Archive for the 'Out and About' Category

Carnaval Tropical in Paris

Carnaval Close-up
Last time I wrote to you, I was still in Guadeloupe. I’ve been back in Paris for awhile now, but as busy as a bee.

Today I could easily have forgotten just where I was as the Carnaval Tropical paraded literally outside my front door.

Carnaval

The event could be likened to the West Indian Day parade, though along with many island contenders (such as said Guadeloupe and Martinique), there were also a lot of other groups representing places as diverse as Bolivia, Vietnam and…Saint Malo?

Brittany's great but I don't usually think of it as tropical.

Brittany’s great but I don’t usually think of it as tropical.

I was delighted by whoever danced by. Fill the streets with music! Fill the rues with drums! I loved the colorful spectacle, especially against the overcast day (thank you, Paris sky for *mostly* keeping the rain away).

Guadeloupe blue, Carnaval

Bolivia, Carnaval Tropical 2014

Shiny white, Carnaval Tropical 2014

People-watching is probably one of my all-time favorite activities. Give me an event like this and I don’t know where to look. I’m as interested in the reactions of the crowd as the costumed participants.

Continue reading ‘Carnaval Tropical in Paris’

International Pillow Fight Day + Literary Flash Mob

Looking for something original to do this weekend?

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 5 is International Pillow Fight Day. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a whole bunch of people get together in one place and battle with pillows. From Seattle to Seoul, cities across the globe organize this quirky event.

The Paris version ups the ante by asking participants to also come in costume. I’m not sure how I feel about that part (a pillow fight seems enough – and isn’t the horse head prop in the video from last year a little creepy?)

In any case, you know I love random events. I participated in a flash mob pillow fight years ago in New York and had a ton of fun. Check out the website to see if there’s one happening near you.

Meeting point in Paris is Place de la République at 3 PM.

ALP Paris Book Mob

If you’re looking for something more civilized, the American Library of Paris is organizing a literary flash mob next Saturday, April 12 at 5:30 PM.

Participants are asked to bring a book to the Eiffel Tower, spread out on the Champs de Mars, and at the appointed time strike a reading pose and freeze for 3 minutes. They’ll be filming, so get ready to look the part of literary star.

For more details, check out the Paris Book Mob page on the ALP’s website.

(The freeze flash mob in Grand Central station that inspired ALP is pretty cool, too).

Have a great weekend! And let me know if you get up to any hijinks!

Culture Shock, Early Paris Days, and Crepes for Chandeleur

The day I arrived in Orlando to start my stint as the writer-in-residence at the Kerouac House, the project’s director drove me to the supermarket as soon as I dropped off my bags. Even if Central Florida felt a world away from France, I was glad one thing remained the same: food is a top priority! (That, and t.p. – not one roll left in the house!)

Pulling into the Publix parking lot, however, I realized, Toto, we’re not in Paris anymore.

Continue reading ‘Culture Shock, Early Paris Days, and Crepes for Chandeleur’

Prête-Moi Paris’ Blogiversary Bash

Having a ball (Can you name all the Paris superstars in this shot?)

Having a ball (can you name all the Paris superstars in this shot?)

As a writer, I know the importance of detail. The same must hold true for events.

Last night, Melissa Ladd of Prête-Moi Paris celebrated her four-year blogiversary at her gorgeous home in the seventeenth arrondissement (seriously! apartment envy!).

Prete Moi Paris mantle
Fitted with streaming pink pendants and rose-colored poofs, the festive rooms set the stage for a super fun soiree. 

Prete Moi Paris Party spreadMelissa Ladd opening champagne
Continue reading ‘Prête-Moi Paris’ Blogiversary Bash’

Giverny: A Gorgeous Getaway (and one dream down)

Yesterday I did something I’ve been wanting to do for as long as I can remember.

I went to visit the house and gardens of Claude Monet in Giverny. It’s not so much the iconic impressionist painter’s works that have had me dreaming of Giverny – though they are of course quite impressive.

No, it’s that images of the actual place that inspired him grafted themselves onto my mind at a young age; I mean, how flippin’ beautiful can you get?

Lily pond - wow!

Why then has it taken me so many years to go? It’s under an hour’s journey from Paris, a simple train (then short bus) ride to arrive.

Isn’t this often the case with dreams, though, even (especially?) those that we can readily achieve? What do you think holds us back?

I’ve been battling a bit of the blues lately, but I also know how to kick myself in the butt, too. Just do it, Sion. See the gorgeous world and its gifts.

