Posts Tagged 'paris'

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!

Create What You Seek + The Kale Project

Eiffel Tower in the mistBetween my writing residency and road trip, I’ve been away from Paris for some time. I’ve gotten caught up in other worlds, but the city’s on my mind.

“April in Paris” is one of those phrases that instantly evokes a certain nostalgia. A mood set in three simple words. (Listen to Ella & Louis do their rendition of the song).

I’ll be interested to return to Paris this month (though I’m not rushing my sojourn in Guadeloupe. Bravo to those who figured out my current location from the last post’s clues!). Distance is always great for allowing us to see places we know with fresh eyes. I wonder, too, if Paris – and France – have some new changes in store.

After two rounds of voting, Paris elected its first-ever female mayor, Anne Hidalgo. (Most of France moved to the right politically in the recent municipal elections, but as Paris is so often an exception, the Socialist candidate prevailed there).

Hidalgo was born in Spain, but grew up in Lyon, becoming a French national at the age of 14. She quoted the writer Sacha Guitry in saying: “Being a Parisian is not about being born in Paris, it is about being reborn there.”

Continue reading ‘Create What You Seek + The Kale Project’

Refilling the Well + Return to France*

Any guesses where I am? It *is* a return to French territory.

Any guesses where I am? It *is* a return to French territory.

Right after my writing residency at the Kerouac House I went on a road trip. It only seemed fitting after spending a full season in Jack’s house.

From New Orleans to Baton Rouge, NYC to San Juan, I’ve had a lot of fun before finally returning to French territory…though it’s probably not where you think.

400 palm trees line L'Allée du Manoir

(Literally) on the road: 400 palm trees line L’Allée du Manoir

I bounce between periods of recording life in my notebook and of living it. Rather than worry as I used to when not putting pen to paper consistently (maybe I’ll never write again!) I instead embrace these periods as an important part of the process.

I just enjoyed 3 months of uninterrupted solo time to focus on my creative work. What I’ve done since is travel, experiencing new places, meeting old friends and making new ones. Planting the seeds for new stories. Refilling the well.

It’s a lot to encapsulate, but here are a few snapshots:

Continue reading ‘Refilling the Well + Return to France*’

Luck and Expectations: Some Thoughts on Moving Abroad

Thinking of moving to Paris? Carpe Diem.

Thinking of moving to Paris? Carpe Diem.

Recently I was tapped as an “expat expert” and asked to contribute a tip about living abroad for an HiFx campaign. At first I balked at being considered an “expert.” But then I reasoned: if experience is what makes someone knowledgeable, then I must know something after 7 years in Paris.

Still, I had trouble coming up with concrete advice. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that everyone’s experience is different. Part of the adventure (and frustration) of life in France is that it’s difficult to pin down the precise rules. Documents asked of one person for a dossier, for example, may not be requested of another.

Art along the Seine

Art along the Seine

In the end, perseverance counts more than anything. My tip, therefore, emphasized attitude, summed up in a few short lines. (You can see the full list of tips here; mine will be added soon).

The topic got me to wondering, though. How could I expand on the lessons I learned moving to the City of Light? I realized expectations and the perception of luck play a major role when I talk to people about moving abroad. Here are some broad thoughts on the subject:

Continue reading ‘Luck and Expectations: Some Thoughts on Moving Abroad’

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’

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?

Fantasy Meets Reality

Hello dear ones,

I know, I know. It’s been too long.

Don’t think I don’t think about you – because I very much do!

Sion in Parc Floral - color!
(I just set this as the new photo on my website. What do you think? Does it work? Does it say happy writer in Paris? Or actually Sion in “aris” since I’m covering the “P?” But that sounds like “heiress” which is kind of of cool, too. Ahem. Babbling!)

Life is full these days and it’s a challenge making it to the computer screen. Or rather, hard to come back to the computer after many hours spent in front of it.

My 9 to 5 (erm, later adjusted hours in my case) sees me as a content writing/editing machine (my boss actually called me a robot yesterday, in what was actually a compliment). I’m helping with the relaunch of a major website and there are exactly 678 pages to get in shape. I’m looking at every single one.

After playing writing robot, I head home to my second job – preparing lesson plans for my imminent return to Spain.

Yes! You may remember I taught creative writing last summer in a study abroad program for high schoolers in Barcelona. Well, they’ve asked me back, with even an extra class on board. I’ll teach 6 days a week, live in the dorm, accompany field trips – full immersion with the teens! It’s exhausting and exhilarating and it hasn’t even started yet. A ton to prepare.

In between all that, I’m listening to Spanish podcasts as I do errands in optimistic efforts of (re)learning the language that way.

So by the end of the day, I’m kind of braindead and can’t quite make it to the blog.

Yep, I pass the Iron Lady every day on the way to work now.

Yep, I pass the Iron Lady every day on the way to work now.

But I’ve missed you! How are you? Very well, I hope.

Today had so much sunshine – so bright, so mighty! Paris couldn’t have needed it more. It may seem boring to talk weather, but friends, really. The rain here was out of control. People were losing it; almost on the brink! (I even saw a sobbing woman run toward the tracks as a train approached. Aie! Another hazard of hard commutes! And yes, someone stopped her.)

No one knows if Mister Soleil is going to stay (I’m still wearing a heavy coat in June; just saying) so we flock outside when he appears.

What a bad blogger I’ve become – I even forgot my camera on the one nice day!

I lunched on the Champs de Mars (my office is close) then walked along the Seine a good way home. I saw that a new floating garden on the river is under construction and the Petit Palais’ columns were dressed in bright colors. Oh, I wish I could show you!

I get the impression that a lot of people think this is how we live in Paris normally – meals on the Eiffel Tower’s lawn, sunny strolls along the Seine.

It’s so far from the truth, but once in awhile it happens. Fantasy meets reality.

I took some photos for tourists as I walked through the Tuileries. I had to smile as they posed. Do they realize how rare this good fortune?

I hope your fantasy life is meeting reality in moments, too. I hope you’re having wonderful adventures, wherever you may be.

Artfully Adored ScreenshotP.S. I’m sending some link love over to Stephanie on ArtfullyAdored. She’s got a luxurious giveaway going on – perhaps make the fantasy real?


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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