Doolittle exercises. "Je hais les haies" and other phrases for 30 minutes twice a day. A bird on my windowsill would find it very strange. But I am sure that my efforts will pay off!

It's time for Visible Monday. I try to take at least one picture of myself on Photobooth on my computer to send.  I can only do head shots when I am alone. This week, it will be my new hairstyle. As no new Mr. Selfridge has arrived, I will read my book, Dreaming in French by Alice Kaplan.  What a great Sunday!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Three Months of Blogging





Signs of spring in Paris

I have been blogging for three months.  When I started, in January, I wasn't sure about what I was going to write or why.  I used to keep a journal but I lost interest after a while. Years ago, I took a course in Ira Progoff's Intensive Journal Writing. Personally, I need feedback and don't want to wallow in my feelings all the time. I took a course in Travel and Food Writing with Don Genova who teaches a course in person in Vancouver and online as well. I would highly recommend Don's course for people who enjoy travel and food.  If you live near Vancouver, take the course in person because my classmates included a personal chef from LA, an actress, a woman who had already written a cookbook and an assortment of others who contributed to the learning experience. But this is a more structured genre than writing a blog.

It's always sunnier on the forbidden grass.

I started to read blogs last year, when one of my visiting friends told me about Janice MacLeod, a Canadian woman who left her copywriter job to travel, fell in love with a handsome French butcher and now lives and writes in Paris. What a story! I love all the elements:Paris, food, writing and especially handsome French men of any occupation! If I were forty years younger!

I moved on and found that there were many women of my age who (guess what?) like to choose clothes that express who they are, like to travel, have ageing parents to care for and who sometimes need an ear to listen, an eye to read or a comment of encouragement.  Someone to whom they can show off a new outfit or a new grandchild! Many of us have issues. If so many of us are too short, too curvy, too awkward and on and on, who are these other women who have it all together?

Some bloggers are expert stylists who amaze me with the outfits that they put together, others pose questions in their writing that help me to think about ageing and loss, and some share the joys and sadness of daily life with a warmth and a candour to which I  can easily relate. I admire those who have developed a skill in photography and can share a picture to express peace or beauty or the smile on a child's face. I'm just learning so I have mastered none of these. I often read other bloggers' older posts and get a sense of how they have developed as writers and as people.

I still find myself writing somewhat eclectically but I am somewhat eclectic.  I have a beginner's camera so my photographic possibilities are limited. I am growing more comfortable photographing myself but, because I am alone, I use photobooth on the computer and so end up with some strange expressions on my face. I try to write every day because daily practise builds any skill and my favourite bloggers are indeed skilled in writing, photographing and connecting with others.

The sun is streaming in my Paris window where my laundry is drying on a rack I have practised reading my spring poems and singing a French song for la belle Isabelle. Has anyone heard of Véronique Sanson? She is a very famous singer/songwriter who was once married to Stephen Stills.
Her first successful album (1976) was called Vancouver. There are so many things to learn about and to enjoy in my Paris life.

Friday, April 19, 2013

An Easy Day

This morning, I spent my time doing laundry and sorting clothes. Because the weather has been unseasonably chilly, I have been wearing the same clothes over and over. Two thirds of my clothing has not been worn and I have been in Paris 5 weeks today.  I have acquired some new pieces but they are mostly for spring.

I visited my neighbourhood restaurant, Le Raspail, which Susan Herrmann Loomis calls the friendliest café in Paris. Today, it certainly was buzzing.  The outside tables, the bar and  every possible seat in the place were occupied. The staff were just flying: clearing, setting, serving faster than I could believe. I was at this tiny table near the bar and the hostess apologized for the wait. Friday lunch in an inexpensive restaurant in Paris is hectic. I ordered le dos de callibaud et un verre de Sancerre. That sounds like one of Isabelle's pronunciation exercises.

My solitary days take on a rhythm. I have been alone for a week now and I have been writing in French.  I enjoy exposé writing so I prepare something to read and discuss with Isabelle. It makes my lessons more directed and we both learn something. My topic this class:Une canadienne, c'est quoi?
I explained how Canadians were different from other English-speakers. Canadians are generally a modest group so the rest of the world doesn't know much about us.

I like to eat in my neighbourhood restaurants and to take advantage of the formule de midi which always provides good value.  This is my main meal of the day and I usually just have fruit and yogurt in
 the evening. Paris is such a great place to walk.  You don't really have to be going anywhere. The doors, the shop windows, small neighbourhood green spaces and on sunny days, the people....

I have found a really really interesting blog on things to do in Paris. There are some plays and concerts that I would like to see while I am here: La Cantatrice Chauve by Eugène Ionesco (I met his daughter last year) and Sunday in the Park with George (a Sondheim musical about Georges Seurat and the characters in his painting, La Grande Jatte). The musical is being presented in English with French
subtitles.

