city of light

I’m not quite sure why Paris is called this, although of course it is filled with wonderful lights of all kinds, including the twinkling wonder of the Eiffel Tower illuminations which sparkle beautifully once an hour during the evening. We watched them from a little park near the Sacre Coeur and it was magical.

As well as being the city of light, we also found that Paris is the city of very expensive cafes, constant bustling crowds, and energy-draining humidity which rather limited our enjoyment of its delights on this occasion. Previously we have visited in the spring and I think this is the best time to go.

We did our noble best of course, and here are a few photographs that hopefully capture a very little of the undeniable poetic glamour, soft-focus elegance and romantic intensity that seep from every pore of this unique city.

These are the stairs from our third-floor apartment down to the little courtyard that led to the street. We stayed in the Temple district, near the Arts et Metiers metro station... a very mixed, non-touristy area that I might not choose again.

Parisians have lovely weddings... Parisians have lovely everything... but it all comes at a big price. It's one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in, apparently.

We trekked all over the city and bravely visited the edgy Canal St Martin area to have a cup of coffee at this very trendy landmark building. It was gorgeous inside. Apparently Johnny Depp has a place near here, but there was no sign of the beautiful one... just a rather persistent tramp who found us apparently irresistable.

The Parisians are excellent at municipal bedding in their delightful parks and gardens... not for them rigid rows of Busy Lizzies or begonias... just look at this gorgeous, frivolous, fresh and airy arrangement of cleome, dahlias, cosmos and grasses.

We spent a morning ambling in the vast labyrinth of the Cimetiere Pere Lachaise... this is where many famous musicians, artists, composers, singers, writers and others are buried, including Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison.

Now we are home and I am loving the muted autumn light, coloured leaves, open fires , homemade cake and proper tea. It feels so good to be back in the familiarity of our home with the richness of real life available to me rather than the anxious need to fill the hours with the new and the different. There's nothing like a holiday for helping you to appreciate the beauties of home.


marigold jam said...

I do so agree with your last sentence! I love Paris though and especially the Montmartre area. We too found it very expensive when we were there last month though being August it was almost empty not bustling! We went in December 2009 and the lights along the Champs Elysee and covering Galeries Lafayette were stunning.

Gilly said...

The municipal flower beds look very labour saving - no weeding! But it looked lovely.

I like autumn, too.

Annie said...

I do love Paris, despite having once been mugged there! It can be such an 'unexpected' city ... you'll know what I mean. We go in spring or October, but haven't been for years. Thank you for prompting pleasant memories :D

Pomona said...

I love your photos - and there is nothing like a holiday for making you appreciate the joys and comforts of home!

Pomona x

Frances said...

Hello Sue, and thank you very much for your lovely comments.

I found your Paris journal very interesting, and compare it with that of some New York friends who get to Paris quite often. I think that you got to see very different parts of the city and bet that your impressions will now begin to reveal themselves in some art.

I've only been to Paris once, and stayed in a funny little hotel near Pere Lachaise. Of course I did use the metro and my feet to visit all the major beauty spots, but really found it very interesting to be based in a true neighborhood. (I also found southern France so much less expensive! And the light was superb.)


kkkkaty said...

Having been only to Spain, I would love to take my granddaughter with me to see Paris one time during her teen years...your pictues and descriptions are helpful as well as lovely. I like your perspectives on a lot of things. Trying to follow some of your book suggestions, too..

sue said...

It's true there's no place like home. I love going on holiday but love coming home again to the familiar comforts.
As for Paris, a stunning place full of secret corners, a city to walk around for sure but sooo busy! I went there years ago and was lucky enough to be shown the secrets by a lovely French friend who really showed us some things especially around the Moulin Rouge area LOL! I loved it all the food, the architecture, the art. Everyone should go just once.

acornmoon said...

Your thoughts echo similar feelings about a recent trip to Venice, especially appreciating home comforts. I don't know the area that you stayed in but we have previously stayed in some very scary places in Paris. I am sure that you will soon be left with the wonderful memories of twinkling lights and warm evening strolls and pavement cafes.

Hollace said...

I wonder how the Paris trip will impact your color palette and creativity...

Jackie said...

I missed this earlier..I know just what you mean about anxiety of filling the hours etc. I wish holidays could be taken at intervals, our Greek week was an intense bright blazing blue one, and churlishly I almost became bored with squeezing everything out of it in a week, greedily . Now I'm home, i wish I could have the odd day or two there. We're never happy are we?
And we live in the best country in the world, because its home.