Posts Tagged 'sun'

Hot Diggity: Sun Therapy & L’atypique

Rue Alexandre Dumas - springA surreal Sunday scene: I’m walking down Rue Alexandre Dumas, my familiar street made new when it’s washed in spring’s bright light. I fall behind two young French girls – they couldn’t have been more than 9 or 10 – on the corner near Conforama. One has an iPhone pressed to her ear, her blond tresses nearly covering the device. She’s speaking into it seriously, while her friend patiently waits.

When her serious talk is through she hangs up and becomes lighthearted again, and the two friends begin chatting and laughing. By this time, I’ve passed them, my long legs carrying me much faster than theirs.

Then, from behind me, I hear:

“I like the way you work it. No diggity, I got to bag it up, bag it up
I like the way you work it. No diggity, I got to bag it up…”

And the girls are singing along! When Dr. Dre starts rapping, they even keep pace with that, too.

A deep look of confusion has overtaken my face, then my lips spread into a huge grin, even while I’m shaking my head. How in the world do these little French girls 1) know this song twice as old as they are (1996, baby!) 2) keep up with the lyrics (do they have any idea what they’re saying?). I’m surprised and slightly disconcerted, too.

They cross the street and I lose the Blackstreet song and their voices rising to meet it. I continue on my way.

La Jardin de la Folie Titon

La Jardin de la Folie Titon

The lawn of the Jardin de la Folie Titon

We’ve been basking in a whole string of warm, sunny days. Sun therapy isn’t reliably available in Paris, but my, no better option exists if you can get it. The default belief that the sunshine won’t last (the sky here so much more accustomed to a palate of grays), promises outsized excitement with its appearance. Each day for a couple weeks now, it seems, I wake and look out the window. It’s sunny…again? I simply can’t believe the good fortune. It’s impossible to ever take for granted the sun.

Church near the jardin de la folie titon

I’ve been making daily trips to a neighborhood park – my destination when I ran into the rapping girls – and I even made a recent trip to my favorite Parisian outpost, Buttes Chaumont. Another flashback to earlier times. It had been so long since I’d seen the Sybil Temple above the lake, and laid on its sloping hills.

Chilling in Buttes Chaumont

Chilling in Buttes Chaumont

I usually stick closer to home, though; I like anywhere I can walk. Yesterday, on my way back from sunbathing, I noticed a shop, its window crowded with colorful clothes and vintage jewelry, shoes and boots. How is it possible to follow the same route over and over and still discover you’ve completely missed something right in front of you?

window of the l'atypique

“Are you open?” I peek my head into the door, already ajar. Sunday, sunny, open store? It did not compute.

Continue reading ‘Hot Diggity: Sun Therapy & L’atypique’

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!

Fete des Jardins + Monday Music

Fete des Jardins, Chanzy Park

This past weekend was the 15th annual Fete des Jardins in Paris, a celebration of the gardens and green spaces of the city.

I had forgotten about the festival, so was pleasantly surprised to stumble into some festivities in my small neighborhood park.

The sun has been shining gloriously the past few days. Though the pile of projects is ever beckoning, I do what must be done when the oft-hidden sun appears: go outside and bask in it. Never know when it will be sunny in Paris again!

My friend Ericka and I went to have a quick catch-up in Chanzy park. There were a few booths set up for Fete des Jardins, but nothing spectacular. After about half an hour, though, musicians started streaming in from all sides.

Then a man who looked like he had just been lolling around enjoying the weather like the rest of us jumped up – the conductor! All of a sudden we were surrounded by an orchestra.

Continue reading ‘Fete des Jardins + Monday Music’

Bring on the Bubbles/Sunshiney Happy People

Birthday girl blowing bubbles in Buttes Chaumont

In the depths of a Paris winter, it’s easy to forget the existence of any color aside from gray. Beautiful city, yes, but sometimes the sorry sky seems dressed up in gloom alone.

This is why at the first sight of sun Parisians fill up outdoor terraces, grab their picnic ware and head for the park in hordes.

I am one of these people who follow the light’s lead. I’ve noticed, however, that the warmth of the sun doesn’t much matter to people here. No matter what time of year, if the clouds have parted, an outdoor apero is called for gosh darn it. Freezing? Temperatures be damned we’re sitting out here anyway.

On Saturday I went to Buttes Chaumont for my friend Dani‘s birthday. The sun shined on us (and look at those puffy clouds!), but it was chilly. Brr!

We did our part in pretending it was a perfect day for outdoor frolicking. It’s mid-May and there’s sun. We will picnic in the park!

Five hours on the deeply slanted slopes with a lovely mix of people – all talented, creative folk – did me good. (I’m pretty sure we were the loudest group on the grass – always a danger of an overwhelmingly expat crowd.)

