20 July 2014

Sweet Sweet Summer...

Paris fruit market apricots
Paris fruit market
oranges

I hope you're having a lovely summer so far... my boys' school year ended just two weeks ago, so for me, it feels like just the beginning. It's only July right?...  there's still time to take it easy and savor the fruits of this slippery sweet season :)

I'll be taking to the road with my family for a little holiday... come join me on Instagram. Be well friends...

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14 July 2014

The Wonder of the Wooden Sailboats

Wooden sailboats at Luxembourg Gardens
Wooden sailboats at Luxembourg Gardens
Wooden sailboats at Luxembourg Gardens
Wooden sailboats at Luxembourg Gardens
Wooden sailboats at Luxembourg Gardens
Wooden sailboats at Luxembourg Gardens

Pushing about the wooden sailboats in the Grand Basin at Jardin du Luxembourg has become a favorite pastime for my boys. I've mentioned to them how generations of children played with the same 1920's boats... and realize it may not mean much to them now, but hopefully one day their memories of these times will be marvelous and fond.

The gliding toy boats, the backdrop of the French Senate and the Medici gardens are images I used to see in my French classes in the US - in short films with silly characters illustrating a new concept or vocabulary word. It was always hard to catch the lesson because the scene behind them was much more captivating. So for a long time these enchanting boats have been engrained in my mind... they've always been magical, and even more so now...

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06 July 2014

Boulangeries + the Baguette Viennoise Chocolat

Baguette Viennoise Chocolat
Baguette Viennoise Chocolat

Someone recently asked me if my family was all settled into Paris... and before I could answer he asked whether we had found our boulanger, which I'm now certain, according to the French, is pretty much the same question...

We live within one block of three boulangeries. And if I go one block further, another three (confirming what I read about Paris which I thought at first was surely an exaggeration!). And so knowing this now, his question was apt and relevant. I used to go to the most convenient boulanger to pick up bread, but over time discovered the different nuances and types of breads. And as my family's tastes evolved and matured, we learned there isn't one bread maker that meets everyone's criteria simply because depending on our needs and tastes, one boulanger is better than another.

It's great to have choices... but it gets tricky when routing your way home and having to pick up your pain quotidien. For example, our dinner baguettes are best further up Rue Mouffetard for their not too hard crust; my new favorite dessert bread, the baguette viennoise chocolat *, is best across the street to the left for being soft and packed with chocolate (though the place leaves a bad taste in my mouth - no pun intended - because the owner yelled at me for taking a photograph). The boulangerie I first loved one block south, which happened to also be the one I conveniently passed every day on the way to and from my son's schools, unfortunately is too light with the chocolate in their viennoise chocolat. It all boils down to personal taste...and enjoying the gift of having choices.

So to answer the gentleman's question...  I was able to say yes, we're definitely getting there, thank you :)

* When visiting Paris, do compare different boulangeries (not only the ones highly recommended) and if you haven't already had a viennoise chocolat, pick up this wonderful treat for the afternoon - it's a lightly sweet bread peppered with nibs of chocolate, perfect for breakfast or le goûter (afternoon snack). Because the bread is not as sweet as brioche and the chocolate is a semi-sweet dark, you won't feel overindulgent when eating it.

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29 June 2014

Paris Doors: Silent Observers of History

Paris doors
Paris doors
Paris doors
Paris doors
Paris doors

I imagine the stories these doors could tell... about the aristocrats and artists who once walked through the doorways and the carriages they rode in, the lovers trysts at their landings, the archways that survived revolutions and wars. They stood during the infancy of many countries in the western hemisphere, the past alive in their cracks and debris. Each wears their history with dignity and splendor... surely they can share a story or two.

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22 June 2014

Fête de la Musique

Paris Ile de la Cite


Paris Fete de la Musique
Paris Fete de la Musique
Paris Fete de la Musique
Paris Fete de la Musique
Paris Fete de la Musique
Paris Fete de la Musique
Paris Fete de la Musique

This past Saturday, Paris welcomed the summer solstice and its gift of a sunny cloudless 75 degree day. And if the perfect weather wasn't enough to persuade everyone to head outdoors, the annual celebration of the Fête de la Musique was...

Fête de la Musique is a festival held every year on June 21st, encouraging the performance of amateur and professional musicians of any age, genre and background to perform for the public for free. It offers opportunities for up and coming artists to share their talent and fills the streets with a wonderful atmosphere of community and symphony. Launched in 1982 by the French Ministry for Culture, the Fête aims to apply the principle of the music everywhere and the concert nowhere. It is now being held in hundreds of little towns, villages, squares, restaurants and cities all the around the world.

In Paris, a program for the Fête was available to plan and schedule your day... instead, my family decided to walk from the Right Bank to the Left, letting our ears lead the way... my boys were pulled from one corner to the next by the blare of electric guitars, and one band did a terrific job with The Cure's Boys Don't Cry. I was enchanted by a large group of women in straw hats singing in sweet harmony to traditional folk music in front of Eglise St-Severin. Our favorite musician, however, was a gentleman (third photo above) who after wishing us a "bonne fête de la musique," pulled out his melodica and played, just for my boys, a beautiful rendition of Beethoven's Für Elise :) 

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17 June 2014

Paris via Instagram: Mai & Juin

Instagram and Paris in May and June 2014

I used to wonder as a child how the mere name Paris could denote so many different things, 
so many streets and squares, so many gardens, houses, roofs, chimneys, 
and above it all the shifting, insubstantial sky that crowns our city; 
and the more I thought about it, the more astonishing it seemed to me 
that so vast a city could fit into so short a name.  

- Julien Green, Paris


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12 June 2014

The Paris Apartment: Vignettes + Details

Paris Haussmann style apartment
Paris Haussmann style apartment
Paris Haussmann style apartment
Paris Haussmann style apartment
Paris Haussmann style apartment
Paris Haussmann style apartment
Paris Haussmann style apartment
Paris Haussmann style apartment

It's been a little over three months since moving in to the Paris apartment, and my vision of having it fully decorated and completely lived in by now hasn't quite materialized... but even so, I'm humbled each time I walk inside. After all the other apartments we visited - dark and dreary in comparison - this one literally stopped my heart. For me, it truly lacks for nothing.

But alas we needed beds and closets and desks, so to furnish the space, my husband and I decided to go for a mix of classic/modern design (which we agreed complements the 19th century Haussmann classical style really well), but it's been a bit tricky given our more traditional tendencies. We're also opting to get only what we really need to keep the space as open and uncluttered as possible. I'd love to maintain a clean all-white aesthetic, but it's calling for some complementary colors and artwork for the walls...

So until I can give you a grand tour, I hope these vignettes and details will do. We're really so fortunate to have the opportunity to rent this apartment... luckily the folks who visited before us were turned off by the clutter of the family still living here at the time and couldn't see its potential. Living here, as my parents remind me - so far away from family and friends - has helped ease the transition tremendously, and I don't take a bit of it for granted...


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