Thursday, April 3, 2014

Paris Elegance


More than twenty years ago, I read a book called Elegant Choices, Healing Choices by Marsha Sinetar.
If I remember rightly, the theme of the  book  was that we all can make "elegant choices" that will help us on the path to self-actualization.

When we speak of "elegance", we are often referring to a luxury item that is beyond our personal budgets but we can make "elegant choices" without spending a cent.

« Le Dandysme est une hérésie de la vie élégante(…), une affectation de la mode. En se faisant Dandy, un homme devient un homme de boudoir, un mannequin (comprendre : un mannequin de boutique) extrêmement ingénieux qui peut se poser sur un cheval ou sur un canapé, qui mord ou tète habilement le bout de sa canne; mais un être pensant ?...jamais. L'homme qui ne voit que la mode dans la mode est un sot. La vie élégante n’exclut ni la pensée, ni la science; elle les consacre. Elle ne doit pas apprendre seulement à jouir du temps, mais à l’employer dans un ordre d'idées extrêmement élevée5. »
Balzac
Elegance, according to my favourite definition, is  "a harmonious grace characterized by lightness and ease".  Walking down any street in Paris or just opening the apartment window make me feel a lightness and a joy that is inexplicable to those who do not experience it.
the view from one of my three wrought iron balconies
This morning, I put on the coffee, dressed in yoga pants and a light sweater, and ran out to the Boulangerie Beaumarchais to buy a special treat for breakfast (a pastry of pistachio and apricot).
As I ate my breakfast (1.40 euros) beside my open balcony door, I heard the hoofbeats of a military procession on the Rue de Tournelle. Unfortunately, my camera was in my bag. A few minutes later, a group of school children on an outing were singing under my window.


The kitchen is small but adequate.

I enjoy visiting markets, Monoprix and my friendly grocer to buy food. I could not afford to eat out in this neighbourhood every day. I really need to purchase my food daily to ensure freshness now that Janet has left. The fresh vegetables and poultry that I prepare are much healthier and less expensive than restaurant meals. I don't cook fish in the apartment but order "le saumon" or various white fishes when I am out. Monoprix has a special "buy one, get the second one at half price" wine selection.  Two bottles will cost about the same as a 25cl  glass of Chablis.
Art is in many of the  windows at the Place des  Vosges.
There are many art galleries, museums and concerts available at no cost. I just look in the windows on the Place des Vosges. There's even a perfumer who has free scent strips outside his door. I pick up a few samples every day. I might actually buy a small amount  but schlepping too heavy bags is distinctly inelegant. Should you be in Paris without too many bags, you might like to visit the parfumerie.
elegant scent and window

I have been going to churches and enjoying the music and the sermons but if you would rather skip the sermon, you can visit St. Eustache at 5:30 on Wednesday and listen to the organist practise.
the largest pipe organ in France
My alone time in Paris nurtures the "thinking me" which does, after a circuitous route, bring me back to Balzac who claims that elegance as opposed to "dandyisme' does not exclude thoughts and knowledge. Elegance, according to Balzac, is not simply an enjoyable amusement but a pathway to higher thought.



2 comments:

  1. Sounds like you are living like a Parisienne. Fresh food from the market and walking in beauty sounds like such a tonic for the soul.
    Your location looks charming...makes me want to hop on a plane!

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  2. I appreciate the blogger for posting the most excellent thought.
    Happy New Year 2015 sms

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