Archive for April, 2013

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!)

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Quiet Paris (Giveaway!)

Quiet ParisAs if in answer to my pleas, the sun finally appeared in Paris this week. Starting Sunday, spring burst forth fully formed. The city sighed collective relief.

The long walks I alluded to last post obviously bring even more joy now.

In a bout of perfect timing, I also received a new guidebook that champions the wandering approach. The introduction to Siobhan Wall’s Quiet Paris has her musing: “walking around, I wondered whether we are now less familiar with losing our way and coming across places by benign accident rather than preordained design.”

Wall seeks the calmer side to cities, you see, places off the beaten track. Previously she has produced Quiet London and Quiet Amsterdam. But is it really possible to escape the hustle and bustle in Paris, the world’s most popular tourist destination?

I always approach anything promising a “secret” City of Light with a slice of skepticism. Luckily, this sweet little pocket guide soon swiped away any hesitation. It delivers.

While some old standbys certainly appear (the elevated leafy walkway known as the Promenade Plantee was packed this weekend, for instance; ditto, I imagine, Parc Buttes Chaumont), plenty of entries were new to me (the Musee Bourdelle in the fifteenth? The Bibliotheque Marguerite Durand devoted to French women and feminism?)

Author Siobhan Wall

Author Siobhan Wall

After the elegant intro, the guide is divided into 12 sections: museums, libraries, parks & gardens, places to relax, places to worship, shops, restaurants, cafes, bookshops, galleries, cultural centers, and places to stay. At the end is a handy index of places by arrondissement. There are more than 120 listings in all.

Continue reading ‘Quiet Paris (Giveaway!)’

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’


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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