Some dreams are huge; they seem like mountains must be moved. But some…oh some have a clear shape, a concrete form, and are quite easy to make happen. The smallest joys can bring the biggest rewards.

This is what it looks like when one of those dreams comes true.

Lost in the gardens of GIverny

Me in glasses, Giverny

Continue reading ‘Giverny: A Gorgeous Getaway (and one dream down)’

Open House ‘Heritage Days’

Hôtel de Beauvais - Cour Administrative d'appel de Paris

Hôtel de Beauvais – Cour administrative d’appel de Paris

This past weekend was the thirtieth edition of Journées européennes du patrimoine – or “European Heritage Days.” This annual event has become an important date on September’s already busy rentree schedule.

Historic monuments, buildings, private residences, art museums, parks and gardens – all of these open to the public in an impressive show of the country’s rich cultural heritage. 12 million people visit the thousands of sites spread all across France.

A free tour of the towers of Notre Dame were offered for Heritage Days. We took the less crowded option and went around back.

A free tour of the towers of Notre Dame were offered for Heritage Days. We took the less crowded option and went around back.

We had planned to go out exploring on Saturday, but it was raining cats and dogs (or “raining ropes” – il pleut des cordes - as they say in French). Still, I heard on the news that people were waiting up to 3 hours in the rain to get into the Elysee, home of the French president.

(Here’s a video of the Elysee, in case you didn’t make it in, either):

While I love getting a glimpse of normally closed off places – and this weekend offered access to many of them! – I’m also kind of a wimp when it comes to both floods of people and waterworks from the sky.

Luckily our strategy worked – waiting until Sunday gave us a day free of rain (even some sun!) and manageable lines because we picked smaller sites. I didn’t know anything about the administrative court, but hey, why not? They’re letting us in!

Continue reading ‘Open House ‘Heritage Days’’

Back in Paris and Being Wooed

Rain pelted Paris today; cold temperatures slyly snuck in.

But! Up until now, Paris bathed in a surprising amount of sunshine. It’s as if the city knew it must woo me back from Spain.

Soaking up the sun

Soaking up the sun in a park close to home

And speaking of all things woo, reuniting with my man after the summer away has been awesome. He also was pleasantly surprised. Since we met in a season when I was already bundled up in my puffy coat – and winter here lasted through June – he’d never seen me sporting cute summer dresses before. Yes, show a little skin!

Ok, but with a scarf. And something for my arms. And a table in front so you can't really see what I'm wearing. But trust me! More cuteness has happened than usual!

Ok, but with a scarf. And something for my arms. And a table in front so you can’t really see what I’m wearing. But trust me! More cuteness has happened than usual!

I’ve been approaching the city as a newcomer again; being a tourist in my own town. I had an errand close to the Pantheon the other day and then realized – hey! I’ve never been inside the Pantheon! Time to check that off the list.

But of course I didn't have my camera with me so this  is a photo from Flickr Creative Commons. Thanks DoctorWho!

But of course I didn’t have my camera with me so this is a photo from Flickr Creative Commons. Thanks DoctorWho!

My friend Adam also paid visit to the city. And aww, shucks! He proposed to his girlfriend at the Eiffel Tower! (She said yes). We’re batting a thousand for wonderful tourist things to do.

(Come join us on a short video stroll on the tip of Ile de la Cite as we headed to a picnic. More summer stuff!)

Not far from said tip is the Pont des Arts. Adam hadn’t been in Paris for 5 or 6 years. “Hey, when did that bridge get covered over in gold?” he joked as we spied it from Pont Neuf.

Pont des Arts

Oh. Oh dear. Upon closer inspection it is simply the love lock bridge way overloaded now

But back on the trail. It’s the Museum of Montmartre.

Musee de Montmartre

Musee de Montmartre

And quaint Place Dalida…

Place Dalida. A bit more tasteful.

…though the golden tint of (ahem, rhyme with me here), the statue’s t*ts took the classiness level down just a bit.

Statue of famous singer Dalida. The focused golden tint on one body part hard to miss.

What ritual is this?

There’s the Roy Lichtenstein exhibition at the Pompidou. (It’s great! The expo is on through November 4 – my birthday! – for anyone who still wants to catch it).

Now, mes petits...pour la France!

Now, mes petits…pour la France!

Summer’s fun and games wane, however. But in it’s place the energy and promise of the busy rentree. Everything is abuzz; everyone’s appointment books full.