By the time dinner time rolled around, though, I was looking forward to seeking warmth inside. I met up with several former colleagues from Expedia. They had traveled from Canada! Germany! London! just for our little reunion.

Presented with even more incontrovertible evidence that it was cold (sun’s gone! goosebumps on the arm!) we still ended up on the outdoor terrace. A bit hard to enjoy the meal to the fullest as I was in full-on shiver mode.

Bubble Machine at Cafe Titon

In perhaps an unrelated note, I’m also noticing bubbles! Yes! I passed by a local cafe that had a bubble machine! (And a white picket fence, too. Both fence and bubble machine seemed set up for a special occasion as I’ve passed Cafe Titon tons and never seen either).

Bubbles in the air, whimsy's alive

All this faux warmth and bubbliness. City-wide delusion? Wishful thinking? Whimsy?

Well, we often see what we want to and Paris especially caters to the dreamers.

Sun Daze

I don’t always succeed, but usually I try to share a somewhat focused story with you here, more than simply a random list of what I’ve been up to.

However, with the long-anticipated return of sunny warm weather (I was beginning to think my winter coat might become year-round attire) I just had to go out EVERYWHERE during this past 3-day weekend; dive into the city that’s come alive. No structured theme for me.

Suddenly stripping down to small tank tops and short skirts felt a bit strange. Maybe everything just strikes me as strange these days, surreal elements popping up all over Paris:

Treehouses sprouting on modern art museums,

The Pompidou's been planted with treehouses!

whole animals roasted in front of the Town Hall,

Vegetarians beware! Big BBQ at the Hotel de Ville!

a (4 million euro!) garden covering the Champs Elysees.

Not actually that exciting

(I’m no expert, but I think someone should consult me about proper use of municipal funds).

The heat made some people batty, characters came out in full force.

Put those clothes back on!

Get a load of that!

(Confession: These were actually actors in a play I ran across in front of Saint Sulpice. If you couldn’t tell from the photos, overacting was in full display).

Lobby of the Odeon Theater

I spied a few higher brow things, too, including the inside of the Odeon Theater. I just happened to be strolling with a theater historian at this moment (funny how that happens) whose specialty was theater from the ’68 era. The Odeon had been taken over in ’68 and became something of the protest’s headquarters in Paris, she explained. (Who knew?)

I had never even noticed the building before. I have this kind of Paris blindness sometimes. Though I never grow weary of the beauty of Paris, there are just so many famous historical buildings that I can’t even keep track. What’s that? A visitor might ask. Um, another gorgeous landmark, I reply.

As I lunched in front of Beaubourg, a man on a bike rode up and wished me ‘bon appetit.’

Thanks, I said.

You’re very pretty, too.

Thanks. (I’m very polite you see).

Ah, les hommes sont penibles, non?. Men are tiresome right?

Un peu. A little.

But you should take it as a compliment.

I went to hear honky tonk, also a surreal scene in Paris

Thanks. I did.

Parisians, we’re flirters.

Yes, you are.

He asked me for coffee, but I kindly declined. (I thought about asking him to offer me ice cream instead, but thought better of it).

It was a nice enough encounter – he did not insist (je ne insiste pas? he had asked hopefully before riding off).

Even the draguers seem charming with such beautiful weather. Everything, really, becomes a real pick-me-up. The city shines anew.

Statue in the Sky

Flying statue at Nation

Today the sun is shining and statues hang suspended in the sky. If that sounds like hyperbole, believe me, I speak the truth.

For the first time in awhile the clouds have parted and full warmth can be found in the sun. Paris has always struck me as a bit of a cruel lover with her weather. After a long, hard winter, we were teased with signs of spring. Quickly enough, however, the frost returned, wool coats brought back out of the closet. For no other city would we put up with such shenanigans. Paris is beautiful even when it’s gray; you swear allegiance to her even as you shiver. But by mid-May, enough is enough.

Saint Louis' rightful place

So out for a walk in all this glory. It’s market day near Place de la Nation and another happy surprise awaited. Nation is not one of those places people think much about when they conjure images of Paris. True, it’s not exactly a happening part of town – you certainly wouldn’t come out of your way to see it – but I like the wide roundabout, the residential neighborhoods surrounding, no tourists for miles around. Two tall statues welcome you from the Cours de Vincennes.

Only these striking statues of Saint Louis have been under renovation for quite some time now – taken off the tops of their columns, the columns hidden behind scaffolding.

Today as I walked by, however, I saw this situation finally finding its remedy. Saint Louis dangled in the sky, the gallant green (from age) figure being airlifted to its high resting place. I hold out hope we can finally move on to the business of enjoying Paris in all her (summer) glory. These things have been missing too long – the sun, these statues – but now they have returned.

An oasis in the center of the roundabout, Place de la Nation

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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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