Archive for the 'Pieces of Imperfect Paris' Category

Of Melancholy and Marvels; Paris Years On

Sion_Crossroads_PereLachaise
Did I ever tell you about my first trip to Paris?

A rainy weekend in late November 2005.

At that time, I didn’t know the gray of the sky was semi-permanent, that the drab monotony even had a name (la grisaille). I did intuit, however, that the city always looked beautiful anyway.

A transport strike (another common feature, I would learn) was in full swing and so I arrived into central Paris only after a chaotic RER and metro ride.

But out I finally popped onto Rue de Rivoli, the Hotel de Ville lit bright by early holiday lights. Beautiful. There’s that word again. I was overcome by my first sight.

Continue reading ‘Of Melancholy and Marvels; Paris Years On’

End of Summer Mantra (and the Return to Paris)

A decorated street during Festa Major de Gracia

Paris has welcomed me back with sunshine. It’s warm and glorious and everything it wasn’t when I left. This makes my reluctant return after nearly 2 months in Spain easier.

I offer this idyllic image first because my journey home last night looked like this:

Continue reading ‘End of Summer Mantra (and the Return to Paris)’

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: (Non)-Summer in Paris

Sure, Paris can be romantic in the rain.

People probably don’t have this in mind, though:

No one lives in Paris for the weather, but I got to say, skipping over summer is kind of a shame.

I can’t complain today. The sun’s shining. But overall, summer’s been skimpy in these parts. I’ve looked at the extended forecast and the rain’s coming back for the weekend. (It’s best not to look at these things).

Oh well. It does help with the work. August is my month of attack you might remember. And attacking, I am. I’m getting so much done! The freak floods and gray days only give more motivation to stay inside and focused, so I’m grateful for that.

Reality Check

Today as I was climbing the many steps of the above ground Jaures metro station, a guy stole the cash right out of my backpack.

I felt a little something and quickly twirled around. The man was standing too close, but nonchalantly brushed past me.

I immediately opened my bag and saw my wallet, camera, and phone still there, so I wondered if I had imagined it. I looked in my wallet and all of my cards were still there, too.

It was only a little later when I went to pay for something that I noticed all of my cash was gone.

I consider myself pretty street smart and I usually keep my bag in front of me. But sometimes – just walking up stairs on a normal Friday afternoon outside of rush hour – I guess I don’t always clutch my bag as I should.

Sigh. Must be on guard every single second.

What gets me is that as soon as I turned around, I immediately wanted to say “WTF?”

But somehow in the split second I remembered I was in Paris and couldn’t remember how to say WTF in French. (Note to self: just say WTF in English anyway. Not that it helps matters, but I would have preferred calling him out, rather than feeling so passive).

Continue reading ‘Reality Check’

Keeping Count

Not that we’re keeping track or anything, but tomorrow will be the fourth day of strikes/protest against French pension reform in a month’s time. On a personal note, it’s the second time in a month that my travel plans have been foiled because of it. (Ok, maybe I am keeping count).

I do realize that the world doesn’t revolve around me, but really? What is up with my choosing departure days that ultimately mean I cannot depart?

No, no, really. I don’t mind. Aix-en-Provence? Who needs it?

Gare du Nord (I refuse to be stranded again!)

So my train has been cancelled for tomorrow. On the upside, at least I already know about it. And I have options! I was on an iDTGV, which is supposed to be like the younger, cooler version of the TGV. (You know, like there are DJ’s or something – even speed dating on some routes! I’m kind of not kidding, either).

Anyway, I’ll give them props for letting me know ahead of time – and for making sure I don’t need to lift a finger to get reimbursed. It’s automatic. Ok, this I will applaud.

There are other trains running that day and I’m allowed to try to get on any of them for free either Tuesday or Wednesday.

Honestly, folks, I don’t really feel much like trying to make my way to the train station on a strike day and “hoping” I can board another one. Or waiting around said train station if one is full and hope for the next. Or waking up at 5 AM to catch the early train that no one else wants to catch.

