Posts Tagged 'spring'

Soaking up Sunshine; Stocking up on Books

Lazing around Le Square du Vert-Galant

Pont Neuf Bridge

Luxembourg Gardens

Spring. Is. Amazing.

It makes me want to dance!

Continue reading ‘Soaking up Sunshine; Stocking up on Books’

First Signs of Spring!

Last night I returned from Prague around midnight. It was wonderful discovering a new city – and I’ll be sharing more about that trip soon.

Prague was pretty cold, though. Much better than I expected (the forecast before I left had predicted rain and below freezing temperatures and that did not come to pass), but I have to say waking up this morning in Paris to bright sunshine was fantastic. The sun is supposed to continue its star role and the City of Light will hit 60 degrees this week. Hooray!

It’s not my neighborhood park by any means (I’m a Right Banker all the way!), but the Luxembourg Gardens holds a special place for many. It’s certainly a good place to mark the arrival of spring.

I hope your week is starting off bright and sunny, too. More soon!

Printemps du Cinema/Seeing Spring

Here’s another perk of living in Paris (or in this case, anywhere in France). Every March for three days, all cinema tickets across the country are only 3.50 euros. For any film, at any time, new release or not. This annual event is called “Le Printemps du Cinema.” Me likey.

Yesterday I went to see “The King’s Speech.” Yes, I’m one of the last people on earth to see this film, but I think I was rewarded for my waiting strategy.

You can imagine that with the 3.50 price tag, going to the movies suddenly strikes a lot of people as a good idea. There can often be long lines during these three days. Pick a flick that’s been out forever, though (and even better, go at an off-hour if you can), you’re more likely to beat the crowds.

And so I did. I slid right in, saw a great movie, and waltzed right back out, all for less than the price of a good hot chocolate (a key cost comparison).

On a random note, as I was leaving the theater, I was nearly knocked over the head with this reality: whoa! Paris is beautiful!

Avenue Carnot - Étoile

Oh, wait. That’s not original, is it? Let me clarify. I’m near-sighted and spend almost all day in front of a computer for which I don’t need my glasses. And I practically never wear my glasses out. Eh, I can see what’s in front of me, who needs to see far away, right?

I wear them when I go to the movies, though, and I kept them on as I was exiting the theater. And then I realized just how bad my eyesight must be, because the city seemed to be blazing with beauty – on fire with it, now that I could see clearly. I felt like I was in a film.

So, I guess I better admit that I’m getting older, eyesight’s growing poorer, and just wear my glasses more often. In return, the City of Light will delight me anew. Priceless.

Ever the Nomad

Blast off to your dreams! (Or, at least, to Menilmontant)

Dream job? Travel writer.

Ok, not an original answer, but the sentiment still stands.

When Anja of Ever the Nomad introduced herself in my inbox recently as a professional travel writer, she had my full attention. (Didn’t hurt that the first sentence of her email also said that I did “amazing work.” Yes, flattery does work).

Before responding to her request for a guest post, I did what any reasonable person in this day and age does: I googled her.

The drooling soon began. Anja has written guide books for Lonely Planet and Rough Guides, articles for Time Out and Travel + Leisure. Since I started following her on Twitter, she’s hopped from London to New York to a sea-view pool villa in Thailand.

Once I stopped daydreaming (not sure I’ve stopped, actually), I realized how pretty darn cool it was that she wanted some Paris insights from little old me.

The Promenade Plantee - check out *them* blossoms!

As a confirmed cheapskate and with the coming of spring, I found one subject the most natural to write about: places to frolic for free. And since it’s exactly four years ago this month that I fell in love (literally) with Paris + a boy, it was time for a little nostalgia. The 19th was my first home in the City of Light, so I have plenty of favorite nooks in that humble, but humming arrondissement.

Please find below a few sites I mentioned in the guest post, then follow the link if you want the full story. Enjoy!

P.S. I’ve taken a bit of a revised position now. Travel writer would be awesome. But someone paying me to “hang out” in Paris and write up the results could be the real prize.

So, friends: Do you read any such job in my future?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Off Rue de Mouzaia and its storybook lanes

• The side streets off Rue de Mouzaïa beckon with a rows of adorable bungalows. Wisteria creeps up brick houses, brightly-painted doors hide behind latched gates. Wander small passages with grand names, like Villa de la Renaissance or Villa de Progrès. (The three pillars of the French republic, in fact – Liberté, Egalité, and Fraternité – all meet at one street corner here).