I am so fortunate to be able to live here for part of the year. I enjoy it so much.  Monsieur is in Tucson right now for a sun break.  He's staying in a casita in a golf resort where we spent Christmas. He's hiking, swimming and hitting balls at the driving range.  This resort was one that I scouted out for a winter getaway. We e-mail and he reads my blog to keep up with what I'm doing. Right now, we are both enjoying our retirement. A chacun son goût.
Golf course and cacti
Cactus in bloom





Thursday, April 18, 2013

Chez le coiffeur

Did you notice? My hair matches my sweater.
I always like to go to the hairdresser in Paris.  Last year, I went to the local coiffeur whose shop was directly below my apartment.  When I was in Montmartre, I went to two salons that were part of a chain
and was happy with my brushing. But this month, I am living in St Germain-des-Pres so my salon experience was different. I chose a nearby salon Coiffirst.

Salons in Paris post their prices outside their shop and I have passed this salon often.  Most salons will also give you an estimate.  Conditioners and colour enhancing products used during the shampooing are priced separately.  Coiffirst had various levels of stylists from apprentice to Master Designer and the receptionist outlined the price ranges very clearly.

I was having colour today so I chose the second highest level.  Summer is coming and I want my hair manageable and healthy.  My stylist was Thomas, who talked to me about what I wanted and then made the suggestion to create a more luminous look by creating some highlights. I am always willing to listen to the stylist if I have chosen a reputable salon.

When at the sink it was discovered that I have some very stubborn white hair, Thomas took me back to sit for a bit longer. Success! No more white! He felt that my curls were in good shape so he just tidied up my layers. Then, he gave me two style options. First, we finger dried with me fluffing my curls as I do at home.  Then he used the round brush to show me how to do a slightly smoother look. I was happy with my new look and will probably return for un brushing before I leave Paris. I have never had such a thorough hairdresser experience!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I Love to Share

A comment was made by a former relative that he thought I was telling him about my travel plans "to rub it in". Considering that the conversation took place at my father's "Celebration of Life", it is highly unlikely. I love to share my enthusiasm with others and I am interested in others' travel plans, remodelling plans, social action groups, grandchildren.... Anything but their latest diet!  Use my fitness pal and leave me out of it!

 As we get older, I think our lives get richer by sharing our experiences.  I have no grandchildren but a smile comes to my face when my friend Mary sends me pictures of her little grandchildren playing on the beach at Sooke.  I forward them to my mum to brighten her day. By e-mailing me her pictures, Mary is sharing the experience of grandmother with me.

My cousin, Barb, recently visited and shared her experiences of tango dancing in Paris with me.  Each evening, she put on her dancing clothes, took her shoes in a bag and went off to a milonga. I waited up like an old mother hen (she doesn't speak French and took the métro) to hear about her evening. I have two left feet and no sense of rhythm. Attending an Argentine milonga in Paris is probably an experience that I am never going to have. Barb is sharing her newly-found passion with me.

Some people travel and some people don't. There are lots of reasons for this. Tales of travel and far off
lands have enriched my life forever. My maiden great-great aunt was a governess and lived with a diplomatic family before WW 1. I have visited many of the places where she lived and imagined what it was like one hundred years ago.  I visited the small island of Whalsay where my grandfather was born and had tea with a man who had been his school chum. This is my passion.

So, when I told my former relative that I was going to visit a city that is part of his heritage (and my daughter's by the way), I was sharing my interest in him and his family. I was once part of his family and my daughter still is.  By attending Dad's "celebration", he was sharing my family's grief and acknowledging that he is still part of my family's. life. Anyway, I'm not quite sure what I'm really sharing today but I wanted to write about it without being self-righteous.

Another Sunny Day in Paris



The first tulips in Paris
Today, the temperature has been 24 degrees celsius and Paris is bustling. Everyone must have taken early lunch because the sidewalk tables were full at noon No on here eats lunch at noon.. Bright colours, t-shirts, even sundresses appeared. The city is so lively in the sunshine.

I walked about my neighbourhood and found a little park. I liked the statue and forsythia but could not read who it was..

I love Paris in the fine weather.  There is so much energy. I wrote a short essay for Isabelle on how a Canadian is different from an American. I made an appointment at Marionnaud for my eyebrows. Eyebrows are a sign of vigour. They need to be strong and defined. I found a lovely little shop for les femmes d'un certain âge and bought a couple of items probably because the vendeuse who was my age noticed that I have green eyes Actually, my eyes are the change colour green-blue-grey of the Celts but the clothes in the store suited me.
Does anyone know this man?

I wore a colour that I have not worn this year with my necklace that Janet bought me at Diwali. There are so many more possibilities on a sunny day. I love Paris in the springtime.  It just feels like where I should be.
I think I'm starting to look French.