I think I will just wait until Wednesday – or just go some other time. It’s an easy trip (um, when there’s not a strike, that is).

Plus, I should not admit this, but here goes: I have an electrician coming tomorrow now and I’m waiting for some important documents in the mail, so it kind of works out. Yes, I’m choosing domestic drudgery and a postal delivery over Aix-en-Provence. This is what it has come to.

I do feel much better that I am returning to the original spirit of this blog, though. This is my glam life in Paris, folks. Jealous yet?

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Soggy Strike

Paris CDG Termial 2E 06

Dear readers,

Right now I should be in Italy, walking along the banks of Lake Como with my friend Simone who grew up in the area.

Instead I’m sitting in my uncomfortable writing chair (must do something about that) in Paris wondering just why I put up with France sometimes.

See, there was a huge national strike on Tuesday. Yes, yes, nothing new. It’s la rentree, everyone’s back, might as well go on strike.

Fine. My flight was scheduled on Wednesday. I checked Easyjet’s flight before leaving to make sure it was still on. Yes, it said. Planifie.

Only, when I get to CDG airport, the flight was not planifie. Not planned at all. A great big annule, in fact. Wait in line to rebook. Unhelpful ticket agent who does not want to tell me why the flight is cancelled. After about my fifth time asking, he finally says, quite haughtily, well, Madame, there was a big national strike yesterday.

Yes, yes, I’m aware, I said. That was yesterday. And today is today.

But let’s not belabor the point. When can I get out of here?

Oh, Friday? As in, not tonight, not tomorrow, but in 2 days from now? Oh, and you do not want to pay me for the expenses of my fruitless trip out here? Right. Ok. Do you think I should go now, before I reach across the desk and strangle you?

Continue reading ‘Soggy Strike’

Scattered Sunbeams

The sky before unleashing its rain, Hotel de Ville

Paris may be the world’s most beautiful city, even in the rain (some might go so far as to posit especially in the rain), but I gotta say: I want summer.

Let me paint you a portrait of a recent ‘summer’s night’ outing: dressed in long-sleeved shirt, sweater (yes, sweater), and scarf I make my way to the Hotel de Ville to hear Tricky perform as part of the FNAC Indetendances festival of music. (This was the last weekend; sorry folks).

Some people are dressed wistfully, in tanks and short skirts, willing the weather to cooperate. Most have realized that we are in a season more closely resembling fall, however, so jackets are in full display.

A menacing sky, but we will the rain to hold off for a bit. It does. Until it doesn’t. With the advent of a light sprinkle, we open our umbrellas, make the umbrellas dance. Several people jump onto the stage. (I believe this was a practical means of escaping the rain rather than anyone being overcome by the music. They conveniently exited the stage again once the rain stopped.)

A fine night, a fine night, but we are too much darting between raindrops, those of us left here in August. We try to slot ourselves in between scattered sunbeams this summer.

Rosa Bonheur at 4 PM

The day before the concert, I met up with fellow bloggers Res I(p)sa, An Alien Parisienne, and Paul of Paris Inspired at Rosa Bonheur in the beautiful Buttes Chaumont Park (my favorite park – I suggest to anyone visiting Rosa Bonheur to go near 4 PM as we did; such a relaxed pace before the crushing evening hipster crowd arrives – which is also fun, of course. Also how cute is it that Paris Karin and Paris Paul are a blogger couple?)

Rosa Bonheur at 8 PM

The weather confusion saw me in many layers, but by the time we settled in, the sun shone bright. Mid-August and I wear layers, I contemplate knee-high boots, turtlenecks. This just shouldn’t be. Even in Paris, where I forgive almost anything just to bask in her beauty, sometimes you just want a little warmth and light.

Today, Sunday, there are no breaks in the clouds, the rain falls heavy. It’s cold. A sweater and heavy socks kind of day (shall I remind you this is mid-August?)

Should be a good day to stay indoors, write, work. Should be…but I gaze longingly out the window and am distracted by how much I wish for the sun.

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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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