Remember the quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald, someone who knew a little something about swinging Paris in its heyday: “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

So now over to you: Does the rentree/back to school season energize you or fill you with dread?

If giant fairground rides strike fear into your heart, the apocalyptic sky hanging over the Tuilieres probably doesn't help. (Of course, the other option, is that you find this totally awesome).

Delight or terror in the Tuileries?

Parc Floral de Paris

“Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.”

-from “A Blessing” by James Wright

Lake and red and yellow flowers at the Parc Floral, Paris

Lake and ambitious flowers at the Parc Floral, Paris

This past weekend I stumbled into the Parc Floral. It was something of a spontaneous trip; it was not the original destination, but then it just appeared.

It seemed a bit of serendipity, too, as it had been suggested by the winner of the Quiet Paris giveaway. (Thank you everyone for entering and for your great ideas!) I’ve been to the Bois de Vincennes before, but for some reason never wandered to that part.

It was indeed quiet – an oasis! I think it may have helped that it was chilly again (witness the winter clothes in the photos) so not many people were out. Add that to the tips for finding tranquility: brave the gray and cold!

Presenting the Parc Floral de Paris

Presenting the Parc Floral de Paris

Despite the weather, I do feel as if I’m blooming again. So many new things are happening; I’m holding tight to see how things evolve.

Last week I started a new job; it’s only a short-term contract for a couple months, but I’m full time in an office again. It’s been a few years! I’m excited about the content project, but I see long days ahead. Because of course as soon as I’m back to the 9-5 I have a million creative projects clamoring for my love.

May is a great time to start work, though – there are four holidays in the month! First one is tomorrow. Vive la France!

Flowers at Parc Floral

And so, already the weekend, and what a wonderful surprise it turned out to be. I went wandering with my new beau (yes! more newness!) and think the Parc Floral may now be a favorite.

TropicalParcFloral

It was lovely and lush, even with full spring still lagging behind. My favorite part: the trees. At certain moments I felt as if I were in a magical forest.

MagicalWoodsParcFloral

There were waterfalls and waterfowl, totems and bonsai trees. Even peacocks which I never knew sound like strange distressed cats (meow!)

Continue reading ‘Parc Floral de Paris’

L’Amour (or less…)

Montmartre, Paris (I love you wall)

One of my favorite things in the world is to play matchmaker.

I’m not responsible for any romantic connections, mind you. But I have fixed up a fair number of friends. A flair for platonic pairings, if you will.

Ah, you’re interested in X? So is my friend Y. Let me introduce you two!

I love putting people together who I think might click.

Not long ago, I introduced my screenwriter/actress friend Jennifer to Alexis, a director/writer, recently moved to Paris from LA. Though I had only met Alexis once before, I knew the alchemy was right for a rendezvous. I arranged that we all go to a vernissage together. (And then eat cheeseburgers afterward. Le classe!)

Long story short, I knew Jennifer and Alexis might hit it off, but I had no idea how much. The past month they (and now a whole cast and crew!) have been hard at work on a new project.

L’Amour (or less…) is a web series that explores what happens when people from two different cultures try to make a romantic connection. Each episode features re-enactments of actual dates between expatriates and the French. Some of the true stories are charming, some are distinctly not, and some are just bizarre.

Let their video here tell you more:

Fittingly, they launched L’Amour (or less…) live in Paris on Valentine’s Day. If you want to see this web series get made, head over to their kickstarter page. They’ve written 12 episodes already, but need some funds to bring the stories to the screen. Why not show them some love?

L’Amour (or less…) kickstarter page.
And the website.

Seeing people go for it; yes this is another one of my favorite things. The idea to collaborate on L’Amour (or less…) sprouted just at the start of January; Jennifer and Alexis have been running full steam ahead ever since. In only a little over a month they’ve assembled a host of talented folks, shot all over the City of Light, and written episodes which I can’t wait to actually see. Kind of dizzying all the activity!

These two remind me: you can decide to just do it. Oh, and I’m reminded, too, of the delight of serendipity. (My favorite word). Of bringing people together. The beauty of momentum. The power of putting your all into a dream.

Now if that’s not a love story, I don’t know what is.

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Serious Snowfall

IMG_8262

The past weekend saw Paris covered in snow. It may be gone now, but for a few glorious days, the city was transformed. It’s the biggest snow I can remember.

Here are a few pictures:

Continue reading ‘(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Serious Snowfall’


paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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