Best explored during the day, this area feels like stumbling into a storybook world of secret gardens. Check out Aux Petits Jouers or Les Mères Veilleuses for music and conviviality afterwards, if you’re still around at night. (Metro: Pré St-Gervais)

Buttes Chaumont Park = beautiful

Buttes Chaumont is one of the most gorgeous parks in Paris, yet it’s rarely given its due. From the Sybil temple perched high atop a cliff to hidden grottoes and gushing waterfalls, this park is at once dramatic and relaxed. Unlike the many manicured parks in Paris, Buttes Chaumont seems more rugged and untamed.

It may not appear on tourist maps, but Buttes Chaumont is no secret to Parisians. Expect lots of locals strolling around the lake or spread out on the green (another advantage over other Paris parks where usually you can’t sit on the grass!). Café/club Rosa Bonheur at the top of the park turns into a hipster hangout at night. (Metro: Buttes Chaumont, Laumière)

A stroll down Canal de L'Ourcq...and memory lane

• Nearby Parc de la Villette also lets you grace the lawns. Flat and modern, it’s nothing like the hilly wonder of Buttes Chaumont, but it boasts interesting multidisciplinary complexes like the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie and offers several of the summer’s best events. Villette Sonique presents big-names and up-and-coming indie acts while the outdoor movie series draws crowds with its wonderful selection of free films.

You’re as likely to spot people practicing capoiera as playing the guitar at the Villette. You may stumble into a soccer game, an African drum circle, or a Brazilian batacuda. There’s no getting that in the Jardin de Tuilieries! (Metro: Porte de Pantin, Porte de la Villette)

Read more…click here!

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Green Party

St. Patrick’s Day may not be a big deal in Paris, but I’m having my own little celebration. Sun, warmth, blue sky! How I thought you’d forsaken me, and yet here you all are again.

Oui, ça sent le printemps, remarked many people at the market today. Spring has finally arrived.

Verdant green hills and fields of blooming flowers. (Ok, there are no verdant green hills in Paris, but it’s so nice out there it feels like there could be). Picnics in the park, aperos by the canal – these things are possibilities again.

Life has officially recommenced.
Four Leaf Clover 068
I’m pleased to note that I had a St. Paddy’s-related article out this month. “From Ireland, with love” reviews a few contemporary Irish novels and appears in Today in English. (My original title “Good Reads from the Green Isle” got nixed, but I’m still quite fond of it).

A publication is always cause for celebration in my book, but this also serves as something of a milestone: it’s the first thing I’ve written that my husband can actually read.

You see, Today in English is a magazine geared towards French-speakers learning English, so the articles help with vocabulary, idioms, and grammar. It’s funny to see what words they pulled out to elaborate: “Keen insight”, “tenuous grip on reality”, “unrelenting”… “Whatever” (ah yes, a classic Americanism!).

I can see why Jerome had some trouble with it, but he made his way through. I’ve grown accustomed, but it is quite something when you think about it: one of my main identities is that of a writer and yet my husband can’t access that part of me.

He sees me pass hours behind the computer screen or curled up with books. Or in a huff, doing everything but writing, but berating myself for not. In short, he knows this is who I am – he just has no idea what I’m saying.

There are times I wish I could share this part of myself with him. Other times when having something so important of my own is a gift.

We’ve had to create our own common interests, things we can share, from scratch, in a language that sometimes only the two of us understand. It can be frustrating, but it’s also illuminating. Two people together always construct their own reality, their own private world. Ours is different than anything I might have imagined for myself, yet it is undoubtedly that: ours.

The Globe (78 / 365)

Other fun writing news: I found out yesterday that a flash fiction story I submitted to an anthology has been accepted. Hooray!

And for those of you who read this on email, I don’t think you had the link to a very nice review of this blog by A Taste of Garlic.

(Other note for email subscribers, the videos don’t seem to appear in emails. If you’re dying to hear some Indochine clips from yesterday, head on over to the blog!)

Ok, enough with the pats on the back. Now onto some….green beer? (Maybe not. After fantastic champagne, I really don’t think I could). Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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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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